The New York Times special Education section Sunday soft-pedaled the authoritarian left-wing movements afoot on many college campuses, including the violence black-bloc “anti-fascist” movement Antifa.
Meanwhile, the violent “anti-fascist” movement Antifa got some sympathetic coverage from Andrew Beale and Sonner Kehrt in “The Semester of Hate — When far right meets far left, sparks fly.”
Last semester’s protests at the University of California, Berkeley, challenged liberal presumptions about who exactly the good guys were. Anti-fascists, or Antifa, clad like ninjas and hellbent on silencing a speaker (the provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos), smashed windows and set fires. Clashes with right-wingers erupted again at rallies in March and April in support of free speech (a “messy pepper spray mosh pit,” as one anti-fascist described it).
The Antifa collective, fueled by an emboldened right wing, has become a growing subculture, particularly on West Coast campuses. Fearful of being doxxed (having your personal information posted online) by “alt-right trolls,” anti-fascists are cautious about their identity. Most don’t even communicate over social media or phone. And many protest as a black bloc, a tactic ascribed to 1980s Germany in which a group protests anonymously, faces concealed by T-shirts, bandannas or masks to avoid detection and protect from pepper spray.
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