In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, a lot of attention is being focused on a radical left-wing movement known as “Antifa” (literally short for “anti-fascist”.) We at act.tv see this focus as a deliberate attempt to downplay the serious threat that white supremacist groups like those in Charlottesville pose to American civil society.
Antifa groups are widely portrayed as violent instigators, and this allows people like Donald Trump to play the “both sides” card. Many in the media and on the political left express a similar equivalency.
In our reporting, we strive for the truth. Therefore, act.tv has produced content attempting to give a more legitimate picture of the Antifa movement, while not evading the controversy surrounding them. To be clear: we do not find that “both sides” are equally to blame. Antifa would not have been present in Charlottesville were it not for the provocation of heavily-armed white supremacists.
Numerous reports from the ground in Charlottesville describe Antifa groups defending peaceful protesters, such as clergy, from attacks by neo-Nazis and others; and Antifa medics worked alongside EMTs in the aftermath of the deadly vehicle assault to triage and help save lives. We see value in these actions, and have reported as much.
However, we must also be clear that act.tv does not support or condone violence in any form. We resolutely believe that democratic discourse, peaceful protest, and nonviolent direct action are the best and most powerful tools to effect change.
Like Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, we see mass nonviolent resistance based on the principle of love as the only way forward in building the better world we know is possible.
As MLK wrote in his letter from Birmingham jail:
“We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”