Under a new bill, members of the domestic terrorist organization Antifa could face 15 years in prison if they wear masks while threatening or attacking people engaging in any right protected by the Constitution or U.S. law.
Antifa is known for its members wearing face masks and all-black attire. The group regularly organizes to attack conservatives who participate in public events.
The organization was allegedly classified as committing “domestic terrorist violence” by the Obama administration, and it is classified as a domestic terrorist threat by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
The bill, which only recently made headlines, was introduced last month by Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) and is co-sponsored by representatives Pete King (R-N.Y.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), and Ted Budd (R-N.C.). It is currently with the House judiciary committee.
The bill would make it so that an individual who wears a disguise or mask who “injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates any person” who is exercising or enjoying any privilege protected by U.S. law or the Constitution “shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.”
It notes that the bill does not apply to law enforcement officers who lawfully carry out their duties and who are at times required to wear equipment that covers their faces.
Antifa claims to be “anti-fascist,” but labels groups that are even remotely conservative as “fascist.” A 2016 report from Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, explains that Antifa does not use the term “fascist” to refer to actual fascism, but instead as a label for “capitalism.”
The group uses violence and intimidation for political purposes, and its actions have been painted favorably by major news outlets including The New York Times and by politicians including Democratic National Committee deputy chair Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota.
Antifa is rooted in Antifaschistische Aktion, which was the violent arm of the KPD (Communist Party of Germany), which was financed by Moscow. It was formed under a “united front” program of the Soviet Union’s Communist International (Comintern) during the Third World Congress in Moscow in June and July 1921.
The group maintains its connections to communist organizations, including the Democratic Socialists of America, the far-left extremist group By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), and the Revolutionary Communist Party.