A White House petition pushing the federal government to officially label the far-left “antifa” movement a “terrorist organization” has surpassed the needed number of signatures required to get a response from President Donald Trump’s administration.
The petition says the leftist group uses “violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims” and therefore should be lumped with other known-terror groups including the so-called Islamic State.
“AntiFa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States,” the petition reads. “It is time for the [P]entagon to be consistent in its actions—and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group—on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety.”
The petition has been circulating on far-right websites like InfoWars, the Daily Caller, and the Washington Examiner for several days.
Antifa is a loose and decentralized collection of groups who work to resist the rise of fascism and racism. Unlike terrorist groups, there is little structure to the broad antifa movement, although more organized local groups do exist. Further, while antifa activists have engaged in violence with members of the “alt-right”—a group largely associated with white supremacy and white nationalism—they have not been found to carry out terrorist activities.
Trump attempted to paint antifa as part of the made-up “alt-left” last week. Several witnesses described antifa protesters defending people in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists held a rally last week. Others say antifa activists initiated attacks. Many Democrats and other progressives have denounced violence perpetrated by antifa activists.
Lumping antifa into the “leftist” category is tricky, however; they do not represent any particular party and are not as structured as, for example, the alt-right members who hosted the rally in Charlottesville, where violence erupted.
As of Monday morning, the petition had nearly 180,000 signatures. To be eligible for a response, a petition needs 100,000 signatures.
Not all petitions that reach the 100,000 signature milestone get answered. Several petitions such as one that demands Trump divest his business assets or put them in a blind trust and a petition demanding Trump release his tax returns both have more signatures than the antifa one.