Should Antifa Be Labeled a Domestic Terrorist Group?

17

August 23, 2017 by gregrabidoux2013

 

antifa terror group violence

Antifas storming the barricades at a university protest recently.

Currently, there is a petition making the rounds at about 160,000 signatures strong so far, that is requesting the White House officially name the Anti-Fascist group or “Antifa” for short, as a domestic terrorist group.

Supporters of this petition-drive have far more signatures than needed to have their request formally reviewed and a decision then enacted, one way or the other.

So, the question is fast becoming not when but if such action should be taken.

If so labeled, the Antifas would ironically join such groups as the Aryan Nations (White Supremacists) the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazis in sharing the dubious and definitive label as a terrorist group. This, despite their (The Antifas) stated assertion that they diametrically oppose such groups, defend freedom of speech and only resort to violence if so attacked, essentially in self-defense.

antifa terror group and police

Beyond debate and discussion.

Critics of Antifa beg to differ.

They claim that these folks, the ones you may have seen on television news or facebook wearing black masks and armed with tear gas, baseball bats or long wooden sticks with sharpened nails at the end (to both stab humans and police horses) are no defenders of free speech or practitioners of tolerance. But rather, their critics allege, these are the very same protesters using violence, intimidation or coercion to suppress free speech, and to chill any freedom of thought they do not agree with or support.

Antifas have been blamed for fostering and leading violent protests or counter-protests recently at the University of California at Berkeley, Seattle, Sacramento, Claremont, NYU, Columbia University, the UVA at Charlottesville, Bosti and last night (8/22/2017) in a counter-rally to protest the president’s own rally in Phoenix. AZ.

As Antifa and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) leader Yvette Felarca, a Berkeley elementary school teacher when not leading counter-protest rallies says, such violence is justified in the face of hatred, extremism and fascism.

disruptors-yvette-f-1

Who gets to decide when violence is or is not justified? Ms. Felarca believes she and her supporters do.

Of course, when we have two groups literally attacking each other as we did in Charlottesville recently (the Antifas, Black Lives Matter and BAMN on one side and the White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis and KKK on the other)  handing definitive and certain labels can become problematic. As President Trump found out much to his chagrin, expressing any moral ambiguity whatsoever when it comes to whom and what to denounce creates its own violent and heated backlash. However deserved it may be.

But rather than retracing and reinterpreting what Mr. Trump said or did not say about these groups and their shameful behavior, what does the law have to say, if anything on the matter?

Well, under US statutory law as proscribed in the most recent Legislative renewal of  the USA Patriot Act, a domestic terrorist group is defined as:

Any and all acts of domestic terrorism are those which: “(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended – (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”

According to the FBI there are at least 20 such organizations currently operating and active within the US and they are most concentrated and active within the public policy areas of economic, environmental and animal rights.

hatred american style kkk flags

We’ve long known and condemned these clowns for what they are, does the list need to expand?

It should also be noted that there have been a number of domestic terrorism acts, such as bombing of abortion clinics or the kidnapping and murder of medical professionals involved in performing abortions over the past 40 or more years. Though the majority of these terrorists do not necessarily claim formal affiliation with any known terror group so designated by law.

But what about the Antifas? Innocent defenders of freedom or guilty participants?

Despite their stated mission to defend free speech and their desire to “shut down” hatred, bigotry and racism,” they certainly don’t shrink from using the very same tactics that those they claim (rightly so in the cases of the Neo-Nazis, KKK and White Supremacists) do to advance their political, social and economic agenda. As we have seen this includes attacking uniformed police with rocks, bottles, bricks and tear gas and attacking and physically beating those who hold rallies that fit their and probably just about everyone’s definition of fascists and racists like the groups I’ve mentioned.

But when you consistently fight fire with fire do you then not become an arsonist yourself?

confederate statues book burning

No matter who sets the fire stuff gets burned.

