Over the weekend, Charlottesville erupted into chaos. White supremacists and neo-Nazis brawled with masked left-wing Antifa rioters in what could only be described as a battle between Satan and Lucifer.
While the mainstream Left has attempted to frame this weekend’s insanity as a one-sided issue, video evidence clearly demonstrates that members of Antifa, or anti-fascists, heavily contributed to the violence.
Here are seven things you need to know about Antifa:
1. Antifa uses fascist tactics to achieve its goals. Antifa is to anti-fascism what Stalin was to freedom. Antifa is fascism personified. Despite calling themselves “anti-fascist,” members of Antifa routinely deploy fascist tactics to shut down, intimidate, harass, and bloody their political opponents. In fact, the group gained national visibility after viciously targeting Trump supporters at an event in Berkeley. “They’ve shown up previously at Berkeley to shut down a ‘free speech’ event hosted by provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, leaving damaged property, fires, and assault victims in their wake,” notes Conservative Review. Before that, Antifa thugs expressed their rage about Trump’s presidential victory by burning down liberal meccas like Portland and Oakland. Throwing rocks through Starbucks’ storefronts, slashing tires, burning parked cars, smashing windows at auto dealerships, shutting down public transit, and attacking police, these thugs effectively took control over major city centers in the days after Trump’s electoral victory.
2. The Department of Homeland Security labeled Antifa’s actions as “domestic terrorism.” “Shortly after Trump’s election, anarchist and far-left protesters rioted in Portland, bringing at least a million dollars' worth of damage — and resulting, in the eyes of the Department of Homeland Security, in 'domestic terrorism,'” explains Politico. The Antifa group in Portland, known as Rose City Antifa, is particularly violent. The group has actively targeted Republican organizations and student groups, threatening to shut down events with violence. The left-leaning Oregonian newspaper has called Rose City Antifa’s rampage the worst political violence in a generation. “Their actions — conducted anonymously but brutally — show them to be punk fascists,” said the paper’s editorial board.
3. Antifa uses "black bloc" attacks to promote violence, sow chaos, and evade law enforcement. Like their counterparts in Europe, American leftist activists often promote violence and reap chaos through time-tested tactics such as black bloc assaults, which feature thousands of black-clad and masked self-professed anarchists destroying everything in sight with hockey sticks, baseball bats, metal poles, trash cans, and virtually anything they can get their hands on.
The tactic was popularized by leftist rioters during the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. Since then, it has been deployed by an eclectic blend of leftists at both college campuses and international summits in an effort to terrorize those who promulgate problematic points of view, including capitalism, patriarchy, and alleged racism.
4. Antifa’s garbled ideology is grounded in Marxism. All Antifa members seem to share an aversion to capitalism. Beyond that, Antifa’s political aim cannot be pinned down to one issue or cause. Ultimately, these violent leftist activists do not appear to have a coherent, let alone unified, message. When they riot, activists air their grievances about everything from climate change to transphobia in an effort to espouse whatever fashionable leftist talking point is popular at the time.
As Time Magazine notes “There's not one set answer” when it comes to Antifa’s ideology.
“Anti-fascist groups have long protested globalization in Europe. These days in the U.S., Antifa protestors are often bound by an opposition to capitalism. Some may also describe themselves as anarchists, people who question authority on principle,” explains Time.
Time magazine even spoke with an anonymous Antifa member to gain some clarity about the group’s ideology, but the Antifa member simply listed a catalogue of abstract “-isms” the leftist group is opposed to.
“The standard for Antifa ideology is anti-capitalism, anti-fascism of course,” said the far-leftist, adding:
Those are kind of the two main pillars, but within that, encompassed, it also comes with being anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-ableism, anti-transphobia, anything like that and just protecting people who are marginalized and oppressed.
Moreover, there is no central institution governing Antifa’s offshoots in Portland, Berkeley, Charlottesville and elsewhere. The group is largely fragmented and decentralized.
“The Antifa movement is a loose and informal one,” notes Time. “But the label is becoming more visible, showing up in graffiti on college campuses and forums for grassroots organizers online.”
5. The mainstream Left is praising Antifa. Berkeley’s student newspaper isn’t the only one celebrating the thuggish group for their violent tactics in the age of Trump. From Esquire to Slate to The Nation, mainstream liberal publications are glorifying Antifa’s “resistance,” reframing their violent tactics as “defensive” posturing against the Trumpian America’s supposed plunge into fascism. Paranoid and conspiracy minded, the mainstream Left has abandoned all sense of political decorum to embrace vigilantism. And even liberals who aren’t explicitly praising Antifa are refusing to condemn their behavior. “Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for Antifa among some on the mainstream left,” asserts The Atlantic.
6. The vast majority of Antifa members are pitiable losers. As The Daily Wire’s Aaron Bandler reported, 9 in 10 Antifa members are still living in their mother’s basement. Citing a report by Heat Street, Bandler noted “92% of the protesters at these anti-fascist rallies that are believed to have committed violence still live with their parents.”
While Antifa claims to support “diversity,” the group’s rank-and-file is comprised mostly of single, unemployed young white males (far-left Antifa meet “alt-right” neo-Nazis and white supremacists).
7. Antifa conflates speech with violence, believing that “offensive” rhetoric, “hate” speech, and micro-aggressions should be counteracted with macro-aggressions, or physical violence. Internalizing the social justice warrior (SJW) gospel, Antifa has come to believe that speech itself is tantamount to physical assault. As a result, Antifa deploys violent tactics to shut down speech they don’t like. We saw that vividly in Berkeley.
“In the name of fighting for those ideals — and putting a stop to ‘hate speech’—some antifa protestors will employ militant tactics or violent means such as vandalism,” explains Time.
Antifa’s tactics aren’t just violent but counterproductive to their poorly-articulated goals.
“It just makes [antifa] feel good — they think they made a point,” Mark Pitcavage, a domestic political extremism researcher with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), tells Politico. “But their tactics are counterproductive. They haven’t made any dent over the years with those tactics. … And it gives the white supremacists an unbelievable amount of publicity.”