Antifa (United States) – Wikipedia

This article is about the U.S. political movement. For other groups with similar names in other languages, see Antifa.

The Antifa (English: or )[1] movement is a conglomeration of autonomous, self-styled anti-fascist groups in the United States.[2][3][4] The principal feature of antifa groups is their opposition to fascism through the use of direct action.[5] They engage in militant protest tactics, which has included property damage and physical violence.[2][6][7][8] They tend to be anti-government and anti-capitalist[9] and they are predominantly far-left and militant left,[10][5] which includes anarchists, communists and socialists.[11][12][13][14] Their stated focus is on fighting far-right and white supremacist ideologies directly, rather than on encouraging pro-left policy.[5]

The antifa movement is a new force in American politics since the election of Donald Trump. It draws in part from a tradition of anti-fascism in the United States which stretches back a century, tracing its roots to the 1920s and 1930s, when militant leftists were involved in battles against American pro-Nazi organizations such as theFriends of New Germany.[15] Although there is no organizational connection, the lineage of antifa in America can be traced to Weimar Germany,[16] where the first group described as “antifa” was Antifaschistische Aktion, formed in 1932 with the involvement of the Communist Party of Germany.[17]

After World War II, but prior to the development of the modern antifa movement, violent confrontations with Fascist elements continued sporadically. In 1958 over 500 Lumbee men armed with rocks, sticks and firearms attacked and disrupted a Ku Klux Klan rally, wounding several Klansmen in an event known as the Battle of Hayes Pond. In 1979 the Communist Workers’ Party confronted a local Ku Klux Klan chapter, first by disrupting a screening of The Birth of a Nation in China Grove, North Carolina and later organizing a rally and a march against the Klan on November 3 called the “Death to the Klan March” by the CWP.[18] The Maoists distributed flyers that “called for radical, even violent opposition to the Klan”[19], suggesting the Klan should be physically beaten and chased out of town.”[20] In response, as the marchers collected, a caravan of ten cars (and a van) filled with an estimated 40 KKK and American Nazi Party members confronted the protesters, culminating in a shootout known as the Greensboro Massacre.

Modern antifa politics can be traced to resistance to waves of xenophobia, the emergence of white power culture and the infiltration of neo-Nazi skinheads in Britain’s punk scene in the 1970s and 1980s.In response to neo-Nazism gaining prominence in Germany, after the fall of the Berlin Wall unleashed a violent backlash, a cadre of young leftists, including many anarchists, punk fans, revolutionaries and migrants, organized self-defence groups and revived the tradition of street-level anti-fascist demonstration.[10] Liberal columnist Peter Beinart writes that “in the late ’80s, left-wing punk fans in the United States began following suit, though they initially called their groups Anti-Racist Action, on the theory that Americans would be more familiar with fighting racism than they would be with fighting fascism. According to Mark Bray, the author of the forthcoming Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, these activists toured with popular alternative bands in the ’90s, trying to ensure that neo-Nazis did not recruit their fans. In 2002, they disrupted a speech by the head of the World Church of the Creator, a white-supremacist group in Pennsylvania; 25 people were arrested in the resulting brawl”.[10]

In the United States and Canada, activists ofAnti-Racist Action Network (ARA) the direct precursor of many contemporary US antifa groups whose growth was spurred by the punk rock[21] and skinhead scene of the late 1980s,[10][22] doggedly pursued Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other assorted white supremacists into the 2000s. Their motto was simple but bold: “We go where they go”. If Nazi skinheads handed out leaflets at a punk show in Indiana about how “Hitler was right”, ARA was there to show them the door. If fascists plastered downtown Alberta’s Edmonton with racist posters, ARA tore them down and replaced them with anti-racist slogans.[23] Other antifa groups in the U.S. have other genealogies, see for example in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where a group called the Baldies formed in 1987 with the intent to fight neo-Nazi groups directly.[9]

The antifa movement is composed of autonomous groups and thus has no formal organization.[10][24] Antifa groups either form loose support networks, such as NYC Antifa, or operate independently.[25] Activists typically organize protests via social media and through websites and email lists.[10][24] Some activists have built peer-to-peer networks, or use encrypted-texting services like Signal.[26] According to Salon, it is an organizing strategy, not a group of people.[27] While its numbers cannot be estimated accurately, the movement has grown since the 2016 presidential election and approximately 200 groups currently exist in the US, of varying sizes and levels of engagement.[16] The activists involved subscribe to a range of ideologies, typically on the left and they include anarchists, socialists and communists along with some liberals and social democrats.[28][29][30]

