Antifa activists claim they’re not all bad, especially when it comes to storms like Harvey

An anti-fascist demonstrator jumps over a barricade during a free speech rally Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. Several thousand people converged in Berkeley Sunday for a "Rally Against Hate" in response to a planned right-wing protest that raised concerns of violence and triggered a massive police presence. Several people were arrested for violating rules against covering their faces or carrying items banned by authorities. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Activist group antifa — short for “anti-fascist” — has shown up in headlines as a militant, aggressive group after confrontations with neo-Nazis and Trump supporters, but members of the group say they’ve gotten a bad rap.

News website Revere Press, which describes itself as a “social justice oriented media company,” recently reported members of antifa are on the ground helping in the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

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“Lately, antifa has caught huge flack, but antifa people are the people who are on the ground in Texas right now,” anarchist scott crow (who intentionally refrains from capitalizing his name) told Revere Press. “Everybody’s not dressed in black bloc anarchist clothes  and they wouldn’t for this anyways  they’re the same people in the streets…”

Self-proclaimed gonzo journalist and antifa member Kit O’Connell also backs up the claims of antifa forces helping out after Harvey.

“I’m openly antifa, I’m heavily involved in organizing community relief efforts for Harvey and the Houston floods, and I’m far from alone,” he wrote in an article on Medium.

O’Connell is part of Austin Common Ground Relief, an organization named for the one that was formed “by anarchists and radicals” after Katrina to help in the disaster relief effort. Both he and crow say  the grassroots nature of the anarchist movement and groups like antifa make it easy for its members to help during these situations.

“We’re experienced organizers. We’re dedicated. We know how to move people and motivate people. We care. So we help out,” said O’Connell. “Every single antifa I know is involved in a host of social justice & radical equality issues. We’re not just in masks fighting nazis.”

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