Talk for Article "The origins and aims of Antifa – the face of anti-fascism in America"

Talk about this Article

  1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    A hate group.

    Generally hate groups are defined by their opposition to something – anti-gay, anti-muslim.

    The line that is crossed in the case of opposition to zionists is when people believe Israel should not exist (woiuld probably correlate with antifa membership).

    Antifa are exactly the same – united in not wanting fascists to exist. And regarding the comment about being different to the Nazis in not supporting genocide – they say it is acceptable to use violence against their enemies – so it is possiblethat the only real difference here is the lack of power and means with which to carry out such actions.

    They are therefore untied bya central doctrine. Further more the other hate groups listed are also going to include people from all walks of life so this is a moot point

  2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    “Unlike members of the KKK, Antifa followers do not wear a uniform, but occasionally adopt clothing which helps avoid identification by the authorities. ”

    Does the use of “helps” here imply efficacy without sufficient proof? In other words, it seems clear their use of such clothing *aims* at avoiding identification by the authorities, but it’s not clear that the means effectively achieve the ends. This is a minor point in this piece since balaclavas do in fact obscure one’s appearance, making it more difficult to recognize a person’s unique features, but it may be worth keeping in mind for other, more blatant instances where intentions and results are conflated. E.g. “the law, which helps reduce X,” versus “the law, which aims/seeks to reduce X.”

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Seems to me another example of the biased language of this article.

      Information given: Antifa members wear balaclavas in order to commit illegal actions without being identifiable by the police.

      To say this, the article starts by mentioning a random thing they don’t do, contrasting them with a universally despised group. Then, uses this “helps avoid something” construction that gives the action a slightly impersonal or even positive connotation.

      For the first point, I think a different comparison would make the absurdity clearer, as one could have chosen the equally true comparison:

      “Unlike airline pilots, Antifa followers do not wear a uniform…”

      For the second, it’s hard for me to point exactly what makes the “helps avoid” construction feel wrong, but a quick Google search of the terms “helps avoid” maybe gives my suspicion some substance. These are the first results- it seems the construction “helps avoid” is always used to describe positive, desirable effects.

      “Intermittent fasting helps avoid cancer”
      “New Turbidity Probe Helps Avoid Obstructions”
      “Maintaining a steady weight helps you avoid hypertension”
      “Extra flu jab helps avoid stroke”
      “Mayweather win helps Vegas avoid big losses”
      “the process helps avoid the “blame game,””
      “Tesla Model X helps avoid potential accident”
      “Fairness-verification tool helps avoid illegal bias in algorithms”
      “Why rapid prototyping helps avoid product failure”
      “Helps avoid stillbirth”

      etc.

    2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Quite agree- why has this comment not been addressed when it is 2 years old?

  3. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    > Unlike other groups which lean to the far left or the far right – or organisations classified as hate groups – Antifa does not advocate any particular doctrine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifa_(United_States):

    > They tend to be anti-government and anti-capitalist,[10] and they are predominantly far left,[11][6] including anarchists, communists and socialists.

    The byline directly contradicts Wikipedia.

    > In the U.S., Antifa is not classified as a hate group

    Link is broken.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Agree by contrasting with both left and right this biased article attempts to imply antifa are in the middle of these and moderate, when they are in fact the most extreme (militant as evidenced by their violence) left. Again why has this comment not been addressed when it is 2017?

  4. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    “What looks to be inevitable is that as the U.S. will see a rise in violent leftist actions as the polarized climate intensifies.” This isn’t about polarization. As been pointed out in many other places, Antifa would gladly stay home and knit and drink tea or play games or whatever. The groups they are fighting would not, as they have agendas of hate and dominance.
    Antifa don’t stay home because hate groups currently have a platform and their ideas have a shocking amount of traction. This threat from Yonatan explains it well: https://twitter.com/yonatanzunger/status/922202212457070592

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      This *thread*, I meant to say.

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        I agree, and would recommend deleting this final line—if not for its misreading of the movement, then for its speculation.

        1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          I agree with deleting the final sentence.