The Antifa movement in its current iteration has deep roots dating back to the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements of the 1960s. Antifa leaders have both studied and apply the teachings and tactics of domestic terrorist groups like the Black Liberation Army, the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. In fact, the Antifas recently hired Bill Ayers, the chief “disruptor” and architect of terror attacks on and bombings of US governmental offices and building between 1968-1978 as a “consultant.”

It’s hard to believe that “Bill the Consultant” will offer his expertise on anything but causing upheaval, violence and where best to place and set off bombs.

What we also know about the Antifas is that they are well-funded (financial support has been traced back to liberalist George Soros among others) well trained (they conduct regular briefings and workshops on how to provoke violent reactions) in the art and science of disruption and well motivated (the anti-trump, eco-terrorists and so-called extremist climate changers all claim steadfast support and alignment with Antifa) for the long-haul.

In fact, several of the Occupy Wall Street protesters and occupiers in NYC and Washington DC a few years back are applying the lessons they learned there to the street fights and counter-rallies we now see over the past at least 8-12 months.

antifa terror group masks

Coming to a town near you?

So, is Antifa a domestic terrorist group?

Well, at times they certainly look, sound, walk, talk and swing a baseball bat like a DTG.

However, regardless of whether they deserve or get the formal label, I for one, would like to see leaders on the Left like Senators Schumer and Warren, Congresswoman Pelosi, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, DNC Chair Tom Perez, Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama at the very least condemn the hatred and violence emanating from their side of the aisle. But to do so would mean condemning groups like Antifa, BAMN and even Black Lives Matter which has openly called for the slaying of random policemen and women across the USA.

And at the moment the silence from the Left is deafening.

It seems so long as these groups hate Trump that is in and of itself enough reason to look the other way and take a vow of silence.

donald-trump-hillary-fingers

Tit-for-tat or is hatred wrong wherever it roots itself?

Our country is becoming far too divided and hate-filled and violent to not acknowledge, condemn and even label hate groups regardless of their stated goals.

Sadly, hatred, racism, bigotry and the commitment to use violence and intimidation to achieve its means is not exclusively found on any one side of the political spectrum.

It’s time our leaders showed the courage to confront and condemn such ugliness wherever and whenever it rears its head.

antifa terror group schumer violence

Never one to be shy, Senator Schumer has so far not found the right words to condemn hate on his side of the fence.

Because the freedom of speech and thought that any hate group may choose to allow today may just be the very freedoms and thoughts, mine or yours, they target for suppression tomorrow.

And quite frankly, I have a hard time feeling confident that my constitutional rights will be preserved and protected from folks who feel they  have to wear white masks, black masks or any masks at all when they “defend” my right to speech.

bengal-tiger-why-matter_7341043

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Should Antifa Be Labeled a Domestic Terrorist Group?

  1. luckyslovak says:

    The discussion should be open to commentary. For sure. There actions are causing civil unrest. It is not good for the security of anyone in America. They are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • Levi says:

      I absolutely agree and believe that Antifa ought to be labeled a domestic terrorist organization. Their actions in the past, such as in Berkley, have shown that they are willing to resort to violence, even in the offense. They will violently protest anything they do not agree with and cause many people to be fearful of the chaos and discord they create in the name of “free speech.” These professional protestors strike fear into the heart of individuals who see them coming into town. They are paid to cause pandemonium and disrupt the daily lives of ordinary citizens. Even if they claim to be acting in the interest of “social justice” and are against other hate groups, two wrongs don’t make a right.Violence is never the answer.

  2. Justin W says:

    I think one element that could be put into the Patriot act to help clarify the definition of a terrorist group is motive.

    My father and step mother lived in Naples, Italy, and have told me stories about the steps people would take to rid themselves of the oppression of the mafia. Let’s say a group of home owners in Italy was sick of paying the mafia for protection. Because the mafia tends to pay off the police, they couldn’t take their grievance there and so the home owners decide instead to take the law into their own hands by booby trapping their mafia’s homes, offices, etc. in an attempt to get this “civilian population” to leave them alone. What other choice would they have? But if this happened in America, it would be defined as terrorism.

