A Communist & Anarchist Movement That Explicitly Endorses Violence
Antifa is a revolutionary Marxist/anarchist militia movement that seeks to bring down the United States by means of violence and intimidation. As a September 2017 report in The Atlantic notes, Antifa is responsible for “a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s.”
The name “Antifa” (pronounced on’-tee-fah) is a shortened form of the term “antifacist,” and its adherents are commonly seen waving the red-and-black flag of anarcho-communism. The website ItsGoingDown.org, which serves as a newsblog for Antifa, says that “in the U.S., most [anti-fascist] activists are anarchist, although a few are Maoist or anti-state Marxists” ― while “in other countries, the movement is predominately Marxist.” The U.S.-based anarchists of Antifa typically denounce not only the capitalist economic system, but the institution of government itself. And they explicitly advocate and encourage the use of violence to undermine and destroy both. The long-term objective is to establish a communist world order.
The organizer of ItsGoingDown.org notes that leftists in “the anarchist movement” are “excited” about “looking for alternatives outside of party structures.” The New York Times concurs that Antifa’s foot soldiers typically “express disdain for mainstream liberal politics, seeing it as inadequately muscular, and tend to fight the right through what they call ‘direct actions’ rather than relying on government authorities.” In other words, traditional political processes are too mild to accomplish anything of consequence; violence is the only real answer.
At an August 27, 2017 rally in Berkeley, California, a large group of Antifa Marxists and anarchists candidly gave voice to their desire to permanently wipe the United States off the face of the earth. Conveying their rejection of President Donald Trump’s proposed construction of a border wall designed to thwart illegal immigration into the United States, the protesters repeatedly chanted the war cry: “No Trump, No Wall, No USA at All!”
Because Antifa rejects the legitimacy of America’s very existence, the movement likewise contends, by logical extension, that the people who are entrusted with protecting and preserving the nation’s civil society are illegitimate as well. Thus, ItsGoingDown.org firmly instructs Antifa activists to “build a culture of non-cooperation with law enforcement.” “If you have any intention of working with the police, FBI, or other agencies,” it elaborates, “or if you publically condemn anti-fascists who break the law: don’t call yourself an anti-fascist.”
In June 2017, ItsGoingDown.org exhorted its readers and followers to make the United States “ungovernable” by engaging in “mass insurrection,” “mass resistance,” and “all manner of physical violence” against supporters of President Trump, capitalists, and “conservative fascists.” Moreover, the website featured propaganda images of brutal attacks against individuals in hats bearing the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Such violence, said various articles on the website, was a “necessary evil” in the battle to advance social justice and to crush “fascism.”
According to CampusReform.org, the Facebook page of a South Carolina group called Upstate Antifa “is replete with endorsements of political violence and property destruction in the name of fighting ‘fascism’.” Upstate Antifa has also promoted violence against “fascism” via posters bearing slogans like: “Fighting fascism is a social duty, not an antisocial crime,” and “Fascism is not to be debated. It is to be smashed.” Such positive characterizations of the use of violence are taught and encouraged, in part, through pro-Antifa publications like Repress This, The Invention of the White Race, Our Enemies in Blue, and Whatever You Do, Don’t Talk to the Police.
In August 2017, the Daily Caller reported that a new Antifa cell called the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) was being formed in Philadelphia. Openly advocating armed violence against “fascists” and police officers ― the latter of whom Antifa activists consider to be government-sanctioned enablers of fascism ― RAM trains its members and allies by means of workshops bearing titles like “Introduction to Anarchism” and “Our Enemies in Blue.”
RAM describes itself as “a political movement” of “revolutionary anarchists” who vow to engage in “armed struggle” against the “fascism” that is “on the rise” in America, and to do so in “solidarity with the international antifascist and anarchist struggle.” Identifying itself as a movement rooted “in the context of the abolitionist struggle against slavery” ― and “dedicated to freeing people from bondage and building resistance in the United States” ― RAM contends not only that America “was built on slavery,” but also that “modern slavery and mass brutality” against black people “persist unchecked” to this day. Because “the Civil War was never resolved,” RAM elaborates, “the system of slavery transitioned into the prison industrial complex.” Thus “the abolitionist struggle must be extended” and directed against “the state and capitalism,” which are the modern-day “perpetrators of oppression.”
“As fascist movements are expanding,” says RAM, “and the state becomes increasingly authoritarian,” a host of “[A]ntifa groups” will join other likeminded “revolutionaries” to create an “Underground Railroad network” for “those facing detention, incarceration, deportation, or white supremacist violence.” In its quest to “free” people from the “bondage” of “the modern day slave system,” RAM seeks to destroy the “prison industrial complex” in the United States.
Central to RAM’s long-term objective is the forcible theft and redistribution of property. “To begin the revolutionary process,” RAM explains, “goods, land, and tools must be expropriated, or taken away from those who withhold them,” and then must be “shared with those who lack them.”
Asserting that American fascists “threaten to ethnically cleanse Latinos, criminalize Muslims, destroy indigenous lands, and oppress the LGBTQ community while continuing to murder and incarcerate black people,” RAM seeks to “develo[p] militant strategies” and “a new global paradigm for revolution” that will “destroy state power” and its handmaidens: “capitalism, patriarchy, and domination.” And because “the same forces that put people in bondage also utilize gender roles as a source of domination,” says RAM, “overcoming imprisonment and liberating humanity from captivity must happen simultaneously with the abolition of gender constraints.” The ultimate goal is to “burn down the American plantation once and for all” ― meaning all of its institutions and its traditional values. RAM’s most visible heroes, meanwhile, are the Marxist cop-killers and former Black Panther Party members Mumia Abu Jamal and Russell Shoats. The former is described by RAM as a shining symbol of the “legacy” of “Philadelphia’s rich revolutionary tradition.”
While RAM is a relative newcomer to the Antifa scene, Antifa violence across the United States started to grow in frequency and intensity long before RAM’s rise. In a bombshell story published on September 1, 2017, Politico.com reported that according to information obtained from interviews and confidential law-enforcement documents, federal authorities had begun warning state and local officials in early 2016 that “leftist extremists known as ‘[A]ntifa’” were already becoming “increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] formally classified their activities as ‘domestic terrorist violence.’” A confidential 2016 joint intelligence assessment by the DHS and the FBI, Politico said, revealed that by April 2016, authorities had become convinced that these “anarchist extremists” were the principal instigators of violence at a number of public rallies. The DHS/FBI assessment further stated that, as Politico put it, “the anarchist groups had become so aggressive” ― as evidenced by their frequent “armed attacks on individuals and small groups of perceived enemies” ― that “federal officials launched a global investigation with the help of the U.S. intelligence community” to determine “whether the U.S.-based anarchists might start committing terrorist bombings like their counterparts in ‘foreign anarchist extremist movements’ in Greece, Italy and Mexico.” “Recent FBI and DHS reports,” added Politico, confirmed that those agencies were “actively monitoring ‘conduct deemed potentially suspicious and indicative of terrorist activity’ by [A]ntifa groups.”
Organizers from the “anti-fascist research and news” website of a New York-based Antifa chapter explains that “Antifa combines radical left-wing and anarchist politics, revulsion at racists, sexists, homophobes, anti-Semites, and Islamophobes, with the international anti-fascist culture of taking the streets and physically confronting the brownshirts of white supremacy, whoever they may be.” In a similar vein, the New York Times describes Antifa as a “diverse collection of anarchists, communists and socialists” who have “found common cause in opposing rightwing extremists and white supremacists,” whom they view as the moral equivalent of Nazis and, therefore, as undeserving of the free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Andy Ngo — an openly gay, conservative journalist of Vietnamese heritage who is well acquainted with Antifa’s agendas and tactics, said the following in a July 2019 interview:
“Their [Antifa’s] stated goal, they’re quite open about it. If you speak to the ideologues or read the writings of their ideologues, is revolution and it’s, in particular, their political ideology is anarcho-communism. So some are more anarchist than others. Some are more communists than others. They believe that the United States is an irredeemable country, literally irredeemable. And the targeting of police as well as border enforcement as well as even the concept of sovereignty is all strategic toward their goal.
“The violence on the streets is meant to polarize citizens against each other as well as … to break down the law enforcement …. [T]hey’ve been able … to mainstream and normalize aspects of their ideology and tactics…. For example, I brought up the normalization and political violence earlier and that’s something I think they have had much success on. When ‘Punch a Nazi’ became a cute meme, that had quite widespread support.… It’s understandable, who wants to be sympathetic for a literal neo-Nazi? But then what happens next is Antifa applies to the label of far-right or a Nazi or a Fascist very carelessly … to [people] who are categorically not far-right or Fascist or Nazis.”
The Antifa movement and its foot soldiers can rightfully be categorized as a special-operations unit of the modern Communist/anarchist left. The movement’s professed mission is to beat back the forces of “fascism,” which it falsely and slanderously equates with conservatism. By drawing that equivalence, Antifa hopes to persuade many Americans to reject their allegedly racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic culture, and to instead embrace Marxism or anarchism as desirable alternatives.
Antifa’s propensity for using violence as a means of silencing its enemies is particularly significant. Utterly rejecting any notion of a free and open exchange of ideas, the movement views anyone who holds a contrary political perspective as an enemy that must be crushed by any means necessary. This obvious reality corroborates what Jonah Goldberg points out in his book Liberal Fascism — the very close relationship that exists between fascism and communism. “[F]ascism, properly understood, is not a phenomenon of the right at all,” writes Goldberg. “Instead, it is, and always has been, a phenomenon of the left. This fact … is obscured in our time by the equally mistaken belief that fascism and communism are opposites. In reality, they are closely related, historical competitors for the same constituents, seeking to dominate and control the same social space. … [I]n terms of their theory and practice, the differences are minimal.”
Thus, in the final analysis, it can accurately be said that the Antifa communists and anarchists who so passionately denounce fascism, are quite literally fascists themselves.
Webster’s Dictionary defines fascism as “a totalitarian governmental system led by a dictator and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism, militarism, and often racism.” But Antifa embraces the Marxist-Leninist definition that equates fascism with capitalism. As the German Antifa group Antifaschistischer Aufbau München puts it: “The fight against fascism is only won when the capitalist system has been shattered and a classless society has been achieved.” In a 2016 special report on left-wing extremism, Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency stated:
“Antifa’s fight against right-wing extremists is a smokescreen. The real goal remains the ‘bourgeois-democratic state,’ which, in the reading of left-wing extremists, accepts and promotes ‘fascism’ as a possible form of rule and therefore does not fight it sufficiently. Ultimately, it is argued, ‘fascism’ is rooted in the social and political structures of ‘capitalism.’ Accordingly, left-wing extremists, in their ‘antifascist’ activities, focus above all on the elimination of the ‘capitalist system.’”
Matthew Knouff, author of the 2012 book An Outsider’s Guide to Antifa: Volume II, writes that “[t]he basic philosophy of Antifa focuses on the battle between three basic forces: fascism, racism and capitalism — all three of which are interrelated according to Antifa…. with fascism being considered the final expression or stage of capitalism, capitalism being a means to oppress, and racism being an oppressive mechanism related to fascism.”
In Antifa’s calculus the terms “rightwing extremists,” “white supremacists,” and “fascists” do not apply only to Klansmen and neo-Nazis, but essentially to all people who hold conservative values. This means anyone who believes in: (a) the notion that Western traditions are worthy of respect and protection; (b) tolerance of opposing viewpoints in the marketplace of ideas; (c) individual rights and responsibilities (as opposed to group rights and collective identity politics); (d) the colorblind, even-handedly administered rule of law (rather than the evisceration of law and the civil society by means of violence and force); (e) limited government (as opposed to the expansion of government in the Marxist model, or conversely, the elimination of all government in the anarchist model); and (f) free enterprise/private property rights (as opposed to the redistribution of wealth by an omnipotent government in the Marxist model, or the forcible theft and reallocation of wealth in the anarchist model).
