Others were, and are, at least as confused about antifa as I am. Several sent me some things to read, some of which shed more light than others, but all of which are pretty interesting.
Note that a number of these considerably pre-date last week's events.
- Inside the Black Bloc Protest Strategy That Shut Down Berkeley
What people on both sides of this argument need to understand is that black bloc isn’t a group; it’s just a tactic. Those who do it wear black, sometimes between layers of “civilian” clothes so they can slip in and out of their protester ensembles. They often carry gear that is defensive (masks to protect against tear gas), offensive (Molotov cocktails) or both (a placard that can double as a shield). They attack storefronts and clash with police in a “hit and run” style, University of San Francisco associate professor Jeffrey Paris has written. There is no formal network of people and no set principles, just a belief that demonstrating peacefully doesn’t accomplish nearly as much as a flash of rage.
- 24000 Demonstrate in Berlin Against Reagan's Visit Today
This evening's march was called by some 120 groups ranging from the Green Party through the violence-prone gangs known as the Anonymous. The demonstrators marched down the glittering Kurfurstendamm between solid rows of policemen in full riot gear. #24,000 Reported to March The police said some 24,000 marchers took part, including 2,000 Anonymous wearing black ski masks.
- The Public Face of Antifa: Daryle Jenkins has stepped up to explain the shadowy group’s violent tactics to a wary world. It’s not easy.
Jenkins, 49, is a black man who has devoted his life to fighting white supremacists, sometimes literally. He is the founder of the One People’s Project, easily the most mainstream and well-known anti-fascist, or antifa, organization. (Its motto is “Hate Has Consequences.”) Unlike other left-wing groups that track the far right, One People’s Project—which Jenkins runs with the help of a network of about 15 volunteers—confronts its enemies, whether that means getting in their faces at protests, doxing them, or contacting their employers.
- The Rise of the Violent Left
Antifa traces its roots to the 1920s and ’30s, when militant leftists battled fascists in the streets of Germany, Italy, and Spain. When fascism withered after World War II, antifa did too. But in the ’70s and ’80s, neo-Nazi skinheads began to infiltrate Britain’s punk scene. After the Berlin Wall fell, neo-Nazism also gained prominence in Germany. In response, a cadre of young leftists, including many anarchists and punk fans, revived the tradition of street-level antifascism.
- The Roots of Left-Wing Violenc
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448275/antifa-protest-donald-trump-roots-left-wing-political-violence
Antifa are not a new phenomenon; they surfaced during the Occupy movement, and during the anti-globalization protests of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Antifa movements began in early-20th-century Europe, when fascism was a concrete and urgent concern, and they remain active on the Continent.
If you're like me, you probably need to unplug your computer and take a break from the world after reading some of these articles.
But it's still worth knowing.