Antifa: the anti-fascist movement is making headlines again

Protesters at an alt-right rally in Berkeley, California
Monday, January 29, 2018 - 11:33am
Noreen Ahmed-Ullah

When Donald Trump famously said last summer that there was “blame on both sides” regarding the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, he was referring to the neo-Nazis on the right and the “antifa,” or anti-fascists, on the left.

The antifa movement began in 1930s Europe but has been in the news recently for clashing with white supremacists in the U.S., notably at an alt-right rally in Berkeley, California.

Antifa stands out from other liberal and left movements, says Alex Hanna, a professor of information at U of T Mississauga, because its members are willing to destroy the property of – and inflict violence on – white nationalists. They can also be violent toward corporations and police, whom they see as complicit in perpetuating racism and white supremacy. The antifa ideology tends to be “anti-state and left libertarian,” says Hanna, favouring “small groups working together.”

Reprinted from the Winter 2018 issue of U of T Magazine