Yet another controversy involving President Donald Trump and his allies came about this week when Facebook removed some campaign ads that used an infamous symbol from the 1930s: a red inverted triangle, which Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime used to identify political prisoners ranging from communists and liberals to members of opposition parties. Trump’s campaign has, in essence, responded that it didn’t use that symbol to promote Nazi ideology, but to smear Antifa. Nonetheless, Trump’s critics have asserted that using that symbol in the first place was clueless and ignorant. And according to Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, a leaked internal documentfrom the U.S. Department of Homeland Security makes Trump and his allies look even worse in this controversy.
The leaked DHS document, according to Sargent, shows that Antifa has not been a major source of violence at the recent “Justice for George Floyd” protests that have been taking place all over the United States.
Although Trump and his allies have been smearing Antifa in order to terrorize the president’s base of older white male voters, their assertions have demonstrated that they don’t know much about Antifa (which stands for “anti-fascist”). First, Antifa is a movement, not an organization. Second, Trumpistas tend to lump Antifa and Black Bloc anarchists together even though they’re separate movements. And Sargent, in his column, shows that he clearly knows the difference between Antifa and anarchists.
Sargent says of the DHS document, “Not only does this document not name Antifa, this description of generic ‘anarchist extremists’ does not describe what we’ve come to understand ‘Antifa’ to be. While there might be some loose overlap between Antifa and anarchists, Antifa isn’t even a group — and adherents are characterized by specific resistance to perceived neo-fascist movements. Meanwhile, the DHS document defines ‘anti-government extremists’ as motivated by ‘their belief that their liberties are being taken away by the perceived unconstitutional or otherwise illegitimate actions of government officials or law enforcement.’ Obviously, that’s not Antifa either.”