Antifa Isn’t Always to Blame


Courtesy of Win McNamee/Getty Images

Images of Jake Angeli claiming his role in the group of Antifa is much larger than the public thinks. Angeli has denied these claims.

Sarah Lemos, Photojournalist

On January 6th, the new year was struck by a sudden start as a mob stormed the United State’s capitol. Many claim this mob was started by members of Antifa. Around 10 AM Eastern Standard Time, a pro-trump rally was hosted as President Trump spoke on his beliefs that the election was rigged against him. A joint session of Congress took place to count the electoral college votes for Biden and certify his win. Unfortunately, this took a turn for the worse as the news spread of people breaking into the Capitol.


While many of those who had entered the Capitol were confirmed to be far-right members, some people believe Antifa, an anti-fascist organization, had attended the rally. As the FBI begins to investigate who was at the riot, it is still unsure if there was a mix of Antifa members there. 


The ideas of Antifa can go back to 1932 during the Nazi regime of Germany. It was forced to be disbanded in 1933 after many street battles with members of the Nazi party. After the war, it tried to continue during the 1950s as they removed those from the Nazi Regime. They supported the victims who were forced into labor as they asked for respirations. This continued until the late 90s when society seemed to get better. The Antifa activity has grown more in recent years as far-right winged violence grows in Germany. Neo-Nazi groups had been growing since the 1980s causing Antifa to look at these groups and their targets. Meanwhile, in the USA, Antifa would focus on a different part of racism. In 1989, the movement took off with anti-racist action as a response to neo-nazi skinheads that were apart of the punk group.


In 2017, the start of a group that would be called Antifa here in the United States of America, was several blocks away vandalizing shops and setting cars on fire during President Trump’s inauguration. While they attended the clash with far-right people in Charlottesville and Berkley (ABCNEWS), this group has been fairly unknown to the public until 2020 after the start of the Black Lives Matter movement. President Trump finally took note of the group during the movement and said he would deem this group as a domestic terror group even with little evidence in the unrest. Antifa isn’t a unified organization, but they are a group of people who are far-left activists and oppose those with seemingly fascist views. There are groups in Europe and around North America that identify with the Antifa label, but it’s still unsure how many members are in this group. Not all members are violent; there are environmentalists, organizers, veganists, activists, and other harm-free people. 


Groups will research, organize demonstrations, hold protests, and share similar tactics with one another in hopes of achieving their goals. Another side of their tactics includes doxxing people who they see as fascists, which has seemed to be controversial. Their use of violence has drawn the most attention and caused the government to place this group on their radar. The use of violence has received criticism from many people as they believe it won’t solve anything, but instead, place lives and property in danger. Rahaf Ibrahim (11) had made her disagreeance with the Antifa’s known use of violence and condemned it by saying, “Antifa is more of a threat to the USA than Muslim Americans, but we’re perceived as the terrorist.” With their well-known past of violence, people who attended and viewed the riot at Capitol Hill seemed to believe Antifa had sparked the violent actions. 


As the government continues to identify those who have gotten inside the Capitol, social media has been spreading misinformation about just who walked through those doors. A claim that had gone around is that a man in the yellow sweatshirt had the communist hammer and sickle tattooed to his hand was wrong. In a higher resolution picture, the tattoo is actually a logo from the video game, Dishonored 2. Then, the famous man in a horned hat was thought to be an Antifa member after it spread over Twitter. However, people online can find this man, Jake Angeli, as a proud Trump supporter and photographed being against groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa. On the night of January 6th, he even tweeted out, “I am not Antifa or BLM. I’m a Qanon & digital soldier. My name is Jake & I marched with the police & fought against BLM & ANTIFA in PHX capital. I was standing against the BLM mob outnumbered but unphased. Look it up.” Mr. Angeli isn’t the only person being falsely accused of being an Antifa member, but on the other side, with evidence, people can see Trump supporters all around. 


With the harmful spread of misinformation about Antifa and its origins, many people won’t be able to see the truth about what really went down. This can be damaging to the truth and what group should actually be condemned for their actions. While there are many answers to who attended, it is important to understand that some posts that are spread around can in fact be misleading.