Antifa groups are emerging across the United States. Should they be stopped or allowed to engage in their protests?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent– Antifa (short for anti-fascist) groups appear to be a modern-day version of groups like the Black Panthers in the 1960s, and less well-known anarchists who came to prominence around the time of the rise of communism in the early 20th Century. Anarchists favor no government whatsoever. Fascism is an ideology that promotes nation and race above the individual and requires a dictatorial rule.

Since I’m a firm believer in the Libertarian ideal of less government and more personal freedom and responsibility, I’m not entirely opposed to the protests of anarchists disguised as anti-fascists. So, a movement that is against fascism and too much government gets at least some sympathy from me. Antifa groups have at least some value to society by highlighting possible problems we might face with an overeager, power-hungry administration that leans too close to the extreme right.

I support anyone’s right to peacefully protest for any reason. No one should be prevented from protesting just because they advocate policies with which we disagree. However, achieving political or social goals should never come at the expense of violence unless violence is initiated by the oppressing group.

Moreover, violence tends to alienate those who may otherwise sympathize with a cause. Antifa groups stand a much better chance of preventing fascism and power grabs by groups or individuals by working peacefully within the political system to bring about the changes they want to see. Until President Trump (or whoever else might have dictatorial aspirations in the future) attempts a coup and declares martial law, any antifascists groups who incite violence should be stopped.

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent– Antifa, who or what the hell is it? I had no idea what Antifa was until I popped this question. That led me to do a little research. Antifa means anti-fascism (Anything that is against fascism). Honestly, fascism is complicated to define. Lachlan Montague, an Australian-based researcher of fascism and writer, mentioned that, “being asked to define fascism is probably the scariest moment for any expert of fascism”.

While the ideology of fascism is difficult to wrap around the fingers, most people consider it as a mass movement. It strictly works against democracy, while supporting nationalism and authoritarian.

Based on historical events, the year 1944 was influenced by fascism. German Nazi was closely associated with fascism which rose to power subsequent to World War 1. In fact, Juan Peron of Argentina, Adolf Hitler of Germany, and Benito Mussolini were all known fascist leaders evident in the 20th century.

So, antifascism is clearly a movement that opposes fascism or nationalism and patriotic leadership. These groups have been making rounds and while I do try to remain political neutral, people will do whatever they wish. If a group strictly goes against what men like Hitler stand for, all the best to them.

If people are against fascism, it doesn’t matter what I think; once they believe in a cause, they are going to support it and protest anything that doesn’t align with their conscience.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent– The right to protest peacefully is a sacred one in this country, and any attempt to trifle with it smacks of the establishment of a police state. In Charlotte, N.C., near my home, the police department recently dropped its policy of designating certain happenings as “extraordinary events,” giving them increased enforcement powers, largely because of questions concerning the infringement of the right to protest.

However, Antifa groups and others have not just pushed the boundaries of peaceful protesting, they’ve set fire to them (along with cars, mailboxes and vending machines) and hurled them at police. These groups have little to no interest in remaining peaceful. Their intent is to provoke violent incidents, damage property and inflict injury on members of law enforcement. Armed with smoke bombs, cudgels and smartphones, they stage conflicts and attempt to make themselves look like the victims. Their tactics are intended solely to enrage and enflame passions, not to espouse any particular point of view or air any real grievances.

Imagine the neighborhood malcontent cloned a thousand times and given weapons and marching orders. That’s your typical Antifa mob. They show up anywhere there’s a protest, and often against the wishes of those organizing the protests. In Charlotte, several Antifa groups were asked to leave the city by those protesting peacefully following a white police officer’s acquittal on charges he murdered a black suspect. Why would these groups want to protest alongside those who don’t love them?

In “The Dark Knight,” Alfred the Butler tells Bruce Wayne a story about a jungle warlord who committed senseless acts of brutality. He tells the caped crusader that, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” That, in a nutshell, is the Antifa movement at its base. Its members raise a ruckus for its own sake, leave injury and destruction in their wake and then move on to the next city.

While I don’t support the outright ban of any organized group that wishes to protest, I’d like to see the Antifa groups put on notice: Behave yourselves, or you’ll find that your rights end where the policeman’s riot baton begins.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Antifa (for “anti-fascist) groups across America should be stopped in engaging in their protests and, at the same time, they should also be labeled a domestic terrorist organization. In fact, some states are contemplating it and one, New Jersey, has already followed through with labeling the organization. Even the president and others have been petitioned to designate Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization.

The organization is not new to the scene as they reared their ugly head during the Occupy Wall Street movement as well as during the anti-globalization protests in the late nineties. Prior to that, the group was active in early 20th century Europe where fascism was of real concern, and a reality, and they continued to remain active throughout Europe. This latest group in America surfaced through the Resistance movement against Donald Trump. They believe the president to be a fascist who has brought in a fascist administration, and they are determined to disrupt anything concerning the president and those who support him.

Antifa’s main objectives are fighting fascism and taking a stand against racism, misogyny and xenophobia, but they are promoting the same kind of prejudices in their own violent activities against individuals and groups that they determine to be fascist. They are the ones acting in a lawless, dangerous and life threatening and fascist manner, and they must be stopped from spreading their violence.

They have created havoc on college campuses, initiated riots, shut down scheduled conservative speakers and have frightened conservative students fearful for their lives. The group has threatened violence, incited others to commit violence and have committed acts of vandalism, set fires, and caused extensive property damage in numerous cities and other areas. They have disrupted a parade, have organized brutality against the police and patriotic Americans and have ravaged business and infrastructure. Even Inauguration Day become their target as they set fires, threw rocks and bottles at police, destroyed a limousine and threw pavement pieces into windows and glass fronts.

Their short term goals are to seek out individuals, particularly conservatives, Trump supporters and those with opinions different from what they believe. They harass, threaten and intimidate others. The organizations also make themselves known through their different group facebook pages, and they post their misguided, outlandish and violent outlooks there.

Antifa’s other publications are riddled with violent references and statements like “the destruction of property and vandalism is not violence, but things such as not having healthcare and poverty are violence.”

Proof of Antifa’s violent and radical connections are in the open as are their acts of defiance, violence and direct and indirect threats against the president and any group or individuals associated with conservative causes. Other cities and states must come forward to declare Antifa a domestic terrorism organization. The protests and random violence must stop and Antifa leaders and participants in acts of violence must be jailed or imprisoned. Americans must not allow Antifa to continue ravaging colleges, universities, cities, towns, businesses and individuals.

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