The Myth Making of Antifa Intellectuals Reply

By Paul Gottfried

The American Conservative

Mark Bray is in his early thirties and the recipient of a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers in 2016. He is also rapidly becoming antifa’s chief ideologue. Among his works describing or advocating for the often violent demonstrators are Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook and Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street.

Bray has yet to find a major commercial press for his tracts and, so far as I can tell, remains a lowly lecturer at Dartmouth College. But he has presented his case for antifa’s protest activities and the disruptive forms they have taken in, among other venues, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, and Boston Review. Bray was also invited to voice his views at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., an honor usually reserved for intellectual and political celebrities. It was after watching Bray’s Politics and Prose address and the remarks it elicited from the mostly “antifascist” audience that my editor at Northern Illinois University Press arrived at the idea that I should write a book on antifa’s worldview.

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Shane Burley & Mark Bray on Fascism Today and Antifa 3

What’s most interesting about this presentation is that these guys admit that “fascism” is a very small, marginal, and unpopular tendency in mainstream society. And yet it’s somehow a grave threat to civilization. Being an “anti-fascist” in 21st century Western civilization is about as sensible as being a McCarthyite (although the mainstream center-left is trying to bring that back as well with the “Russia-gate” hysteria). These guys might as well be Civil War reenactors. If folks like this would put as much energy into fighting the state that we actually have with it’s worldwide massacres of brown people, and its domestic police-prosecutorial-prison state, they might actually have something. What a joke.

“Authors Mark Bray (Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook) and Shane Burley (Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It) will be discussing the rise of fascist politics in the U.S. and the movement’s that are fighting it. In ANTIFA: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, organizer and historian Mark Bray provides a compelling, meticulous history that details the early days of the movement — when it was formed almost simultaneously with fascism itself, to fight Hitler and Mussolini — up to the present day. The book also acts as a handbook to tactics and strategies, key organizations and the core philosophies of the movement, suggesting what role citizens can play today in combating the rise of the far right. Fascism Today looks at the changing world of the far right in Donald Trump’s America. Examining the modern fascist movement’s various strains, Shane Burley has written an accessible primer about what its adherents believe, how they organize, and what future they have in the United States. The ascension of Trump has introduced a whole new vocabulary into our political lexicon—white nationalism, race realism, Identitarianism, and a slew of others. Burley breaks it all down. From the tech-savvy trolls of the alt-right to esoteric Aryan mystics, from full-fledged Nazis to well-groomed neofascists like Richard Spencer, he shows how these racists and authoritarians have reinvented themselves in order to recruit new members and grow. Just as importantly, Fascism Today shows how they can be fought and beaten. It highlights groups that have successfully opposed these twisted forces and outlines the elements needed to build powerful mass movements to confront the institutionalization of fascist ideas, protect marginalized communities, and ultimately stop the fascist threat.” ‘Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It’ book by Shane Burley: https://www.amazon.com/Fascism-Today-… ‘Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook’ book by Mark Bray: https://www.amazon.com/Antifa-Anti-Fa…