For much of its existence, the group largely relied on shout-downs and public displays of force as their primary tactics. Recently they’ve added the cyber weapon of doxxing—exposing personal information such as addresses, places of employment, and dates of birth and schools, even if it means innocent families mistakenly targeted by antifa begin receiving threats. Such tactics have been “effective because they raise the cost of participation,” Stanislav Vysotsky, who researches political extremism with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, told POLITICO Magazine.
But now, for antifa, it’s not enough to simply outscream their opposition; rather, those far-right forces must, in a bizarre nod to the Bush Doctrine, be preemptively denied a voice from the outset. “We are unapologetic about the reality that fighting fascism at points requires physical militancy,” Rose City Antifa’s Facebook page reads. “Anti-fascism is, by nature, a form of self-defense: the goal of fascism is to exterminate the vast majority of human beings.” The group does not specify what physical militancy means, but their page makes clear that the definition includes “any means necessary.”
“We’re seeing more people be like, ‘What’s antifa actually about? … Do you just like going and smashing Starbucks windows?’” David says. “And no, we don’t smash Starbucks windows—most of the time.” Or as one of the Rose City Antifa’s Facebook profile pictures read, “Set phasers to kill.”