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Militant anti-fascism
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Militant anti-fascism is the opposition to fascism by means that include forms of violence, under the banner of anti-fascism (WP) against groups which they claim to be fascist (WP). The term has different meanings in certain contexts and is ambigious, sometimes applied to battles between communist (WP) and fascist groups before the 1950s. Or most commonly in contemporary times, in relation to far-left groups under the banner of antifa who clash with Wikipedia:white nationalists or Wikipedia:neo-nazis, who's relation to the original pre-war "fascism" is strongly disputed. The term Wikipedia:militant anti-fascism is often used in contrast to Wikipedia:liberal anti-fascism. Wikipedia:Image:Antifasistische Aktion logo.svg

In its modern context, in relation to antifa the clashes between groups identifying with Wikipedia:far-left ideology and those who identify with white nationalist and neo-nazi ideology are both strongly linked to Wikipedia:alternative culture, particularly Wikipedia:hardcore punk and Wikipedia:skinhead scenes. Unlike the reference to pre-war clashes, both sides tend to be part of the Wikipedia:political Wikipedia:underground in relation to outsider groups, using Britain as an example; the self titled Wikipedia:Anti-Fascist Action and Wikipedia:British National Front groups. The association on each side is to such groups, rather than prominent Wikipedia:mass movements. Antifa groups and demonstrations tend to attract a more Wikipedia:middle-class base of Wikipedia:college students, while the white nationalists are represented by the white Wikipedia:working class.[1][2]

Throughout history communists have commonly used the term "fascist", to describe all ideologies which do not conform of Wikipedia:communism or other extreme left ideolgies. This was particularly common during the time of the Wikipedia:Soviet Union, where even mainstream Western capitalists were dubbed "fascist", as were royalists. Many acts of Wikipedia:Red Terror have been carried out by far leftists claiming to be militantly "fighting fascism, famous during the 1960s to 1980s were the Wikipedia:Red Brigades in Italy who murdered former Prime Minister Wikipedia:Aldo Moro. In the modern day, many members of antifa outside of Germany use strongly anti-Israeli rhetoric and refer to Wikipedia:zionism as "fascism".

The term antifaEdit

Template:POV [[Wikipedia:Image:Antifa !!.jpg|right|thumb|180px|Antifa Wikipedia:demonstration, Wikipedia:Switzerland]] [[Wikipedia:Image:Antifa 2.jpg|right|thumb|180px|Antifa Wikipedia:graffiti in Wikipedia:Trnava]] The term antifa derives from Antifaschismus, which is German for Wikipedia:anti-fascism. It refers to individuals and groups that are dedicated to fighting Wikipedia:fascism, and some anti-fascist groups include the word antifa in their name. During the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, the Wikipedia:Soviet Union sponsored various anti-fascist groups, usually using the name antifa. Wikipedia:POWs captured by the Soviets during the Eastern Front campaign of the Wikipedia:Second World War were encouraged to undertake antifa training.

In contemporary times, the term antifa has come to refer to individuals and groups that are dedicated to fighting fascist tendencies. In Germany many antifa groups were formed as a reaction to the rise of Wikipedia:right-wing extremism after Wikipedia:German reunification and the death of more than a hundred people who were killed by right-wing extremists.[3] There is a world-wide network of antifa groups, but they do not constitute a homogeneous movement. Depending on the particular group or individual, the goals may be quite different.

The terms anti-fascist and antifa are almost exclusively used by far left extremists. For these groups, their attack against "fascist tendencies" is usually associated with a broader view that holds Wikipedia:society (or aspects of it) responsible, and therefore seeks Wikipedia:radical social change. They tend to describe themselves as being opposed to: Wikipedia:racism, Wikipedia:nationalism, Wikipedia:anti-Semitism, Template:Fact Wikipedia:sexism, Wikipedia:homophobia, and Wikipedia:capitalism. Many members of antifa groups support the ideas of far left ideologies such as Wikipedia:communism, Wikipedia:socialism or Wikipedia:anarchism. According to the German Wikipedia:intelligence agency Wikipedia:Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, some antifa groups that are part of the autonomist movement are willing to use violence against right-wing extremists.[4]

GermanyEdit

Wikipedia:Communist Party and Social Democratic Party (SPD) members at different times in the 1920s and 1930s advocated both the use of violence and mass agitation amongst the working class in an effort to stop Hitler's Wikipedia:Nazi Party. Wikipedia:Leon Trotsky was one advocate of militant anti-fascism’s use of violence in Germany. He wrote that "fighting squads must be created… nothing increases the insolence of the fascists so much as 'flabby Wikipedia:pacifism' on the part of the workers' organisations… [It is] political cowardice [to deny that] without organised combat detachments, the most heroic masses will be smashed bit by bit by fascist gangs."[5]

ItalyEdit

The rise of fascist leader Wikipedia:Benito Mussolini in the 1920s was resisted violently by a small fraction of the Wikipedia:workers' movement. After the signature by the Wikipedia:Italian Socialist Party (PSI) of a "pacification pact" with the Wikipedia:National Fascist Party on August 3, 1921, and the embracement by the trade-unions of a legalist and pacified strategy, others components of the workers' movement who disagreed with this strategy formed the Wikipedia:Arditi del popolo in 1921. The General Confederation of Labour (CGT) and the PSI refused to officially recognize the anti-fascist militia, while the Wikipedia:Italian Communist Party (PCI) ordered its members to quit the organization. The PCI organized by themselves some militant groups, but their actions were relatively minor and the party kept a non-violent, legalist strategy.

