Alabama House Republicans called on the federal government to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization on Monday.
The Alabama House Republican Caucus passed a resolution authored by Rep. Chip Brown, R-Hollinger’s Island. Brown did not introduce the resolution to the House before the Legislature adjourned sine die on Tuesday. Though the draft text is written as a House resolution, saying “the members of the Legislature” urge the designation, it only received consideration by the caucus.
Brown’s office argued it carries the same weight as a House resolution because of the Republican supermajority. Any such weight is rhetorical or persuasive, but not legal.
Since Antifa is not a formally organized group nationally or in Alabama, the resolution targets “Those who act under the banner of Antifa, those who affiliate with Antifa, and offshoots of Antifa.” It condemns incidents when members of Antifa allegedly assaulted journalists like Andy Ngo as well as incidents of intimidation or threats against Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
“The radical liberal groups that operate under the Antifa banner use rioting, violence, arson, intimidation, and even murder in order to advance and promote their radical leftist agenda, and far too often, their actions occur without punishment” Brown said. “Antifa and its affiliates are the very definition of domestic terrorists, and it is time for the federal government to classify and treat them the same as ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other organizations that utilize the same violent tactics.”
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 uses the term “domestic terrorism,” but it is only defined. According to the FBI, U.S. Code does not provide any federal criminal charging statutes for domestic terrorism. At the federal level, a domestic terrorist convicted of assault would only charged with assault. Foreign terrorist organizations are designated by the State department as such primarily to enforce sanctions.
Emphasizing the importance of speech free from threats of violence, the resolution does not reference any incidents in Alabama claimed to be led by Antifa, such as the June 2020 protest in Huntsville that police dispersed.