- As massive protests following the death of George Floyd continued to rock the United States, President announced that the far-left group Antifa would be designated as a terrorist organisation by his government. “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,”
- Antifa, the loosely affiliated group of far-left, anti-fascism activists, a terrorist organisation.
- However, the US does not have a domestic terrorism law and Antifa, a contraction of the phrase “antifascist”, is not an organisation with a leader, a defined structure or membership roles.
Who are the members of Antifa?
- Its followers acknowledge the movement has no official leaders and is organised into autonomous local cells. It is also only one in a constellation of activist movements that have come together in the past few years to oppose the far right.
- Antifa members campaign against actions they view as authoritarian, homophobic, racist or xenophobic.
- Although Antifa is not affiliated with other movements its members sometimes work with local activist networks that are rallying around the same issues, such as the Occupy movement or Black Lives Matter.
- They have made their presence known at protests in recent years, including the white supremacist and neo-Nazi “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
What are its goals?
- Supporters generally seek to stop fascist, racist and far-right groups from having a platform to promote their views, arguing that public demonstration of those ideas leads to the targeting of marginalised people, including racial minorities, women and members of the LGBTQ community.
- Antifa members typically dress in black and often wear a mask at their demonstrations, and follow far-left ideologies such as anti-capitalism. They take up causes such as LGBTQ and indigenous rights.
- “The argument is that militant anti-fascism is inherently self-defence because of the historically documented violence that fascists pose, especially to marginalised people,” said Mark Bray, a history lecturer at Rutgers University and the author of Antifa:
When did the movement begin?
- Bray tracks the history of the movement back to loosely coordinated socialists, communists, working class, and other liberal groups that took on fascism in the 1920s.
- He cites one of the earliest examples as Arditi del Popolo (The People’s Daring Ones), militia that fought against [Italy] Benito Mussolini’s infamous Blackshirts.
- The modern version of the Antifa, that has taken root in the US post the election of Trump, is rooted in the more recent manifestations of the movement in the 1970s and 80s across Europe.
Source: The Hindu and Indian Express