POLICE Magazine

SEP 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/869708

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Page 34 of 60

the large-scale destruction of property. While Antifa is generally recognized by its trademark all-black clothing and mob stratagem, police are often otherwise un- familiar with this parasitic and calami- tous criminal subculture. In order for law enforcement officers to effectively safely interact with and competently prosecute anarchists such as Antifa, a more in-depth examination is helpful. A SHORT, DESTRUCTIVE HISTORY Antifa, an abbreviated acronym for "anti- fascist," has emerged in the United States in the last decade, particularly fueled by the widening divide between political ide- ologies. As both left-wing and right-wing political stances have become increasing- ly entrenched, and from some perspec- tives extreme, in recent years, Antifa has become the militant, destructive muscle of the severe, militant, far left-wing. Viewing the current presidential ad- ministration as "fascist" and dictatorial, Antifa members often see themselves as righteous revolutionaries and freedom fighters, and therefore self-justify the 32 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2017 A ntifa. Anarchists. Alt-left rioters. Black Bloc. Regardless of their pre- ferred name, these radical groups have recently catapulted into the national spotlight as opportunistic purveyors of violence and destruction, often utilizing high-visibility events such as the speak- ing engagement of a conservative author at the University of California at Berkeley in February to riot and inflict physical violence and cause thousands of dollars of property damage, utilizing their signa- ture mob chaos and havoc-laden tactics. From the American political party conventions held every four years and the G8 Summits staged across the globe, to many lesser-known regional protests such as those now roiling over the remov- al of Confederate monuments, a common and generally violent attendee often rears its ugly head. Antifa, as it is now widely known, is predictable in its tactics and responses. Law enforcement agencies must be informed about the group and its tactics, so they can be prepared to compe- tently execute mass civil unrest strategies to prevent the loss of innocent lives, and PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES use of violence, rioting, and destruction of property to dismantle the evil status quo. Unlike legitimate peaceful, non- violent forms of protest, Antifa advocates "direct action," which employs volatile clashes with their opponents, the police, or any other perceived threat, obstacle, or enemy. During the 2016 presidential election cycle, Antifa members clashed violently with white nationalists and right-wing factions nationwide along the Trump campaign trail. Other more recent inci- dents gave the movement the spotlight in the national media. In February, Milo Yiannopoulos, a con- frontational and controversial alt-right national speaker and author, was sched- uled to speak at UC Berkeley. Prior to the start of the event, Antifa groups stormed the campus building where the speech was to be held and violently engaged po- lice forces, set fires, launched incendiary devices toward officers, and destroyed thousands of dollars of campus property, forcing the cancelation of the event. On March 4 at a pro-Trump rally in Inside the Antifa Movement THE ANTI-FASCIST MOVEMENT SOUNDS LIKE IT ONLY TARGETS WHITE SUPREMACY HATE GROUPS LIKE THE KLAN AND NEO-NAZIS, BUT THIS ANARCHIST GROUP HAS AND WILL ATTACK LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND PEOPLE WITH OPPOSING POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES. KORY FLOWERS

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