Antifa Handbook Author Discusses Rose of AntiFa Movement
C-SPAN Washington Journal (2017)
The following is an excellent C-SPAN presentation by Mark Bray, author of The AntiFa Handbook. Bray himself isn’t an Antifa member, but an historian and professor at Dartmouth. He’s a Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors and credits this for his interest in AntiFa.
He describes AntiFa as being a diverse network of groups dedicated to collective self-defense against neo-Nazi and fascist street violence.
He traces the movement back to the 1930s when Nazis were first coming to power in Germany and fascists in Italy. There was a resurgence in AntiFa organizing in the US and Europe in the 1980s, in response to Nazi skinhead attacks at punk concerts and gatherings.
He refutes the pervasive claim that Geroge Soros is financing AntiFa, based on the fact the name doesn’t refer to a single organization but a loose-knit network of many disparate groups with no central leadership.*
He also disputes the common assertion by the media and traditional “liberal” groups and spokespeople (eg Chris Hedges and the ACLU) that fighting hate speech and organized violence against vulnerable groups amounts to the suppression of free speech or left wing fascism.
He argues that traditional “liberal” methods of suppressing fascist violence have never worked. He also points to German and Italian history to make the point that organized neo-Nazi and fascist violence becomes extremely dangerous once a national leader like Trump begins to endorse it. This type of official advocacy can make it grow really quickly, which is why it’s especially important to stop it when it’s small.
The Q&As are the best part of the presentation, especially when Bray explains the concept of preemptive self-defense and the importance of protecting vulnerable immigrants and minorities when the police fail to do so.
*I have traced the factual basis of this claim. It originates from the discovery that an NGO called Alliance for Justice – which chooses to self-identify with the Antifa movement – advertised for paid protestors for an antifascist protest against Alt-Right organizer Milo Yannopoulos in Berkeley. In 2016 the Soros-funded Tides Foundation donated $50,000 (out of their $2.2 million budget) to Alliance for Justice (AFJ). To stretch this into a claim that Soros is financing Antifa is ludicrous.