Conspiracies generally fall into two camps: the secret sort, (which require that people be competent at organizing and not blabbing about what they’re doing) and the right out in the open sort (which only require that you not think of them as conspiracies).
The secret sort are favored by garden-variety conspiracy theorists, and more easily dismissed because they require actually competent behavior from people with no one defecting and spilling the beans. In real life, large-scale conspiracies are rarely kept secret for long because people either mess up, or because they get in a power struggle and go tell others in order screw over their opponents. People are messy.
The second sort of “conspiracy” isn’t really a conspiracy at all: it’s just people being people, acting in organized ways to accomplish their goals. They work completely out in the open and are totally honest about what they are doing because they do not think of themselves as part of a conspiracy. (Of course, many organizations–like corporations–take some pains to keep some of their activities private, but we don’t consider this a conspiracy because the organization’s overall goals are publicly stated.)
Man is a political animal–that is, a social one. Social organization is an instinctual and spontaneous feature of human communities, from remote hunter gatherers to quilting bees.
But since people generally have trouble keeping up with everything everyone else is doing (most people are busy just trying to keep up with their own affairs) the behavior of other organized groups of people can look to outsiders a lot like a conspiracy.
Additionally, if you try to explain the organized behavior of other groups of people, it can sound like you are claiming there is a conspiracy simply because the person you are talking to is unaware that there is any organized group behavior going on at all. “Yes,” you try to explain, “They really are doing this–no, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s all out in the open, look I can get you a book about this–wait come back …”
I’ve seen a lot of people debating whether or not the riots/protests are “organic” or “organized,” but the two categories are not necessarily opposed. Various antifa-type organizations have been around for decades (at least) and most of the people in them joined because they agree with antifa’s aims and want to be there–they aren’t being paid. Antifa makes no secret of its aims: anything you want to know about their objectives is easily found on the internet (if anything, they’re actively trying to convince people that their ideas and goals are good so people will join them).
That doesn’t mean antifa does everything out in the open. If some antifa cell decides they’re going to lob molotovs into a building, they certainly might not post that publicly. (By the same token, Apple keeps its plans for the next smartphone under lock and key.) But their goals are public.
Should a big protest break out, like the one currently rocking the nation, antifa is already organized and ready to go. Whether one calls this a “conspiracy” or not depends, I suppose, on what one considers a conspiracy.
Of course, antifa are only one sort of organization. Humans organize through churches and schools, social media and gossip chains. They organize when they need to get something done, like clean up a park or sell drugs, and disband when the need no longer exists.
I heard this morning that certain Mexican gangs have taken to patrolling their neighborhoods in California, protecting local businesses from looters. This is not because gangs are good, but because it is in the nature of people. This is the critical flaw in anarchist, abolish-the-police thought: abolish the police, and you will just end up with something else that does the same thing as the police–but I guarantee you that gangs will not be nearly as polite about it as the police. If one form of order breaks down, another will take its place. Even Somalia, a nation that has endured a long period of almost no national governance, still has local systems of law enforced by feud, complicated feud insurance systems, and judges. You cannot escape the polis.
Of course, all of this does not preclude the possibility of actual conspiracies.
Stay safe out there.