Antifa

Trump Can't Designate Antifa a Domestic Terrorist Group, and It's a Bad Idea Anyway

The radical left is an occasionally violent nuisance, not an existential threat.

|

President Donald Trump announced Sunday that he would designate the leftist "antifa" movement a domestic terrorist organization, following several days of peaceful protesting but also rioting and looting in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Activists informally associated with antifa—which is short for "antifascist"—were responsible for some of the violence over the weekend. They have also committed crimes during previous protests: Trump's inauguration in D.C., the Portland demonstrations against the Proud Boys, and many others. This is consistent with antifa's ideology, which holds (generally speaking) that harsh tactics are necessary to combat the far right and does not believe in extending free speech to people who oppose its goals. (My book Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump includes an in-depth look at antifa's history, tactics, and goals.)

So antifa is well worth criticizing. But Trump's declaration is flawed in a number of ways.

For one thing, it's not actually possible for the president to label antifa a domestic terrorist group: There is no such designation. The U.S. State Department maintains a list of known terrorist organizations, but it includes only foreign groups—mostly radical Islamists.

Antifa is obnoxious, and it has been responsible for a fair amount of violence, but it's obviously not a threat to U.S. security on the same level as al-Qaeda or ISIS. It doesn't even have a leader, central organization, or formal membership.

For another thing, giving the government greater license to consider all antifa activities terroristic in nature would certainly result in civil liberties violations. The authorities would end up harassing and surveilling Americans who have professed sympathy for the far left but are not engaged in anything approaching criminal activity.

Attorney General Bill Barr said on Sunday that the Justice Department would investigate the "criminal organizers and instigators" who are responsible for this weekend's mayhem. The government already has all the authority it needs to go after people who committed violence, whether or not they consider themselves part of antifa. A domestic terrorist designation is a meaningless gesture: It gives a bunch of social irritants more legitimacy than they deserve.

NEXT: Michael Munger Says 'Price Gouging' Gives Us Information We Need

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. //Antifa is obnoxious, and it has been responsible for a fair amount of violence, but it’s obviously not a threat to U.S. security on the same level as al-Qaeda or ISIS. It doesn’t even have a leader, central organization, or formal membership.//

    Sounds like Robby is pulling shit out of his ass again.

    1. At this point, I’m pretty sure all the writing is outsourced to China. The fact that there are no ‘writers’ is accurate. They aren’t in charge of crafting message. All the ‘editors’ just proof copy for linguistic/syntactic and cultural accuracy. As long as stuff like “All your base are belong to us.” and “Use caution operating aircraft, Don’t be fly.” doesn’t show up in print, their checks clear.

      1. I Make Money At H0me.Let’s start work offered by Google!!Yes,this is definitely the most financially rewarding Job I’ve had . Last Monday I bought a great Lotus Elan after I been earning $9534 this-last/5 weeks and-a little over, $10k last month . .DCx I started this four months/ago and immediately started to bring home minimum $97 per/hr

        Heres what I do……………….► Online Jobs Provid

        1. Did Robby write that, too?

    2. The truth is Welch and most of his cabal here sympathize completely with Antifa and Black Lives Matter. He thinks that anyone who disagrees with him (and them) deserves to be killed. He openly and proudly says so on Twitter!

    3. They were trying—and mostly succeeding—to deny public spaces to moderate and right-wing political demonstrations for the past several years, by making it very clear that attempting to hold any would devolve into a riot.

      They aren’t spontaneous. They are funded by a wide, shadowy net of nongovernmental organizations, likely in part funded with taxpayer money. Their purpose is to deprive people they disagree with—which eventually will be everyone—of their civil right to peaceably assemble or speak in ways Antifa finds unacceptable.

      This has been a long time coming for the DOJ, and while it will likely fail at the hands of ‘Hawaii Judge’ (though the RICO statutes may be worth a shot), it beats all kinds of hell out of the alternative. Which likely will be no-shit death squads. Legitimate means to ensure that all voices can speak in public, is a good thing.

      1. “They aren’t spontaneous. They are funded by a wide, shadowy net of nongovernmental organizations, likely in part funded with taxpayer money.”

        Citation needed.

        1. Here’s your Citation.

          1. I like your citation better although that ‘fully loaded’ thing sounds a little ominous.

      2. Those pallets of bricks might be a good starting point for a RICO investigation, once the trucks are identified and traced.

        More broadly, I’m finding out all over again that there is no such thing as underestimating most of my liberal friends. This time they’re astonished that Trump would say such a thing about a purportedly anti-fascist organization, but you know they’d be aghast if some Oath Keepers showed up on the scene. They don’t get that Antifa is basically vigilantism, arbitrating who’s a “fascist” then unilaterally violating their rights because of viewpoint. You can easily imagine what they would think of a similar organization operating in the name of anti-communism and defense of property. Probably they don’t believe in the concept of natural rights, or even the principle of equal protection, so why even bother talking to them anymore.

    4. Wow do I agree with you. Its ‘leadership’ is obvious and likely Soros. This ‘stockpiling of bricks’ is absolute proof of organization. BTW, Epstein didn’t kill himself and building 7 didn’t fall (in its own footprint and at free-fall speed) from office fires.

