Donald Trump has tried to take responsibility for the racial turmoil that swept the United States against the Antifa movement, a far-left and anti-fascist group that the president said on Sunday evening via Twitter that he wanted to label it as a terrorist organization. He cannot proceed in this direction, he explains for the New York Times, because the United States does not have a law on internal terrorism, but also because the Antifa do not have a leader, a defined structure or certain members: it is rather difficult to understand who is actually part of it, even if they are organized in local cells such as Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club, a Seattle group that he told last year to Guardian to want to arm itself to defend itself against white supremacists.
Just the spread of far-right groups after Trump’s election in 2016 contributed the revival of far-left activism, of which the Antifa are the most visible wing, which had remained dormant since the 1980s, when in the Midwest punk circles the Anti-Racist Action faced neo-Nazi groups. Antifa maintain that militant anti-fascism is by nature self-defense, because the violence committed by fascists is historically documented, in particular against marginalized people, he explained to Times Mark Bray, history reader at Dartmouth College and author of the book Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, which has generated controversy in the famous Ivy League university for its positions in defense of the movement.
The Antifa are mainly dressed in black, often have their faces covered, they do not like the police force – who they consider an authoritarian symbol – and come from different political backgrounds: radical left, anarchist groups and even Black Bloc, a group that in the United States emerged in Seattle in 1999, during protests against the conference of the World Trade Organization. Today they are fighting against authoritarian leaders, homophobia, racism and xenophobia, in turn joining other groups such as Black Lives Matter or Occupy, but only for common causes. They do not refuse the use of violence because they believe that if racist or fascist groups were left free to organize themselves, violence against the most marginalized communities would still result.
The first group to adopt the name was in 2007 the Rose City Antifa of Portland, Oregon, which still has a good following online. The movement is very active in the Northwest of the United States, even within the football stadiums. In Seattle and Portland, last year, fans were called back by the American football league for waving flags and banners with the Three Arrows, a symbol of the German iron front that fought against Nazism and was banned in 1933, used today. from the Antifa movement. According to Mls, Portland and Seattle fans could have shown the symbol on the shirts, but not on flags that are too visible inside the stadium.
At that point the Three Arrows appeared not only in the progressive Northwestbut in stadiums across the country: from Washington to Orlando, via Cincinnati to Oklahoma City. Then, when the two teams – bitter rivals – met on 23 August last year in the Cascadia derby, the fans staged a joint protest: 33 minutes of silence, like the year the Iron Front was banned by Nazism, then the whole stadium exploded singing (the English version of) Bella Ciao.
June 1, 2020 (change June 1, 2020 | 19:12)
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