11 June 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 virus brought the ANTIFA “virus” back to life

Sergiu Medar

The coronavirus crisis is far from ending, even though many people already are talking about a post-coronavirus crisis. This is felt through an economic crisis emerged due to the partial deadlock of the economic development. Its effects are primarily felt within the people’s wealth. This is provoking tensions and social movements wherein any spark might affect the national security. Just as any other social movements, these are used for political purposes which can be intensified in the states the national elections will be held. At the same time, the powers interested in creating chaos and instability this aim, the right or left extremist groups, which are creating violent manifestations.

Image source: Profi Media

Although the crisis did not end yet, as it is actually developing as I write, the post SARS CoV-2 virus pandemic’s effects are felt in most of the world’s states, in different sizes and phases. A thing that is though common with everything that is going on is that no state was ready to face a pandemic that quickly turned into a phenomenon to have major historical effects.

The global health crisis turned into an economic and, most likely, a national and international security crisis. World’s states seem to be better prepared for the economic and security crises than for the health ones. However, the strategic surprise effect is always present.

The health crisis manifested everywhere in the world. It started, however, differently from place to place, depending on geographic position and density of the population but also the frequency the citizens’ travel abroad. The consequences of this crisis were irreparable, manifested both through deaths and the partial or total withdrawal from the productive circuit of a bigger number of citizens.

Governments’ reaction, in terms of times and consistency, was related to nations’ cultural inheritance, the development level of their own health system as well as the professionalism of those who led and coordinated this system.

The economic crisis is still rising.  There is no doubt about its existence. The theoretical approach of world’s economic situation is, in detail, debated by theoreticians in the economic field. Just like the health crisis, this field is also lacking a centralized approach both in terms of the estimation of the crisis phase and the way it could be slowed down and solved. It was also observed, in the health crisis, that US isolated and, for the first time in our history, it did not acted as a global leader. This phenomenon may also happen during the economic crisis. However, the US can isolate from the others, but the rest of the world cannot isolate from the US. Any development of the US internal economic situation affects the world’s states, including the EU as a whole. Any independent approach of the states, without an international coordination is doomed to failure.

The crisis provoked by the COVID-19 found all of world’s big states in a political, trade and military competition. The US, China and Russia were expected to seek cooperation methods against the common enemy, which affected the most important states of the world, some of the biggest loses being registered exactly by the three states competing for the global leader position. This cooperation was not possible. On the contrary, the big global leaders started to accuse each other for the bad times they were facing. The official language they used, during this period, reveals that Trump, Putin and Xi Jinping are taking the relationship between their states more in a personal approach, as they think the official language used by their enemy is rather an ad personam attack.

Therefore the post-COVID19 internal security crisis started to be manifested since the health crisis emerged through social manifestations wherein participants were expressing their complaints against the governments. These manifestations were peaceful, initially, until a moment when, during a manifestation of Minneapolis inhabitants, George Floyd, an Afro-American, has been killed by a police officer, during a demonstration against the way Trump’s Administration managed the SARS CoV-2 virus crisis. This was the spark that led to violent actions during the following demonstrations and that are still continuing now on the entire US territory. These manifestations turned into violent racial, well-organized demonstrations, with a great mobilization, not just from the Afro-American people, but also from the white ones, which is a great opportunity to express their complaints against the Trump Administration on how it managed the post-pandemic economic crisis.

An economic crisis it turned into an internal security crisis. The US crisis developed, during the presidential electoral campaign, from an economic and racial crisis into a political and social confrontation between the democrats and the republicans. Joe Biden, the democrats’ representative and candidate, focuses on the extended democracy message, meanwhile Trump concentrates on the “law and order” one. Traditionally, the Afro-Americans vote with the democrats, so Biden, through the protests his voters are part of, does not extend his electoral base too much. Trump, however, could take advantage of this crisis, being voted by those who want a state wherein the rule of law is working.

The US crisis extended throughout the world, equally in terms of reason and magnitude. The demonstrations, be it violent or not, emerged in Sidney, Toronto, Paris, London, Madrid, Liege, Munich and other metropolis.

The UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres, warned on the fact that the pandemic’s effects may lead to significant threats to the peace and security of the entire world.

Such an opportunity could not stay unexploited by political groups, which have programs that do not fit in the rule of law principles, groups that take advantage on the lack of solidarity and decisional coherence of world’s state leaders.

The participation to these protests organized by anarchists who are promoting violence to provoke the authorities and mobilize the people to protest against racism and public order’s brutalities has been internationalized.  The strongest and omnipresent organization in the world that incites to violence is Antifa. This was present in almost all the protests in US’s states, and also in Great Britain, France, Germany and other countries as well.

These violent manifestations are generated by the right or left extremist groups.

The left extremism provokes distrust in state’s institutions, in the electoral system, the political parties, the parliament, attacking the bases of liberal democracy. Its principles are the undisputed networks of anarchy, chaos, society and state’s division. The manifestation method is always violence.

The group that follows these principles, both in Europe and US, is Antifa. As the name suggests, the group is dedicated to actions against fascism, racism and right extreme. It is manifested both in the real life and the virtual one, increasing hate and violent revenge on the people who have different opinions and, especially, on the authorities.

Antifa was mentioned for the first time in the US, between 1920 and 1930, as a reaction against the pro-nazi groups, who were starting to emerge on the North-American territory. With no connection to it, in Germany, as a reaction to the development of fascism, it emerged, in 1993, the name Antifa, the abbreviation „Antifaschistische Aktion”, an antifascism movement associated to the German Communist Party.

In the first years after the  Second World War, Antifa only manifested through sporadically. Between 1970-1980, with the emergence of the pro-nazi “skinheads” manifestations in Germany, and especially after the fall of the Berlin wall, Antifa re-emerges as a reaction against any neo-nazi manifestation. In Europe, it is associated with the punk manifestations, which include young leftist people with anarchist tendencies.

This is the exact same period the ARA (Anti-Racist Action) groups emerge in the US, associated with the punk tendency, which was fighting against Ku-Klux-Klan and other racial or neo-nazi manifestations.

Mark Bray, author of the book “Antifa, the antifacist handbook” says that ARA is the precursor of the US Antifa. Around 2007, the US antifascist groups accept to associate themselves with Antifa, as a violent street movement which addresses the manifestations they consider to be antifascist.

The Antifa group’s activists are organizing their protests via websites and email. Sometimes, their messages are encrypted using encryption systems downloaded from the Internet, like the “Signal” system.

After 2016, there were like 200 such groups in the US. These are recruiting their members who are especially anarchists, socialists and communists. Their purpose being the fight against fascist manifestations, Antifa is redirecting its violent actions towards the right extreme and the rule of law institutions.

Antifa is normally used, in the states they act, as a political action method of parties fighting against each other. This is not but increasing the importance of an organization whose only ideology is the violence and which does not have another objective than to divide the state.

Antifa acts with individuals dressed in black t-shirts and masks on their faces.

Trevor Noah, the author of The Daily Show called Antifa the “vegan ISIS”.

Therefore Antifa is a terrorist organization. Its members are using internal urban terrorism tactics and methods. Calling them hooligans is probably too soft.

In the last 2-3 years, Antifa evolved towards a rebellious movement with no religion. It involves only physical violence at any public manifestation like: international conference, peaceful protests, sports manifestations, national celebrations etc. If 7 or 8 years ago the name Antifa was connected to the fight against fascism, now the name leads to: anarchism, distrust in the rule of law institutions, deterrence of the capacity of authorities’ actions, the establishment of chaos.

Open sources say that this movement is funded by Moscow and Beijing, but also by the billionaire Soros, who, for different reasons, takes advantage on the chaos and instability.

The same manifestations can also be observed in the online space, where the anarchy and chaos are presented as solutions to the current situation.

This article uses some of the still available information published for the readers, by the same author, in “Ultranationalist groups in Europe- part II”, on August 21st 2018, in the Defence and Security Monitor.

Translated by Andreea Soare