When Antifa first invaded the national consciousness, during the 2017 riots in Charlottesville, Va., two prominent journalists made a stunning assertion.
Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo joined others in equating the left-wing militants with the thousands of Allied soldiers who stormed Normandy’s beaches to invade Adolf Hitler’s “Fortress Europe” on D-Day.
A more appropriate equation would be with the thousands of soldiers in the Red Army, who brutally marched toward Berlin, where they would establish Soviet hegemony in the so-called German Democratic Republic after defeating Hitler.
Despite antiseptic portrayals throughout American media, Antifa is much more than an “anti-Fascist” group. As Americans have seen since the death of George Floyd, Antifa provides the violent complement to “Progressive” ideology. Like its comrades in academia and the media, Antifa seeks to destroy the American emphasis on liberty under law, and to impose one of history’s most repressive ideologies.
Bernd Langer, whose “80 Years of Anti-Fascist Action” was published by Germany’s Association for the Promotion of Anti-Fascist Literature, succinctly defined the rhetorical subterfuge.
“Anti-fascism is a strategy rather than an ideology,” wrote Langer, a former Antifa member, for “an anti-capitalist form of struggle.”
Short for the German phrase, “Antifaschistische Aktion,” Antifa was founded during Germany’s Weimar Republic as the paramilitary arm of the German Communist Party (KPD), which the Soviet Union funded. In other words, Antifa became the German Communists’ version of the Nazis’ brown-shirted SA.
The KPD made no secret of Antifa’s affiliation. A 1932 photo of KPD headquarters in Berlin prominently displayed the double-flagged Antifa emblem among other Communist symbols and slogans. In a photo from the 1932 Unity Congress of Antifa in Berlin, the double-flagged banner shared space with the hammer and sickle and with two large cartoons. One supported the KPD, the other mocked the SPD, Germany’s Social Democratic Party.
Interestingly, in its May 31 article on Antifa, the New York Times failed to mention the group’s roots in German Communism. That information, included in this piece, is widely available.
Today, Antifa embraces those roots. An article from the website www.redspark.nu describes members as “communists, anarchists, and other non-aligned leftists brought together for the express purpose of confronting and preventing local fascist organizing.” Six months before the Charlottesville riots, Antifa provided an example of that mission.
In February 2017, former Breitbart.com editor Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley. Antifa responded by sending masked agitators into the city to start fires, break windows, paint graffiti, destroy automatic teller machines and assault bystanders with pepper spray and flagpoles. The university cancelled Yiannopoulos’ appearance but not before the militants caused nearly $100,000 in damage.
Antifa’s goal to suppress “fascism” reflects the views of neo-Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse. “A policy of unequal treatment would protect radicalism on the Left against that on the Right,” Marcuse wrote in “Repressive Tolerance,” his 1965 essay. “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left” extending “to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word.”
Marcuse dismissed the idea of individual liberty protected by law in favor of a Marxist society that favors ostensibly oppressed groups at the expense of everybody else. Such a society, Marcuse wrote, would demand “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements” that not only “promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion” but also “oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.” and “may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teachings and practices in the educational institutions.”
Marcuse even justified violence. “There is a ‘natural right’ of resistance for oppressed and overpowered minorities to use extralegal means if the legal ones have proved to be inadequate,” Marcuse wrote. “Law and order are always and everywhere the law and order which protect the established hierarchy; it is nonsensical to invoke the absolute authority of this law and this order against those who suffer from it and struggle against it … for their share of humanity. If they use violence, they do not start a new chain of violence but try to break an established one.”
In expressing his contempt for “the sacred liberalistic principle of equality for ‘the other side,’” Marcuse maintained in 1968 ”that there are issues where either there is no ‘other side’ in any more than a formalistic sense, or where ‘the other side’ is demonstrably ‘regressive’ and impedes possible improvement of the human condition.”
NYU Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat illustrated Marcuse’s influence in comments for the Times. A specialist in studying fascism, Ben-Ghiat alluded to a protest last year in Portland, Ore., where Antifa pelted independent journalist Andy Ngo with so-called milk shakes laced with quick-drying cement. Ngo suffered a brain hemorrhage and went to a hospital.
“Throwing a milkshake is not equivalent to killing someone,” Ben-Ghiat said. “But because the people in power are allied with the right, any provocation, any dissent against right-wing violence, backfires.”
K-Su Park, an associate law professor at Georgetown, also reflects Marcuse’s thought. After the Charlottesville riots, Park challenged the American Civil Liberties Union to reconsider its approach to the First Amendment. The ACLU represented Jason Kessler, who organized the “Unite the Right” rally and sued the City of Charlottesville for revoking his permit for the protest.
The ACLU’s approach “implies that the country is on a level playing field, that at some point it overcame its history of racial discrimination to achieve a real democracy, the cornerstone of which is freedom of expression,” Park wrote. “Other forms of structural discrimination and violence also restrict the exercise of speech, such as police intimidation of African-Americans and Latinos. The danger that communities face because of their speech isn’t equal.”
At the time, Park was a fellow with UCLA’s critical race studies program. Critical race studies comes from critical theory, a sociological approach developed by Germany’s neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, where Marcuse was a leading thinker.
Marcuse’s influence also plays a vital role in the left-wing ideology permeating the Democratic Party and the entertainment industry. So nobody should be surprised that numerous celebrities publicly committed themselves to providing bail for anybody arrested during rioting.
Joining them is the staff of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrats’ presidential nominee who has yet to condemn the rioting.
“What’s always been troubling is the way that so many people in the media and in the political establishment have given (Antifa) cover to operate — including law enforcement, by the way, and one administration after the other,” former CBS News journalist Lara Logan said. “This is not a Democrat-Republican, left-right, blue-red kind of thing.”
Given the political controversies roiling the nation, the “Progressive” agenda and Logan’s remarks, the article on Antifa from www.redspark.nu concludes with words as enlightening as they are frightening. (All emphases added)
“Fighting fascism is direly important—like fighting police violence, environmental destruction, homelessness, etc. is direly important—but you can’t cure a disease by chasing after the symptoms alone. … To ultimately solve these problems is to wage a much larger war.
“As these issues are all symptoms of capitalism, the solution is found in working class organizing in order to take power and thus dictate the society in which we wish to live. We will only do this by connecting anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-patriarchal, pro-environment organizing with revolutionary anti-capitalist organizing aimed towards achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Logan expressed that idea more succinctly: “Liberation begins when America dies, and that’s what they’re looking for.”