Antifa: A Movement Towards Liberation

dc.contributorHilton, Adam
dc.contributorZayim, Ayca
dc.contributor.advisorTucker, Kenneth
dc.contributor.authorEsser, Caralyn
dc.description.abstractThe antifa movement is often defined by its opposition to fascists and fascistic groups or individuals. Countering fascism is indeed the main mission of the antifa movement, with notable examples to be found in its opposition to white supremacist groups at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and activity to identify and counter-protest various right-wing groups amidst the 2020 American presidential election. The antifa movement, however, is also fighting for something: a liberatory future free of oppression that is the antithesis of the future desired by fascists. Academic study of this vision in the antifa movement has thus far been neglected, thus ignoring an important part of its ideology and work that does not involve direct confrontation with fascists. This paper seeks to establish an understanding of the antifa movement as not just reactive but proactive through an analysis of the growth and role of its liberatory vision as a driving force. Following an introduction on the antifa movement and a review of the literature on antifa (and broader antifascism) so far, it examines the development of antifa’s liberatory vision throughout the history of the movement, its role in current antifa activism, projects, and culture, and how the antifa movement seeks to build the liberatory future it envisions. The antifa movement’s liberatory vision is found to be a product of both its anarchist roots and the growing diversity and intersectionality of the movement that developed out of a growing recognition of the threat fascism posed to different groups as well as the emergence of other social movements that provided inspiration. A growing sense of fascism’s threat has been accompanied by opposition beyond strictly fascist groups to those with fascistic ideologies and those that support ideas or activities that can cultivate a fascistic culture. At the same time, a culture based on liberatory goals and values has formed that is embodied in work around community protection and mutual aid. Ultimately, culture is shown to be the key to building a liberatory future through the embodiment of liberatory values in antifa spaces, cultural work and education that reaches out to communities, and the promotion of popular antifascism. The goal is to create a society that rejects fascism and which all people are liberated from the oppression and violence promoted by it.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipSociology & Anthropologyen_US
dc.subjectsocial movementsen_US
dc.subjectradical politicsen_US
dc.titleAntifa: A Movement Towards Liberationen_US
mhc.institutionMount Holyoke College


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