According to Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the California State University, San Bernardino, Antifa activists participate in violent actions because “they believe that elites are controlling the government and the media. So they need to make a statement head-on against the people who they regard as racist”.[2] According to Mark Bray, a historian at Dartmouth College sympathetic to the antifa movement’s goals, the adherents “reject turning to the police or the state to halt the advance of white supremacy. Instead they advocate popular opposition to fascism as we witnessed in Charlottesville”.[29]

The idea of direct action is central to the antifa movement. Antifa organizer Scott Crow told an interviewer: “The idea in Antifa is that we go where they [right-wingers] go. That hate speech is not free speech. That if you are endangering people with what you say and the actions that are behind them, then you do not have the right to do that. And so we go to cause conflict, to shut them down where they are, because we don’t believe that Nazis or fascists of any stripe should have a mouthpiece”.[2] A manual posted on It’s Going Down, an anarchist website, warns against accepting “people who just want to fight”. It furthermore notes that “physically confronting and defending against fascists is a necessary part of anti-fascist work, but is not the only or even necessarily the most important part”.

According to Beinart, antifa activists “try to publicly identify white supremacists and get them fired from their jobs and evicted from their apartments”, in addition to “disrupt(ing) [sic] white-supremacist rallies, including by force”.[32] According to a Washington Post book review, antifa tactics include “no platforming”, i.e. denying their targets platforms from which to speak; obstructing their events and defacing their propaganda; and when antifa activists deem it necessary, deploying violence to deter them.[30] According to National Public Radio, “people who speak for the Antifa movement acknowledge they sometimes carry clubs and sticks” and their “approach is confrontational”.[33]CNN describes antifa as “known for causing damage to property during protests”.[2] Scott Crow, described by CNN as “a longtime Antifa organizer”, argues that destroying property is not a form of violence.[2] The groups have been associated with physical violence in public against police[34] and against people whose political views its activists deem repugnant.[35] Antifa activists used clubs and dyed liquids against the white supremacists in Charlottesville[36] and caused property damage.[2] In one incident, an apparent antifa supporter punched white supremacist Richard Spencer in the face as he was giving an impromptu street interview[37][38] and on another occasion, in Berkeley, it was reported that some threw Molotov cocktails.[2]

Apart from the other activities, antifa activists engage in mutual aid, such as disaster response in the case of Hurricane Harvey.[39][40] According to Natasha Lennard in The Nation, antifa “collectives are working with interfaith groups and churches in cities around the country to create a New Sanctuary Movement, continuing and expanding a 40-year-old practice of providing spaces for refugees and immigrants, which entails outright refusal to cooperate with ICE”.[41]

In June 2017, the antifa movement was linked to “anarchist extremism” by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.[42] In September 2017, an article in Politico stated that the website had obtained confidential documents and interviews indicating that in April 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation believed that “anarchist extremists” were the primary instigators of violence at public rallies against a range of targets. The Department of Homeland Security was said to have classified their activities as domestic terrorism. Politico interviewed law enforcement officials who noted a rise in activity since the beginning of the Trump administration, particularly a rise in recruitment (and on the part of the far right as well) since the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. Politico stated that one internal assessment acknowledged an inability to penetrate the groups’ “diffuse and decentralized organizational structure”. Politico also reported that the agencies were (as of April 2016) monitoring “conduct deemed potentially suspicious and indicative of terrorist activity”.[43]

Antifa groups, along with black bloc activists, were among those who protested the 2016 election of Donald Trump.[10][41] They also participated in the February 2017 Berkeley protests against alt-right[44][45][46][47] speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, where they gained mainstream attention,[24] with media reporting them “throwing Molotov cocktails and smashing windows”[2] and causing $100,000 worth of damage.[48] Before the talk, there were rumors that he planned to out undocumented students in his speech. Yiannopoulos denied the rumors, saying that he was not planning to target individual students, rather he planned to campaign against “sanctuary campuses”.[49][50][26]

In April 2017, two groups described as “anti-fascist/anarchist”, including the socialist/environmentalist Direct Action Alliance, threatened to disrupt the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade after hearing the Multnomah County Republican Party would participate. The parade organizers also received an anonymous email, saying: “You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely”. The two groups denied having anything to do with the email. The parade was ultimately canceled by the organizers due to safety concerns.[51][52]

On June 15, 2017, some antifa groups joined protestors at Evergreen State College to oppose Patriot Prayer’s event. Patriot Prayer was supporting biology professor Bret Weinstein who became the central figure in a controversy after he criticized changes to one of the college’s events. In addition to the peaceful antifa activists who held up a “community love” sign, USA Today reported that one slashed the tires of right-wing activist Joey Gibson and another was wrestled to the ground by Patriot Prayer activists after being seen with a knife.[53]

