March 11, 2021

What Antifa Is, What It Isn’t, and Why It Matters

On March 11, 2021, Dr. Colin P. Clarke, Senior Research Fellow at The Soufan Center, participated in a discussion called “What Antifa Is, What It Isn’t, and Why It Matters” alongside Dr. Michael Kenney, from University of Pittsburgh. The discussion was part of an event series organized by the Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) group at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense. The talk examined militant anti-fascists and anarchists, as well as what acts qualify as terrorism and/or politically or ideologically motivated violence. In the United States, antifascism or “Antifa” is not a single, monolithic organization. Rather, it is a loose network of local groups who coordinate their high-risk activism in different areas, along with a broader movement of groups and individuals who support antifascist ideals. Antifascists seek to expose, confront, and stop white supremacists and other “fascists” from organizing, publicizing their views, and recruiting new supporters. Beyond their commitment to antifascism, Antifa supporters do not follow a single ideology. However, most antifascists in the United States express political beliefs commonly associated with the far-left, including communism, socialism, anarchism, and anti-capitalism.