    The same can be said for any group that takes the law into their own hands in order to rid the world of a worse danger. Name an action movie — Star Wars, the Matrix, etc. — that doesn’t have that as the main plot.

    Antifa’s motive seems to be to stop violent, and mostly white supremest, extremism before it can grow into a larger and more virulent stream that has actual power. I imagine they think as themselves as our nation’s immunization shot against fascism. Yes, the shot hurts, but it prevents a much worse disease. In that thinking, and in my mafia example above, if there were no real threats to the public, Antifa (and the homeowners … and Luke, Han, and Neo) wouldn’t resort to violence. In fact, antifa might not even exist if the danger they seek to stop wasn’t real.

    So can a group that only exists to fight a larger and more dangerous scourge be terrorists? By our current definition, yes. But by adding the element of motive, perhaps not.

    • I appreciate the element of motive you brought into it and the Star Wars (Luke, Hans, etc) analogy. On the other hand, you may be giving Antifas too much credit. Two days ago the Antifa cell in Philadelphia declared they were going to take every step possible to murder Philly police and to bring a revolution to the city. If this is true as has been reported this does not seem to be clean motives or good v evil as in your Star Wars analogy. And if a group, any group even a repugnant one is doing nothing more than exercising free speech what if we simply turned our backs on them? Is the only response more violence?

      • luckyslovak says:

        How is it not good vs evil? Antifa is evil. Period. Any obe who opposes them are the good guys. This is all philosophical as some may side with Antifa, which in my eyes would make them evil. If you support Antifa you might disagree with me, which is your right.

  3. Angelia B. says:

    Under the US Patriot Act, yes Antifas can be considered a domestic terrorist group. Antifas matches the definition of a terrorist group perfectly according to the latest US Patriot Act. The violence cannot be justified and any such group using violence for any reason isn’t going to end well. These citizens need to participate at the local level of their government if they want to make a difference. Violence is not the solution.

  4. Jud W says:

    Yes, I agree our country is far too divided and hate filled. Not acknowledging thus condoning violence of any kind by anyone is absurd and accomplishes nothing. In the long run, it doesn’t matter how you truly classify these groups. Their act of violence alone has many local, state and federal laws that could be made applicable to curb such unacceptable behavior only if one would so choose to pick a venue and/or law. The violence can be addressed.

    That said, today’s partisan politics prevents such on both sides of the isle. Political correctness has resulted in “paralyses by analyses.” Political compromise has become a four letter word and a death sentence to any politician who dares take a stand outside their affiliated party. Open discussion of ideas and potential solutions has given way to ridicule and open attacks on anyone with a differing view. This is stagnating a resolution to our situation at hand.

    Most Americans are not affected in their day to day lives; therefore, not engaged. It is the small percentage of radicals on both the left and the right that drive the conversation with little hope of resolution.

    Once we get away from the concept of the “tail wagging the dog,” we can move forward.

  5. Tanya S says:

    If we are going to stand with hands over hearts and sing about the land we love, the land of the free, then we should be prepared to embrace what that means. Freedom of speech includes allowing offensive speech, words that make your blood boil, beliefs that you vehemently oppose, but allowing this person to stand center stage. The land of the free includes the right to protest, to advocate for a belief regardless of how another may object, because anything less is suppression. These rights should be defended, but certainly not in the manner Antifa chose. The use of violence against a group because of their beliefs – whether it is in a race (of which there is only one – the human race), religion, sexual orientation, or insert a cause here – in the name of freedom isn’t defending anything but tyranny.

