The fact that anti-fascism gets significantly worse press than actual fascists in this country is so very, very U.S. Like #ThisIsSoUs.
But let's change it. If you've heard about antifa (and if you have it's probably been negative) but are unsure about them, it's real easy to google some information. Antifa is not a single organization and, by it's nature, never would be. They tend to be loosely associated and follow a general set of guidelines and strategies for fighting fascism. The only thing that truly unites antifa is being anti-fascist. That is what their name is short for, after all.
Antifa uses tactics on the ground that can be generally defined as violent, but they have to use violence because it's the only thing fascists respond to. They understand that fascists such as nazis have no problem using violence and will do so with gusto the instant they can get away with it. That is why allowing fascists the space to gain power is so dangerous. I've already explained a hundred times over how their violent rhetoric leads to violence, and Charlottesville has a body now to prove it. Rest in peace, Haley.
But if you're not a fascist, antifa is on your side in any situation that could become dangerous. I'm not a part of any antifa group, but at physical protests, I look for them. I keep them within eye range because I know they will be the ones to protect me and the entire rest of the crowd from both police and fascist violence. They are the ones who jumped to the aid of the white Seattle liberals who were suddenly and randomly attacked by the "Proud Boys" after the counter-protest to the anti-Muslim rally last June. They are also the heroes who saved Dr. Cornel West and a church full of black leaders on Saturday.
Dr. West himself credits "anarchists and anti-fascists" for saving himself and a group of 20 clergy from being "crushed" by the impending fascist mob that the police were letting march down upon them. It's time we throw our support behind these brave individuals fighting to protect us. They are not terrorists. They are community defense leagues and we need them now more than ever.
Thank you, antifa. Thank you, local anarchists. I support you.