The leader of the Southern Poverty Law Center said the organization condemns the antifa movement but won't brand it with the center's often-cited "hate group" designation.
Richard Cohen, the president of the SPLC, told the Washington Examiner the loosely organized antifa movement, short for anti-fascism, is "wrongheaded" in opposing free speech and using violence.
"We oppose these groups and what they're trying to do. We just don't think anyone should be able to censor someone else's speech," Cohen said, echoing and endorsing recent statements from progressive scholar Noam Chomsky.
"We think they are contributing to the problem we are seeing," Cohen said. "We think it's likely to lead to other forms of retaliation. In Berkeley, antifa showed up and shut down speeches. The next time the white supremacists brought the Oath Keepers with them, they brought their own army."
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