This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
If you go looking for fodder on AntiFa, you will not have to search hard. The list is extensive: The bike lock guy, Portland, Twitter accounts, etc. These acts and calls for violence are indefensible. They are not anti-fascist, they are anti-human. Sometimes, violence is justified. Sometimes, it is not. And AntiFa is no stranger to that second camp.
I will not gloss over how truly wicked and misguided some of their members are. In America, they often injure, ridicule, and beat Trump supporters for his fascism and yet either stay silent or even voice support for Democratic fascism, especially in the area of thee economy. In the UK, AntiFa had a mass protest against Brexit because, according to a spokesperson, they wanted centralized economy and currency, which are principle components of fascism. At times, they actually stand for, instead of against, fascism.
So why in the world would I ask for solidarity with AntiFa?
You will note that my first two paragraphs are pretty vague generalities. That’s because AntiFa is not actually an organization. You can shoot your mom, say you’re AntiFa and acted because your mom is a fascist for giving you a bedtime, and boom, AntiFa did it. Without an official structure, nobody can speak for all of AntiFa to either support or condemn these activities.
But this is precisely the reason why we should unite with them. Grassroots movements with good causes need the correction to come from the inside. If you hate their missteps, then fix them. And you can do so by acting against fascism appropriately and accurately. When you condemn the bad actors from the outside, you’re just a detractor. When you do it from the inside, your voice will be heard and potentially heeded. Good examples are superior to change than outside critics.
Being anti-fascist is something to be encouraged. As a parallel to this topic, there are a lot of people who are not racists. But they allow racism to continue with their silence. We want more people that are anti-racist. Fascism has gripped the entire globe and letting it go unhindered is failing to live up to your responsibility as member of the human race. We should all condemn fascism, loudly, proudly, then speak up and act up when we see fascist policies make their way into our law books.
Fascism is awful in every way. It is economically and socially antagonistic towards freedom, self-ownership, and individualism. If you are reading this and you are not a complete caricature of a Disney villain, you are anti fascist. Think of what you would do to stop Nazis from taking over the country (the libertarian in me wants to say they already have, but I digress). Would you take actions to stop it? Voting, protesting, physical confrontation, etc? If so, you are AntiFa already.
And that’s why declaring them a terrorist organization is so problematic and authoritarian. You can make ANYONE who speaks ill of fascism and label them AntiFa since there is no official standard. There’s no central website to sign up or single place where you pay for a membership. You don’t have to carry a card or associate with specific criminals to be labelled as AntiFa. It is up to the government to decide if you are AntiFa or not. And, as I said already, you probably are. President Trump unilaterally branding them terrorists gives him executive power to ruin their rights across the board. And it’s only a matter of time before their loss of rights are yours as well.