The Antifa movement has garnered a lot of attention as of late. What is Antifa?
Antifa in America have become an increasingly controversial topic of conversation over recent years as their prominence has grown. Antifa has a simple meaning: Anti-Fascist. The name Antifa exploded in the media after the recent clashes with Neo-Nazi’s and White Supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Antifa movement stems from the ideology of the anti-fascist groups from Europe in the 1930’s. Hitler and Mussolini were fascists. The name Antifa has grown from these roots. Although for many years they were known as the Anti-Racist Action, believing Americans would understand the concept of racism easier than fascism, they have taken up the name Antifa and are largely made up of left wing anarchists. Antifa are activists and protectors of equality.
Antifa and the “Alt-Right”
As for the “Alt-Right” clashes with Antifa that happened in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, Antifa were present to ensure that the Nazi white racist and hate groups didn’t oppress minorities. The Nazi white racist and hate and oppression groups gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the relocation of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, who led the confederacy in the Civil War, with the aim of preserving slavery. Many people were arrested in Charlottesville on that day. Of note, the Nazi’s were exercising their constitutional rights, especially the first amendment right to free speech. Of course, only the Nazi’s murdered anyone.
It is important to define the “Alt-Right” before we move back to Antifa. The “Alt-Right” or Alternative Right or conservative groups are hate groups dedicated to oppressing minorities, especially blacks and Jews, and cleansing the United States of impure blood. Alt-Right is a term that white racist and hate groups – Nazis – inventreed themselves to distance themselves from the term Nazi. As I said on my LinkedIn page: When [ ] did fascist Nazi pigs start being called the “alt-right”? Fuck anyone who has ever called a Nazi “alt-right.” [ ] A Nazi is a [ ] Nazi. A white supremacist is a Nazi. A white nationalist is a Nazi. A Neo-Nazi is a Nazi. [ ].
Although Antifa has no formal organization it is still a very strong group and runs largely through social media. With different autonomous groups and individuals setting up events throughout the country, it is hard to pin down exact numbers of members. Since the inauguration of President Donald Trump in 2017 numbers have boomed significantly and it is estimated that there are now over 200 factions of Antifa in the USA.
Increased Antifa membership during the Trump administration is necessary because Trump refuses to distance himself from Fascist and Nazi groups. Indeed, he seems to embrace and even sometimes encourage them.
Although Antifa are a left-wing group they do not force their political views on others. Their main aim through their political movement is to fight far-right (mostly Nazi) ideology often meeting it with violence and destruction. With aims to disrupt far-right rallies as much as possible, including using force and violence, their aim is to stop the spread of the right wing ideologies especially those focusing on racist and extreme views. Assault is never a first choice.
Antifa use non-violent and alternative tactics to fight fascism
While Antifa are a very hands on group they also have a more subtle and less violent way of fighting right wing extremists. By using pictures of activists at rallies and carrying flags that are associated with far right views, Antifa aim to disrupt their day to day lives as much as possible. This includes publicly identifying them in order to have them evicted from their homes and fired from jobs.
Many of the tactics that Antifa use to fight against the far-right are considered illegal and increased law enforcement presence is being used at rallies where the two sides will meet. Both the open use of violence and the damage to both public and private property are offenses that many, including a large proportion of far-left activists don’t agree with. The more intelligent and subtle ways of using social media to identify and publicly shame those who are involved in right-wing rallies is less frowned upon and is also a highly effective measure to fight against those they disagree with.
Antifa is a necessary counterweight against fascism in America
Antifa does not stand for left-wing politics but is a direct fight against fascism and the right wing politics that has grown throughout America in recent years. By following the right-wing protestors to any rallies and events they put on, their aim is to spread the word that hate-speech is not free-speech. Although their methods might be extreme and not legal in many instances, the individuals who identify as being part of the Antifa movement are strong believers in the word they are spreading.