Over 250,000 Americans signed a petition to have the White House designate the Alt-Left anti-fascist civil society movement "Antifa" as a terrorist organization, though its supporters say that it's a necessary component of American democracy and at worst only a bunch of occasional troublemakers. The shadowy network of activists has been around in the US for quite a while, having its original roots in post-war Germany, but it catapulted to the forefront of national attention during the Charlottesville events when footage emerged of the group's aggressive activities. Some people were appalled to see teenagers and young adults, some of them with their faces menacingly covered in masks, running around with bats, sticks, and other makeshift weaponry, while others were proud that people were taking a tough stand against what they saw as racism, fascism, and white supremacy.
Antifa has polarized so many Americans that at least quarter of a million of them and counting have petitioned President Trump to classify the organization as a terrorist group, more than doubling the threshold for receiving an official response from the government. Despite the violent actions of some of its members, however, it's unlikely that the US will officially equate Antifa with Daesh, and part of the reason is that the authorities don't base their conclusions off of popular demand. If that was the case, then it would open up a whole can of worms whereby both sides of the political aisle could agitate to have their opponents labelled as terrorist groups and banned. Moreover, another problem is enforcement, because the government could have a public relations nightmare on its hands if the police are compelled to arrest thousands of peaceful Antifa members who show up at an event just holding signs, for example, and not committing any of the violence that Americans saw in Charlottesville.
Having said that, there are still very serious concerns that the group is radicalizing some of its members and increasingly resorting to violence to press its demands. Even though Antifa espouses anti-fascism, some critics have alleged that it's using fascist tactics to shut down all dissent in American Democracy, thereby making it ironically more fascist than the so-called fascists that it claims to confront. Its supporters, however, say that no option should be off the table when it comes to "smashing the fash".
To discuss the situation in more detail, we are joined by Heather Cottin, a writer, lifelong political activist, and retired high school history teacher. Heather wrote the first deconstruction of George Soros in Covert Action Magazine "George Soros, Imperial Wizard." Also on the line with us is John Bosnitch, Canadian political consultant based in Belgrade.
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