On 10 November 2021, the Center for Security Policy held a webinar entitled “The Truth About Antifa” featuring Center Director and Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Kyle Shideler.
Shideler has previously testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on the threat posed by Antifa, and was editor of the Center for Security Policy Press’s Unmasking Antifa: Five Perspectives on a Growing Threat.
There is a great deal of misinformation circulating about Antifa, thanks largely to a sympathetic news media. Shideler spent the better part of an hour clearing the air about this anarcho-communist organization.
Some of the misinformation about Antifa is so fundamental that there are those who deny that it even exists, preferring to label it as an ideology or movement. Shideler explained that not only does Antifa exist, but it has real organization and structure, with affinity groups, chapters, and other formations both throughout the US and in several foreign countries. Shideler compared Antifa to both nation-wide street gangs as well as terrorist groups organized into cellular structures and noted that federal law enforcement has no problem identifying those groups as organizations.
Antifa’s basic aim is to sow chaos and anarchy in order to facilitate a revolutionary climate to bring about the end of our constitutional republic. The end game? Turning America into a communist state. Antifa weaponizes terms such as “anti-fascist” and “anti-racist” to demonize and silence opposition.
Though Antifa seems new to many, it has direct and indirect ties to 1970s radical groups such as the Weather Underground and the May 19 Communist Organization, which were involved in deadly leftist terrorism into the early 1980s.
While Antifa for the most part seems to hate Republican and Democrats because both are pillars of our system of government, there are also signs of apparent tolerance of and sympathy for Antifa inside the Democrat party. Democrat leaders have refused to condemn Antifa violence in the past and relatives and subordinates of prominent Democrat leaders have been arrested at Antifa riots. Shideler noted that danger of Democratic politicians and media figures echoing Antifa propaganda and talking points.
Antifa has seemingly emphasized direct action against Republicans. In his “Anti-Fascist Handbook” Dartmouth professor Mark Bray makes a thinly veiled call for violence against Trump voters.
Antifa was most active during the 2020 election season and there is every reason to believe that they will renew actions to disrupt and influence elections in 2022 and 2024. Shideler noted that given Antifa’s self-identified purpose is to shut down the organizing activity of the election year increases the probability Antifa will be active seeking to violently suppress their political opponents.
Despite Antifa’s actions, there is now a dearth of federal law enforcement and criminal justice attention directed at the movement. It seems that the political climate in Washington doesn’t reward scrutiny of Antifa.
This is disgraceful given the fact that Antifa’s actions fit the federal definition of terrorism and the movement is known to have international ties. In short, Antifa should be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Of course, no one expects this to happen anytime soon.
Most recently, Antifa has taken to attacking two new groups/forms of activity: (i) anti-vaccination mandate protests and (ii) prayer rallies and vigils.
Shideler explains that the irony of Antifa, an anarchist organization, attacking those protesting a government mandate isn’t actually so surprising. Antifa has made it a mission to force its opponents out of the political discourse to stifle anyone who doesn’t espouse their Marxist philosophy.
And like good Marxists, Antifa deliberately targets religious believers, especially Christians, seeking to disrupt prayer vigils, and in some cases even engaging in church arsons.
Due to technical difficulties, a recording of the event is unavailable at this time