  2. Robby is and always has been an Antifa loving R-hating Democratic wolf in Libertarian sheep cloth.

    1. What article did you just read? Nothing here would lead me to that conclusion.

      1. Yeah, well you are Zeb, so we expect nothing less.

  3. Being an “existential threat” is not and never was a requirement to be considered a terrorist. You pulled that out of your ass.

    1. The other “the list doesn’t exist” bullshit is an ongoing willful retardation Mott-and-Bailey as well.

      From about the 60s onward the FBI/CIA/DHS and the ACLU/ADL/SPLC have wrestled around under the sheets; accusing each other’s lists of being incomplete, inaccurate, or biased, making their own lists, and then cribbing organizations from the other’s list.

      I’d say “There is no list and Trump couldn’t put them on it even if he tried.” is some of the most juvenile, mentally lazy bullshit Robby’s ever printed but that’s not true.

      1. Yeah, I’m kinda wonderin’, the KKK was never on a list?

  4. And George Soros is their leader, though of course he doesn’t have the stones to openly admit it.

    1. Did you read that on Wingnut.com?

      1. Fuck off, weasel.
        Neither Antifa or BLM disputes the fact that Open Society Foundations is their primary backer.

        This isn’t some secret info. Soros himself proudly claims it.

        1. Why don’t you just blame “the Jews” you moron.

          Right-Wing Conspiracists Pull From Old Playbook: Blame George Soros For Riots

          As Minnesota officials blamed violent protests on organized groups from out of state, far-right commentators on Twitter increasingly began blaming billionaire George Soros for playing a shadowy role behind the riots taking place in cities across the country—employing an old conspiracy theory based on false information and anti-semitic tropes.

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2020/05/30/right-wing-conspiracists-pull-from-old-playbook-blame-george-soros-for-riots/#711fc7954100

          Forbes – those commies!

          1. no, this is blaming a literal nazi instead.

            1. Shriek will never acknowledge that he likes the taste of Nazi shit, but with the way he licks their assholes, he must love it.

          2. Oh fuck off you race-baiting flake.

            If you weren’t such a lazy 五毛, you would have clicked the Open Society Foundations link and found the page where they list their projects.

            And if you weren’t such a lazy fuck you would have also noticed that although they try to handwave it, even the Brown envelope journalism you linked to admits;
            “Soros has poured billions into his philanthropic Open Society Foundations, which funds projects around the world to advance democracy and also domestically funds politically charged organizations ranging from Planned Parenthood to Black Lives Matter, which are often involved in grassroots protests.

            “It’s a lie except for all the parts that are true” is a particularly weaselly argument.

        2. Weigel loves seeing America burn. He’s a joker and a “sad clown” who has to constantly fight his manic-depressive suicidal impulses (that I wish he would just give in to already).

          1. But you are insane Mikey. You confuse fact with fiction.

  5. Mr. Soave….Antifa’s stated goals are the violent overthrow of the Republic. With what head do you say they are not a domestic terror group?

    WTF kind of law-abiding libertarian are you, anyway?

    1. Link? Do they even have a web site? Or an address?

      Antifa is more like a few lefties who don’t like fascists. At least when you nutcases made up shit about Acorn they were a real organization.

      1. Check out the subreddits r/politics and r/anarchism

      2. Link? Do they even have a web site? Or an address?
        https://refusefascism.org/

        Antifa is more like an alliance of Soros funded groups who preform violent street theater whenever the DNC thinks it’s in its interests.
        Fixed.

        Soros does this in Europe too. He hires Ukrainian strippers and has them attack Catholic Clergy and any politician to the right of Bettino Craxi. The group is called Femen.

        1. There are lots of people who hate Trump and other fascists out there.

          I need a link to “Antifa” since they are so organized. And their donors.

          1. Okay, I just gave you a link to one of the organizers Antifa consortium fronts.
            Right in the fucking comment your replying to, you dishonest ass.

            And you have already been given a link to funders Open Society Foundations in this thread.

            You’re not earning your fifty-cents very well today by just squeaking “link”, even though there are already links.

          2. I look forward to you showing all the ways that Trump is an actual fascist.

            And no, saying mean/stupid things is not evidence.

        2. Does Femen actually attack people though? I thought they usually just trespassed, screaming like crazy people, waved their signs, and flashed their usually-gorgeous breasts?

          If they’re actually assaulting people, like antifa, that’s obviously different.

            1. Rude. Uglier than the ones I’ve seen at other demonstrations, too.

              1. Depends what the organizers can find in the local strip joints.
                Most of the time Femen just hires local talent for the protests. A lot of the girls have no idea what they’re protesting, but the pay is good.

    2. Antifa is an anti-fascist organization. PERIOD. When the police and federal government are on the same side as the alt-right white supremacists, we need our own soldiers on the streets to bring justice to the workers of America!

      1. Good luck with that.

      2. What about the non workers? The forgers?

        Haha

      3. …not sure if serious (•ิ_•ิ)

        1. The Rabbi is the new and improved OBL.

      4. You looking for the Nation or Atlantic blog man?

  6. “For one thing, it’s not actually possible for the president to label antifa a domestic terrorist group: There is no such designation. The U.S. State Department maintains a list of known terrorist organizations, but it includes only foreign groups—mostly radical Islamists.”

