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France: Autonomous (extreme-leftist) movements

Last modified: 2013-06-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: autonomous | extreme-leftist | actin antifascsite | antifas | red flag | black flag |
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Action antifasciste

[Antifas flag]

Antifas' flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 June 2012

Action antifasciste (website), founded in 2008, is a network of French autonomous (extreme-leftist) antifascist groups. These groups and their members are known as antifas. The French antifas are "affiliated" to an informal group of similar movements that emerged all over Europe in the 1990s, starting from Germany. Their main goal is to get rid of extreme-rightist and neo-nazi movements, stopping at nothing, including street violence and illegal acts. Often criticized for their immoderate use of violence in street clashes with extreme- rightist groups (and with the police), the antifas have often been accused to lead astray the Communist principles.

The common inspiration of the antifascist movements is the German movement Antifaschistiche Aktion, which held its first congress on 10 July 1932, succeeding different less-organized groups. The movement was an outfit of the German Communist Party but joining it did not require party's membership. Antifaschistiche Aktion was crushed by the Nazis after they got the power in 1933; the general strike organized in the small town of Mössingen was their last public action. Most of its members joined the clandestine resistance or the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.
Antifascist groups reemerged in Germany in the 1990s. Two main groups, Autonome Antifa [M] and Antifaschistische Aktion Berlin, reorganized the movement at the federal level as Antifaschistische Aktion. Similar movements were established in different European countries (Denmark, 1992; Netherlands, 1992; Sweden, 1993; Czech Republic, 1996; Slovakia, 2001; Spain). These groups were more or less organized and centralized. The German federal groups was disbanded in 2001 while its two main components disappeared in 2004, being succeeded by local branches.

The flag of Action antifasciste (for sale) is red with the movement's logo, a red and a black flag placed on a white disk surrounded by a black ring charged with the name of the organization, written in white letters.
Most European antifas' movements use a same emblem / flag, with appropriate writing.
The emblem is a modernisation of the emblem used by the German Antifaschstische Aktion in the 1930s, originally displaying two red flags and a red ring. The black color was added by the modern antifas' movements, symbolizing the union of communists and anarchists against fascists.

Ivan Sache, 18 June 2012