Antifa is a loose network of individuals and groups, principally anarchist fanatics and far-left revolutionaries. It calls itself “anti-fascist,” targeting those it deems to be white supremacists and neo-Nazis. But Antifa’s appraisal of its enemies is conveniently subjective and expansive, including people who are simply conservative. That kind of distinction is of no interest to Antifa, which regards anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders as a far-right extremist. So they’ve expanded their attacks, intimidating conservative speakers on college campuses and folks attending peaceful pro-Trump rallies.
A favorite venue for Antifa is Portland where the city’s progressive culture, government and police have for years given radical leftist groups and Antifa latitude to do their thing. This inevitably leads to civil disobedience and the destruction of public and private property as has occurred at Portland’s annual International Socialist May Day event and riots like the 2016 anti-Trump protest after the election. The Antifa mobs usually attack banks and financial institutions, although they also like to break windows at Starbucks. (During a riot, why not take a quick break to enjoy a Double Chocolaty Chip Blended Crème Frappuccino for free!)
Most recently, Antifa hordes armed with combat helmets, shields, clubs and masks to conceal their identities turned out to do battle with a right-wing group called the Proud Boys. During their attack, Antifa goons spotted Andy Ngo, a reporter for Quillette, a conservative publication where Ngo has been an Antifa critic. They hit him repeatedly in the head, pepper-sprayed him and threw a milk shake in his face, mixed with Antifa’s special recipe that includes quick-dry cement.
There’s no coherent ideology behind the Antifa movement. It knows what it’s against — people who disagree with them — but has but no practical concept of what it’s for. In reality, it’s a bunch of young thugs who like to bust heads, intimidate others and act out their revolutionary fantasies. Their ignorant notion of anti-fascism is just a cover and an excuse. They throw around the word “fascist” with the intellectual heft of a 4-year-old boy who calls another kid a “do-do head.”
So just what is fascism? The root of the term is the Italian word fascio, meaning a bundle or a group. Hence, fascism is inherently collective. The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Modern Economics offers this definition: “A totalitarian, collective system of government in which central control is exercised over all economic, political and social activities ... which entirely eliminates individualism and regards the state as the highest expression of the will of the group...Private ownership of production is maintained, but extreme restrictions are imposed on private economic freedoms. Decisions on production, investment, prices and wages are all subject to arbitrary government control.”
That sounds a lot more like the ideology of committed socialists such as Bernie Sanders (and the clueless and childish “AOC”) than it does the limited government, free market, individualist philosophy of conservatives.
Fascism, Nazism and communism are variations of the politics of the left. Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler had a lot in common. In constructing the Third Reich, Hitler borrowed from Mussolini’s fascist model in Italy after World War I. Hitler’s brand of fascism maintained the appearance of private enterprise but within a totalitarian state under his complete control using the private sector as a tool for his cronies.
His was a national socialism (that’s where the abbreviation “Nazi” comes from) compared with Marx and Lenin who were international socialists. They wanted the whole world to adopt this ideology. Hitler didn’t give a damn about the welfare of the whole world except that he wanted to be the master of it.
Getting back to Antifa. Ironically, they’re behavioral fascists, themselves, employing the violent tactics of Mussolini’s Blackshirts and Hitler’s Brownshirts. I don’t believe this obscure handful of fanatical insurrectionists is a serious threat to society, but they are a serious nuisance, and their reign of terror has gone on too long.
Bernie Kurick served as New York City’s police commissioner back when Rudy Giuliani was mayor and when aggressive policing policies were employed to successfully reverse the high crime rate in NYC. Kurick has called on the federal government to designate Antifa a domestic terror group and treat it accordingly. If feckless cities such as Portland won’t stop them from disturbing the peace and violating the constitutional rights of citizens, the FBI ought to take on the task — as it did in bringing John Dillinger to justice. It’s certainly a more productive use of the bureau’s talents than the Mueller investigation.
Mike Rosen is an American radio personality and political commentator.