Anti-Fascist Diversity is our Strength

Unlike the fascists, Brit-Nats and proud patriots currently ‘defending’ blocks of bronze and marble from imaginary hordes of An-tee-fah supersoldiers, we anti-fascists actually have a regard for the human life. 

The preciousness of life inspires and informs every action we take as anti-fascists. It is the reason why more than 1,000 people decided to reclaim George Square on International Refugee Day. Arguably, it is the reason why we are anti-fascists in the first place. 

History shows us that fascism will always result in the mass-murder, oppression and exploitation of the working class – it will always lead to genocide. It will always extinguish millions of lives and that is why we oppose it. There is no debating with fascism: there is only action. 

Usually, that opposition takes physical forms and roles, namely the ubiquitous ‘blac-bloc’ antifascist. We are the front-line defence, putting our own bodies in the way of the fascist boot and the police baton. We take punches and we throw punches. We put ourselves in the way of violence to protect others.

But is a fatal mistake to believe that effective anti-fascism is only ever one particular type of physical role. Physical opposition is absolutely essential in the short-term, but in the long-term, we need the community organisers, the medics and the court support organisers, just as much. 

So much of the identity of anti-fascist culture seems built around a strange fetish for machoism, which can repel a lot of people from getting involved in the struggle. Our overwhelming focus on the antifa blac-bloc can often blind us to the other roles that those who cannot physically resist on the streets could be performing. 

Of course, physical defence is an essential tactic – but it isn’t the only tactic we have, and it isn’t the most effective in all scenarios. Medics, behind-the-scenes organisers and arrest-support volunteers are just as essential to the sustainability of anti-fascism, as the blac bloc are. 

The current pandemic, and the fact that some committed anti-fascists are unable to join physical rallies because of underlying health conditions, puts this into focus more sharply. We should be aware now more than ever that there are a range of roles that anti-fascists who aren’t able to join physical gatherings, can do. And those roles and their contributions are just as important to the wider movement – even if they aren’t as glamorous. 

Beyond talk of the short-term logistics, there is a wider, and more urgent need, for us to step up our efforts to build a strong culture of anti-fascism in Scotland that is rooted in the communities we live in and come from. We talk about it a lot, but it’s time to get serious about our efforts and begin organising in areas where we don’t have a presence.

Because a strong anti-fascist culture based in real communities means this – they shall not pass. Now, or ever. 

Author: Sabaté