Emily Zanotti, Heat St., June 26, 2017
An Antifa group in Chicago called the “Haymaker Collective” recently began raising money on Indiegogo for an “anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-racist” “self-defense gym” in the city’s hipster-y Little Village neighborhood.
Haymaker— a play, it appears, on Haymarket, an 1880s anarchist riot in Chicago that killed one police officer—wanted $44,000 for their safe space. But it raised only a pitiful $6,000 to fight the rising tide of the “alt-right” and “white nationalism” they say is now rife in Donald Trump’s “Amerikkka.”
Antifa says that this self-defense training is designed to provide an alternative to the “hetero-normative, masculine gym culture” that so often dominates physical fitness. They do this, clearly, by ensuring the workout never gets so difficult that you lose your floral hat or your $500 Normcore spectacles—or, for that matter, stain your America Apparel shorty shorts with so much as a drop of sweat.
“A lot of people think that when you learn how to fight it’s all about being aggressive and learning about how to go start fights with people. That’s not what we’re about at all,” says one member of the Antifa training force.
Another, named Meyer, agrees: “We’re really investing into the capacities for our bodies to just be stronger, because at the end of the day stronger people are harder to kill.”
Of course, it’s not to say that the training program is all comical. It does serve a purpose in getting these kids out into the sunshine, where they can build up the Vitamin D stores they’ve depleted hanging out in their parents’ basements.