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What is Antifa?

Antifa. Donald Trump has called them a centralized, far-left organization. Joe Biden has claimed that Antifa is an "idea, not an organization." Who is right? The fact is, neither is correct. Antifa as both a militant organization and an idea was founded in the early 1930s. It was an anti-fascist organization that was aimed primarily at resisting the rising fascist regimes of the early twentieth century. Once those fascist regimes fell, Antifa's membership faltered and was nearly nonexistent for decades.


As of late, however, the number of people who consider themselves Antifa members has since increased greatly. With this new influx of primarily left-leaning members, the goals of Antifa have changed. Though still officially an antifascist organization, many members have broadened the term "anti-fascist" to also include right-leaning conservatives, and specifically Trump supporters.



Antifa as an idea, which Joe Biden has referenced, is anti-fascist. It is a decentralized, militant movement to put a stop to fascism. Antifa served a good purpose in the midst of fascist regimes such as Mussolini's Italy, or Hitler's Germany. But the founding ideas behind Antifa no longer serves any practical purpose. That is why membership dropped so significantly after the mid-1900s. Fascism as an ideology has mostly died out, and most regimes that undergo great ideological changes today become more socialist by nature. You can learn more about the differences between socialism and fascism here.


Despite there being no practical use for the organization, Antifa has remained. Still decentralized by nature, Antifa continues to claim their primary goal is anti-fascism, though they also claim fascism is a far-right ideology, which is not really true. Learn more here.


Simply put, most members of Antifa today really are just radical left anti-conservatives, though Antifa as an idea was not intended to simply be anti-conservative. As an idea, Antifa remains an antifascist movement. But in practice, its members have used its anti-fascist views as a cover to persecute conservative Americans across the country.


Antifa's member base has changed radically since the creation of the organization. Though it served a virtuous cause at one time, it has since morphed into a militant, anti-right coalition. Any claims otherwise can be countered easily by viewing the actions of members of the organization. Militant organizations within a democracy are never good, no matter what views they hold, and it is my hope that their momentum is swiftly put to an end, and that those seeking change attempt to do so through elections, not violence.


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Sources:

ADL's take on Antifa https://www.adl.org/antifa

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