What Is ANTIFA?
Carlee Sutera Student, Rutgers Law School
Lukasz Dylka from Pixabay
In response to the protests around the country calling for change, there has been a lot of misinformation.
Much of this misinformation has included rumors about ANTIFA. The President tweeted that the United States will declare ANTIFA a terrorist organization.
But what is ANTIFA really? Do you need to be worried they’re coming to your neighborhood?
ANTIFA stands for ‘anti-fascist.’
It is more of a political ideology or movement, than it is a cohesive group.
Antifascist movements can be traced to as early as 1920s Italy, when Mussolini first coined the term “fascism.”
Fascism, as defined by Merriam Webster, is a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual. Fascism supports a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
Anti-fascism is the idea that fascism stands against basic human rights and democracy. Antifa is essentially a pro-democracy ideology.
Antifa movements sprung up throughout WWII, and even in the 1980s, when punk-rock communities fought against neo-nazis.
Groups that believe in the anti-fascist ideology will sometimes organize under the name ANTIFA, such as Rose City ANTIFA in Portland, Oregon, but there is no single ANTIFA organization.
While Antifa is regularly associated with the radical left in America, anti-fascists were originally, and still can be, from a range of different political affiliations.
Why are we seeing tweets of ‘ANTIFA’ threatening violence?
Recently, there have been posts circulating around social media saying that ANTIFA is threatening violence against certain communities.
Donald Trump Jr, in a now-deleted Instagram post, claimed that ANTIFA is a terrorist organization. But where is this misinformation coming from?
One main source of misinformation was a newly created twitter account @ANTIFA_US that was claiming to belong to a national ANTIFA organization. The account was tweeting messages such as “Tonight’s the night, Comrades,” “Tonight we say 'F--- The City' and we move into the residential areas... the white hoods.... and we take what's ours …”
The account was later suspended after being linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa.
There have been multiple false rumors spreading around social media that ANTIFA is organizing bus rides to take protesters into white neighborhoods to loot homes.
Many feel these rumors are attempts to delegitimize the Black Lives Matter movement.Some also hope such protests will turn people against each other. In places like Idaho and South Dakota, police have had to spend time and resources to prove these claims are false.