Antifa counter-protesters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 “certainly used clubs and dyed liquids against the white supremacists”.[36] Journalist Adele Stan interviewed an antifa protester at the rally who said that the sticks carried by the protesters are a justifiable countermeasure to the fact that “the right has a goon squad”.[54] Some antifa participants at the Charlottesville rally chanted that counter-protesters should “punch a Nazi in the mouth”.[33] Antifa participants also protected Cornel West and various clergy from attack by white supremacists, with West stating he felt that antifa had “saved his life”.[55][56] Another religious leader stated that antifa activists defended the First United Methodist Church, where the Charlottesville Clergy Collective provided refreshments, music and training to the counter-protesters and “chased [the white supremacists] off with sticks”.[55][57]

Groups that had been preparing to protest the Boston Free Speech Rally saw their plans become viral following the violence in Charlottesville. The event drew a largely peaceful crowd of 40,000 counter-protestors. In The Atlantic, McKay Coppins stated that the 33 people arrested for violent incidents were “mostly egged on by the minority of ‘Antifa’ agitators in the crowd”.[58] President Trump described the protestors outside his August 2017 rally in Phoenix, Arizona as “Antifa”.[59]

During a Berkeley protest on August 27, 2017, an estimated one hundred antifa protesters joined a crowd of 2,0004,000 counter-protesters to attack a reported “handful” of alt-right demonstrators and Trump supporters who showed up for a “Say No to Marxism” rally that had been cancelled by organizers due to security concerns. Some antifa activists beat and kicked unarmed demonstrators[48][60] and threatened to smash the cameras of anyone who filmed them.[61]Jesse Arreguin, the mayor of Berkeley, suggested classifying the city’s antifa as a gang.[62] The group Patriot Prayer cancelled an event in San Francisco the same day following counter protests. Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, blamed antifa, along with By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), for breaking up the event.[63]

Antifa actions have been subject to criticism from Republicans, Democrats and political commentators in the U.S. media.[64][65][66]House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi condemned the violence of “Antifa” activists in Berkeley on August 29, 2017.[67] Conservative talk show host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham suggested labeling antifa as a terrorist organization.[68]Trevor Noah, host of the popular late-night television program The Daily Show jokingly referred to antifa as “Vegan ISIS”.[69] Several antifa protesters have been arrested for property damage, assault with a deadly weapon as well as for other charges.[70][71]

In August 2017, a petition requesting that “AntiFa” be classified by the Pentagon as a terrorist organization was launched on the White House petitioning system We the People. It gathered more than 100,000 signatures in three days and therefore under policy set by the Obama administration would have received an official review and response from the White House (at over 300,000 signatures, by late August it was the third most-signed submission posted).[72] However, the precedent set by the Obama administration of issuing formal responses to petitions which exceed the 100,000 signature threshold has not been continued by the Trump administration, which has not responded to any petitions on the site.[73] The originator of the “AntiFa” petition, who goes by the pseudonym “Microchip”, remarked to Politico that getting conservatives to share and discuss the petition was the entire point, rather than prompting any concrete action by the government. As of October 2017, the petition has over 350,000 signatures.[74]

In August 2017, a #PunchWhiteWomen photo hoax campaign was started by members of the alt-right in an attempt to discredit the antifa movement.[75] In August 2017, the image of British actress Anna Friel portraying a battered woman in a 2007 Women’s Aid anti-domestic violence campaign was re-purposed using fake antifa Twitter accounts organized by way of 4chan, which was discovered after an investigation by Bellingcat researcher Eliot Higgins. The image is captioned “53% of white women voted for Trump, 53% of white women should look like this” and includes an antifa flag. Another image featuring an injured woman is captioned “She chose to be a Nazi. Choices have consequences” and includes the hashtag #PunchANazi. Eliot Higgins remarked to the BBC that “[t]his was a transparent and quite pathetic attempt, but I wouldn’t be surprised if white nationalist groups try to mount more sophisticated attacks in the future”.[76]

A report by ProPublica said that both overtly and covertly pro-Russian social media accounts were found using the hashtag #Antifa in reference to the events and aftermath of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.[77] Nafeesa Syeed of Bloomberg reported that “[t]he most-tweeted link in the Russian-linked network followed by the researchers was a petition to declare Antifa a terrorist group”.[78]

See the rest here:

Antifa (United States) – Wikipedia

Related Post

December 22, 2017   Posted in: Antifa |

Fair Use Disclaimer

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."