The United States President, Donald Trump, recently announced that he is going to declare Antifa a terrorist organization. As he forces his way through, there is sure to come resistance. One is from the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, Hina Shamsi. She claims that it is not under the POTUS to declare any domestic group a terrorist organization. Speaking to CNN, she argued that terrorism is an inherently political label, which can be easily abused and misused. Any such designation means that this would raise significant due process and First Amendment concerns. So, let’s hold up and see what is Antifa anyways.
Here Is What Antifa Really Is
Antifa is short for the term “Anti-fascist”, which describes an unknown number of groups carrying loose affiliations and far-left militant activism to oppose everything related to fascism all over the world. It was back in 2017 when they first gained real attention in Portland, Oregon when they clashed with white supremacists at the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally.
Although the FBI is making a move to term supremacist extremism an equally top priority and a terrorist organization, the same is not the case with Antifa. It is interesting to note here that the FBI considers white supremacists as the largest risk groups for domestic terrorism inside the country. On the other hand, subject matter experts say that Antifa is more like ideology rather than an organization. The group has no overall structure, official membership, hierarchy, or even leadership. These unknown groups only gather under the banners of anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-capitalist goals.
However, the “Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook” by Mark Bray tells that because of the “inherent violence of fascism and Nazi-ism”, Antifa believed in using violence on some occasions.
How Are They Involved With George Floyd Protests?
According to an Australian writer and anti-fascist researcher, Andy Fleming, it is difficult to say if Antifa is really involved with the current protests in the US. However, instead of on-ground support, there may be legal support, bail funds, and medical assistance to protestors by the groups. He also tells that in general terms, the anti-fascists will be supportive of the protests against racist police brutality. Then again, simply saying that all of the protests are led by Antifa is a radical mistake.
“These are genuinely popular mobilistations in which African-Americans, whether or not they identify as ‘anti-fascists’, play a leading role.”