    The reason a domestic group can’t be designated as a terrorist group is not because there aren’t any domestic groups already on the list. The reason a domestic group can’t be designated as a terrorist group is because the legal criteria for being designated a terrorist group with all the legal consequences that brings stipulates that the group must be a foreign organization.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_State_list_of_Foreign_Terrorist_Organizations#Legal_criteria_for_designation

    Antifa is not a foreign organization.

    What President Trump can do is ask for forgiveness rather than permission, go through with the designation, and let the left make fools of themselves by opposing President Trump’s efforts to stop arson and rioting in an election year. Be assured, President Trump is not afraid of being sued by antifa activists and their supporters in an election year–or having the press opine against him. Joe Biden may start begging antifa activists to sue him, too. And why should Trump be the only one to get the benefit of being excoriated by the press for fighting antifa? It’s not fair!

    1. I think you could make a pretty solid legal and factual argument that Antifa is international. They have definitely engaged in their trademark brand of rioting and looting in other countries as well. Certainly in Canada and the U.K., and probably others I’ve forgotten about as well. They sometimes call themselves the “Black Bloc”, but they’re the same people as Antifa.

      And nobody should kid themselves: while they are loosely organized and probably don’t have a definitive structural hierarchy, they absolutely ARE organized to some extent. They communicate with each other rapidly through social media, and they can organized these kinds of protests and riots in almost any major city in a matter of hours. They’re also getting funding and support from all kinds of shady anti-American organizations and individuals throughout the world.

      1. Understand that you’re talking about freezing people’s bank accounts or prosecuting other Americans for giving them material support–which may entail anything from hosting their website or giving them a ride to the store. You cannot enforce the provisions of the foreign terrorist organization on American groups without violating a host of their constitutional rights–as well as the constitutional rights of those who are accused of offering them material support. The point isn’t to justify President Trump. If you can’t really implement the policy because the courts will oppose you every step of the way, then find another path with less resistance.

        President Trump might do better to go after the myriad leaders of antifa for racketeering a la RICO. He’d need to show that the leaders in question were doing it for the money, which is false, but that’s less of a stretch than pretending it’s okay to designate a domestic organization as terrorist organization when the law specifically states that it must be a foreign organization.

        Meanwhile, neither RICO nor terrorist designations are necessary to charge people for the crime of crossing state lines for the purpose of perpetrating a felony. Antifa and the black blocs are mostly there to antagonize the police and go after protesters with right-wing views. They aren’t usually about starting fires. That’s something that happens in the aftermath of looting.

        Everybody is tip toeing around the action that may be entirely within the scope of the Constitution and the law, which is that President Trump order the national guard to fire on violent protesters. From the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to Kent State, it’s understandable that he could create further martyrs for the antifa cause by firing on protesters. Declaring a state of emergency, giving the antifa protesters fair warning, and then firing on violent protesters will clear them from burning city centers–and is perfectly constitutional.

        1. From retired Col. Schlicter:
          “The pressure point for the Antifa terrorists is federal law-enforcement. Federal law criminalizes their use of interstate organizational activities. … Fed (law enforcement) is not under the control of leftist DAs, police chiefs & mayors. For too long you had Democrat cities pulling back police & releasing rioters immediately w/o serious charges.
          By reviewing arrest records, the FBI can determine potential candidates for federal charges. …
          What Antifa fears is federal prosecution.
          When the first of these little trust fund sissies figures out he’s not walking out of his cell after 20 minutes with a $50 fine but looking at five years in Leavenworth on a Fed rap, he’ll squeal on his comrades.

        2. “Everybody is tip toeing around the action that may be entirely within the scope of the Constitution and the law, which is that President Trump order the national guard to fire on violent protesters. From the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to Kent State, it’s understandable that he could create further martyrs for the antifa cause by firing on protesters.”

          Ken, while that may be within Trump’s power, why on Earth would he do such a thing? The National Guard belongs to the individual States until Trump federalizes them. They get deployed at the wish of the state Governor, and if the Governor doesn’t want to do that, why would Trump do it for her? Have the Feds go after the interstate networks that fund, shelter, bail out, and equip these thugs. Public order though? That’s a problem explicitly for the state governments to solve.

          Let the voters see exactly what kind of leadership they have in their state capitals. Let them all realize that the party that runs these blue states and their major cities, cares more for the rights of rioters than that of small business owners or the vast majority of people who simply want to get back to living their life as it was.

          This is going to turn into a giant bloodletting for the Democrats if the Stupid Party doesn’t screw this up.

          1. The point right now is to stop the rioting.

            Yes, the patient has a broken ankle, and that needs to be addressed eventually. But he also has a bullet wound to the chest, and he’s bleeding out–so let’s take care of that first, and we’ll work on the ankle later.

            They’ll keep burning the place down every night until someone finally stops them. That’s why Trump would do that.

            1. I see that, but I think a better metaphor is not giving your drug-addicted loved one another hundred, or letting them crash on your sofa, when they’ve no interest in cleaning themselves up. This crisis is wholly within the powers of the affected states to solve. They’re not being invaded by a foreign state or have any other problems that only the Feds can solve.

