Trump targets the "antifa" movement, which he wants to classify as a "terrorist organization"

Antifas members, August 17, 2019 in Portland (Oregon).
Antifas members, August 17, 2019 in Portland (Oregon). STEPHANIE KEITH / AFP

The "antifas" is the designated enemy. As peaceful demonstrations, but also riots, multiply in American cities, Donald Trump confirmed, Sunday, May 31, that he considered the mobility as responsible.

"The United States will register ANTIFA in the category of terrorist organizations", tweeted the president, who later called on mayors and Democratic governors to "Harden" : " These people (demonstrators or rioters, not easy to determine in the context) are ANARCHISTS. "

On the ground, however, it is always difficult to establish the weight of those close to the movement – they do not wear a label on their forehead and to be dressed in black is not worth membership card (even less the wearing of the mask, in period coronavirus pandemic). In Minneapolis, Minnesota, few demonstrators or rioters matched a potential portrait robot. And despite the authorities' attempt to place responsibility for the damage on elements outside this northern US state, the registers of arrest persist on a daily basis, portraying a local revolt.

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In other cities, images circulated on social networks – like those of a man who tries to unseal paving stones and who is delivered by the crowd to the police in Washington, Sunday – but they do not allow, in themselves- same, to determine membership in a group. It seems established that thugs mingle with peaceful demonstrators. They have a political affiliation, much less.

A movement, not an established organization

Donald Trump's statement on Sunday therefore comes up against a more complex reality. It also has no practical and legal value.

The antifa movement (for "Antifascist") is, in fact, a movement, and not an established organization. "Antifa" has become in the United States a catch-all term which brings together the margins of the radical left, whether they are organized with storefront – in particular against the resurgence, real, of neo-Nazi and ultra-right movements – or not . A longtime activist, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke of a "Stereotype".

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Donald Trump had already, in July 2019, raised the threat of classification as a terrorist group (also on Twitter), comparing "ANTIFA" to the US-Salvadoran ultraviolet gang MS-13. It rebounded on a (symbolic) resolution defended by two Republican senators, Ted Cruz (Texas) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) who wanted the antifas to be designated as a "Organization of internal terrorism", citing the assault on a conservative journalist, the blocking of an immigration police office (ICE) and the revelation of the identity of service agents.

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