Since their violent protests at Trump’s inauguration, Antifa (“anti-Fascists) protesters have become a growing threat.
One petition on the “We the People” petition site for the White House, seeks to change that, reported The Washington Examiner. A petition to have Antifa formally recognized as a terrorist organization has reached more than 100,000 signatures, which could lead to a response from the White House.
According to the petition, terrorism is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” It claims that ISIS is held to this same definition of terrorism and therefore Antifa, with its “violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States,” qualifies them as terrorists.
Antifa protesters gained mainstream attention during their violent demonstration at Trump’s inauguration, according to CNN. There they displayed their protest of the inauguration by starting fires, damaging public property and attacking police and other protesters.
They often use ‘black bloc’ tactics during their protests. Members will dress head to toe in black often using gas masks to combat tear gas from police and will arm themselves with clubs and other weapons operating in a semi-uniform manner.
One member of Antifa, Scott Crow, says violence is justified in their efforts to oppose what they consider the rise of fascism. “I fought Nazis. I’ve had death threats. I’ve had guns drawn on me. I’ve drawn guns on fascists. I’ve been in altercations. I’ve smoke-bombed places. I’ve done a myriad of things to try and stop fascism and its flow over the years.”
With Antifa’s hatred of Capitalism, Nationalism, and right-wing politics, it didn’t take much for the Alt-Left to declare Trump an enemy according to The New York Times. These radicals who view Trump’s presidency as a threat to their political ideals, and have bought into the Trump-Russia collusion narrative wholeheartedly, see violence as the only way to fight back.
Eric Laursen, a writer for the anarchists, views the political system as corrupt and considers traditional, peaceful methods of opposition to be ineffective. “It’s true that a lot of people who consider themselves liberals or progressives still cling to the idea that you can effect social and economic change in the context of the state, through electoral politics,” Laursen said. “But more and more, it is going to become necessary for people on the left to think like anarchists if they are going to get anywhere.”
According to The Washington Examiner, following the Charlottesville violence, Trump criticized this group for seeking violence at the protests and the media for seemingly ignoring them. “What about the Alt-Left that came charging at, as you say, at the Alt-Right?” Trump asked. “Do they have any assemblage of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. That was a horrible, horrible day.”
Antifa’s violent protest against anything with which they disagree or disapprove of puts the lives of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum at risk. To be fair, few Democrats have supported these groups, but it’s still a rarity to see them criticized or rebuked by the media or the Left.
At the time of this article, the petition has over 160,000 signatories seeking to label Antifa protesters as terrorists. Hopefully, with the success of this petition, the White House will issue a formal response and these violent radicals will be called out for what they truly are.