Who are the "Antifa"?


#1

I’ve become frustrated with family and friends who argue that “both sides” at Charlottesville were to blame for the violence. The reason is because people can name the perpetrators of violence by the right, but I can’t find any sources that cite names or organizations that caused violence on the left. All I hear are people blaming generic “violent antifa” protesters.

I’ve said this before, but I live in a place that is also receiving a lot of attention because we are removing Confederate statues. At a press conference last night, we had national news organizations interviewing a local community organizer that, for two years, has tried to get these statues removed. The conference was in a public building, but didn’t have much of an audience except for press folk. However, one guy mentioned that he was “anti-fascist”. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, so I don’t know if he was a part of an “antifa” organization or if he was, in general, against fascism.

I’m coming to y’all because this community seems knowledgeable and respectful. I read one article that says that “antifa” refers to a large swath of organizations that are against fascism. I read another one that said that “antifa” specifically believe in violence against Nazis as a first resort. I really don’t want violence in my town or where I work, and I want to talk intelligibly about this topic with others. So what does anyone know about “antifa”? Are there specific organizations with leaders that can be named? Or is it a general “catch-all”?


Video Game Culture & Hate Speech
#2

This interview might help. There are two parts.


#3

As well you should be: https://twitter.com/artdecaderoo/status/897968395186057218


#4

I’m not expert and I’m sure more structured groups exist within the label. For my money though, when it comes to fascism you can be either pro it or anti it. I’m gonna be antifa every time.


#5

Nazi existence is violence against everyone, if you “don’t want violence” you have to fucking kick their asses, full stop.


#6

people don’t come forth as named members of antifa because even though punching a nazi is morally right, it is still against the law. asking to know who antifa members are is generally seen as a hostile act


#7

Don’t take this the wrong way, in fact it’s kind of a joke, but the thread title comes across very much like something a fed would ask to infiltrate a group. It’s very “How do you do, fellow kids?”


#8

How do you do, fellow tifas


#9

They protec but they also attac


#10

As I understand it: Antifa is a group of people who prescribe to the Paradox of Tolerance and act to fight back against groups who implicitly believe in oppression (i.e. fascism). Whilst some use the title in name only as a way to instigate violence (or to shame the greater movement), the intent is for societal preservation.


#11

Antifa is a blanket term to describe several groups throughout the world, though the biggest and most well organised are in Sweden, Germany and the UK; the term is an abbreviation of the original German term: “Anti-Faschistische Aktion” or AFA. They form a loosely connected network of autonomous groups that are all radically anti-fascist and usually of an anarchist veneer. In terms of style they resemble old school punks or mods; leaning heavily on grass-roots, underground movements involving things like graffiti, guerilla protesting, counter-protesting during far right rallies. Their more sophisticated activities include monitoring and documenting hate groups, intervening and handing out flyers at other left-orientated rallies and other means of spreading information (I receive the newsletter of a local chapter in my inbox). They are often criticised for being violent; usually not scared of property destruction or inciting riots and violently clashing with far right groups.


#12

My blog used to be called “Defiantly Uncool”, so I’m okay looking like the narc :wink: It helps me blend into the right crowds when I need to.


@jaguar

It’s just curious that none of the news reports I’ve read can name arrested people associated with antifa or can even identify smaller groups. As long as we don’t humanize these groups, the longer we are going to fear them, which is exactly what the nazis want.

I’m not saying that we need them at rallies with colored armbands, but if the news reports aren’t naming antifa people or organizations who have committed crimes, then it makes me think that their violence is far overblown. Indeed, Snopes agrees with that sentiment. Unfortunately, the mainstream media consumer isn’t going to recognize that and falsely believe that antifa are as much of a threat as the nazis, which is unfortunately false.

Personally, I don’t think anyone should use violence when around peaceful protesters. That is a great way to get innocent people hurt. But I also don’t know that this is happening nearly as much as people think it is, which is kind of what lead me to this thread in the first place.


#14

the goal of antifa isn’t to represent in public office or to be an electable alternative to nazis. its goal is specifically to act where politicians have proven themselves useless: implementing grassroots programs, helping the community at a granular level and keeping people safe from the violence of the right. antifa does the things that public figures refuse to do

antifa fights to prevent this very thing from happening to innocents. nazis are not innocents, whether they are acting with physical violence or not. as @Lilly already said, the existence of a philosophy that relies on genocide is itself a violent act. hell, our current carceral state is itself an act of structural violence. antifa do not aim to escalate with violence, but are merely acting in self-defence against the existent violence that surrounds us daily and manifests in the ultimate form of fascist mobilisation.


