Why Donald Trump’s categorisation of ANTIFA as a terrorist organisation was wrong.
On May 31st 2020 President Donald Trump announced via his Twitter account that ANTIFA, the anti-fascist movement group (which is a misnomer in itself but we will talk about that another time) would be listed by the United States government as a terrorist organisation.
This announcement was made in response to the George Floyd protests that have been seen all across the USA. The protests, whilst initially peaceful, have now descended into incidents of rioting, looting and violence.
Despite conflicting reports and opinions it is not yet confirmed or known who or what caused the peaceful protests to suddenly collapse into the chaos we are witnessing now. Many US officials have come out and shared their views on who or what is responsible for the violence with, US Attorney General William Barr “accusing Antifa and other “agitators” of hijacking the protests sweeping across the US” but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the rioters as “Antifa-like” but stressed it “remains to be seen exactly how” the peaceful protests took a sinister turn.
Donald Trump’s tweet and categorisation of ANTIFA as a terrorist organisation encapsulates a very strange time to be alive. The USA, affectionately known as the “Land of the Free”, has strong principles ingrained into its society where freedom is concerned, it is the building blocks modern USA was built on.
The President of the United States categorising and essentially criminalising an organisation as ‘terrorists’, due to a difference in opinion, is anti-free speech and could be seen as a violation of the First Amendment. This could also set a precedent for further censorship within the United States as mentioned previously, it is not yet even confirmed whether ANTIFA has been behind the violence we’ve seen.
Furthermore, the president may have trouble in actually enforcing this tweet as according to the BBC, Mary McCord, a former senior Justice Department official, said "no current legal authority exists for designating domestic organisations as terrorist organisations. This reiterates the mistake President Trump has made by declaring ANTIFA as a terrorist organisation because he more than likely won't be able to enforce his tweet.
The violence and chaos being seen across the US is appalling and those partaking should be held accountable for their actions. The looting, whilst not the worst of what's being seen, will also have a huge impact on small businesses affected especially those already being negatively impacted by Covid-19.
In modern society peace and freedom should always be what we strive for but, with the current actions of the president, outbreaks of rioting and violence the US is entering a period of change in which the Constitution itself may be put to the test. This is further enforced with the news of strict city wide curfews and the introduction of the National Guard in over 15 states in an attempt to quell the riots.
In conclusion, legislation and violence should never be used to censor people due to a difference of opinion or belief and currently, in the USA we are seeing examples of both.