          1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)
      2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Great points

    2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Disagree -Antifa by their (violent) means increase polarisation

  5. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    I would be careful about characterizing Antifa as a “group”, as the story currently does. Antifa is a decentralized network/implicit alliance of various groups. I’ve yet to see evidence that “group” is an adequate descriptor as there is no code of membership other than clothing style and symbology.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      This is a good point. It will be impossible to avoid using the word “group” in this piece, that said, it should be mentioned that Antifa has no centralized leadership or organizational structure.

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        It is mentioned that Antifa is decentralized and is make of up of informal groups: “Antifa is unifying independent groups to oppose far-right organizations. Antifa even has a step-by-step guide to organizing your own local Antifa group.”

      2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        it is an ‘ingroup’ (psychology term) that people identify with

  6. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    Suggested Changes based on information available:

    Original:

    “The election of President Donald J. Trump has emboldened a number of left-wing groups seeking political change across a number of issues. The most radical of these is Antifa.”

    Change to:

    “Left-wing groups like Antifa seek political change across a number of issues. There has been a sharp rise in reporting about Antifa since the election of President Donald J. Trump.”

    There is no evidence in the story of the groups being emboldened, but they have been in the news more often.

    If you look at the archives for the Trusted Wikitribune sources, you can see there is a sharp rise in reporting this year compared to past years.

    BBC has 8 articles from 2007-2016, and 22 articles mentioning Antifa in 2017 https://www.bbc.co.uk/search?q=antifa

    Reuters has 5 articles since August 2017, and none before that mention Antifa http://www.reuters.com/search/news?blob=antifa

    AP won’t report on “Antifa” as a unified group. They believe this term should stay in quotations for now given its newfound prevalence in U.S. news. https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/associated-press-alt-right-antifa/

    I feel there is a lot of evidence that Antifa is being reported more in the news, but no evidence that I can find (and I looked through all the trusted Wikitribune sources) about how much their activity has increased or decreased since the election.

  7. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    This article strikes me as biased against Antifa, while sort of light on actual facts about them.

    For example the summary:

    “The election of President Donald J. Trump has emboldened a number of left-wing groups seeking political change across a number of issues. The most radical of these is Antifa.”

    Where is the evidence that the election of Trump “emboldened” Antifa or any other groups? The single link source simply demonstrates that Trump has mentioned Antifa, but it says nothing about how their actions have changed (“emboldened” would indicate that there has been some sort of measurable change in response to his election).

    It goes on to say: “Since the election of Donald Trump, there has been a rise in right-wing extremist activity. In response, Antifa has increased its activity.”

    Yet there is no evidence in the article that Antifa’s activity has increased. The are several examples of activity, but none that demonstrates the activity is more or less than before the election.

    And this: “Antifa is now shorthand for anti-fascist or anti-fascist action. The movement is known for using physical confrontation in order to achieve their goal of fighting fascism.”

    Where is the evidence that demonstrates the movement is known for using physical confrontation? I’m not saying that’s not the case, but there isn’t evidence of that in the article.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Thanks. I will go back to the author on some of these as I think they are all able to be justified and backed up and if they are not adequately reflected in the story at this point they soon will be. Peter

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        That’s great! As long as we keep working together we’ll make it perfectly unbiased and factual 🙂

        1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          Great feedback. I am making adjustments to some of the points to add clarity and accuracy

          1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

            This is not unbaised against antifa – it is a propaganda/recruitment piece in favour of, and to give exposure to, antifa – it contains refernces to several antifa organisational phamplets and doctrine

  8. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    I’ve compiled a list of the statements in the article that strike me as most biased. Some of them were in my previous comments, some others come from other commenters. I’d really like to see some change to this piece, that I can’t help finding very unbalanced.

    Is there a process going on to define rules to conform to to avoid bias and POVs, similarly to what’s been done for Wikipedia?

    Also, I’ve found a statement in the article the openly contradicts the Antifa entry in Wikipedia. Of course WP is not an authoritative source; however its entries have been already discussed at length and the current consensus is generally supported by citations. I wonder if there should be a rule about such cases, for example “where a statement conflicts with WP, acknowledge it and explain why it’s been decided to support a different position”. This could benefit both WT and WP.

