I'm a member of Antifa

I’m pretty mutch a lurker here but I thought it might be beneficial to offer some perspective considering all the questions and misinformation out there
I’m an anti-fascist. That’s the antifa goal: prevent a slide into fascism through any means available. We try to work within the confines of the law when possible but we understand that laws can be the tools of fascism.
Antifa is a volunteer organization. We have no power structure and no leaders, nor do any of us get paid. We focus on direct, local action, only traveling for longer-term actions like the dapl protests. Flying’s expensive and a lot of us have jobs!
Politically we’re generally libertarian left, so we believe in lefty causes like uhc abs trans rights but lib causes like gun rights. There are a lot of people who would like to see libertarian, communist, Ave anarchist voices brought to the table. There’s a constant debate over whether to vote for biden, who is reviled but seen as the lesser evil, or vote something else like vermin Supreme or green party. Some antifa don’t vote out of protest and support quorum voting and ranked voting, though even those folks are active in local elections.
I have no real idea how many people are a part of Anti-fascist actions. Free factions in New York city and the bay area are thousands of people, and Florida, Texas, and Washington all have large factions. There’s no organization, so it’s impossible to do any sort of headcount. There are also a number of folks who don’t go out on the streets, either offering material, psychological, or medical help to the folks on the ground–I’m this type. Likewise here are people in politics and who work in government who push ideas there.
We spend a lot of time teaching protesters how to protest well, how to avoid police attention, and how to remain visible. The blm, environmentalist, and women’s protests all benefit from antifa member involvement. We know how to apply for permits and keep it quiet so groups like the proud boys won’t show up and open carry, sending new protesters scurrying away.
Antifa doesn’t “loot”, but I know some antifa folk stole milk from target in Minneapolis when they refused to sell it to us. Milk is less painful than water to flush tear gas from your eyes and can help preserve teeth knocked out by rubber bullets. Many antifa members have medical training.
I hope this answers some questions and gives you something to think about. I’ll be around only sporadically today to answer more questions and reply to comments, so I apologize if I’m a bit slow.

I bet you like Murray Bookchin

I was chatting on FB with a friend of mine who’s a remarkable person, works for a food distribution nonprofit, has a history as a bar bouncer, is thoughtful and kind and a great gamer.

I’d mentioned my loathing of black bloc anarchists based on my few experiences with them, and he told me he’d done some black bloc work before. He compared black bloc to bouncers:

  1. You have your bar bouncers who are friendly and gentle and do everything they can to de-escalate situations, but are willing to use force if they’ve got no alternative
  2. You have your bar bouncers who take the job because they’ve violent assholes, and this is a socially-acceptable way for them to commit violence.

He said that black bloc anarchists are much the same, and that my encounters with the second group didn’t mean the first group didn’t exist.

This has helped my thinking about antifa, too. There are absolutely wonderful people working under the “antifa” label, people who focus on defending people of color or other marginalized groups from violent attacks, and I have a lot of respect for them.

There are also people using the “antifa” label who are deeply violent and who use the movement as an excuse to enact violence.

Since antifa isn’t an organization at all, there’s no way to kick people out of it. And I think, given the completely OTT rhetoric about antifa from conservative assholes, there’s a real reluctance on the part of a lot of antifa members to admit that anyone using the label is also a violent asshole: they understandably don’t want to cede any ground to said conservative assholes.

But damn, they need to.

So I’ll quibble with some of the things you say:

I’ve never known any antifa who are economic conservatives, which is a hallmark of American libertarianism. I know the term has an older meaning, but you probably want to clarify that you’re using that older meaning if that’s what you’re doing.

It’s not an organization. Do you mean “movement”?

Given the lack of membership, this is only true if no person identifying as antifa has ever “looted.” I find that highly unlikely. Assholes gonna asshole, and an asshole who’s looking for an excuse to steal shit or break shit might decide the antifa label provides that excuse.

But if your point is that it’s not part of the general antifa ethos, I’d agree.

Commeatus, LHoD, a query; if there is no organization to speak of for Antifa, how does one ‘join’ it? I mean, do you like them on facebook, or go out on the street and shout all 4 directions “I am a member of Anitfa?”

And yes, I am being facetious above, but the question is serious. We see “Antifa” folks here and there and somebody gets Antifa folks to show up and meet in a place. Now maybe it’s all done privately on-line, but any group that can make it’s presence felt in many locations has to have some type of organization, I would think…

Just a curious old fart with some sympathy to your cause.

And also, apparently, of Antipa (anti-paragraphs).

My father was militant Antifa in his youth. He joined the Royal Canadian Navy to fight the Nazis.

What are you talking about? There are paragraphs.

I’ve read him. I think he has a valuable but very limited perspective.

The bouncer analogy is pretty cool, and I appreciate you sharing it! still, the tie that binds for anti-fascists is to fight fascism by any means necessary, including violence. philosophically it’s based in the reality that the vast, vast majority of nonviolent protest throughout human history is unsuccessful. most folks can name dozens of violent revolutions but few can name more then two nonviolent ones. Antifa would love to have a movement similar in scope and effectiveness to the NSK and Laibach but we ideologically don’t believe it’s possible in the US. this willingness to use violence as well as nonviolent methods is what separates us from BLM and Communist movements et al.

