Ostensibly as a response to the rise of the alt right, the militant leftist organization Antifa and its affiliates have grown and mobilized. They have quickly gained strength, and have grown bolder and more prominent in their roles in protests and counterprotests across the United States. Emboldened by their successes, they are now looking to take their activism to the next level: organized nationwide protests.
On November 4th, a plurality of left-wing organizations will take to the streets to protest the Trump presidency.(1) It will be the next in a line of many leftist protests, except this one will be different. Rather than going home at the end of the day, these demonstrations will be in the style of “Occupy Wall Street,” in which demonstrators will remain in city centers and parks until their demands are met: the removal of the Trump administration.(2) Certain elements among them claim to want to overthrow the US government, after which a new and supposedly better system will be established.(3) While endeavors to change the American government are highly unlikely to be successful or even seriously attempted, it is certainly reasonable to expect violence and large-scale riots and protests this November.
Despite the obvious parallels, the organizers of this new movement are reluctant to see this movement as the second Occupy movement, recalling its lack of cohesiveness and eventual failure. Since many of the leaders of this movement are Occupy veterans, they hope to avoid a repetition of their earlier mistakes.(4) While the tactics will be similar, this time the protestors will have only a single demand, rather than a muddle of different goals. Organizers hope that changes such as these, coupled with the unpopularity of the Trump administration, will lead to success.
Antifa, which has been violent for quite some time now, is certain to appear at the demonstrations.. They believe that the electoral process has failed, and that direct action is required to stop their opponents. The Department of Homeland Security has called the group “anarchist extremists” and described their actions as “domestic terrorist violence.”(5) In addition, undercover videos show that Antifa members distribute knives, ice picks, and other weapons, and have brought firearms to protests and counterprotests.(6 )They often initiate violence at lawful rallies, and have been in many clashes with the police, especially in California. Potentially unlawful gatherings of thousands of Antifa sympathizers across the country is a powder keg, as street fights with police officers are all but inevitable.
While the scale of these protests is unknown, they are probably going to continue for weeks or months. While the leftist goals of regime change are most likely delusions, so are the dire predictions of civil war that can be found on infowars.com and other rightwing sites.(7) There will most likely be a few thousand people, a few broken windows, and possibly even a fatality or two. However, not much will change, and they will soon be relegated to the ash heap of history.