But what of antifa?

What IS antifa? I don't know much about them, and I suspect you don't either, so maybe start with Wikipeda. Jezebel's Harron Walker has a good and quick take for you as well. See "Area Fascist Still Doesn't Know What Antifa Is." (Jezebel, May 31, 2020.)

Beyond that, a greater understanding of "what is antifa" is too much for me to tackle. Instead, I'm just taking a few notes here based on my concern around the president labeling antifa a terrorist group. I decided to do a bit of googling and reading around the news to try to answer one question for myself: Is "antifa" actually behind all the rioting and looting going on in the US these past days? If so, maybe some level of outrage is warranted. If not, it's fair to question what's actually going on here.

Let's start with this guy. This white goober from downstate Illinois (Matthew Lee Rupert) went to Minnesota to hand out bombs and start fires. He was arrested in Chicago while likely engaging in similar behavior. The only reference to this guy being "in antifa" is from some untrustworthy source on Twitter that I can't even find a link to right now. Story of his arrest: "‘Let’s start a riot’: Galesburg man hit with federal charge related to rioting in Chicago." (Chicago Sun Times, June 1, 2020.)

Next: This white goober from Pennsylvania (Brian Jordan Bartels) was arrested for "having “kicked off” the escalation in Pittsburgh" and similarly there's no clear connection between this guy and antifa. "A former friend of Bartels who corresponded with him for several years before they had a falling out in May said Bartels never once mentioned antifa." Story of his arrest: "White instigators to blame for mayhem in some protests, local officials say." (Washington Post, June 1, 2020.)

Next: Evidence that bad guys online are pretending to be antifa. One assumes it's an attempt to hide any true affiliation the bad guys have and also to misdirect blame. See: "White supremacists pose as Antifa online, call for violence." (CNN, June 2, 2020.) 


   
Whether or not you "believe" in antifa, you ought to be concerned about the president labeling them a terrorist group. From"Op-Ed: Why Trump’s tweet about labeling ‘antifa’ a terrorist group is so dangerous" (Jonathan Turley, Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2020.):
 
This terrorist designation would raise chilling implications for free speech in the United States. 

The administration could also move to bar travel and entry of those associated with the movement, including foreign associates. Most worrisome, such a designation can allow a broader crackdown, and even criminal charges, for those deemed to offer “material support” to the movement.

If the government can designate a terrorist organization based on the conduct of some members, the criminalization of political speech could be virtually unlimited.

I also find it reminiscent of Nixon's enemies list.

And on what legal basis? Betsy Woodruff Swan, Politico: President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that the U.S. government would be “designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

There were just two problems with that. First, he doesn’t appear to have the legal authority to do so. And second, it’s by no means clear the loosely defined group of radical activists is an organization at all.


From "Trump says he's naming antifa a 'Terrorist Organization.' Can he do that?" (May 31, 2020.)

So, yeah, lots of questions. No clear answers. No obvious antifa-led attempt to burn the country down. No clear legal basis to designate antifa anything at all, and no clear evidence that they're actually leading the rioting. I might not be Snopes, but I feel confident in saying that this just doesn't add up.

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