The liberal MSNBC host pointed out that “anti-fascists” have a broad definition of “fascist.”
Liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews questioned the tactics and motivations of Antifa, a far-left radical group, in a segment on his show on Wednesday night.
“I know their name is anti-fascist. Do they only go after fascists or anybody, say, in the global economic community they don’t like?” Matthews asked Lecia Brooks, a representative of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“No. They are strictly anti-fascists,” Brooks responded. “They have taken a principled stand to stand against white supremacists wherever they may show up.”
Brooks also asserted that Antifa was merely “protecting” non-violent protesters.
“Well, who were waving the clubs on that side?” Matthews said. “There was one group that was jumping in and punching the Nazi-types.”
The SPLC employee said that Antifa was not a non-violent group and that her group “prefers” non-violence.
Matthews questioned who Antifa has defined as fascist. “I first heard somebody refer to a fascist as anyone working in the administration at the time, anyone working for Johnson, anyone working in the government. Any business person was a fascist. How loose of a term is that for the Antifa people?”
Brooks said, falsely, that Antifa only went after “rabid nationalism” and “anti-democracy” movements. In fact, Antifa has repeatedly attacked entities and people that no reasonable person would define as “fascist.”
In February, Antifa members attacked attendants of a UC Berkley speech, pepper-spraying one of the attendees as she gave an interview to local news. Then, in April, Antifa forced the city of Portland to cancel its 82nd Avenue of Roses parade when they threatened violence against Republicans marching in the parade.
But their penchant for violence against non-fascists stretches back years. They’ve been involved in the Ferguson riots, the Occupy movement, and attempts to disrupt meetings of global leaders since the 1990s.
“So Antifa doesn’t engage in Occupy-type behavior against global meetings, for example, business leaders? They don’t go after institutions that are not fascist?” Matthews later asked Brooks.
“That’s not what we’re talking about,” she responded, not wanting to discuss those instances in Antifa’s past.
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