Antifa, or Anti Fascists, are making headlines around the country…particularly in Berkley, Portland, and other far left strongholds. They are initiating violent protests, counter protests and rioting on college campuses and in the streets of major U.S. cities. For many Americans they appear to be a new organization, one which has sprung to life to protest President Trump’s election. In reality Antifa is nearly 100 years old and has roots that go directly back to Joseph Stalin and post WWI Europe. What is new about the current Antifa movement is their target. They are no longer attacking fascists to springboard a communist revolution in Europe. Their current target is the political rift between Conservatives and Liberals in the U.S. Their goal is to create the conditions for a Communist takeover of the Democrat party and the eventual subversion of our constitutional republic. To this end they are attacking everyone who holds a conservative viewpoint–and for political cover, they are labeling conservatives as fascists while obfuscating their own communist ideology. Antifa and the communist party hope that Americans will focus on the message of anti fascism. They want us to forget that communists have slaughtered far more innocent lives than the Nazis did, and that while fascism has become a worldwide pariah, communism has continued to be a major player in politics around the world. Communism remains a clear and present danger to liberal democracies everywhere.
Fascism first reared its ugly head in Europe during the post WWI era, when communism had already made great inroads in Eastern Europe. Spurred by the industrialized violence of the Great War, many Europeans sought a strong central government which they believed could protect them in the event of another war. In the confusion and turmoil following the collapse of Germany and the subsequent great depression, the far right looked to fascism, and the far left to communism. Both of these political groups saw liberal democracies as weak and obsolete systems, and favored a strong central government run by a committee (communism) or by a dictator (fascism), either of which would be backed by party loyalists.
From 1918 to the mid 1920s several groups of German communists, backed by Stalinists in Russia, made a series of violent attempts to overthrow the newly formed Weimar Republic government of Germany. These attacks were unsuccessful in large part due to lack of central leadership from the communists. After some initial infighting, the major communist group to emerge was the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands or KPD. The KPD’s main political target going forward would be the fascists, and the paramilitary arm of this anti fascist movement would be Antifaschistische Aktion. During this period in Germany the KPD would garner a respectable 10% of the national vote, making it the strongest European communist enclave outside of Russia.
Strong anti-communist feelings in the leadership of the Weimar Republic were bolstered by these unsuccessful coupes. Concern over these insurrections led to a national call to action to fight against communism. Under the leadership of Gustav Noske, the German defense minister, the Freikorps were formed. These freikorps were government sanctioned paramilitary groups primarily made up of disaffected WWI veterans that used direct action to suppress communists. Freikorps were quickly subverted by the fascists, leading eventually to the brown shirt militias and a Nazi takeover of Germany.
Antifaschistische Aktion and the KPD sank into obscurity during WWII as the Nazis crushed any opposition with an iron fist. During the Cold War the KPD regained some of its former glory in East Germany as well as enclaves in West Germany, but with the primary enemy of communism now seen as the West–capitalism and liberal democracies–there was little reason to utilize the anti fascists, and they were quietly relegated to the role of occasional anarchists on behalf of the communists. They stayed under the radar until the 2016 U.S. presidential election where, very quickly, Antifaschistische Aktion was resurrected as Antifa.
With Donald Trump’s general election victory over Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic National Committee’s suppression of popular socialist Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election, the communist party had again seen a strategic need for an anti fascist paramilitary group. The far left felt abandoned by moderate democrats, and moderate democrats felt that America had taken a turn for the worse regarding immigration and views of Islam. The leftist media conducted a thorough spin of Trump’s campaign, painting him as a far right fascist and bigot. This spin campaign played directly into communist leaders’ hands, allowing the new Antifa movement to take root. Antifa has used the labels of “fascist” and “racist” to great effect in attempting to paint conservatives as hate-filled bigots, while simultaneously chipping away at the basic freedoms of Americans through suppression of free speech. Antifa also quickly showed that they were not only willing, but eager to use violence on a large scale.
The great irony of the current Antifa movement is that there really aren’t any fascists in America worth attacking anymore. fascists and neo-Nazis in the U.S. have been systematically rejected and pushed to the fringes of American society. They have no real sympathizers, and therefore hold no real influence. Despite this Antifa and other leftists continue to try and stick the fascist/racist/bigot label on everyone who disagrees with them, because that is where they get their power. As everyday Americans begin to open their eyes to the reality that Antifa is falsely accusing innocent people and then violently attacking them under false pretenses, Antifa will lose what little influence they have. But until they collapse under their own hypocrisy, it is important to remember the images of masked Antifa protesters burning piles of books, holding signs that condemn free speech and violently attacking dissenting voices. It is important to see these attacks and recognize that this is the same conduct that has led the world to scorn fascism. It is important to remember that communists have left a far greater swath of death and misery in their wake than fascists and Nazis could ever hope to. And it is important to remember that they are using violence and threat of violence to bring about societal or political change–the very definition of the word terrorism.