Context: As massive protests following the death of George Floyd continued to rock the United States, President Donald Trump announced that the far-left group Antifa would be designated as a terrorist organisation by his government.
- On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, died in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white American Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
- After Floyd's death, demonstrations and protests took place in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area which were initially peaceful but later became violent.
- After this, Trump decided to declare Antifa as a terrorist organisation owing to the alleged role in spreading violence.
- Antifa, short for anti-fascists, is not a concrete group, rather an amorphous movement.
- It is a political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology.
- It has been around for several decades, though accounts vary on its exact beginnings.
- Some dates the term as far back as Nazi Germany, describing the etymology of ‘antifa’ as “borrowed from German Antifa, short for ‘anti-fascist’, a multiparty front initiated by the German Communist Party in 1932 to counter Nazism.
- While the movement has had a presence in several European countries and has come into focus in the United States in recent years, Antifa does not have a formal organisational structure.
- The movement has been known to have a presence in the US in the 1980s. It shot into prominence following the election of President Trump in 2016, with violence marking some of its protests and demonstrations.
- Antifa members typically dress in black and often wear a mask at their demonstrations, and follow far-left ideologies such as anti-capitalism.
- They take up causes such as LGBTQ and indigenous rights. What makes them stand out is the violence.
- Apart from public counter-protests, Antifa members run websites that track white extremist and ultra-right groups.
- Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy.
- It came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.
- The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I, before spreading to other European countries.
- Opposed to liberalism, Marxism, and anarchism, fascism is placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.
- Nazism, in full National Socialism, was totalitarian movement led by Adolf Hitler as head of the Nazi Party in Germany.
- In its intense nationalism, mass appeal, and dictatorial rule, Nazism shared many elements with Italian fascism.
- However, Nazism was far more extreme both in its ideas and in its practice.
- In almost every respect it was an anti-intellectual and atheoretical movement, emphasizing the will of the charismatic dictator as the sole source of inspiration of a people and a nation,
- It had a vision of annihilation of all enemies of the Aryan Volk as the one and only goal of Nazi policy.
Image Source: Aljazeera