Antifa Labels Are Today’s McCarthyism

Many Black Lives Matter protestors are being falsely identified as Antifa members despite no involvement with the organization. Jesse Fraga/PantherNOW

Julia Gomez/Staff Writer

In the 1950’s, American politician Joe McCarthy used the red scare to his advantage. By accusing political opponents and public figures who spoke out against him of being communist, he ruined their careers and reputations. McCarthy manipulated the press into printing defamatory claims accusing political opponents of being communists in the height of the Cold War. 

McCarthyism is alive and well today every time a politician accuses protestors of being members of Antifa.

“Antifa” sounds scary, but what is it? Well, it’s a label used for people against far-right, authoritarian governments. Like Nazi-Germany. They’re against fascism! It isn’t a secret HQ or a leader devising convoluted plots to take down the government. While there may be Antifa Clubs or meetings in cities and states, they aren’t all connected to each other. It isn’t really a cohesive organization.

There is civil unrest in the country but, it’s not because Antifa is plotting it. People are furious with the way the country is being run. Those blaming Antifa for planning protests, riots and looting willfully ignore the severity of police brutality, racism and cruelty many face every day. 

Antifa is being used as a scapegoat to make protestors look like anarchists throwing temper tantrums.

The easiest thing for the Trump administration to do right now is ignore the protesters. Many politicians and journalists are using the media to accuse Antifa of being a radical leftist group. Trump even signed an executive order labeling them as a terrorist organization. It takes away the validity of protestors’ concerns and outrage.

On June 4, a 75-year-old protester named Martin Gugino was pushed to the ground by police. He bashed his skull against the sidewalk. It was all caught on camera. In the viral video, protestors can be heard screaming to get the man medical attention. Some shouted about the blood dripping out of his ears and pooling on the concrete. 

The man was left to bleed on the ground. When police officers tried helping they were pushed and told to move along. The video sparked outrage. President Donald Trump inevitably tweeted about the incident, claiming the man was an Antifa operative trying to scan police officers’ badges. There is no evidence to back his claim.

Trump can tweet and sign as many executive orders as he likes. There is zero proof that what he’s saying is true. None of the protestors arrested have been linked to Antifa. 

Trump is manipulating the press the same way McCarthy did by taking advantage of the 24-hour news cycle. He knows the media is going to talk about whatever he says, no matter how outrageous, because he’s the president.

If he actually cared about the groups that terrorize and torture American civilians, maybe he should look into labeling the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization. But that probably won’t happen any time soon. Especially since the Grand Wizard, leader of the KKK, endorsed him back in 2016.

Until that happens, there is not a doubt that Trump is using Antifa as a hot button issue, the same way he used Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), back in 2016.

Accusing people of being members of Antifa is dangerously similar to McCarthyism. These types of accusations could quickly evolve into something citizens can’t control. It leaves protestors vulnerable to the mercy of a courthouse.

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The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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