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Considered opinionAntifa says it’s fighting Fascists. It just might be helping to re-elect Donald Trump.

By Ronald Radosh

Published 12 September 2017

There’s no consensus of what Antifa, a contraction of “anti-fascist,” stands for, or whether their tactics will achieve their stated goals. The historian Ronald Radosh writes that the German communists used the slogan “After Hitler, Us,” and directed their energy and propaganda not against the Nazis, but against the mainstream socialists. “It didn’t end well,” says Radosh. Antifa emulates many of the actions of the German communists in the 1930s, villifying centrists and liberals who reject antifa’s commitment to violence.

There’s no consensus of what Antifa, a contraction of “anti-fascist,” stands for, or whether their tactics will achieve their stated goals. The historian Ronald Radosh writes that the German Communists used the slogan “After Hitler, Us,” and directed their energy and propaganda not against the Nazis, but against the mainstream socialists. “It didn’t end well,” says Radosh.

Liberal editor and columnist Josh Marshall agrees, asking whether antifa, a group which empowers “violence over law… the surest route to the destruction of democracy and dictatorship?”

Here are a few paragraphs from Radosh’s article:

As Josh Meyer reported in Politico, back in early 2016, the FBI warned during the Obama presidency that antifa, composed of “anarchist extremists,” had become confrontational and dangerous and were often the main instigators of violence at public rallies. Both sides now come to announced events ready for violent confrontation. The bureau noted a June 2016 rally in Sacramento where antifa groups caused “a riot after which at least 10 people were hospitalized, some with stab wounds.”

Antifa’s attitude is the same taken by the German Communist Party (KPD) before Hitler’s ascension to power. The German Reds had the slogan “After Hitler, Us,” and used their energy and propaganda not against the Nazis, but against the mainstream socialists, organized in the Social-Democratic Party (SPD).

….

Despite this history, today’s antifa—which takes the name from the KPD’s street fighting group established in 1932, Antifaschitische Aktion—acts the same way toward centrists and liberals who reject their commitment to violence. Its members have also frequently assaulted photographers and members of the press seeking to document their public violence.

It should be apparent, but evidently is not to antifa members and leaders, that the United States, despite Donald Trump being president, is not in a comparable situation to that of Weimar Germany on the eve of Hitler’s ascension to power, or to Nazi Germany after the passage of the Enabling Act, which in 1933 gave Hitler the power to pass laws without the participation of the Reichstag. After this, Hitler and the Nazi Party assumed total control and established a one-party state without any political liberties. 

Antifa members should read historians of Nazi Germany, like Laurie Marhoefer of the University of Washington, who writes that anti-fascist street fighters who greeted a Nazi rally with violence thought that they had won by disrupting a rally and fighting its speakers back in 1927. They sent a message that “Fascism was not welcome.” But instead, “events like the rally in Wedding [a Berlin district] helped the Nazis build a dictatorship.” The Reds got media attention, but it led to escalating street violence, all of which helped the Nazis, who painted themselves “as the victims of a pugnacious, lawless left.”

Leftist violence in the 1930s in Germany led many to support the Nazis in the hope they would put an end to the continuing street brawls and violence. Today, the antifa left may even help to get Donald Trump reelected in 2020.

Read the full article, “Antifa says it’s fighting Fascists. It just might be helping to re-elect Donald Trump,” Daily Beast (11 September 2017)