              If their Governor doesn’t want to solve the problem, it must not hurt bad enough for them to want to change. Maybe the citizens of that state should fix that in November?

        3. Fascism needs to be stopped, by any means necessary. Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!

          1. Hundreds of businesses have been destroyed and will continue to be destroyed until someone stops them. Stopping rioters that are in the act of destroying businesses isn’t fascism. You’re making fascism seem like a good thing–and you should be ashamed of yourself.

            1. You have no shame, slaver. You’re already proven to be a racist.

          2. Haha. I love that cliche “hey hey ho ho” chant. Very effective tool for change.

        4. Here you have it, violence.

    2. I agree. If Donald Trump were serious he would instruct the DOJ to pursue a RICO investigation against ANTIFA.

      Not that I am a fan of RICO.

    3. The legal criteria for State Department listing (8 USC 1182) only applies for immigration purposes. 18 USC 2331 defines terrorism as crimes.

  7. Wow, I thought I had seen insanity, but you’re violent. An also a boot licker. How many dead do you need for capitalism?

  8. How is ISIS an existential threat to the US? Even Al-Qaeda wasn’t a threat to the very existence of the US. They killed a bunch of people, but there was no chance the US would cease to exist because of any of their terror attacks.

    1. Give me preview!
      Also:
      The U.S. State Department maintains a list of known terrorist organizations, but it includes only foreign groups—mostly radical Islamists.
      I wouldn’t expect the State Department to maintain a list of domestic terrorist organizations. Perhaps the FBI has one.

      1. They likely do, but refer to them as generic criminal organizations or supremacist groups.

        1. Found a reference. It was the Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File maintained by CJIS at the FBI. It may have moved to another organization.

  9. —-A domestic terrorist designation is a meaningless gesture: It gives a bunch of social irritants more legitimacy than they deserve.—-

    Just like calling Trumpista white supremacist assholes “deplorables”. It gave those social irritants more importance they were entitled to, even though they’ve committed actual mass murder – remember El Paso, Trumpistas?

    1. I literally cannot wait until President Biden implements open borders and millions more brown libertarians like you enrich this country.

      #DiversityAboveAll
      #OpenBorders

      1. Eventually all of America will look like that progressive libertarian utopia, California!

        1. As a Koch / Reason left-libertarian, that’s exactly what I want. 50 states that are all like California is now:

          Racial diversity
          High degree of economic inequality
          Single-party Democratic control

      2. I literally cannot wait until President Biden

        Keep waiting, it won’t happen. Even if it does, his female VP will have him rubbed out so she can be the first something or other.

    2. It gave those social irritants more importance they were entitled to, even though they’ve committed actual mass murder – remember El Paso, Trumpistas?

      We really appreciate the epithets but, really, your tears and ongoing denials of reality are more than enough.

    3. This handle hasn’t been broken out in a while.

      1. More socks than the local Footlocker.

        1. Well yea, it was just looted!

  10. The radical left is an occasionally violent nuisance, not an existential threat.

    No terrorist group is an “existential threat”.

    1. Except for the people they kill.

      1. The Mafia, Brown Shirts, Sinn Fein… just kids out having fun. No threats to see here. Move along.

  11. They could use RICO as well. Multiple ways to skin a cat.

  12. “This is consistent with antifa’s ideology, which holds (generally speaking) that harsh tactics are necessary to combat the far right and does not believe in extending free speech to people who oppose its goals.”

    Which, ironically, makes them more ideologically fascist than most of the people Antifa considers “far right”.

    1. Lot’s of ideologies oppose free speech, it’s not really a defining characteristic. They use tactics similar to Fascists, but ideologically, I think they are something else. Idiot commie anarchists or something.

      1. It is meant as a relative term, especially since many they consider “far right” are ideologically classical liberals.

        1. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think “Fascism” has a specific meaning referring to a political ideology founded in Italy in the early 20th century.

          1. The only real difference between Communism and fascism is the favored group. Communism favors the proletariat while fascism favors a member of the nation. But beyond that they are fairly functionally the same… supreme govt that has the power to dictate both social and economic life and which must be unquestioned. The Commies focused more on economic life, the fascists more on social life… but those where just differences in degree really.

          2. Ideological fascism refers to a specific political ideology founded in Italy in the early 20th century…. but the term “fascism” came from the symbol of the fasces which has a specific meaning — the bundle of rods means unity through strength, and the axe is the power of the praetor in ancient Rome. The praetor was both the commander of the army and a magistrate.

            Any movement or ideology that acts in a way consistent with a fetishization of the ideas behind fasces should be called “fascist.” Many in Antifa of course may be anarchists and will say they’re against the state in particular — others may be socialists– but they all believe they can rule with similar authority and act like Nazi brownshirts or other fascist paramilitaries.

      2. I think the term you’re looking for is “Bolsheviks”, and Robbie is completely right – when have Bolsheviks ever been an existential threat to liberty? Well, except that one time….

        1. I don’t think Antifa is an existential threat to our civilization. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them shot in the streets by business owners and others defending themselves.

      3. commie anarchists

        This is one of the more bizarre things they call themselves, since it’s a oxymoron. They’re effectively saying that they’re a collective where people do whatever they want, no?

