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Image depicts a mob waving weapons, including hammer and sickle and shovel.

The following passages are reprinted from a 2017 flyer titled “Anti-fascism is self defense.” It is one of many flyers, posters and zines found on a far-left site called What sort of propaganda techniques and logical fallacies, if any, can you detect?

Anti-fascism means defending our communities from racists, xenophobes, homophobes, transphobes, and other bigots. Anti-fascist organizing requires no special skills. It isn’t limited to any one political identity.

Far-right groups don’t actually want dialogue. They aim to spread paranoia to escalate the ongoing violence against marginalized people. Anti-fascists aim to deny them any platform for doing this, even when fascists use code words instead of openly identifying themselves. The issue is not “free speech” but whether we let them recruit for violent attacks.

We must confront the fascist menace. Organizing against them doesn’t make them stronger; fascists have gained momentum because they’ve met so little opposition. Everyone must be free to decide for herself how to go about resisting fascism. The far right claims that anti-fascists are the same as fascists because they meet force with force. But just as a firefighter is not a fire, an anti-fascist is not a fascist.

Police are part of the problem. They kill a thousand people every year; they imprison and deport millions, disproportionately targeting people of color, tearing apart families and communities. When police coordinate with racist militias to run security at far-right rallies, this is not an aberration, but an example of the normal relationship between police and fascists. The US government is already implementing the fascist agenda more effectively than a group like the KKK ever could.

Don’t count on a return to normal. It’s not clear yet how far things will go. It won’t help to call on the courts for assistance; any power we give the government can end up in the hands of fascists. We need to establish bonds of solidarity across difference, learn to care for each other, and build the infrastructure we need to live and fight as the political crisis deepens.

Anti-fascism means more than fighting in the street. It is an orientation toward life, a practice of collective resistance. It entails raising children to be compassionate, confronting racism in our neighborhoods, and sabotaging the plans of far-right organizations. The stakes are high. To avoid acting is not only irresponsible, but dangerous. This is why we say: Anti-fascism is self-defense.

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