Should Antifa violence be condemned?

Here’s a link from the Anti-Defamation League on the antifa:

I think people do condemn their tactics when they are actually committing violence. But we also need to avoid false equivalences. From the ADL link:

*All forms of antifa violence are problematic. Additionally, violence plays into the “victimhood” narrative of white supremacists and other right-wing extremists and can even be used for recruiting purposes. Images of these “free speech” protesters being beaten by black-clad and bandana-masked antifa provide right wing extremists with a powerful propaganda tool.

That said, it is important to reject attempts to claim equivalence between the antifa and the white supremacist groups they oppose. The antifa reject racism but use unacceptable tactics. White supremacists use even more extreme violence to spread their ideologies of hate, to intimidate ethnic minorities, and undermine democratic norms. Right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years; they have murdered hundreds of people in this country over the last ten years alone. To date, there have not been any known antifa-related murders.*

So we have plenty of examples of antifa protesters engaging in violence, including things far outside of legitimate self-defense (like the California professor who escalated a fist fight by using a bike lock as a weapon).

Now, you may claim that many or most of the antifa protesters are peaceful people. Let’s say, for every one violent antifa thug, there’s nine peaceful protesters. (I have no idea whether this really is the case or not, just throwing this out there.) Let us recall that when nine people march with one KKK member, we can safely consider that to be a march of ten KKKers. The same principle can apply to different groups, if they are unwilling to dispense with the worst elements of their organization.

What a strange thing to bring up; that another poster apparently doesn’t know how to punch
into Google.

Actually, I’ll take it further than that. Estimates show that 1 in 5 Americans have participated in some sort of political rally or protest in the past two years.

The split there is about 70% liberal, 30% conservative.

So I’d say, with rough math, that comes out to about 40 million liberal protestors. So I’d argue that for every violent thug, there are a half million to a million peaceful protestors. So this one guy burned a limo. Maybe.

So I condemn violence at protests but it’s really a one in a million thing. And it would not be significant if not for conservative media “mining” for incidents in order to portray all protestors as violent and dangerous. And any idiot can start a Antifa Facebook page.

In the US, no, they do not have that right.

Read my other post in this thread. #5.

I don’t think fighting the police is a good idea, because you’ll probably lose (and be arrested for good measure), but yes, I think a person has the right to defend themselves.

Well, to be fair, that other poster never thought to start this thread either under the assumption that they legitimately thought antifa’s violence had never been condemned.

I would tend to agree, I’m giving the benefit of the doubt here that it was in fact caused by antifa, and that it is therefore wrong.

There’s a lot of diverse opinions on the SDMB, and I was wondering if anybody would take the position “That, heck yeah, they should have burnt that limo because <fill in the blank>” (or take up the cause of any other of antifa’s violent acts).

It doesn’t seem to be the case. I guess we don’t have any anarcho-nilihists on the board? Sheesh, and I thought the board was left-leaning!

That’s a very poor set of reasoning, and I suspect that you may be misunderstanding my point. If a handful of antifa protesters infiltrate a generally peaceful protest, it matters not to me whether most of the black-clad antifa rabblerousers are not smashing in people’s heads. Peaceful people should not be coordinating with antifa, period, because the organization (such as it is) has no problem with violence, destruction of property, etc. Aslo, to the extent that antifa infiltrates peaceful protests to turn them violent, the peaceful demonstrators should not be blamed for the actions of criminals – and I think it is quite clear that the vast, vast majority of liberal protesters want nothing to do with antifa degenerates.

So that doesn’t mean that the thousands of other peaceful, non-antifa demonstrators should be lumped in with the troublemakers. But, if you’re dressing up like antifa, making plans with them, wanting to play along, etc. then you’re signing up with a group that embraces criminality and violence. Later claiming, “Oh, I didn’t really do anything wrong when I was disguised and running amok with people smashing windows and assaulting people – it was another person dressed just like me, standing next to me!”

Even here in DC at the recent counter-protest against white supremacists, antifa knuckleheads acted much different than non-antifa counterprotesters – throwing things, launching fireworks, being disruptive, etc. The difference between these idiots and the vast majority of peaceful protesters are perfectly clear.

What is their responsibility if violence lovers just show up anyway, knowing there’s going to a demonstration there and then? What evidence do you have of peaceful mainline groups coordinating with them?

I don’t believe peaceful mainline groups ARE coordinating with them. I’m not sure how much clearer I can be on this. What I am responding to is l0k1’s point that most antifa people are just D&D nerds who aren’t doing anything harmful. I’m saying that these people should be criticized for joining a violent group, even if they don’t have blood on their hands.

If you associate yourself with antifa, do you think that you have a good claim to rejecting violence? I don’t.

If you distance yourself from antifa as best you can, and you speak out against violence at protests, I have zero problem with what you’re doing, even if they show up unwanted at your party.

You seemed to be criticizing groups for things you say they aren’t doing.

As for who exactly *is *actually involved with these splinter groups, to the extent they actually insist, a bit of evidence to go along with all this speculation would help bigly. It’s a bit of a stretch to condemn somebody if you don’t even know who, or if, they are, much less what motivates them. But there’s no disagreement here that violence is bad, so if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll have to be disappointed.

And how are they supposed to do that? Its not like antifa has membership card that they can revoke from misbehaving members. If Woody Allen and his gangshow up at the next rally claiming to be antifa what do you do? You can tell them not to, but they aren’t going to listen. You can say they don’t represent you, but they will say that they do and since violence sells, the media will print their message and not yours. The only thing left open is to give up your group and start a new one because some small percentage of your membership behaved like assholes.

There’s a kind of test case for how and whether people condemn Antifa violence: how do they feel about proposed legislation to curb wearing of masks by demonstrators?

There’s a long history in the U.S. of states passing anti-masking laws, typically targeting the Ku Klux Klan. And many countries have similar laws aimed at violent demonstrators and hooligans of various sorts.

I would support such a bill if its title did not explicitly mention the Antifa (language in the body of the bill makes no such distinction), and if the maximum penalty was less draconian (15 years seems more than a little excessive). Yet I’ve seen furious opposition to the bill - for instance, from our local free lefty/Green Party rag, which rages about being lumped in with the KKK, demonstrators’ rights etc.

There’s a lot to be said for anonymity when it comes to peaceful activism, not so much when it’s used to get away with rioting and beating people up. That goes for thugs of all political stripes.

I’m at a loss as to whether you have a point at all here.

If I go to a poker game and some of my patrons keep getting into fistfights, I’m going to stop going to those poker games. To the extent that the poker game becomes a bunch of malcontents beating each other up, that’s their business. If I keep going to the poker games, then I’m a malcontent too. But I just will not believe anyone’s claim that there’s good people in those poker games.

Sorry to disappoint, but all the anarchists I know are pacifists.

At least that’s an ethos.

I’m not surprised you’re at a loss. Keep reading:

There’s your conceptual issue - the fighters are crashing your party; they’re not your invitees. Now try again.

I’m not talking about those whose party is being crashed. I’m talking about those who are defending the party crashers as being mostly good people, and how those apologists are wrong. I can’t explain this any clearer.