ANTIFA has been receiving a lot of attention recently. From involvement in the current protests and riots to being categorized as a terrorist organization, their presence has been noted. The question has to be asked, who is ANTIFA?
Antifa, which is short for “anti-fascists,” began in the 1930s. Developed in Germany, it opposed fascism. “In 1932, the Communist Party of Germany founded an organization dedicated to opposing the rise of fascism called Antifaschistische Aktion — abbreviated, at times, as antifa. (Beauchamp)” An Antifa-like group in London also influenced today’s Antifa because the 1936 Battle of Cable Street is used as inspiration for modern day Antifa members. In the 1980s, in both Germany and Britain, anti-fascists groups became popular again. The punk era also helped to form an Antifa presence.
The functions of Antifa vary. Keeping track of white supremacists groups is one of the elements of Antifa. They also patrol neighborhoods. They dox those who they deem as enemies. Antifa also tries to prevent speakers who might have fascist sentiments from public presentations. Another aspect of Antifa includes things like animal rights. Anti-capitalism and pro socialism beliefs also exist among members.
President Trump’s Viewpoint
The president has considered naming Antifa as a terrorist organization. Doing this would put Antifa in the same group as ISIS and al-Qaeda. It is not really possible to do this because Antifa “…is not a unified organization, but rather a loose ideological label for a subset of left-wing radicals who believe in using street-level force to prevent the rise of what they see as fascist movements (Beauchamp).” It is very difficult to prove that a person is a member of Antifa. It is also very underground and does not have things like a bank account, making it difficult to trace. Another huge factor is that there are no known deaths connected with Antifa. “…one of the hallmarks of foreign terrorist organizations — a designation the U.S. government does make — is the acknowledgement of attacks that involve many fatalities” (Robertson). It is tough to pinpoint exactly who and what Antifa is which makes it difficult to classify it as a terrorist organization.
Antifa is very active in light of recent events. It incorporates many different beliefs from animal rights to stopping fascism. It is also hard to identify exactly what it is. It will be interesting to see what happens with Antifa and its members throughout the rest of the year.
Beauchamp, Zack. “Antifa, Explained.” Vox, Vox, 8 June 2020, www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/6/8/21277320/antifa-anti-fascist-explained.
Howard, Christopher. “Antifa: The Truth behind the Mask.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 8 June 2020, www.foxnews.com/media/antifa-the-truth-behind-the-mask.
Robertson, Lori. “Trump Can’t Designate Antifa — or Any Movement — Domestic Terrorist Organization.” FactCheck.org, 2 June 2020, www.factcheck.org/2020/06/trump-cant-designate-antifa-or-any-movement-domestic-terrorist-organization/.Tucker, Eric, and Ap. “Antifa: What It Is and Is Not.” ABC7 Chicago, 7 June 2020, abc7chicago.com/antifa-what-it-is-and-is-not/6223966/.