Over the past few years, more and more major events have been disrupted by antifa, the self-described “anti-fascist” far-left/radical-left protest group with a propensity for violence.
And as the group's violent tactics become harder and harder to ignore, more and more public figures on the left have been asked to condemn antifa and its actions.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a self-proclaimed “anti-hate” watchdog group that has endeavored to save America from the “hateful” pro-family rhetoric of businesses such as Chick-fil-A, finally delivered the verdict on antifa:
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 3, 2017
SPLC President Richard Cohen told the Washington Examiner that the tactics employed by antifa were certainly “wrongheaded,” and that the SPLC did not condone any group that stifled free speech.
But Cohen also said that the SPLC was not ready to call antifa a “hate group,” as the Examiner also reported:
He said, however, the SPLC won't label antifa a “hate group” because adherents do not discriminate against people on the basis of race, sexual orientation or other classes protected by antidiscrimination laws, such as religion.
“There might be forms of hate out there that you may consider hateful, but it's not the type of hate we follow,” Cohen said.
Antifa activism generally but not always features black-clad activists confronting adversaries they deem fascist, such as neo-Nazis or white supremacists. The movement is decentralized, and Cohen notes in many cases it lacks discernible organization, though he said that's not the reason against a hate-group designation.
Cohen said the SPLC does work to inform local police about the intentions of antifa activists and intends to speak out against the movement, adding “we follow them, but we don't track them in the same way.”
So according to the SPLC, antifa thugs who promote violence in the streets do not constitute a “hate group” — at least, not a “hate group” that's as dangerous to Americans as the American College of Pediatricians, the Family Research Council, or the Conservative Republicans of Texas.