The FBI is investigating individuals associated with the far-left extremist group Antifa, which frequently advocates for the use of violence and sparks riots to block conservative speakers and events.
At a House homeland security committee hearing on global terror threats on Nov. 30, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray on whether the agency was investigating Antifa extremists.
“Antifa operates across the U.S. in ways that involve at least potentially criminal interstate activities, such as inciting a riot and conspiracy to incite riot, as well as behavior,” said Perry, who went on to ask Wray whether the FBI was doing anything to counter Antifa.
Wray said, “We are investigating a number of what we would call anarchist-extremist investigations, where we would have properly predicated subjects of people who are motivated to commit violent criminal activity on kind of an Antifa ideology.”
He added, “We have a number of active investigations in that space all around the country,” and said the funding sources behind Antifa are also “something we’re keenly interested in.”
According to Wray, Antifa is regarded by the FBI as an ideology and not as a single movement. The extremist organization has numerous affiliate organizations across the United States and in various countries around the world.
Antifa was allegedly classified as a domestic terrorist organization by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration. According to classified documents obtained by Politico, Antifa was described in April 2016 as the “primary instigators of violence at public rallies against a range of targets.”
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness lists Antifa under its domestic terrorist section as a group of “anarchist extremists.”
Antifa originated in Germany with Antifaschistische Aktion (“Antifascist Action”) as a United Front program of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Russia in the early 1920s. It functioned as the violent wing of the Communist Party of Germany, where the Soviets believed the next communist revolution would take place, and branded all political rivals as “fascists,” including the democratic socialists.
The movement continues using “fascism” as a political label to justify violence against its targets. According to a 2016 report from Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the “left-wing extremist” group’s use of the term “fascism” does not refer to actual fascism. Instead, the group uses it as a label for capitalism.
Antifa also continues to act as the violent arm of communist revolutionary groups, particular in the United States, according to the documentary “America Under Siege: Antifa,” released on Sept. 25 by the Capital Research Center and Cohesion Films.
The Antifa extremist group has been praised by several legacy news outlets for its violent attacks on conservatives, and its masked, black-clad followers were recently featured by The New York Times as a fashion symbol.
However, the group is frequently tied to acts of violence, censorship, and political intimidation.
Ed Klein, former editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine, published FBI documents revealing that Antifa is colluding with the terrorist organization ISIS, in his new book “All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump.”
In a Nov. 19 interview with investigative website USA Watchdog, Klein stated, “In the FBI report that I have reproduced in full in my book, it says that these violent left-wing groups traveled to Europe, met with representatives of al-Qaida and the Islamic State, or ISIS. They also went to Syria and got bomb-making instructions and toxic chemical instructions.”
Klein said the FBI believes that Antifa may become increasingly violent as the 2018 mid-term elections near. “These left-wing groups, like Antifa, represent the greatest threat to law enforcement since the 1970s and the Weather Underground,” he said.
On Nov. 12, Florida police arrested Christopher Langer, who allegedly supported Antifa affiliate Occupy Wall Street. He was found with explosive devices and 200 containers with unknown powders, acids, bodily fluids, and other substances.
According to local news outlet Click Orlando, Langer was an anti-government heroin addict who allegedly wanted to “get even” by attacking first responders.
In Olympia, Washington, on Nov. 27, an Antifa affiliate group used jumper cables on a train track to protest fracking. The group described its actions in a short post on the Puget Sound Anarchists website, stating, “We temporarily shutdown [sic] train lines throughout the larger oakland [sic] area by shorting the track circuits with jumper cables.”
Soon after, on Nov. 29, police raided and broke up a nearby Antifa encampment. According to local news outlet The Olympian, the protesters had established the camp and a street blockade on Nov. 17. The predawn raid almost two weeks later ended with 12 arrests.
In the Netherlands, an alleged Antifa member was arrested for injuring a police officer and killing a police horse during a Nov. 26 protest.
The incident was reminiscent of the March 2016 violent Antifa protest in Kansas City, where 29-year-old April Foster was arrested for assaulting a police horse.
There have been numerous other attacks and incidents involving Antifa extremists in recent weeks. In Berkeley, a leader of Antifa affiliate By Any Means Necessary is being sued for filing a restraining order to inhibit free speech. In Philadelphia, an armed Antifa affiliate, the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement, is promoting an anti-police workshop that praises a police killer. In Boston, an organizer of free speech rallies was recently hospitalized after sustaining multiple fractures in his face during an attack by Antifa extremists.