The Wikipedia:Italian anarchist Wikipedia:Severino Di Giovanni, who exiled himself, along with many others comrades, to Argentina following the 1922 Wikipedia:March on Rome, organized there several bombings against the Italian fascist community.

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SpainEdit

In the Wikipedia:Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, the Republican army, the Wikipedia:International Brigades and particularly the Wikipedia:Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) and Wikipedia:anarchist militias like the Wikipedia:Iron Column are examples of militant anti-fascism who fought the rise of Wikipedia:Francisco Franco with military force. The Wikipedia:Friends of Durruti were one particularly militant group, associated with the Wikipedia:Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI). Spanish Wikipedia:anarchist Wikipedia:guerrilla Sabate fought against Franco’s regime up until the 1960s, from a base in France. (See Wikipedia:Anarchist Catalonia, Wikipedia:Anarchism in Spain.) The Wikipedia:Spanish Maquis also fought the Franco regime long after the Spanish Civil war finished, from across the border in France.

The struggle against fascism in Spain attracted strong international support from leftist and Wikipedia:working class people. Thousands of people from many countries went to Spain in support of the anti-fascist cause and joined International Brigade units such as the Lincoln Battalion, the Wikipedia:British Battalion, the Wikipedia:Dabrowski Battalion, the "Mac-Paps" and the Naftali Botwin Company. Notable anti-fascists who worked internationally against Franco were: Wikipedia:George Orwell, who fought in the Wikipedia:POUM militia and wrote Wikipedia:Homage to Catalonia about this experience, Wikipedia:Ernest Hemingway, a supporter of the International Brigades who wrote Wikipedia:For Whom the Bell Tolls about this experience, and radical journalist Wikipedia:Martha Gellhorn.

CanadaEdit

Canada's history of militant anti-fascism began during the 1930s and continues on to this day. Originally led by Catholic immigrants, the movement in Canada is now very diverse and includes people from all walks of life.

Canada's modern antifa movement is strongest in Wikipedia:Ontario, Wikipedia:New Brunswick, Wikipedia:Nova Scotia, Wikipedia:Quebec, and Wikipedia:Alberta. It's tactics focus on targeting both prominent leaders and organizers in the far-right, and also individual rank and file members as well. Some suggest that this is a unique element of the Canadian struggle which comes about as a necessity, based on the general lack of an overtly public fascist presence to identify and attack. Today, Canadian neo-Nazi leaders Wikipedia:Paul Fromm and Wikipedia:Marc Lemire have been primary targets of anti-fascists in southern Ontario. Their meetings are often disrupted and militantly shut down, with property of the fascists being damaged or destroyed in the process. The Wikipedia:Aryan Guard is also a target of anti-fascists in Alberta, where its more open style of recruitment and activity creates a different confrontational dynamic.

United KingdomEdit

Template:POV The rise of Wikipedia:Oswald Mosley's Wikipedia:British Union of Fascists (BUF) was challenged by the Wikipedia:Communist Party of Great Britain, Wikipedia:socialists in the Labour Party and Wikipedia:Independent Labour Party, Irish Wikipedia:Catholic dockmen and working class Wikipedia:Jews in London's east end. A high point in the struggle was the Wikipedia:Battle of Cable Street, when thousands of eastenders and others turned out to stop the BUF marching. Initially, the national Communist Party leadership wanted a mass demonstration at Hyde Park in solidarity with Wikipedia:Republican Spain instead of a mobilisation against the BUF, but local party activists argued against this. (However, the campaigns against fascism in Spain and in England were explicitly linked when local activists rallied support with the chalked slogan on the streets of East London They shall not pass, taken from the slogan of Republican Spain, Wikipedia:No Pasaran.) The book Out of the Ghetto by Wikipedia:Joe Jacobs contains an official CP leaflet advertising the demonstration in solidarity with Spain, overprinted with the word "Cancelled" and re-directing supporters to Cable Street.

After Wikipedia:World War II, Jewish Wikipedia:war veterans continued the tradition of militant confrontation with the BUF in the Wikipedia:43 Group, and in the 1960s the Wikipedia:62 Group continued the struggle against Wikipedia:neo-nazis.

1970s-1990sEdit

In the 1970s, fascist and Wikipedia:far right parties such as the National Front (NF) and Wikipedia:British Movement were making significant gains electorally and were increasingly confident in their public appearances. This was challenged in 1977 with the Wikipedia:Battle of Lewisham, when thousands of black and Wikipedia:white people physically stopped an NF march in Wikipedia:South London.[6] Shortly after this, the Wikipedia:Anti-Nazi League (ANL) was launched by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The ANL had a campaign of high profile propaganda, as well as anti-fascist squads that attacked NF meetings and paper sales to disrupt their ability to organise. The success of the ANL's propaganda and physical campaigns, combined with Thatcher's Wikipedia:right wing politics meant the end to the NF's period of growth.

