A look at the antifa movement Trump is blaming for violence


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has blamed antifa activists for violence at protests over police killings of black folks, however antifa isn’t a company and concentrating on it isn’t easy.

A take a look at what antifa is and isn’t:


Short for “anti-fascists,” antifa shouldn’t be a single group however somewhat an umbrella time period for far-left-leaning militant teams that confront or resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations.

There is not any hierarchical construction to antifa or common set of ways that makes its presence instantly recognizable, although members are likely to espouse revolutionary and anti-authoritarian views, mentioned Mark Bray, a historian at Rutgers University and writer of “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.”

“They do different things at different times in different ways, some of which there is evidence of them breaking the law. Other times there is not,” Bray mentioned.

Literature from the antifa motion encourages followers to watch the actions of white supremacist teams, publicize the private data of perceived enemies, develop self-defense coaching regimens and compel outdoors organizations to cancel any audio system or occasions with “a fascist bent,” in keeping with a 2018 Congressional Research Service report.

People related to antifa have been current for vital demonstrations and counterdemonstrations during the last three years, typically involving brawls and property harm.

They mobilized towards a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 and have clashed repeatedly with far-right teams in Portland, Oregon, together with at a rally final summer time that resulted in arrests and the seizure of shields, poles and different weapons.


Trump and members of his administration have singled out antifa as being answerable for the violence at protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for a number of minutes even after Floyd stopped transferring and pleading for air.

In a pair of statements over the weekend, Attorney General William Barr described “antifa-like tactics” by out-of-state agitators and mentioned antifa was instigating violence and fascinating in “domestic terrorism” and can be handled accordingly.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany instructed reporters Monday that antifa is a “big element of this protest,” although deferred to the Justice Department on the query of how one could possibly be recognized as a member.

But it’s unclear how large its involvement is.

Bray mentioned that though he believes folks related to antifa are taking part within the demonstrations, it’s tough to find out how large of a job they’re enjoying since there isn’t a membership uniform or calling card and because the motion lacks the numbers to mobilize nationwide in such a dramatic, forceful approach.

“The radical left is much bigger than antifa, much, much bigger, and the number of people who are participating in the property destruction are much, much bigger than the radical left,” Bray mentioned.

Others have seen proof of right-wing extremists.


Trump tweeted Sunday, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

It’s not the primary time he’s endorsed that method. Trump tweeted the same sentiment final summer time, becoming a member of some Republican lawmakers who referred to as for antifa to be designated as a terror group following the skirmishes in Portland.


For one factor, antifa shouldn’t be a discrete or centralized group, so it’s unclear how the federal government may give it a designation.

Beyond that, although, antifa is a home entity and, as such, not a candidate for inclusion on the State Department’s record of overseas terror organizations. Those teams, which embody Islamic extremist organizations and the Real Irish Republican Army, are based mostly abroad somewhat than within the U.S.

That designation issues for a wide range of authorized causes, not least of which anybody within the United States who lends help to a company on that record can face terrorism-related expenses.

But “there is not a domestic equivalent,” mentioned Joshua Geltzer, a former senior counterterrorism official within the Obama White House and founding government director on the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection on the Georgetown University Law Center.

There have been periodic calls, notably after mass shootings by white supremacists, to determine a home terrorism regulation, however none has handed.

Asked Monday what authorized authority the president would have for labeling antifa a terror group, McEnany pointed to the present statute beneath the U.S. legal code that defines acts of home and worldwide terrorism.

But defining an act of terrorism is totally different than designating a whole group as a terror group.

“US law does the 1st. It doesn’t permit the 2nd,” Geltzer tweeted after McEnany’s remarks.

Even if antifa shouldn’t be a delegated terror group, FBI Director Chris Wray has made clear that it’s on the radar of federal regulation enforcement. He has mentioned that whereas the FBI doesn’t examine on the idea of ideology, brokers have pursued investigations throughout the nation towards folks motivated to commit acts of violence “on kind of an antifa ideology.”


Associated Press writers Gillian Flaccus in Portland, Ore., and Aamer Madhani in Washington contributed to this report.