Far-Left Antifa Agitators on the Rise in the Age of Trump

protest violent AntifaWhen self-described anti-fascists showed up in force Saturday to oppose a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, some of them turned violent, according to media reports and eyewitness accounts.

President Donald Trump did not specify radicals who operate under the banner of Antifa, an abbreviation for anti-fascist or anti-fascist action, when he said Tuesday that “both sides” bore responsibility for the violence and bloodshed that left three dead and dozens injured.

It is hard to know at this juncture how many of the hundreds of counterprotesters considered themselves affiliated with Antifa. Nor is it clear how many of them were among those who squared off against the white supremacists marching in downtown Charlottesville, trading punches and blows, some with lengths of wood.

The full facts await the findings of a Justice Department investigation of the Charlottesville violence announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“Antifa is a coalition of hyperviolent activists who are far-left anarchists or communists,” said Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the Washington-based Capital Research Center. “They could be considered domestic terrorists. They are not legitimate actors in the democratic process.”

Fox News Channel’s Doug McKelway, on the scene in Charlottesville, was among reporters who described individuals in clashing groups wearing helmets and padded clothes, carrying shields, and brandishing lengths of wood.

Initially, the network of radical activists did not attract as much media attention as the white nationalists and neo-Nazis they were confronting, but this has begun to change.

This short video from the pro-Trump outlet Very Fake News, which contains strong language, documents some Antifa members’ behavior toward media organizations reporting on events in Charlottesville:

The liberal media outlet Slate, however, reported that clergy and other peaceful protesters of the white supremacists credited Antifa activists with trying to protect them from violence.

Absurd Suggestions

There is no cohesive, centralized structure to Antifa. Instead, it appears to be set up as a network of anarchists, communists, and socialists who say they are opposed to “racism, sexism, homophobia, and capitalism” and take inspiration from a European movement in the 1930s called Anti-Fascist Action, as The Economist explains in a brief profile:

Antifa groups are not as widespread as they might seem. Their lack of coordination and endorsement of violence hinders their appeal as a mass movement. In America, their ongoing guerrilla war with the alt-right has helped bring more publicity to white supremacists and nationalists while doing little to advance their (somewhat unclear) cause.

Prior to its clashes with white supremacists in Virginia, Antifa—often rendered in lowercase as antifa–gained some notoriety June 4 after confronting Trump supporters in Portland, Oregon, which resulted in violent clashes.

Antifa allegedly had a hand in threatening violence against Portland’s 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association if the business group allowed the Multnomah County Republican Party to participate in its annual Rose Festival. The business group canceled the event.

Arthur Milikh, associate director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an interview that Antifa has avoided spelling out its positions and goals in an effort to evade scrutiny.

“They have been very careful to avoid laying out what precisely they desire to obtain, or what fascism means,” Milikh said. “Whatever one may think of President Trump, his rhetoric, or his policies, it’s absurd to suggest that he intends to or could dissolve Congress, cancel elections, shred the Constitution, and name himself dictator, as a fascist would.”

Writing in The Atlantic, Peter Beinart—who has written before about Antifa in an essay titled “The Rise of the Violent Left”—suggests that adherents are hard to pin down, noting:

Antifa activists are sincere. They genuinely believe that their actions protect vulnerable people from harm. Cornel West claims they did so in Charlottesville. But for all of Antifa’s supposed anti-authoritarianism, there’s something fundamentally authoritarian about its claim that its activists—who no one elected—can decide whose views are too odious to be publicly expressed. That kind of undemocratic, illegitimate power corrupts.

Beinart points to Portland’s Rose Festival confrontation as an example.

Muzzling Milo at UC Berkeley

Antifa has been connected with other far-left organizations such as one with the unwieldy name of Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, & Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary, or BAMN.

Antifa activists sometimes stand out from the pack by dressing “head to toe” in black, a style and tactic known as “Black Bloc.”

Antifa has operated with a heightened profile since Trump’s election. During official festivities surrounding Inauguration Day in Washington, Antifa was part of anti-Trump protests and engaged in destruction of property, The Washington Post reported.

In February, Antifa activists took part in fiery protests at and around the University of California, Berkeley.

Antifa joined with others to aggressively oppose a scheduled appearance at UC Berkeley by Milo Yiannopoulos, a British-born libertarian commentator, making Antifa part of the movement to suppress free speech on college campuses.

