Violence can be very tempting, especially when those you are fighting against are spewing hate and intolerance. But more often than not, violence just makes things worse. It can cause the other side to use more violence, and further magnify the conflict. Right now, across our country, a group of anti-fascists who refer to themselves as Antifa have caved to the pull of violence.
The political unrest in America right now is causing many people to join Antifa. The far-left group believes that the terrible and violent history of those on the far-right requires violence in order to stop them from gaining more power. Recently, Antifa has had two big rallies: one in D.C. during President Trump’s inauguration and one in Berkeley this past August. During both, violent far-left protesters aggressively challenged these events at the inauguration and on campus.
Trump’s inauguration day was a day of mourning for most of the liberal city of Washington D.C.. For Antifa, it was a day of rioting. Antifa members burned cars that belonged to both Trump supporters and immigrants, broke shop windows, set off sound grenades, and blew up smoke bombs. More than 230 protesters were arrested, and some are still facing jail time.
On the other side of the country at the University of California, Berkeley, more than $600,000 was spent to protect conservative speakers coming to the school. In August, Antifa rioted in response to the speakers, and many people were seriously injured. The Antifa protesters walked into an ongoing rally, the “Rally Against Hate,” which included both Trump supporters and non-supporters. At the rally, Antifa initiated violence; one Trump supporter was even hospitalized with some scratches and some eye burns from mace, according to news reports.
Antifa’s anti-fascist cause is right and just, but how it is getting there is ineffective and will only divide our country further. Even though Antifa participants are fighting for what they believe in, their actions are causing people to get hurt, which largely undermines their initial intentions.
Freshman Arthur Delot-Vilain agreed that violence isn’t the answer, and said, “I think that war [and violence] is too costly to countries, both in monetary terms, and in lives.” Freshman Fiore Petricone followed up by saying, “Violence as a principle should be used sparingly, if at all.”
Violence should not be the response to violence and hate, as it often makes things worse. It further divides people, instead of bringing them together. The most powerful people’s legacies come from being peaceful, and getting things done. Antifa is doing the opposite. It is trying to bring people together by dividing them, which will not work.
By: Ella Farr