Antifa rhetoric routinely conflates actual fascists on the one hand, with thoughtful, respectable conservatives on the other. Consider, for instance, the rhetoric of Refuse Fascism, an organization closely affiliated with the Antifa movement. Under the heading “What Is Fascism?” on the Refuse Fascism website, no operational definition of “fascism” can be found. The reader is simply told that President Trump ― “the fascist in chief” ― and his “fascist regime” have poisoned America’s political atmosphere with their “fascist government and worldview.”
Writing in Conservative Review, author Chris Pandolfo points out how nebulous the term “fascism” has become: “What ‘fascism’ is nowadays seems to be a subjective definition belonging to whichever particular Antifa thugs show up en force.” Similarly, in his 2007 book Liberal Fascism, author Jonah Goldberg observes that “fascist” has evolved into a one-size-fits-all smear that is essentially the equivalent of “heretic,” a term “branding an individual worthy of excommunication from the body politic.” “[C]alling … conservatives fascists,” he [elaborates], “is simply what right-thinking, sophisticated people do.”
Showing just how broad Antifa’s definition of “fascist” and “white supremacist” has become, Antifa activists in April 2017 physically blocked Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald ― who has written numerous scholarly articles and books debunking the notion that police and the American criminal-justice system are institutionally racist ― from entering an auditorium at California’s Claremont McKenna College where she was scheduled to speak. Charging that Mac Donald was challenging “the right of Black people to exist,” the activists characterized her as “a fascist, a white supremacist, a warhawk, a transphobe, a queerphobe, [and] a classist” who was “ignorant of interlocking systems of domination that produce the lethal conditions under which oppressed peoples are forced to live.” As National Review subsequently pointed out: “[T]o those who are familiar with Mac Donald’s work, [this was] an odd charge. Among her central claims is that the reluctance of law enforcement to police minority communities has disproportionately affected those same communities; more young black men are being killed by St. Louis PD’s hands-off approach than were being killed by ‘proactive policing.’ Mac Donald does not oppose ‘the right of Black people to exist’; she maintains that it is being threatened by militant anti-police sentiment.”
National Review Institute journalism fellow Ian Tuttle has explained that “Antifa’s reason for describing something or someone as ‘fascist’ is not that it is actually fascist (although perhaps on occasion they do stumble onto the genuine item), but that describing it that way is politically advantageous. Likewise with any number of other slurs. Antifa are in effect claiming to oppose everything that is bad — and, of course, it is Antifa who decide what is bad.” As The Atlantic puts it, “in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not.”
Antifa’s Structure & Actions
Antifa groups are currently active in all 50 U.S. states, with the possible exception of West Virginia. In some states — most notably California, Texas and Washington — there are dozens of local Antifa organizations.
One significant barometer of Antifa’s growth has been the upward trend in the number of people visiting its various affiliated websites. In 2015, for example, the ItsGoingDown.org website was receiving only about 300 hits per day. By the early summer of 2017, this figure had reached 15,000, and by mid-August it exceeded 23,000. Some days, the number was as high as 40,000. By June of 2020, ItsGoingDown.org had 85,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 Facebook followers.
Antifa is a movement with no centralized leadership. As Antifa supporter Mark Bray, who in 2017 authored Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, wrote in a June 2020 opinion piece published by The Washington Post: “[A]ntifa itself is not an overarching organization with a chain of command…. Instead, largely anarchist and anti-authoritarian antifa groups share resources and information about far-right activity across regional and national borders through loosely knit networks and informal relationships of trust and solidarity.”
But while Antifa lacks centralized leadership and hierarchy, it is by no means an unorganized entity. As Soeren Kern writes in “A Brief History of Antifa (Part 1)”: “Empirical and anecdotal evidence shows that Antifa is, in fact, highly networked, well-funded and has a global presence. It has a flat organizational structure with dozens and possibly hundreds of local groups.”
Those local groups are autonomous cells. Some of them meet only sporadically to strategize and plan future activities, while others meet as frequently as several times each week. Antifa activists communicate and recruit mostly through social media, using Facebook as their principal forum for organizing protests.
When Antifa activists participate in street demonstrations, they often employ a tactic known as “black bloc,” whereby they dress entirely in black and cover their faces with black masks or scarves, so as to make it nearly impossible for victims, witnesses, or law-enforcement personnel to identify any particular individual who has committed an act of vandalism, arson, theft, or assault. As the Antifa website CrimethInc.com explains, “when everyone in a group looks the same, it is difficult for the police or others to tell who did what.” Longtime Antifa activist Scott Crow confirms that the masks allows the activists to “become anonymous,” and thus “able to move more freely and do what we need to do, whether it is illegal or not.”
A noteworthy Antifa tactic is to engage in high-level acts of violence and property destruction as a way of goading law-enforcement into a reaction, which Antifa then cites as evidence of a “fascist” power structure that is ever-prepared to engage in unjustified and excessive acts of oppression.
What follows is a small sampling of the many Antifa protests and riots that have taken place in cities and towns across the United States since 2016.
● One of Antifa’s more noteworthy direct actions occurred on June 26, 2016, when the Antifa-allied group By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) led some 400 protesters in a series of pre-planned attacks against a group of approximately 30 members of the white-supremacist Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) who were scheduled to hold a rally on the steps of the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento. The rally never took place, however, because BAMN and other Antifa contingents violently assaulted them with their fists as well as clubs, rocks, knives, and pepper spray. By the time the mayhem was over, numerous people had been injured, including ten who had to be hospitalized, some with stab wounds.
● Just a few days prior to the January 20, 2017 inauguration of Republican President Donald Trump, James O’Keefe’s investigative journalism organization, Project Veritas, released undercover video footage exposing a cohort of hard-left, self-described“anarchists,” “anti-capitalists,” and “anti-fascists” who ― in an effort to undermine Trump’s presidency and strike back at the “Nazis” who they said supported him ― were plotting to disrupt the inaugural festivities with a massive protest dubbed “DisruptJ20.” Specifically, the conspirators planned to: (a) create a series of “clusterf**k blockades” sealing off ingress points all over the capital; (b) shut down the Washington, DC Metro lines by chaining the trains to other physical structures; (c) inject butyric acid, which could cause severe respiratory problems if inhaled, into the vent shafts of the National Press Club; and (d) physically assault Trump backers with well-placed, debilitating punches directly to the throat. While not all of these planned actions materialized on inauguration day, the protesters were nonetheless successful in creating a great deal of chaos in Washington. They rioted in the streets, started multiple fires, set vehicles ablaze, and hurled chunks of pavement through the windows of a number of businesses. Many of the rioters were dressed entirely in black, and their faces were covered by black masks, hoods, and scarves. As one of them subsequently told the Washington Post, the violence “was purposeful in its symbolism” ― meaning, for instance, that “vandalism at a Starbucks shop and a Bank of America branch were executed as attacks on capitalism and corporate greed.” By the time the disturbances were over, more than 200 people had been arrested for their lawlessness.
● Approximately two weeks later, on February 1, 2017, a very similar mob of black-clad rioters violently shut down a scheduled talk at UC Berkeley, where the popular gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos was slated to issue a call for an end to the “sanctuary campus” policies that have long shielded illegal-alien students from federal immigration authorities. All told, more than 1,500 protesters ― including some 150 Antifa radicals ― gathered on the Berkeley campus, chanting and holding placards that read: “No Safe Space for Racists” and “This Is War.” Some of the demonstrators hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails, and commercial-grade fireworks at police; they shattered the windows of the student union center where Yiannopoulos had been expected to speak; and they damaged the construction site where a new student dormitory was being built. “As police dispersed the crowd from campus,” said one news report, “a remaining group of protesters moved into downtown Berkeley and smashed windows at several local banks.” All told, the rioters caused at least $100,000 in property damage on the grounds of UC Berkeley, plus another $400,000 to $500,000 in damages off campus. One prominent leader of the Berkeley riots,Yvette Felarca, described Yiannopoulos as a “fascist,” “an acolyte of Donald Trump,” and a “white supremacist.” Moreover, Felarca warned that if Yiannopoulos were to ever again schedule a speech at Berkeley, she and her allies would “shut him down by any means necessary,” including violence.
● A month later, on March 4, 2017, hundreds of left-wing activists in the city of Berkeley ― many of whom identified themselves as anarchists and were attired completely in black ― again used violence to disrupt a “March 4 Trump” rally in support of the U.S. president. Dozens of people were bloodied in the mayhem, and at least 10 protesters were arrested for overstepping the bounds of the law.
● That same day at the Minnesota Capitol rotunda, Woody Kaine, the son of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (who had been the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2016), participated in a violent Antifa counter-protest against a pro-Trump rally. When police tried to arrest the younger Kaine for throwing a smoke bomb, he fought with the officers.
● On March 25, 2017 in Philadelphia, scores of Antifa demonstrators staged a loud counter-protest against pro-Trump group. They were dressed in black and chanted: “Any time, any place, punch a Nazi in the face!” They eventually grew in numbers and succeeded in forcing the Trump rally to be cancelled.
● On April 15, 2017, violent riots broke out once more during a pro-free-speech rally held by Trump supporters in Berkeley. The rioters attacked attendees not only with their fists, but also with sticks, rocks, stun guns, knives, pepper spray, smoke bombs, and M-80s. All told, 21 people were arrested and 11 were injured, including at least 6 who were sent to a hospital. As was the case in the previous instances, many of the perpetrators were wrapped in black, from head to toe.
● At an April 2017 “Rally for Trump and Freedom” in the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington, Antifa activists threw smoke bombs into the crowd of marchers. According to a local newspaper, the ensuing chaos resembled a mosh pit.
● That same month, Antifa activists threatened to violently disrupt conservative author Ann Coulter’s scheduled speaking engagement at UC Berkeley. When the university and local law enforcement refused to designate a place where Coulter could speak in safety, she canceled her appearance, saying that “everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away.”
● On June 4, 2017, Trump supporters hosted a rally in Portland, Oregon, where Antifa activists burst onto the scene in violence, throwing bricks at the pro-Trump marchers until the police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the attackers.
● On August 12, 2017, a group of white nationalists held a rally (for which they had legally obtained a permit from local authorities) in Charlottesville, Virginia, ostensibly to protest the proposed removal of a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a local park. Those demonstrators clashed with a leftist group of counter-demonstrators, among whom were numerous Antifa. One woman was killed when a young white nationalist rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Because police in some jurisdictions had recently begun to more vigorously enforce laws prohibiting people from wearing masks during public demonstrations, some of the Antifa activists in Charlottesville did not wear the movement’s customary black masks.
● When a few dozen people held a free speech rally in Boston on August 19, 2017, some 40,000 “anti-fascist” protesters gathered to stage a counter-demonstration. All told, there were 33 arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct and assaults on police officers.
● The organizers of an August 26, 2017 pro-Trump “Freedom Rally” in San Francisco canceled their event, for which they had legally obtained a permit from the city, when hundreds of counter-protesters ― mostly supporters of Antifa and BAMN ― began to assemble in large numbers at the scene. “[W]e had to cancel the rally,” said the lead organizer, Joey Gibson, “because the way it was set up is that a lot of innocent people are going to get hurt. It would’ve been a huge riot.” After canceling the Freedom Rally, Gibson announced that his group was planning to hold a news conference that afternoon at Alamo Square Park to “talk about some of the rhetoric in San Francisco.” But the Antifa counterprotesters showed up to attend that event as well, prompting local police to erect barricades around the park, and ultimately causing the news conference to be canceled. A number of the Antifa protesters at the scene scuffled with police officers and demanded to be allowed past the barricades, chanting slogans like : “Let us in!” and “Our streets!”
