Antifa Opens ‘Self-Defense’ Training Gym in Chicago (Floral Hats Not Provided)

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By Emily Zanotti | 6:34 pm, June 26, 2017

An Antifa group in Chicago called the “Haymaker Collective” recently began raising money on Indiegogo for an “anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-racist” “self-defense gym” in the city’s hipster-y Little Village neighborhood.

And they’re finally hitting the bricks with their new workout routine.

Haymaker— a play, it appears, on Haymarket, an 1880s anarchist riot in Chicago that killed one police officer—wanted $44,000 for their safe space. But it raised only a pitiful $6,000 to fight the rising tide of the “alt-right” and “white nationalism” they say is now rife in Donald Trump’s “Amerikkka.”

That didn’t stop Haymaker from kicking off their physical training, and the group told Unicorn Riot that they’re doing what they can to keep their dream of battling it out in the street against the fascists alive. But based on the sneak peek of their workout routine they gave Unicorn Riot, fascists have little to fear.

Behold, Antifa hitting the bricks.

For starters, the video is billed as Haymaker’s “outdoor training” program. But while they are training out-of-doors (technically), they aren’t exactly roughing it in the wilderness, like, say, the game-hunting members of the NRA they’re here to battle with their bare hands. They’re actually punching around on a grassy area just behind the Adler Planetarium on Chicago’s Museum Campus. The greatest danger they might face there is being knocked over by someone chasing Pokemon on their mobile phone.

Antifa says that this self-defense training is designed to provide an alternative to the “hetero-normative, masculine gym culture” that so often dominates physical fitness. They do this, clearly, by ensuring the workout never gets so difficult that you lose your floral hat or your $500 Normcore spectacles—or, for that matter, stain your America Apparel shorty shorts with so much as a drop of sweat.

“A lot of people think that when you learn how to fight it’s all about being aggressive and learning about how to go start fights with people. That’s not what we’re about at all,” says one member of the Antifa training force.

Another, named Meyer, agrees: “We’re really investing into the capacities for our bodies to just be stronger, because at the end of the day stronger people are harder to kill.”

Of course, it’s not to say that the training program is all comical. It does serve a purpose in getting these kids out into the sunshine, where they can build up the Vitamin D stores they’ve depleted hanging out in their parents’ basements.

If you’re impressed at their physical prowess, the program is open to anyone willing to make a donation to the Haymaker cause—though they do say that they won’t train anyone who is affiliated with the police, or who supports a right-wing cause. Frankly, cops and Trump supporters probably aren’t losing sleep over it.

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