Antifa in the United States
By Soeren Kern, GATESTONE INSTITUTE
|Antifa in the United States is highly networked, well-funded and has a clear ideological agenda: to subvert, often with extreme violence, the American political system, with the ultimate aim of replacing capitalism with communism. Pictured: An Antifa demonstration on November 16, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)|
- “The only long-term solution to the fascist menace is to undermine its pillars of strength in society grounded not only in white supremacy but also in ableism, heteronormativity, patriarchy, nationalism, transphobia, class rule, and many others.” — Mark Bray, “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” 2017.
- “They’re coming from other cities. That cost money. They didn’t do this on their own. Somebody’s paying for this…. What Antifa is doing is they’re basically hijacking the black community as their army. They instigate, they antagonize, they get these young black men and women to go out there and do stupid things, and then they disappear off into the sunset.” — Bernard Kerik, former commissioner of the New York City Police Department.
- The coordinated violence raises questions about how Antifa is financed. The Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) is an organizing group that serves as a fiscal sponsor to numerous radical left-wing initiatives, according to Influence Watch, a research group that collects data on advocacy organizations, foundations and donors…. The Open Society Foundations, Tides Foundation, Arca Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, and the Brightwater Fund have all made contributions to AFGJ, according to Influence Watch.
- One of the groups funded by AFGJ is called Refuse Fascism … an offshoot of the Radical Communist Party (RCP)…. The group’s slogan states: “This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!”
U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced that the American government would designate Antifa — a militant “anti-fascist” movement — as a terrorist organization due to the violence that erupted at George Floyd protests across the United States.
The Code of Federal Regulations (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
American media outlets sympathetic to Antifa have jumped to its defense. They argue that the group cannot be classified as a terrorist organization because, they claim, it is a vaguely-defined protest movement that lacks a centralized structure.
As the following report shows, Antifa is, in fact, highly networked, well-funded and has a clear ideological agenda: to subvert, often with extreme violence, the American political system, with the ultimate aim of replacing capitalism with communism. In the United States, Antifa’s immediate aim is to remove President Trump from office.
Gatestone Institute has identified Antifa groups in all 50 U.S. states, with the possible exception of West Virginia. Some states, including California, Texas and Washington, appear to have dozens of sub-regional Antifa organizations.
It is difficult precisely to determine the size of the Antifa movement in the United States. The so-called “Anti-Fascists of Reddit,” the “premier anti-fascist community” on the social media platform Reddit, has approximately 60,000 members. The oldest Antifa group in America, the Portland, Oregon-based “Rose City Antifa,” has more than 30,000 Twitter followers and 20,000 Facebook followers, not all of whom are necessarily supporters. “It’s Going Down,” a media platform for anarchists, anti-fascists and autonomous anti-capitalists, has 85,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 Facebook followers.
Germany, which has roughly one-quarter of the population of the United States, is home to 33,000 extreme leftists, of whom 9,000 are believed to be extremely dangerous, according to the domestic intelligence agency (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV). Violent left-wing agitators are predominantly male, between 21 and 24 years of age, usually unemployed, and, according to BfV, 92% still live with their parents. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most Antifa members in the United States have a similar socio-economic profile.
In America, national Antifa groups, including “Torch Antifa Network,” “Refuse Fascism” and “World Can’t Wait” are being financed — often generously, as shown below — by individual donors as well as by large philanthropic organizations, including the Open Society Foundations founded by George Soros.
To evade detection by law enforcement, Antifa groups in the United States often use encrypted social media platforms, such as Signal and Telegram Messenger, to communicate and coordinate their activities, sometimes across state lines. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating individuals linked to Antifa as a step to unmasking the broader organization.
The coordinated violence raises questions about how Antifa is financed. The Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) is an organizing group that serves as a fiscal sponsor to numerous radical left-wing initiatives, according to Influence Watch, a research group that collects data on advocacy organizations, foundations and donors.
AFGJ, which describes itself as “anti-capitalist” and opposed to the principles of liberal democracy, provides “fiscal sponsorship” to groups advocating numerous foreign and domestic far-left and extreme-left causes, including eliminating the State of Israel.
The Tucson, Arizona-based AFGJ, and people associated with it, have advocated for socialist and communist authoritarian regimes, including in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. In the 2000s, AFGJ was involved in anti-globalization demonstrations. In the 2010s, AFGJ was a financial sponsor of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
AFGJ has received substantial funding from organizations often claiming to be the mainstream of the center-left. The Open Society Foundations, Tides Foundation, Arca Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, the Ben & Jerry Foundation and the Brightwater Fund have all made contributions to AFGJ, according to Influence Watch.
One of the groups funded by AFGJ is called Refuse Fascism, a radical left-wing organization devoted to promoting nationwide action to remove from office President Donald Trump, and all officials associated with his administration, on the grounds that they constitute a “fascist regime.” The group has been present at many Antifa radical-left demonstrations, also according to Influence Watch. The group is an offshoot of the Radical Communist Party (RCP).
In July 2017, the RCP bragged that it took part in violent riots against the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. The RCP has argued that capitalism is synonymous with fascism and that the election of President Trump would lead the U.S. government to “bludgeon and eliminate whole groups of people.”
In June 2020, Refuse Fascism took advantage of the death of George Floyd to raise money for a “National Revolution Tour” evidently aimed at subverting the U.S. government. The group’s slogan states: “This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!”