Ian Miles Cheong, Daily Caller, September 4, 2017
Following the events of last week’s violent Antifa protest in Berkeley, California, state leaders and law enforcement experts are considering whether to treat the black-clad, far-left extremist movement as a criminal street gang.
The call to designate Antifa as a gang was first proposed by Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin. A long-standing ally of the left and self-avowed “unapologetic progressive,” Arreguin described Antifa in clear terms: “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia.”
According to a Los Angeles Times report Monday, legislators in Sacramento later recommended for violent acts committed by white nationalists — Antifa’s enemies — to be treated as terrorist acts. If passed, such a resolution will also allow for Antifa members who commit violence to be prosecuted for terrorism.
There is precedent to these efforts. On September 1, confidential documents dating to 2016 from the Department of Homeland Security formally classified Antifa activities as “domestic terrorist violence.” Violent white nationalist groups are already designated as domestic terror groups.
Concerning both Antifa and its alt-right rivals on the opposite of the spectrum, experts say those using “black bloc” militant tactics share similarities with street gangs.
Britt Imes, the Deputy District Attorney for San Bernardino County, says that criminal actions of groups like Antifa will be what defines them as a street gang, and not their political stance.
Under California’s Street Terrorism and Prevention Act, individuals prosecuted under the anti-gang law can receive two to 15 years of jail. The LA Times reports that identified gang members are also subject to a variety of other prohibitions, preventing them from entering certain public spaces or congregating with friends and family.