Speaking to left-wing New Republic, Dartmouth professor Mark Bray, who is sympathetic to Antifa and authored Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, argued that the violence perpetrated by Antifa needs to be seen “in a larger political and ethical context."
Asked what Antifa’s critics tend to get wrong, Bray answered, “Agree or disagree with what antifascists do, but it’s important to understand their activities in a larger political and ethical context. Which is to say that the violence of fascism and the violence of anti-fascism are only identical if you ignore what fascism means.”
After asserting that fascism has been “de-politicized” so that miscreants are seen as individuals rather than part of a group, Bray opined that Antifa radicals should be seen as individuals rather than a movement, too, lauding their actions as “the product of serious political analysis. It’s a reaction to what they perceive to be an imminent threat.”
Bray argued that Antifa members see “the threat of organized fascism and white supremacy as significant ... They’d argue that the real danger is far-right racist politics. They’d also argue that both historically and presently, the police cannot be counted on consistently to stop fascists,” Bray took a swipe at police, accusing them of racism: “The FBI has documented white power infiltration into some local law enforcement. Historically the police are sometimes sympathetic to the ‘law and order’ promises of fascism. So anti-fascists don’t trust the police.”
The New Republic asked, “The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly classified antifa as a domestic terrorist group. What’s your response?”
Bray called the DHS decision “politically motivated,” pontificating:
Certainly some of what antifascists do is illegal. But in a context where the Trump administration is not focusing as much attention on domestic white supremacist extremist terrorism as it is on radical Islamist terrorism, and is also focused on the left rather than the right, despite the right’s documented recent legacy of killing people, this decision seems very clearly politically motivated to me.