Six Facts you need to know about Antifa

Battles between far rights group and anti-fascists have increased not only on the street of US, but online too. A massive sense of eagerness has been seen where President Donald Trump wanted to blame someone for the ongoing violent protests. And so he announced of declaring Antifa a “democratic terrorist organization”. So what is Antifa and why Trump is blaming them is a question hovering in many minds. Here are some facts that you need to know about Antifa.

  1. Is Antifa an organization or a movement?

According to Mark Bray (Author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook), Antifa “can variously be described as a kind of ideology, an identity, a tendency or milieu, or an activity of self-defense.” It is a leaderless horizontal movement based upon many leftisit causes like communism, anarchism, socialism, anti-racism.

  1. Who were the progenitors of Antifa?

Following the First World War, the German and Italian leftists came together to fight proto-Fascist groups. They gathered under the banner of Arditi del Popolo (“the People’s Daring Ones”) in Italy, and evolved from paramilitary factions of existing political parties in Weimar Germany under the name Antifaschistische Aktion (from which it takes its name).

A protester carries an Antifascist Action flag at a rally following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Boston, Massachusetts [Image Source: Brian Snyder/Reuters]
  1. From how long has Antifa been active?

According to some sources, origin of Antifa (pronounced as an-tee-fah) dates back to 1920s and 1930s when they believed that Nazi party would never have been able to come to power in Germany if people had fought them aggressively. As per Bray, the modern American Antifa movement began in 1980s with a group called Anti-Racist Action. By the early 2000s functions of Antifa slowed down until the rise of Donald Trump. The activities of the movement has surged since Antifa activists engaged in a wave of property destruction during Trump’s inauguration when a masked figure punched the white supremacist Richard Spencer in the face.

Also Read: The Burning America – Protestors on street for George Floyd

  1. What do members of Antifa oppose?

Ideas of Neo-Nazis, Neo-fascism, white supremacists and racism are opposed Antifa activists. As per BBC who spoke to secret Antifa groups in Oregon, members of the movement come from a variety of political backgrounds but are united in their opposition to fascism, and they have an anti-government streak.

They say that they see authoritarianism and other right-wing ideologies making way into mainstream politics with the election of Donal Trump in 2016, and that they are looking forward to build “a movement that really insulates us from the policies of Donald Trump”.

  1. What are the methods used Antifa?

As announced US Attorney General William Barr accusing Antifa of  “violent radical elements” of hijacking the voices of “peaceful and legitimate protests”, Bray says Violence is not the preferred method for Antifa – neither in the past nor in the present. However, they do not deny using it if the situation demands. Mark quoted an activist Murray to explain the movement’s outlook, and this is what he said.

“You fight them writing letters and making phone calls so you don’t have to fight them with fists. You fight them with fists so you don’t have to fight them with knives. You fight them with knives so you don’t have to fight them with guns. You fight them with guns so you don’t have to fight them with tanks.”

The use of guns moves in a progression from non-violence techniques to violent methods.

  1. Why are all dressed in black?

It was first in the Netherlands and Germany that a group of leftist squatters known as Autonomen launched the Black Bloc approach – wearing all-black outfits and masks to help the participants evade in case of prosecution and retaliation.

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