This article was originally published by The William McKinley Institute blog on March 31, 2020.

A recent investigation by The William McKinley Institute discovered that a local Chicago man by the name of Michael J. Staudenmaier, a director at the Stephenson National Bank and Trust, has ties to America’s largest anarcho-terrorist organization, the TORCH Antifa Network. Staudenmaier, who also works as an assistant professor at Manchester University, was revealed to have long participated in the anarchist movement and culminated extensive ties with the neo-communist Sojourner Truth Organization (STO), whose members – according to Staudenmaier’s own book – openly promoted political violence. What our investigation revealed was absolutely shocking and will detail not only proof of Staudenmaier’s terrorist connections, but also the heinous crimes of the gangs he is linked too. 


In 2014, a new anarcho-terrorist syndicate was formed by numerous gangs, many of which at the time comprised the ultra-violent Anti-Racist Action Network. It is unknown if the endeavor was a simple rebranding or splintering of the network, but the TORCH Antifa Network received the blessing of the ARA Network. The event itself was largely secretive, though a few details were published on numerous blogs of the founding gangs and on the syndicate’s new website. Listed along with the gangs that participated in the inaugural Chicago conference were that of the names of two speakers, author and blogger Matthew Lyons and a Michael Staudenmaier.   These articles said nothing as to who Staudenmaier was or the nature of his discussion. However, a picture of the two was published with an announcement of the event’s success. 

A recent bombshell report by the William McKinley Institute revealed the extensive connection and terrorist activities of the TORCH Antifa Network, and merits further investigation into the syndicate’s founding and membership. However, a web search immediately revealed several articles and photos of a man whose appearance was strikingly similar to that of the man in the photo, in addition to that of a book published under the same name by AK Press, an anarchist publisher. The author was said to be “a veteran of anarchist, antiimperialist, and anti-fascist movements, and is now a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign” and to be living “in Chicago with his wife Anne, and their two children.”


This description of the author matched the articles of the photos that were discovered. A curriculum vitae, revealed that a Dr. Michael Staudenmaier of Manchester University was the author of the published work, entitled Truth and Revolution: A History of the Sojourner Truth Organization, 1969-1986. Staudenmaier, who recently received a PhD in History from the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, is now teaching at Manchester University as an associate professor.


When the book was originally published, Staudenmaier went on a tour across the United States and Canada that was promoted by AK Press on Facebook. Listed as contact information for the tour was an email account which returned an old blog from 2005 with information and a photo that further matched Staudenmaier. The same Facebook post is hosted by an Ann Carlson, who Michael Staudenmaier claims is the name of his wife in the acknowledgements portion of his book, Truth and Revolution. The blogpost also thanks an Aaron Barnhart, someone also mentioned in the acknowledgment section of Staudenmaier’s book. 

In his book, Staudenmaier claimed to be part of the Four Star Anarchist Organization (4SAO) as well as an anarchist “infoshop” in Chicago called Autonomous Zone. The blog of the 4SAO lists Three-Way-Fight blog as recommended reading, which is the blog of Matthew Lyons, the other speaker present at the TORCH Antifa Network’s inaugural conference and photographed with Michael Staudenmaier. Furthermore, in the acknowledgment section of Staudenmaier’s book, he thanks a “Matthew Lyons” and cites his Three-Way-Fight blog in the final chapter.


The 4SAO Staudenmaier claimed to be a part of donated proceeds of an event to the Tinley Park Terrorists, five men who were arrested in 2012 and convicted after violently storming a restaurant and attacking patrons with baseball bats, batons, and other deadly weapons. About 15 other unknown masked assailants were never brought to justice. This fundraising event was attended by the ultra-violent South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action (South Side ARA) who is also linked under the “local Interest” section of the 4SAO’s blog.


South Side ARA was the anarcho-terrorist gang that hosted the TORCH Antifa Network’s inaugeral conference that Staudenmaier attended as a guest lecturer. South Side ARA’s relationship with the Four Star Anarchist Organization dates back to at least 2010 (here and here) and appears to have been quite close. Also listed as being at this conference with Staudenmaier was the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM), the gang responsible for plotting the Tinley Park terrorist attack that the 4SAO held a fundraiser for.


The 4SAO’s blog, the anarchist organization Staudenmaier admitted to being a member of, also lists as recommended reading. hosts material from the 4SAO. A report by National Justice recently revealed the elusive founder of the webzine to be James D. Poulter, a journalist with Vice. According to the report, the website lists incendiary materials with instructions to blow up houses of worship and commit acts of murder. An article in claims that in February 2013, several organization including the 4SAO participated in a convention in Rochester, New York where they drafted a constitution and “points of unity” for a new organization. This meeting took place a year prior to the inaugural TORCH Antifa Network conference that Staudenmaier attended. It has not been confirmed that the TORCH Antifa Network was the organization the article referred too, but with the connection between these organizations it is highly probable.


