Antifa’s stance is that Trump, and the right in general are fascist overlords hell bent on the destruction of freedom within the United States. Their tactics are that of fear and suppression through the use of force, but this is only part of their modus operandi. Their ultimate goal is to prove to the people that Trump is a fascist dictator. In labeling them a domestic terrorist group and treating them as such, ultimately you only strengthen their argument. Yes, we know that in fact none of what they say is true, but those in the middle of the road may not. By striking down the full power of the state upon them, you only give validity to their argument, which in turn may move some of the outliers over to their side.
This was a tactic used with devastating precision by Samuel Adams in the lead up to the Revolutionary War. Samuel Adams wrote extensively on the tyrannical nature of the British Crown, but he didn’t stop there. At every turn he and The Sons of Liberty baited the British into exercising their power, and in turn used that exercise of force as an example to back up his original claim. Whether or not they are fully aware of this themselves, this is the tactic Antifa is using.
While I’ll be the first to concur that we cannot let renegade hordes of leftist burn down cities, we must be tacticians in our overall response. We must understand the enemy. We must understand their tactics and what their end game is. We must not fall into their trap, we must outwit them. We cannot afford to give them leverage.
Antifa is using a classic tactic used throughout history to drive public opinion against those in power, our responses must be leveraged with that knowledge taken into consideration. We must do something, but our decision must be made with the full knowledge of their motives. Federal interference may ultimately play exactly into their hand.
The method I see as working the best is the culture war. Unmask then, make fun of them, discredit them. And when they are violent, meet them with citizen groups like those in Berkeley. This way you take them down without using the state and subsequently giving validity to their argument.