Right-wing haters are attacking Minnesota’s Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison after he tweeted a photo of himself with a copy of the book Antifa and a message to President Donald Trump, Newsweek, reported. They’re hurling religious insults at the deputy head of the Democratic National Committee, who’s a Muslim, and trying to link him to terrorist groups.
“I just found the book that strike fear in the heart of @realDonaldTrump,” Ellison tweeted, showing off a copy of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook by Mark Bray.
Here’s what all the fuss is about. There’s a lot of confusion about antifa partly because many on the right are falsely making it synonymous with terrorism, communism or anti-Americanism. Antifa is short for “anti-fascist” and has its historic roots in European anti-fascists groups that opposed Adolf Hitler‘s Nazi movement. Today, antifa in the United States is a movement of loosely affiliated groups that are committed to confronting neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups. In terms of ideology, antifa leans socially left (supporting racial and gender equality and gay rights) and anti-capitalist.
One of antifa’s primary goals is to denying fascists a public platform and to protect anti-racism protesters at demonstrations. In addition to Charlottesville, antifa forces confronted White supremacists at the University of California at Berkeley, which caused the cancellation of a speech by alt-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos. Trump has singled them out as part of the “alt-left” in his claim that “many sides” were to blame for the violence.
The author of Antifa serves as the “spokesman, intellectual and apologist” for the movement, the Washington Post said. Bray, a history lecturer at Dartmouth College, said his book seeks to “contextualize opposition to Trump and the alt-right within a much wider and broader terrain of resistance.”