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Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  756 ratings  ·  144 reviews
As long as there has been fascism, there has been anti-fascism — also known as “antifa.” Born out of resistance to Mussolini and Hitler in Europe during the 1920s and ’30s, the antifa movement has suddenly burst into the headlines amidst opposition to the Trump administration and the alt-right. They could be seen in news reports, clad all in black with balaclavas covering ...more
Kindle Edition, 289 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Melville House
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  756 ratings  ·  144 reviews


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Jason Gordon
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A word of warning to those who want to read this book: do not watch the television interviews. They do not do the book any justice whatsoever.



Here are a number of things I liked about the book:

1). It provides a comprehensive history of anti-fascism in the Western world. When the book discusses anti-fascism in America, it places it squarely in the anti-racist resistance against the Jim Crow South (which is indeed a fascist regime). Mark Bray also discusses anti-fascism in the West in the contex
...more
Conor
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, self-help
When I first picked this up, this was my "Eat, Pray, Love" on the subway: what do the two have in common, you ask? Well what better way to get your groove back than frolicking through India and Europe giving fascists whatfor!

Just kidding. They do not (I assume) have anything in common; rather, I felt some embarrassment
about being seen reading it on the subway, and so would contort my hands in such a way that it would be near impossible for anyone to descry the cover. Partially this is because
...more
Leo Robertson
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The partisan approach had limited appeal.

I didn't know that anti-fascists think of themselves as disbanding once the fascist problem is taken care of. That would be cool, because it would support a "they started it" argument. But because I know the author would like to promote anti-fascism, I'm not inclined to believe him (at least every time) when he says in his narrative that anti-fascist action is the reason for fascists disbanding. Or even that the fascists did disband. The author admits the
...more
Connor Bulgrin
Sep 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book provides an insiders perspective on the history, tactics, and ideological roots of Antifa. Although some of its actions are harmless (printing pamphlets, peaceful protests, covering graffiti, etc) most of its work is self-refuting political violence and censorship that can only be compared to the actions of the groups the so much detest: the nazis and neo-nazis.

The first two chapters provide a history of Antifa in Europe and America from pre-WWII to today. Through the WWII era Antifa h
...more
Kaelan Ratcliffe▪Κάϊλαν Ράτκλιφ▪كايِلان راتكِليف
"Never Again!"

I've linked a very lively interview at the bottom of this review between the author of this book Mark Bray, and journalist / author Chris Hedges on his show On Contact. As the reader might imagine, it was on Antifa, political violence and the current climate in the American political hemisphere. My conclusion after watching the debate was unexpected. Frankly, despite being a big fan of Hedges, I felt his experience in war zones as a foreign correspondent - and the subsequent dif
...more
TR Peterson
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good overview of anti-fascist movements over the years up to and including Antifa in the US today. The author also looks at arguments about violence, free speech and no platforming as well. He clearly outlines how liberal notions of free speech are not ones that Antifa adheres to and why. It is written from a pro-Antifa perspective which one may or may not agree with but you do get a very clear understanding of their views and where they come from. A very timely book. 4 of 5 stars.
Alexandra
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Essential reading--not just a history but a wealth of ideas and inspiration for the future.
Tonstant Weader
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I wanted to read Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook by historian Mark Bray because I am conflicted by Antifa. On the one hand, every human being who aspires to morality and decency must be anti-fascist. On the other hand, violence other than in self-defense is an immoral tactic. It is also strategically wrong. However, I wanted to understand how they perceived this moral dilemma.

The first chapters are a history of the anti-fascist movement. This resembles nothing so much as a military campaign hi
...more
Lucas
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
To be honest, I was expecting a somewhat more intellectually sophisticated defense of Antifa actions and philosophy. The book displays too few new contents, and I feel free to skip several parts that presented some well-known facts about the twentieth century.
I was more interested in the Antifa views regarding free speech and violence. The argument for violence is grounded in the historical fact that on several occasions fascists used the current legal system to take power. I think this argumen
...more
Mrs. Europaea
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bray sheds new light and understanding on a highly misunderstood and represented movement. Antifa gets misrepresented through the media and often times through it's own members and this disinformation spreads like wildfire casting a very negative view on what is ultimately a positive movement for the freedoms of all people.

That said, Bray states several times that the book was rushed because they wanted to get the information out there as soon as possible in this current political climate under
...more
Jason Crane
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Smart and thorough overview of historical and modern anti-fascism, with a view toward dispelling myths and offering a counter to mainstream thinking.
Roxana
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for those who take the struggle against capitalism, patriarchy, transphobia, and racism, seriously. After tracing the history of fascism and antifascism throughout Europe and, to a smaller degree, the US, Mark Bray points to five historical lessons:

1)Fascist revolutions have never succeeded. Fascists gained power legally.