CNN reported:

Black-clad protesters wearing masks threw commercial-grade fireworks and rocks at police. Some even hurled Molotov cocktails that ignited fires. They also smashed windows of the student union center on the Berkeley campus where the Yiannopoulos event was to be held.

UC Berkeley, which reported $100,000 in damages, canceled that speech.

‘Stir Up the Debate’

In many respects, Antifa appears to exist mostly as a conduit for social media organizing strategies, as opposed to a single organization. Using Facebook, Twitter, and other tools, the network attracts participants in its activities, including its role in the Berkeley protest and the counterprotest in Charlottesville.

The Economist notes:

The biggest impact of American Antifa groups has been to stir up the debate on free speech through their insistence on preventing so-called fascists from expressing themselves, such as at Berkeley in February, where Antifa groups staged violent protests against Milo Yiannopoulos, an alt-right provocateur. Shutting down speech is hardly anti-fascist.

Coverage of Antifa appears to focus narrowly on its opposition to white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations, but a significant number of Antifa members appear to regard Trump and the Republican Party as fascist and racist.

A growing number of videos supporting and attacking Antifa pop up on YouTube and other social media outlets, including this example, a 10-minute video in which two masked young members call themselves socialists.

In an Aug. 8 post about Antifa on the Capital Research Center’s website, four days before the violence in Charlottesville, Jacob Grandstaff wrote:

In Sacramento, California in June 2016, hundreds of Antifa rioters attacked 30-odd members of the white nationalist Traditional Workers Party (TWP). Although Capital Research Center does not support the goals of the TWP, the group had obtained a lawful permit to demonstrate when Antifa protesters violently refused to to allow the group to express its First Amendment rights. In the ensuing melee, 14 people received stab wounds, and two were sent to the hospital in critical condition (they both survived).

Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro posted a video Thursday questioning the left’s embrace of Antifa, which he calls “a violent, communist, anarchist organization”:

‘Vibrating With Anger’

Antifa’s source of funds is as murky as its leadership.

The Capital Research Center’s Vadum told The Daily Signal that the Alliance for Global Justice, associated with hedge fund manager and leftist financier George Soros, “acts as fiscal sponsor for Antifa groups.”

Heritage’s Milikh described two main tactics the left has employed against the Trump administration.

“Since the left currently controls neither Congress nor the White House,” he said, “they decided they will try to rule the public mind and preserve their own power and respectability through two means.”

The first tactic is to propagate and circulate accusations, Milikh said.

“Right now, they have no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government,” he said. “But they have made it their biggest issue, which is used to undermine the president’s powers by turning public opinion against him.”

The second tactic is “deploying well-organized and well-funded protests on the ground,” Milikh said, adding:

Protests are often successful for the left because a willing press often assists their cause by leaving the impression that the entire country—not just a handful of protesters—is vibrating with anger. This in turn teaches viewers the lesson that the bigger and angrier the crowd, the more just their cause. This tactic aims to prevent serious, reasoned public deliberation and debate.

‘Cultural Resistance’

The New York City branch of the Antifa network says on its website that it is keen on using social media to galvanize support.

“NYC ANTIFA is an autonomous blog that is trying through different media (news, videos, and information in general) [to] help to build, defend, educate, and create an effective cultural resistance against fascism,” the website says.

The New York group recently marked its third annual International Day of Solidarity With Antifascist Prisoners, an event detailed and described on its website:

The July 25 International Day of Solidarity With Antifascist Prisoners originated in 2014 as the Day of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman, an Australian man serving a 20-year sentence in Bulgaria for defending two Romani men being attacked by fascist football hooligans. Whether acting as individuals or as part of larger organized demonstrations, this is the kind of bravery and solidarity which defines antifascist actions against the forces of hate.

Since the day of solidarity last year, we have seen this spirit all over the world—in Indonesia, Czech Republic, Brazil, Poland, England, Greece, the United States, France, Syria, Australia, Japan, and all points in between.

Among the fringe groups on the right participating in the so-called “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville, as chronicled on Wikipedia, were clubs of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, the neo-Confederate League of the South, the National Policy Institute, and the National Socialist Movement. Other involved groups include the Ku Klux Klan, the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, the Traditionalist Workers Party, Vanguard America, the American Guard, the Virginia Minutemen Militia, the Nationalist Front, and Anti-Communist Action.

