The non-binding Senate resolution introduced this week in an effort to label “antifa” as “a domestic terrorist organization” is the product of years of well-publicized lies about antifa propagated by the right-wing press.
Senate Resolution 279 (S.Res. 279) which Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) introduced on July 18, and which was co-sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), is the most serious attempt so far by the right to capitalize on a panic it has manufactured about antifa. Short for “antifascist,” antifa is a highly decentralized movement made of differing groups and individuals who counter-organize against fascist and other far-right organizing. It has exploded in popularity since 2016 but has no leadership, no national decision-making structure and no organized funding base.
But for two years now, a number of the more conservative media outlets have been erroneously portraying antifa as a highly disciplined organization that functions as the underground, paramilitary wing of the Democratic Party. They claim it is funded and controlled by liberal financier George Soros, who is portrayed as the movement’s “puppet master” — and who, just coincidentally, happens to be Jewish. (The image of the wealthy Jewish puppet master who is controlling progressive social movements from behind the scenes has been a mainstay of anti-Semitic politics since the 19th century.)
The Senate resolution itself is the culmination of years of fabricated claims pushed by conservatives. These outlandish lies include: antifa planned to start a civil war in November 2017; the mass shooter who killed 58 at a Las Vegas country music festival in October 2017 was associated with antifa; and that antifa flyers even called for the murder of white children.