        1. Yeah, it seems self-contradictory. But it’s been a major strain of anarchism for a long time, so I don’t think we are going to convince them.

          1. stop lighting things on fire until your name makes sense!

        2. In Marxism (not run of the mill modern Communist thought) Communism was an anarchic existence. It was the utopia that would exist after the Socialist state (which is what all Communist states actually are) upended the capitalist structure. Democracy gives way to socialism whereby the state takes everything from the individual on behalf of the collective. Once everyone is made equal and they become enlightened to the joys of this new existence then the state is no longer needed. It would dissolve itself leaving behind a society of enlightened and communal workers. This final, anarchic (stateless) society Marx called communis.

          Since no “Communist” state ever gets past what Marx called socialism… we have ended up just conflating the two terms to always mean socialism. But now that word is getting bastardized by everyone and we now have a mess in America where conservatives are actually much closer to classic liberals, liberals are are becoming reactionary to anyone who holds heterodox ideas of from them making them rather conservative, and everyone thinking progressive just means open-minded and kind hearted or maybe just liberal in an American sense instead of what it actually ment which was a form of utopianist and a perversion of the Enlightenment.

          1. Nah, the issue isn’t that people in the West conflated the two terms. The issue is that governments like the USSR, China, Cuba have formally called themselves “Communist” and “Marxist.” What it comes down to is that the people in power were operating according to Communist and Marxist ideologies , even if it doesn’t reflect what Marx actually understood as “true” Communism.

            Also, Friedrich Engels — who co-wrote the Communist Manifesto — did refer to Marxism as “Scientific Socialism,” even if Marx liked to distinguish the two things.

  13. The rule of law was abandoned in blue states in dealing with this ‘nuisance’. They could have nipped it in the bud. And now this ‘nuisance’ is part of the political landscape.

    It’s a little more of a ‘nuisance’. Destruction of property on this scale threatens the ability for communities to exist. Hello Newark!

    Your article Robby stinks a little like the idea that ‘insurance will pay for it.’ That’s not the point.

    The point is a) the rule of law has been eschewed and b) a lot of businesses DO NOT have rioting insurance thus forcing people into bankruptcies and other direct consequences.

    I no longer share values with people anymore. This is how nuts it’s been become. If we can’t even agree on the common ethical and legal basics that at least kept our intellectual differences in n check, then ciivl war is the next step I guess?

    1. b) a lot of businesses DO NOT have rioting insurance thus forcing people into bankruptcies and other direct consequences.

      Well, and riot insurance almost certainly has escape clauses built into them or should/will. Enough violence and rioting and insurance companies will feel the hurt.

      We worry about second-wave COVID this fall in the spring but the potential for resurgent or continued rioting in November? Nah! I’m sure no other cops will Erik Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Philando Castille, Botham Jean or George Floyd *another* black man between now and then.

      1. Mad, if that happens, the elections will make 1994 and Reagan v. Mondale look like nothing. I can’t overstate how much mass dissemination of video from these riots is pissing off John Q. Of all colors, races, social classes.

        People were just beginning nationwide to feel like they could go back to work, shop, catch a ballgame, and then these knuckleheads started burning shit down. The foreign element supporting these guys probably does want continued violent social disorder. The domestic leaders, who think they’re going to rule the ashes, had better think again.

        By all means, keep up the riot funding, ultra-left wing.

        1. People were just beginning nationwide to feel like they could go back to work, shop, catch a ballgame, and then these knuckleheads started burning shit down.

          Yeah. Several of the lower-key “Don’t come crying when one of your relatives contracts COVID” Karens around me have had to eat some crow. Whether they’ve actually connected cause and effect or just hate eating crow, they aren’t happy.

      2. There won’t be a second wave. Not the way they’re pumping it anyway. Italy is reporting the new coronavirus is less potent.

  14. Antifa is literally the reason why peaceful protesters’ message was lost in “It’s a race war!!” In my town, we had a peaceful protest that ended with a meeting with the mayor. It was peaceful, because the organizers changed the times once they saw that Antifa had intended to join protests in another nearby town. So by the time Antifa had gotten done burning that town, and headed over to our town, our peaceful protests had ended and these asshats could not mix in.

    3 or 4 years ago, we were very, very close to a mass revolt on the Drug War, Qualified Immunity, police violence. We were getting body cameras distributed widely. No Knock Warrants were being questioned, and there was considerable focus on Asset Forfeiture. These are all terrible tools of the state that have had disparate impact on minority races. But as soon as the conversation shifted to the cause as Racism, we lost the battle. You cannot outlaw racism. But you can outlaw the Drug War. You can outlaw No Knock Warrants.

    Antifa will never let that happen. A world where the police is defanged and citizens and the state get along is a world where Capitalism remains, and- make no mistake- that is all they want to get rid of.

    1. It’s too bad the message gets muddled by all the others that want the spotlight.

    2. It’s pretty incredible that these Antifa sorts don’t understand that in order to enforce their utopia the state is going to need to use the same and even more severe tactics than what they are protesting. Or maybe they do understand and they don’t care. Their mortality isn’t that peaceful, law-abiding and liberty respecting are good things. It’s merely evil capitalists vs good socialists. Chris Matthews was a moron for calling Bernie fans brown shirts. Clearly the parallel with the most extreme of them is the Bolsheviks. Just like their Bolshevik forefathers, if they get their way, things aren’t going to go the way they think they will….

