Anarchists are people who believe in reducing or eliminating social hierarchy and the influence of government. They are definitively antiauthoritarian and there are a lot of different kinds of them. Some of them are more pie-in-the-sky than others, and they have all sorts of other views. Since they don’t really like doing anything in lockstep, it’s hard to say anything definitive about them except that they’re antiauthoritarian. Beyond that it’s hard to find any two who agree with each other about much else. While there are kinds of anarchists that you can find on the right, like AnCaps (who say they’re centrists, but who always rankle when they encounter people to the left of them, and tend to feel more comfortable on the right), and certain swaths of libertarians, anarchists as a broad category are generally a phenomenon of the left.
Antifa are a bit broader. If you ask some of the big-brained right-wingers on here (there are no shortage of them around—look at literally any other answer to a question like this on Quora, it’s not hard) they are simultaneously a bunch of stupid privileged kids with blue hair who took too many gender studies classes, brainwashed by college Marxists who think everyone who doesn’t agree with them is a Nazi, and also a critically dangerous terrorist organization of breath-taking secrecy and scope funded by a shadowy cabal led by Bill Gates and George Soros bent on destroying the West as we know it and establishing a totalitarian communist dystopia.
Putting aside for a moment that people’s choices of paranoid conspiracies go a long way toward revealing who they sympathize with, Antifa are nominally antifascist. There are a great many of them, and like the anarchists, many if not most of whom are also antifascist and may actually call themselves Antifa, they are hard to pin down ideologically, because they don’t often agree on much else. They come from across the political spectrum, but are generally left-leaning, if not leftist, though there are a lot of people on what is now not much more than the 20th Century right who’ve been kicked out of the right-wing club lately who consider themselves antifascist, though they will usually somewhat disingenuously tell you they don’t like violence.
That’s usually the kicker for people. Many Antifa, and some do organize, though usually informally and temporarily, will carry out doxing and even targeted violence against figures on the right and political gatherings of the far right, like in Charlottesville and Oregon. Even within that movement, whether you agree with such ‘direct action’ is a lively discussion, and outside of it, well, direct action is eschewed and rejected and the public generally sides against it.
Many people who call themselves Antifa are naïve, of course, and many aren’t good at targeting, but what else is new when we’re dealing with humans. The same could be said for the US Army.
If you want to get an idea exactly who their enemies are, what their enemies believe, and how well (or poorly, as the case may be) their enemies understand the world we all have to live in, try reading one of the responses to a question about Antifa that describe it the way I did at first, and then read the answerer or commenter’s personal descriptions on their Quora pages, and read their other answers and other questions.
You’ll see pretty quickly why they call themselves what they do.
FYI, those people, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to discover, are the reason why I don’t often allow comments on my answers about this topic. It’s an exhausting waste of time, effort, and goodwill.
Antifa is opposed to fascism. That is literally where the word comes from: “anti fascist”
Most Antifa protestors are perfectly happy for a state to continue to exist. They are perfectly happy for private property to exist. They don’t want to nationalize all property, they don’t want to tear down the state. They just want fascism to not happen.
Anarchists come from anarchy, which comes from the Greek word “Αρχον” or “Αρχη”.
Archon means “leader” and Archy means “beginning” or “front”. The word evolved to mean government, order, or organization. Thus “Demos – Archy” means government by the Demos (which is tribes, or population: people). Aristocracy means “rule by the Aristos”.
Anarchy means “without rulership” or “without government”.
Anarchists want that. Antifa just wants anything other than fascism.
All anarchists are Anti-Fascist (if not Antifa, the movement), but not all Antifa are anarchists.
Anarchists don’t tend to approve of Fascism, an ideology that outright states it’s desire for a totalitarian state. People who want to dissolve the state don’t like people who want to make it all-powerful, generally speaking. That should be a given.
Antifa the movement comprises a whole bunch of people from a variety of ideologies who don’t like Fascism. That’s far more than just Anarchists. Many, Many people from all walks of life dislike Fascism for very good historical and practical reasons. They don’t want to see it re-emerge and are happy to confront the people who are trying to bring it back.
By no means is that group of people confined to just Anarchists. Pretty much everyone hates Fascists who isn’t them, and quite a large cross-section of that group of people find it important enough to be a part of Antifa.
ANTIFA, the organization typically achieves their means by beating down people who they consider fascist. Most western* anarchist movements achieve their goals by peace, as that is the eventual goal of an anarchist society. Peace through strength, and through volunteerism.
*Some other movements in other countries have be considered anarchist (Viva La Revolution) but they only went to violent means when their rights were trampled and they were no longer a free society. As of 12/2/19, the west doesn’t have that issue. That could very well change however, as limits on freedom, and attacks on our rights have been going for a very long time now. And soon, will succeed unless something changes.