In this extended analysis of Antifa’s influence and structure, The Slog deconstructs the positive image the organisation tries to portray, and raises serious issues for anyone tempted to support it. In particular, there are awkward questions for Momentum, Diane Abbott and the British Labour movement to answer.
Researching the coverage of Antifa’s antics in the mass media, one cannot help but discern a certain reticence to come out and call a spade a spade. Its confrontations with liberal-defined “Far Right” organisations are almost always identified in terms that include a smear-description like Nazi, neo-Nazi or racist for the object of abuse, but only ever the heroic “anti-fascist” nomenclature for Antifa itself.
So let’s open by saying what Antifa is about, rather than what it is against. It is an organisation that embraces the use of violence, and is openly dedicated to the destruction of capitalism. In its ranks are various factions – anarchist, Stalinist and other elements of extreme Left intolerance – who have in the past either fallen out with, or been ejected by – libero-socialist democrats. It is obsessively secretive about its funding, key figures and locations….yet seeks to invade the permitted manifestations of those of whom it disapproves.
You can visit its various websites for clear evidence on all these points. But the illustrations on header pages make clear that their mission involves the use of violence:
Clearly seen above are clubs, kicking and a featured comrade armed with a rifle. Another page on the site shows their preferred attire:
Very ISIS, wouldn’t you say? Their banners, use of black, propensity for carrying truncheons and sporting of “bovver boots” suggest Sturm Abteilung tendencies. But they recently told CNN that ‘that their goal is peace and inclusivity’. Well, actions speak louder than words:
Although its branding chooses to suggest that its sole concern is to combat Fascism, in rare interviews (usually from behind black scarves) its members freely admit to the condoning of violence “in the name of eradicating hatred” – however Antifa chooses to define the word. The Spanish Inquisition had a similar outlook on life. As violence and hatred are inextricably linked, their assertion is utterly infantile; but then, most Brechtian ‘principles’ are.
In turn, the organisation is not forthcoming about either who runs it, or who supports it. It is organised in a manner that suggests a melodramatic self-view as ‘the Resistance’, and thus it is highly devolved and apparently loosely arranged, with a need-to-know basis being to the fore. All very Maquis.
‘About Us’ on its websites reveals nothing about them at all….merely ways in which you can reveal yourself to them. They are very concerned to silence any and all opposing viewpoints: earlier this year, Antifa activists smashed windows and set fires during protests at the University of California, leading to the cancellation of far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and the withdrawal of Ann Coulter as a speaker.
It is however symptomatic of Antifa’s hypocrisy (in overall media positioning) that the anti-fascist raison-d’etre behind which they hide is false: they are in fact against any organisation that is either Right wing, and/or prepared to coexist with the capitalist system. They harrassed Patriot Prayer, Donald Trump supporters and the likes of Coulter long before they targeted the miniscule KKK brigade.
Coulter is an American conservative social and political commentator, writer, syndicated columnist, and lawyer. She frequently appears on television, radio, and as a speaker at public and private events. The idea that she is a fascist is beyond silly. Bernie Sanders said recently, “Obviously, Ann Coulter is outrageous……to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two cents’ worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation.”
So if you’re for Sanders, then be clear about it: Sanders is not for Antifa. A fortnight ago, 250,000 cross-party Americans of all ages signed a petition calling on Congress to declare it a terrorist organisation.
A terrorist is someone who uses violence and intimidation to achieve certain ends. To me, this is and always has been the point at which liberal democratic, tolerance has to draw the line: the use of terror is never justified. Antifa members expressly do not eschew violence: “We are unapologetic about the reality that fighting fascism requires physical militancy,” says the Rose City Antifa Facebook page.
Actually, the best way to fight any intolerant group is to render it illegal if it will not publicly reject the use of violence. But apologists for Antifa say the rise of fascism in the 1930s demonstrates that it was a mistake to allow such groups to air their views. This is nonsense: although Hitler after 1930 by claimed to renounce violence, where the Weimar State went wrong was to allow his Party continued legality despite obvious evidence that his promise was in bad faith. Only 31% of Germans ever voted for Hitler in free elections.
