ANTIFA is a revolutionary group with aims to overthrow the prevailing US social and political system.
Far-left ideologues, they combine a ragtag mix of socialism, communism, anarchism, Marxism, and anti-capitalism. ANTIFA believes in ‘direct action’, so rather than pursue political change via the ballot box, or grassroots activism, they are more interested in physically attacking their opponents. If an individual is thought to disagree with the ANTIFA world view, the individual is liable to be labelled a fascist. The only good fascist is a dead fascist, or at least a bloody and beaten one, so that becomes the intended course of action.
So who gets labelled as fascist? The application of the term is entirely subjective and subject to change. Trump supporters would make the fascist list, as would traditional conservatives, but are those in the centre, and even on the left of the political aisle safe from ANTIFA wrath? Perhaps not, if Mayor Ted Wheeler’s recent fiery tribulations in Portland are any indication.
ANTIFA appears to be a movement fuelled by hatred. Given the limited number of American swastikas to burn, they seem to have expanded their scope of enemies to include not just those on the right, but business-people, the self-employed – be they Jeff Bezos or mom and pop grocery store owners – centrists, and even those on the left that might support a capitalist society and the rule of law. Given their broad scope, it’s hard to imagine an ANTIFA endgame. Seattle’s CHOP might have been the closest to a blueprint. A police-free zone, governed by mob rule, where rioting is a valid form of expression.
If handed unlimited power, it is logical that ANTIFA, a decentralised movement without clear leadership, might eventually move against itself, faction against faction. The Marxists might come to consider the anarchists as the new enemy, and the socialists might come for the communists until there is a single rat left standing.
While the Trump administration has made its disgust of ANTIFA clear, many Democrats refuse to criticise the organisation, even cozying up to the radical collective. Some progressives might view ANTIFA’s work as the pointy end of the spear, ironically similar to the Brown Shirts, who did the dirty work of the NAZI party, roughing up and intimidating opponents, smashing windows, and the hand-to-hand personal violence. Liberal-minded Democrats can hardly roll up their sleeves and punch a MAGA hat-wearing, flag-waving Trump supporter in the nose, but it might make them feel good to see a young anarchist do so on their behalf. It might give them a warm glow, a sense that the left is reclaiming the republic.
The funding of an anti-capitalist movement is always going to be problematic. Many ANTIFA members seem professional agitators who travel from one hotspot to the next without obvious means of income. Federal investigations are presently underway being led by Rand Paul, who recently had a scary interaction with a heaving mob that appeared intent on causing him and his wife physical harm. Paul is intent on following the money to determine who is funding the domestic terrorist group. The outcome is bound to be enlightening.
As well as the shadowy organisation/s funding ANTIFA, many Democrats will be historically condemned for their appeasement of the violent, radical left. Democrats may reap a very bitter harvest. Either the silent majority elects Trump, who having waited patiently for blue states and cities to call on federal help, rounds up the ANTIFA agitators, and expands his national conservative agenda. Or, the Democrats slowly realise that anarchists are not their friends, and that their appeasement, or blind hope that the crocodile eats them last, is no defense against rabid extremists.
Mayor Wheeler, a thoroughly liberal Democrat, who had his apartment set ablaze by a masked mob, might attest that few are safe when violent ideologues rule the streets. Almost any group can be classified as a target, be it business or home-owners, folks holding alternate political opinions, or simply an individual who participates in a capitalist system. If you happen to fall into any of those categories, here’s hoping a violent mob doesn’t descend on your neighbourhood anytime soon. And if they do, you can only pray that the local police department is still being adequately funded.
G G Novack – Political Pundit, Anti-violence Campaigner