Teen Vogue, a veritable leftist training manual for young women in America, has penned yet another love letter to Antifa, the militant, extreme-left “anti-fascist” organization.
While civil disobedience over the police death of George Floyd continues nationwide, several pockets of protests have descended into lawlessness and violence. Firsthand accounts, as well as press statements from city and state officials around the country, all point to a common factor in the escalation of protests: “outsiders.”
In other words, Antifa has allegedly bused in from out of town, co-opted peaceful protests, and begun smashing windows, burning buildings, and going on looting sprees that would make the Vikings proud.
But to those who scrape their political information from Teen Vogue for whatever reason, Antifa is basically a Boy Scout troop in riot gear.
“Antifa grows out of a larger revolutionary politics that aspires toward creating a better world, but the primary motivation is to stop racists from organizing,” a tweet from the publication reads, introducing the article.
🗣 "Antifa grows out of a larger revolutionary politics that aspires toward creating a better world, but the primary motivation is to stop racists from organizing." https://t.co/ShS2RPfDN2
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) June 1, 2020
To get the inside scoop on the organization, Teen Vogue spoke with Dartmouth College historian Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, the profits from which he donated to the group.
Though the interview itself is from 2017, the magazine is trotting out the interview once more to give its readers a refresher now that President Trump is attempting to declare the group a domestic terrorist organization.
“I would say Antifa is a pan-radical-left politic, or activity of militant self-defense against the far right,” Bray told the magazine. “It is a specific tendency, within a broader historical anti-fascist movement that goes back a century, that focuses on pan-left politics and a direct action strategic or tactical emphasis on fighting the far right. They don’t think that we should turn to the police or the state to stop neo-Nazi or far-right organizing; instead they advocate popular opposition and, if necessary, a militant response.”
Antifa grows out of a larger revolutionary politics that aspires toward creating a better world, but the primary motivation is to stop racists from organizing; doing that can take many forms, and so the tactical repertoire of anti-fascists is broad.
The vast majority of what they do does not entail any physical confrontation. They focus on researching white supremacists and neo-Nazis across different social media platforms, figuring out who their leaders are, what other groups they are networking with, [and] where they are trying to hold events, so they can contact hotels or local venues to get the owners to cancel the events and, if they refuse to cancel, organize a boycott or campaigns of public pressure against them. They also organize public education campaigns and form alliances with unions and social movements to organize large demonstrations. Part of it, however, and this is what gets the most attention, entails self-defense and, at times, confronting these groups before they can gain enough momentum to promote their politics.
As for Antifa’s practice of “punching Nazis,” well, Bray says that’s simply “pre-emptive” self-defense. Since the speech and actions of all individuals and groups deemed “white supremacists” and “fascists” by Antifa will, in their view, invariably lead to harm, assaulting them in the streets is actually self-defense.
Need a Tylenol yet?
Smashing and looting businesses, police precincts, and even nearby residences, Bray suggests, is merely “the targeted destruction of police and capitalist property.”
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