AntiFa In Focus - The Playboy Article Dividing Opinion


The old joke about only buying Playboy for the articles has certainly gained fruit this month as our attention was drawn by oue American counterparts to the latest edition, which has an in-depth look at the Antifa Movement, specifically centred on Portland Oregon. a hotbed of both Fascist activity - and Antifa opposition. And constant street battles.

Written by Donovan Farley, the article has attracted both praise and attacks in the US media - depending, of course, on the political leanings on the media channel. But it certainly has some interesting things to say.

Do we agree with all of it ? No, but most of it. It's a good piece.

If you seek to understand Antifa a little better, go read the condensed article here, but meantime I wanted to share some interesting pull-quotes and a few of the beautiful images.



On Their Role ...
The vast majority of Antifascist work consists not of black masks, street clashes and weaponized milkshakes but of behind-the-scenes organizing and countless hours spent observing far-right communication channels.


On Threats ...

The Antifascist activists I interviewed for this piece are eager to change the perception of the movement and spoke with me knowing they would receive torrents of threats for doing so.

On Anonymity ...

Antifascists’ use of anonymity as a defence against arrest and doxxing - though doxxing is also one of Antifa’s tactics. Notwithstanding recent efforts to raise this shroud of secrecy, including non-anonymous interviews with outlets such as Rolling Stone, anonymity has allowed a group of loosely connected activists to be demonised by members of the Far Right and, increasingly, centrists and moderate Democrats.

As we stagger toward the 2020 election, Antifa finds itself at a crossroads: Can it succeed, or even survive, without taking up the very tools its opponents have wielded to such ruthless effect?



So why has Antifascism become demonised by the Right and shunned by the Left? Much of the answer lies in the movement’s anonymity and disdain for figureheads.


While the Far Right has flourished, Antifascists have painted themselves into a lonely corner by shunning the press and the centrist public.

On Public Image ...

Although monitoring Far-Right groups online is a crucial part of the movement’s work, I’m more interested in its public-facing efforts - the attempts to puncture the Antifa stereotype, reveal the sprawling community beneath and loudly voice the message uniting them all: Hate requires active and direct confrontation.

Antifascism sure as hell has a PR problem.

On The Variety of Antifa Activists ...

There are so many grandmothers involved in Antifascist actions in Portland alone that they have their own organisation, complete with monthly meetings and a Facebook page. At the Occupy ICE PDX protests last June, directly in front of federal agents dressed in riot gear and holding rifles sat a row of grannies. One of them was knitting.



On Media Disinformation after Recent Protests ...

The Antifascists involved didn’t have the media apparatus in place to combat the disinformation ... and a major opportunity to correct the record - to proclaim that Antifa is not a pack of extremist hooligans - was lost in a fog of tweets and sound bites.


On The Use Of Violence ...

If Antifascism really favors vigilance and community building over fists, why do some of its adherents give the Far Right what it wants by meeting its violence with more violence? Because for better or worse, sometimes it works out in the Left’s favor.

Activists say their anger arises with good reason and that they’re often left to fend for themselves when attacked.

"People still wonder why we need the Black Bloc out there. That’s exactly why. They put their bodies on the line for us."

Conclusion ...

These [Far Right] elements that Trump has inspired to come out of the woodwork aren’t going anywhere regardless of what happens next year, so Antifascists aren’t either. We need to make it okay for people to say they support Antifascism, including people in all levels of government.

"We’re going to need people in the streets forever, but the people who are open about their involvement need to change their rhetoric, because right now we’re bringing a knife to a gunfight."