● On August 27, 2017, in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, a small group of conservatives gathered to hold a “No to Marxism in America” rally. Approximately 400 police officers were stationed at the scene to keep order. But a crowd of at least 2,000 counter-protesters ― among whom were at least 100 Antifa anarchists ― also gathered at the park. The Antifa contingent became increasingly confrontational, and before long, the police officers at Civic Center Park stepped aside and allowed hundreds of counter-protesters to climb over the barriers and into the park, where they chased away the marchers, sometimes beating them. As the Washington Post described the scene: “Antifa protesters — armed with sticks and shields and clad in shin pads and gloves — largely routed the security checks and by 1:30 p.m. police reportedly left the security line at the Center Street and Milvaia Street entrance to the park.” Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood later told the Associated Press that the decision to have the police stand down was a strategic maneuver based on his belief that a stiffer resistance would only have provoked more violence from the protesters. “No need for a confrontation over a grass patch,” Greenwood said. In the clashes that resulted from Greenwood’s decision, six people were injured, two of them requiring hospitalization, and thirteen people were arrested, including one for assault with a deadly weapon.
In the incidents cited above, and many others like them, the people targeted by Antifa were mainstream conservatives, not fascists or white supremacists. Actual fascists and white supremacists are very few in number in contemporary America, and those few are rejected and despised by the vast majority of whites nationwide.
Antifa Activities Abroad
It should also be noted that while Antifa attacks have recently become, as The Washington Times puts it, a “mainstream” feature of America’s political climate, they have not been confined solely to the United States. Indeed, Antifa today has active cells in a number of nations across the globe, most notably the U.S., Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, France, and the Czech Republic.
● On April 22, 2017, for example, hordes of protesters in Cologne, Germany — many of whom were dressed in identity-concealing black garb — tried to shut down a political convention held by Alternative for Germany, a political party opposing the mass influx of migrants from war-torn, terrorism-infested nations in the Middle East and North Africa. According to Breitbart.com: “Up to 4,000 police, many in riot gear or mounted on horseback, were deployed to control an estimated 50,000 demonstrators, including roughly a thousand Far-Left agitators” who smashed windows, vandalized cars, started multiple fires, and hurled smoke bombs at police.
● The following day, activists rioted in Paris when they (mistakenly) thought that Marine Le Pen, an advocate of stricter border controls and a temporary moratorium on immigration to France, was ahead of the former Socialist Party member Emmanuel Macron, who supported an open-door policy for immigrants and refugees from Muslim countries, in the first round of the French presidential election. And a few days after that, violent radicals — many donning black garments, hoods, and masks —disrupted May Day marches in cities all across Europe.
● In July 2017, Antifa rioters were among the thousands of anti-capitalist protesters who descended upon the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where they clashed with police, threw smoke bombs and firecrackers, hurled bottles, and lit garbage cans ablaze. Over the course of the three-day summit, 476 police officers were injured, and at least 186 protesters were arrested, while another 225 were also temporarily detained. An Antifa group called “G20 Welcome to Hell” bragged about how it had successfully mobilized Antifa groups from around the world:
“The summit mobilizations have been precious moments of meeting and co-operation of left-wing and anti-capitalist groups and networks from all over Europe and world-wide. We have been sharing experiences and fighting together, attending international meetings, being attacked by cops supported by the military, re-organizing our forces and fighting back. Anti-globalization movement has changed, but our networks endure. We are active locally in our regions, cities, villages and forests. But we are also fighting trans-nationally.”
● In August 2017 in Quebec, Canada, a group of demonstrators held a rally to draw attention to the migrant crisis which the country was facing, where thousands of mostly Haitian nationals — fearful that the Trump administration might crack down on illegal aliens in the United States — had been streaming across the border from the U.S. into Canada. Antifa counter-protesters showed up at the scene and started a riot, attacking not only the demonstrators, but also police officers as well as a camera crew from Global News, one of the largest broadcasting companies in Canada. The Antifa contingent further vowed to carry out additional future attacks on any journalists seen trying to capture Antifa activities on video.
The Left’s Portrayal of Antifa
Mainstream media outlets have typically refrained from acknowledging just how radical and revolutionary Antifa’s objectives and practices are, portraying the movement instead as a well-meaning alliance of idealists who seek nothing more than to thwart the evils of right-wing “fascism.” The Washington Post, for instance, has benignly referred to Antifa and its allies as “antifascist groups.” A Los Angeles Times piece calls it an “anti-fascist movement.” The New York Daily News has described Antifa as an “anti-fascist collective.”
Other media sources — both mainstream and far left — have described Antifa in openly complimentary tones. For example, an April 2017 Esquire magazine article lauded the movement’s “anti-fascist” vigilantes for crashing pro-Trump demonstrations where a “significant … presence” of “white supremacist, alt-right, anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups … intersect with the president’s broader support base.” A January 2017 piece in The Nation celebrated the fortitude of Antifa activists, comparing them to those “who long before Trump have defended counter-violence against oppression — as in Ferguson, as in Baltimore, as in Watts, as in counter-riots against the Klu Klux Klan, as in slave revolts.” On August 15, 2017, Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, likened Antifa to the American soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II.
Also on August 15, 2017, CNN anchor Don Lemon condemned President Trump for having blamed violent actors on “both sides” for the recent violence at the aforementioned Charlottesville event where self-described white supremacists clashed violently with Antifa activists. Characterizing Trump as a racist whose “true colors” were “coming out,” Lemon said: “[Antifa] were there protesting fascism. Maybe their tactics weren’t exactly right. It is messy. There is a difference between the two groups. One is a Nazi, white supremacist group. What they want to do is extinguish … Jewish people, black people, even women. They don’t think we are equal. The other is a protest group, protesting a political and racism movement. I am not saying that that group, all of their tactics are right. They were there protesting hate in America.”
On August 20, 2017, CNN.com published a story titled “Unmasking the leftist Antifa movement: Activists seek peace through violence” — a highly inaccurate headline, in light of the fact that Antifa activists are avowedly violent and thus do not “seek peace” in any way. But when some Antifa members subsequently complained about the headline’s reference to their movement’s violence, CNN removed the entire phrase, “Activists seek peace through violence.”
In August 2018, CNN’s Don Lemon said this about Antifa: “It says it right in the name: Antifa. Anti-fascism, which is what they were there fighting. Listen, no organization is perfect. There was some violence. No one condones the violence, but there were different reasons for Antifa and for these neo-Nazis to be there. One, racists, fascists. The other group [Antifa], fighting racist fascists. There is a distinction there.”
And the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that routinely likens conservatives to racists and fascists, has elected not to include Antifa in its list of “hate groups.” SPLC president Richard Cohen explains that while “we oppose these groups and what they’re trying to do” by censoring speech and provoking “other forms of retaliation,” Antifa does not qualify for designation as a “hate group” because its adherents do not discriminate against people on the basis of race, sexual orientation, religion, or other variables protected by anti-discrimination laws. In short, said Cohen, Antifa’s brand of hate is “not the type of hate we follow.”
Democratic political figures have likewise been extremely reluctant to criticize Antifa. As Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote on August 29, 2017: “It’s all over the internet, young men of the hard left in black masks, black gloves, armed with clubs, hunting down prey who dare speak their minds. What’s striking about all this is the silence. There has been no concerted media effort to pressure Democratic politicians to denounce Democratic muscle. So Democratic politicians have been relatively silent, as have many of their loyal pundits…. This is all corrosive and dangerous. And in a loud political year, the silence of Democratic politicians explains so very much. Because silence is consent.”Antifa and the Democrats have rarely criticized one another publicly or by name. As Dartmouth University visiting scholar Mark Bray, who is sympathetic to Antifa’s goals and tactics, noted in August 2017: “There is a certain political lens that — agree or disagree with the lens — there is an element of continuity in terms of the types of groups targeted. I don’t know of any Democratic Party events that have been ‘no platformed,’ or shut down by anti-fascists.”
Conservative broadcaster and bestselling author Mark Levin, for his part, has characterized Antifa as “the paramilitary militia wing of the Democrat Party” because “the Democrats either defend it, or they’re passive in their criticism of it, or thirdly, they say nothing.”
One prominent liberal who has criticized Antifa is Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who said in August 2017: “Do not let the hard left, the radicals, represent the Democratic Party. There is an alt-left and we cannot deny it. The alt-left are radical people who want to deny us free speech, who want to close the campus to conversation, who want to stop people from having dialogue, who want to use violence…. Antifa is not our friend. They will not help us win elections. … I do not want to give a pass to the hard radical left, which is destroying America, destroying American universities, destroying the Democratic Party.”
Antifa’s ideological roots can be traced back to the Soviet Union of 1921-22, when the Communist International (Comintern) — the governing body of international Communism — developed the so-called united front tactic to “unify the working masses through agitation and organization … at the international level and in each individual country” against “capitalism” and “fascism” — terms that Comintern used interchangeably.
In the 1920s and ’30s, militant leftists who were the antecedents of the modern Antifa squared off against fascists in the streets of Spain, Italy, and Germany.
The world’s first anti-fascist group, Arditi del Popolo (People’s Courageous Militia), was established in Italy in June 1921 to combat the ascent of the National Fascist Party led by Benito Mussolini. The organization was composed of some 20,000 communists and anarchists, many of whom later joined the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39).
The Communist Party of Germany created the paramilitary group Roter Frontkämpferbund (Red Front Fighters League) in July 1924. After the organization was banned in 1929 because of its extreme violence, many of its 130,000 members continued their activities underground or in new local groups that were subsequently formed, such as the Kampfbund gegen den Faschismus (Fighting-Alliance Against Fascism).
In Slovenia, the militant anti-fascist movement TIGR (Revolucionarna Organizacija Julijske Krajine, or Revolutionary Organization of the Julian March) was established in 1927 to oppose the Italianization of Slovene ethnic regions after the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s collapse. Toward that end, TIGR assassinated many Italian police officers and military personnel prior to its dissolution in 1941.
The modern Antifa movement derives its name from Antifaschistische Aktion (AA), which was formed in May 1932 by Stalinist leaders of the Communist Party of Germany. The principal aim of AA’s 1,500+ founding members was to combat fascists — a term that AA applied to the nation’s pro-capitalist political parties — and to abolish capitalism, which AA viewed as a natural outgrowth of fascism. A German-language pamphlet titled 80 Years of Anti-Fascist Actions (80 Jahre Antifaschistische Aktion) states: “Antifascism has always fundamentally been an anti-capitalist strategy. This is why the symbol of the Antifaschistische Aktion has never lost its inspirational power…. Anti-fascism is more of a strategy than an ideology.” After Adolf Hitler took control of the German parliament in 1933, AA’s members went underground.
In 1930s Italy, meanwhile, Benito Mussolini’s secret police coined the term “antifacismo” to describe the violent, Communist Party-supported opponents of the fascist regime in Italy.
Also in the 1930s, the founder of the Soviet Red Army, Leon Trotsky, gave voice to militant anti-fascism when he declared: “[G]rab every fascist or every isolated group of fascists by their collars, acquaint them with the pavement a few times, strip them of their fascist insignia and documents, and without carrying things any further, leave them with their fright and a few good black and blue marks.”
