Everything You Need to Know About Antifa and How to Talk About It - 2020-07-02
When was the first time you heard about antifa? Maybe it was in the viral footage in which a black-clad, masked figure delivered a flying punch to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer's jaw on the afternoon of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. Or, perhaps, it was after the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when white supremacists chanted "Jews will not replace us" and beat a black man with metal poles, and when a neo-Nazi murdered a young woman when he plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. After this intolerable event, Trump blamed the carnage on "both sides" and railed against "anteeefa!"
That same summer, viral videos spread of antifa activists setting fire to trash cans in protest of the far-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos giving a racist, anti-trans speech at the University of California, Berkeley. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, condemned the "violent actions of people calling themselves antifa."
For a lot of people, their first introduction to "antifa" has been through Trump's ever-escalating obsession with it as his favorite boogeyman. In recent weeks, the United States has seen one of the most powerful Black-led uprisings in a generation. According to the president, his Justice Department, and Fox News, antifa is a well-organized terror group, responsible for all the most militant aspects of recent protests, driven only by a senseless desire for destruction.