Among liberal and leftist groups identified on Wikipedia as on hand in Charlottesville were Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Anti-Racist Action, the Democratic Socialists of America, the Workers World Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Industrial Workers of the World, the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council, Redneck Revolt, and Showing Up for Racial Justice.

From - The Daily Signal - by Ken McIntyre and Kevin Mooney

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5 years ago

What ever happened to tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, mean dogs, clubbing, just generally ,….these people up? Where is that? Just do it already!

5 years ago

What I notice is that ANTIFA (Anti Fascists) are behaving as FASCISTS do. So, they are demonstrating against themselves and should beat themselves up.

Robert J Schundler
5 years ago

“far-left anarchists” is a misnomer, as is far right NAZI….. one travel to the RIGHT as one wants less and less government control, making anarchist far far RIGHT; and to puts NAZIs to the far far LEFT. The Left/Right line is one of Control …. the less government control the more you move to the RIGHT, the more Government Control the more you more to the LEFT. So “White Nationals” are Left if they want the government to be able to control who is a citizen based on DNA/race, NAZIs are National Socialist placing them on the LEFT …. to say that NAZI are at war with others on the LEFT is not a contradiction since those who want power, do not want others to have power. Also, Anarchist can work with NAZIs and Socialist, and Communist to attack the current govenment …. so they may be united against a government, but not after the government falls. …. so for the most part what took place in Charlottesville was one Left Wing group opposed to another Left Wing Group with a few Right Wing Anarchist ….. but it was mostly Left vs Left, which is why the violence broke out.

5 years ago

Freedom of speech was intended by our forefathers to enhance America through open dialogue not to INCITE. Black Lives Matter, ANTIFA and their like do they enhance dialogue or do they incite. Their goal is to shut down opposing views not to enhance dialogue. ANTIFA should be declared a terrorist organization. Peaceful organization? Not even close>

Constitution of United States of America 1789 (rev. 1992)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

david schwab
5 years ago

This organization sole purpose is to destroy the Trump presidency !!!! They are using domestic terror to obtain their goals. They need to be
classified as domestic terrorists !!!!!!!!~
I would bet they are led by obama/clintons/sorus/democrats/and the media !!!!!!!

5 years ago
Reply to  david schwab

Read full article written in the
New York Post on February 18,2017 by Paul Sperry
Excerpts from article>
The Post reported, OFA (Organizing for Action)boasts more than 250 offices nationwide and more than 32,000 organizers, with another 25,000 actively under training. Since November, it’s beefed up staff and fundraising, though as a “social welfare” nonprofit, it does not have to reveal its donors.

These aren’t typical Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street marchers, but rather professionally trained organizers who go through a six-week training program similar to the training — steeped in Alinsky agitation tactics — Obama received in Chicago when he was a community organizer.

Robert J Schundler
5 years ago
Reply to  PAUL

In other word that are a fat LEFT terrorist organization !

5 years ago

These are Domestic Enemies of the CONSTITUTION! Some are Treasonous Traitors , all are Terrorists. The ANTIFA movement was invented by the old Soviet Bolshevik Communist to over throw governments. We the People must organize the Minute Men Militias . If the Law enforcement and traitors in our government will not stop these attacks on our Freedoms , Rights, Constitution and President then the People will have to. And there are many Millions more Patriots and Veterans then these Criminal A-holes. Americans did not purchase over 65 million firearms in the last 8 years to let ANTIFA Bolshevik Communist or Progressive Socialist Traitors Destroy our Republic. Be Warned!

Robert F. Altman
5 years ago

I spent 20 yrs. in the US Navy, and strongly support anyone having a legitimate PROTEST. However, when a protest becomes a riot, it has crossed the line and become a CRIMINAL activity. That being said, the mess in Charlottesville seems to have been either engineered by the powers that be, or, at best, condoned by them. When the cops are told to do nothing in the face of a highly volatile situation, someone is, at the very least, exercising extremely POOR judgment. Officers have stated that this whole mess has been common knowledge to the city since May. Also, when a group calling itself “Anti-fascist” uses fascist techniques as it’s primary mode of operation, it begs one to question the legitimacy of that group.

Robert J Schundler
5 years ago

Not the Legitimacy … it just means one leftist group is opposed to another leftist group …. Hitler has to do away with all his National Socialist (NAZI) competition before he could take on other parties leaders …. Stalin did the same in russia … the Antifa reminds me of the KKK in the way that attack with their faces hidden.

