Last week supporters of President Donald Trump clashed with members of the leftist group known as Antifa (short for anti-fascist) in Berkeley California. The meeting of the two groups soon erupted in violence, with Antifa using mace, M80's, and various other weapons to attack Trump supporters.
According to Rebel Media's Lauren Southern, Trump supporters were told by police not to bring any weapons, as police would protect them. Upon Anitfa's arrival, the police retreated, leaving the Trump supporters to utilize whatever weapons they could get their hands on. Regardless, the Trump supporters routed Antifa after one of their members threw a smoke bomb, not realizing the wind was blowing in Antifa's direction.
This loss prompted Antifa members to begin discussion about how they could better prepare themselves for future skirmishes against Trump supporters.
In the subreddit r/anarchism, one Anitfa member acknowledged the loss, and suggested that members find a way to become "better organized and better trained." Another member agreed, saying that too many of their "comrades" went into battle "no combat training," and suggested they start "seminars or something of that sort."
This conversation continued, with suggestions for better equipment such as helmets and padding over the typical hoodie and facemask being worn. Another person on this r/anarchism thread suggested they rally behind a leader who can organize and direct actions. The conversation soon turned to weapons, however, and one member in particular suggested they bring firearms.
Not getting disarmed is a big part of the problem, yes, but we need more than flags and bats. We need to take notes from the John Brown Gun Club and get firearms and training. I know getting firearms in states and cities we have a presence in is usually a hassle, but even handguns would help. It would certainly put a psychological element in while holding fash back. Who do you think a fascist is more afraid of? People with only flags and bats, or people with flags, bats, and guns?”
Antifa is known for their willingness to use violence and intimidation to silence political, and ideological opponents. An Antifa chapter at Clemson University, known as "Upstate Antifa" have made an effort to justify the violence and destruction committed against what they loosely base as "Nazis" and "fascists."
Recently, Antifa members inadvertently turned on one of their own after his mask was forcibly removed, spraying him with pepper spray, and hitting him with a skateboard as they retreated from pro-Trump marchers.
Another instance of violence occurred while Trump supporters and Antifa were engaging in trash talk. One of Antifa's members used a bike lock to strike a Trump supporter in the head without warning, causing him to bleed a good deal from his scalp.