Antifa has been in the spotlight all weekend after US President Trump claimed that the group would be labelled a terrorist organization. His announcement on his favorite medium Twitter about Antifa meant that many people had renewed attention for the infamous anti-fascist protesters who many blame for stoking violence and looting during the George Floyd protests in the US.
Problem for the group is that worldwide business owners will now come to identify Antifa, the anti-fascists, as a band of rioters and looters as Trump’s media platform is far greater than the leaderless organization. Problem for US President Trump is that, as per US law, any organization without a defined structure, any official members or a leader will be difficult to be assigned as a terrorist organization as no one officially knows who’s in Antifa. Secondly, the US does not have an actual domestic terrorism law.
Just like Nixon in 1968?
The riots that are ravaging the US at the moment could be compared to the ones that followed the murder of Martin Luther King in 1968. That was the moment when the only comparable number of curfews was being installed in US cities. During that year’s presidential election, Republican Richard Nixon won unexpectedly in counties that were neighboring major cities that saw riots.
This is because in times of unrest in the US, white voters will normally swing to the right. Ever since then, political commentators have acknowledged the Nixonian tactic of presenting yourself as the law and order choice versus the crime and disorder voters are currently witnessing. Hence the actions of Antifa could be self-destructing at this point.
What is Antifa?
Antifa, of the anti-fascist movement, is a far-left organization of people who oppose anything they understand as being fascist, racist or far-right. According to Antifa, the rise of the far-right must be met vigilantly, and if no one would do so then the world risks that extreme right-wing groups would take over. Antifa claims that public demonstration which allow right-wing ideas to be communicated could lead to the targeting of minorities or members of the LGBTQ community.
Problem for the group is that they cannot count on the support of either political party in the US, as even the Democratic firebrand Nancy Pelosi has called for their arrest in the past.
When Antifa protested in Berkeley, California back in August of 2017, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned about “the violent actions of people calling themselves antifa” and stated that members of this group should be arrested.
The only political group who has sympathy for Antifa in the US are generally considered to be on the far-left.
How did Antifa grow in the US?
Antifa in the US is mostly seen as a countermovement against the rise of US President Donald Trump and the Alt-Right.
They gained the national spotlight in the US during the 2017 protests at the University of California, Berkeley and by confronting white nationalist in the infamous Charlottesville protests.
How are they helping Trump?
Problem for Antifa is that because of the way their organization is set up, without a clear leader or means of communication, it is easy for the White House to designate them as a terrorist organization at this point who’s (partly) responsible for the rioting and looting which has been seen across the US.
As business owners and older generations will be looking for a steady hand and law and order, it is to be expected that US President Trump could actually gain from the George Floyd protests in the way they have developed over the past week. By presenting himself as the man who will restore order and the rule of law, many voters who were still doubtful between Trump and Biden at this point, could be forced to swing towards voting Republican in the fall.
Furthermore, by allowing mass protests and not immediately condoning the violence and looting, the Democrats have taken away their argument against social distancing because of Covid-19.