The presence of the right-wing groups in US politics has also sparked the reaction of the left-wing groups. The most prominent among all of these left-wing organizations is Antifa, meaning Anti-Fascist.
The organization is often seen face to face in conflict with the right-wing groups. The group came into the limelight lately after the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests across the country.
Antifa has also been subjected to various conspiracy theories. The top among them is that the group gets secret foreign funding.
The group was also blamed for its involvement in the January 6 episode; however, the latest reports suggest no connection with the tragedy.
What is Antifa, and how does it work? Let’s see.
Antifa: A Left-Wing Extremism Group
Antifa stands for Anti-fascist. The Antifa movement has been active in Europe since the early 1920s. In the United States, this left-leaning organization was established in 2007 by a former Anti-Racist Action (ARA) member in Portland, Oregon.
The organization aims to dismantle the current economic system of America, capitalism. The organization calls for police defunding and ending systematic racism within the United States.
Not only this, but Antifa also tries to counter right-wing groups like Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and QAnon. In the wake of any movement, these groups often clash with each other, putting the country’s integrity at risk.
To mark their own identity, most of the groups have their own uniform. In this regard, Antifa activists wear black dresses, the history of which can be traced back to the Cold War-era West German anarchists.
In addition to the black dresses, Antifa supporters and organizers also wear masks or helmets to conceal their identity from the opposing groups and the law enforcement agencies.
Most of the far-right white supremacist groups are male-only organizations. However, this is not the case with Antifa.
While it is true that Antifa’s on-field activities are mostly male-dominated, a team of women helps them on the backend, mostly in planning.
Many women members of Antifa have also been arrested on several occasions. These female members have joined this group to oppose the Trump-led White House policies on healthcare, abortion, and immigration.
Trump’s Failure to Label Antifa a Terrorist Organization
Antifa is also accused of being a terrorist organization. The group meets with the standards of a terrorist organization as suggested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Although the FBI said that Antifa is involved in domestic terrorism, still the FBI did not designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.
In 2020, the riots and demonstrations led by Antifa lasted for weeks and in states like Oregon for months. This compelled then President Donald Trump to announce that the federal government would designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.
By doing this, the federal government could take severe military action against the organization.
The voices for scrutiny of Antifa diminished as Donald Trump was not ready to bring the remaining white supremacists organizations to justice.
So, any specific action just against Antifa would have brought other organizations under scrutiny too.
Antifa’s Tactics to Influence the Masses
According to Antifa members, law enforcement in the United States is providing cover to the white supremacists, ending which is one of the goals of Antifa.
The rhetoric became more powerful after the murder of George Floyd.
The use of fists, metal chains, bricks, crowbars, slingshots, and balloons filled with urine and faeces are the typical weapons of Antifa.
The organization has a strong presence on social media, which helps it win the support of the masses immediately in times of need.
Antifa is known for gaining the sympathy of people by playing with their sentiments. They try to trick people emotionally.
They also release personal information about opponents to malign them in the eyes of people and to get them fired from their jobs.
This technique of disclosing personal information is commonly known as “doxing” and is considered unethical in most cultures.
Interestingly, Antifa has no officially nominated leader. It is a leaderless organization with a loosely affiliated strong organizational set-up in the whole country. The organization is bound together with the ideology that they believe in.
The group works in local or small cells that work on their own and often coordinate to carry out big-scale demonstrations.
Antifa took part in BLM protests in significant numbers, which also destroyed the sanctity of the noble cause of BLM.
The BLM protestors were accused of perpetrating violence when, in reality, Antifa was being violent in the peaceful BLM protests.
Conspiracy Theories Against Antifa and Fact Checks
Antifa: A Threat to the USA?
Former President Trump claimed that there is an Antifa threat in the United States. There is no denial of the fact that Antifa is a propagator of left-wing extremism.
But, at the same time, Antifa has never claimed to take over the United States in the way other pro-Trump organizations had.
Since 2017, there has been one death attributed to an Antifa member. However, the data from different sources show that Antifa activities are relatively less violent as compared to white supremacists and possess less threat to the country, contrary to the claim of the former president.
Is Antifa Biden Sponsored?
Joe Biden is often accused of sponsoring Antifa. There is no doubt that Antifa is a pro-Biden organization that supports Joe Biden.
Biden even faced the backlash by calling Antifa “an idea and not the organization” in the presidential debate.
However, other times, Joe Biden has openly opposed Antifa, which also suggests that his support for the left-wing group is not as rigid as Trump’s support of the right-wing groups.
In one of his interviews, a reporter asked Biden, “Do you condemn Antifa?” He replied, “Yes, I do—violence no matter who it is.”
There have also been viral conspiracy theories claiming that the Antifa website redirects to Joe Biden’s site. However, the claim was found to be untrue as Antifa has a different website.
Antifa and the Capitol Hill Riots
This was the most absurd claim made by many right-leaning media outlets that Capitol Hill was infiltrated by Antifa.
The latest investigations suggest that the attackers had no connection with Antifa. Not only this, but the members of the right-wing organizations were also seen on media channels mostly, which is a clear indication that the attack was driven by pro-Trump organizations.
Even if Antifa is less violent than the other organizations, it has a dark history of sparking violence.
Now, when Biden is a president, he has to stay away from all of these types of organizations. Antifa must meet the same fate as the other organizations that are trying to disturb the peace of the United States.
As a president, Biden must not walk Trump’s path by sponsoring any of these organizations. Otherwise, there will be a little difference between them, which the United States cannot afford in these times.