The increasing amount of political violence that has accompanied recent political demonstrations has brought the leftist Antifa movement a greater deal of public recognition. That has also led to greater scrutiny of the group and its tendency both to use and promote violence against its opponents.
A recent interview with the founder of an Antifa organization in Washington, DC made it clear that the use of violence is a key tenet of Antifa activists. According to him, the “Nazis” they oppose are intent on creating another genocide and therefore must be stopped from organizing and demonstrating. That line of thinking derives from the same mindset that came up with the concept of “microaggressions,” categorizing common speech and behaviors as examples of racism or aggressive behavior that can be counteracted by force.
Of course, the definition of Nazi as Antifa uses it is broadly slapped onto many of Antifa’s political opponents, from mainstream conservative commentators to leftists with whom Antifa disagrees on matters of policy, strategy, or tactics. But once someone has been tarred with that epithet, regardless of how inaccurate it may be, Antifa agitators see no problem with the use of violence to assault those people and keep them from exercising their rights to speak freely or to peaceably assemble.
That combination of ad hominem attacks, strawmen fallacies, and violence has brought increasing attention to Antifa, leading to warnings from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security that Antifa’s actions constitute domestic terrorist violence.
As anyone who has seen videos of Antifa activists in action can attest, Antifa often attacks people who they think will be easy targets, often with multiple activists attacking a single person or small group of people. Now that Antifa has gained greater recognition, the risk grows that political violence will continue to increase. Violent reactions to Antifa’s antics risk could result in political violence spiraling out of control. Ironically, Antifa’s call to violently suppress those with whom it disagrees could result in the authorities stepping into stomp it out before its violent behavior grows even further out of control.