Barr: Antifa a 'Revolutionary Group' That Wants to Establish Socialism

Barr: Antifa a 'Revolutionary Group' That Wants to Establish Socialism
Protesters clash with federal police in front of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland, Ore., as the city experiences another night of unrest on July 28, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Bowen Xiao

For the first time, the nation’s top law enforcement officer has explicitly outlined the nature of far-left anarcho-communist group Antifa, describing it as a "revolutionary group" intent on establishing socialism or communism in the United States—and the experts agree.

Attorney General William Barr delivered a scathing critique of Antifa in an Aug. 9 interview with Mark Levin on Fox News, noting that the group’s organization and tactics make it a difficult phenomenon to deal with.

“They are a revolutionary group that is interested in some form of socialism, communism. They're essentially Bolsheviks. Their tactics are fascistic,” Barr said.

While Antifa publicly identifies with communist and socialist ideology, the interview marked the first time for Barr to go into such detail.

"The Attorney General’s comments represent a significant improvement over previous government statements on Antifa, and he should be commended for his outspokenness," Kyle Shideler, director and senior analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy, told The Epoch Times.

Shideler—who testified on Aug. 4 before the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution about the structure and origin of Antifa—said he hopes Barr will direct the Justice Department to take Antifa's core mission to heart and begin "to treat the group as the subversive and insurrectionist force it is.

"Antifa’s distributed and non-hierarchical network structure requires better intelligence to counter," he said, noting that the federal government has a unique responsibility to address this threat as local and state governments are unable or unwilling to do so.

Antifa is "fundamentally committed to the abolition of the U.S. government and the violent overthrow of the United States Constitution," Shideler said in his written testimony. To achieve that, it's committed to the use "of both subversion and violent extremism to enforce its political views by terrorizing American citizens."

"Antifa’s activities clearly meet the definition of an organized criminal conspiracy and terrorism established by federal law," he said in his testimony.

The reality is that Antifa demonstrates "an elaborate and complex but non-hierarchical structure," Shideler said. He described how websites linked to the group attract users "who spend inordinate efforts discussing how Antifa groups can and should be organized."

The FBI has become increasingly concerned about violence perpetrated by Antifa at public events, according to a 2018 report by the Congressional Research Service, a public policy research arm of the U.S. Congress.

Sheriff Bob Songer of Klickitat County, Washington, told The Epoch Times that he considers Antifa, as well as Black Lives Matter, "domestic terrorism groups trying to overthrow the United States government and turn our country into a communist government," adding that "AG Barr is spot on with regard to Antifa's goal."

Songer says it's hard to crack down on Antifa and other similar groups when there are politicians who explicitly support them.

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report. 
Bowen Xiao was a New York-based reporter at The Epoch Times. He covers national security, human trafficking and U.S. politics.
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