I meant movement, sorry!
Antifa is mostly grouped in the lower left of the political compass: https://images.app.goo.gl/LquWEWAwuJw6oP8H8
Libertarians in the US generally collect in the lower right.
Looting isn’t part of the ethos, though property damage against the state especially is. think sugar in cop gas tanks and burning government buildings as opposed to stealing a tv. we recognize that antifa committing violence encourages opportunistic violence and thievery and we don’t really have a solution. it’s seen as unfortunate collateral that generally the insurance companies will be paying for.

You’re more correct than you think! if you oppose fascism and feel that property destruction could be acceptable to that end, you’re ideologically aligned already. Antifa doesn’t support human rights violations on any side, but support certain types of dispersed self-defense that things like punching nazis fall under. if you’re publicly voicing your support and going to protests, you’ll run into Antifa people. some Antifa factions are more public, too, but there are a lot of fakes and far-right trap groups. since at least some of our actions are illegal and many of us are QTPOC and much more likely to experience violence or death ordinarily, we can be pretty cautious about who we approach.
we communicate with each other through social media, message boards, dischord servers and newsgroups, nothing too special. it can be really hard to find if you aren’t invited–we learned a lot from the last decade of protests, like how the police can spoof cell towers in small areas, so we don’t do a lot of direct communication and lots of us encrypt everything.

For Trump and the Trumpsters, I believe that “antifa” means “people we don’t like who we will call terrorists so we can lock them up”

That’s really it.

It’s a nice convenient term for them, and was popularized in the public’s mind by Fox News. Why do they love this term? Because it’s undefined. Anyone can be “antifa”, so anyone can be accused and locked up.

It’s McCarthyism writ large.

I can envision Barr going on Fox News and waving a piece of paper about:

“The Country is infested with Antifa. I have here in my hand a list of 15,500—a list of names that were made known to me and to the Secretary of State as being members of Antifa and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department, in the Justice Department, and indeed in Congress. I will now read the names of the Antifa leaders who I have now ordered to be arrested:”

And the purge begins.

Don’t like a judge because he has ruled against something Trump wanted? He’s Antifa. Send him to Guantanamo.

Someone at Dept. of Defense says that they will not send troops into American cities? Antifa. The next guy won’t try that shit.

Nancy Pelosi tweets something mean about Dear Leader? Antifa. Away she goes.

I was going to ask the same questions.

To what degree is Antifa a group at all? Is membership in the Antifa movement something people just do on an individual basis? Is there any coordinated activity among Antifa members? Who is doing that coordination, if it exists?

Is there any Antifa manifesto or code of conduct that Antifa members are supposed to be following?

Can a person just decide to call themselves part of the Antifa movement and then begin carrying out whatever acts they feel further the cause, without ever being in contact with another Antifa member? If so, it seems like anyone and anything can be Antifa.

Commeatus, would you mind defining some of the abbreviations/acronyms you’ve used above:

uhc abs
Ave anarchist
NSK
Laibach
Thanks.

Ah, so you are terrorists. Thanks for clarifying. Nice to know that we have a group of anarchists self-determining who or what is a fascist, then commiting violence against it.

I don’t believe that violent protest is more effective than non-violent protest unless it rises to the level of armed rebellion/overthrow. Anything less than that just gets the violent protesters declared enemies of the state and disregarded as criminals.

Is the antifa goal armed rebellion and overthrow?

Exactly. Most people are anti-fascist, once they are confronted with fascism unadorned. If a willingness to use violence is the only thing which distinguishes you from the majority, then there’s no point unless you’re organizing at the level of rebellion/overthrow. You also need to have a clear ideological framework from which to identify fascist encroachment–not just catchphrases. If you seriously want to prevent fascism, your work starts long before you go into the streets.

Otherwise it just becomes a game–recreational vandalism.

Even after Trump has issued an executive order banning Twitter from calling attention to his lies, after Trump encouraged violence against protestors, even after all this with American democracy under severe threat, we see people in this thread speaking smugly against those who want to fight fascism. Shame on you!

@ Commeatus and other antifas — Kudos! I don’t know whether your methods will succeed, but your self-sacrifice, courage and passion deserve our utmost respect and admiration.

It’s not that my words are smug, it’s just that I’m so inherently slimy that I exude smugness out of every pore.

And I was asking a serious question regarding the likely efficacy of the methods employed. If a person is a fervent opponent of fascism and demonstrates their opposition by eating large piles of sunflower seeds and doing nothing else, must their efforts be praised because their motives are noble?

Uhc= universal health care

NSK/laibach=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neue_Slowenische_Kunst

Abs/ave=and. Sometimes my phone autocorrects a bit eagerly, sorry

I agree in principle. Again, a willingness to resort to property damage is what makes Antifa distinct: we are also constantly working towards nonviolent solutions and improvements from inside the system. One of the ways to look at it is that by destroying things like police cars, we are showing ways that current systems value property on the same level or higher than human life.
Also, Antifa come from many walks of life, but many don’t have access to the kind of education and training necessary to enact an academically platonic expression of their views and experiences. As is often the case, those most in need of a voice are often those least able to speak up. I don’t mind you condemning Antifa actions, but if you use that as an excuse to ignore the message, you’ve wandered into fallacy territory.

Bwuh? I don’t follow. How does the destruction of a police car show much the current systems value property? I mean, sure they won’t be happy that you destroyed their car, but I also wouldn’t be happy if you destroyed my car. I don’t think that necessarily implies that I don’t value human life.