What is antifa and who funds it?
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Antifa is an umbrella term to describe radical left-leaning militant groups that typically confront neo-Nazism and white supremacists at demonstrations.
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Public and elected officials, including President Trump, have blamed antifa activists for violence at protests sparked by the death of George Floyd last week. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died last Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes.
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But officials have said that in parts of the country, what started as peaceful protests have devolved into organized riots.
Short for “anti-fascists,” antifa has no hierarchical structure or universal set of tactics that makes its presence immediately recognizable, though members tend to espouse revolutionary and anti-authoritarian views, said Mark Bray, a historian at Rutgers University and author of “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.”
Literature from the antifa movement encourages followers to pursue lawful protest activity as well as more confrontational acts, according to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report.
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The literature suggests that followers monitor the activities of white supremacist groups, publicize online the personal information of perceived enemies, develop self-defense training regimens and compel outside organizations to cancel any speakers or events with “a fascist bent,” the report said.
People associated with Antifa have been present for significant demonstrations and counter-demonstrations over the last three years, sometimes involving brawls and property damage.
Trump and members of his administration have singled out antifa as being responsible for the violence at protests triggered by the killing of Floyd.
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On Tuesday, Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo the FBI has evidence that shows antifa's involvement.
“This is an organized effort. I don’t say it’s a strictly organized effort, but it’s organized,” Giuliani said. “They’re communicating with each other, you know the FBI has a lot of the texts that show antifa's involvement. They’re anarchists, they’re people who want to drive this government down.”
In a pair of statements over the weekend, Attorney General William Barr described “antifa-like tactics" by out-of-state agitators and said antifa was instigating violence and engaging in “domestic terrorism" and would be dealt with accordingly.
At a White House appearance Monday, Trump blamed antifa by name for the violence, along with violent mobs, arsonists and looters.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters earlier in the day that antifa is a “big element of this protest," though she deferred to the Justice Department on the question of how one could be identified as a member.
But it's unclear how big its involvement is.