President Trump’s decision to designate Antifa as a terrorist organisation is long overdue.
Whether you call them a terrorist organisation or a criminal organisation – or both – the underlying facts are the same: Antifa is a network of groups committed to a violent revolution to overthrow the democratic system of government and replace it with some sort of a communist “dictatorship of the proletariat”, whoever the current proletariat is supposed to be (which does not in the end matter very much, because it’s all about the party organisation rather than “the masses”). To effect such revolution, Antifa uses tactics of violence against people it considers enemies, as well as the destruction of property.
Remember, these people are not Scandinavian social democrats or even Bernie and AOC-style “democratic socialists” who advocate and follow a democratic and peaceful path of transformation to achieve their objectives of building what they consider a better and more just society. Antifa are thugs who desire to tear down and destroy the current political and economic order and erect their utopia on its ashes. They want to abolish democracy, capitalism, liberalism and all the other existing institutions in favour of a Marxist-Leninist state – or just for the fun of it, if they are more of an anarchist rather than communist frame of mind. Groups whose entire modus operandi is based on breaking the law and criminal activity have no legitimate place in a democratic society. Antifa are political organised crime.
The label Antifa has been used and abused too long to muddy the waters and confuse people – many of whom, granted, want to be confused. Because fascism is objectively bad (and considers so by an overwhelming majority of people), calling themselves “anti-fascist”, Antifa seeks to claim the moral high ground and the role of the good guys who stand up to white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other extreme elements. But you cannot simply judge people by who their enemies are, or who they say their enemies are – you also have to judge them by their intentions, actions and aims. In the Second World War, the United States and the United Kingdom and their Western allies were anti-fascist, but so was the Soviet Union. Stalin hated fascists (except for a period of two years in 1939-41 when he collaborated with them).
This did not make him a good guy, even if for the Allies at the time it made him the lesser of the two evils. Coincidentally, for Stalin the label “fascist” was a very broad one, applying not just to German Nazis and their sympathisers but to anyone opposed to communism and the Soviet Union and so in turn opposed by them, including at times even social democrats and other non-revolutionary socialists — “social fascists” in the Stalinist nomenclature. And so it is for Antifa – we are all fascists. Just as in Russia in 1917 onward and all the other communist countries in history, your position on the democratic political spectrum can never give you an ultimate immunity, it only determines the order in which you will be shot (left-wingers and anarchists last, because they can be used the longest by the forces of revolution).
This really should not have to be repeated over and over again to register with people: Antifa are violent communist thugs who seek to exterminate their “class” enemies and destroy our society as we know it, using violent means to do so, and replace it with a communist dictatorship – with them, of course, in charge. How street-fighting brawlers who assault people and destroy buildings and property through vandalism and arson have nevertheless managed to acquire a patina of respectability is almost beyond belief, or would be if we disregarded a long history of intellectual fascination with violence (in “good causes”) and the willingness of the self-described sophisticates to get easily bamboozled by people they think they share something in common with in terms of enemies (“the (far) right”) and objectives (end to racism, poverty and other social and economic ills). Just because Antifa’s ultimate ends can sound so antiquated or obscure or far-fetched, it does not mean their activity and their means should be tolerated. Violent enemies of democracy should not become a concern only when they’re strong enough to actually present an existential threat to the democratic order – because by then it’s often too late.
The Weimar Republic eventually collapsed and gave way to a Nazi totalitarian dictatorship because the democratic institutions were never strong and committed enough to ending political violence from both the Nazi SA are various communist paramilitaries, including the original “anti-fascists”. The first duty of every state – in fact, the basic reason for the social contract between the people and their government – is the protection of life and safety of citizens and the protection of their property from internal and external threats. No state can tolerate the lawlessness and anarchy created by armed and dangerous factions fighting each other as well as others they consider to be their enemies and obstacles to achieving their political objectives. There is no place in our liberal democratic societies for violent paramilitaries like Antifa as well as any others of other inclinations and ideologies (such as neo-Nazis seeking racial war to destroy the existing political, economic and social arrangements and replace them with some ill-defined Aryan Reich).
Antifa deserves the same treatment from law as Al Qaeda gets from anti-terror laws or Mafia from RICO legislation. Those who plot and commit crimes and use violence as an instrument of terror and politics belong in jail. It’s time to stop coddling the next generation of Lenin, Mao and Che wannabes in our midst. Democracy is not a suicide pact to tolerate all those who seek our destruction.
If I seem more passionate about this issue than an average person in the street, it’s because I had the pleasure to grow up in a society created by the original Antifa of revolutionary communists through violence in 1917 and spread and perpetuated through more violence over the following decades. Strange that but when you eliminate democracy, property ownership and basic human rights you don’t actually end up with a society that’s better, happier, richer or more equal. In the twentieth century we went there, did that, and somehow managed to eventually survive it (except, of course, for all those who didn’t).
In the twenty-first century, there is no excuse for tolerating people trying to make the same mind-bogglingly bloody mistake all over again, just as we would not – and should not – tolerate people who think Nazism was a good idea that deserves another go. Totalitarianism is a virus and our social body has every right and responsibility to defend itself from such illness. The game’s over. Dismantle Antifa and lock them up.
Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where a version of this piece also appears.
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