Is Antifa Driving the George Floyd Protests? Get the full picture with these podcasts

Riotrs smashing story windows

What’s going on with current protests? What role does Antifa have in it all? Are Antifa and any outside agitators making it all worse? Who is in the right? How does this affect the residents of the country? Is it connected with Black Lives Matter? There are many questions and finding the answers can be difficult. Here are a few podcasts that Vurbl found that may answer a few questions about Antifa and get you thinking of possible answers. Scroll below for podcasts covering Antifa or read on for a brief overview of this acronym and “group.”

Recent events have shed light on many serious matters that plague our modern times, such as unequal treatment of some minorities, police brutality, and the right of citizens to protest. Many people on both sides of the political aisle oppose injustice but may disagree on the facts, tactics, and outcomes at play in specific situations. The death of George Floyd is a perfect example of this. After his death at the hands of police, for which one officer was ultimately charged with 2nd Degree Murder and the other three officers charges as accessories, protests by Black Lives Matter and other enraged people broke out, followed by riots and looting in many cities not only in North America but also in many other parts of the world.

Vurbl has curated some of the news on the death of Mr. Floyd, the protests and other events that followed, and the involvement of groups such as Antifa who were linked to the property destruction.

Protests
Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash

In the current political climate, Antifa has turned into a topic anyone who discusses this kind of matter can’t ignore. What is Antifa?

Antifa is simply the abbreviation of “anti-fascists. ”

  • Since it is a movement instead of an organization, any organization they may have is very loose and centered around communities, instead of being country-wide.
  • They fight against societal ills such as racism, fascism, and inequality, making them predominantly liberal.
  • Their goals and ideals make them clash against conservative ideals, often leading to violence that includes property damage. Other than that, Antifa tries to be nonviolent unless it’s in proclaimed self-defense.

The general public’s opinion of Antifa can vary a lot, depending on who you ask and what their political alignment is, their thoughts about the government, and their views of past actions Antifa participated in. That’s why Antifa is such a controversial topic: they’re left up to interpretation. As Vurbl presents different views of this group, we leave it up to you to decide if they are taking the right approach to the problem.

The Controversy

The events of the time since George Floyd passed on May 25 and now have raised considerable controversy. Many observers, left and right, black and white, decry the killing and the aftermath of looting, burning, and destruction as well. Even those who understand that protests and even the riots and looting connected to them are a cry for help don’t like the property destruction – especially since businesses and property destroyed in the madness are often located in areas with heavy concentrations of Blacks and other minorities and provide needed services to those areas.

Adding to the confusion, people outside the local area may come in to join the protests or to stir up trouble. Outside agitators, who may be affiliated with groups on the right or the left, may have started or escalated trouble, sometimes inciting locals to participate in looting or destructive acts. Antifa is often mentioned in this group. Currently, President Trump is trying to get this group labeled as a domestic terrorist group.

What’s going on? What role does Antifa have in it all? Are Antifa and any outside agitators making it all worse? Who is in the right? How does this affect the residents of the country? Is it connected with Black Lives Matter? There are many questions and finding the answers can be difficult. Here are a few podcasts that Vurbl found that may answer a few questions about Antifa and get you thinking of possible answers.

Defining Antifa

The From Below Podcast lays out the basics of groups often involved in property destruction after protests. As interview guest Mark Bray, a professor at Dartmouth and the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook and  Translating Anarchy on the Occupy Movement notes, these groups often represent the far (or alt-) right and the far left.

As he notes, Antifa is an unorganized group of activists with no national group to embrace, but who have some organized local groups in Texas and the Northwest. Some are Marxists or anarchists; most are anti-capitalist and anti-government; all claim to be oppose white supremacy. Some affiliated with the group are not opposed to using violence and property destruction to get attention for their causes, which they believe to be righteous. Since the election of Donald Trump, they have made their presence known in Charlottesville, VA, Berkley, CA, Olympia, WA, and other cities where the alt-right was active. They are not connected with Black Lives Matter.

