I’ve decided to submit this article anonymously to protect against any potential retaliation.
I like to start off by saying that, although I now disavow Antifa, I will always be Anti-Fascist, against racism and against hatred.
In order to understand Antifa and how they operate and “recruit”, I will start by telling how I became involved with Antifa.
My story beings in the Fall of 2005. I was 15-years-old, a Sophomore in High School and recently had gotten into the underground Punk and Hardcore scene.
It was Friday and my friends and I were pumped about an Oi/Punk/Hardcore show that was taking place that evening in the city. This was only my 4th or 5th show that I had been to, but they were always a good time to be had by all…. until this night.
I was expecting an energetic night filled with punk music and typical teenage shenanigans: sneaking a 40oz in the bathroom with my friends, trying to talk to girls, and feeling like a big shot because the club let you smoke even if you weren’t 18.
Punk shows were awesome to me because they were ours. My best friend was Korean and it was cool to have a place where no one cared about race and they didn’t judge you for having blue hair and shit and you weren’t suffocated by preppies and jocks that we had to deal with in the suburbs.
The night was going perfect, everything felt right, it was one of those magical nights where everyone was being cool and the bands were kicking ass.
All of the sudden, however, my life was about to abruptly change forever…
I heard a commotion towards the front of the club with people yelling, screaming and fighting.
My friends and I moved towards the ruckus and I saw a crazy brawl happening. The band that was playing stopped their set, jumped off the stage and forcefully ran past us and started throwing down with the aggressors.
I was absolutely terrified. Being a scrawny 15-year-old punk kid I ran to the back of the club to get away from the mayhem.
So what was behind all of this chaos?
9 people. 8 men and 1 woman. They were Neo-Nazi skinheads and they came for a battle.
They beat the hell out of the doorman/bouncer to get in and immediately started brawling hard with anyone who tried to stop them . The story I got later was that they were actually there to brawl with the Band who were playing that night.
The most petrifying thing to me was that it took an entire club of people to stop them, with the Trad skins doing most of the heavy lifting. (Trad Skins are traditional skin heads who are against Nazi skinheads and were basically the only reason the nazi-skinheads would eventually flee that night.)
The show was, obviously, cut short and I had to call my mom to come get us early. (Yeah, none of us drove yet)
As I was walking out of the club I was stepping over pools of blood. A 17 year old girl and a 20 year old guy were stabbed (they both survived), one of the Trad skins entire forehead was cut open by a beer bottle and countless people were bloodied up from the fray.
I felt traumatized and alone. There were only 2 cop cars that showed up (who did nothing to pursue the attackers). There were more ambulances in the parking lot than police. The news didn’t do any stories about it, I didn’t hear any mention of it in the following days, it’s like no one really cared about us. The authorities didn’t want anything to do with our petty underworld affairs.
When my mom got there, the ambulances were still there treating people and I remember her being absolutely mortified. (She never liked the idea of me going to punk shows and she thought the ambulances were there because of a mosh pit… bless her).
I told her it was a fight, nothing serious, to try to reassure her that it wasn’t anything to worry about, but consequently I was forbade to go to any more punk shows.
In the following weeks I stayed pretty much in isolation. I felt constantly afraid and sick by what had happened at the club that night. I felt weak and pathetic. I felt like a coward for running to the back of the club in fear. My fear would eventually turn into anger, and my anger would eventually turn into irrational rage.
I finally decided to start going back to shows again despite my mother’s command not to ever go to one again.
The next show I went to was a little different from the Oi/Punk and Hardcore shows I was going to before. I liked mostly hardcore punk but I did like a few crusty/anarcho punk/grindcore bands too (but never had been to an anarcho-crust-punk show before.)
This show was at a College and they were doing some sort of anarchist book fair with the tour, so I felt like it would be safe there (and it was).
This is when I came into contact with Antifa, who had a distro set up with Anti Fascist Action literature and what not.
I was drawn to Antifa because of what I experienced at the club a couple months before that. I felt empowered by a group that aimed to actively address the neo-nazi presence at our shows and take them head on, so I immediately “signed up”.
There is no actual membership to Antifa, you don’t pay dues, you don’t fill out paperwork or anything like that. You just subscribe to the idea of being against Fascism, work together with your “comrades” and you’re in.
I felt like I had a second family with my Antifa brothers and sisters. I felt great to be a part of the resistance… but over time, I noticed something didn’t seem right about them.
My first quibble with Antifa came when I made the statement that I believed in free-markets. I was young, critical of Capitalism and big business, but I still felt that free enterprise was superior to a communist system.
I was quickly and aggressively silenced for having those ideas by the self-styled ‘leaders’ of the organization. There were no official leaders of Antifa, but older and more experienced “veteran members” would often assume that role.
It was explained to me that Capitalism was a patriarchal system that required an infrastructure built on racism, sexism and white power. They claimed capitalism, nor free markets (even in a Libertarian sense) were possible without Anglo-Saxon, imperial dominance over minorities and working class exploitation.
They were convincing, articulated and intelligent, so I accepted what they told me was accurate and I dismissed my stance on free markets.
My second ideological altercation came when I denounced black on white prejudice as being the same as white on black racism. I voiced for true equality and the dismantling of all prejudice against any group.
I was addressed in an almost violent manner and told that the only reason I felt that way was because I was clinging on to a cultural bias that favored white superiority. I was told that racism required a system of power and that because blacks were marginalized that it was impossible for them to exert any power over whites and therefore lacked the ability to be racist themselves.