Hitler created the Nazi State by exploiting fear of a non-existent Communist insurrection.Today, Antifa’s goal is to undermine democracy by exploiting fear of a non-existent Nazi threat.
The idea that it only turns nasty against Nazis is very easy to debunk. For instance, in June this yar, Antifa forces turned out to protest a pro-Trump free-speech rally in Portland. After Antifa members threw missiles at the police, the latter responded with flash grenades and pepper balls. Later the same month, Antifa violently confronted Patriot Prayer, a free speech group protesting “political correctness and hatred” at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Eight days ago (August 23rd) they openly caused violence at a Trump rally in Phoenix Arizona. All three of these instances had zero connection to or relationship with neo-Nazis, the KKK, or any other Rightist group associated with White supremacy.
But what of Antifa in a European context?
Owen Jones is a Labour Party member, journalist and prominent left-wing activist with a long history of equivocal views about free speech. Like Antifa, he is fond of professing violence:
I love Owen’s use of the personal pronoun “we”, given that he was minus 39 years old when genuine fascism was last defeated. The USSR, of course, played a major role in defeating fascism: it’s just such a shame that having done so, they displayed such naked fascism by invading Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, when Owen was minus 28 and minus 16 years old respectively. But then, fascism comes in all the sizes and all the colours.
Like Antifa, Owen Jones is keen on smashing and clenched fists. But he has so far avoided any overt support for them: as we shall see, even this endemically intolerant young man has serious reservations about Antifa, and its infiltrational skills.
The organisation was established in Britain during 1985 as Anti-Fascist Action, whose logo is in keeping with the general line:
Nothing like a Molotov cocktail when it comes to starting a fire. It isn’t, however, a symbol with which many genuine liberal democrats would identify. It splintered (as Leftist groups nearly always do) but was relaunched in 1989 by Red Action, a group founded by disillusioned militant anti-fascist ex-SWP members who had criticised the allegedly populist or popular front politics of that other scion of non-existent Nazism, the Anti-Nazi League…heavily promoted, you’ll recall, by Labour Minister Peter Hain. Red Action’s view was that Molotov cocktails were too soppy: the need now was for something more subtle and effective – like steel-tipped boots, facial scarves, and cloaks in which to hide the petrol bombs.
In the 1980s, more splinters, purges and breakups had reduced the group to chaos, and by 2001 it had all but disappeared. However, Red Action and other elements kept the flame alive, and by 2011 it had adopted the Antifa parent branding. A recent confrontation with British neo-Nazis offered this (ringed) evidence as to the close resemblance to the US parent:
“We are in the fightin’ Nazis business,’ says Antifa member and The Nation journalist Natasha Lennard, “Antifa are vowing that all far-right events will be bombarded and besieged.”
Until they are smashed, no doubt. As in this clip of UK White Nationalist Richard Spencer being punched by an Antifa member earlier this year. Ms Lennard wrote a piece immediately afterwards, titled Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer Got Punched—You Can Thank the Black Bloc. She added in the copy beneath this header, ‘The alt-right poster boy stumbles away, and his anonymous attacker bounds out of sight in an instant. I don’t know who threw the punch, but I know by his unofficial uniform that this was a member of our black bloc that day. And anyone enjoying the Nazi-bashing clip (and many are) should know that they’re watching anti-fascist bloc tactics par excellence—pure kinetic beauty. If you want to thank Spencer’s puncher, thank the black bloc.’
Wow. Natasha Lennard doesn’t just embrace violence, she positively leaps onto its gigantic dick and enjoys multiple orgasms. So there’s the Antifa message for us all: it’s good to punch people you don’t like.
But be aware of something very important: like the rest of Antifa, British born, transatlantic Natasha has a definition of “neo-Nazi” longer and broader than an ocean-going oil tanker.
