Today’s New York Times looks into the new movement called “antifa,” a “controversial force on the left.”
Antifa, the paper explains, is “a contraction of the word ‘anti-fascist'” and “describes the loose affiliation of radical activists who have … openly scuffled with white supremacists, right-wing extremists and, in some cases, ordinary supporters of President Trump.”
“You need violence in order to protect nonviolence. … It’s full-on war, basically,” antifa activist Emily Rose Nauert told the Times.
In a life imitates art moment, this brings to mind a startlingly prescient scene from Woody Allen’s masterpiece “Manhattan,” from 1979:
Issac (played by Allen): Has anybody read that Nazis are going to march in New Jersey, you know? I read this in the newspaper. We should go down there, get some guys together, you know, get some bricks and baseball bats and really explain things to them.
Man: There was this devastating satirical piece on that on the op-ed page of the Times. It is devastating.
Isaac: Well, well, a satirical piece in the Times is one thing, but bricks and baseball bats really gets right to the point.
Woman: Oh, but really biting satire is always better than physical force.
Isaac: No, physical force is always better with Nazis. Because it’s hard to satirize a guy with shiny boots.
Watch the scene here.