Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ includes a wide variety of questions we have seen asked about antifa: basic, advanced, historical, good faith, as well as bad faith questions that arise from misleading news coverage. 

I thought antifa was an idea, not a group?

It can be both. In the broadest possible definition, anyone who acts against fascism is “antifa”. However, we use a more specific definition in which “antifa” means those involved in militant antifascism. Militant “antifa” is different from other forms of antifascism because we don’t rely on the state to end fascist organizing and racist violence. We believe community members must directly confront, disrupt, and shut down fascist threats. Militant antifascists can organize informally or more formally. Some work is done by individuals, some by informal networks, and some by organized groups such as ours.

What is fascism, anyway?

There are various definitions of “fascist”, and this is a heavily debated topic! Often, fascist groups simply admit they’re fascists, which makes our job easier. Still, a definition is necessary. Roger Griffin’s two-word definition of fascism as “palingenetic ultranationalism” is what we’ll take as a starting point.

 “Ultranationalism” is an extreme form of nationalism premised on the belief that one’s nation is superior and that the nation is like an organic, living being. “Palingenetic” refers to the idea of palingenesis or rebirth, in this case rebirth of a nation. Fascists believe that their favorite nation is like a living being which can decline and die as parts become sick, or in their terminology “degenerate”, but can also be reborn and made “healthy” if those “degenerate” elements are cut out. As a consequence of this belief system, fascism inevitably leads to violence against those portrayed as national enemies: immigrants, labor and leftist movements, LGBTQ+, and so on.

Fascist movements are part of the far right, but the far right is a broader category than just fascists. For example, the US militia movement is part of the far right, but that movement’s history and relationship with fascism is complicated. Antifascists often document and discuss the broader far right because it’s important to understand the overall ecosystem that fascists are a part of, and because the parts of the far right that aren’t ideologically fascist can also endanger communities and deserve opposition on that basis. Contrary to the caricature that antifascists call everyone they dislike “fascist”, we use the term quite narrowly and carefully.

How does somebody join antifa?

Anybody can be an antifascist by standing up to fascists. There is no “joining” process. Organizing as a specific group, however, can sometimes be more effective.

What does Atlanta Antifascists do?

Whatever it takes to fight fascism and keep our communities safe. Our work typically falls into four different areas:

1. Street-based: removing fascist propaganda, opposing any attempts by fascists to assert street-level control or to claim territory as “theirs”

2. Research-based: monitoring fascists to find out who they are, what they’re doing, what tactics and campaigns they are prioritizing, and how we can stop them.

3. Coalition-based: helping organize community resistance to fascist events

4. Educational: providing information on fascist organizers to communities who are dealing with them, and promoting a culture of antifascism. Helping left and anti-authoritarian movements challenge fascist ideology by articulating real answers to social problems, instead of fascist scapegoating and bullshit.

When did Atlanta Antifascists form?

Our group formed in October 2016 but has a longer prehistory in informal antifascist networks. Our website began as a blog which predates the organized group. At the time we started, we were involved in documenting and opposing the “Alt-Right” that was then growing, as well as challenging neo-Nazi, Klan, and other white supremacist organizing in our state. Since then, we have maintained a continuous chain of activism, monitoring, research, and organizing against fascist mobilizations.

What are Atlanta Antifascists’ politics?

Our group functions as a broad tent on the left against fascism. We are unified through the Torch Network Points of Unity:

1. We disrupt fascist and far right organizing and activity.

2. We don’t rely on the cops or courts to do our work for us.

3. We oppose all forms of oppression and exploitation.

4. We hold ourselves accountable personally and collectively to live up to our ideals and values.

5. We not only support each other within the network, but we also support people outside the network who we believe have similar aims or principles.

So does that mean Atlanta Antifascists are all anarchists?

Groups like ours are influenced by anarchist models and principles, but our membership comes from a wide variety of political backgrounds and currents and contains non-anarchists. As stated above, we are a broad tent. If you want a simple introduction to anarchism, Malatesta’s “Anarchy” is a good place to start.

What is the Torch Network you mentioned above?