    ——– from the article

    > its motives and membership are under scrutiny after it has physically resisted …. during rallies and protests
    – “resisted” implies they were under immediate physical threat. Which is not the case, as reported even further down in the article.

    > The ultimate goal of its members is to oppose and fight fascism through protest and direct confrontation
    – The group *proclaims* that their goal is to oppose and fight “fascism”. Fascism is in quotes because the definition of who should be called fascist is entirely up to them.

    > Since the election of Donald Trump, there has been a rise in right-wing extremist activity
    – Citation missing.

    > In response, Antifa has increased its activity.
    – Citation needed, both for “in response” (which seems to stress again that Antifa is only “reacting”, and therefore more justified) and the increase in activity.

    > The history of Antifa is older and more complex than it appears
    – No justification is given to this statement, there’s only a shoprt digression on the origins of the name.

    > The movement is known for using physical confrontation in order to achieve their goal of fighting fascism
    – Again, to achieve their *stated* goal of fighting “fascism”

    > Although critics have tried to find parallels between Antifa and traditional hate-groups like the KKK and neo nazis, there is little common ground.
    – This would be more fitting in an opinion piece. Why did the critics have suggested parallels? How the fact that KKK (but not, for instance, the alt-right) is classified as a terrorist organization removes possible parallels between hate groups and Antifa? (BTW, according to an article on the Independent [1], “US security officials have classified the left-wing group Antifa as “domestic terrorists””).

    > Unlike other groups which lean to the far left or the far right, Antifa does not advocate any particular doctrine
    – This contradicts the lede of the Antifa entry in Wikipedia: “They tend to be anti-government and anti-capitalist, and they are predominantly far left and militant left, including anarchists, communists and socialists.” The statement in Wikipedia is supported by 7 sources.

    > This distinguishes them from other American entities like the KKK, which advocates racial purity. It also differentiates them from political parties such as the Nazis in Germany, who used genocide as a means of achieving their goals.
    – Frankly, I wouldn’t try to define Antifa by opposition with the KKK or even the German Nazi party- it just doesn’t seem informative. It also gives the impression of trying to discount political violence because at least they don’t advocate genocide.

    > More radical elements argue only violence can quell the rise of racism and fascism
    – Is fascism on the rise, or again, it is just the perception of Antifa?

    > Neoliberals such as Noam Chomsky
    – Chomsky is anything but a neoliberal- he’s at the far left

    [1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/antifa-domestic-terrorists-us-security-agencies-homeland-security-fbi-a7927881.html

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Thanks. I am going to ask the author to address some of these issues you raise. I am not convinced the doctrinal note is very strong since while it may be eclectic it may not have a single overriding ideology. Peter

    2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      The issue with the phrasing of how they “physically resisted” has been brought up a couple of times and I agree that this may be deceiving to the reader. The groups they attacked were pretty widely known as having bad reputations, so I think it can just be stated that they physically attacked members of these groups (if not more explicitly stating that they have initiated violence). If the reader is given the chance to assume the antifa members were just defending themselves then this can change the perception of the group completely. This statement is made early in article too, so it would be easy for a reader to only get to that point and think nothing of it. The violence isn’t discussed until much later in the article. Antifa can potentially do more harm than help, regardless of their motives, so be careful how they are described and how any violence is perceived.

  9. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    I’m not doubting this, but I think both of these sentences deserve a citation:
    1) Since the election of Donald Trump, there has been a rise in right-wing extremist activity.
    2) In response, Antifa has increased its activity.

    On a more meta note: “Flaged for bias” -> “Flagged for bias”

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Oh God, “flaged”. Thanks very much. On it.

    2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      The rise in right wing extremist activity has been reported. This is not a opinion. I will add links to the reporting on activity.
      Thank you

  10. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    I have issues with this statement in the last paragraph:

    “Neoliberals such as Noam Chomsky have criticized Antifa as being counterproductive, while right-wing extremists criticize Antifa for interfering with their 1st Amendment rights.”

    Since Noam Chomsky wrote a book titled, “Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order” and has YouTube videos of talks such as “Neoliberalism Is Destroying Our Democracy”, it seems rather strange to see the word “Neoliberal” attached to him. And IMHO, it serves to distract the reader.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Professor Noam Chomsky is indeed critical of neoliberalism, I removed the label. I tweaked the last paragraph to better reflect criticism of Antifa from the liberal POV, the conservative POV, as well as Chomsky’s take.