2)To varying degrees, many interwar antifa leaders and theorists assumed that fascism was simply a variant of traditional counterrevolutionary politics. Th
...more
Dave
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This probably shouldn't be called a "handbook." It's not so much a how-to thing as it is an explanation to an audience that's unlikely to join in. That's fine though. I think most people interested in this book would rather it be that way. Antifa's been in the news a lot lately and it's been misrepresented to the point of being treated as the name of one activist group when it's really just a way to describe many diverse groups who oppose fascism. A lot of these groups are explicitly anarchist o ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Antifa is too militant for me and probably too left as well. I understand their motivation and they make a few good points about platforming hate speech which liberals should pay attention free speech doesn't mean giving the widest audience to odious views. Institutions like universities are under no obligation to host far right and alt-right speakers. Some of the methods that fascists take over liberal states are also of concern especially if they get power they destroy those states and vulnera ...more
James
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
You get what it says.

Antifa is a history of the Anti-Facist movement and puts into perspective the history, politics and organizing behind it. It gives a stronger context of its place in past and current politics and answers many current questions being asked of Antifa and gives some perspective on what free speech means in a greater context.

Bray pulls no punches on the side he's taking or partisanship, however if you are interested in understanding many sides of the current climate it's an im
...more
Ali Benam
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thorough and well written. Definitely a must-read.
Hampton Stall
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
mark bray, as good as always
Brian
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
As other reviews have pointed out, this is not a ‘handbook’ per se but a history of antifascism in the 20th and 21st century. I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of antifascism, and its history is something that should get more attention, but the book does not read well. There’s no narrative voice to speak of, just a constant listing of events. This happened then that happened. Later that happened then this happened. It makes for a very dry, and sadly, boring and difficult read. A for con ...more
Cat
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I won a copy of this book on Goodreads and honestly tried to read it, but just couldn't I tired quickly of the intolerance.... Sorry. I am sure someone else will enjoy it, just not me. I thought it would explain the movement, and it did, I just ceased to care... But I have given a fair review of it in my opinion.
Joseph Valoren
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
It’s impossible to write a review of this book without first obviating where one stands on the issues it concerns, as to not do this would be an act of supreme disingenuousness. We live in a modern age in which all things are political, but nothing cuts to the quick more divisively and meaningfully in our culture that where one stands on the subject of fascism.

So to get it out of the way, let me state up front that I’ve been unequivocally antifascist since well before fascism had returned as a
...more
James Klagge
I found this book at a propitious time, shortly after I got back from the counter-protest to the alt-right rally in Charlottesville in August. That was my first experience with antifa. This is an excellent book to learn about antifa--although it is not an unbiased report. In fact it is written by an antifa sympathizer who is also a "scholar" of the movement. The author draws on many personal interviews with antifa activists to supplement a careful history and survey of the movement. But the book ...more
Shawn Birss
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Though it reads as hastily written (basing most of the history on popcorn accounts from very few sources, especially from the music scene) and incomplete (missing almost all history of antifa resistance outside of Western Europe and the United States) this book is still probably the most comprehensive and in depth report on the history of antifa action as a popular movement that has yet been gathered. It is interesting reading, especially for anyone interested in the rise of skinhead culture dur ...more
Michael
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really good book for anyone unfamiliar with Antifa, especially those who think they just appeared with the rise of Trump. The first part of the book deals with the general history of Antifa from the Western perspective and provides an explanation of why it was formed, what kind of people formed it, and what they wanted to accomplish and how. It really helps to provide a legitimacy to a movement that is frequently belittled and misunderstood in the press. I especially enjoyed Bray's tie ...more
Trashy Dreams
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First two sections were informative, but a pretty dry history of anti-fascist groups dating back to the late 1800's. The subsequent chapters were a little more direct in content, and serve as strategic talking/reference points. I feel weird about this being a "handbook," but Bray is a legit source, and is good about keeping the content informative while not pushing his agenda. So it's safe to assume that most negative reviews are coming from places of ignorance and one-sided judgmental fear.
Jackie Snow
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is tight as fuck. It starts with a history of anti-fascist movements, which includes Jewish WW2 veterans physically breaking up meetings of fascists who said they didn't burn up enough Jews in the camps, all the way to current deplatforming efforts. There are so many efforts that shut down fascists its incredible. The author also breaks down arguments made against violent efforts not working (they have and do) and the ways it's disingenuous to say antifascist are anti-free speech. This ...more
Beth Hollenbeck
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Extremely eye opening and educational.
Eli Sadoff
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very good yet concise history of fascism and opposition to it. It's a very important book for the current era.
Al Capwned
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
There is a bunch of information that is quite interesting here and it doesn't matter wether or not someone agrees with the author politically.
Sarah
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, own, priority
Great information, readable, knocking off a star because there’s no index. C’mon, Melville House.
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“The tragic irony of modern anti-fascism is that the more successful it is, the more its raison d'etre is called into question. Its greatest successes lie in hypothetical limbo: How many murderous fascist movements have been nipped in the bud over the past 70 years by antifa groups before their violence could metastasize? We will never know--and that's a very good thing indeed.” 6 likes
“Anti-fascism is many things, but perhaps most fundamentally it is an argument about the historical continuity between different eras of far-right violence and the many forms of collective self-defense that it has necessitated across the globe over the past century.” 3 likes
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