Washington, DC – President Trump announced Sunday that antifa would be designated as a terrorist organization.
“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump said in his tweet.
Antifa, short for anti-fascists, is a decentralized group of authoritarian leftists who share a violent ideology and believe that targeting people who don’t share their fringe-left views is an act of self defense.
There are a handful of antifa organizations, but antifa is not an actual organization itself.
Labeling antifa as a terrorist organization would be roughly equivalent to labeling another ideology, such as white supremacists, as a terrorist organization.
However, there is some precedent for labeling non-organizations to be organizations.
The FBI bizarrely labeled Juggalos as a street gang in 2011, despite a lack of central organization.
Despite the lack of central organization, antifa are responsible for countless acts of violence and vandalism throughout the United States during the past few years.
Antifa are believed to have had a strong presence at the riots throughout the United States during the past few days.
It’s unclear what effect the “terrorist organization” label may have.
This is not the first time that there has been an attempt to label antifa as a terrorist organization.
U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy and Ted Cruz introduced a resolution in July 2019 calling for antifa to be declared a terrorist organization.
“Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who ‘fight fascism’ with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege,” Cassidy said on his Senate webpage. “Bullies get their way until someone says no. Elected officials must have courage, not cowardice, to prevent terror.”
The resolution also condemned the violent acts of antifa.
“Antifa is a terrorist organization composed of hateful, intolerant radicals who pursue their extreme agenda through aggressive violence,” Cruz said, according to the statement.
“Time and time again their actions have demonstrated that their central purpose is to inflict harm on those who oppose their views. Like any terrorist organization they choose to pursue their political ends through violence, fear and intimidation. They must be stopped. I am proud to introduce this resolution with Senator Cassidy to properly identify what Antifa are: domestic terrorists,” Cruz said in his statement.
The American Civil Liberties Union opposed the resolution at the time, according to the Washington Post.
“It is dangerous and overly broad to use labels that are disconnected [from] actual individual conduct,” Shamsi said according to the Washington Post. “And as we’ve seen how ‘terrorism’ has been used already in this country, any such scheme raises significant due process, equal protection and First Amendment constitutional concerns.”