The SWP, whose theoretician Wikipedia:Tony Cliff described the period as one of downturn in Wikipedia:class struggle, disbanded the ANL. However, many squad members refused to stop their activities. They were expelled from the party in 1981; many going on to form the group Wikipedia:Red Action. The SWP used the term Wikipedia:squadism to dismiss these militant anti-fascists as thugs. In 1985, some members of Red Action and the anarcho-syndicalist Wikipedia:Direct Action Movement launched Anti-Fascist Action (AFA), which was to be the focus of militant anti-fascism in the UK for the next 15 years. Thousands of people took part in militant AFA mobilisations such as the Wikipedia:Remembrance Day demonstrations in 1986 and 1987, the Unity Carnival, the Wikipedia:Battle of Cable Street's 55th anniversary march in 1991, and the Battle of Waterloo against the Wikipedia:British National Party in 1992.

After 1995, some anti-fascist mobilisations did still occur e.g. against the National Front in Wikipedia:Dover in 1997 and 1998. Internally, a new AFA National Coordinating Committee was set up. In 1997 an AFA statement officially banned members from associating with Searchlight - and in 1998, Wikipedia:Leeds and Huddersfield AFA were expelled by the new Committee, officially for ignoring this policy. Expulsions didn't stop the decline. There were some local re-launches – e.g. Wikipedia:Liverpool in 2000. But by 2001 - though probably a long time before - AFA as a national organisation hardly existed.

2000sEdit

Some former elements from AFA regrouped to form a militant anti-fascist group called No Platform in 2002, but this group disbanded shortly. In 2004, members from the Wikipedia:Anarchist Federation, Wikipedia:Class War, and No Platform founded the organisation Antifa. This largely anarchist dominated group has imitated AFA's stance of physical and ideological confrontation with fascists and has a policy of non-cooperation with Searchlight or any other state-linked agencies. On September 23, 2004, Antifa was involved in a confrontation with David King, a former British National Party treasurer and his security entourage in Wikipedia:Basildon, Wikipedia:Essex. [7] On January 15, 2005, Antifa was involved in a confrontation with National Front Wikipedia:white power skinheads in Wikipedia:Woolwich.[8] On March 27, 2005, 30 anti-fascists from a Yorkshire-based Antifa group attacked a British National Party meeting in Halifax. The anti-fascists threw half-bricks and rocks at the BNP security, and BNP members' cars were smashed. [9]

Antifa Scotland appeared around September 2006).[10] On March 13, 2008, Wikipedia:Yorkshire anti-fascists attacked several Leeds venues that wer recently used for meetings of the BNP.[11] On April 19, 2008, Wikipedia:London anti-fascists attacked a Wikipedia:British Peoples Party meeting in Wikipedia:Victoria, London.[12] In August 2008, Antifa England mobilised, but failed to shut down the BNP’s annual Red, White & Blue festival.[13] On October 5, 2008, six anti-fascists were arrested in a street fight with BNP activists in Wikipedia:Bethnal Green, Wikipedia:East London.[14]

SwedenEdit

Militant anti-fascist groups active in Sweden include Wikipedia:Antifascistisk Aktion and Wikipedia:Revolutionära Fronten. Anti-fascist counter-demonstrations and meetings in Sweden often result in rioting and fights with the police since the police usually tries to separate the fascists from the anti-fascists and also tend to "protect the fascists". Anti-fascist activities in Sweden have included physical abuse of, or counter-demonstrations against neo-Nazis. Yearly neo-nazi demonstrations in Sweden that have led to riots and fights with the police include the one in Salem on Wikipedia:9 December, and on National day on Wikipedia:6 June. Template:Expand-section

Criticism of militant anti-fascismEdit

Critics of militant Wikipedia:anti-fascism tend to focus on its use of Wikipedia:political violence. Pacifists and many liberals consider the use of violence as essentially wrong, and see militant anti-fascists as mirroring the fascists they oppose. This criticism suggests that by mirroring fascist violence with anti-fascist violence, the struggle against fascism is reduced to a game. Historian Dave Renton, in his book Fascism: Theory and Practice, writes that "for anti-fascists, violence is not part of their world view", and calls militants "professional anti-fascists."[15] Left wing critics of militant anti-fascism contrast the violence of small militant groups with mass action. Wikipedia:Communist Party of Great Britain leader Wikipedia:Phil Piratin denounced Wikipedia:squadism and called for large actions.

Some anti-racists and Wikipedia:multiculturalists argue that by focusing on the white Wikipedia:working class, the militant anti-fascist movement sidelines issues related to racial minorities' struggles against Wikipedia:racism — such as the issue of Wikipedia:white privilege. To these critics, militant anti-fascists focus on fascism to the exclusion of racism, and trivialise more pervasive forms of racial Wikipedia:prejudice and Wikipedia:institutional racism unconnected to organised fascist groups.

FootnotesEdit

BibliographyEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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