#15

Fairly large, evenhanded profile of Antifa in the NYTimes yesterday:

‘Antifa’ Grows as Left-Wing Faction Set to, Literally, Fight the Far Right https://nyti.ms/2v688Tl

To comment on the larger, “both sides are bad” argument: the current attitude that Peacefulness is a necessary and sufficient condition for Goodness has all the nuance of a kindergartner. Which makes sense, because “violence is never the answer” may be appropriate for the playground but is hopelessly naive for the real world.

I don’t consider myself an anarchist, communist or socialist, but as far as I’m concerned, antifa could run around smashing windows and taking dumps on doorsteps while screaming Game of Thrones spoilers and still not be 0.1% as bad as white supremacists.


#16

yep, this is exactly it. there already are other groups whose goal is to be an electable alternative to nazis, and they’ve got that covered. anonymity is vital to the antifa toolkit - take, for example, people lining up en masse to turn themselves in for the tearing down of the racist tin can man in Durham


#17

As advantageous as their anonymity is, don’t you see how it is currently being used against them? I think we actually agree, and I’m not against antifa. What I’m saying is that there is a huge difference between their intentions and the perception the public has at the moment.

I never said they were. I meant nonviolent protesting against the nazis. If antifa use violence while among nonviolent people, that will give the nazis a reason to retaliate. Whether they are legally justified or not, I don’t want violence, period, especially not against nonviolent anti-nazi protesters.

I also want to point out that ideologies and hypotheticals are often different than the reality. Currently, I live in a city that is under fire from these nazis and I work at a public organization very close to some confederate statues that our town just decided to remove. So I’m trying to get as much information about this in order to keep our patrons safe (and those people include children, refugees, and targeted groups). This is the main reason I’m talking about nonviolence, not because of an ideology, but because it’s my job. I’m really not interested in this subject “academically”; this is purely practical for my day-to-day job and the people I’m responsible for keeping safe. I just wanted to add this because I don’t want people thinking I’m being contrary or argumentative. I respect everyone’s response and appreciate the information.


#18

are you saying that “racist statue gets destroyed by John Lastname” is better than “racist statue gets destroyed by violent antifa guy”? i understand that your argument is that people are reluctant to trust faceless group, but the only thing that the former accomplishes is opening up some poor person to get doxxed and harassed by a million neonazis. if the media wants to villainize antifa groups they are completely able to do so regardless of whether people expose themselves like that.

add to that the fact that the police is usually more on the side of “peaceful white nationalists”, the pros of anonimity as a anti-getting-put-in-jail strategy far outweigh the cons of bad pr.

i’m not an AFA historian, but at the end of the day, 2017 american antifa isn’t the first time antifascists get depicted as evil garbage can destroyers, and you aren’t the first person to think about “what if they just showed their faces?”, and for the past 30 years the answer to that has been “no that’s a bad idea actually”


#19

honestly if you do actually understand what antifa are supposed to be doing then you would also understand that the idea of them operating on a non-anonymous level is functionally impossible, be it due to arrests or targeted violence from nazis. like, having the public on our side would be nice as a hypothetical but its absolutely not neccessary


#20

yearrrrrrrrrs ago when i was out masking up at protests the cops generally if they surrounded you would force people to leave in lines and wouldn’t let you out without taking the masks down, so what im getting at here is there is a direct and constant motive for the police to force your identity into public view and they are happy to organise events into achieving that.

additionally you dont even have to have done anything for this to happen they want the identities of left-wing activists no matter what it is theyre doing, they photographed people being marched out masks off because thats just helpful for them to have on file, this kind of information gathering is standard and entirely expected behaviour from the kinds of people that infiltrate activist communities so habitually there are stories of undercover cops starting families with activists before being found out in major newspapers at this point


#21

Yeaaaaah anonymity is power.

I was once pulled up on by the cops when I was going door to door selling cookies for cancer treatment (shout out to Relay for Life). Thought I was casing houses. Literally doing nothing close to a criminal act but I got my name asked for, school, where I lived, the whole nine yards and I could see said copper putting the info into the system. I’m in their database for life. For selling cookies for donations.

I don’t need the cops knowing who I am, and they don’t need my name when they can already make a judgment call based on the color of my skin.

e: whoops @swords already posted this but I’ll keep it up I guess, heh

e2: I guess my big point in that story here is that anonymity is for the oppressed. Honestly think of any “Resistance” in dystopian sci-fi for an example. Big brother is real. I don’t think antia members act anonymously because they want to, but as jaguar said, because they don’t really have an option.