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Antifa in USA

  • 02 Jun 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The USA is experiencing a ‘law and order’ situation due to the violent nationwide protests triggered by anger over racial inequities and excessive use of police force.

  • The unrest began with peaceful protests over the death of a African-American man in police custody in Minneapolis city of USA.
  • Subsequently, many cities across the USA remain under curfews at a level not seen since riots following the 1968 assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Key Points

  • Blame for Ongoing Violent Protest :
    • The USA President has blamed an organisation namely, Antifa for the violent protest that erupted in the country.
    • The antifa movement gained more visibility in 2017 after a series of events that put a spotlight on anti-fascist protesters.
  • Declaration as Terrorist Organisation:
    • It has been also argued that the USA will be designating Antifa as a terrorist organization in the future.
    • Although, the USA has no statute that permits designating violent domestic groups terrorists, as it has for international groups like Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.


  • Description:
    • The word “antifa” was first used in 1946, Antifa stands for “Anti-fascism”.
    • The name comes from early 1930s Germany, where socialist "anti-fa" groups attempted to stand up to the rise of Adolf Hitler's Nazis.
    • Antifa was started in the Rose City Antifa of Portland, Oregon (USA) in 2007 to shut down a neo-Nazi skinhead music festival called Hammerfest.
  • Principles:
    • The organisation covers a range of social justice issues. It believes in a world free of fascism, racism, sexism, homo/transphobia, and islamophobia.
    • It also focusses on countering the resurgence of neo-nazi and white supremacist groups.
    • It is also only one activist movement that has come together in the past few years to oppose the far right.
  • Members:
    • Antifa is more of a movement of activists whose followers share a philosophy and tactics.
    • The movement is secretive and has no official leaders.
    • It is organised into autonomous local cells.
  • Unique Ways to Protest:
    • Antifa members typically dress in black and often wear a mask at their demonstrations, and follow far-left ideologies such as anti-capitalism.
    • What makes them stand out is the violence, although the group also participates in non-violent protests.
    • It criticises mainstream liberal politicians for not doing enough, and Antifa members have often physically confronted their conservative opponents.
    • Apart from public counter-protests, Antifa members run websites that track white extremist and ultra-right groups.


  • Features:
    • Fascism is a form of authoritarian ideology which promotes ultranationalism.
    • Opposed to Liberalism, Marxism, and Anarchism, Fascism is placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.
    • It is usually characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy.
  • Origin and Spread:
    • The term ‘fascism’ is of Italian origin. It was first used for the movement which started in Italy under the leadership of Benito Mussolini.
    • It came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I, before spreading to other European countries.
    • Several other countries also have experienced fascist regimes or elements of them which include Adolf Hitler in Germany, Francisco Franco in Spain and Juan Perón in Argentina, etc.

Source: TH

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