ANTIFA is a horizontal structure. There is no single leader, there is no single monolithic belief system or ideology.
ANTIFA has been building a bad name for itself over the past several weeks. The controversial “Anti-Fascism” organization has, quite ironically, engaged in activities that some are arguing is “fascist”. Their activities have grown so extreme that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have gone as far as to label them “domestic terrorist activities.”
Interestingly, this distinction was made all the way back in April of 2016, according to FBI and Homeland documents. While ANTIFA has made its way front and center in recent weeks, the group has been operating for decades. Often, the anarchist group has chosen to target global institutions, the police, and other apparatuses of the state. Anarchists share many of the same beliefs as libertarians, namely a roll back of the state and a high priority on individual liberty. However, many anarchists are also quick to embrace violence.
Over the past several months, however, ANTIFA has moved from targeting “global capitalism” and the “state”, and now appears to be focusing on President Donald Trump and his supporters. White supremacist and anti-communist groups in particular have become a favorite target of the group. President Trump has enjoyed more support from these groups than most current-day national politicians.
ANTIFA groups started showing up at rallies with Molotov cocktails and other weapons, clashing with right-wing groups.
Documents reported by Politico point to a continued trend of escalation. According to the documents, ANTIFA groups started showing up at rallies with Molotov cocktails and other weapons, clashing with right-wing groups. The right-wing groups, in turn, have started to bring more weaponry, and have begun to engage in unprovoked attacks themselves.
This is creating a dangerous situation in which many innocent bystanders could be hurt, including peaceful protesters on the left and the right. Along the way, police officers are finding themselves trying to keep peace between large, increasingly violent, and well-armed protester and counter-protester groups.
As a generally anti-police group, ANTIFA has been known to swarm police officers trying to arrest violent anarchists. This has interfered with police work and helped alleged criminals get away. It also puts the police on edge, which further increases the risks of violence.
Who is ANTIFA and where did they come from?
“Anti-fascist” groups have been around since before World War II. As the Nazis rose to power they were opposed, often violently, by various communist, socialist, and democratic groups. In 1936, thousands of fascists and anti-fascists collided at the “Battle of Cable Street” in London. The anti-fascists won the day, using bombs and other weapons to beat back 3,000 British fascists, and the 6,000 police sent to protect them.
After the second World War, fascists grew more active, especially in Europe. Many Europeans were rightly worried that fascism could once again rear its ugly head in Europe. Anti-fascist groups proliferated, and eventually would evolve into the modern-day ANTIFA movement, which has now spread to North America.
While ANTIFA remained fixed on globalization, big banks, and the like, the group has begun focus on various “alt-right” groups that support President Trump. ANTIFA is a horizontal structure. There is no single leader, there is no single monolithic belief system or ideology. The group tends to act locally, making it more difficult to monitor and anticipate, let along control.