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Thank you!

  11. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)
    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      How so? Do elaborate if you can. Peter

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Why do you call him a Neoliberal? What is the context for that in the article? My first reaction to reading that was to distract me from the rest of the article, saying to myself, “Noam isn’t a neoliberal!”

  12. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    The link for “hate group” seems dead in the bit “In the U.S., Antifa is not classified as a hate group, which is officially defined”. Also, when a phrase like “officially defined” is used, I think that’s really where we need a reference link. “Official” can mean a lot of different things and “officially defined by whom?” is the reasonable question that might appear in the reader’s mind.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)
      DU
      Deleted User

      Really good point. Going to see if it’s possible to link to SPLC.

  13. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    I mean Carlo – sorry.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)
  14. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    “Now its motives and membership are under scrutiny after it has physically resisted neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), white nationalist, the alt-right and white supremacists during rallies and protests.”

    “physically resisted”? To me the use of the word “resisted” implies that they were (physically) attacked, and opposed a resistance. It also seem to imply that the act is notable, that is, that there is usually no resistance to the physical attacks moved by extreme right groups. The expression is consistent with Antifa’s rhetoric, but seems out of place in a balanced analysis.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Thanks Carlos. I can’t respond on behalf of the
      author at the moment, but would offer that ‘physically resisted’ differentiates from a resistance that is verbal or printed/internet, or of passive resistance.

      Angela

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Hi Angela, thank you for your reply. Not sure if we understand each other correctly. My doubts are not about the “physically” but about “resisted”.

        You could call it resistance if the group was responding with violence to (possibly State-sanctioned) aggressions – this is actually what happens in a fascist regime. But Antifa is actually using violence against a threat that is not institutionalized, sometimes not even violent. Calling it a “resistance” is already buying in the rhetoric of the group, that wants to pose as a resistance group in a society that has *already* become fascist.

    2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      The philosophy of Antifa is to use physical force to resist. The most controversial aspect of Antifa is this use of physical force…yes in the eyes of some this is just violence, but Antifa believes in used force when confronted with force.

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        > Antifa believes in used force when confronted with force

        There are clearly defined rules for what is a legitimate use of violence for self defence- and in general they prescribe you should be under immediate, physical threat. And as far as I know, the US are still a country under the rule of law.
        Antifa is free to say what it wants and to present its own politically motivated violence under whatever light it prefers in order to make it appear as a necessary resistance- this doesn’t mean that we have to buy into their narrative.

        1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          I didn’t really get the impression that their “narrative” was on offer?
          M

        2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          This is good feedback. There is a fine balance that is difficult to span. That balance is upset based on the situation. So, Antifa believes in using force for force, but will also take the offensive. This is described in the articl:
          “One of the most vivid examples of how Antifa members differ from other traditional protest movements occurred last January during the inauguration of President Trump, when a masked Antifa member punched Richard B. Spencer  — a prominent white supremacist — in the face. In September another noteworthy attack occurred in Seattle, Washington, when Antifa members used social media to track down a Nazi for harassing a black bus rider. Once they found him they physically attacked him and knocked him unconscious. These actions are a shock to a country with a long history of peace-abiding left-wing movements. What followed was a national debate over whether it was ever morally justifiable to “punch a Nazi.”

  15. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    Pretty sure it should be ‘Anti-Defamation League’, not Anti Deformation. It appears to be a link, so I didn’t just jump in and edit the story to fix this.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Oops – well-spotted, Bert.

  16. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    It is interesting, but could certainly do with a quote or three to enliven the narrative. Also … could the headline say ‘Antifa – the face of anti-fascism in America’, so the reader choosing what to go for knows what it is about?

    AL

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Thanks Angela, I’ve changed the headline, though the author or an editor may have other ideas. Will make sure people have seen your other suggestion on getting some comments.
      Jack

  17. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)
    DU
    Deleted User

    This is really interesting! Think it would really benefit from a quote from an expert — just to break it up a bit…

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to collaborate on our developing articles

WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Connect with us on Discord Email us