Episodes useful to understanding the movement can be found at:

Mark Bray, Part I, Antifa and Occupy

Interview with Mark Bray, Part 2, Horizontalism and Anarchism

The group behind the From Below Podcast is Black Rose/ Rosa Negra, a leftist, libertarian socialist bent that seeks to empower workers, neighborhoods, schools, and disadvantaged members of society.

Ont the Media Podcast logo

In another podcast, On the Media, Mark Bray talks of how, aside from confrontations, Antifa stands for what he calls “every-day Antifascism” or “not having any tolerance for intolerance.” This leads to speak out and act out against actions of rightist faction that exist even at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Mark Bray’s interview can be heard at On the Media For Antifa, Not All Speech Should Be Free

Blaming Violence on Antifa

The Daily Zeitgeist logo

In the Daily Zeitgeist, a daily comedic news and pop culture podcast hosted on the HowStuffWorks network. hosts Jack O’Brien & Miles Gray are sensitive to the underlying causes of the George Floyd protests: the systemic racism that made it possible for police to nonchalantly kill a man in front of a streetful of witnesses. The response from a thin-skinned authoritarian president is to engage in wide-spread labeling of protestors as anarchists set to destroy America. He tweeted “It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left” responsible for the protests which in turn set off a series of rumors throughout the country that Antifa was active in the absence of evidence that this was true.

Loud and Clear logo

Can Trump give his assertion legs by declaring Antifa domestic terrorists – even though they are not a group? Loud & Clear Interviews, a straightforward, to-the-point news broadcast, asks and answers important questions about Antifa, such as what exactly is Antifa, what do they represent, and perhaps more importantly, given recent declarations: does President Trump have the authority and necessary arguments to designate them as terrorists? This episode in particular will provide you with most of the information you should know about Antifa, but of course, you must make your own judgments.

Up is Down Podcast logo

Hoisted by Dean Reiner, a U.S. postal worker, Up is Down examines current situations and finds new perspectives. The slogan “sinking backwards into this world and others” may be enough to tell you what kind of outlook is dominant in this podcast – a serious, almost cynical outlook.

Although the podcast itself is directed at postal workers, the core message of Episode 49: In Solidarity: Message to my Fellow Postal Workers can apply to anyone who feels passionate about the issues plaguing society these days to the point where they want to take an active part in Antifa actions. Though change is needed in our society, destroying property and antagonizing the police will not do the job. Given that Antifa can partake in some rather violent actions, caution and prudence are advisable.

Cyber Wars logo

At this point, you likely will have an opinion of Antifa. They either can be dangerous protesters who cause damage to the communities with their actions, or people who follow an Antifascist ideology even if they have to take drastic actions for the sake of that fight. 

A podcast that’s focused on the cybernetic side of our lives, Cyber Wars, brings up another issue. The episode Where Atifa At discusses the kind of measures the government and the police have taken to track the Antifa movement and anyone who follows such a movement. How does the police know where supposed Antifa members are or plan actions against them?

This podcast is part of KLRN Radio’s wide array of podcasts, known for its very conservative tone and outlook. Whether the police are making correct assumptions or whether they should be using technology to track citizens bring up new questions.

Can Antifa Do Any Good?

Underground USA logo

Underground USA considers itself “an underground podcast focused on the threats facing the free world and current events are they relate thereto.” In the midst of all the manipulated information and agendas that media outlets have,  out there can have, this podcast claims to tell the unvarnished truth.

Although the group is not affiliated with any other movements on the left, they fight against the same issues as groups like Black Lives Matter. This podcast will raise the possibility agitators are trying to use Antifa’s message to cause property damage and harm communities. The episode An Act of War: ANTIFA Marches on America examines a question a lot of people ask and want the answer for: “Does Antifa want to overthrow the American government?”  Are they using the George Floyd protest to further their own agenda?”Their position on Antifa is clear that they think it is dangerous.

Dumbing It Down with Dave logo

In the midst of left and right opinions on Antifa, protest, and police involvement, what does the “man on the street” think of all this? Dave Kanyan, in his podcast Dumbing It Down with Dave raises some new issues. He finds the death of George Floyd as a murder for which the police involved should be charged.