Anti-Fascists Will Fight Trump’s Fascism in the Streets she headed a January article, an interesting way to start a piece given that Trump has no history of political violence, got elected to the Presidency, and has a Jewish son-in-law. But then, making bogus connections between right wing attitudes and Nazism is Antifa’s raison d’etre: for it is vital to position one’s enemies as Hitlerists in order to justify gratuitous violence and thus (somehow) stay within the bounds of acceptability. This is why she continues into the article thus:
‘We can deploy the “fascism” moniker to Trump’s ascendance by recognizing features like selective populism, nationalism, racism, traditionalism, the deployment of Newspeak and disregard for reasoned debate…..It is constitutive of its fascism that it demands a different sort of opposition.’
Well then, that’s a really cool self-fulfilling process for saying, “I call it a name and thus oppose it violently on the basis of its name”. Of course, the analysis falls down on the inclusion of words like traditionalism….and then disappears round the S-bend when you read the opening subhead of her article:
‘antifa activists refuse any dialogue with Trumpism’
the logical conclusion from which is that Natasha thinks no dialogue is better than reasoned dialogue. Cognitive dissonance on this scale is truly historic. It’s the sort of thinking that had the original Nazis giving their Japanese allies the status of ‘honorary Aryans’. And not dissimilar to the double standards that allowed Joe Stalin to enter into the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact.
So much for the alt-Left pinup girl. However, she is one of the very few out of the closet: look all you like for proof of Antifa membership in the UK, and you will largely draw a blank.
But that’s not so true when it comes to their fellow-travellers. Like Diane Abbott. The Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington was among those who travelled to Dover to join the Antifa protest in January 2016.
Bridget Chapman, chairman of Kent Anti Racism Network, told KentOnline at the time, “We’re here today because there’s been a big demonstration called by fascists. It’s about the fourth time in a year they’ve had a far-right demonstration. We want to very peacefully and responsibly say to the fascists that they are not welcome in our town.”
Peace and responsibility turned into this:
An Antifa-dominated crowd confronts police at Dover….
…..breaks through the lines, and attacks the neo-Nazis.
Unlike at Charlottesville, there was little or no debate about this having been the course of events: the press took hordes of shots, and the police report confirmed it. And here’s Diane enjoying the day, with prominent Labour poster in the background:
And here’s someone who didn’t enjoy it quite so much…
Just to be clear for the hard of thinking, the knuckle-dragger above is a self-confessed neo-Nazi White Supremacist. He isn’t exactly an advertisement for the Master Race, for the simple reason that he’s fat, thick and violent.
But until he does something against the Law, he is entitled to express his views. If in doing so he incites racial hatred, the idea is that he gets arrested. Not charged by an equally unpleasant mob called Antifa. That’s how it’s supposed to work in a democracy. But it’s not how Antifa views the world.
I have a history stretching back 58 years of close relationships among the Jewish, Chinese and West Indian communities, and am myself the product of a religiously mixed marriage. But Antifa should rename itself Antithesis when it comes to liberal democracy and the Rule of Law. And much as I abhor everything pathetic White supermacist willy-pullers stand for, they have the right to speak and assemble peacefully, undisturbed by mirror-image thugs.
Diane Abbott doesn’t agree. She categorically refused to condemn the action in Dover, and in doing so she is at least consistent. She failed in the past to condemn IRA violence, saying “Ireland is our struggle — every defeat of the British state is a victory for all of us.” She then went off and became a member of that State….up to but not including the State education system: she educated her son at private school. Verily, the girl who put the hype into hyocrisy.
She has also defended Mao Tse Tung, saying he did “more good than harm”. And called the Home Office “fundamentally the most racist organisation in the world”. And was taken to a task on Question Time by a furious audience member who demanded she apologise for branding Leave voters racist. In July 2017, she even branded supporters of fossil fuel development racist.
Like her boss and former lover Jeremy Corbyn, she refuses to condemn violence by any organisation on the Left, and has been overheard many times in private blaming all black London riots on police violence. I’m not a fan of the Met Police, but as a viewpoint that is frankly deranged.