In a similar spirit, Trotsky in 1934 condemned the “passivity” of “flabby pacifism” and called, instead, for the creation of “fighting squads” organized into well-trained “combat detachments” that were capable of “disarm[ing] the fascists.”
That same year, Comintern boasted that its intent was to “unif[y] and lea[d] the anti-fascist and anti-social-fascist forces of all countries towards the socialist world revolution.”
In 1934 Spain, the Communist Party established the Milicias Antifascistas Obreras y Campesinas (Antifascist Worker and Peasant Militias), which were active until 1937.
The Nation magazine cites a number of additional examples of violent anti-fascist movements in 20th-century Europe, like “the international militant brigades fighting Franco in Spain, the Red Front Fighters’ League in Germany who were fighting Nazis since the party’s formation in the 1920s, the print workers who fought ultra-nationalists in Austria, and the 43 Group in England fighting Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists.”
Mother Jones magazine, for its part, notes that: “At the Battle of Cable Street, in October 1936, Oswald Mosley brought 2,000 members of his British Union of Fascists to march through London’s Jewish East End neighborhood and 100,000 anti-fascists showed up to oppose them. In the resulting melee, Jews, Irishmen, Communists, anarchists, and socialists beat Mosley’s men with sticks, rocks, and sawed-off chair-legs. Local women dumped their chamber pots out of windows onto the heads of Mosley’s men.”
When fascism in Europe declined after World War II, the activities of antifa groups declined there as well. More than two decades would pass before such organizations experienced a resurgence.
A noteworthy antecedent of the modern-day Antifa was a Marxist urban guerrilla group that was formed in West Germany in 1968, the Red Army Faction (RAF) — also known variously as the Baader-Meinhof Gang or the Baader-Meinhof Gruppe (named after two of its early leaders, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof). Giving voice to RAF’s contempt for the police officers tasked with enforcing the laws of an allegedly fascist state, Meinhof said: “The guy in uniform is a pig, not a human being. That means we don’t have to talk to him and it is wrong to talk to these people at all. And of course, you can shoot.”
According to the German historian Bettina Röhl (the daughter of Ulrike Meinhof): “The RAF idolized the communist dictatorships in China, North Korea, North Vietnam, in Cuba, which were transfigured by the New Left as better countries on the right path to the best communism.”
Provided with training, shelter, and supplies by the Stasi (the secret police of Communist East Germany), RAF grew out of the German university protest movement of the 1960s, which denounced the United States for its alleged imperialism and characterized the West German government as a fascist remnant of the Nazi era.
RAF’s violent modus operandi included assassinations, bombings, robberies, arson, and kidnappings. Many of these crimes were targeted against West German corporations and businesses, and against West German and American military installations in West Germany — a nation which RAF portrayed as a fascist remnant of the Nazi era. RAF members also kidnapped and assassinated prominent figures in the realms of politics and business, in hopes of provoking an aggressive response from the government that might, in turn, spark widespread chaos and revolution. As John Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, explains, “the goal of [RAF’s] terrorist campaign was” — much like the goal of modern-day Antifa — “to trigger an aggressive response from the government, which group members believed would spark a broader revolutionary movement.”
By the mid-1970s, RAF had expanded its activities to regions outside of West Germany and occasionally allied itself with militant Palestinian organizations. In 1976, for instance, two RAF guerrillas participated in a Palestinian hijacking of a French jetliner.
The increasing violence of RAF’s tactics in the 1970s, however, caused the group to lose much of the support it had originally enjoyed among the West German political left. It thereafter splintered into a number of separate groups that continued to pursue terrorist objectives. By 1992, RAF — weakened by the demise of communism in eastern Europe — announced that it was terminating its terrorist activities. By that time, it had murdered more than 30 people and injured over 200.
According to Bettina Röhl, the only real difference between Antifa and the old RAF is that Antifa has no prominent leader and its members conceal their identities. As she wrote in a June 2020 essay published by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung: “Compared to the RAF, the militant Antifa only lacks prominent faces. Out of cowardice, its members cover their faces and keep their names secret.”
RAF’s glorification of violence is very evident in the modern-day Antifa movement. Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency explains the mindset animating both RAF and Antifa:
“For left-wing extremists, ‘Capitalism’ is interpreted as triggering wars, racism, ecological disasters, social inequality and gentrification. ‘Capitalism’ is therefore more than just a mere economic order. In left-wing extremist discourse, it determines the social and political form as well as the vision of a radical social and political reorganization. Whether anarchist or communist: Parliamentary democracy as a so-called bourgeois form of rule should be ‘overcome’ in any case.
“For this reason, left-wing extremists usually ignore or legitimize human rights violations in socialist or communist dictatorships or in states that they allegedly see threatened by the ‘West.’ To this day, both orthodox communists and autonomous activists justify, praise and celebrate the left-wing terrorist Red Army Faction or foreign left-wing terrorists as alleged ‘liberation movements’ or even ‘resistance fighters.’”
Also during RAF’s heyday in the 1970s, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) formed an Anti-Nazi League in the United Kingdom. In 1981, a contingent of former SWP members founded an anti-fascist splinter group called Red Action. And four years after that, members of Red Action and the anarcho-syndicalist Direct Action Movement launched (in Britain) an entity called Anti-Fascist Action, whose founding document said, “We are not fighting Fascism to maintain the status quo but to defend the interests of the working class.”
The Antifa movement in the United States grew most directly out of that AFA.
After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, neo-Nazism began to make some new gains in Germany. This prompted numerous young leftists, among whom were many anarchists, to take to the streets and confront them violently. These German antifascists adopted the name and the tactics of the communist paramilitary groups that had battled the Nazis in street-fighting half-a-century earlier.
Similar conflicts between communists and fascists were taking place on the Western side of the Atlantic as well. In 1979, the Communist Workers Party organized a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1983, a gang of self-described “anti-racist skinheads” known as the Baldies carried out acts of what they called “righteous violence” against neo-Nazis in Minneapolis. And according to Kieran Knutson, a longtime organizer with the communist-and-anarchist-linked Industrial Workers of the World, young leftists who claimed to be anti-racists formed more than 100 semi-formal chapters of an organization called “Anti-Racist Action” to combat the Ku Klux Klan and other white racist groups across North America during the 1980s. They chose this name because they felt that a call to fight racism would stir the passions of Americans more effectively than a call to fight fascism. Dartmouth University visiting scholar Mark Bray reports that many of these activists toured with popular alternative bands in the ’90s, in an effort to prevent neo-Nazis from recruiting their fans.
In 1992, the Antifaschistische Aktion-Bundesweite Organisation (AABO) was founded to organize and coordinate the efforts of small, independent Antifa groups scattered throughout Germany.
In Sweden, Antifascistisk Aktion (AFA), a militant Antifa group which was formed in 1993, established a reputation for using extreme violence against its opponents.
During the 1990s and through the turn of the 20th century, some American Marxists and anarchists began to adopt the name Antifa, like their European counterparts. “But even on the militant left,” reports The Atlantic, “the movement didn’t occupy the spotlight. To most left-wing activists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, deregulated global capitalism seemed like a greater threat than fascism.” Many Antifa activists merged with the anti-globalization movement and appeared in large numbers at the 1999 anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, and then again during the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street movement that began in 2011. Industrial Workers of the World organizer Kieran Knutson says that “the several thousand veterans of this movement are still out there — many still involved politically in anti-racist, feminist, queer, labor, education and artistic projects.”
In 1998, a notable anti-capitalist, decentralized, non-hierarchical Antifa group named ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and Aid to Citizens) was established in France. The organization’s self description reads as follows:
“ATTAC is an international organization involved in the alter-globalization movement. We oppose neo-liberal globalization and develop social, ecological, and democratic alternatives so as to guarantee fundamental rights for all. Specifically, we fight for the regulation of financial markets, the closure of tax havens, the introduction of global taxes to finance global public goods, the cancellation of the debt of developing countries, fair trade, and the implementation of limits to free trade and capital flows…. Today, the association is active in some 40 countries, with over a thousand local groups and hundreds of organizations supporting the network…. In 1999, ATTAC was present in Seattle during the demonstrations that led to the the failure of the WTO negotiations. It was one of the organizations that initiated the first World Social Forum in Porto Allegre in 2001…. [I]t has participated in counter summits and demonstrations against the G8, the G20, the WTO, and the war in Iraq…. It also mobilized, along with the alter-globalization movement, to demand true climate justice at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen.”
Who Are Antifa Activists?
According to CNN, many Antifa activivts “are millennials and [people who] live on society’s fringes: undocumented immigrants, transgender people, low-wage workers, those who don’t conform to the traditional 9-to-5.” In an August 2017 interview with podcaster Stefan Molyneux, a former Antifa activist-turned-conservative said that drug addiction is “extremely common” among anarchists, and that those anarchists “who aren’t addicted to drugs or to alcohol, are very often addicted to rage” and “violence.” “The rush that you get from that kind of hatred, that you direct at everyone else in society, it feels like a drug, and it feels like addiction,” he explained. “It’s a rush of power. The regular rules don’t apply to you, because you’re above them, better than them. You steal to survive, and you think that makes you better.” He took pains to emphasize “what an absolutely vicious, toxic, abusive, hate culture the radical left is.”
Antifa activists derive a great thrill from being united in a violent cause that they view as noble. As one such individual told CNN in 2017: “The people we fight back against, they are evil. They are the living embodiment, they are the second coming of Hitler.” Another Antifa activist from Virginia, reflecting on his participation in an anti-Trump demonstration in Washington on the day of President Trump’s inauguration, recalls: “We were marching down one of the streets, and energy was ecstatic. We were marching and chanting and engaged in this huge act of solidarity. There was a moment I was at the front of this huge line of people, and we see this other huge group of people marching down another way, and when the two groups met, it felt like the entire city just erupted in cheers and roars.”
Much like the street activists themselves, Antifa supporters often report that Antifa demonstrations of violence and power elicit feelings of ecstasy in their hearts. The Nation‘s Natasha Lennard, for instance, wrote that the sight of the prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer being punched in the face by an Antifa protester on the day of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, was “pure kinetic beauty.” Similarly, when Antifa activists punched and threw eggs at people who were leaving a Trump rally in San Jose in June 2016, an article in ItsGoingDown.org gleefully celebrated the “righteous beatings.” On another occasion, ItsGoingDown.org editor James Anderson told Vice.com, “This shit is fun.”
Antifa members usually launch attacks against people who are not doing anything violent, but who are merely speaking, or trying to speak. As longtime anti-fascist activist Scott Crow explains, Antifa views conservative speech itself as an act of violence that must be countered with physical violence. Whether such an approach is justified, says Crow, “that’s for history to decide.”
When Antifa activists show up for demonstrations or counter-protests, they mostly come prepared to fight, carrying items like brass knuckles, poles and sticks, bricks, bottles, road flares, chains, knives, pepper spray, bullet-proof vests, guns, and sometimes, bottles of urine that they can throw at police officers.
To further prepare themselves for violent confrontations, Antifa activists often take martial arts classes together. ItsGoingDown.org earnestly recommends “regular martial arts training for anti-fascists, as well as for the larger radical community.” “Find out what the laws are in your city and state about a variety of self-defense weapons,” the website adds, “and make sure to practice with, and carry, everything that is legal — whether that is pepper spray, retractable clubs, or other devices.” Moreover, says ItsGoingDown, “if right-wingers have been threatening people in your area with guns, or have already shot people, we recommend you arming yourselves immediately and getting concealed carry permits, where possible.”
