Antifa Tactics Hurt More Than Help

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: taxonomy_term in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 518 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /home/swiftcounty/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
admin's picture

Antifa Tactics Hurt More Than Help                                                                                                                                                                                             

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

                                                                                                                                                                                                   Strength does not come from
                                                                                                                                                                                    physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mahatma Gandhi

When President Donald Trump said there were “some very fine people” among the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Klu Klux Klan members at the white power rally in Charlottesville, VA, a couple weeks ago, he was soundly and rightly criticized by both Republicans and Democrats.

Trump further got himself in trouble by waiting two days before condemning the far right groups in a prepared statement that lacked any feeling of sincerity. His tepid criticism was countered by laying blame for the violence on “many sides,” despite one of the far right protesters killing 32-year-old Heather Hyer when he rammed his car into those rallying against the white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

His speech, though critical of their groups, was praised by former grand wizard of the KKK David Duke: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa,” he Tweeted.

White supremacist leader Richard Spencer Tweeted that Trump “cares about the truth” and that his “statement was fair and down to earth.”

Trump’s anti-immigrant stands, his support of changes in voting laws that make it more difficult for people of color to vote, his banning people of six Middle East countries who are primarily of the Muslim faith from entering America, his banning of transgender Americans from serving in the military, and his promotion of building a wall along the Mexican border are all stands of those who marched on the far right in Charlottesville see as aligning with their cause. They love Trump. He has their back.

Trump would have been stripped of any moral authority in his criticism of those who were protesting the march of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis except for the actions of one group who showed up dressed in black, wearing helmets and masks, bearing shields and carrying sticks.

Antifa, a leftist group getting its name from its anti-fascist stands, was at the Charlottesville march to confront the far right groups – with violence if necessary. They claimed to have been there to protect the people who were protesting against the far right marchers – and they may have been needed.

 “We would have been crushed like cockroaches if it were not for the anarchists and the anti-fascists,” Black political activist, author and leftist philosopher, Cornel West said.

But confronting potential violence with a willingness to commit violence degrades the moral high ground of those who stand against the KKK, neo-Nazis and supremacists.

Fascism is a form of government headed by a dictator who has complete power to forcibly suppress opposition parties and individuals. Any criticism and you end up in jail or dead. It is a government that emphasis extreme nationalism and embodies racist stands. Think of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy in World War II.

Members of antifa stand for honorable goals – they support equality for people of all races, for people of all sexual orientations, and for economic equality (they see our capitalist system as heavily and unfairly weighted in favor of the wealthy.) They support migrants and refugees.

But while their movement has honorable goals their tactics are anything but honorable. They justify their willingness, and readiness, to use violent means against what they see as fascist groups like the KKK, white supremacists and neo-Nazis as a pre-emptive strike preventing them from gaining a foothold in America. Perhaps, if there would have been an antifa in Germany Hitler would never have come to power, they believe.

In the process of furthering their beliefs, they deny the constitutional right of free speech and assembly to those whose political and religious beliefs they oppose. The core strength of our First Amendment is that it gives minorities equal rights with the majority. While we may intensely disagree with someone else’s point of view, we have no right to silence that person.

Antifa is the antithesis of Martin Luther King’s peaceful protests against racism that led to the civil rights laws of the 1960s being passed. His movement stayed peaceful in the face of violent racism – lynchings, church bombings, police assaults, and police dog attacks. They are in sharp contrast to the non-violence and civil disobedience that was the hallmark of Mahatma Gandhi’s movement to free India from British rule.

Peaceful protesters gain public empathy when thugs attack them. Peaceful protests focus on what is wrong with the causes and people they are protesting against, keeping that message clear in the public’s mind. But when movements are associated with violence, it legitimizes the other side and clouds the message aimed at ending discrimination and hate.

When there is a brawl at a protest with two sides violently clashing, that clash becomes the story. It is what gets the headlines and the repetitive airing on television news shows.

Antifa has the right to protest, but King and Gandhi would have denounced the group and told it to stay away from their protests.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet