The Antifas or “anti-fascists” were all but unknown to Americans until after the election of Donald Trump four years ago. In the fall and winter of 2016-2017 they appeared in “black bloc” gear on the streets of American cities like Minerva bursting full-grown from the head of Zeus. In the ensuing years they have continued to ravage public spaces across the country, and have joined forces with Black Lives Matter to the point that the shock troops of the two groups are all but indistinguishable.
Because I specialize in European issues, I had long been familiar with Antifa (and their closely-related cousins, the Autonomer in Denmark and Unite Against Fascism [UAF] in the UK). Back in 2007 and 2008, when I was first researching the groups, I spent a long time tracking down their websites in various Western countries. The Antifas seemed to have their greatest presence in Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany. They were also to be found in other Western European countries, with the exception of Britain, which had the UAF instead.
When I looked for an American franchise of Antifa, I discovered that it was vestigial — there was almost no Antifa presence in the USA. Violent far-left activism was left to other Marxist groups, such as International A.N.S.W.E.R. Antifa per se was virtually non-existent in the USA.
How times have changed!
And they changed suddenly, just after November 8, 2016. Someone turned on the spigots and the money started to flow to the black bloc groups all over the country. The black and red flags on their banners became a familiar sight on television news reports. Their customary paraphernalia — rocks, iron bars, baseball bats, and heavy-duty fireworks — could be seen in videos recorded on the streets of major cities with buildings and vehicles burning in the background.
The same sort of sight had long been familiar in Western Europe. More than twelve years ago El Inglés and our Flemish correspondent VH did extensive research on the European Antifas. Relevant excerpts from two posts, originally published in September and October of 2008, are reproduced below.
From “The InterNazis”, September 26, 2008
The excluded portions of this post were topical to the news of that time, but still make for interesting reading. See the original for the full text.
The term “Nazi” is an abbreviation of the German-language version of the phrase “National Socialist”, and referred to the totalitarian socialist ideology which arose in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s. The modifier “National” was applied to “Socialist” in order to distinguish Hitler’s brand of Socialism from Communism, which was “international Socialism”, as represented by the Comintern and directed by Stalin. The Nazis were very much Socialists, but wanted nothing to do with the vile cosmopolitan Bolshevik version of Socialism, which Hitler considered an alien Jewish ideology, unfit for his vision of the Aryan future.
Nazism was destroyed by the Allies in 1945, and Communism crumbled of its own weight in 1991. But International Socialism did not die. By the 1970s it had spread throughout the institutions of the Free World like a metastasized cancer in the body politic of Western Civilization.
In 21st-century Europe, InterNazis can be found most frequently in the various chapters of Antifa, also known as Anti-fascist Action (with variants in several languages) or AFA. The affinity of Antifa for the Nazi ideology and iconography can be observed in the logos [above].
The stylized “A” in the middle symbol is a common logo for the Anarchists, of which the Antifas form a particularly virulent branch. The right-hand symbol with its lightning-bolt “A” is from the 1930s. It was used by the Nazis to represent the Sturmabteilung, the Storm Troopers, also known as the Brown Shirts. These were Hitler’s bully-boys, the high-spirited lads who took to the streets to beat up Communists, Jews, free-thinkers, and anyone else considered to be an enemy of the German people.
Is the resemblance of the SA symbol to the Antifa logo a coincidence? I have no idea, but it’s a fitting emblem for the thugs who beat up the Jews and little old ladies who came to Cologne last weekend to protest Islamization.
What bears the most striking resemblance to the methodology of the Storm Troopers is the symbiosis among the Antifa groups, the police, and local officials. The Autonomer are performing an identical function to that of the Sturmabteilung: they carry out illegal political violence on behalf of a totalitarian state which deems itself to be beyond the rule of law.
In this they also closely resemble the Comités de Defensa de la Revolución, the “Committees for the Defense of the Revolution”, a communist institution established in Castro’s Cuba. The Committees are allegedly “spontaneous” manifestations of popular outrage against the enemies of Socialism, and are employed to harass and intimidate any dissidents who dare to question the regime.
Unlike the Storm Troopers of 1930s Germany, the Antifas are international, and represent an ideology that explicitly seeks the destruction of the nation-state and the abolition of national identity. Their mission is to deconstruct the nations of Europe so that Socialist Multiculturalism may be implemented with a minimum of resistance.
Our Flemish correspondent VH has been thinking about these things, and he’s also been doing what I’d like to do, but don’t have time for: researching the European Antifas and all their ideological cousins. He sent me an email yesterday with an overview of the situation, and with his kind permission I am posting it below:
I share your interest in the Militant Left. Every now and then I dive into their agitprop, hoping to find a key to echo it back to them, but most of all to their potential recruits: the brainwashed adolescents and the ignorant Leftist enablers of Arabization.
A few notes:
There maybe were no more than a thousand or at most a few thousand counter-demonstrators in Cologne, maybe half of them Blackhoods, the rest ignorant Gutmenschen. They had a schedule; they practiced blockades way in advance, gave AFA training (never give your name!), sabotaged transport, moved around like regiments, used sympathizers in media-sensitive front lines, and only needed a few strategic locations and some pin-pointed violence to achieve the optimal effect.