A little history on Portland antifa, since many people who should know better don’t understand the origins or reasons for the resurgence in antifa activities:
Origin: While there may have been some activity earlier, antifa really started making their presence felt locally in the 1980s as a counter to white supremacist skinheads who marauded the city beating up, and sometimes killing, vulnerable people.
Portland was a prime recruiting ground for white supremacists, and in 1988 three White Aryan Resistance backers murdered Ethiopian graduate student Mulugeta Seraw on the city’s east side. In response to the brutal, senseless killing, the Southern Poverty Law Center led a successful wrongful-death suit against California-based WAR founder Tom Metzger.
The article doesn’t mention antifa, but what happened was that locals started countering the white supremacists (some local, but also predecessors to today’s Hate Tourists) openly, essentially creating a harder target as a focus for the skinheads’ violence.
Modern resurgence: Similarly, during the rise of MAGA, Hate Tourists like Patriot Prayer, the Proud Boys, and other white supremacist groups converged from all over the country in Portland, vulnerable people were targeted and beaten. The Portland Police did nothing, claiming that they couldn’t infringe on the groups’ 1A rights (note the contrast there with BLM protests!). Locals once again came out to directly counter these groups, in lieu of the police, to provide a shield against the harm to vulnerable communities who previously bore the brunt of the Hate Tourists’ violence.
So, at least here, it’s not just protest. It’s a form of community policing against groups coming from out of town to cause violence, when the police have abdicated their responsibility (or when they’ve outright supported the Hate Tourists).
I find it particularly harmful when people talk about Portland antifa as some kind of boogeyman. They are just normal people, doing normal things, and there wouldn’t be anything like antifa without the presence of the Hate Tourists.