WASHINGTON, DC – Antifa is an acronym for anti-fascist, but lately the organization’s name has managed to rise to the top of the lexicon of hate. A petition to have the group officially declared a “terrorist organization” this week achieved nearly 300,000 signatures and counting.
AMAC president Dan Weber says antifa’s “violent tactics have been condemned by the right and the moderate left. The hard core left has been reluctant to censure the group’s activities. But, even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a prominent leader on the left, issued a call for ‘unequivocal condemnation.’ Not so, folks like Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe who could hardly manage to express a dislike for violence, in general, when recent Antifa atrocities came to light.”
Weber, who’s Association of Mature American Citizens “is a staunch defender of the right of free speech and all of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution,” says there is also a right to peaceful dissent by opposition groups. But, he adds that a line must be drawn when it comes to violent dissent, which is the equivalent of anarchy.
“Antifa wants to conduct its own version of the Bolshevik Revolution, menacing connotations, in America. Its aim is to bring down American democracy and to bring about a Soviet-style government. And, lest you think comparing antifa to the Bolsheviks is a stretch, the American Historical Society points out that the 1917 insurgencywas carried out by a group of professional revolutionaries, a moniker that suits antifa to a tee,” Weber explains.
The New York Daily News, which has evolved into a publication that leans left, said in an editorial recently that “antifa activists make a fateful strategic mistake by stealing initiative and attention from far more admirably behaved fellow travelers.” Weber points out that the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “fellow traveler” as “a person who sympathizes with and often furthers the ideals and program of an organized group such as the Communist party.”
Who is behind the antifa movement remains somewhat of a mystery, although some individuals and organizations and even the mainstream newspaper, USA Today, seem to have been pointing accusing fingers at people like George Soros. Soros denies it.
Columnist Peter Beinart, writing in the current issue of The Atlantic, warns that “antifa’s power is growing.” Antifa has been around for some time, but it wasn’t until the election of President Trump that the group managed to gain attention. Beinart notes that antifa experienced “explosive growth” after Mr. Trump was elected, fueled by the widespread leftist hatred of the billionaire president.
Says Weber: “It was the vitriolic, lunatic-fringe left that sparked antifa’s escalation of hate speech to levels of unconscionable political violence. Remember the college students who cried on campus in the days after the November elections, even before Mr. Trump took office. There were many who declared that he was not duly elected, notwithstanding the simple fact that Hilary Clinton was outvoted on election day. Antifa took advantage of this mindless malaise that was sweeping the country. And, it gave them an excuse to ‘go rogue’ and begin engaging in extreme violence. As Beinart put it in his article, we haven’t seen this level of ‘sustained political street warfare’ since the ’60s.”
Weber warns that if the violence continues unchecked “it will not be just members of the opposition party – no matter which side you are on – who will feel the pain; all of the American people will be at risk. “Free speech is just that: our right to voice an opinion. It does not allow for reactionary violence. Let those on both sides of the argument have their say and express political disagreement when it is warranted. The leadership on both the right and the left need to actually take the lead in creating an atmosphere of civility that does not include tactics such as those practiced by villains such as members and supporters of antifa.”