Finally in the UK, we need to be clear on the Momentum thing. The hard(ish) Left outfit that helped propel Corbyn to power and popularity attended the Antifa rally against a National Front demo in January 2016. This is how they presented themselves:
Look familiar? I mean, why do Momentum blokes – all squeaky-clean and above board – need to sport the trademark Blackbloc shades-and-scarves bollocks? Haven’t they said several times they reject violence?
Well sadly, they renounced their anti-violence stand last December. Listen, the fascists are on the march, right? I mean, it’s time to stand up and be counted, innit? As one Momentum member said after the last General Election, if things don’t go their way after the next Labour defeat “we must use all means at our disposal to dismantle the fascist State”.
I too would like to stop the corporate fascist State from coming to pass. But violence is not necessary in order to achieve that. Even the unlovely Owen Jones – who writes drivel like ‘a harsh chaotic Brexit that threatens devastating consequences for jobs, living standards and the economy and a resurgent populist right, headed by president-elect Donald Trump….’ – writes of Momentum’s new direction ‘Momentum – the grassroots movement set up in the aftermath of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory – is currently facing a takeover bid by Trotskyist sectarians’.
I think you’re a bit be’ind the music there, boyo: the December reversal of its anti-violence pledge confirms it. As ever though, Owen “Not quite the only gay in the village of Smashing” Jones look you is being disingenuous with his generalised descriptor ‘Trotskyist sectarians’: he knows perfectly well that elements (powerful enough in Momentum to have pushed through the U-turn on violence at Executive level) envy the publicity received by Antifa – and are actively cooperating with some of its members at key times. And he also knows there is a dissonance between his whitewash of Antifa at Charlottesville on the one hand, and his concerns about Momentum on the other.
Or perhaps Owen the Time traveller has also changed his mind since last December…and decided that Antifa’s carpe diem is the future. It’s hard to tell in this, the age of Invasion of the Brain Snatchers.
And so into the theatre of mainland Europe.
I’ve been talking with friends and contacts in Hungary of late. The Opposition there -composed largely of former USSR apparatchiks (“loyal” this week to Brussels) and thus heavily bankrolled by George Soros – has, I understand, called in some leading Antifa lights in Europe to “help us counter the fascist policies of Viktor Orban”.
As I have written many times before, Orban is a democratic nationalist, not a fascist. He is anti-Islam, but then increasing numbers of us are these days – and he has been proved so prescient about the danger of Islamist migration and EU federalism in recent years, it is a foolish person who decides to ignore this controversial but hugely intelligent man.
Anyway, it seems he is about to become the new target of “anti-fascism”, and I hear Antifa are keen as mustard to get involved. You see, anti-fascism is good for business: according to James Anderson, one of a group of people who run the popular anti-fascist and anarchist news site It’s Going Down, interest has spiked since Trump’s election. The site, which received around 300 hits daily in 2015, now gets 10-20,000 hits a day depending on the celebrity of its victims: since the events in Charlottesville, the It’s Going Down Twitter page has gained 2,000 new followers.
Declaring oneself to be “anti-fascist” suffers from the ridiculously sanctimonious unwritten suggestion that lots of people in society are not anti-fascist: “It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it”. Because decent people with a commonsense outlook have antipathy to Nazi views almost hardwired in from childhood, it often becomes necessary for the hard Left rainbow to smear traditional ways of thinking with fascist or racist overtones. Hence the Jo Cox, UKIP, Leaver, Trump and Viktor Orban accusations of recent years.
So now it’s Orban’s turn. But Antifa action in Hungary will line the outfit up alongside all those other nice people like Dijesslbleom, Schäuble, Juncker and Barnier so keen to topple anyone who believes in sovereign rights. The ultimate anti-national identity bankroller is, of course, George Soros.
God’s messenger on Earth moves in mysterious ways. Soros is clearly listed in hundreds of articles as a large donor to Black Lives Matter (he has never denied it) an organisation closely allied to Antifa by Blackbloc. In turn, this year the Soros-backed group Alliance for Global Justice gave $50,000 to the militant group Refuse Fascism.
