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This invited essay is an elaboration of an op-ed written by the authors and published in the Wall StreetJournal. To read the original op-ed, visit: https://www.wsj.com/articles/to-deal-with-antifa-designate-it-a-street-gang-1505672746.
This article elaborates upon the authors’ 2017 op-ed, “To deal with Antifa, designate it a street gang,” published in The Wall Street Journal. Following recent calls to declare Antifa, a loosely-organized collective of anti-fascists, a domestic terrorist organization, we argue for the categorization of the group as a street gang instead. We advocate for better understanding of groups and group processes and review existing gang definitions, specifically the California penal code and the consensus Eurogang definition. We find that groups within antifa meet gang criteria because they have a collective identity and engage in illegal violent activity. Classification of antifa as a street gang is preferable to domestic terrorism, we argue, because it permits the deployment of evidence-based violence prevention and intervention strategies beyond the current emphasis on crowd control. This article thus contributes to a burgeoning literature that examines the overlap between gangs and other social groups, with implications for broader criminological research and practice.
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- On Public Protest, Violence, and Street Gangs
David C. Pyrooz
James A. Densley
- Springer US