For many years, I have testified and written about Antifa and its growing anti-free speech philosophy. Some Democratic leaders have embraced this violent movement, which continues to gain strength on campuses and its cities across the nation. It is also a global movement. That is reflected in the alarming election of Antifa candidates to the French National Assembly as well as the European Parliament.  That is quite an accomplishment for a movement that President Joe Biden dismissed as “just an idea.”

As discussed in my new book, “The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage,” I explore the history of Antifa as a movement that began in Germany:

“Antifa originated with European anarchist and Marxist groups from the 1920s, particularly Antifaschistische Aktion, a Communist group from the Weimar Republic before World War II. Its name resulted from the shortening of the German word antifaschistisch. In the United States, the modern movement emerged through the Anti- Racist Action (ARA) groups, which were dominated by anarchists and Marxists. It has an association with the anarchist organization Love and Rage, which was founded by former Trotsky and Marxist followers as well as offshoots like Mexico’s Amor Y Rabia. The oldest U.S. group is likely the Rose City Antifa (RCA) in Portland, Oregon, which would become the center of violent riots during the Trump years. The anarchist roots of the group give it the same organizational profile as such groups in the early twentieth century with uncertain leadership and undefined structures.”

Despite the denial of its existence by figures like Rep. Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.), I have long written and spoken about the threat of Antifa to free speech on our campuses and in our communities. This includes testimony before Congress on Antifa’s central role in the anti-free speech movement nationally.

As I have previously written, it has long been the “Keyser Söze” of the anti-free speech movement, a loosely aligned group that employs measures to avoid easy detection or association.  Yet, FBI Director Chris Wray has repeatedly pushed back on the denials of Antifa’s work or violence. In one hearing, Wray stated “And we have quite a number” — and “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a fiction.”

We have continued to follow the attacks and arrests of Antifa followers across the country, including attacks on journalists.

Some Democrats have played a dangerous game in supporting or excusing the work of Antifa. Former Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, once said Antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Trump. This was after Antifa had been involved in numerous acts of violence and its website was banned in Germany.

Ellison’s son, Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, declared his allegiance to Antifa in the heat of the protests this summer. During a prior hearing, Democratic senators refused to clearly denounce Antifa and falsely suggested that the far right was the primary cause of recent violence. Likewise, Joe Biden has dismissed objections to Antifa as just “an idea.”

It is at its base a movement at war with free speech, defining the right itself as a tool of oppression. That purpose is evident in what is called the “bible” of the Antifa movement: Rutgers Professor Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.

Bray emphasizes the struggle of the movement against free speech: “At the heart of the anti-fascist outlook is a rejection of the classical liberal phrase that says, ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’”

Bray admits that “most Americans in Antifa have been anarchists or antiauthoritarian communists…  From that standpoint, ‘free speech’ as such is merely a bourgeois fantasy unworthy of consideration.”

The movement continues to take hold among parties on the left. An Antifa leader who is on France’s national security watchlist was elected to the National Assembly as a member of the New Popular Front leftist bloc.  Raphaël Arnault will represent Vaucluse in Provence in the French parliament after winning with 54.98 per cent of the vote, according to Le Figaro.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his moderate party worked with the New Popular Front in a power deal to defeat conservatives. Antifa was part of that front.

In Italy, Ilaria Salis, a school teacher by trade from Milan, Italy, has been elected to the European Parliament despite being arrested in 2023 in Budapest for allegedly taking part in the organized attack by Antifa on attendees of an event commemorating the anniversary of the siege of the Buda castle by the Soviet forces in 1945. Salis’ far-left green alliance Alleanza Verdi e Sinistra (AVS) succeeded in securing the seat with the backing of far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (LFI) party — a member of the New Popular Front alliance.

These two milestones were secured only with the help of mainstream parties and leaders who continue to delude themselves about Antifa and its true agenda. While convenient allies now to win elections, these same leaders could soon find themselves the next reactionaries denounced by these same radical groups as they gain greater power.