FACT CHECK: Is Left-Wing Violence Rising?
The idea that some on the far left are openly condoning violence is a red flag for extremist group monitors.
"This is a dangerous game; people are going to die. No one's died yet, but it's just a matter of time," says J.J. McNabb, an expert on political extremism at George Washington University.
McNabb says white supremacists and neo-Nazis are widely condemned — and deservedly — for their violent tendencies. But she says the Antifa shouldn't get a pass on their violence just because they oppose white supremacists....
Still, their numbers are tiny in relation to the mainstream political left. And, say experts, it's misleading for right-wing groups to suggest that the Antifa are more violent than right-wing extremists.
"The far left is very active in the United States, but it hasn't been particularly violent for some time," says Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism.
He says the numbers between the groups don't compare.
"In the past 10 years when you look at murders committed by domestic extremists in the United States of all types, right-wing extremists are responsible for about 74 percent of those murders," Pitcavage says.
You have to go back to the 1970s to find the last big cycle of far-left extremism in the U.S. Both Pitcavage and McNabb say we have been in a predominantly far-right extremist cycle since the 1990s — the abortion clinic bombings and Oklahoma City, for example. And, more recently, racially motivated attacks such as the one at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, S.C., and last month's stabbings on a commuter train in Portland.