President Trump announced in a tweet on Sunday that the US government will be designating antifa as a terrorist organisation.
Antifa, short for “anti-fascist,” is a loose collection of leftist-aligned groups that operate across the globe, and have been blamed for fanning the flames of the riots that have been seen across the country as a result of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer earlier this week.
In a press conference on Saturday, Attorney General Bill Barr put the blame firmly on antifa and other leftist groups of “outside radical agitators” for “exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,” noting that “in many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchic and leftist extremist groups, far-left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom traveled outside the state to promote the violence.”
President Trump then announced on Twitter on Sunday that “the United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” a step that many conservatives have been calling for for a long time, due to their violent nature and participation in riots for decades.
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
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Some on the left have criticised the President for this move, as antifa is not one collective organisation, but a number of local and smaller groups. Leftists often make jokes about being “the CEO of antifa,” in response to the idea that it is a more hegemonic structure:
Shaun you know this is a lie. I’m the CEO of antifa and I regularly murder white parents and local business owners
— Mx Enc McAllister 🌈🦄 Black Lives Matter (@mxspiderthem) May 31, 2020
It therefore seems less obvious as to how the government would go about deciding who is and who isn’t a member of “antifa.” However, other more conventional terrorist groups, such as radical Islamic organisations, operate in a similar manner; in that they too are comprised of autonomous cells, with no real barrier to entry. ISIS, for example, relied on lone-wolf attacks, and would allow anyone to claim they were a member if they furthered their goals.
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It is likely that a similar policy regarding identifying as a member of antifa, and any groups that identify themselves as antifa groups, will be implemented. We will update you on this breaking story when more information is released on the policy specifics.