As mentioned previously, recent research by the William McKinley Institute revealed the extensive ties and terrorist activities of the TORCH Antifa Network that Staudenmaier helped launch. The report itself is well worth reading and exhaustively researched. Over the last six years since the terrorist syndicate was formed, the gang’s affiliate chapters have been involved with numerous high-profile terrorist attacks.


For example, in 2018 members of the Philly Antifa gang launched an assault on two United States Marines they believed to be members of a civic nationalist organization. During the gang assault, members of the gang were calling the two Hispanic men “Nazi’s” and “White Supremacists.” Taken back by the accusations one of the Marines shouted out in amazement that they were Hispanic. Instead of ending the assault, the gang continued to beat them and began calling them “spics” and “wetbacks.” The violent gang assault made national news, but the connection to the nation-wide anarcho-terrorist syndicate had not yet been made by the media. Philly Antifa was present at the inaugural TORCH Antifa Conference with Staudenmaier and also hosted the second TORCH Antifa Network conference in 2015 and is listed as a chapter of the syndicate.


Another famous anarcho-terrorist attack was launched by members of TORCH Antifa Network’s Oregon chapter, Rose City Antifa (RCA). This attack involved the brutal assault of journalist Andy Ngo, whose critical reporting of anarcho-terrorism made him a target of the gang. Ngo was hospitalized with brain hemorrhaging as a result. The assault, which was filmedmade national news. RCA was quick to take credit for the attack, laughably calling the targeted attack “community self-defense.” No arrests have yet to be made in the terrorist attack, despite the gang and its syndicate loudly projecting to the world their violent intentions and actions. 

Likewise, Chicago ARA, the local Chicago anarcho-terrorist gang closely affiliated with the 4SAO Staudenmaier claimed to be a member of has been involved with numerous gang assaults in and around the Chicago area. In one blogpost, they bragged about targeting and attacking several individuals in what they called a “clandestine attack” for publicly expressing pride in their European heritage, an act that would be a hate crime if it was against any other ethnic group. During the premeditated assault, the gang claimed to have used a u-lock on their victims, the same weapon convicted anarcho-terrorist Eric Clanton would assault seven people with years later at a rally in Berkeley, California. 

In 2012 the gang claimed to have vandalized the Balbo monument in Chicago as part of their 2012 “Day of Action.” According to the gang’s blog, this was the same “Day of Action” that the 4SAO held a fundraiser with South Side ARA for the Tinley Park terrorists mentioned earlier. In 2017 the gang claimed to have stalked and ambushed several nationalists with bear mace outside a bar as the group was leaving. Several months later they claimed to have attacked a man in a bar with cue sticks and just weeks later claimed their associates broke a man’s hand after stalking him to his car.

Not only did Chicago ARA host the first inaugural TORCH Antifa Network that Staudenmaier was a guest speaker at, but in 2011 they hosted the 17th annual ARA Action Conference. At this event, two of the speakers named “Danial” and “Lash” were members of Staudenmaier’s 4SAO. Perhaps more scandalous for Staudenmaier is that they shared a platform with anarcho-terrorist Bernadine Dorn, a former member of the neo-communist Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) whose Jewish leadership is recorded as discussing the merits of murdering all newborn White babies. When the SDS collapsed, Dorn and others formed a domestic terrorist cell called the Weatherman. This cell launched a wave of bombings that included the United States Capitol and the Pentagon. Dorn herself was on the FBI’s most wanted list but was never convicted due to federal wiretap violations that lead to the case against the Weatherman being dropped.


Staudenmaier wrote a book published by AK Press in 2011 about the history of the Sojourner Truth Organization (STO). He first met members of the neo-communist group in 1996 when printing posters at C&D Printshop in Chicago for a protest of the Democratic National Convention. When the owners of the print shop, Janeen Porter and Don Hamerquist, saw the posters were created by the anarchist collective Autonomous Zone that Staudenmaier was a member of, they donated the prints to him free of charge. Due to his newfound friendship with veterans of the neocommunist organization, Staudenmaier was given special access to interviews with STO’s former members and private documents. 


Staudenmaier claimed that “over the next few years…a number of younger Chicago anarchists became friends and comrades not only with Janeen and Don, but also with a range of other veterans of STO.” This relationship shows a line of continuity between extremists from the 60’s and 70’s to the modern day anarcho-terrorist movement. Staudenmaier claims that some of the former members of the STO went on to join violent gangs such as AntiRacist Action, which gave birth to the TORCH Antifa Network.

Like the Weather Underground, the STO was formed by former members of the SDS after its collapse. Staudenmaier notes that “…the group (STO) had long supported violence and even military action by oppressed groups such as the Puerto Rican clandestine movement.” This support was extended to terror cells such as Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), responsible for over 130 bombings, killing four people and injuring numerous others. The group also agitated for anti-state violence among the emerging anarchist scene in the early 80’s. According to Staudenmaier, the STO published a magazine called Special Sedition in 1982 that was distributed throughout the emerging punk rock scene that called for violence against law enforcement.


