Donald Trump has declared that the USA will designate Antifa as a terrorist organisation. The US President took the decision following large-scale riots, where stores were looted, people were attacked and buildings were set on fire. Antifa is short for ‘anti-fascists’. While numerous people believe anyone who does not endorse fascism is ‘antifa’, in reality, the word has a very specific meaning. It is of great concern now that Antifa India is a thing as well.
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
Antifa is just a fancy name for 21st Century communists. It is an umbrella term used to denote far-left political ‘activists’, who often employ violent rhetoric to achieve their political objectives. Like their Soviet and Chinese counterparts, these radicals are not fond of freedom of expression and have effectively shut down free speech in universities across the USA. It is also pertinent to note that it is almost entirely an urban phenomenon.
As it so happens, Antifa has been gaining popularity in India as well. Given recent developments, we decided to pour through their social media accounts in order to decipher their ideology. We learnt that Antifa India is not really different from their American counterparts. They advocate violence for the purpose of achieving their ideological objectives and often glorify Naxalism. It will not be far-fetched to assert that Antifa India isthe name ‘Urban Naxals’ have taken for themselves.
On Facebook, there is a page with the name ‘Antifa India’. We are not aware who runs the page but the content makes the political inclinations of the administrators abundantly clear. The page shared a post by another page called ‘Philosophical Rona Dhona in Desi Cinema’ which compared the riots in the USA to Naxalism and cheered for it. The page that originally shared the content might have a funny name but that is by design.
Antifa India has also been sharing posts from other pages that glorify the riots in the USA. The far-left radicals are calling these riots where countless individuals have suffered enormous damage to their property a ‘rebellion’.
It is not just celebratory posts that this particular page makes. In the past, they have advocated violent protests as well. Days after the Delhi Riots, Antifa India said that Candle Light vigils were good but not as good as vigils with Molotov cocktails. Molotov Cocktails are a crude device which consists of a bottle filled with inflammable liquid and with a means to ignite it.
Antifa India does not stop there. It advocates violence against ‘Sanghis’. By Sanghis, it means basically anyone and everyone that they do not agree with, not necessarily members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. As the recent riots in the USA demonstrated, when the Antifa organised the riots, everyone suffered regardless of their race, class or gender. It is foolish to assume that their violence will be directed against only ‘Sanghis’.
Antifa India also cheered for Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Jitendra Awhad from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) when his goons brutally attacked an individual for posting an offensive post on social media. According to them, Awhad is a ‘good anti-fascist’ and there is ‘absolutely no need’ to apologise for ‘punching Sanghi fascists’.
Antifa India has also shared memes saying that they wish to die while fighting a guerrilla war against the state. While the West can afford to take such things lightly, India has been fighting a war with the Naxals for decades and terrorism in Kashmir as well. India is not in a position where it can afford to ignore such matters. Moreover, people can afford to consider it as just funny memes but given their propensity for violence, they do so at their own risk.
Antifa India has also made incendiary comments on Facebook such as, “As the working class seizes power, the sanghi ceases to exist.” The implications of the words are quite clear. It is implied that ‘Sanghis’ will be slaughtered en masse once Antifa manages to get hold of the Indian State. Given their advocacy for violent protests and violence against ‘Sanghis’, there is really no other way to interpret it.
Antifa India also lent it support to Sharjeel Imam, the Radical Islamist who incited Muslims to cut off North East India from the rest of the country. Sharjeel Imam is currently languishing in jail after he was arrested by authorities.
It’s not just one Antifa page that exists on Facebook. There are other pages with similar names as well that share similar content. Glorification of Naxalism is mainstream in these circles. A page that calls itself ‘Antifascist India’ shared the speech by Vara Vara Rao where it was claimed that the naxal movement gave ‘self-respect’ to Dalits and Adivasis. Vara Vara rao was arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad case in 2018 and is currently in jail.
Antifa pages operated from abroad are spreading Naxalite propaganda through social media as well. They are glorifying the Red terrorism as a ‘peasant revolution’ and are calling for people to join Naxalite outfits.
It’s not only on Facebook that Antifa accounts are operating in India. Reddit is a breeding ground for such extremist ideologies as well. One user on the subreddit r/IndianLeft asked, “Do you belive we are in need of an Antifa India?” (sic). The answers are to it are quite disturbing. Some users speak openly about organising for the purpose of ‘direct action’.
The words ‘direct action’ have a very specific meaning in the Indian context. It was Muhammad Ali Jinnah who gave a call for ‘Direct Action Day’ to establish the creation of a separate Islamic state after partitioning India. That words such as ‘direct action’ are being thrown about so openly is a matter of utmost concern. It is equivalent to someone calling for a pogrom against Jews in Germany.
In the thread, users are discussing means to organise. They speak of organising through social media platforms through Discord, Telegram and other such groups. Apart from Reddit, there is also ‘Antifa India Music’ on YouTube, with quite a lot of views, which often abuse the Prime Minister in the vilest of terms.
Thus, it is clear that Antifa India is hardly any different from Antifa in the United States. While Antifa in the US are running riot across the country, Antifa in India is glorifying Naxalism. In India, they are trying to organise a ‘rebellion’ against the Indian State. They are operating in multiple platforms in order to inculcate individuals in their extremist ideology.
If Antifa India manages to organise successfully, then the end result will be the revival of Naxal terrorism in urban spaces. Their genocidal tendencies are evident from the posts they make on social media platforms. Antifa is as much an internationalist phenomenon in the 21st Century as Communism was in the 20th.
India cannot afford to take the threat of far-left terrorism lightly. ‘Activists’ associated with far-left group Pinjra Tod were accused by leftists themselves of inciting violence that led to the communal riots at the national capital in Delhi. A few of them have been arrested in connection with the matter. Thus, faced with such adversity, Eternal Vigilance is the only recourse.