  6. Eric W. says:

    Terrorism, domestic or international, has several key components that exist among all of the groups regardless of their cause, and ANTIFA fits into the category of domestic terrorism without a doubt. Covering their faces, dressing in all black, carrying homemade weapons to attack law enforcement officers and animals, and consistently passing their “message” via anarchy and violence makes ANTIFA a domestic terrorist organization. If their message is to stop fascism, hatred, racism, etc., they are certainly using the same tactics as the very groups that ANTIFA swears to wipe out. Stooping to the level and tactics of the KKK means that ANTIFA is no better, or worse, than the KKK; otherwise known as being equal to them. KKK is known for wearing complete facial coverings and specific colors. ANTIFA wears all black and has complete, or nearly complete, facial coverings. Oppressing a group of American’s First Amendment Right to assembly and freedom of speech by violent means, and thereby terrorizing the group of American’s in the first place, is terrorism.

    I’ve never seen any media coverage of ANTIFA where there is not violence being committed by people dressed in all black wearing facial coverings while carrying improvised weapons. This may sound familiar because ISIS has very similar traits, only their focus is religion-based. To further demonstrate that ANTIFA is a domestic terrorist group this blog post discusses how ANTIFA has hired a “consultant” who specializes in bombings, particularly bombings of political targets. This could only mean that ANTIFA is looking to increase their level of violence and open a new chapter as a domestic terrorist organization.

    ANTIFA utilizes intimidation by means of violence, and uniform-derived intimidation (covering their faces, wearing the same color, etc.) in an attempt to oppress the civil liberties of others just because ANTIFA does not agree with the message, cause, or opinion. This is a direct suppression of other’s First Amendment Rights, and more cause to show that ANTIFA is a domestic terrorist group. ANTIFA should seek to silence other hate groups by civil or legal means, not by spreading violence and hate. Granted, any form of media is always directed towards specific topics, ANTIFA-related videos consistently document their violent acts towards others who are protesting via non-violent means, or their videos show ANTIFA just downright attacking people who do not agree with their agenda. These violent acts include throwing bottles filled with urine on otherwise peaceful protester, and stabbing law enforcement animals with improvised weapons.

    If ANTIFA was truly concerned about correcting issues with our country, especially long-standing racial/socioeconomic issues, they are going about it the wrong way. Our country has never been more separated, at least since I can remember, than it is now, and groups like ANTIFA, KKK, White Nationalists, etc. are only creating more damage.

    Eric

  7. Gary G. says:

    I find myself agreeing strongly with the points made in this article though I am at war with myself in that I have two opposing opinions. As a law enforcement officer, Antifa is a domestic terrorist group. Period. Putting the US Patriot Act aside, we in the field prepare for these rallies as though we will face a domestic terrorist organization. We must obtain advanced intel, monitor the groups both internally and externally using informants, we have to practice counter techniques to keep ourselves safe, and we know from prior experience that they meet every single item in the list in the definition. Where the internal war comes from is I don’t want to see a known hate group take hold in any town anywhere in the US which is what we get from Neo-Nazis, White Supremacy groups, and the KKK and if Antifa wants to stop them, and I want to stop them, that makes your enemy’s enemy your friend, I suppose.

    There are two parts to this equation in favor of listing them as a domestic terrorist group. First, Antifa is trying to suppress free speech of another vile group, which even though I may find Neo-Nazi behavior and speech reprehensible, our freedom is dependent upon our ability to allow it to occur regardless of the words being said. The second issue is the tactics being employed. Because Antifa is resorting to the same terrorist tactics used by other terror organizations….if it walks like a duck. So being a man of the law and whose oath is to uphold the Constitution of these United States, based on the argument made in this blog, and my observations made both in person through work and watching on television, yes, there is a compelling argument to make Antifa a domestic terrorist group. I would like to add in reference to the President’s statements, he failed to recognize, perhaps that when he equated the two groups following Heather Heyer’s death, that was in poor taste and it made the volatile situation and division even worse. That was short-sighted of him in addition to the back and forth on his position in the days following, just hurt him. As for the Democrats and left leaning politicians. They have to call out Antifa for what it is. By not doing so, they are actually condoning the behavior and perpetuating the violence.