One of the founding members of the STO was the notorious son of Jewish immigrants, Noel (Ignatiev) Ignatin, who died just last year. Ignatine was best known for his vehemently anti-White ideological positions summed up in genocidal slogans such as “treason to Whiteness is loyalty to humanity.” Unironically, the neo-communist’s death received glowing articles in corporate media outlets such as the New York Times

While Semitic, Ignatin was often mistaken for being White, leading many to believe his positions were ethnomasochistic, as opposed to downright genocidal. Ignatin often claimed that he was not calling for the genocide of European people, however his nonsensical claims are fully revealed upon any critical evaluation of his incoherent theory. White, European people, whose phenotypes are inseparably linked to Ignatin’s own neoMarxian theory of Whiteness, can only abolish “Whiteness” if they themselves are biologically replaced in their own nations and institutions.  It is the very presence of White, European people occupying institutions their ancestors created for them that Ignatine demonizes as the ultimate sin of the communism, that of “privilege.” In this twisted logic, Ignatine manages to rationalize and lend credibility to the mass colonization of Western nations by foreign peoples. Whiteness theory has since been used to demonize and scapegoat Whites as the cause of all demographic inequalities in American and throughout the West.

Staudenmaier, who received private interviews with Ignatine for his book, claimed that Ignatine developed his anti-White theory when looking to utilize Blacks and other minority groups to promote a communist revolution. These minority groups were seen by the STO as having more revolutionary potential than the White working class, and the STO desperately sought to attract them to their neocommunist organization, with little success. The group constantly claimed that their Whiteness alienated themselves from minorities. This claim demonstrates the incoherency of Ignatin’s theory of Whiteness, since, if Whiteness was purely socially constructed and members of the STO rejected it, how then were they still White in any way other than their genotypes/phenotypes?

Staudenmaier’s research and publications on the STO and other violent extremist groups that he himself affiliates with have been used to gain access to academic institutions. Staudenmaier has taught at Aruara University as a visiting assistant professor of History and Latin American and Latino Studies. He is currently an assistant professor at Manchester University, IL.


In his book, Staudenmaier’s credits his brother Peter for his conversion to anarchism. He claimed that at one point his brother gave him a first edition copy of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. His wife Ann Carlson, appears to be extremely supportive of his views and activities, hosting his book tour on Facebook. In his book he claims his mother, Kathleen Marie Staudenmaier, died two years before the book was finished.


In addition to being an assistant professor at Manchester University, Staudenmaier is listed as a director of the Stephenson National Bank & Trust, a bank that has had several Staudenmaiers as past Presidents. A 2015 Change in Bank Control Notices revealed Staudenmaier and most of his family to be the heirs “of Stephenson National Bancorp, Inc.., and thereby indirectly retain voting shares of Stephenson National Bank and Trust.” This reveals that Staudenmaier is more than just a director, but a shareholder and co-owner of the bank itself, profiting off the exploitation of working-class people.


These facts are revealing in that they demonstrate several things about not only Staudenmaier, but about anarchism and the 1%. First among them is that Staudenmaier’s anarchism is performative, completely lacking praxis (imagine our shock). This is not to say that Staudenmaier himself isn’t a True Believer, but that his anarchist beliefs appear to fit Robert Triver’s evolutionary theory of self-deception, and that his adopted ideology is simply a bourgeois rationalization for further enrichment through exploitation. The open borders anarchist position means more immigrants traveling to the Chicago area, whom Staudenmaier and his family can exploit through auto, credit card, mortgage, and student loans. This has certainly been the case with microfinance, as the hosts of FTN have excellently documented.


Staudenmaier’s involvement with the TORCH Antifa Network opens up new questions. Has Staudenmaier provided financial resources for the terror syndicate? If so, how much? Is he a leader of it, and how heavily involved with its gangs is he? How much of the syndicate’s illicit activities is he aware of? Is he under criminal investigation by local or federal authorities? Are more people with the Stephenson National Bank & Trust involved with the syndicate? On the flip side, how many Chicagoans have lost their homes because they couldn’t make their mortgage and Staudenmaier’s bank foreclosed on them? How many will they foreclose on in the coming economic crisis caused by the Chinese Wuhan virus? Is Staudenmaier’s anarchist brother Peter, also listed as a shareholder, involved with the syndicate? How about the rest of his family? Are Staudenmaier’s students safe if they express an opinion in class that clashes with his beliefs? Will he pass on the names of students to his anarcho-terrorist friends so they can commit violence against them? Is the university aware of his cozy relationship with these terrorist gangs? 


It is possible Staudenmaier himself could be among the founders and/or leaders of the TORCH Antifa Network anarcho-terrorist syndicate. It is extraordinarily unlikely he was simply a guest speaker at the event, ignorant to the gang’s intentions. His long history as an anarchist organizer in the Midwest and membership in the 4SAO, a group with deep connections to anarcho-terrorist gangs, makes this proposition incredibly unlikely. Hopefully, further research will uncover more about this dangerous criminal syndicate before they claim more victims.