Militant Anti-Fascism

Militant Anti-Fascism It may be that there is a target audience for this book and I am not it, but I couldn t finish it.It seems very unlikely that the problems with a book on militant anti fascism would be that it was insufficiently political and excessively dry, but there you go.I was hoping for something that would give of the cultural context, a description of tactics, etc Instead what I got was an extremely dry account of various clashes and a long list of impossible to keep track of names and acronyms introduced with little or no context.This might be a very valuable reference book for someone, but I m not that person. I went into this book hoping my mind would be changed I have always believed that you fight words with words and violence with violence In the past, from my understanding, anti fascists have not always operated under these moral guidelines This book bears that out, with anti fascists attacking meetings and public speaking events put on by fascists Yes, I understand that fascists have used violence as a tool, but I always thought that when they were merely speaking or handing out literature that, no matter how vile that speech or material is, that you combat it with speech When they get violent, you fight back and you fight back harder M Testa shows that the anti fascists have no problem fighting at the slightest provocation, and they do fight back quite a bit harder.Unfortunately, as good as this book is and it is very enlightening and uplifting , it did not manage to change my mind about the use of violence against fascists At times it seemed as if the author did not even see how this use of violence can sometimes sway people to side with the fascists such as when fascists, in a public relations march, marched with their wives and kids and were attacked That said, this book is an excellent modern day history on the fight against fascism, not from a government sense but from a very real street level with real people engaged in real organizing and fighting It won t change any fascists minds, and I doubt it would change the minds of anyone who thinks antifa is just as bad as the fascists if not worse I don t believe that , but it does serve as an excellent, uplifting sermon to the believers. I thought that the last half often seemed repetitive, giving detailed accounts of different marches and actions which generally played out pretty similarly But that level of detail is also what makes it a valuable reference for anyone interested in the history of antifa in Britain Ireland Militant Anti Fascism is an excellent introduction to resistance to European fascism This book takes a broader look than many of the other essential militant anti fascist books such as No Retreat by Hann Tilzey, or Beating the Fascsists Birchall The introduction frames the books by explaining two things one should understand when looking back at 100 years of resistance First, all successful anti fascist movements have three elements Physical resistance, political organization and propaganda Second, there are at least there kinds of antifascism Militant, State Legislative, and Liberal Testa suggests that any serious movement should not look towards legislative solution because any aimed at fascists will inevitable be used against antifascists as well Liberal groups are useful because of their institutional access and respectability , but their inability to distinguish between antifascist physical resistance and fascist violence makes liberals unreliable as allies Militant antifascists understand the need of community self defense and physical resistance to fascism Physical resistance manifests in innumerable ways from blocking streets, occupying space, disrupting meetings to street fighting Likewise, militant antifascists understand ideology of fascists as extolling violence and their ability to feed on social political crises, so confronting fascism must also be similarly dynamic and robust.The book is divided into two parts with the first part covering anti fascist movements in Europe before world war one and the second part focuses on anti fascism in the UK post world war two The scope of part one allows the reader to both understand the diversity of resistance as well as the consistency in the problem The second part shows how the problem was is confronted in one part of the world, but also how it has connections to the international context Likewise the methods that work in the UK can and have worked elsewhere.The broad historical scope of the book acts as a much needed antidote to a lot of weak arguments put forth against the modern instantiation of the antifa movement For example, arguments like just ignore them, they will go away or physical violence doesn t work are easily disputed because there is a pre and post WWII fascist problem In addition, both before, during and after fascism was fought with physical violence without those fighting becoming fascist themselves. Pretty good survey of European militant anti fascist movements, with an emphasis on the action in the UK against the neo Nazis, the British National Party, United Front, etc After reading for a while, though, the text gets a tad monotonous In the section on British anti fascist movements, the various groups, referred to by their initials, gets a tad confusing, and the multitude of examples given ran a bit together for me after a while.Still, this is an important book and gives some excellent examples on why the antifa movement in the US is important and vital to fighting the fascists, white supremacists, and neo Nazis today.For clarity, there is very, very little on American North or South antifa groups This is just a European survey. Militant Anti Fascism by M Testa is a great historical document, and books like it need to be in wide circulation However, I indeed was let down by the sheer density of the narratives set forth The amount of abbreviated organizations is simply too much to handle AFA, BNP, NF, ad infinitum and I don t think Testa did a good enough job explaining what each acronym stood for, both literally and figuratively I swear there are instances where the acronyms are used first, before their actual expanded group names are used in full This makes reading the book a bit confusing, because sometimes you arent sure if a group is fascist or anti fascist This book really could ve benefitted from a primer at the beginning, a cast of characters defining and introducing the organizations that matter most and who was in charge, or a glossary at the end I hope AK Press includes this in a second edition, if there ever is one. This was a pretty quick read started it right after Charlottesville, after it had been sitting on my shelf for a long time The background history was really great, as well as the deep dive into UK based antifascist organizing I do think that people in the U.S looking for an up to date book on antifa would be better served with books that may have come out in the last year or two, but this was a great piece of subjective history and reflection. This is not a how too guide, and anyone expecting that will probably be disappointed Instead it s an effective introduction to the history of anti fascist action in Europe It does a very good job of being that book and I recommend it for that. Fascism Is Not A Thing Of The Past In This Era Of Crisis And Austerity, It Is Growing Even Stronger The Question Is How Do We Stop It According To M Testa, The Fight Against It Must Be Aggressive And Unrelenting Using A Mixture Of Orthodox History, Eyewitness Accounts, And Unflinching Analysis, He Makes The Case For A Resolutely Militant Anti Fascism, One That Gives No Quarter And Tolerates No Excuses Unlike Other Partisan Accounts Of Contemporary Battles Against Fascism And Ultra Nationalism, Militant Anti Fascism Takes Us From Proto Fascists In Nineteenth Century Austria To Modern Day Street Fights In London, Providing A Broad Context For Its Arguments And Looking At Numerous Countries Over A Longer Period Of Time The Result Is Both A Serious Historical Study And A Story Of Victory And Struggle, Past And Present, Designed To Inspire And Energize MilitantsLay Aside, As M Testa Does, Your Faith In Liberal, Legislative, And State Approved Approaches To Today S Fascist Threat Start By Reading This Provocative And Unapologetic Overview Of Militant Anti Fascism And The Strategies That Have Successfully Confronted The Far Right When It Has Reappeared In Its Many GuisesM Testa, Undercover Anti Fascist Blogger, Has Analyzed The Changing Fortunes Of The British Far Right Since He Has Written For The Anarchist Magazine Freedom And Is A Member Of The Anti Fascist Network A pretty thorough view of antifascism and its functions through significant historical rises of fascism It tends to get a little repetitive, but it does speak to a struggle that we as a people need to take up opposition to fascist ideology and action at all cost.

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  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • Militant Anti-Fascism
  • M. Testa
  • 14 November 2018
  • 9781849352031

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