The Torch Network is a network of named antifascist crews. The Torch Network, and our group, traces its history back through the original Anti-Racist Action organizing in the USA that began in the 1980s. From Torch’s website: “The Torch network was founded on October 19th 2013 in Lafayette, IN. Torch was born out of the Anti-Racist Action Network. Because of changes in the current political climate as well as our own political development, our understanding of what fascism is and how it relates to other political entities such as the working class, capital, and the state had evolved. We wanted to build a new network that fit our needs and politics and one that was more relevant and appealing to a new generation of anti-fascists.”

Does Atlanta Antifascists ever work with police or federal law enforcement?

Never. If fascists are threatening an event or are planning harm to people or a place, such as a church or synagogue or NGO, we will alert those who are being targeted and they can decide what to do. The vast majority of what we do is legal, but we do not believe in obeying unjust laws or working with the carceral state.

Who funds Atlanta Antifascists?

We are cut off from most funding sources, and contrary to right-wing myths, we don’t get paid for any of this. Apart from the occasional small fundraiser, we support ourselves and work on a surprisingly small budget. Our members have a variety of full-time jobs, side gigs, hustles, families to take care of, and other means of making money. This is not one of them, and is done out of love for our community. 

Why does Atlanta Antifascists cover their faces and stay anonymous?

Antifascists have been targeted, attacked, and killed by fascists. In our state, neo-Nazis plotted to murder a couple they believed were involved with our group. We’re serious about the work we do and safeguarding our identities is just common sense. 

[X] person claimed they are a part of Atlanta Antifascists, is that true?

Many people help us and take part in our larger mobilization campaigns without being a member of our group. If somebody is publicly claiming they’re a member of Atlanta Antifascists, that should be met with skepticism. As a policy, we generally don’t comment on who is inside or outside our group.

What is the composition of Atlanta Antifascists? Are you all white kids?

We are a multiracial and multi-generational group. Often, white people are the most visible antifascists because they face the lowest risk of repression from the state and lowest risk of violence from fascists. We welcome participation by individuals from a variety of backgrounds, but it’s important that our group is centered in working class communities and working class struggles. 

Is Atlanta Antifascists violent?

The vast majority of what we do could be called nonviolent. However, we refuse to disavow violence when it comes to community defense against fascists, racists, and antisemites. When fascists attempt to control the streets, they must be driven off–the alternative would be to allow much greater violence.

What does “no platform” mean?

Originally, it meant literally knocking fascist speakers off the physical platform they were standing on to address a crowd. Today it can still mean that, but also means shutting down fascist speaking events and getting fascists kicked off online platforms. When fascists organize openly, this historically leads to upsurges in racist, homophobic, and anti-left attacks. We believe that fascists should never have any safe spaces anywhere.

Why do you think antifascism should be the left’s focus when all these other issues are going on?

We don’t. Antifascism is necessary to any struggle for liberation, but is not sufficient on its own. Antifascists are a critical defensive rearguard for broader leftist and autonomous movements. Therefore, any political tendency that discounts antifascism as a defense mechanism is in danger of being destroyed or coopted by fascism, or simply becoming irrelevant. 

As individuals we are usually active in other political groups and movements that are benefited by (and benefit) antifascism. If one day all the fascists vanished and the ideology of fascism disappeared, this group would wind down and our members would work toward a free, just, and ecologically sustainable society in other ways.

Did antifa do the BLM riots/George Floyd uprising/any other autonomous action Fox News claims we did?

No. Antifascists don’t take credit for the autonomous actions of affected communities. Movements against police murder and institutional racism are deeply necessary, and of course we support them. However our day-to-day focus remains specific. As an organization, Atlanta Antifascists supported the George Floyd uprising by monitoring and exposing far right activists and militias seeking to harass protesters.

Is antifa behind the Stop Cop City movement in Atlanta?

No, see above. Many on the far right cheer for the popular “Stop Cop City” movement to be crushed and try to harass the movement. Monitoring for far right threats against the Stop Cop City campaign falls within Atlanta Antifascists’ research and monitoring work.

How do I send tips to Atlanta Antifascists?

Email is most secure, we also have a phone line for voice messages. Don’t send sensitive info via social media.

I am not in or near Atlanta but I want to do this work. What can I do?

There are many ways to engage in everyday, street-legal antifascism. You can also start your own antifascist crew.

This FAQ is available as a .pdf to print and distribute – download here.