TOMLINSON: Europe’s Antifa History Should Serve as a Warning to America

BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 13: A procession including a wide range of Berlin's radical leftist activists march to Friedrichsfelde cemetery to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht on January 13, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Luxemburg and Liebknecht founded Germany's Communist Party (KPD) shortly …
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The far-left extremist Antifa movement and its allies have carved a wave of violence, destruction, and even murder for decades in Europe and their history should serve as a warning to the United States of America.

 Antifa — despite the claims of its defenders and proponents — does not stand just for simply anti-fascism but rather for the organisation Antifaschistische Aktion, originally the paramilitary arm of the Pro-USSR German Communist Party (KPD). Its actions today are not merely against fascism, but explicitly for a mix of anarchism and communism by any means necessary.

While anarcho-communist movements have existed in some shape or form since the 19th century, the first incarnation of Antifa took place in 1932.

The modern Antifa movement, which has no formal link to the first Antifa, also began in Germany — West Germany at the time — in the anarchist squatter movement of the 1980s. The organisation then largely fought against the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which has recently all but vanished in the polls, scoring just 0.4 per cent of the vote in the 2017 national election.

The modern Antifa movement has embraced anarchism as well as communism; their logo emulates that of their 1930s incarnation but portrays the black flag of anarchism alongside the red flag of international socialism and communism.

Antifa has also coopted social democrat symbols, such as the three arrows of the German Social Democrat Party’s Iron Front paramilitary from the Weimar German era, a group the original Antifa often fought against.

In recent years, Antifa in Germany has focused far more on violence towards the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) and its supporters. The party has recorded hundreds of acts of violence from Antifa, from car burnings to vandalism and even an assassination attempt against a sitting MP in January 2019.

They have also targeted right-wing anti-mass migration activists, putting an activist into a coma in neighbouring Austria in 2016 during a march organised by the Identitarian Movement in Vienna.

The far-left terrorist group has not only taken credit for many attacks, often posted on their media platform Indymedia, but they have earned the respect and support of members of the Left Party, who are the latest incarnation of the East German Communist Party, and the Social Democrats (SPD).

A report released in 2016 even suggested mainstream parties were using government funds in the city of Halle to give upwards of €150,000 to Antifa-linked groups.

Many NGOs and other groups are also friendly to Antifa including several so-called “anti-hate” groups such as the Expo Foundation in Sweden and Hope Not Hate in the UK, which were linked to Antifa radicalism in a Swedish military intelligence report in 2018.

Both Expo and Hope Not Hate have been previously funded by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations (OSF), which funds many other left-wing NGOs, as well.

An important German group linked to Antifa is Rote Hilfe or Red Aid, which provides money and help for far-left extremist political prisoners.

It was revealed this week that a senior Hamburg constitutional judge with far-left extremist links had spoken at events of the group at the Rote Flora squat, a known Antifa stronghold in Hamburg.

The Rote Hilfe organisation has also provided assistance to the notorious Red Army Faction (RAF), known also as the Baader-Meinhof gang, a far-left terrorist group responsible for at least 34 murders betyween the 1970s to the late 1990s.

Antifa-linked Hamburg judge Cornelia Ganten-Lange is also known for defending members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) while serving as a lawyer, a group that has been accused of deadly bombings, war crimes, and using child soldiers by NGO Human Rights Watch.

Antifa and the Kurdish terror group have had documented links in Germany and in the United Kingdom where Kurdish PKK-linked centres in London have been used to host Antifa events in the past. That same Kurdish Community Centre in Haringey, London which had hosted Antifa events in the past was investigated by the UK Charity Commission in 2015 for failing to remove “material which might suggest they appeared to support a proscribed terrorist group” after it had been told to in 2013. The charity was subsequently wound up in March 2019.

European members of Antifa have even fought alongside Kurdish forces in Syria during the country’s civil war. In April 2018, French Antifa members fighting in Syria threatened a wave of terror against the French state following clashes between French authorities and a squatter camp in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

“Our priority targets are the Turkish state and the French state, as well as all the fascist groups,” the extremists said and noted they would target police, military, and intelligence officials they said were “powerful but not invulnerable”.

While Germany has the most powerful Antifa movement, France also boasts a strong presence of Antifa extremists who are more than willing to use extreme violence towards members of the populist National Rally (RN) or police officers.

French Antifa, using black bloc tactics, have set police officers on fire during riots in Paris and elsewhere, but have also plotted to kill police officers.

Earlier this year, two Antifa extremists were caught plotting to shoot and murder police. In August of last year, several others were arrested plotting to light a hotel on fire with police inside during the G7 meeting in Biarritz.

In May, Paris police discovered what they believe to be Antifa’s Paris headquarters and arrested several extremists who were manufacturing explosives and Molotov cocktails.

Bombings, while somewhat rarer than arson or physical violence, have also been linked to Antifa in the recent past.

In Italy, Antifa anarchists took credit for the bombing of an office belonging to populist Matteo Salvini’s League in Treviso in 2017. In late May, two Greek anarchists were caught trying to bomb the home of a former conservative Minister of State Dimitris Stamatis.

Antifa in Italy, France, Germany, and Canada have also been suspected of sabotaging communications infrastructure and railway lines, and of even committing an arson attack on the German armed forces.

Riots are also a well-used tactic for Antifa in Europe. This year, extremists have made attempts to hijack and inflame riots in migrant-background areas that are sparked by accusations of police brutality.

Unlike in the United States, where Antifa has been widely seen as being successful with inflaming the ongoing riots, French no-go area locals rejected the help of Antifa, claiming the locals would be blamed and arrested for Antifa’s extreme violence.

This sample of the decades-long history of Europe’s Antifa movement and its allies, including recognised terrorist groups like the PKK, shows a firm willingness to use violence against not only fascists and far-right activists but against police, conservative activists, politicians, and the state itself.

Terrorism is often defined as the use of violence or intimidation for the purposes of political change.

Antifa’s history proves it matches this definition, and while European states have long turned a blind eye or even approved of Antifa’s actions, President Donald Trump is correct to label it a terrorist organisation.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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