Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) President Richard Cohen is reluctant to call the radical, alt-left anti-fascist group Antifa a “hate group”.  He refused to brand the confrontational group with the Centre’s preferred “hate group” designation it reserves for Conservative or Right-leaning groups or any other organization whose ideology they do not like and are contrary to theirs.

Counter-protesters many of who are Alt-Left were bused in from out of state. Credit: Joshua Roberts

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday, Cohen defended the very violent and in-your-face group his organization works with because according to him, they aren’t that hateful.  Apparently, “Antifa is not a group that vilifies people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion and the like,” he said.

Despite the violence committed by Antifa – beating up Trump Supporters and Conservatives, destruction of property, silencing free speech at universities through violent protests and blockades, still Cohen insisted that wasn’t enough to label them a “hate group”.

‘We condemn groups like Antifa, we write about them often. We don’t list them as hate groups,” he said in his testimony.

Antifa members on the march. Credit: Alexis/Gravel/Flickr

“We think they are contributing to the problem we are seeing,” Cohen said of Antifa. “We think it’s likely to lead to other forms of retaliation. In Berkeley, Antifa showed up and shut down speeches. The next time the White Supremacists brought the Oath Keepers with them, they brought their own army.”

While many activists affiliated with the group consider themselves socialists and anarchists who advocate fighting violence by violence, the SPLC President believes that the group is headed the wrong way by opposing free-speech of those it targets and employing violent tactics to shut them down.

Antifa anarchists during Donald Trump’s Inauguration run from the grenade after ransacking Washington, DC, broke windows and set cars on fire. Credit: Reuters

“We oppose these groups and what they’re trying to do.  We just don’t think anyone should be able to censor someone else’s speech,” he said.

On why they would list non-violent organizations such as the Family Research Centre (FRC) as a “hate group” but not Antifa, the hypocrisy and the duplicity of the organization was exposed when he said in this case, listing the organization was warranted because their speech and language promoted violence.

“Our listing of hate groups doesn’t necessarily mean that they engage in violence, although we think that the anti-LGBT propaganda is one of the factors that makes the LGBT community in our country the most likely to be victimized by hate crimes,” he said.

An Antifa poster on its website advocating the use of violence against Trump and his supporters.

People came to know of Antifa during the election campaign season for the 2016 Presidential Election and post-election after Donald Trump became the President of The United States (POTUS).

They gained prominence after they started targeting Trump rallies and attacking Trump Supporters, making headlines after they successfully shutdown a Trump Rally in Chicago.

Some Alt-Left, anti-White protesters proved to be very violent and provocative. Credit: Joshua Roberts

Many people including politicians called them out after they instigated clashes with protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia during the Unite Right Rally who were protesting the removal of the monument of Confederate General, Robert E. Lee.

Antifa is known for its black attires from head to toe, wearing hoodies with bandanas and masks covering their faces to mask their identities.

Antifa anarchists during Donald Trump’s Inauguration run from the grenade after ransacking Washington, DC, broke windows and set cars on fire. Credit: Reuters

Antifa activism involves confrontations with groups or individuals they deem to be fascists, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, KKK or in their own view, racists. Ironically, their chosen method of fighting fascists is employing the same fascist tactics they purport to be against, a rather peculiar mode that defeats and undermines the purpose of their agenda.

SPLC’s “Hate Map” has been criticized for lumping Conservative organizations such as Family Research Counsel with groups such as KKK and Neo-Nazis. Credit: SPLC

SPLC is a controversial left-leaning organization that lists groups and other organizations as “hate groups”, mainly because of their ideology, language and message which are often contrary to their beliefs.

A petition asking the White House to label Antifa a ‘Terrorist Organization’ was submitted in August after violent confrontations during the Unite The Right in Charlottesville, Virginia.





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