Who are they?
ANTIFA is short for anti-fascist action, a far-left extra parliamentary, anti-fascist network in Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Australia, UK Canada and the United States. Their stated goal is to beat fascism in every form. The group’s activities have included handing out flyers, organising demonstrations, direct action property destruction and violence. They believe that physical aggression and violence are needed to combat fascism and the far-right.
The group has no central authority, and this can be hard for the authorities to stop the group by removing it’s leadership, as they don’t really have anything above group leaders, which are in abundance.
Early Days In Sweden:
Antifascistisk Aktion, the Swedish brand of ANTIIFA, was founded in 1993 and they advocated for violence against neo-nazis. In January 2006 Swedish ANTIFA members attacked an immigration office and threaterned officials after setting fire to Tråvad spinnery the year before, where members admitted to arson by using timed fire-bombs. In 2007 they attacked an immigration judge in Gothenburg, hitting his door with an axe and vandalising the outside of his house and releasing personal information about the judge online.
More Recent In The US:
In 2017, on the day of President Trump’s inauguration AFTIFA used black bloc tactics, where they dressed all in black in huge numbers and caused large amounts of damage. Later in April 2017 there was the so called battle for Berkeley, where ANTIFA along with BAMN (who I will be writing about in a future blog post) were protesting conservative speakers, here they started violence against the Republican supporters who, this time decided to fight back after so-called “bike lock attacker” hit a man over the head with a bike lock. A major street battle took place with the result of ANTIFA being totally outnumbered and forced into a retreat, the group used smoke bombs to affect their escape.
The group was officially classified as a domestic terrorist organisation by the state of New Jersey shortly after. Terrorism is
defined as the use of violence to achieve political change and this is exactly what they are doing.
Even More Recent In Europe?
In July 2017 a G20 world leaders’ summit in Hamburg was over shadowed by violence by ANTIFA, over 500 Police officers were injured during the violence and this seems to be a tipping point.
There are many people high up in the European establishment that are calling for more to be done to combat this group, some are asking for a Europe-wide register(Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor) and the German justice minister Heiko Maas said that there would be more money put into preventing left-wing extremism. He also said that this is a historic high point in Germany for politically motivated violence .