A joint intelligence assessment by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) described the communist extremist group Antifa as committing terrorist activities as early as last year.
The confidential documents, first reported on by Politico on Sept. 1., show that the intelligence assessment led the DHS under the Obama administration to formally classify the activities of Antifa as “domestic terrorist violence.”
One of the documents obtained by Politico shows that authorities already knew in April 2016 that the group was the “primary instigators of violence at public rallies against a range of targets.”
Antifa uses violence as a tool for intimidation and suppression. In particular, it often lashes out at conservatives whom it places under the blanket label of “fascist,” then uses the label to justify its actions.
The organization was founded in Germany in the 1920s as the violent wing of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), which at the time was trying to establish a communist dictatorship in Germany. Part of its role was to brand any form of capitalism and all rival political parties, including even social democrats, as “fascist.”
President Donald Trump criticized Antifa alongside the KKK and neo-Nazis, following a violent clash in Charlottesville, Virginia.
On Aug. 14, Trump stated, “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
Trump was criticized by many left-wing politicians and news outlets, however, since he denounced Antifa—which many on the left were at the time defending.
“There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You have just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is,” Trump said.
Despite the criticisms against Trump at the time, however, many left-wing politicians and news outlets are now making similar statements against Antifa. This was particularly so after videos emerged of Antifa members beating and viciously kicking people on the ground, following cancelled events of a “Patriot Prayer” rally and the “No to Marxism in America” rally in Berkeley on Aug. 27.
On Aug. 3o the Washington Post departed from its previous line by publishing an opinion piece declaring “Yes, antifa is the moral equivalent of neo-Nazis.”
The author, Marc A. Thiessen, stated “Totalitarian is precisely what they are,” and noted that Antifa’s followers are mainly communists, socialists, and anarchists who believe physical violence is both justifiable and effective. “In other words, they are no different from neo-Nazis.”
He noted that both Neo-Nazis and Antifa promote violent ideologies. The Nazis killed an estimated 25 million people, and communism has killed an estimated 100 million people.
“There is no difference between those who beat innocent people in the name of the ideology that gave us Hitler and Himmler and those who beat innocent people in the name of the ideology that gave us Stalin and Dzerzhinsky,” he stated.
The White House may respond to a call to openly label Antifa as a terrorist organization. A petition calling for this designation on Antifa required 100,000 signatures by Sept. 16 to get a White House response has already received over 334,000 signatures, as of Sept. 1.
Antifa is already categorized as a domestic terrorist threat by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Some branches of Antifa are more open with their promotion of extremist violence. One of them, Redneck Revolt, offers a training manual on its website on how to carry out “executions,” “bank assaults,” “kidnappings,” and “terrorism.” The manual states that “Terrorism is a weapon the revolutionary can never relinquish.”