  15. Designating them a “Domestic LARPing Group” would probably be more accurate. They’re just cosplaying at being 1960’s radicals based on stories their grandparents – who are also suffering from delusions of grandeur – told them.

    1. It’s not cosplay when they are have real affect.

  16. The US code defines terrorist organization to great detail. The code defines a “domestic terrorism” as

    (5)the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
    (A)involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
    (B)appear to be intended—
    (i)to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
    (ii)to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
    (iii)to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
    (C)occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States;
    18 U.S.C sec. 2331(5)
    Antifa checks all of those blocks. Note there is nothing in the definition about domestic terrorism having to be the “same threat as ISIS” or have a “leader”.

    It also defines financing and support of “terrorism” as an offense in section 2339C of Title 18. It states

    (a)Offenses.—
    (1)In general.—Whoever, in a circumstance described in subsection (b), by any means, directly or indirectly, unlawfully and willfully provides or collects funds with the intention that such funds be used, or with the knowledge that such funds are to be used, in full or in part, in order to carry out—


    (A)an act which constitutes an offense within the scope of a treaty specified in subsection (e)(7), as implemented by the United States, or
    (B)any other act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act,
    shall be punished as prescribed in subsection (d)(1).

    The statute then goes on to define just when this law applies and states among other things that it applies to

    (G)was directed toward or resulted in the carrying out of a predicate act—
    (i)outside the United States; or
    (ii)within the United States, and either the offense or the predicate act was conducted in, or the results thereof affected, interstate or foreign commerce;

    We generally think of this law applying to foreighn terrorism. But it applies to domestic terrorism as well. The statute defines “State” as

    (14)the term “state” has the same meaning as that term has under international law, and includes all political subdivisions thereof.

    Note that it doesn’t say “other than the US”. The US and all of its political subdivisions are “states” within the meaning of the statute.

    They are not having the State Department designate Antifa an international terrorist organization. They are saying they are now going to treat Antifa as the domestic terrorist organization it clearly is.

    That means a couple of things.

    1. All of the joint terrorism task forces are now authorized to investigate Antifa; and

    2. They are going to start applying the statutes I just described and a lot of others to Antifa, it’s leaders, and presumably it’s financiers as well.

    If they follow through on this, Antifa is screwed. They are totally stupid and arrogant such that they have undoubtedly left a complete electronic trial of everything they do and bragged about it afterwards. They are all dumb ass trust fund babies who will roll on their counterparts the moment they realize this isn’t Portland where they get out of jail that afternoon with a fine.

    People look at Bill Ayers and his bitch wife and how they got over even though they were terrorists. Well, the federal government is a whole lot nastier today than it was then. Had the laws of today been in effect in the 70s, both of them would still be sitting in a super max prison today.

    Maybe Barr is useless and not going to follow through. We will see. If he does, however, these people are screwed and will not know what hit them.

    1. I don’t think the point is to find a novel legal justification for what President Trump wants to do. Trump wins by letting the courts, the press, and Joe Biden condemn him for trying to stop the rioting. People are already reflexively jumping to his side trying to defend him because they want him to stop the rioting.

      The effective and constitutional solution to the riots is to declare a state of emergency, give fair warning to anyone violating curfews, and send the national guard in with guns blazing if necessary. The real question is whether the American people have had enough, and after last night, I suspect they’ve had their fill.

      1. Ken

        There is nothing novel about that. Maybe that is complex and novel to you but it is about as basic and obvious as it gets. Indeed, we do this to other domestic organizations. They have prosecuted Earth Liberation Front losers under the domestic terrorism laws.

        And the point is that they are going to put the full weight of the federal government on Antifa. And that is going to end very badly for them.

    2. They are totally stupid and arrogant such that they have undoubtedly left a complete electronic trial of everything they do and bragged about it afterwards.

      An actual investigative reporter (an occupation Robby wouldn’t know anything about) at Quillette back-traced Twitter posts and identified 15 ‘journalists’ who were overt Antifa sympathizers and/or members.

      By Robby’s own precepts, it will be totally OK if the DHS uses this information to bust heads because not only is it not *their* list, it’s not even a list! Voila, Robby’s retarded Constitutional rhetorical idiocy averted!

    3. Except they can declare it an international organization. Antifa is international, it started in Germany as a pro-commie movement and is extremely strong there, they have cells all over Europe. Why do you think we’re seeing George Floyd riots in London and Berlin? What the hell do those places have to do with American policing? It’s Antifa, man.

  17. I suppose it is fairly accurate to call them a terrorist group. But I don’t think it is useful or a good idea to give them some federal designation as such. It’s a bad precedent to apply that to domestic groups. An aggressive criminal investigation would be a better idea.

  18. antifa’s ideology, which holds (generally speaking) that harsh tactics are necessary to combat the far right

    WW2 was also harsh.