The Antifa mindset views violence as a wholly legitimate and justifiable means of social activism. As one Antifa leader in Portland said, “You have to put your body in the way, and you have to make it speak in the language that they understand. And sometimes that is violence.” Antifa activist Frank Sabaté told a New York Times reporter: “When you look at this grave and dangerous [fascist] threat — and the violence it has already caused — is it more dangerous to do nothing and tolerate it, or should we confront it? Their existence itself is violent and dangerous, so I don’t think using force or violence to oppose them is unethical.” A female Antifa activist from Philadelphia said that “when people advocate for genocide and white supremacy, that is violence,” thus: “If we just stand back, we are allowing them to build a movement whose end goal is genocide.” Emily Rose Nauert, a 20-year-old Antifa member from California, told the New York Times in August 2017 that because “neo-Nazis don’t care if you’re quiet [or] you’re peaceful,” “you need violence in order to protect nonviolence,” thus “it’s full-on war, basically.” Yet another Antifa activist echoed those sentiments, saying: “On our side, it’s war.”
Antifa’s uncompromising hatred for police officers is embodied in Michael Isaacson, co-founder of the Washington-based Antifa group called Smash Racism DC. While serving as an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a certified New York City Police Academy, Isaacson made headlines when he tweeted in August 2017: “Some of y’all might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teaching at John Jay College but I think it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops.” On other occasions, Isaacson has claimed that neo-Nazis have infiltrated police departments in the U.S. and thus “have them kind of on their side.”
Antifa activists direct their violence not only at people whom they characterize as “fascists” and “white supremacists,” but also at material property. In the aforementioned August 2017 interview with podcaster Stefan Molyneux, an Antifa activist-turned-conservative said that the notion that “property is theft” is widely embraced by American anarchists. Because they view property as a symbol of materialism and unfair wealth distribution, they typically consider its destruction to be a noble act. According to the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective’s “Black Bloc Papers,” “private property—and capitalism, by extension—is intrinsically violent and repressive and cannot be reformed or mitigated.” Lamenting “all the violence committed in the name of private property rights,” this document charges that “corporate private property” in particular “is itself infinitely more violent than any action taken against it.” By this logic, the destruction of a storefront window can be redefined and justified as the laudable creation of “a vent to let some fresh air into the oppressive atmosphere of a retail outlet.”
And the fact that property destruction is illegal doesn’t matter at all to Antifa. As longtime Antifa activist Scott Crow explains: “Don’t confuse legality and morality. Laws are made of governments, not of men. Each of us breaks the law every day. It’s just that we make the conscious choice to do that.”
Additional Antifa Tactics
A key tactic employed by Antifa/black bloc demonstrators is known as the stop-light method, where the various actors are assigned different color designations: Red, Yellow, and Green. These colors have nothing to do with the clothing the activists wear, which is generally black, but rather, are correlated with the types of activities in which they are prepared to engage. “Reds” are those people who are willing to break the law and risk arrest. As the Los Angeles Times reports, these agitators typically “keep their faces covered with bandannas” and “attach themselves to peaceful protests” before they eventually “break out and start shattering windows and attacking cars.” “Yellows,” by contrast, are not willing to engage in violence or illegality, but they pledge to help the criminal “Reds” hide in their (“Yellow”) midst and thereby avoid apprehension by the police. And “Greens” are generally not involved in any tactical planning or risky behavior, but they nonetheless contribute to the cause by providing additional foot soldiers among whom “Red” lawbreakers can hide. Noting that “the rioters and the ‘peaceful’ protesters have a symbiotic relationship,”National Review’s David French explains: “The rioters break people and destroy things, then melt back into a crowd that often quickly and purposefully closes behind them. They’re typically cheered wildly … and often treated as heroes by the rest of the mob.”
The stop-light method is supplemented, in turn, by a practice that Antifa calls “swarming,” whereby “Yellows” surround the victim of a crime (like vandalism, theft, or assault) committed by “Reds,” so as to block his or her view of the perpetrators. The “Yellows” further distract the victim by screaming and by holding placards up in front of the latter’s face, to help give the attackers more time to flee and blend into the crowd.
Yet another facet of Antifa’s modus operandi is the practice of deplatforming— i.e., depriving conservatives (whom Antifa calls “fascists”) of a speaking platform, by drowning them out with bullhorns, airhorns, and group chants, or shutting down their events with “human walls” that block anyone from attending. Longtime Antifa organizer Scott Crow explains: “The idea in Antifa is that we go where they (right-wingers) go. That hate speech is not free speech. That if you are endangering people with what you say and the actions that are behind them, then you do not have the right to do that. And so we go to cause conflict, to shut them down where they are, because we don’t believe that Nazis or fascists of any stripe should have a mouthpiece.”
Moreover, Antifa encourages and practices “doxxing,” the use of cyber attacks to first ascertain the identity of an Internet user, and to then access and make public his or her valuable personal data. Some of those digitally hounded by Antifa members have been forced virtually to seek new identities.
And of course, a central feature of much Antifa activity is the type of violence that was carried out in the various riots and demonstrations cited earlier. When reporters asked one Antifa group whether it would consider using firearms or other potentially deadly methods of protest, the group responded cryptically, “No comment.” “We believe in a diversity of tactics,” added one of its members.
A number of noteworthy leftist organizations are sympathetic to, and affiliated with, Antifa and its objectives. Following is a list of some of these groups, along with a brief description of each.
1) ItsGoingDown.org, which has been referenced numerous times in this document, describes itself as “a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements.”
2) By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) seeks to galvanize “a united struggle of the black and Latina/o communities and all the disadvantaged and oppressed in American society” — a society allegedly “distorted by … racism, sexism and anti-LGBT bigotry.” BAMN traces “the New Jim Crow second-class treatment” which these groups receive to the “unbridled cynicism” of the many “re-segregationists” affiliated with the Republican Party and the conservative movement. The organization urges its activists to “work collectively” to promote “real egalitarian principles” through “mass action” and thereby forge “an international movement of the oppressed” that would place “the needs of humanity … before the enrichment of a few.”
BAMN grew out of the Revolutionary Workers League, a Trotskyite entity that favors worldwide socialist revolution and was once the largest black Marxist organization in the New Communist Movement, which openly endorsed violence. One of BAMN’s leading organizers today is the Berkeley-based schoolteacher Yvette Felarca, a Berkeley-area social-studies teacher who openly and explicitly advocates the use of violent riots as a legitimate means of making a political statement. “Riots are the voice of the unheard,” she said in December 2014. “You can never replace the lives of Michael Brown and Eric Garner,” she added in a reference to two black men who had died in highly publicized altercations with police officers earlier that year, “but you can always replace broken windows.”
3) Refuse Fascism (RF) was established shortly after the November 2016 U.S. presidential election by a coterie of Revolutionary Communist Party members. RF laid out its political and ideological platform in a December 2016 manifesto depicting President Trump as an illegitimately elected “white supremacist” and “fascist” whose brand of “madness” — which promotes “xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive ‘traditional values’” — is “more dangerous to the world than even Hitler” was.
4) The Bastards Motorcycle Club (BMC) started in 2015 as an all-male, “anti-racist, LGBT-friendly motorcycle gang.” According to Mother Jones, the BMC “has rolled up to oppose racist events across the South, sometimes armed and ready to rumble.”
5) The Huey P. Newton Gun Club — named in honor of the late drug dealer, rapist, and murderer who founded the Black Panther Party in the 1960s — is “a coalition of different organizations and groups supporting armed self defense as well as patrols.” Formed in response to a March 2013 police shooting of an “unarmed African American victim,” this group aims to “Arm All Black, Brown, and Poor men/women across the United States that can ‘legally’ bear arms,” and to bring about an “immediate end to police terrorism and murder of the people (Black, Brown, and Poor).”
6) Redneck Revolt, which professes a dedication to “putting the ‘red’ back in redneck,” is a network of mostly anarchists and libertarians who are “focused on anti-racist organizing among the white working class.” Drawing their inspiration from the Young Patriots — a coterie of white Appalachian activists who allied themselves with the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s — Redneck Revolt aims to redeem working-class whites who “have … participat[ed] in genocide and the enslavement of other peoples [as well as] in state and paramilitary organizations and formations like the Ku Klux Klan, the Minutemen, the U.S. Armed Forces, and the Council of Conservative Citizens.”
7) Showing Up for Racial Justice strives to “undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice” by delegitimizing allegedly racist institutions and implementing socialist economic principles.
8) The ANSWER Coalition is a pro-socialist alliance that views America as a nation awash in racism, discrimination, and “militarism.”
9) The Workers World Party is a Marxist-Leninist sect that opposes the “criminal imperialist” American “system” which reduces workers to the status of mere “pawns in a capitalist political game.”
10) The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a committed proponent of “revolutionary Marxism,” a consistent supporter of “revolutionary Cuba,” and a harsh critic of “U.S. imperialism.”
11) Black Lives Matter is a black supremacist movement that was founded by Marxist revolutionaries who uniformly revere Assata Shakur, the former Black Panther and convicted cop-killer who has spent decades as a fugitive in Communist Cuba. James Anderson, who helps run the ItsGoingDown.org website, proudly affirms that Antifa groups “are working with Black Lives Matter.”
Because Antifa is a decentralized movement consisting of many loosely affiliated groups as well as individuals acting on a freelance basis, it is difficult to trace most of its funding sources with any degree of specificity. Some publications have suggested that a financial connection exists between Antifa and the multi-billionaire leftist George Soros. But whatever money the movement may receive from high-profile financiers (like Soros) or charitable foundations, ultimately makes its way to Antifa by way of a very circuitous path. This is because few philanthropies or big-name funders want to risk tarnishing their own reputations by openly supporting hordes of violent radicals.
One organization that can be definitively identified as a funder of the Antifa movement is the Alliance For Global Justice (AfGJ), which was founded in 1998 by members of the Nicaragua Network, an organization that had been created nineteen years earlier to support the Marxist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. AfGJ serves as the fiscal sponsor of Refuse Fascism, a constituent organization of the Antifa movement. The Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum reports that AfGJ “acts as fiscal sponsor for Antifa groups.”
Describing itself as an “anti-capitalist,” “anti-imperialist,” “people’s think tank” whose activities include “a whole lot of organizing,” AfGJ seeks to train young activists to build a “unified grassroots movement” capable of creating “a socially, ecologically and economically just world” that offers “alternatives” to the “domination of governments, global financial institutions, and multinational corporations which denigrate the world’s peoples and devastate ecosystems.”
In its ongoing “struggle for liberation from Empire,” AfGJ denounces “neoliberal economics,” “corporate globalization,” and “privatization,” contending that “a just society is oriented toward meeting the needs … of its own people, not toward creating vast inequality and mega-profits for those at the top at the expense of the many.” To combat “the concentration of wealth and power [that] is the root cause of oppression,” says AfGJ, there must be a “fundamental change in international and national conditions that disempower people, create [economic and political] disparities, poison the earth, and plunder its resources.” By AfGJ’s reckoning, it is government’s duty to satisfy “the right of people to shelter, sufficient food, medical care, education, employment, [and] leisure,” and to dismantle societal “structures that distribute wealth in ways that deny anyone those basic rights.”
Over the years, AfGJ has served as a fiscal sponsor to more than 85 separate organizations, including the aforementioned Antifa ally known as Refuse Fascism. The Capital Research Center explains that fiscal sponsorship “allows donors who want to give to a group that lacks tax-exempt status to donate instead to the AfGJ,” which in turn funnels the money — minus a small service fee — to the designated recipient. “This mechanism helps individual donors, who may now deduct the donation from their income taxes, and also helps foundation donors, who are generally forbidden to give to groups that lack nonprofit status.” In addition to serving as Refuse Fascism’s fiscal sponsor, AfGJ has also given at least $50,000 directly to that organization.
