Prior to the horrific events that unfolded in Charlottesville, VA, modern-day “Anti-Fascist Action” (Antifa) groups, were rightfully relegated to the fringe of political discourse. A far cry from their namesakes, Antifa are less a 1920’s freedom fighting groups fighting a fascist takeover, and more domestic terrorism outfits.
Antifa groups operate with and advocate for violent tactics to shut down what they perceive as “fascism” and “white supremacy.” Unfortunately, these groups are now conflating mainstream Republicans with legitimate Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, a neat political sleight of hand designed to absolve them of violence and smear their political opposition—and the movement has already touched Clemson.
In February, a group dubbed, “Upstate Antifa,” posed with weapons and advocated violence on their Facebook page, later posting recruitment flyers on campus. On a similar note, in the past several weeks, Clemson Professor Bart Knijnenburg called all Republicans, “racist scum,” and appeared to advocate violence on his personal Facebook page, stating, “I admire anyone who stands up against white supremacy. Violent or non-violent.”
For all of their misguided ideology, Antifa is correct about one thing—fascist ideologies must never be allowed to take power. Fortunately, we don’t need ski-mask or balaclava-clad anarchists to achieve this. In the case of Charlottesville, the Virginia National Guard was standing by, ready to respond in the case of violence.
Violence should not be a tool of political discourse in a polite society.