Fascism and racism are things that,hopefully, most people denounce, regardless of what political party they claim to belong to. The Antifa, or anti-fascist, groups across the country take things several steps beyond just condemning racism and fascism; they believe that “direct action” is necessary to rid the world of those dangerous ideologies. Of course, in this case, direct action actually means destruction and brutal violence. It is disturbing to see how these groups have begun to infiltrate peaceful protests around the country and adulterate them with bloodshed and vandalism.
The Antifa groups of today draw inspiration from the anti-fascism movements of the 1920s and 1930s who would fight the fascist regimes in Germany, Italy and Spain. Each modern Antifa group is essentially independent from the others, meaning there is no real cohesion among them. These groups consist mostly of those who subscribe to radical, far-left political beliefs and many claim to be anarchists, anti-capitalists and socialists.
Not only does Antifa use its ends as a way to justify violence, but it’s not actually solving any problems in the process. When it comes to the things Antifa opposes, there really is no middle ground; you can only be for or against fascism, racism and bigotry. With that being said, the violent actions Antifa deems necessary are not swaying anyone to a different opinion or political ideology. One could even argue that the violence creates a larger rift between the opposing sides. The Antifa groups create a bad name for those on the left; people will see these pathetic acts of violence and attribute them to all of those on the left.
These groups that so adamantly fight against fascism limit free speech through threats and actual acts of violence and destruction. One of the cornerstones of fascism is the lack of free speech and free media. So in a way, the Antifa groups are almost contradicting themselves. I can understand the rationale for wanting to end hate speech, but people have to be able to think and decide for themselves whether or not they agree. Antifa, or anyone else for that matter, does not get to decide, especially through violent means, what people can and cannot say or hear.Contemporary history does not look kindly on thugs who use destruction as a tool to promote change, and Antifa will be no different. There is a reason why we remember Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi, along with others: because they were people who had been oppressed, condemned and beaten down by society, but instead of turning to violence, they inspired others. King didn’t throw Molotov cocktails through storefronts to fight for Civil Rights. He marched hand-in-hand with others through the streets of Washington, and gave people hope that things could change through peaceful means.
These people and many others dedicated their lives to fighting injustice by means of love, acceptance and peace, not threats and violence. The Antifa movement may have good goals in wanting to end racism and fascism, but the things they are willing to do to achieve those goals are despicable and only create further problems.
Gandhi famously said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Those involved in the Antifa movement have to ask themselves whether or not the violence and harm they are causing actually will bring about positive change: the answer, most likely, is no.