Meanwhile, AfGJ over the years has received funding from a number of left-wing philanthropies, including George Soros‘s Open Society Foundations, the Tides Foundation, the Arca Foundation, the Firedoll Foundation, the Brightwater Fund, the New World Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the Hill Snowdon Foundation, the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund, the Aetna Foundation, the Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, and the Schwab Charitable Fund.
While the funding provided by AfGJ has been important to Antifa, Lee Stranahan, writing in Breitbart.com, observes that the angry passions of Antifa activists generally require no extrinsic motivation from outside funding sources: “While it’s been proven that funders like Soros and the Democratic Party have paid protest organizers and some protesters, groups like the violent Black Bloc typically aren’t motivated by money, but instead come to protests because of their anti-American ideology, base criminal desires and thrill seeking.”
Undercover Journalist Exposes Antifa Violence
Over the course of several months in 2017, conservative political commentator/comedian Steven Crowder’s cohort, “Not Gay Jared,” infiltrated an Antifa group and shot a large amount of video while undercover, resulting in a goldmine of damning evidence showing that Antifa is an unwavering supporter of violence.
Jared dressed the part of a leftist and managed to talk his way into the group. He was then given an encryption app on his burner phone which allowed members of the group to communicate undetected. One day in September, Jared met up with Antifa activists at Utah State University just prior to a scheduled speech there by conservative Ben Shapiro. The Antifa members handed Jared a knife and discussed which firearms other members would be bringing to the Shapiro event, including “AKs” and a sawed-off shotgun.
Local police in Utah were in on Crowder’s infiltration of Antifa, and Jared happily gave them all the footage that he captured as evidence. Crowder then tried to hand over his undercover exposé to members of the local and national media, including ABC News’s Nightline, and they all turned down his offer. “We were delivering a story to local and national news on a silver platter, which included infiltration, violence, and exposing the roots of a national domestic terrorist organization and no one even wanted to give it a glimpse?” Crowder said incredulously. “Why did it take a late night podcast host and his producer do this kind of journalism?”
To view Crowder’s undercover video, click here.
Antifa Alliance with ISIS
In an October 2017 article in the Daily Mail, Ed Klein, author of the newly published book All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump, wrote: “A secret FBI investigation of the violent ‘resistance’ movement on college campuses against President Trump has led to an alarming discovery—the collusion between American anarchists [like Antifa] and foreign terrorists in the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, according to a confidential ‘Informational Report’ by FBI field offices.” Specifically, Klein explained, in the summer of 2017 the FBI had “dispatched a task force to Europe to report on massive demonstrations planned by radical groups, such as the German contingent Antifaschistische Aktion, to protest President Trump’s attendance at a meeting of leaders and central bank governors of the G20 group of major industrialized countries.” Moreover “the agents sent by the FBI paid particular attention to a group of anarchists from Oakland.” Following are some excerpts from the FBI report:
- “[The] task force covered [the] G20 meeting in Hamburg, studied intel from local authorities, Interpol, and other assets, [and] determined that, as assumed, U.S.-backed anarchist/radical groups had traveled to Germany and took [part] in the violence. There is also evidence of meetings between these individuals and associates of ISIS. There is an urgent need to closely surveil the identified individuals.”
- “There is clearly overwhelming evidence that there are growing ties between U.S. radicals and the Islamic State, as well as several [ISIS] offshoots and splinter groups…. This is the greatest challenge to law enforcement since the Weather Underground and the Black Panther Party.”
- “Ties between three key leaders of the Oakland group [names redacted] met in Hamburg with a leader of the AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] and the AQIM [Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb],’ the report continued. The leader from AQAP is an Egyptian-born male [name redacted] who is known to be in charge of finances and recruiting for the group. There is evidence from informants that he is helping the Oakland group acquire the weapons they are seeking, primarily bomb making equipment and toxic chemicals and gasses.”
- “One of the men from Oakland traveled to Syria to meet with ISIS; the purpose was for training in tactics, but was thought to be primarily a bonding visit to discuss possible massive disruptive attacks in the U.S. While in Hamburg, several of the Oakland-based criminals were photographed throwing Molotov cocktails and wielding iron bars, which have been their weapons of choice, though they are almost certainly on the verge of upping the caliber of their weaponry for use in the U.S. Despite having their faces covered by masks, they were positively identified…. Making some sort of common cause with Americans who are determined to commit violence against the U.S. makes them potentially very useful to radical Islam.”
Mayhem in Berkeley
In August 2018, Antifa members in Berkeley, California smashed the windows of a Marine Corps recruiting office. They also damaged 21 city vehicles and set numerous trash bins ablaze. Ford Fischer, an onlooker who recorded video of the mayhem, subsequently tweeted that several of the vandals had shouted at him: “Get the f— back. Cops aren’t here. They won’t help you.” When police eventually arrived at the scene, the Antifa threw fireworks and flares at them. By the time order was restored, 20 people had been arrested.
Antifa Takes Over Portland, Oregon
For several days in early October 2018, authorities in Portland, Oregon allowed dozens of Antifa and Black Lives Matter agitators to disrupt traffic and terrorize local residents as they (the agitators) protested the fatal September 30 police shooting of a black man named Patrick Kimmons. Just prior to his death, Kimmons had been involved in a gang-related shooting that left two people wounded. According to Oregon Live, the officers had shot Kimmons when they “saw [him] turn toward them or head their way holding a gun.” For video of some of the protest activity, click here.
Antifa Gathers at Tucker Carlson’s Home and Threatens Him
On November 7, 2018, a group of protesters associated with the Antifa group “Smash Racism D.C.” gathered outside the Washington home of the Fox News conservative anchor Tucker Carlson and chanted a threat: “Tucker Carlson, we will fight. We know where you sleep at night.” In an online video of the incident, the group could also be heard shouting, “Racist scumbag, leave town!” Moreover, the group broke the oak door of Carlson’s home, and, as a security video showed, one of its members made reference to a pipe bomb. Mr. Carlson was not home at the time of the incident, though his wife was in the house alone. Frightened, she locked herself inside a pantry and called police.
Antifa Leaders — One of Whom Is Tied to Democratic Party — Assault Marine Reservists
On the afternoon of November 17, 2018 in Philadelphia, 33-year-old Tom Keenan – a leading member of an Antifa contingent in that city – physically and verbally assaulted two Marine reservists (Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres) who were standing in the vicinity of a “We the People” rally that billed itself as a venue for Americans who were “constitution-loving …, pro-good cop, pro-ICE, pro-law and order, pro-life, pro-American value, pro-gun, and anti-illegal immigration.” Keenan maced, punched, and kicked the victims, while calling them “Nazis” and “white supremacists.” He eventually turned himself in to police three days later, after investigators released a video that showed Keenan and two other suspects fomenting trouble at the November 17 rally. Keenan was charged with two counts each of criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, and terroristic threats.
A second Antifa assailant, 37-year-old Joseph Alcoff, was not only a leader of Smash Racism DC, a Washington-based branch of Antifa, but was also the payday campaign manager for the liberal group Americans for Financial Reform. Moreover, Alcoff had participated in press conferences held by congressional Democrats; he had been a guest on the House Democrats’ Joint Economic Committee podcast; and he had met with senior officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [CFPB] from 2016-18. According to Fox News:
“[U]ntil recently [Alcoff] was a well-connected, aspiring political player in Washington who may have even had a hand in key policy proposals. His endorsement apparently mattered when several congressional Democrats in February 2018 issued press releases with his quote backing their bill on regulating payday lenders…. He was also pictured with now-House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Both committees oversee financial regulatory policies Alcoff was advocating. Alcoff met with then CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other senior CFPB officials [in] April 2016, again in March 2017, and a third time in May 2017….”
Attacking a Conservative Journalist in Portland
On June 29, 2019 in Portland, Oregon, Antifa members violently assaulted Andy Ngo – an openly gay, conservative journalist of Vietnamese heritage – who had been a frequent critic of Antifa’s violence in the past. On this particular day, Ngo was covering a rally staged by the “Him Too” movement, an initiative whose purpose was to draw attention to the plight of men whose lives and reputations had been ruined as a result of women in the “#MeToo” movement falsely accusing them of sexual assault.
Antifa members were present that day as counter-protesters. When they spotted Ngo, a number of them began to follow him, threaten him, curse at him, and obstruct his path. Soon thereafter, a masked Antifa activist slammed Ngo on the back of his head with a hard object. Approximately a dozen assailants then punched and kicked the journalist mercilessly. Others, meanwhile, stole his camera and bombarded him with a hail of eggs, rocks, silly string, pepper spray, and so-called “milkshakes” that may have contained quick-drying cement. Subsequently recounting what had been done to him, Ngo wrote: “The mob hollered and laughed as I stumbled away…. My eyes stung and my face burned. Blood ran down my neck from a ripped earlobe…. Later, at the hospital, I was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain, and [was] admitted for observation. I spent more than 30 hours in the hospital and am told I may suffer memory loss for up to six months.”
By no means was Ngo the only person harmed by Antifa that day. A total of eight victims, including three police officers, were treated by medics, and three people required hospitalization. One of the wounded was a conservative demonstrator named Adam Kelly, who was struck repeatedly by fists, nunchucks, a metal Hydro Flask, and a crowbar. He suffered two large gashes to his head that required more than 25 staples from medical personnel. An elderly conservative in attendance, John Blum, was likewise beaten severely and was blasted with either mace or bear spray.
Terrorist Attack Against an ICE Detention Facility
On July 3, 2019, an armed, 69-year-old Antifa terrorist named Willem Van Spronsen attacked a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Tacoma, Washington, with homemade Molotov cocktails and a rifle. After the man was shot and killed by police, Antifa members on Twitter lauded his martyrdom. Said one Antifa account: “RIP to anarchist fighter Willem Van Spronsen. The attack on the ICE facility in Tacoma is a proportionate action against enslavers and internment camp operators. He joins a long list of fallen anarchist martyrs who fought for a liberated world!” In a manifesto that Van Spronsen left behind, he invoked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s recent rhetoric likening ICE detention centers to “concentration camps.”
Antifa Blocks Commuter Rail Lines in Canada
In February 2020, Antifa activists — as a gesture of protest against the proposed construction of a natural-gas pipeline in Canada — blocked major commuter rail lines in and near Toronto. The group also set up an encampment at the Bayview Junction, which links Toronto to Chicago and shares tracks with Amtrak, Via, GO Transit, and freight trains. Pledging to continue the protests “indefinitely,” the local Antifa group, calling themselves “Wet’suwet’en Strong: Hamilton Solidarity,” posted an online message stating that they had “happily burned” a court injunction forbidding the protests.
Antifa Plays Major Role in Nationwide Riots Following the Death of George Floyd
In the aftermath of the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd — a black man who had died after being abused by a white police officer in Minneapolis — a number of U.S. cities were overrun by violent riots in which Antifa played a major role. As Fox News has reported: “Antifa sent the word out far and wide to burn buildings, loot stores, destroy cars and attack law enforcement officers.” And Antifa members – who often traveled from far-flung locations to meet up with their allies in sites that had been pre-selected for rioting – coordinated their violent efforts in a very organized way. U.S. Attorney General William Barr alluded to this when he stated: “Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda. In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchic left extremist groups — far-left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from outside the state to promote the violence.” U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien concurred that the violence “is being driven by Antifa,” whose constituent groups “are organized and use Molotov cocktails and fireworks and gas to burn down our cities.”
