Antifa is a term you may have seen recently if you’ve spent any time browsing political content on Twitter. Antifa is short for “anti-fascist,” and it is used by those who call themselves anti-fascist as well as those who believe the Antifa movement represents true fascism.
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Upon visiting Urban Dictionary, where anyone can pen definitions, the top definition for Antifa is “short for (militant) anti-fascists.” Scrolling down the page, you’ll see a lot of sarcastic and inflammatory definitions, such as “a bunch of skinhead brats living in their mom’s basements looking to beat the crap out of anyone who doesn’t follow their point of view,” and “a terrorist group generally made up of degenerate anarchy loving teenagers.”
It’s not until the fifth definition (they’re ranked) that you come across a more traditional definition. It was written on February 27 of this year.
“Real life antifas include the Allies, the Resistance movements, and the Righteous Among the Nations in World War II.”
Put simply, the people of Antifa are the social justice warriors, the anti-Milos and the anti-Trumps. Their values are overwhelmingly liberal, though their actions often contradict those values. A great example of this are the recent riots at University of California, Berkeley in response to a known conservative, Milo Yiannopoulos, being scheduled to speak there. Many of the people who were using violence to protest Milo consider themselves to be Antifa or anti-fascist, even though their actions severely belie that stance.
The destruction at Berkeley carried out by Antifa and others was not benign. As evidenced by photos taken at the scene, rioters smashed windows of businesses, set fire to cars, vandalized public property, and destroyed the inside of a Starbucks, all because they didn’t want a person to be able to share their conflicting political perspective.
According to Dictionary.com, “fascism” is defined as “a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.” Also listed is “the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism,” and “a political movement that employs the principles and methods of fascism.”
Going by these definitions, were the rioters at Berkeley “forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism”? Can Antifa be accurately described as a “political movement”? Were the Berkeley riots a “method of fascism”?
According to this Antifa Tumblr page, it is a movement, as it’s written, “First thing to know: there’s no official Antifa anything. Antifa is a movement, not a club or an organization.”
Of course, that is likely just someone’s opinion, but based on these definitions, it does seem just to classify Antifa as a fascist movement and not anti-fascist as they claim to be.
Antifa isn’t a new movement and isn’t solely American. It’s been active around the world for decades. As long as there’s been right-wing extremists, such as Adolf Hitler’s Nazis, there’s been anti-fascist parties. According to Mother Jones, “nazi punching” is a practice that seeks to put the law in the hands of Antifa, as they believe the actions of their opposition warrants violence, that there is no time for logical discussion with a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot.
March for Trump
It turns out there was more politically motivated violence at Berkeley this past Saturday during a nationwide demonstration by Donald Trump supporters called the “March for Trump.” One of the reasons the marchers chose Berkeley was to protest the Milo-inspired violence brought forth by Antifa on February 1.
To be completely fair, attacks came from both sides, and sources claim that police officers were anything but helpful during the entire escapade, similar to how they behaved during the Milo riots. A play-by-play of incidents came by way of Twitter by march attendees, and at one point, a tweet came through showing an elderly man looking to be screaming in pain as he lie face up on the ground. He was allegedly pepper-sprayed, and there’s a woman squatting next to him about to dump water into his eyes.
Reports allege that it wasn’t long before the Antifa opposition dominated the pro-Trump rally, as many of the president’s supporters decided to leave once things got heated.
We know who and what Antifa is against as well as the fact that they’re not afraid to cause mass havoc and resort to violence in order to shut down those they disagree with, but how far are they willing to go in their quest to eliminate their perception of fascism? Does something need to be done to stop Antifa before they do something that results in a real tragedy?
[Featured Image by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images]