They show up at public demonstrations with helmets, shields, clubs and bricks, ready to engage in a fight. They cry that violence is necessary to stop authoritarianism. Who are they? They go by the name Antifa.
What is Antifa? It is a movement of activists who are willing to use violence to promote left-wing activism. They are very active in the United States and around the world. We have them in Canada, too. It is more of a movement than an organization because it encompasses many organizations and gangs who all claim the name Antifa.
Antifa has a history. The original Antifa was Antifaschistisch Aktion, a group within the communist party of Germany in the 1930s. The root word to the name is Anti-Fascist which was again shortened to Antifa. The movement spread to various parts of the world, mostly in western Europe, such as Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the U.K. but it's American followers have been especially visible in international news using the Black Lives Matter movement and other left-wing gatherings, as a platform for operating.
To understand what anti-fascism is we need to ask what is Fascism? Fascism was a political idea that involved authoritarian rule over populations and it opposed Liberalism, Marxism and Anarchism. It was first theorized by Italian political thinkers during WWI and then officially created into a governing system under the rule of the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini. You could say that true Fascism died with Mussolini because no political leader or party refers to themselves as Fascist or claims to be a follower of Mussolini. However, left-wing activists like Antifa use it as a slam word and apply it to anyone who holds to right-wing political beliefs.
Antifa is popular and active on university campuses. American media started paying more attention to them after their involvement in the WTO riots in Seattle in 1999, then the Berkeley riots, Charlottesville riots and George Floid demonstrations. I believe that most people involved in the Black Lives Matter movement would not agree with Antifa. However, Antifa strongly embraces the Black Lives Matter cause and is willing to use it for their purposes. Antifa shows up at conservative right-wing demonstrations and radical right-wing demonstrations to rumble and shows up at left- wing demonstrations to show their support. They celebrate political progressivism, Black Lives Matter, LGBT activism and want to see the police de-funded.
The Antifa logo is two flags blowing in the wind, one a red flag and the other a black flag. The black flag represents anarchy and the red flag represents communism. Surely the most distinctive thing about Antifa is their willingness to use violence to advance their cause. They believe that normal peaceful democratic processes are either ineffective or too slow to bring about change and that a show of force conducted by a grass roots movement like themselves can squelch right-wing influence. They would like to be thought of as defensive fighters who are standing up against tyranny.
Antifa will also attack media who they perceive as being unsupportive. Recently in the Portland riots, Antifa brutally attacked Andy Ngo, a reporter for the Australian free speech publication Quillette. Ngo survived but was left with a brain hemorrhage and underwent overnight hospitalization.
Antifa has shown hostility towards Christianity, especially during the Portland race riots. Portland rioters have been videoed burning Bibles in front of the federal courthouse. They threatened to come onto the grounds of the New Hope Christian College in Eugene, Oregon with firearms and burn down a large cross erected on the campus. The reason for the outrage over the cross was because they associate it with a Klu Klux Klan cross that was erected in that area sometime around 1922-1925. The cross on the Christian campus is not actually that same cross but another one that was erected as a war memorial and later moved to the Christian college. After the threat a large number of Christian believers surrounded the cross to protect it. Police turned away a busload of protesters who apparently were headed to that location. A much smaller group showed up and shouted vulgarities but did not break through the crowd or destroy the cross.
Christian worshipers gathered in an outdoor service in Seattle, Washington on August 10, 2020 were invaded by protesters wealding knives. The protestors broke up some of their musical equipment but the believers would not stop worshiping. The event continued despite the attack.
Antifa claims to be against racism. However, they have shown a tremendous disdain for Christian faith. This can be traced to numerous things. They are a Marxist/Communist movement and Communism has always opposed Christian faith and persecuted it. They are strongly left-wing and Evangelical Christians are predominantly right-wing in our political views. They view many Christian leaders throughout history as being racist. The symbol of the cross is disdainful to them because Klu Klux Klan members also use it. For these and other reasons Antifa is agitated by many expressions of Christian faith.
Antifa is not strengthening society. To the contrary they are anarchistic, trying to undo western free society and re-institute socialist reforms. While the downtown cores of cities like Seattle and Portland are burning and engulfed in riots, order, stability, peace, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness are sacrificed for shields, clubs, bricks and a rumble. Their name is a slam word, anti-fascism. Mussolini died a long time ago but anti-fascists are keeping the fight alive. They hope to bring about a socialist Marxism future for us all. This article is a call to resist Antifa. Resist Antifa wherever it shows its face from university campuses to city-wide riots. Antifa is lawlessness, and despite whatever their intentions may be, good will not come out of it.