August Market

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What is ‘Antifa?’

Antifa is short for “anti-fascist.” It is a loosely organized coalition of protesters, left-wing activists, and self-described anarchists that vow to physically confront “fascists” — meaning anyone who espouses bigoted or totalitarian views.

Dana R. Fisher, a sociologist who has studied protest movements in the United States for decades, said she’s come to view Antifa protesters as a militant response to the rise in visibility of white nationalists organizations since Trump’s election.

“Violence begets violence,” she said. “One of these groups is coming out with this violent message of hate, and the other has responded with a violent, reactive message.”

“These men and women are basically deciding that there’s a violent alt-right that’s threatening people, and that they should arm and defend the left,” said Fisher.

Although various anti-fascist organizations have existed for decades, since President Trump’s election both their membership and visibility has grown.