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One of the more complicated aspects of analyzing the behavior of the anti-fascist movement (antifa) is that its members’ actions and ideology are defined not by who they are, but what they are opposed to. They are opposing fascism, fascism is bad, and therefore antifa is good.
It’s a definition that vexes far-right figures, who—despite fascist tendencies they may have—would deny they are a party to the rise of the fascist movement in America.
But in the wake of President Donald Trump facing accusations of racism and anti-Semitism this month, far-right figureheads think they’ve found a solution.
By forming antira.
You may see where this is going.
What is antira?
Antira (or anti-racism) is the far-right’s attempt to both criticize antifa, and to assert that it is not part of a racist, white supremacist movement. By declaring themselves antira, guys like Dilbert creator Scott Adams are fighting criticism that their mostly white, anti-immigrant, nationalist movement is racist.
Today I joined #AntiRa, the anti-racist group with no central organizers. From this day forward, all who criticize me are, by definition, racists.— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) August 19, 2019
And it’s gaining some popularity.
I am now #Antira.— Jacob (@FactsOverFeeIs) August 19, 2019
So if you ever contridict my statements, you're a racist.
We can play the name game too.
However, the far-right’s frequent issue with antifa is that the tactics it uses—violent action, suppression of speech—make its members the real fascists. By that logic, maybe antira people—who have used tactics like demonizing immigrants of color, criticizing Black Lives Matter, and supporting a white nationalist movement—aren’t as anti-racist as they would proclaim.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]