    1. Are you also a member of #LibertariansForAntifa, Mr. Buttplug?

      1. I don’t like the far right (fascists, Klan, Nazi’s, Islamo-supremists).

        Nor do I like the far left (communists, Bernie Sanders supporters, the fat bag of grease Michael Moore).

        1. Apparently, Moore is no longer in good odor on the Left for pointing out the climate change movement is fronting for corporatist rent seekers.

    2. WE are “antibad guy” so even if we go around and are a terrorist organization and burn property and kill people, we are the anti bad guy. It says in our name.

      God damn you are a retard. It is too bad your child porn habit caused Antifa not to accept you as a member. You would have done more to destroy the organization that even the FBI will.

      1. It is like the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart. Only a fascist would oppose something with anti-fascist in the name.

  19. The radical left is an occasionally violent nuisance, not an existential threat.

    “People using semi-automatic rifles improperly is an occasionally violent nuisance, not an existential threat.”

    1. It’s Robby. He’s just advocating the Civil Libertarian Nonsome-Aggression Principal.

  20. >>So antifa is well worth criticizing.

    more fun to laugh @antifa for being loser douchebags.

  21. Funny how antifa was no where to be seen during months of actual fascism

  22. “It doesn’t even have a leader, central organization, or formal membership.”

    They operate in cells, and the cells do have leaders and memberships. They also are willing to accept non-formally recognized members as members based on their actions… similar to how ISIS said that if you wanted to be a part of them, all ya had to do was take a gun and start shooting people in the US. The KKK didn’t have a central organization or leader either, that didn’t stop them from getting a lot of power, especially during the 20s. I’d think anyone here would be hard-pressed to say that they weren’t terrorists.

    Antifa is being protected in some cities (*cough*, Portland *cough*) by the cops and mayor… they attack anyone who disagrees with their point of view, and actively try to suppress moderate and conservative opinions through intimidation and violence. This is long overdue, and quite frankly I hope that they go after anyone who’s ever been associated with them. These people were always open about what they stood for, you don’t get to try and pretend you’re innocent now that there’s a cost for being part of them.

    1. ““It doesn’t even have a leader, central organization, or formal membership.””

      You watch what they do, they clearly have some sort of organizational structure, and leadership capable of handing out orders. Otherwise they’d randomly be showing up in places where the cops wouldn’t be ordered to stand down.

      I’m sure at the bottom you have a lot of cells, and a system of cutouts to make working your way up to the top difficult, but the idea that they don’t have a central organization is a joke, at most an attempt at disinformation.

  23. Btw, did anyone see the tweets by that one sports caster, Palmer? Dumb fucker was tweeting “burn it down” and shit while the riots were happening in the ghetto, but when they started up outside his place it became “you animals need to go back to your homes” real quick. The guy’s twitter is like the textbook definition of a “rich Social Justice asshole” stereotype.

  24. Antifa members travel around the country destroying private property and physically assaulting people in order to advance a political ideology. They are textbook domestic terrorists.

    reason’s TDS never disappoints.

  25. From some of the pictures I’ve seen some of these guys are well past the trust fund baby stage. Some of the Geezers are probably collecting social security. I suspect since there’s little interest in covering Antifa that the media tacitly acknowledges they are under the umbrella of the DNC.

    This article is pure hokum as the government has always gone after whoever they wanted to go after. From the early socialists to the Klan to the Branch Davidians to Donald Trump. Investigations first, justifications to follow.

  26. Antifa meets the legal definition of domestic terrorism. Go look it up in the federal code.

  27. “For another thing, giving the government greater license to consider all antifa activities terroristic in nature would certainly result in civil liberties violations.”

    This is such a stupid statement you’re lucky you can’t be slapped silly through the internet. Nobody is proposing to consider “all” antifa activities terroristic in nature. They can borrow books from the library, go grocery shopping, hold down a job, whatever, without any problem.

    It’s the crimes that are going to be considered terrorist in nature.

    The primary thing here is that by recognizing Antifa’s nature, the feds are not free to go after them for what would otherwise be local crimes, the crimes that don’t get prosecuted because Antifa is cahoots with local governments.

    Same situation as the Klan, actually, and the anti-Klan acts would apply to Antifa.

    1. … AND to the Libertarian party if we insist on an unqualified infiltrator who does not support the platform or the NAP and DEFINES libertarians as anarchists. His own mouth declares Jeffersonian minarchists are not libertarians. All news articles published in the past century and a half make it clear in several languages that anarchists are and always have been murdering assassins. This is not lost on our opponents’ news media. Already NPR questions whether soi-disant anarchist “Spike” is qualified. Per LDC rules he never was.

  28. Ooooh, looks suspicious!

    http://t.co/s3nyNBvK1x

  29. Acme Brick Company is owned by Berkshire Hathaway… Warren Buffet’s company

  30. Before anything else is said, people have to admit this:

    Burning down buildings and looting and saying they’ll stop only when the government gives in to their demands is the definition of terrorism.

    Yes, I’ve been concerned about the ever-expanding definition of terrorism, and the fact that if you have a lone wolf who commits an act of rage, if he happens to shout “Allahu Akhbar” he suddenly becomes a terrorist, and this upends a lot of the normal due process.

    But speaking of the specific issue at hand, the Antifa organizers who are promising unending riots as a way to blackmail the government fit the definition of terrorists to a tee, and there should be no question about it.