  8. Aaron B says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the concern of masked protesters defending anything through intimidation and violence (if necessary – though how is this decided and when is this ever really necessary).

    I also appreciate how the terrorist combatant is becoming the terrorist when they use the same tactics.

    Although I appreciate that there are times when these types of actions are necessary to create upheaval and revolution when systems are broken and the revolution is required to stimulate action and change. Society is imperfect and change is required, but I don’t feel actions of these groups are in response to external threats or internal threats that the government has placed on their society inherently generating instability and risk. If we think about the civil right movements or anti-war demonstrations much of these protests were targeted to create wholesale changes to government action or policy, or enforcement of policy. They were directed from citizens to government.

    I feel that much of the recent events described in the post are more interest groups grandstanding under the guise of constitutional rights. The opposition seems to be more internal: interest group opposed to other interest group. The side of right and wrong pulling society as a whole into the debate.

    So in part these conflicts are sending a message to the government. Current policy is not sufficient. We are entitled to freedom of speech, but this category seems too broad and as a result are being abused. Action is needed to clarify the acceptable use of speech in public settings. Many may feel this is a ‘slippery slope’. But this isn’t far from what is already acceptable. Television shows, films, print media cannot communicate using the terms and language these groups do. Why should it be any different in public settings? Where are the rights of citizens being protected from hearing offensive language?

    I think we often get caught in the loop holes of interest groups hiding behind their civil rights to not act or behave civilly.

  9. Rebecca W says:

    I found myself hesitant to look at a blog particularly one addressing the topics identified in the heading. It has become a test of mettle to read the news and break apart/process information being given throughout the media. I was pleasantly surprised and appreciate how the information is being conveyed.

    I believe it is important to go to the basic tenets of communication and what we know about it. We recognize that an aggressive communication style will more likely trigger an aggressive response. Aggressive communication is not simply what we say and how we say it but also in the body language conveyed to others. Therefore, coming to an event with weapons, identity covered, and posturing is a form of aggressive communication. When more than one group adopts these non-verbal aggressive cues it is hard to expect something to have a peaceful outcome. Some of the aggression is a “fight or flight” response hardwired into the push to survive; however, it is hard to separate this in the moment. This response to defend ourselves does not extend to continuing to act aggressively when the immediate threat is resolved (i.e. someone is incapacitated by pepper spray, etc…).

    When trying to affect change, we have to accept this does not occur overnight but is a process. We also know that when our emotions take over we, typically, no longer respond as rational, wise beings. How often were peaceful demonstrations advocated for during the Civil Rights’ Movement and the continued use of this to effect a national systemic change. Would this movement have had the success without King’s continued leadership and advocacy for communication that did not promote violence? We know that fear tactics are short term and temporary obviously ineffective when attempting long term systemic change. If this country truly wants change then we have to change our communication style to promote advocacy and get a grip on our ability to regulate our emotions to facilitate this process. I believe this takes us back to the second person who replied questioning the motivation of such groups.

  10. Jon C says:

    By and large we have become tools, used by the media, corporations, and the power-wielding. People are getting spun up out of control by a relatively inconsequential group of idiots that have been around forever in some form? Seriously? BLUF: there’s no way to eradicate stupidity. Globalization, social media and overwhelmingly biased media all have a hand to play in the way that we have begun to act and treat each other en masse. What happened to our values and morals? Where are our leaders?

    When you break out all of the underlying factors and isolate the primary issue at hand, what it boils down to is free speech. If the moronic hate-mongers on the right are only talking…fine, let them talk, that’s literally why it’s listed in the constitution, and is the same reason that the moronic hate-anyone-that-doesn’t-agree-with-me-and-blame-it-on-their-own-hate-mongers on the left can do the same thing. To beat them for talking is forcible oppression that is ironically a hallmark characteristic of fascism. It’s also just an extreme left view of how our country should be, which regardless of the side of the isle, is also ironically a hallmark characteristic of fascism. With regards to the right-wing extremists, if they so much as sneeze, arrest them. Enact additional laws if needed to keep them in check. Do something to them from a legal standpoint. My fear of the hooded crusaders, is that it seems as though this may not end with the right-wing extremists. This appears to be a melting pot for leftist thought, and could spiral out of control if left unchecked. Similar to above, were it civil and they were just out there rallying, I would have no problem…but a line was drawn at violence long ago, and when that line is crossed something must be done.

