“To explain a little: it’s like calling bird-watching an organization,” tweeted Mark Bray, author of “Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook.“ “Yes, there are bird-watching organizations as there are Antifa organizations, but neither bird-watching nor antifa is an organization” [Betsy Woodruff Swan, “Trump Says He’s Naming Antifa a ‘Terrorist Organization.’ Can He Do That?” Politico, 2020.05.31].
When Donald Trump shouts about antifa, he’s invoking a non-existent bogeyman to misportray the impulse we should all feel deep in our American bones to resist his fascism:
On Sunday, Donald Trump announced via Twitter that the United States government would soon be classifying “ANTIFA” as a terrorist group, despite the fact that antifa (no caps lock) doesn’t exist, at least not in the way that the President always talks about it.
Per It’s Going Down, antifa, short for antifascist, is neither an organization nor a web of shadowy instigators but “a political stance against far-right violence, white supremacy, and fascism.” If you hate far-right violence, white supremacy, and fascism, then guess what, babe? You’re antifa! And if you oppose antifa—like, to the point of, say, calling antifascists a bunch of terrorists—then that must mean you’re a fascist. And if you’re a fascist, um… Go f[…] yourself? It’s really that simple [Harron Walker, “Area Fascist Still Doesn’t Know What Antifa Is,” Jezebel, 2020.05.31].
I hate far-right violence, white supremacy, fascism, and bullies in general. That doesn’t make me a member of a terrorist organization. That makes me an American, and a darn sight better American than Donald Trump and anyone flying his vulgar fascist flag.
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According to data gathered by New America, a research institution, since 9/11 right-wing terrorists in the United States have killed 110 people for political reasons, while Antifa supporters have killed exactly no one for political reasons. Meanwhile, those motivated by black nationalist ideology have killed 12 people.
In other words, the threat posed by lethal right-wing terrorists since the 9/11 attacks is almost 10 times greater than that posed by leftist terrorists [Peter Bergen, “Trump’s Crazy Designation of Antifa as Terrorist Organization,” CNN, 2020.06.01].