Spotlight:

Antifa

Protesters march with signs in Berkeley, California on February 1, 2017. Violent protests erupted on February 1 at the University of California at Berkeley over the scheduled appearance of a controversial editor of the conservative news website Breitbart.

What is Antifa? Antifa is a left-wing political movement that has used criminal violence, threats, and vandalism to shut down events organized or hosted by conservative, libertarian, and right-wing personalities and groups. 

What does Antifa mean? Antifa is an abbreviated term for "anti-fascist," though the group itself uses violent, fascistic practices to silence dissenting voices. Antifa pits itself against those they declare "fascist," using that label to justify disruption and violence.

What are Antifa's politics? Antifa markets itself as "anti-fascist," "anti-racist," and "anti-homophobia." Though the ideology of its members is not unified, it is generally grounded in Marxism and social justice. Antifa activists are regularly seen with communist, socialist, anarchist, and neo-Marxist paraphernalia, symbols, and signage, including the Soviet hammer and sickle, the raised/clenched fist, and "anti-capitalist" messaging. 

Is Antifa violent? Antifa has been documented committing criminal violence and destroying property in shutting down conservative, libertarian or right-wing speakers and events, as has occurred in various cities and college campuses across the country. "In the name of fighting for those ideals [of the social justice left] — and putting a stop to 'hate speech'—some antifa protestors will employ militant tactics or violent means such as vandalism," explains Time.

Is Antifa anti-free speech? Antifa has used disruption and violent means to shut down events they deem "fascist," which has included speakers and events espousing conservatism, libertarianism, and support for Donald Trump. Antifa borrows heavily from the social justice approach to speech, conflating speech with physical violence and promoting the idea that offensive rhetoric or "hate speech" must be silenced through extreme means, including physical assault and destruction of property.