During the riots that recently swept the nation, President Donald Trump blamed Antifa for the mayhem on America’s streets. The president announced on Twitter that he would label the group a domestic terrorist organization. But could a vague movement be slapped with a terrorist title? Let’s first explore what it is, how it formed, and what it has done to be accused of domestic terrorism.
What Is Antifa?
Antifa is short for “anti-fascists.” The group was born in the wake of the Donald Trump presidency. It is a far-left militant movement comprised mostly of young white males who come from middle- and high-income backgrounds, according to several studies. Antifa has been criticized for its use of physical violence, property damage, and verbal harassment to target anyone they think is racist or fascist.
The group opposes capitalism, and its members have various left-wing philosophies:
- Anarchism: A political ideology that believes in abolishing all forms of government.
- Communism: An ideology that calls for government ownership of industry and the end of social classes and money.
- Socialism: Similar to communism. Workers are in charge of producing, transferring, and trading wealth.
- Marxism: A method of organizing society by having the proletariat (the workers) control the economy.Named after Karl Marx, the inventor of communism/socialism.
Antifa’s beliefs are a blend of far-left political and economic theories.
A History of Violence
Despite the media’s praise of Antifa as a heroic entity since 2017, it has a rich history of violence. Before the riots that erupted after George Floyd’s death, Antifa’s violent actions had been well-documented on video and in the conservative media. It has been caught attacking all sorts of people: seniors, children, minorities, police officers, strangers with red hats, and any person who may be right of center on the political spectrum. Members were also seen burning vehicles owned by innocent people, throwing rocks at the windows of small businesses, and desecrating the American flag.
One of its first and most well-known instances of destruction occurred in 2017. The group arrived on the University of California campus in Berkeley to protest a speech by right-wing personality Milo Yiannopoulos. Antifa rioters destroyed property, set places on fire, and assaulted bystanders.
In the years after that historic scene, Antifa has appeared all over the country. Any person Antifa disagrees with has been met with intimidation and violence.
Domestic Terrorist Label
It has been argued that the U.S. government could not label Antifa as a terrorist organization because it is not officially an organization. However, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany recently cited a federal law that permits using the term “domestic terrorism” when there are acts to endanger human life in the hopes of influencing public policy.
‘Accuse the Other Side of That Which You Are Guilty’
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s minister of propaganda, famously wrote, “Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.” Antifa accuses its opponents of being fascist while employing fascist tactics to further its own cause. But while Antifa is championed as a virtuous entity by the press and celebrities, its actions have led to dire outcomes for a lot of folks. Antifa might be no better than the fascists it thinks it is fighting.