Column: Violence is never a good solution, so why is antifa gaining popularity?

Antifa uses violence to gain attention for its cause, but it only makes the other side seem more credible.

Antifa protestors in April at the University of California, Berkeley. Courtesy of DownTrend.com

Maddie Niblett is a freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinions columnist who writes about politics for The Maneater.

Many extremist groups have grabbed the attention of the American public in the past century. Some of the most famous ones have names that strike fear into the hearts of many; these are groups like the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and many more. A new, arguably just as dangerous organization is on the rise, and while the goals of the group are understandable, its tactics make the members no better than the people they despise.

You guessed it, folks; the group I’m referring to here is antifa. Short for “anti-fascists,” this ragtag volunteer army of sorts has graced the nightly news many a time since their formation in the U.S. They hate President Donald Trump and anyone associated with him from the bottom of their hearts. They have been active at many rallies and protests over the last year or so, most prominently at the University of California, Berkeley.

Antifa members reportedly smashed windows and threw Molotov cocktails in protest of Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial conservative figure, speaking at the school. They dress in all black, hide their faces and carry riot gear with them, often disrupting peaceful protests and counter protests with violence. This past April, members of antifa sent so many threats to a parade in Oregon for letting open Trump supporters march that it had to be cancelled because the organizers feared for the safety of the participants.

Of course, antifa is not the only group that uses violence to get things done. Plenty of right-wing organizations employ similar tactics as demonstrations of their beliefs. Neither polarized side of the political spectrum is acceptable. There is a large number of conservatives that condemn the alt-right and the white supremacy that comes with it, but antifa has gained some, albeit passive, support from the more moderate left. This legitimizes the tactics that they employ and gives conservatives leeway to point their fingers and say, “Look! The Democrats are nothing but a bunch of violent children who throw fits when they don’t get what they want!”

When people answer political ideologies with violence, it discredits any legitimate argument that that group may have; it turns rational human beings into monsters in the eyes of the public and demonizes any objectives they have.

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