Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Biden and Trump Are Both Right on Antifa

If there is one truism about Americans, it is that Americans do everything half-assed. American fascists are half-assed fascists. American communists are half-assed communists. American religious fundamentalists are half-assed fundamentalists. American anarchists are half-assed anarchists. Groups like Antifa or BLM are rookie leaguers compared to insurrectionary groups in other nations or even from the American past, like the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. The BPP would get into hours-long shootouts with the pigs, and the WU bombed the US capitol building. Has Antifa or BLM done anything comparable?

By Jillian Kay Melchior

Wall Street Journal

What is antifa? “An idea, not an organization,” Joe Biden said during Tuesday’s debate. “When a bat hits you over the head, that’s not an idea,” President Trump countered. “Antifa is a dangerous, radical group.” Both men are right—Mr. Biden that antifa is foremost an ideology, and Mr. Trump about its propensity for violence.

Some adherents I’ve interviewed describe antifa as a radical leftist political affiliation or movement. They pride themselves on being leaderless and not hierarchical, and “membership” is more a matter of self-profession than enlistment. The core belief is a duty to oppose “fascists,” “bigots” and the “alt-right,” though these terms are seldom defined. Some adherents fall back on a definist fallacy: Antifa is short for “antifascist,” so anyone who doesn’t support it must be pro-fascist.

The lack of formal structure and leadership doesn’t mean antifa is unorganized. Individual activists often issue “calls for action” on social media, urging like-minded people to join them in the streets. The rallying cry is boosted by anarchists, socialists, social-justice activists, far-left nonprofits, clergy and others—some of whom call themselves antifa and some not. Turnout at protests or rallies is spontaneous, and to the extent that there are antifa groups, they’re small and intimate. “The phrase that leftists use is ‘affinity groups,’ ” says Mark Bray, author of “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” a sympathetic history. “They are basically people who know each other well and can plan to attend actions together and sometimes will have a division of tasks.”




Leave a Reply