    As for the “organizational” issues people are citing, I think a lot of people don’t understand that all ISIS has ever been is a group of loosely associated groups that all wave the same ISIS flag and coordinate from time to time. That’s why the US military treats some ISIS groups as more of a threat than others, and at rare times has even allowed an ISIS group cover when the groups they’re fighting have been the same. Yes that’s a big mess and one of the reasons we shouldn’t be in the ME, but its not the topic we’re discussing now. The point for right now is that I don’t see how Antifa is structurally different than a group like ISIS.

  31. Can privileged, upper middle class white kids be that scary?

  32. This is consistent with antifa’s ideology, which holds (generally speaking) that harsh tactics are necessary to combat the far right and does not believe in extending free speech to people who oppose its goals.

    Sounds like an existential threat to me.

    In fact, sounds exactly like any number of actual terrorist organizations. Sounds a lot more like a terrorist organization than, say, the stupid fucking ‘freemen’ that think gold fringe on a flag makes a court lose jurisdiction.

  33. For one thing, it’s not actually possible for the president to label antifa a domestic terrorist group: There is no such designation. The U.S. State Department maintains a list of known terrorist organizations, but it includes only foreign groups—mostly radical Islamists.

    These groupings are arbitrary. That a ‘domestic terrorist’ grouping doesn’t exist doesn’t mean it can’t exist – especially since the categories are at the whim of the Executive.

    I mean, not too long ago there was no such thing as an ‘illegal combatant’ either. Now not only do they exist, but they’re in a special category that strips all human rights from them.

    1. To the best of my knowledge, those groupings weren’t legislatively driven. They are, as you say, completely arbitrary.

  34. From Reason:
    The Antifa people accused of practicing tyranny really aren’t doing so despite the fact that their behaviors fit the definitions of doing so. Similarly, the Antifa people accused of practicing terrorism really aren’t doing so despite the fact that their behaviors fit the definitions of doing so.
    I wonder who is incorrect here: Reason or Dictionary.com?

  35. Fascists have never been on the same level as a serious internal threat as communists have in the US. Yet the media and reason always give the communists and bolsheviks a pass..you have to ask why. From the Rosenbergs to the cultural marxists who have codified speech police, attacks on the Bill of Rights, creating hatred between groups through identity politics and yes murder from the SLA in the 70s to the unibomber to the guy who gunned down police in Dallas. …hell the commies used to get funding and probably still do by sympathetic wall street types and now social media. Anyone who organizes to deny an American their natural rights is a terrorist in my book.

  36. Robbie might learn the words “foreign or domestic” in federal oaths, and recall Ted Cruz drawing up legislation to list Antifa as what they are. Now would be a good time for “Spike”–the anarchist communist disaffected Das Boothead infiltrators foisted on Jo’s historic presidential campaign–to resign, go to the beach and let the LP candidate have her preferred running mate BEFORE someone finds a way to group the LP in with violent collectivist anarchists.

  37. To claim that these protests have not morphed into riots is naive, to be nice. Of course they have. It was planned this way from the beginning. There have been plenty of out of town folks brought in, not to protest, that needed no help in getting all the people needed for an effective and convincing protest after watching Mr. Floyd being murdered in what amounted to slow motion. I found that to be utterly disgraceful, disgusting and disturbing, to say the least.
    That’s a good reason to protest, in fact wars have been started over less, which is all the more reason not to have these antifa thugs and other anti-American swine present. Then when you see people being beaten nearly to death with previously prepared lengths of 2 x 4, this is no easy going attempt to have one’s voice heard. How about smashing your way into someone’s business, their lives’ work ,which supports their family, then having a mob beat them senseless, rob them of all their merchandise and finally, just to go that extra mile, to be sure they can’t easily, if ever recover, burn the whole building to the ground.
    I suppose that’s merely a lively discussion to this author. Sure as heII looked like a riot to me, in fact if I had been an intended rent-a-mob or antifa victim there would have been a long series of loud pops, a bunch of people running and yelling, followed by another long series of loud… do I make myself clear? That is something I would never consider doing at a peaceable protest or just about any place, outside of a war zone.
    The author seems like a cross between Don Lemon and Baghdad Bob, (I wonder if Bagdad Bob is still with CNN?), because his lies are so obvious due to the video of this peaceful protest actually showing buildings busily burning to the ground, live and in color, and just hateful enough to point fingers by nature of using absurd analogies of the type that could only exist in the fantasies of his mind. With dreams of winged White Supremacists floating all around and getting into everything. A sort of protests from the id brought to you by Bob lemon and the CNN crew.
    It seems that these elitist folks on the left are completely convinced of their superiority or they wouldn’t attempt such transparent scams, and therein lies a large part of the problem, these peoples’ dismissive attitude and contempt for any who would dare to have the temerity to hold views which are in variance with their own. They have a driving, almost inbred need for the requisite power and control to tell others how to live their lives which perhaps stems from a subconscious urge to make up for their total inability to run their own lives successfully. It is either that or they just like telling us what to do while they go hypocritically about doing just the opposite,on account of them being better than us. One way or the other, don’t make no matter how you say it, it’s the same thing.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.