Politics, United States, World

Should Antifa be Declared a Terrorist Organization?

Antifa and Police standoff during Emerson College Protests

With the rise of terrorism in the late 20th century originating out of the Middle-East, many Americans consider Islamic Extremism to make up the entirety of terrorist activity within the United States. However, what if I told you that one of the biggest terrorist groups in US history is actually not related to the Middle-East at all, but originated out of Italy?

Throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century, Communism began to flare throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Driven by extreme passion and the belief in what they’re doing as right, Communist uprisings happened throughout Weimar Germany, Russia, France, Britain and even the United States. In the US, where Communism lacked the support for a full scale revolution, terrorism was seen as the best way to undermine the government’s authority by the Communists. Throughout the 1880s, terrorist attacks performed during large riots and strikes were common, as seen in the 1886 May Day strike when 350,000 proletariats rose up to strike against the railways and factories, and when police were dispatched to deal with them bombs were thrown into the crowds killing an officer and injuring 6 more. The officers proceeded to then open fire on the crowd, killing 6 and injuring at least 70. This began a long series of terrorist attacks by Anarcho-Communists until the 1930s. Later on after World War One, Anarcho-Communist Luigi Galleani had immigrated to the US with the intention of establishing a Anarcho-Communist terrorist group, known as the Galleanists. The Galleanists from 1919 to 1932 had periodically performed horrendous acts of violence upon crowds and strikes, killing tens of officers throughout their history and killing some high ranking government officials. The Galleanists believed in creating disarray by killing high-ranking officials, as seen in such attacks like the 1919 Attacks, in which Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt was almost killed by a dynamite explosion from his house and Senator Hardwick was almost killed by an explosion. Even John D. Rockefeller was targeted, with bombs being sent to him only to be foiled. Their largest attack was that of the Wall

Wall Street Bombings, September 16th 1920

Street bombing of 1920, in which hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages were caused through bombs and 38 people died. Actions like these lead to the Red Scare of the 1920s, which eventually lead to the persecution and arrest of over 10,000 accused communists, also known as the Palmer Raids. Established by Alexander Palmer as a response to the terrorist attacks, the raids consisted of groups of well armed officers breaking into suspected radicals’ houses and promptly arresting them. Palmer even persuaded the Department of Labor to not inform the arrested suspects of their right to a fair trial, which many would consider unconstitutional. These raids successfully drove out most Anarcho-Communists, and very few attacks happened until recently.

Today, the Anarcho-Communists are grouped roughly into the blanket party known as the Antifascist Action. Better known as Antifa or the Antifaschistische Aktion in Germany, Antifa comprises all anarcho-communists, syndicalists, and far-left terrorists who wish to take out the right and moderates. Although existing since the the 1920s through the funding of the Soviet Union as a means to terrorize the German government, their popularity remained small until the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Since his Inauguration, virtually every strike and/or riot has Antifa somewhere amongst the participants. Antifa is infamous for being the group of people throwing molotov-cocktails, frozen water bottles, rocks, and many other improvised weapons at police officers, right-wing conservatives, and “alt-right” members. Although some consider them to be doing a justice by attacking supposed KKK members and National Socialists, the truth is the vast majority of their victims are moderate-republicans and conservatives. Examples of this can be seen in Trump’s Inauguration, in which the streets of D.C were pillaged and trashed by Antifa members who would often light trash cans on fire and roll them in into crowds, or more recently in Charlottesville where Antifa attacked a combination of white-nationalists and conservatives with makeshift clubs and rocks. Finally, Antifa’s official twitter page and social media often makes posts encouraging their followers to put nails in dog-treats to “hurt them where it hurts most; their scrawny dogs” as well as posts on how to make weapons and lace food.

Although things haven’t escalated to the point where Wall Street is getting bombed like the Anarcho-Communists did in the past, things are on their way to going there. In Charlottesville, as a response to the rise of radical left-wing movements such as Antifa, the rise of radical right-wing movements such as white nationalist movements have picked up as well, and are showing a similarity to that of Weimar Germany’s battle of National Socialists vs Communists. Just as the Palmer Raids were carried out successfully and ended any chance of terrorism, we as a nation must push for the arrest of radical movement’s leaders if they openly condone terrorist-like actions, as Antifa’s leaders do. Perhaps, instead of arresting 10,000 and only deporting 339 of the arrested candidates, we could do a better job of singling out the radical leaders who pose a threat to our way of life and democracy. Also, the unconstitutional measures of the raids should naturally be left out of these proposed raids, as the raids should only consist of constitutional raids with warrants issued towards likely suspects. Although this sounds extreme to many, a degree of violence must be taken in order to scare and prevent future radicals from popping up. The also intense-action would scare more than just probable-Antifa members, it would diminish support for all radical groups in general.

Article by Ethan Ludwig and Carson Johnson

Works Cited:

Beinart, Peter. “The Rise of the Violent Left.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 6 Aug. 2017,

     www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/the-rise-of-the-violent-left/534192/.

Bray, Mark. “Analysis | Who Are the Antifa?” The Washington Post, WP Company,  16 Aug. 2017,       

     www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/08/16/who-are-the-antifa/?utm_term=.bef609be6c6b.

Beinart, Peter. “The Rise of the Violent Left.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 6 Aug. 2017,

     www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/the-rise-of-the-violent-left/534192/.

Dehler, Gregory. “Palmer Raids.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 8 Sept. 2014,

     www.britannica.com/topic/Palmer-Raids.

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