The best (as in, most convincing) video on the subject of Soros’s MO of Secretive Second-Hand donations to Leftist violence can be viewed here:
I don’t profess to know what drives Soros (whose name is esperanto for “soaring” – make sense of that if you can) because his entire life seems to me one of impenetrably obfuscated motives. But in one thing he is consistent: support on many levels for globalist controlling bastards.
There are as many theories about his goals as there are years totted up on his ageometer. But the dismissal of his activities (against all those who want to be left in peace to differ from the Mob) as ‘paranoia’ is a narrative holding less water than multiply-holed bucket.
In France, Antifa is organised on the same devolved and apparently ethereal basis as pertains in the US, but the following organisations claim allegiance to it:
Yet again, the branding is something of a giveaway – hordes, rebellion, scalping and rage – as is the connection to familiar branding symbols:
Antifa International’s policy – viz, to give almost nothing away in social media. You would expect an anti-fascist movement, for instance to believe in Freedom of Information…..but go to the Facebook link to antifa int and you will find a club that doesn’t want anyone as a member who isn’t already an approved, on-message member.
It’s hardly surprising that Antifa militancy is widespread in France: it has a massive target in terms of Marine LePen’s Front Nationale, a hard-Right nationalist Party that provided the only telling opposition to Emmanuelle Macron in this year’s Presidential election campaign. From February through to May, Antifa disrupted FN meetings so consistently, LePen herself accused the Macron camp of “covertly supporting the use of Antifa forces” to subvert her campaign.
In fact, Antifa failed so totally to put FN voters off, she beat both the Republicain (formerly UMP) and Socialist establishment Parties to win a place in the final run-off against her “centrist” opponent. Macron became President because traditional voters abstained in the second round, and young people flocked to his cause. Both the socialist and communist Parties in France were embarassed and annoyed by Antifa’s violence.
How much right of assembly and speech one gives to extremists in a liberal democracy has always been (and will remain) a moral maze. My own feeling has always been that, if credible evidence comes to light of any organisation’s willingness to use violence in pursuit of suppressing individual citizen freedoms, then that organisation should be subject to strict controls and, if necessary, face a total ban from organising as a political force.
Even there, however, I recognise the dissonance between free speech for everyone, and banning any public incitement to overthrow the system. But what one should never do is set one system-hater to work at cancelling out another one: that simply publicises the defendant, while legitimising the prosecutor.
Since Charlottesville, the actions of Antifa have given an insignificant rabble called the KKK global publicity, and been a shot in the arm for Southern State racism. But even after that “achievement”, the Klan remains nothing more than the petrified egg of a dinosaur that died over sixty years ago. To target it for anti-fascist action (since 1935, it has been responsible for 31 deaths in the United States) when Islamist violence on a globally industrial scale goes unpunished should strike any objective observer as a very odd set of priorities.
Every element of Islamism is suffused with fascism, hatred, misogyny and murder: the Salafist ideology alone carried out 664 attacks that killed 5,042 people in November 2016, and in Jordan last year, 25% of all female homicides were Sharia honour related attacks on Muslim wives. Global deaths from Islamic terrorism totalled 29,000 in 2016 – a growth of 280% since 2010.
Yet I have been unable to find a single instance of Antifa taking on Islamist demonstrations. But what I can say is that George Soros is up to his neck in the covert support of widespread illegal migrants from Muslim Africa to Italy and Spain.
Soros will back anyone and anything that sows confusion, division and anarchy in a sovereign State: so his support for Islamist migration and Antifa violence at one and the same time represents no conflict at all. As I noted earlier, nobody has yet come up with definitive evidence to prove his real motives for so doing, but one thing is for sure: he dislikes national units, and supports geopolitical blocs where he can exert influence on a scale to satisfy his obscenely engorged ego.
This essay is dedicated to all those who see Antifa as in some sense “relative good guys” – with one genuine plea: think again.