3 June 2020

Historian of antifascism Tim Bray on Trump’s blustering declaration that Antifa is a terrorist organisation: “Trump’s declaration seems impossible to enforce – and not only because there is no mechanism for the President to designate domestic groups as terrorist organisations. Though antifa groups exist, antifa itself is not an organisation. Self-identified antifa groups … expose the identities of local Nazis and confront the far right in the streets. But antifa itself is not an overarching organisation with a chain of command… Instead, largely anarchist and anti-authoritarian antifa groups share resources and information about far-right activity across regional and national borders through loosely knit networks and informal relationships of trust and solidarity. And in the United States, antifa have never killed anyone, unlike their enemies in Klan hoods and squad cars. … Trump is conjuring the spectre of ‘antifa’ … to break the connection between this popular groundswell of anti-racist and black activism that has developed over recent years and the insurrections that have exploded across the country in recent days… Paradoxically, this move actually suggests a tacit acknowledgement of popular sympathy with the grievances and tactics of the protesters: If torching malls and police stations were sufficient on their own to delegitimise protests, there would be no need to blame ‘antifa’.”