David Pyrooz and James Densley had some thoughts on this in Monday’s Wall Street Journal. They’re on the right track in that they urge Antifa be formally designated a gang with all the social—and legal—ramifications that would flow.
There are a couple of points I’d like to make or emphasize.
[D]on’t be fooled by Antifa’s diffuse structure. Conventional street gangs are pretty disorganized too.
Diffuse isn’t, of necessity, disorganized: the Bloods and Crips, which Pyrooz and Densley cite in their piece; the Black P-Stone Nation; al Qaeda; and the Daesh all are diffuse, by design, and well organized.
Which brings us to the caveat: most gangs are apolitical. The line between domestic extremist groups and gangs is blurry at times. Antifa’s agenda sets it apart to the extent….
No, Antifa’s agenda doesn’t set it apart. Antifa meets the definition of “gang” laid out by Pyrooz and Densley. There’s no need to cloud the question with concern about motive.
Aside from that, we convict criminals for their behavior, not for their alleged motives. Motive is a concern only for sentencing.
Further aside: much of Blood, Crip, and Black P-Stone Nation behavior is domestically terrorist in nature; they consciously use terror to control their territories. We don’t waste time on irrelevant labels on their members; when they behave criminally, we convict them for that behavior, not for their “purposes.”
The irrelevancy of a “domestic terrorist” label was correctly dismissed by Pyrooz and Densley.
Just apply the “gang” designation, and move on from there with the full force of the law and the courts.