5 years ago

Beware Antifa …. they claim to fight Fascism but in fact are Fascist themselves …. Fascism is claimed to be a rightwing ideology because of it’s modern origin in Italy prior to ww2 , Nazi’s have been called Fascist , they were in fact National Socialist , Both arising from the overthrow of existing Governments it isn’t bound by the Right …. it’s just Radical National Authoritarianism defined by Dictatorial Power and forcible suppression of opposition …. It rejects Liberalism as the destruction of Societal Norms ….. Sound familiar …. Antifa claims to be anti Fascist …. they aren’t , they aren’t liberal , they violently oppose differing points of view … they are trying … through force to dictate what others can and can’t do and how they have to think all the while destroying past history …… Fascism ….

5 years ago
Reply to  liberaldisgust

Thank you for knowing the true meaning of Nazi. This is often forgotten by the morons who think they know everything.
Socialists as Margaret Thatcher told us will soon run out of other people’s money and will come after anything they can steal.

5 years ago
Reply to  liberaldisgust

I to thought they were Fascist till i read a report from an German Intell Officer and this is what was in the report : The ANTIFA movement was invented by the old Soviet Bolshevik Communist to overthrow governments. They are for Total Communist control. Same as the Hard liners in the old Soviet Union Same as North Korea. Even the “New Russia” does not want them. They are being financed by George Nazi Youth Soros.

5 years ago

anyone who wears a mask to conceal there face is not allowed to protest PERIOD. if so they should be arrested or shot on the spot.

5 years ago
Reply to  dsr

Remember when the Lefties of the past were supposed to be the Peaceniks
Maybe what was supposed to be the Peacenik Left pivoted to violence during the tenure of the Obama administration
Guess they forgot about
Give Peace a Chance

Robert F. Altman
5 years ago
Reply to  dsr

Protests are legitimate airing of grievances. When violence comes into play, it is no longer a “protest,” but a RIOT, which, by definition is a CRIMINAL activity.

5 years ago

Arrest them – this is property destruction – injury to people – how can that be “free speech” – speech means talk, not acting out.

Tom Wilde
5 years ago

They are Domestic Terrorists, plain and simple. Their method is suppression and violence. Period. They are funded by known Globalists who are bent on destroying the United states.

So where are our “brave defenders”? Where is DHS? The FBI? The myriad State agencies? The police? The courts?

While Antifa burns, loots and assaults people in the streets, the courts are trying to jail the law enforcement officers who openly try to uphold the law!

Where is Congress? Especially the yellow snakes in the cowardly two-faced GOP!

They’re all NOWHERE just as their political Party Bosses ordered them to be! That’s where THEY are and that’s where WE are.

Screwed. Lied to. Used. Betrayed!

The next time the s.o.b.s in the GOP send you a letter asking for donations just send it back with a picture of George Soros and ask them why they need donations. Ask them if this guy isn’t giving them enough! After their middle finger to their voting base conduct since November 2016, they’ll never get another dollar from me!

Antifa and the Far Left are rising while the GOP and the Right are standing aside watching!

Tom arrell
5 years ago
Reply to  Tom Wilde

Mr Wilde – you sound very passionate about this entire mess. In a sense that’s good. However I suggest you first get your facts right. and them go full steam ahead for whatever side decide to support. George Soros , from everything I can see has never supported conservatism. He is so far left. he is around the bend . His money has gone to all kinds Democrat races including the current district attorney race in Philadelphia. He has had his hands disrupting the governments in Europe and made a mess of them. Read on Mr. Wilde

Tom Wilde
5 years ago
Reply to  Tom arrell

Soros only supports the Left? Then why did he donate to “Republicans” like John McCain? If McCain is a “Republican” then why is he sabotaging everything he can that Trump and We the People want? Soros has donated to several other key “Republicans” as well.

I am steaming ahead and I have my facts straight. NEITHER of the major American political parties right now is on the side of We the American People. With Mitch the Switch and RINO Ryan in charge the entire GOP is nothing more than the Right Wing of the American Communist Party.

I have nothing but contempt for them all.

5 years ago
Reply to  Tom Wilde

Maybe those Republicans supported by Soros don’t really have conservative values

5 years ago

If the MSM really love America they would stop giving these protester air time on TV and Radio. Sad when ratings are the most important thing. When they stopped showing protesters on TV at sporting events the protesters stopped running out on the Baseball and football fields and on the Basketball courts.

5 years ago

They are a bunch of cowards…plain and simple!

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