Qui sont les "an­ti­fa" ?

Vocable (Anglais) - - Politique -

Un vaste ras­sem­ble­ment de l’alt-right, une mou­vance na­ti­viste, su­pré­ma­ciste blanche, sexiste, conspi­ra­tion­niste ou en­core op­po­sée à l’immigration s’est te­nu le 12 août der­nier à Charlottesville, dans l’Etat de Vir­gi­nie. Une ma­ni­fes­tante an­ti­fas­ciste a été tuée et des di­zaines de per­sonnes bles­sées lors­qu’un ter­ro­riste néo­na­zi a fon­cé avec sa voi­ture au coeur de la contre-ma­ni­fes­ta­tion or­ga­ni­sée par des or­ga­ni­sa­tions de gauche. Par­mi elles, les « an­ti­fa », bien dé­ci­dés à ré­pondre à la vio­lence par la vio­lence…

OAKLAND, Ca­lif. — Last month, when a 27-year-old bike mes­sen­ger sho­wed up at the “Unite the Right” ral­ly in Charlottesville, Vir­gi­nia, he came rea­dy for bat­tle. He joi­ned a hu­man chain that stret­ched in front of Eman­ci­pa­tion Park and lin­ked his arms with others, blo­cking waves of white su­pre­ma­cists — some of them in full Na­zi re­ga­lia — from en­te­ring. “As soon as they got close,” said the young man, who de­cli­ned to give his real name and goes by Frank Sa­ba­té af­ter the fa­mous Spa­nish anar­chist, “they star­ted swin­ging clubs, fists, 1. bike mes­sen­ger cour­sier à vé­lo / ral­ly ras­sem­ble­ment / to stretch s’étendre, s'éti­rer / wave vague, af­flux / re­ga­lia in­signes ici, pa­no­plie / to go, went, gone by se faire ap­pe­ler / to swing, swung, swung agiter / club ma­traque / fist poing / shields. I’m not em­bar­ras­sed to say that we were not shy in de­fen­ding our­selves.”


2. Sa­ba­té is an adherent of a contro­ver­sial force on the left known as an­ti­fa. The term, a contrac­tion of the word “an­ti-fascist,” des­cribes the loose af­fi­lia­tion of ra­di­cal ac­ti­vists who have sur­fa­ced in recent months at events around the coun­try and have open­ly scuf­fled with white su­pre­ma­cists, right-wing ex­tre­mists and, in some cases, or­di­na­ry sup­por­ters of Pre­sident Do­nald Trump.

3.Ener­gi­zed in part by Trump’s elec­tion, they have spar­red with their conser­va­tive op­po­nents at po­li­ti­cal ral­lies and col­lege cam­pus spea­king en­ga­ge­ments, ar­guing that one cru­cial way to com­bat the far right is to confront its sup­por­ters on the streets.

4.Un­like most of the coun­ter­de­mons­tra­tors in Charlottesville and el­sew­here, mem­bers of an­ti­fa have shown no qualms about using their fists, sticks or ca­nis­ters of pep­per spray to meet an ar­ray of right-wing an­ta­go­nists whom they call a fascist threat to U.S. de­mo­cra­cy. As ex­plai­ned last month by a do­zen adhe­rents of the mo­ve­ment, the as­cen­dant new right in the coun­try re­quires a phy­si­cal res­ponse.

5.“People are star­ting to un­ders­tand that neo-Na­zis don’t care if you’re quiet, you’re pea­ce­ful,” said Emi­ly Rose Nauert, a 20-yea­rold an­ti­fa mem­ber who be­came a sym­bol of the mo­ve­ment in April when a white na­tio­na­list lea­der pun­ched her in the face du­ring a

me­lee near the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ca­li­for­nia, Ber­ke­ley. “You need vio­lence in or­der to pro­tect non­vio­lence,” Nauert ad­ded. “That’s what’s ve­ry ob­vious­ly ne­ces­sa­ry right now. It’s full-on war, ba­si­cal­ly.”


6. Others on the left di­sa­gree, saying an­ti­fa’s methods harm the fight against right-wing ex­tre­mism and have al­lo­wed Trump to argue that the two sides are equi­va­lent. These cri­tics point to the power of pea­ce­ful di­so­be­dience du­ring the ci­vil rights era, when mass marches and lunch-coun­ter pro­tests in the South slow­ly ero­ded the le­gal ensh­ri­ne­ment of dis­cri­mi­na­tion.

7.“We’re against vio­lence, just straight up,” said Hei­di Bei­rich, di­rec­tor of the Sou­thern Po­ver­ty Law Cen­ter’s In­tel­li­gence Pro­ject, which tracks hate groups. “If you want to pro­test ra­cists and an­ti-Se­mites, it needs to be pea­ce­ful­ly and ho­pe­ful­ly so­mew­here away from where those guys are ral­lying.”

8.The clo­sest thing an­ti­fa may have to a gui­ding prin­ciple is that ideo­lo­gies it iden­ti- fies as fas­cis­tic or ba­sed on a be­lief in ge­ne­tic in­fe­rio­ri­ty can­not be rea­so­ned with and must be phy­si­cal­ly re­sis­ted. Its adhe­rents ex­press dis­dain for mains­tream li­be­ral po­li­tics, seeing it as in­ade­qua­te­ly mus­cu­lar, and tend to fight the right through what they call “di­rect ac­tions” ra­ther than re­lying on go­vern­ment au­tho­ri­ties.

9.“When you look at this grave and dan­ge­rous threat — and the vio­lence it has al­rea­dy cau­sed — is it more dan­ge­rous to do no­thing and to­le­rate it or should we confront it?” Sa­ba­té said. “Their exis­tence it­self is violent and dan­ge­rous, so I don’t think using force or vio­lence to op­pose them is une­thi­cal.”

10.One of an­ti­fa’s chief func­tions, mem­bers said, is to mo­ni­tor right-wing and white su­pre­ma­cist web­sites like The Dai­ly Stor­mer and to ex­pose the ex­tre­mist groups in dis­patches on their own web­sites like ItsGoingDown.org. Ac­cor­ding to James An­der­son, who helps run ItsGoingDown, in­ter­est in the site has spi­ked since the events in Charlottesville, with more than 4,000 fol­lo­wers ad­ded for a to­tal of more than 23,000.


11.But an­ti­fa is “not some new sexy thing,” An­der­son ad­ded. He no­ted that some of those who had scuf­fled with those on the right at Trump’s inauguration or at more recent events in New Or­leans and Port­land, Ore­gon, were ve­te­rans of ac­tions at the Re­pu­bli­can Na­tio­nal Conven­tion in St. Paul, Min­ne­so­ta, in 2008, where hun­dreds of people were ar­res­ted, and at Oc­cu­py en­camp­ments in ci­ties across the coun­try.

12. No­ne­the­less, An­der­son said, the far right’s re­sur­gence un­der Trump has crea­ted a fresh

(Edu Bayer/The New York Times)

A group who iden­ti­fied them­selves as An­ti­fa res­ts du­ring a ral­ly in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017.

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