“Anti”-Fa, we’re told, is not a real group, but rather an ideology.
So, for that matter, was Al Quaeda.
An the comparison holds up all the way down to the root level:
There are different types of bloc organization styles. The building block of antifa is what’s called an affinity group, people you live and work with and trust and know in real life. All the planning is done within that closed bloc, and they don’t let everyone know [what they’re going to do]. I didn’t know that they were going to burn the Portland Police Association when I joined. What they did was put a call out that said, “Anyone show up in black that night at this place, and you can join the action.”
That’s called a semi-open bloc. The planning is done within the closed group, but anyone who’s dressed in black can come join the action. If you know what you’re looking for, you can spot affinity groups that are working together. One thing they’ll do sometimes is have written agreements with other protest organizations that aren’t in black bloc. I know of one from Berkeley that illustrates this: “We agree that to not take pictures of anyone in antifa.” It will say that literally in writing, so everyone’s working together. It’s like a combined arms type thing, almost like the military. They work together and are mutually reinforcing.
Cells, “Affinity Groups”, tomayto tomahto.