What is antifa? Is it a group or an idea, and what do supporters want?

Antifa has seen a steady increase in media attention ever since President Donald Trump was first inaugurated in January 2017. Republicans often portray antifa as a highly organized group of “terrorists” worthy of national watch lists. 

Right-wing media blames antifa members for rioting and looting. Democrats have also condemned such violence, but many on the left say the rhetoric about antifa is greatly exaggerated, and that it’s less of an organized movement than just something of “an idea.”

But much of what politicians say about antifa isn’t quite true. Here’s what antifa is, what it isn’t, and what you need to know. 

Anti, anti, anti…

Antifa is not a highly organized movement, nor is it merely an idea. Antifa is a loose affiliation of local activists scattered across the United States and a few other countries. 

The term “antifa” is short for antifascist; it’s used both by its adherents and its foes.

In general, people who identify as antifa are known not for what they support, but what they oppose: Fascism, nationalism, far-right ideologies, white supremacy, authoritarianism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. Some antifa activists also denounce capitalism and the government overall. 

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