Culture Jun 1, 2021 5:35 AM EST

Antifa's origins and where they go from here

Jack Posobiec's The Antifa: Stories from Inside the Black Bloc tracks the far-left militants from communist radicals in Europe to their emergence as a threat to Western democracy.

Antifa's origins and where they go from here
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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Antifa emerged full throated and ready for action in the summer of 2020. Its sudden visibility as a force acting against Western civilization took many by surprise, but if you'd been following along, you could have seen its origins, first in Europe, and then in the anti-government and anti-corporatist movements in the US. Jack Posobiec's new book The Antifa: Stories from Inside the Black Bloc, finds Antifa's roots and tracks their rise as a far-left fighting force that has their roots not simply in anti-fascism, as the left so frequently cites, but in communist and anarchist movements whose intent is to overthrow the democratically-elected state.

The far-leftist group became a global phenomenon in the late 1990s, and despite President Joe Biden's supposition that the militants are simply "an idea," the leaderless movement has grown and expanded. They protested and rioted in Seattle, across the US and Europe, and because they are a loose affiliation, Posobiec says, they are able to maintain tactical standards and methods of aggression through the proliferation of texts, posts on message boards and social media, and keeping these controls in place at public actions.

Antifa is largely unchecked. Governments refuse to address their terrorist activities, and that's one problem, but adding to that is that universities, mainstream media, social media, multinational corporations, and Democrats in the US all give cover to Antifa. In revealed conversations between President Donald Trump and his FBI Director Christopher Wray, it's clear that the willingness to overlook Antifa violence is not a partisan persuasion. Plenty of people simply assume that the banner waving, black bloc wearing, chanting mobs are not a threat to Western life.

Corporatization and corporate support of Antifa emboldens them because they are getting the approval they seek from the very entities they seek to destroy. The rhetorical support big companies give to Antifa is either a result of their not understanding just what it is that they're supporting or because they actually believe they are supporting a worthwhile undertaking.

"Ultimately, it is culture that matters most, for it is culture that shapes beliefs and ideals, determining how we see the world and act within it," Posobiec writes. "When the right surrendered the culture, the left quickly moved into the vacuum, led by the Clintons and Obamas who embraced pop culture."

Perhaps the West's tolerance of Antifa has something to do with the deep shame we feel at our prosperity. Antifa tells us we are awful sinners for buying and consuming, and deep down, we believe it. But we're telling ourselves the wrong story. We've constructed a narrative in the West that will intentionally lead to our own destruction, we've bought into the lies about capitalism is more harmful than communism.

At issue is the conflict between the idea that humanity should be divided into groups or respected as individuals. Fascism is a bundle of sticks, and the anti-fascists are in favor of group identity over individual rights. They are clear on this, and their actions show that outright. There is no leader of Antifa because there are no individuals. There is no freedom of expression, because there are no single voices with independent perspectives, there is just one voice, the sound of many speaking in unison.

Why do we feel like we owe assistance to those who want to take us down? Posobiec shows how these anti-fascists are in fact fascists who do not have the good of society at heart, but are only interested in destruction. He details first hand accounts from his early encounter with them, at the Deplorable, an Inauguration party in 2017, through his infiltration of the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle in the summer of 2020. Democrat leaders have drunk the Kool-Aid, have come to believe that the US is an oppressor, globally, and instead they refuse to recognize the violence inherent in this movement.

"Nurtured in the world of fiction over fact, and feelings over history," Posobiec writes, "Antifa's radicals sincerely believe that anyone who does not support Black Lives Matter in every particular is a fascist. They cannot conceive of Republicans as NOT being a fascist; indeed, a closet supporter of Hitler. Their ideological opponents are not fellow citizens with a different point of view; they are enemies who must, at the very least, be silenced."

The furthering of Antifa's goals are made possible because of their loose organizational structure. They command conformity, demand silence, and perpetuate a false narrative of their superiority to the rest of us plebs. "Antifa is not waging war against any individual, but against democracy itself and especially capitalism," Posobiec writes.

Trump classed Antifa as a domestic terror group. But Biden's AG Merrick Garland is focused primarily on white supremacists. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in the Bush administration, defined terrorist as actions that were designed to terrorize the community. And that's what Antifa does. With a loose affiliation pulling people together through adherence to a set of rules, Antifa operates like a hydra: When one head is lopped off another springs up to take its place.

Posobiec defines extremism thusly: "Extremism means individuals or groups who justify the use of violence to achieve their political goals." That's exactly what Antifa has does and continues to do. Antifa commits acts, such as the endless nights of rioting in Portland, the enforced capitulation of political leaders, and the silencing and threatening of journalists, and justify those actions as in service to their aims.

These aims are primarily destruction, capitulation, and the decimation of Western values. To attain these aims, they use fear, aggression, and manipulation. Elected leaders have become complicit, straight up to the presidency. Corporate leaders signal their virtue by gushing praise at what they see as the moral correctitude of those who call out the West for her original sins. But Antifa, as Posobiec notes, will use these shills until they haven't a use for them anymore, and then the mainstream supporters of Antifa will be set ablaze too.

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