Per the Guardian, anti-fascists and their allies are labeling this a clear example of false equivalency, suggesting that PayPal essentially picked some left-wing groups out of hat to provide cover for the decision to ban the Proud Boys:

“I’m really tired of the equivalence of anti-fascists and fascists,” said Zoé Samudzi, an Oakland writer who has supported anti-fascist protests. She noted McInnes’ history of promoting violence, adding: “You cannot compare that to the anti-fascists who are trying to defend communities from that violence. It’s really cowardly to not attempt to make a distinction between the two.”

...“By removing antifascist & Proud Boys accounts at the same time, Paypal seems to be making a false equivalence & lumping completely different groups together as ‘intolerance’ and ‘hate’,” the Atlanta Antifa group said in a statement.

... “It’s just pandering to the far right,” said one member of the Atlanta group, who requested anonymity. “We are a grassroots group … Paypal helped offset our expenses. Nobody in our group is rich, and most costs come out of our pocket.”


Anti-fascist movements have sometimes come up in news reports as harassing journalists, and a group of protesters that recently vandalized Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s house was reportedly at least partially associated with Smash Racism DC. But anti-fascist groups are usually organized locally, meaning that any individual group’s actions are not necessarily coordinated with others. Anti-fascist groups also tend to lack access to the channels of influence boasted by some far-right organizations. For example, the Proud Boys started those New York street brawls after they were invited to the Metropolitan Republican Club, and the NYPD only sought to arrest members of the group after pressure from the City Council and governor’s office—despite the fact that they’ve been linked to events like the disastrous far-right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, which ended in three deaths.

No one would claim anti-fascists to be traditionally non-violent (the Sacramento Antifa group was reportedly involved in a riot in 2016), though those groups that do get physical usually characterize it as self-defense against more violent white supremacist groups. A member of the Atlanta anti-fascist group told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We are not going to tell these people, ‘Use moral force against that knife.’ There is a difference between responding with physical force to someone whose stated policy is your extermination.”


As Snopes noted, right-wing groups are responsible for the vast majority of deaths related to political extremism in the U.S. The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism senior research fellow Marilyn Mayo told Snopes that of 372 such deaths over the last decade, 74 percent were committed by right-wing groups and just two percent were committed by left-wing ones.

“I don’t want to give moral equivalence to the two sides because one side is fighting against white supremacy,” Mayo told Snopes. “On the antifa side, they’ve never murdered anyone but there have been many murders done by white supremacists, so we have to be concerned about that movement... There’s always the potential for violence when you have hate groups going out into the streets.


KQED reporter John Sepulvado told Snopes that far-right groups deliberately announce rallies that they know will attract a strong response and then show up to them armed. He added, “And then when someone… pushes them or spits on them, they’ll use that as an excuse to strike out. Then the leftists will strike out, and the media won’t know who’s who.”