By J Michael Waller / Center for Security Policy / June 3, 2020 – The only real difference between Antifa and the old Baader-Meinhof Gang of West Germany is that Antifa has no prominent leader and its members hide their identities, says German historian Bettina Röhl.
Of all people, she should know. Röhl’s mother was the notorious German terrorist Ulrike Meinhof.
Antifa hides behind masks
“The militant Antifa only lacks the prominent faces compared to the RAF” or Red Army Faction, which the Baader-Meinhof Gang became, writes Röhl in Zurich’s influential Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
Meinhof, whose activism started as a “peace” activist in opposition to rearming the West German army and building American nuclear weapons, grew more extreme and defended the 1972 terrorist massacre of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich.
Röhl writes about Antifa in Germany, where the movement began. The Center for Security Policy’s Kyle Shideler gives a quick study of Antifa’s German origins in The American Mind.
Antifa is a coward by comparison, in the eyes of Meinhof’s daughter, a strong critic of terrorism. Says Röhl, “Out of cowardice, it practices covering its [members’] faces and keeping their names secret.”
‘Antifa is a constant threat of violence’ with ‘senseless’ behavior
“What is often called Antifa is a constant threat of violence and attacks, for example against politicians or police officers, and it stands for senseless, enormous property damage,” says Röhl, noting that, unlike the Red Army Faction, Antifa has mainstream supporters among elected officials.
German politicians want to fund Antifa as ‘an official’ Red Army Faction
Some German politicians have argued for taxpayer funding for Antifa. “Former Federal Minister Renate Künast [of the Greens party] recently complained in the Bundestag that Antifa had not been adequately funded by the state in recent decades,” Röhl writes. “She is tired of fighting for decades that ‘that NGOs and Antifa groups that are committed do not always have to wrestle for their money and can only conclude one-year employment contracts.’”
Appeals for government funding won applause from leftist parties as well as mainstream Social Democratic Party (SPD) lawmakers, Röhl says. The SPD reportedly received funding from Russia’s Gazprom gas giant, whose European operations are run by former German SPD chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
“One may ask the question,” Röhl says, “of whether Antifa is something like an official RAF, a terrorist group with money from the state under the guise of [fighting against the right.’”