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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 n 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 militants. Lay 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 guises. M. Testa, undercover anti-fascist blogger, has analyzed the changing fortunes of the British far right since 2009. He has written for the anarchist magazine Freedom and is a member of the Anti-Fascist Network.


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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 n 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 militants. Lay 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 guises. M. Testa, undercover anti-fascist blogger, has analyzed the changing fortunes of the British far right since 2009. He has written for the anarchist magazine Freedom and is a member of the Anti-Fascist Network.

30 review for Militant Anti-Fascism: A Hundred Years of Resistance

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brian Bean

    As the stubborn persistence of Trump has raised questions about fascism, what it is, and how to fight it a book like M. Testa's makes for an interesting read. The book has two distinct parts that are kind of odd put together. The first focuses on antifascist movements pre-world war two, the second on post war antifascism entirely in England. The first section does an excellent job of telling the story of antifascist movements in multiple countries. Some of these are struggles that many on the Lef As the stubborn persistence of Trump has raised questions about fascism, what it is, and how to fight it a book like M. Testa's makes for an interesting read. The book has two distinct parts that are kind of odd put together. The first focuses on antifascist movements pre-world war two, the second on post war antifascism entirely in England. The first section does an excellent job of telling the story of antifascist movements in multiple countries. Some of these are struggles that many on the Left are moderately familiar with (Spain and Germany) and less so (Scotland and Hungary). This scope provides the reader with a sense of the continent wide dynamics of bash back against fascist reaction and--somewhat surprisingly from AK--appropriately and positively demonstrates and extols the importance of the mass communist and socialist organizations. Solidarity across the spectrum of the Left between those organizations and those of anarchists (particularly in the examples of Spain and Italy). The high point of antifascist struggle is depicted as mass workers organizations and militias joined together to oppose fascism as it vied for state power. My one quibble with the history laid out in Testa's book is his description of Germany has some odd historical quirks that Testa could have benefited from a deeper look into the dynamics of the Comintern. Testa depicts the sudden shifts that took place in the German Communist Party (KPD) from the United front to, a correct criticism of the ultraleft "social fascist" period to popular frontism. However Testa is unable to provide any explanation for these shifts that are explained by a rudimentary understanding of the rise of Stalinism and the eventual collapse of the Comintern. Additionally the chapter on Germany closes with a bizarre argument that the division between the SPD and the KPD was cultural rather than idealogical. This completely underplays the political dissension between these two parties the understanding of which is actually necessary for explaining the failure of the German revolutions that helped facilitate the rise of fascism in Germany. This belies a problem in abstracting fascism from its historical context as reaction to the failure of working class solutions to capitalist crisis. This is more notable in the second half of the book. The second half of the book as opposed to the big picture history of the first half is completely focused on the fight against fascism in England. This history is thoroughly laid out in a way that can be tedious to someone who is not specifically looking for a micro history of fighting fascism in the UK. Additionally though not discussed the complete difference in scale of the struggles from the first half (carried out by mass workers organizations in the tens of thousands) and the second (carried out almost exclusively by far left organizations in the hundreds and sometimes smaller) reflects the defeats of the left and of its organizations. Thus what you get is a very play by play history about street skirmishes and protests. Though important lessons about opposing fascism are imbedded within it it has a tendency towards being obsessively focused on the smaller militant actions that often characterize this period. While this is objectively cannot be overcome the reason why the first and second halves of the book is never comment on. This is unfortunate because the difference between when socialist revolution is on the table and when it is not is a vital context. That being said despite the book having a number of problems, being focused almost to a fault on England, and thus completely Europe-centric, it does provide a good schematic overview of a radical approach to fighting fascism that points to the high points of mass struggle, the importance of a united left, and the need to confront fascism wherever it arises. I would not recommend this book for everyone but worth the read for those who already have an interest in the subject.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David MacIver

    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 more 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 int 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 more 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Greg Huber

    While a bit dry at times, it is a vital look into how we got to our current state of affairs. From the rise of Mussolini's blackshirts to Tommy Robinson's EDL, we're seeing the same actions on the streets today from groups like Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys. It's helpful to see what tactics they've used and how communities have come to defend against them. I do wish there had been more digging into sources or the context around them, but the history of anti-fascism is barely written, even les While a bit dry at times, it is a vital look into how we got to our current state of affairs. From the rise of Mussolini's blackshirts to Tommy Robinson's EDL, we're seeing the same actions on the streets today from groups like Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys. It's helpful to see what tactics they've used and how communities have come to defend against them. I do wish there had been more digging into sources or the context around them, but the history of anti-fascism is barely written, even less so in English. No pasaran.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    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

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sugarpunksattack Mick

    '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 propa '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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Doug Brunell

    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 t 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    June Amelia Rose

    Militant Anti-Fascism by M. Testa is a great historical document, and more 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 actua Militant Anti-Fascism by M. Testa is a great historical document, and more 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    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 e 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sean Estelle

    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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey B

    I bought this in Nov 2016 and it took me this long to finish it

  12. 5 out of 5

    C. Quabela

    To start, this book was boring. Why, then, did I give it a five star rating? Because it's a damn good thing that this book is boring! It just goes to show that in the past 100 years of militant anti-fascism the tactics of no platform and no pasaran fucking work! This work shows to those today in the U.S. that the mundane critiques of Antifa as delimiting free speech and "being no better than the fascists" is just trite bullshit that has been leveled against them from the start. So please. Save m To start, this book was boring. Why, then, did I give it a five star rating? Because it's a damn good thing that this book is boring! It just goes to show that in the past 100 years of militant anti-fascism the tactics of no platform and no pasaran fucking work! This work shows to those today in the U.S. that the mundane critiques of Antifa as delimiting free speech and "being no better than the fascists" is just trite bullshit that has been leveled against them from the start. So please. Save me your tears. This book works as a testimony that direct action and militancy against grass roots fascist and proto-fascist organizations is both necessary and thankless. But we don't need the adulation of the establishment. The only critique against anti-fascist action is that their methods have not and do not effect institutional reform. But guess what? That's not what they are about! It is first and foremost there to ensure that nationalistic jingoists are not able to rally communities and gain legitimacy. Decry Antifa all you want. Smash the fash.

  13. 5 out of 5

    bunting

    Was hoping for more of a manual than a history, though it was still a good overview.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Genovese

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richard M Loader

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dale

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lillian

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jay

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shane

  20. 5 out of 5

    Colin Kauffman

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacquie Shaw

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Nardini

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jake

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cbsd library

  27. 4 out of 5

    George

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vivienne DiFiore

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steven Fake

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jason

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