One state is now pushing legislation that would deem Antifa, a network of far-left groups, as domestic terrorist organizations.
According to reports, Montana’s House of Representatives proposed such a measure this past week, with one lawmaker who sponsored the bill saying it is intended to “send a message that we as a state won’t tolerate a group like this coming into our state.”
Known as House Joint Resolution No. 11, what the bill would do is designate all “groups and organizations across the United States who act under the banner of Antifa” as domestic terrorist organizations.
The bill also would “unequivocally [condemn] the violent actions of Antifa groups as unacceptable acts for anyone in the United States.”
The bill-writers justify this designation and condemnation in a number of the bill’s provisions.
One such provision states that Antifa ought to be considered a domestic terrorist organization because it believes “that free speech is equivalent to violence” and because it has “used threats of violence in the pursuit of suppressing opposing political ideologies.”
Another provision states that “Antifa represents opposition to the democratic ideals of peaceful assembly and free speech for all.” And another provision states that “members of Antifa have physically assaulted journalists and other individuals during protests and riots in Berkeley, California.”
The bill-writers go on to support these claims with specific examples.
Considering the violence that we have seen from Antifa activists ever since the death of George Floyd in police custody, the better question is why aren’t such groups already considered to be domestic terrorist organizations.
Trump plan cut short
At several points during the last year of his presidency, former President Donald Trump announced plans to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.
The most recent plan, as reported by the New York Post in September 2020, would have come as part of Trump’s “Platinum Plan,” an economic empowerment plan for black Americans that Trump planned on pursuing if he would have won a second term. It would have designated both Antifa and the Ku Klux Klan as domestic terrorist organizations, but because Trump did not win a second term, he did not get to follow through on this idea.
The Montana House of Representatives certainly has the right idea, here, and maybe other Republican-led states will follow suit. Democrats, on the other hand, have shown time and again that they will not publicly condemn Antifa or other violent groups on the left.