Posted on July 11, 2018

GOP Anti-Antifa Act Could Send Masked Demonstrators to Prison for 15 Years

Zach Carter, Huffington Post, July 10, 2018

Anyone who doubts the speed with which paranoid authoritarianism is becoming the dominant worldview of today’s GOP should read the Unmasking Antifa Act, a short bill recently introduced in Congress by four House Republicans.

The legislation would punish anyone who “injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates any person” engaged in a legally protected right or privilege while “wearing a mask” with up to 15 years in prison.


“Antifa” is {snip} a problem only for neo-Nazis. Antifa activists show up as counterprotesters at fascist events, like the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, where thousands of armed white nationalists clashed with antifa members and other protesters.

Antifa groups are distinguished from other organizations that do not like Nazis by their willingness to use violence against Nazis, but most people have little to fear from their local antifa chapter. In more than 30 years of antifa activity, there has been one confirmed fatality caused by an antifa group member ― in 1993, when a Nazi in Portland, Oregon, was shot during a fight at a gas station. Far-right extremists, by contrast, were responsible for 670 fatalities, 3,053 injuries and 4,420 attacks in the United States from 1990 to 2012, according to a report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.), a former prosecutor best known for helping Eric Garner’s killer stay out of prison. It is co-sponsored by fellow tough-guy New York Republican Rep. Peter King; Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), a conspiracy theorist who once suggested that George Soros might have orchestrated last year’s violence in Charlottesville through an elaborate false-flag operation; and Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), a favorite of the Club for Growth.


Decades ago, several states implemented anti-masking laws in an effort to go after members of Ku Klux Klan. These laws have been used more recently by local law enforcement to arrest counterprotesters at Nazi rallies.