Amid a Republican push in the US to classify the left-wing movement as a terrorist organisation, the Bulgarian branch of Antifa has pointed out that far-rightists were responsible for hundreds of killings in the US last year – and Antifa for none.
Antifa activists in Bulgaria have told BIRN that they see moves in the US to criminalise the left-wing movement as an issue pushed by the far right.
It comes after Republicans on Capitol Hill introduced a resolution in recent weeks to classify Antifa as “domestic terrorists” – and after President Donald Trump mentioned the Antifa movement in the same context as violent white supremacists following the Dayton, Ohio shooting of on 4 August, calling them both hate groups.
“We can easily answer the question about how an ideologically and tactically decentralised world movement can be unjustly classified as a US terror organisation, if we look at history,” Antifa–Bulgaria told BIRN, drawing a parallel with the ban on anti-Fascist movements in Nazi Germany and its allies, including Bulgaria, in the 1930s.
“At the same time, in the modern-day US, authorities’ tolerance of the deadly far-right terror and extremism is only growing,” Antifa–Bulgaria claimed, noting that while 425 murders in the US in 2018 have been linked to far-right sympathisers, none were related to anti-Fascist activists.
The US branch of Antifa fell into the spotlight after the terror attack in Dayton, Ohio that killed 10 people, including the perpetrator Connor Betts, who had previously retweeted positions of the organisation.
It prompted comments from President Trump condemning “any group of hate.”
“I don’t like it … Whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy, whether it’s Antifa,” Trump was quoted saying one day after the incident.
This fed into earlier Republican Party moves to label the movement a domestic terrorist organisation. “Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others),” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“The Trump administration’s tilting towards Fascist practices is more and more visible, which can be observed in other policies, like those regarding the treatment of migrants,” Antifa in Bulgaria said.
According to them, partisan media coverage in the US and the prominence of conservative talking heads, who spread misinformation about the organisation, are also to blame for the anti-Antifa rhetoric in the US.
The Bulgarian Antifa branch underlined that the global movement is heavily decentralised and that the Bulgarian organisation has no direct communication or organic links with the US movement.
Bulgarian Antifa itself has no record of violent activities. Is mostly known for staging peaceful counter-marches to the far-right parades held by Lukovmarch, a group that commemorates the memory of a controversial World War II-era general.