Coming from a predominately white, wealthy suburban neighborhood, I felt like this was likely the case and I submitted to them and retracted my statements and apologized. I didn’t want to be racist or viewed as such so I listened to everything they told me.
I started to suspect that I was being manipulated. I was watching how they were breaking me down and getting me to conform to their ways, like a cult, but I persisted and my passion towards anti-fascism allowed me to endure and continue my alleigance with the fascist resistance.
After about two years of being into the Anti Fascist movement and essentially adopting their anti-establishment sub-culture, I became a different person from what I was back at the show when I was 15.
I went Freegan (which is like veganism, but you can eat meat if it’s out of a dumpster or was a kick-down), I started traveling, hopping freight trains and living in abandoned buildings with other squatters.
We got our beer money from panhandling in college towns, our food from kick downs or dumpster diving and basically lived as free as we could without bowing down to the “system”.
We rarely were involved in any actual criminal activity. Robbing people was not allowed and highly discouraged and stealing was only permissible when done so from a corporation. But mostly we played it cool and just did our thing.
I ended up staying in Philly for a while. The hardcore and straight edge scene and the anti-fascist skinheads, SHARPS (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice) did a solid job of keeping out the neo-nazis, so it was like a mecca for the underground scene and shows were safe again.
Things were going great for a while, until I went to a show one night that featured a plethora of grindcore, anarchist punk and crust bands and I became disheartened by Antifa once again.
The power was in our hands in those days and in seemed like they lived up to the old adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
A guy was taken out of the show and hospitalized by antifascists. The two main perpetrators were females who beat him up with a monkey wrench and shattered his face up pretty bad.
I tried to get to the bottom of what had transpired but the story seemed mixed up. First they said he was a Nazi, then they said he was a Rapist, and then retracted those claims and nonchalantly said “He was just creepy”.
Apparently the guy was just drunk and trying to hit on the girls and they justified beating him half to death because “he was just creepy”.
I became disillusioned and sought solitude once again. I began to heavily question why no one there was speaking out against the attack. Everyone seemed complacent because the attack was carried out by one of us, even though it was an unnecessary use of force.
Over the next few months I became more and more dislocated from the antifascists because of unjustified violence.
They would beat up someone they thought was a nazi, then justify their mistake by saying “whatever, he was rich”.
It got to the point where they could justify violence against anyone with these loose associations to fascism.
“Oh, it’s cool that we beat him up, he’s friends with someone who denied the holocaust. Oh, it’s cool that we kicked that guy’s ass because he said something sexist. Oh, that guy deserved us stomping him into the ground because he had a ‘Skrewdriver’ song on his windows media player playlist.”
It was insanity and I was beginning to wake up and break their spell over me. And I wasn’t the only one. Many of the Trad Skins, who were more conservative, started distancing themselves from the ultra-left wing antifascists. The focused unity we once had was falling apart.
The last straw, the straw that broke the camels back, for me, was when I reluctantly decided to give them another chance. I went to a meet up with a large number of antifas to discuss an upcoming neo-nazi rally that we wanted to protest.
In this meeting, that took place in an abandoned warehouse downtown, people were seriously putting ideas on the table that involved shooting bus tires out that would be transporting the neo-nazis to the rally, effectively making the bus crash, and then savagely beating up anyone, including the driver (because he was enabling them), that was on the bus.
They never used any guns, but I knew at that point that I was involved in gang warfare and it was time to get out before it was too late.
I got my life together and never looked back.
For years I stayed silent about Antifa, because in reality most of them were good kids like I was who just got too deep into ideology, idealism and this whole anarcho-punk sub-culture.
The movement hooks you in because you want to stand up against fascism but most of the kids don’t realize they’re joining a militant communist organization with cult-like, rigid rules.
What happened in UC Berkeley sparked me to write this expose`. I don’t particularly care for Milo Yiannapolous but I can tell you with certainty, being someone who had encountered actual neo-nazis in my life on several occasions, that this guy is not a Nazi and they know that.
Antifa was just using their ‘loose association’ ideology in order to justify attacks against people with conservative ideas, because they fear the man’s ability to gain strength against them.
One thing that I noticed that conservative news outlets often conceptualize inaccurately is that Antifa are merely emotional liberals who are dissatisfied with Trump’s victory.
It’s important to understand that this is not the case. Antifa are not liberals by any stretch of the imagination. They are very far-left and do not align with liberal ideology. Most of the veteran Antifas I knew were in full support of Asian, Middle-Asian, African and European guerrilla revolutionaries that were fighting in communist uprisings. Namely the support of the Communist Party of India, known as Maoists, to which they gave their unconditional support to.
Antifa are left-wing extremists, not your run-of-the-mill liberal “social justice warrior” type. (even though they seem similar). This makes Antifa very dangerous and should be considered a real threat; an equal if not greater threat than National Socialist and white nationalist groups.
My advice to young people who are thinking about joining up with hate groups or extremist groups would be to seek balance in your life. Seek compassion and kindheartedness. Extremism is a dangerous objective no matter which side of the field you’re on. Always keep your own identity, think for yourself and be rational. Be an individual. You can have your ideas and your passions but don’t let them consume you the way I let them consume me. Chaos and violence only lead to more chaos and violence and much consideration must be implemented to understand when it is absolutely necessary to use force. It’s almost always better to not use force. The pen is mightier than the sword and the individual can often be stronger than the group. We’re all human and we all need to stop the craziness and try to function like loving and caring human beings.
Stay away from Antifa, they’re just another hate group cloaked as freedom fighters.
Peace, love and best wishes. Thank you for reading.