Trumpists Declare War on antifa — A Group That Technically Doesn’t Exist
President Donald Trump is a documented serial liar. He lies about his weight, height, health and his finances. He even tried to convince the press that he didn’t tear-gas peaceful protesters to stage an obscene photo op at St. John’s church. So naturally, he also lies about policy. His demonization of “antifa,” a loose-knit collective of far-left activists, is also a lie.
For those of you who don’t know what “antifa” is, here’s a primer. The group is a collective that has no defined leader, organizational structure or base of operation. It operates like Anonymous, the hacker collective which shares the same amorphous structure. Both groups are like the mythical hydra, cut off one head and two more grow back.
Antifa is a leaderless group
Antifa is short for anti-fascist, and the group became prominent over the last few years for taking violent, direct action against fascist groups such as the Proud Boys. This action is often street fights where antifa activists battle fascist groups with their fists.
However, the group is literally willing to put their bodies on the line. During the Charlottesville-Unite the Right march they formed a human wall to protect other activists holding a meeting in a church, according to Dr. Cornel West.
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“Antifa’ isn’t an organization. There’s no membership, no meetings, no dues, no rules, no leaders, no structure. It is, literally, an idea and nothing more. Even the claim of this author to represent ‘Antifa’ is one made unilaterally for the purposes of this communication and nothing more; there is no governing body nor trademark owner to dispute the author’s right to represent,” according to a statement posted on Facebook.
The group’s political agenda is overtly progressive. They’re in favor of issues such as universal healthcare, affordable college education, guaranteed housing and universal basic income.
Republicans Are Clueless About antifa
Antifa, which technically doesn’t exist in the physical world, is not a terrorist group and couldn’t be designated as one. The U.S. government can only formally designate foreign organizations as terrorist groups. Local antifa activists are Americans. If they break the law, it would be up to the FBI to arrest them.
And while the Trump administration wants to go to war with an organization that technically doesn’t exist, the FBI has stated antifa is not responsible for the civil unrest currently rocking the nation.
The Nation quoted an FBI report that stated the agency ‘has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence.”
Much of the violence during the recent unrest comes from the far-right. This includes anti-government groups, often known as “boogaloo bois,” who have been looking to start a second civil war for a long time.
Some of them have been acting as agent provocateurs (undercover operatives who create unrest,) such as the mysterious “Umbrella Man.” He was a figure, clad in all-black, who was photographed breaking windows in Minnesota, Minn. His identity remains a mystery.
“If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let’s see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they’re facing off with the 101st Airborne Division,” said Sen. Tom Cotton in a tweet. This is singularly the dumbest statement I’ve read in a while. So you want to use a heavily-armed military unit to hunt down a tiny group of activists who get into fistfights with Nazis? That would be like using a nuclear weapon to destroy a mosquito! Also, it would literally be fascism because it would require soldiers kicking in doors and dragging Americans out of their homes.
Additionally, CBS News reported that Twitter recently shut down a fake account that was operated by a white supremacist group pretending to be antifa.
However, antifa seems to have become a buzzword among right-wingers for far-left activists (probably because it sounds foreign and scary.) And from their comments, it’s obvious they’re either lying or clueless.
On May 31, Trump tweeted, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” Again, technically antifa doesn’t exist and he can’t do that.
Attorney General William Barr, who ought to know better since he oversees the FBI, said, “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”
But the comments from other Republicans were just plain idiotic. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) tweeted, “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?” That tweet was quickly censored by Twitter for inciting violence.
Using the Military to Hunt Antifa is a Dumb Idea
However, the singular worst comment was from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who called for using the 101st Airborne to hunt down “antifa.”
“If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let’s see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they’re facing off with the 101st Airborne Division,” said Cotton in a tweet.
This is singularly the dumbest statement I’ve read in a while. So you want to use a heavily-armed military unit to hunt down a tiny group of activists who get into fistfights with Nazis? That would be like using a nuclear weapon to destroy a mosquito! Also, it would literally be fascism because it would require soldiers kicking in doors and dragging Americans out of their homes.
And Cotton, who served in Iraq, ought to know the huge U.S. military does a terrible job hunting down small, highly-mobile insurgent groups. The New York Times recently published a lengthy article detailing how the U.S. military failed to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban won by simply waiting out American forces.
Blaming antifa for the anti-police riots is false, but when did the GOP ever stop a lie get in the way of a good story? A May 29 Huffington Post article featured several Trump voters who had soured on him. They said they voted for Trump because he was a “successful businessman” — another lie.