Some of the most powerful and detailed testimony about Antifa’s involvement comes from John Miller, the New York Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, who told reporters in a telephone briefing that anarchists had planned to ignite chaos in the New York even before any unrest had begun. Some excerpts from Miller’s remarks:
- “[B]efore the protests began, organizers of certain anarchist groups set out to raise bail money and people who would be responsible to be raising bail money, they set out to recruit medics and medical teams with gear to deploy in anticipation of violent interactions with police.”
- “They prepared to commit property damage and directed people who were following them that this should be done selectively and only in wealthier areas or at high-end stores run by corporate entities.”
- “[T]hey developed a complex network of bicycle scouts to move ahead of demonstrators in different directions of where police were and where police were not, for purposes of being able to direct groups from the larger group to places where they could commit acts of vandalism including the torching of police vehicles and Molotov cocktails where they thought officers would not be.”
- “We believe that a significant amount of people who came here from out of the area who have come here as well as the advance preparation, having advance scouts, the use of encrypted information, having resupply routes for things such as gasoline and accelerants as well as rocks and bottles, the raising of bail, the placing of medics. Taken together, [this] is a strong indicator that they plan[ned] to act with disorder, property damage, violence, and violent encounters with police before the first demonstration and or before the first arrest.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a black Democrat, says he “wouldn’t be surprised if Antifa” was involved in some of the violence in his city, noting that “we have watched and intercepted, frankly, groups coming into Denver … that were heading to the demonstrations” with “assault weapons” in some cases.
In a similar vein, a Philadelphia Police Department bulletin said: “Domestic extremists, including anarchist extremists and other anti-government extremists, are using the unrest in Minneapolis to amplify and justify their calls for dismantling law enforcement agencies and carrying out attacks on law enforcement, government, and capitalist targets.”
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said that Antifa “100 percent exploited these protests,” adding: “It’s in 40 different states and 60 cities; it would be impossible for somebody outside of Antifa to fund this. It’s a radical, leftist, socialist attempt at revolution.”
Communism expert Trevor Loudon told The Epoch Times that Antifa was only one of many entities responsible for the rioting, stating that “every significant communist or socialist party in the United States has been involved in these protests and riots from the beginning.”
Project Veritas Infiltrates Antifa & Reveals Training in Violent Action
On June 4, 2020, Project Veritas, an investigative journalism nonprofit organization, released information and video footage collected by an undercover reporter who had secretly infiltrated an Antifa cell in Portland, Oregon. The reporter stated that the Antifa initiation process began with an “interview” in a secret location, followed by attendance at “required lectures” on Antifa tactics. Some lectures taught activists how to engage in violence in a clandestine fashion. As one lecturer could be heard saying in a video: “Don’t be that [expletive] guy with goddamned spike brass knuckles getting photos taken of you.” In additional video clips, various lecturers said:
- “Police are going to be like: ‘Perfect, we can prosecute these [expletive], look how violent they are.’ And not that we aren’t, but we need to [expletive] hide that [expletive].”
- “Practice things like an eye gouge. It takes very little pressure to injure someone’s eyes.”
- “Consider like, destroying your enemy. Not like delivering a really awesome right hand, right eye, left eye blow, you know. It’s not boxing, it’s not kickboxing, it’s like destroying your enemy.”
- “The whole goal of this, right, is to get out there and do dangerous things as safely as possible.”
- “If you get a good liver or kidney shot, it’s pretty much crippling them. They’re going to be doubled over and in a lot of pain. If you break one of the floating ribs, which are small and right down here. Those are also very painful, it’s hard to move after that, to catch a breath. So, one good body shot could potentially give you all the time in the world to run away while they’re doubled over in pain, or really put a beating on them after that if you really want to make it personal.”
- “We just kind of wanted to, in this space, reframe the idea of self-defense as not simply, you’re being acted upon by an aggressor. But it’s kind of a decision you make to fight back. In a lot of ways to say, I am human, and I occupy this space and I will not be f**ked with.”
- “Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, if that doesn’t knock them out, then yeah. The nose, the eyes, poke the eyes… Absolutely.”
- “We call this a safe space to practice aggression. Not aggression against one another, but really just a space that, if you want to or if you want to challenge yourself, to kind of work on harnessing that kind of energy.”
Antifa Takes Over Parts of Seattle
In early June of 2020, a mob led by activists from Antifa and Black Lives Matter took over the East Precinct of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after threatening to burn it down. They characterized the department as a “terrorist cell,” threatened to burn it down, and finally renamed it the “Seattle People Department.” The mob also occupied Seattle City Hall and announced the establishment of a “liberated” area called CHAZ (an acronym for Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), which soon thereafter was renamed CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest). Drawing a parallel between CHOP and the Occupy Wall Street encampments of 2011, which likewise had been hostile to capitalism and traditional American values, one Seattle observer described the scene at CHOP as follows: “They bar media from entering and screen people coming in. They are walking around fully armed. Talking about making their own currency and making their own flag. SPD is talking about abandoning the west precinct now…. This is just like the Occupy movement. Soon we will have feces and drugs everywhere and people getting assaulted and raped in the encampments.” One police officer who had been previously stationed at the East Precinct reported: “Antifa are extorting money and businesses in the Capital Hill Zone for protection money.” “Those running this Capital Hill Zone are employing stop and frisk to anyone who walks through, and shaking down businesses for $500 for protection,” said another.
Soon, the radical occupiers issued a series of ultimatums entitled “THE DEMANDS OF THE COLLECTIVE BLACK VOICES AT FREE CAPITOL HILL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.” Among their demands were the following:
- “The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition” and the elimination of “100% of funding” for police.
- “We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their [nonwhite] peers in their community.”
- “We demand the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons.”
- “We demand in replacement of the current criminal justice system the creation of restorative/transformative accountability programs as a replacement for imprisonment.”
- “We demand autonomy be given to the people to create localized anti-crime systems.”
- “We demand free college for the people of the state of Washington, due to the overwhelming effect that education has on economic success, and the correlated overwhelming impact of poverty on people of color, as a form of reparations for the treatment of Black people in this state and country.”
- “We demand the hospitals and care facilities of Seattle employ black doctors and nurses specifically to help care for black patients.”
Much like the Occupy encampments of 2011, CHOP quickly degenerated into a filthy pigsty replete with graffiti, decaying garbage, drug and alcohol abuse, and violent crime. Finally, on July 1, 2020, Seattle’s Democrat mayor, Jenny Durkan—who initially had hailed CHOP as a place whose “block party atmosphere” heralded a potential “summer of love”—issued an executive order designating the encampment as an unlawful assembly, and it was dismantled by police.
Burning American Flags & Bibles
On July 31, 2020, Antifa activists flocked to the Justice Center and the federal courthouse in Portland, where they burned American flags and Bibles in the streets.
“I am not sad that a fu**ing fascist died tonight”
On the night of August 29, 2020 in Portland, Oregon, a male Antifa member shot and killed a young man, Aaron Danielson, who was wearing a hat that bore the name of the pro-Trump conservative organization Patriot Prayer. When he first noticed Danielson, the gunman said: “Hey! Hey, we got one right here! We got a Trumper right here!” — and then shot him. Later that night, a female Antifa member used a bullhorn to address a large crowd of Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters and said, to cheers and laughter from the mob:
- “And tonight, I just got word that the person who died was a Patriot Prayer Trump person. He was a fucking Nazi! Our community held its own and took out the trash. I am not going to shed any tears over a Nazi.”
- “I am not sad that a fucking fascist died tonight. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. If y’all are not with me, y’all are not paying attention. Everybody needs to realize what’s going on in these streets. Our community can hold its own without the police. We can take out the trash [i.e., conservative ‘fascists’] on our own.”
The Financial Toll of the 2020 Riots
According to a September 2020 report in the far-left website Axios, Property Claim Services, a company that tracks insurance claims filed due to riots and other acts of destruction, found that the Antifa/Black Lives Matter violence that had occurred just during the first two weeks after George Floyd’s death on May 25, had resulted in approximately $2 billion in insurance claims. By way of comparison, the 1992 Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles caused $775 million in damages at that time, which translates to $1.42 billion in 2020 dollars. Moreover, writes John Nolte of Breitbart.com: “If you add up the insurance cost in 2020 dollars for all six major American riots during the turbulent 1960s, the total is a little shy of $1.2 billion — which means the terrorists in Antifa and Black Lives Matter caused more mayhem and property damage in a little over a week than this country saw throughout all of the 1960s.”
Violence Against Trump Supporters in D.C.
At a large, pro-Donald Trump rally on November 14, 2020 in Washington, D.C., Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists were captured on video physically assaulting Trump supporters.
Threatening a Republican Senator & His Family
On January 4, 2021, the Antifa-affiliated organization ShutDownDC organized a protest outside the District of Columbia home of Republican Senator Josh Hawley, in response to his announcement that he would object to Joe Biden’s alleged Electoral College victory. The demonstration, which took place while Hawley’s wife and newborn daughter were inside the house alone, featured approximately a dozen activists shouting threats through a bullhorn, pounding on the front door, and terrorizing Hawley’s wife. They also shouted phrases like “Shame” and “Protect democracy from the GOP,” and threatened to come back to the Hawley home every single day. Characterizing the protest as “an hour-long vigil,” ShutDown DC activist Patrick Young later said: “We came to let Hawley know that his actions are undemocratic and unacceptable. Voters decided who they wanted to be president and now Hawley is trying to silence their voices, even after Republican election officials certified the vote counts.”
Antifa Threatens Bookstore, Forces It to Close for Two Days
On January 11 and 12, 2021, Antifa protesters assembled outside of Powell’s Books — a prominent bookstore in Portland, Oregon — demanding that the shop not sell a forthcoming book, Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, by local conservative journalist Andy Ngo about his investigations into the domestic terror group. The Antifa shock troops forced Powell’s to close for two days, accusing the bookseller of “propagating racism and right-wing ideology,” and of supporting a “fascist gravy train book for a Nazi-collaborating Portlander.” Powell’s subsequently said in a statement: “This book will not be on our store shelves, and we will not promote it. That said, it will remain in our online catalogue. We carry books that we find anywhere from simply distasteful or badly written, to execrable, as well as those that we treasure. We believe it is the work of bookselling to do so.”
Antifa Hits Portland and Seattle
On the night of January 20, 2021 — Joe Biden’s first day as President of the United States — black-clad Antifa rioters clashed with police officers in Portland and Seattle, voicing their opposition to various emblems of American civil society: the government, law enforcement, and the new president.
In Portland, the rioters shattered windows as well as the glass door at the business office of the Democratic Party of Oregon; they also spray-painted an anarchist symbol above the party sign at that facility. Others burned a flag in the street, stole a police officer’s bike, threw objects at retreating cops, and knocked over garbage containers and lit their contents ablaze. One contingent carried a banner that read, “We don’t want Biden. We want revenge for police murders, imperialist wars, and fascist massacres.” Others carried a banner adorned with anarchy symbols and bearing the slogan, “We are not governable.”
In Seattle, black-clad Antifa activists marched into the iconic Pike Place Market to smash up property including the windows of a Starbucks restaurant and the federal William Kenzo Nakamura Courthouse. They kicked over garbage containers, carried a tattered American flag defaced with an anarchy symbol, and spray-painted anarchist symbols on numerous buildings. One of the banners they displayed bore the slogan, “No Cops, Prisons, Borders, Presidents.”
Antifa Threats Cause Journalist to Flee for His Life
In late January 2021, journalist Andy Ngo was forced to flee his hometown of Portland, Oregon as a result of threats against his life by Antifa radicals who objected to the publication of his new book, Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. Relocating to London, Ngo said: “For a number of months now there’s just been increasing threats of violence against me, promises by Antifa extremists to kill me.”
