This page contains videos about present-day left-wing liberal militant activists advocating violence. The videos below are listed in chronological order. To learn more about militant right-wing conservatives, read “Militant and Weaponized: America’s Patriot Militia Groups.”
Regardless of one’s political views, we all like to think of people in our own group and movement as peaceful, rational, intelligent, and diplomatic. We think of the people among the opposition as violent, irrational, unintelligent, and unwilling to compromise. The fact is that just about all political groups and religious groups have members who advocate forceful methods of bringing about change and taking control. For some groups, having militant factions is more of a problem. Read “Conservatism Has a Violence Problem” as an example.
There are differing views among those wanting social change. Some will advocate peaceful demonstrations, and usually the powers that be will offer token compromises and gestures in exchange for peace. The pacifists will proclaim victory, but some people will say that not enough was gained.
Some activists will say, “We’ve tried politely asking for change and nothing meaningful has happened. We still have __________ in our society” and you can fill in the blank with whatever social ill it is that the group is fighting against or wanting to improve. They will say that violence and revolution are needed and always have been needed for meaningful change to take place.
In most movements there is a mix of social action among activists and protesters. There’s a spectrum from silent candlelight vigils all the way to riots, attacking police, and what seem to be attempts to burn cities to the ground. Those who won’t participate in violence are considered to be not serious about the cause, or selfishly protecting their own interests.
When change finally happens, pacifists will claim it was their action that won the hearts and minds of those in power and brought about progress. Those who advocate violence will claim it was their own extreme actions that produced the desired outcomes. There are probably some people who don’t participate but support violent actions, as long as it doesn’t take place in their neighborhood or city.
We don’t usually have any empirical big data to draw any objective scientific conclusions about the effectiveness of different types of activism. Usually there are a few anecdotal examples given and then broad conclusions are made to support whatever approach someone wants to engage in and promote. Those advocating violence will say, “Martin Luther King Jr. proposed peaceful protests, but look what it got us. We still have racism today.” Others will say, “We’ve tried violence. Look at the example of the Watts Riots. Violence only leads to more violence. We still have racism today.”
The above background is helpful to understand why radicalized extremists exist on the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ although they don’t typically represent the mainstream. For additional information, read, “Five myths about antifa.”
The videos below are organized in chronological order with the most recent at the top. There are a variety of news sources below.
Fox News (12 Jun 2020)
“ANTIFA: The truth behind the mask” — A look into the domestic terror organization ANTIFA and how it is attempting to take over the current peaceful protests of the George Floyd death. Note: The following disclaimer from Fox News is provided in the video, “Despite claims by President Trump and Attorney General Barr, some reports show the violence stemming from recent demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death has not been linked so far to anti-fascist activists known as Antifa.” Additional information is provided in the video such as this quote from a 10 Jun 2020 article from Forbes, “51 Protesters Facing Federal Charges — Yet No Sign Of Antifa Involvement.”
Al Jazeera English (21 Aug 2019)
“What Happened When Right and Left-Wing Protesters Talked it Out in Portland” — This video covers militant groups on the left and right.
Al Jazeera English (4 Apr 2018)
“This is Antifa: Behind the mask of the US anti-fascist movement” — Ever since the video of a black-clad anarchist punching white supremacist leader Richard Spencer went viral on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the loosely-knit anti-fascist movement known as Antifa has gained new popularity and scrutiny in the United States.
ABC News – Australia (22 Jan 2018)
“The Hard Left Antifa And Their Call To Arms” — Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president a year ago reinvigorated many right-wing groups, including white supremacists. Now the militant left is fighting back with some shock tactics of its own.
VICE News (2 Nov 2017)
“The Black Bloc: Inside America’s Hard Left” — The left-leaning anti-fascist movement—or Antifa—has been around for decades, popping up in North America and Europe in response to rising white nationalist or fascist sentiments. Now, Antifa has made a resurgence in the US, where members clad in masks and nondescript black clothing physically confront groups of white supremacists and neo-Nazis who’ve started organizing in cities around the country. Since the 2016 presidential election, Antifa has become a staple at alt-right and Trump-related rallies that often result in violence. VICE met up with a few Antifa activists in Philadelphia who engage in “Black Bloc” actions to find out more about their ideology, tactics, and individual reasons for participating in a high-risk form of activism.
CBC News – Canada (22 Sep 2017)
Antifa, a far-left anti-fascist group, is on the rise in America, and many of its followers have shown they are willing to fight fire with fire.