Antifa, American political movement, is a loose coalition of progressive voices opposing the rise of homophobic, authoritarian, xenophobic, and racist movements worldwide. Inspired by the election of Donald J. Trump in 2016, the group first gained widespread recognition when it appeared as counter-protesters at events like 2017’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, resulting in several clashes with its proponents. Besides physical protests, the group makes use of social media to “out” fascist groups and individuals. The movement largely espouses non-violent protest, although it has been blamed for incidents such as the nightly attacks on the Federal Courthouse in Portland, Or., during the fall 2020 presidential campaign. The group was also linked to the protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Mn., during May-June 2020, some of which included looting and burning of local businesses, but subsequent law-enforcement investigations failed to find direct links to its involvement. The movement has no organizational structure but is said to have about 200 loosely affiliated groups. Antifa descended from earlier anti-fascist movements that arose out of World War II, particularly the American group Anti-Racist Action (ARA). The Portland, Or., branch of ARA renamed itself Antifa in 2007, one of the first groups to revive this title since its use in the postwar years. While not literally associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, Antifa shares many of the same goals and the two are often linked in the popular press. The far right has repeatedly associated Antifa with violence, anarchism, and anti-government/anti-big business sentiments.

See M. Bray, Antifa: The Anti-fascist Handbook (2017), P. Elliott, H. Brougher, et al., eds., We Are Antifa: Expressions Against Fascism, Racism and Police Violence in the United States and Beyond (2020), S. Vysotsky, American Antifa (2020).

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