    One last problem to consider with this is that when violence spurs out of control in public like this, the innocent can get caught in it as well (which brings up another constitutional hot topic, the 2nd amendment, which will be swiftly put into action the second some spiked bat wielding idiot is standing in front of my wife or children on a public street, whether wearing a mask or with a shaved head!). There is no room for collateral damage in a situation like this. The left and the right should be subtle nuances in a civil society…I, for one, do not feel at war with my neighbor who has differing opinions of me.

  11. Melissa T says:

    To start off, is violence ever justified? I believe in punishment for crimes and actions have consequences but violence is never justified. I think the first amendment right to freedom of speech clearly states it protects peaceful protests. The peace is gone when people, property, and respect are damaged. On another note, when a group requests the status of a domestic terrorist group, it clearly states that their intention is to infringe upon the rights of others. Why do we allow such to form and create havoc in our country. It makes us weak to those who seek to destroy us. North Korea is chomping at the bit to find us in a vulnerable state to attack. Will all of the domestic terrorists join them in destroying America or will they rise up to defend America? Our military takes an oath to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic. Do they think they are exempt? Why is Congress and the President not allowing our military to take action and follow through with their oath?

  12. Daniel T says:

    There are bad people on both sides. Violence to suppress political speech and assembly is never justified, although frankly it is a tactic rooted in American history. Just like right wing groups that promote violence, Antifa should be labeled a domestic terrorist group.

    While plenty of the blame for the coarsened political rhetoric falls to the President, a good deal of the blame also belongs to those on the left who promote violent resistance. The President connected with the darker emotions in politics in a way that I haven’t seen in a candidate for a major party nomination since George Wallace in 1972 before he got shot. But the reaction of the left is similar, violence in an attempt to shut down discussions they didn’t like. The Fascists and the Communists use similar tactics.

    Using violence to shut down free speech, to prevent people from expressing ideas that you disagree with sets a dangerous precedent. If we can’t engage in civil discussion in the marketplace of ideas, we all lose. The very unpopular ideas that many want to suppress are the ones that we must protect if the Freedom of Speech is to mean anything. There was never any need to protect popular non-controversial speech.

    While it fits with the conventional narrative to blame all the violence on the right, it was a Republican campaign HQ in North Carolina that was bombed. Not all that different in intent from KKK church bombings during the civil rights movement.

    We may not be able to do much about the rhetorical level of the political discourse, but we must address the violence of both the Right and the Left.

  13. Levi says:

    I absolutely agree and believe that Antifa ought to be labeled a domestic terrorist organization. Their actions in the past, such as in Berkley, have shown that they are willing to resort to violence, even in the offense. They will violently protest anything they do not agree with and cause many people to be fearful of the chaos and discord they create in the name of “free speech.” These professional protestors strike fear into the heart of individuals who see them coming into town. They are paid to cause pandemonium and disrupt the daily lives of ordinary citizens. Even if they claim to be acting in the interest of “social justice” and are against other hate groups, two wrongs don’t make a right.Violence is never the answer.

  14. Clint Backstrom says:

    The last few paragraphs really bring the point home. While both sides of the fighting have surely done enough to garner them a DTG Label neither side will get it. They are too valuable at bashing someone’s political rival to get labeled as such. It would take an act of overt catastrophic size to get labeled as such. Again, we see the far left and the far right dominating the scene, no matter which form of “news” it is. I am not sure how we dial things back, after all we are not good at that in this country. But, we do something. Fighting fire with fire leaves everyone burned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: