The man who called himself “100% Antifa” on social media, sought for the murder of a Trump supporter in Portland, has been killed by law enforcement. As a journalist who covered Antifa in Seattle, I want to share my experience of what it’s like and how to better understand both their purpose and tactics. Many who are reporting on the group right now have very little if any direct experience with them. My old news station, KING TV, covered Antifa at least once a year on May Day, during which we prepared for protests to turn into riots with vandalism and violence by hiring security guards, wearing non-official gear, and bringing along first aid items. Though it was hard to distinguish between protestors wearing Antifa-like gear and “official Antifa” supporters, this video shares my experience of those events. A couple items to note in mainstream media coverage of Antifa is that outlets often fail to qualify Antifa as anticapitalist. In my experience, Antifa marches in areas known for retail like downtown Seattle. They also don’t need a racist or fascist organization to “confront” in order for them to take to the streets. Many of the protests or riots I covered where Antifa was present were filled with likeminded people. It can also be difficult to differentiate between Antifa, anarchists and black bloc protestors. Finally, what Antifa “stands for” depends on the person who considers themselves Antifa. It’s not, in my experience, a group like the Society of Professional Journalists that requires membership fees and has a thorough roster of members.
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