Antifa Takes Over Hotel in Washington State
Late in the morning of January 31, 2021, a mob of approximately 100 activists took over the 17-room Red Lion Inn, in Olympia, Washington, demanding that the facility be used to house homeless people. One of the demonstrators shouted at the terrified staffers: “Fuck your sister, fuck your wife. I hope you all fucking die. Rest in piss!” Many of the activists were black-clad, baton-and-knife-wielding Antifa members, and approximately 35 were affiliated with a similarly radical organization known as Olympia Housing Now (OHN).
OHN had purchased one night in the hotel rooms the night before and had moved 33 homeless people into them, with the intent of having them stay there indefinitely. Moreover, the activists demanded that: (a) Thurston County apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to pay for “non-congregate” shelter for elderly and unhealthy homeless people; (b) the city of Olympia provide the homeless with sanitation, restrooms, and other “resources to meet the COVID-19 CDC hygiene recommendations”; (c) the city “increase impact fees on luxury and commercial properties in Olympia’s downtown”; and (d) the city build permanent housing for “extremely low-income” people earning less than $26,200 per year.
An employee of the Red Lion Inn gave the following account of the events of January 31:
“I was working when this happened. It started at about 6 minutes to noon. They had this all planned out…. Most of them were in the hotel already. They had stayed there the night before and came down and said they were not leaving. They started yelling at us and putting signs on the windows. There was probably a hundred people coming and going. They even had a room set up for medical. They were blocking the hotel driveway and they had guards posted on each corner of the block. There were people with gas masks at each corner and they had the whole building surrounded. They were walking around with machetes, knives, and hatchets hanging off of them. They were threatening us, and one of them assaulted my coworker. I stood on the parking garage for the time that we were locked down until I said ‘screw it’ and went home at 3:00 PM. My co-workers sat in the small, stuffy laundry room with no windows for 6 hours waiting for police.”
Outside the hotel on the night of January 31, shortly before 11 p.m., screaming Antifa activists told police to “Choke and die!”
Shortly before 4 a.m. on February 1, 2021, Antifa protesters confronted police outside the hotel and shouted: “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon” — a call to kill police officers and wrap them in body bags (blankets).
Antifa & BLM Threaten Diners in D.C.
On February 6, 2021, Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters marched through Washington, D.C. and threatened people as they ate dinner in restaurants. “Burn it down,” the demonstrators chanted, adding: “We are here tonight because black lives matter. Despite black lives mattering, black people are still dying at the hands of the police paid for by our tax dollars.” Video footage uploaded by independent journalists also showed black-clad Antifa radicals holding the red-and-black flag of anarcho-communism and fighting with police officers. (For video footage of these protesters in action. click here.)
Antifa Taunts Security Guards at Federal Courthouse in Portland
In early March 2021, city officials in Portland, Oregon removed the physical barriers that had been protecting the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse since July 2020; the barriers had been erected in response to repeated attacks against the building by Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters during the summer of 2020. On March 11, 2021, a small group of Antifa activists attempted to force their way into the courthouse, taunting security guards and throwing an unknown liquid and signs at them.
Antifa Rioters in Portland Set Fire to ICE Building with Federal Agents Inside
Late on the night of April 10, 2021, nearly 100 blac-bloc Antifa rioters vandalized and set fire to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Portland, Oregon, while ICE officers were trapped inside. The rioters also sprayed the building with graffiti that said “DHS murders”; launched fireworks at the building; barricaded the front door with a chain-link fence; and chanted, “Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground!”
Widespread Riots in April 2021 Following Police Shootings
Antifa and Black Lives Matter radicals engaged in widespread rioting and looting after an April 11, 2021 incident where a white female police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota had accidentally shot and killed Daunte Wright, a young black man with a criminal history, who was resisting arrest and attempting to flee. On April 16 in particular, a number of U.S. cities were the sites of unrest. In Brooklyn Center itself, for instance, agitators tried to tear down fencing that surrounded the local police department, threw projectiles at officers, and spray-painted “Death to Amerika” and “ACAB” (an acronym meaning “All Cops Are Bastards”). Eventually, some people wearing hockey gear, gas masks, and respirators — and armed with baseball bats and other weapons — forced their way through the exterior fence, at which point law-enforcement ordered them to leave. More than 100 of those who did not comply were arrested and taken into custody.
Rioters in Portland — angry about the deaths of Daunte Wright and a Hispanic man who had recently been shot and killed by an officer at a local park — smashed windows at Nordstrom, Nike, and other businesses, and also set fire to an Apple store.
In Oakland, a crowd of 250 to 300 rioters — angry about the deaths of Daunte Wright and a deranged homeless man named Tyrell Wilson who had been shot an killed by a policeman several weeks earlier — assaulted a police officer, broke windows, spray-painted buildings, set cars on fire, and torched the California Bank and Trust building.
In Chicago’s Logan Square Park, a crowd of approximately 1,000 demonstrators clashed with police officers.
Demonstrations also took place in Raleigh, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.
Antifa Issues Veiled Threat of Violence Against Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in Video
On April 28, 2020, a masked individual claiming to represent Antifa — angered by Portland mayor Ted Wheeler’s recent plea for city residents to assist law-enforcement in “unmasking” rioters and violent demonstrators in their communities — shared a video demanding Wheeler’s resignation and threatening him with violence. The speaker concluded: “Ted, we are asking for the last time that you resign. If you ignore this message outright, the destruction to your precious way of life is going to escalate. Blood is already on your hands, Ted. The next time, it may just be your own.” The video also revealed Wheeler’s home address. Some additional noteworthy quotes from the video:
- “We are not just challenging the idea of having Ted as a mayor. We are challenging the idea of having mayors at all. We want abolition…. Window-smashing and riots are a necessary escalation when those in power have proven that they are unwilling to listen and have made the choice to ignore you.”
- “We are moving with a sense of urgency because not only is the system destroying us, it’s destroying the very planet that we live [on]. This movement encompasses the liberation of all those oppressed by the system, whether it be black, indigenous, Hispanic, etcetera.”
Antifa Attacks Journalist Andy Ngo
On May 28, 2021, Antifa radicals chased and beat conservative journalist Andy Ngo in the streets of Portland, Oregon while he was covering protests in that city. “No journalist in America should ever face violence for doing his or her job,” Ngo said in a tweet on June 2. “… I was chased, attacked and beaten by a masked mob, baying for my blood. Had I not been able to shelter wounded and bleeding inside a hotel while they beat the doors and windows like animals, there is no doubt in my mind I would not be here today. Their words, like their actions, speak for themselves.”
Antifa Attacks Christian Prayer Event in Portland Park
On August 8, 2021 at a park in Portland, Oregon, Antifa militants attacked the roughly 50 participants at a Christian prayer event that had been organized by Canadian pastor Artur Pawlowski. Dressed in black bloc and carrying umbrellas, the Antifa members: (a) sprayed mace into the faces of a number of people, including one of the pastors; (b) threw rotten eggs and other projectiles at the worshipers; (c) destroyed a sound system that had been set up for the service; (d) threw music equipment into Willamette River; (e) threw a flash bomb into a group of babies and young children; and (f) shouted slogans like “All Cops are Bastards, in the name of Jesus,” and “Where is your god now?”
Antifa Teacher Tries to Turn His Students into “Revolutionaries”
In undercover video released by Project Veritas on August 31, 2021, Gabriel Gipe, an Advanced Placement Government teacher at Inderkum High School in Sacramento, California, stated that his objective as a teacher was to indoctrinate his students into becoming Antifa revolutionaries. “I have 180 days to turn them into revolutionaries,” said Gipe, whose classroom was decorated with an Antifa flag and a poster of Mao Zedong. When the undercover journalist asked Gipe how he went about achieving that objective, the teacher replied: “Scare the f**k out of them.” “And, so, I have a huge political spectrum in my room, on the wall,” Gipe continued. “So, they [students] take an ideology quiz in their unit four and I put their face – they have to give me a picture of themselves – and I put it on the wall, where they are. Every year, they [students] get further and further left. And I’ve made them pay attention to where my tac marks are. Because, I’m like, ‘These ideologies are considered extremes, right? Extreme times breed extreme ideologies, right?’”
“There is a reason why Generation Z, these kids, are becoming further and further left,” said Gipe, adding: “I’m probably as far left as you can go. Like, I have an Antifa flag on my wall. And a student complained about that, and he said it made him feel uncomfortable. Well, this [Antifa flag] is made to make fascists feel uncomfortable. So, if you feel uncomfortable, I don’t really know what to tell you. Maybe you shouldn’t be aligning with the values that this is antithetical to,” he laughs.
Also in the video, Gipe said the following:
- “Like, why aren’t people just taking up arms? Like why can’t we, you know — take up arms against the state? We have historical examples of that happening, and them getting crushed and being martyrs for a cause and it’s like — okay well, it’s slow going because it takes a massive amount of organization.”
- “I think that for [left-wing] movements in the United States, we need to be able to attack both [cultural and economic] fronts. Right? We need to create parallel structures of power because we cannot rely on the state…Consistently focusing on education and a change of cultural propaganda. We have to hit both fronts. We have to convince people that this is what we actually need.”
- “You need a two-pronged system, which is exactly what Huey Newton and Fred Hampton [Black Panther Party] understood. You need propaganda of the deed — your economics — and cultural propaganda as well. You need to retrain the way people think. So, the Cultural Revolution in the 60s was fixing the problem that came about after the economic one.”
- “What can we do now to root out this culture that keeps perpetuating hyper-individualism, hyper-competitiveness, capitalist exploitation and consolidation of wealth…I do think that it’s important to understand that as an extension of an economic revolution, they [Chinese Communist Party] were changing the base, and then they went to change the superstructure. You cannot change one without the other. You can’t have cultural shifts without the economic shift, and vice versa.”
- “There are three other teachers in my department that I did my credential program with — and they’re rad. They’re great people. They’re definitely on the same page.”
- “Sacramento, as a city itself, is incredibly diverse. But we’re surrounded by a bunch of right-wing rednecks.”
Antifa Militants Are Arrested for Having Physically Attacked Trump Supporters
On December 6, 2021, San Diego prosecutors charged multiple self-identified Antifa militants with conspiracy to commit a riot, saying they had physically attacked supporters of former President Donald Trump at a pro-Trump “Patriot March” eleven months earlier, on January 9. The attackers, who had begun organizing themselves by forming San Diego- and Los Angeles-based groups on January 2, targeted their victims not only with punches and kicks, but also with pepper spray, wooden sticks, folding chairs, flagpoles, and a variety of other implements.
- Levin TV, Episode 323.
Antifa: America’s New Brown Shirts
By John Perazzo
Unmasking Antifa: Five Perspectives on a Growing Threat
Edited by the Center for Security Policy
A Brief History of Antifa: Part I
By Soeren Kern
A Brief History of Antifa: Part 2
By Soeren Kern
Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy
By Andy Ngo
The Antifa: Stories from Inside the Black Bloc Kindle Edition
America Under Siege: Antifa
By Trevor Loudon
September 25, 2017
Antifa Part 1: Nazis, Communists and Antifa – Oh My!
August 16, 2018
Antifa Part 2: By Any Means Necessary
August 16, 2018
Antifa Part 3: They Are against Fascism, Great – but What Are They for?
August 16, 2018
Antifa Part 4: This Always Ends in Anarchy and Mob Rule
August 16, 2018
Antifa’s Plan to Undermine Liberal Democracy
November 7, 2019
Anti-Americanism in America | Counterculture