Given the frequent violence against both people and property perpetrated by radicals associated with antifa during Trump rallies and other “right-leaning” gatherings, it is about time the FBI takes a look at individuals driven by “an antifa ideology.”
By John Friend
In a move that was long overdue, the federal government recently announced it is actively investigating individuals driven by “an antifa ideology,” according to Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI.
Antifa, or anti-fascists, are a loose-knit coalition of extremely radical anarchist, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist organizations and groups, many of which express violent and revolutionary political perspectives. Antifa sympathizers also frequently hold extreme leftist and cultural Marxist political, cultural, and racial perspectives, and often demonize and target whites, heterosexuals, and other traditional or conservative Americans who oppose illegal immigration, endless welfare, and political correctness more generally.
During the 2016 presidential election, radical antifa activists and organizations made national and international headlines for violently targeting pro-Trump rallies and other peaceful, legal assemblies. Trump supporters were regularly berated, viciously targeted both verbally and physically, spat upon, and even violently assaulted at numerous Trump rallies across the country during the election. Antifa groups also attempted to shut down other rallies, including on university campuses, destroying private property and causing mayhem and violence in the process. In many cases, unfortunately, their efforts were successful due to a lack of law and order.
This paper covered these events extensively at the time and will continue to do so. The actions of various antifa groups and organizations during the 2016 election and after can only be described as domestic terrorism, as the antifa sympathizers involved in the disruptive and often violent actions that took place and continue to take place across the country are directly attempting to influence political processes via intimidation, violence, and lawlessness.
In testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee, FBI Director Wray explained that his agency is investigating individuals inspired by antifa groups or organizations for possible acts of violence and other criminal activity. The director was quick to point out that they are not being investigated for their political perspectives, but rather for their violent or criminal actions.
“While we’re not investigating antifa as antifa—that’s an ideology and we don’t investigate ideologies—we are investigating a number of what we would call anarchist-extremist organizations, where we have properly predicated subjects of people who are motivated to commit violent criminal activity on kind of an antifa ideology,” he explained to the House panel.
Antifa groups and their sympathizers have coordinated violent attacks on right-wing groups and their rallies for months, including at the high-profile Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. earlier this year. An independent review of the rallies and protests in Charlottesville that weekend found that law enforcement officials in the area intentionally allowed antifa groups and sympathizers to attack the attendees of the Unite the Right rally, with Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas even boldly declaring: “Let them fight. It will make it easier to declare it an unlawful assembly.”
John Friend is a freelance writer who lives in California.