As a pragmatist who wants to get to the truth, he recognizes that there are social problems that need addressing, but to deploy police to handle protesters and looters utilizes resources that might be better used. Police involved in crowd management can’t address other citizen complaints, are away from their families, and are racking up costly overtime with money that could be used to better the community. He doesn’t pretend to know much about Antifa (although he may by his next broadcast) but his candid perspective is refreshing. His podcast comes off as anything but dumb!

Opposing the Matrix logo

Opposing the Matrix is all about using the scriptures and religious teaching to fight against the tribulations and deceptions that feature in our daily lives. There’s a lot of conviction in this podcast, conviction used to deliver the points the hosts believe in.

The general opinion presented in this episode is that ANTIFA is hijacking the peaceful efforts of movements such as Black Lives Matter, damaging the message they’re trying to deliver, and why. Are they paid agitators? Who is financing them? Are their actions seditious? Theories abound, some of them justified, others not so much.

Generally, the opinions in this episode are way to the right of the aisle and use points that are often used by similarly aligned podcasts and sources, and the hosts aren’t shy when speaking about them. Even if you disregard their assertions about the intent of Antifa to destroy the country, what they ask as to whether Antifa might be distorting the mission of Black Lives Matter is relevant.

Deconstructed logo

The Intercept sees blaming and demonizing Antifa as right-wing rhetoric that seeks to discredit grass-roots action among Blacks – a long-term problem. As James Baldwin said back in 1961, “It is a notion which contains a gratuitous insult implying, as it does, that Negroes can make no move unless they are manipulated.”

In a modern update to these sentiments, quoted on the Intercept website, Austin-based anarchist Scott Crow note “Blaming anarchists and Antifa, with absolutely no evidence, is a way to make what’s happening seems fringe and marginal when these are popular uprisings. This is a time of mass outrage at an unjust system.”

While this podcast does not answer the practical questions about the economic toll of the riots even on the communities they are intended to spotlight or how useful rioting and property destruction are to bring about change, it raises the important additional points. Trump’s attempts to call out the military to quell the riots and label Antifa as terrorists, while supporting tear-gassing, firing rubber bullets at protestors, and beating and arresting protestors are an escalation of fascism by the state – an argument forcefully brought in their Deconstructed podcast episode Is This Trump’s Reichstag Fire Moment? The Intercept’s conclusion is that “In every major city where streets have been stormed, riot police have been confronted, and fires have blazed, we see anti-racist anti-fascism at work.”

porotesters carrying signs
Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

After George Floyd was killed, property was destroyed in the ensuing riots. Black Live Matter and other kindred protesters – even if they decry the looting – maintain that a man’s life is more important than property. The violence and property destruction cannot detract from that truth.

Those who believe in Antifa principles, though not connected with BLM, may be supporting these protests and may be involved in the lootings and destruction. Their philosophy is certainly in line with the sentiments that the life of a Black man in Minnesota trumps the value of the property that may be a casualty of the protest. However, despite their intentions to support the cause and fight white supremacy and fascism, they may be muddying the waters.

What do you think?

Discover more great audio:

Top 10 Social Issues Podcasts to Inform and Inspire

9 Most Engaging Political Podcasts of 2020

Rainbows for your Ears – 8 Must-Listen LGBTQ+ Podcasts

About the author

Summary

Podcasts, audio, writing, and reviews are what Nicolas' life revolves around. At day he searches interesting podcasts for listening and sharing, at night he searches ways to improve himself. Find out about some of the podcasts he has listened to!

Work History

Four years of writing experience have given Nicolas versatility -- and the podcasts he listened during that work made it all rather enjoyable! Now, as part of Vurbl's editorial team, he uses his skills to bring podcasts to the spotlight.

Our Mission

We bring together the very best of online audio while providing audio creators a place to publish their voice, find a following, and earn money.

Have we reviewed your podcast yet? Submit for consideration at hello@vurbl.com.

Social Media