How to become an anti-fascist
Once, I did not understand the aims or tactics of anti-fascists. They seemed childish and violent to me. Now I am an anti-fascist. How did I get here?
It was slow going.
But fascists have radicalized me. And they should radicalize you too.
Anti-fascists are loose-knit and often unorganized. (The ADL has more info you can read) There is no central leadership and no central organization. Not all political beliefs are shared. The big overlap comes in agreeing to oppose fascism.
If only the antifascists would be more peaceful, then I could support them.
The anti-fascists of the past, fighting Mussolini and Hitler, are routinely held up as heroes. In the present, every tactic is criticized.
I used to be critical as well, so I know that you can untangle your thinking. You just have to step outside yourself for a moment. Ask yourself, is a window worth more than a life? Is vandalism worse than racism? Is a harmless cup of paint thrown at the door of a fascist political party worse than spreading misinformation that leads to hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide.
And then ask yourself: are people opposing fascism really the same as fascists?
Essentially, antifascists exist on the margins of society because the center allows fascism to grow unchecked until it’s too late to turn it back. And then, in some fictional future, when millions have died in unnecessary violence, the center claims an affiliation with those who resisted. Dissent gets sanitized and idealized. (See how the civil rights struggle in the US has been idealized, as well as the resistance of Martin Luther King, Jr for details)
Questions to help you on your journey
Here are some questions I mulled over for the past few years that may help you make the transition. I won’t give you answers, just questions.
- What happens when we start holding institutions rather than individuals responsible for theft, deprivation, and murder? (Check out what happened to a lawyer who won a court case against Chevron)
- What happens when we no longer assign intentions to murder? What if, instead, we wonder if it really matters to the murdered whether their death was due to bad intelligence or to intentional terror?
- What happens to most people who are victims of rape and abuse when they report the crime to authorities? What good are the authorities if they don’t protect them? Who are they really protecting and why? (You can listen to this CBC podcast tracing one woman’s experiences in Canada)
- Who is in prison and why? Why is torture acceptable in our societies? (You can start with some of the stories on mass incarceration in The Atlantic)
- Which nations outsource their human rights abuses and why do we constantly laud them as peaceful and nice? (Listening to Jun and Mitchy Saturay talk about the violence of foreign mining companies against local populations in The Philippines changed the way I thought about human rights.)
- Why are so many indigenous women victims of violence and murder?
- What lies do we tell ourselves in order to justify dehumanizing others?
- What happens when you stop thinking about marginalized people and start thinking about HOW people are marginalized? (I recommend finding disabled activists to follow. Begin with Imani Barbarin. Here’s her website: Crutches and Spice)
- What happens when you center the needs of people who are most marginalized by society?
- What happens when borders are open to multinational corporations but closed to people fleeing the devastation brought about by those same corporations?
- What happens when you stop justifying acts of state and capitalist violence?
My Core Values
- Everyone deserves to age and to age safely.
- Everyone deserves a safe place to be alone and a safe place to come together.
- Everyone deserves enough to eat.