From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Antifa
Mains level : Racial antagonism across the world
As massive protests following the death of a person in racial discrimination continued to rock the US, President Donald Trump has announced that the alleged far-left group Antifa would be designated as a terrorist organisation by his government.
One can expect a similar prelims question:
Q. The Antifa movement recently seen in news is an: Free trade movement/Anti-terror movement etc.
Why the US seeks to ban Antifa?
- Trump has blamed for the protests that have convulsed cities across the US,
- Antifa is considered the loosely affiliated group of far-left anti-fascist activists.
Antifa: The group
- Antifa is an acronym for ‘Anti-Fascist’. It is not an organisation with a leader nor does it have a defined structure or membership roles.
- Antifa has been around for several decades, though accounts vary on its exact beginnings.
- The term dates the term as far back as Nazi Germany, describing the etymology of ‘Antifa’ as “borrowed from German Antifa, short for antifaschistische ‘anti-fascist’.
- Rather, Antifa is more of a movement of activists whose followers share a philosophy and tactics.
- They have made their presence known at protests, including the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
- It is impossible to know how many people count themselves as members.
- Its followers acknowledge that the movement is secretive, has no official leaders and is organised into autonomous local cells.
- It is also only one in a constellation of activist movements that have come together in the past few years to oppose the far right.
- Antifa members campaign against actions they view as authoritarian, homophobic, racist or xenophobic.
Activism over years
- Antifa members typically dress in black and often wear a mask at their demonstrations, and follow far-left ideologies such as anti-capitalism.
- 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.
- Criticizing mainstream liberal politicians for not doing enough, Antifa members have often physically confronted their conservative opponents on the streets.
- The group also participates in non-violent protests. Apart from public counter-protests, Antifa members run websites that track white extremist and ultra-right groups.
- The movement has been widely criticised among the mainstream left and right.
- Conservative publications and politicians routinely rail against supporters of Antifa, who they say are seeking to shut down peaceful expression of conservative views.