Things That Matter

As Trump Moves To Label ANTIFA A Terrorist Group, Why Hasn’t The KKK Been Labeled One?

ANTIFA has been the headlines recently as protests against the murder of George Floyd turned violent in some cities – with many groups blaming the group for the violence. In fact, the group has gained so many headlines that it drew the attention of Donal Trump, who now says he is working to label the organization as a domestic terror group.

However, white supremacist hate groups – like the KKK – have caused the vast majority of violence in the United States for generations. Yet the group, which has been around since the Civil War – has no such designation.

Association with a U.S. hate group is not illegal, and despite terrorizing minorities, gays, Jews and Catholics for over a century—committing atrocities designed to induce a state of terror among the public—the Klan is not designated as a terrorist organization. Why is that?

In the wake of marches and protests that turned violent, Trump has threatened to label ANTIFA as a terror organization.

Antifa, short for anti-fascists, describes a broad group of people whose political beliefs lean toward the left – often the far left. Antifa positions can be hard to define, but many members support oppressed populations and protest the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites. Some employ radical or militant tactics to get out their messages but many are peaceful protesters.

Whether you agree with antifa’s ideology or approach, the president’s announcement is shocking, given that many of the most violent hate groups in the United States aren’t designated as terrorists. One notable example is the Ku Klux Klan, which for decades has used bloodshed, intimidation and crime to terrorize Americans – especially Black Americans.

Trump should be more concerned about white supremacy-related violence since it’s the most deadly threat facing the U.S.

Credit: Anthony Cridder / Flickr

Antifa is responsible for zero deaths, ever. Right-wing terrorism is more common in the United States than Islamic terrorism, and, if not for two outlier events of Pulse and 9/11, would have a higher body count.

White supremacist extremism is currently the most lethal form of extremism in the U.S.,” American University professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss told Congress in September. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the far-right was the source of 73% of domestic extremist-related slayings from 2008 to 2019. 

However, Trump has been much more hesitant to declare these menacing groups as terrorists. In fact, Trump isn’t only ignoring the threat of white supremacist terrorism, he’s actively pushing government institutions to overlook it.

According to Reuters, Trump attempted to rename the Countering Violent Extremism program to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” — erasing white nationalist violence from its mission entirely. Under the current administration, federal prosecutors are limited in how they can bring white nationalists to justice. 

If Trump wants to label ANTIFA a terror organization, many are asking why not the KKK?

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The original Ku Klux Klan, formed in the 1860s, was the largest and most violent domestic terrorist organization that the U.S. has ever known. It only lasted about 10 years, though.It’s since gone through several iterations but the current Klan is a hodgepodge of loosely organized groups with no central leadership.

For this reason, many legal experts agree that would be very difficult – if not unconstitutional – to label any domestic organization a terror group, including ANTIFA and the KKK.

As soon as Trump announced his intentions, a Change.org petition popped up urging him to label the KKK a terror group.

Over one million people have signed a Change.org petition urging the U.S. government to list the Ku Klux Klan as a domestic terror organization. The potion was launched in response to Trump’s plan to do just that against ANTIFA.

“This group has a long history of murder & intimidation of people based on colour and religion,” the petition outlines.

It goes onto say that the campaign aims to make racially motivated crime an act of terror and declare hate groups terrorists.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com