Genealogies of Antifascism: Militancy, Critique, and the Three Way Fight

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    D.Z. Shaw

    Publisher: Kersplebedeb Publishing

    Year: 2024

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 203 pages

    ISBN: 9781989701362

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The book will be back from the printers in May 2024

Learning from the past to build a revolutionary antifascism for the present and future.

Genealogies of Antifascism is a collection of essays written by D.Z. Shaw between January 2020 and the fall of 2023, focusing on the themes of fascism and antifascism in the context of shifting socio-political landscapes in North America. These essays are a response to both contemporary events and a growing body of literature on militant antifascism, reflecting on incidents such as the anti-police uprisings in 2020, the electoral defeat of Donald Trump, and subsequent political upheavals including the far-right putsch of January 6, 2021, as well as reviewing current perspectives in light of past experiences and theorizations, from Georgi Dimitrov, W.E.B. Du Bois, and the Black Panther Party, to contemporary revolutionary thinkers such as J. Sakai, Butch Lee, and Don Hamerquist.

Aimed at a politically committed activist audience, Shaw provides a snapshot of an evolving philosophy of antifascism that grapples with the theoretical and practical challenges presented both by recent events and by the historical foundations of North America’s settler societies. In Part I, Shaw establishes the theoretical parameters necessary to understand and combat fascism, critiquing traditional Marxist frameworks and putting forth a detailed interpretation of the “three way fight” approach, one that situates the struggle against both capitalism and the far right in the North American context. In Part II, Shaw offers commentary on the work of other antifascist theorists, addressing specific topics including militant feminist antifascism, the problems with liberalism, and historical analyses of anti-Nazi resistance in Germany. The third and final part features a previously unpublished essay critically analyzing Judith Butler's stance on nonviolence and defending the practice of emancipatory community self-defense.

Throughout, Genealogies defends militant antifascism against its liberal counterpart, arguing for a form of community self-defense that goes beyond “common sense” understandings of the term. Shaw advocates for an antifascism that is alert to the complexities of fighting fascism in a North American context, highlighting the intersections of class, race, gender, and settler colonialism. The book not only offers a critical perspective on the current state of antifascist movements but also seeks to push the theoretical boundaries of antifascism beyond its existing paradigms, suggesting new directions for understanding and combating the far right today.

With a Preface by Michael Staudenmaier.

What People Are Saying

"Ever since Philosophy of Antifascism, D.Z. Shaw has been investigating the phenomenon of fascism and the practice(s) of antifascist resistance. Although I read some of the 'snapshots' of this book over the past several years when they were first published as separate interventions, the collected assemblage constitutes a powerful intervention that challenges us to think both fascism and antifascism. The overall result is a synthesis and explication of the 'three way fight' conception of fascism/anti-fascism that truly does provide a genealogy of thinking this terrain. From a critique of the orthodox Dimitrov line, to an interior critique of particular aspects of antifascist praxis, to conceptions of class struggle, to linkages of contemporary fascism with settler-colonialism and gender orthodoxy, to a focus on the limitations of 'liberal anti-fascist' conceptions and practices … This is an excellent primer on the meaning of fascism and what it means to resist fascism. Most importantly, it is grounded in the perspective of 'embattled communities' who 'resort to self-defence' in opposition to the legal intervention that 'intensifies their social vulnerability.' In a conjuncture where fascistic politics are devoted to generating genocidal death worlds, this book is a timely barometer." --J. Moufawad-Paul, author of The Communist Necessity and Demarcation and Demystification: Philosophy and Its Limits

“Genealogies of Antifascism travels far beyond introductory and cursory engagements with the nature of fascism and anti­fascism to provide a new generation of militants with the theoretical framework necessary to wage a successful struggle against the resurgent far right. Shaw’s collection of essays covers a great deal of ground to critique orthodox Marxist interpretations of fascism, rebuke liberal antifascism, and defend the ‘three way fight’ conception of the antifascist struggle. Insightful and rigorously argued, this collection is absolutely essential reading.” --Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook

“Most of the scholarship on antifascism focuses on history or movement dynamics with little discussion of the theories that drive these actions. This book fills that void in antifascist theory. The essays and reviews collected here provide a theoretical framework for antifascist activism. Shaw elaborates on the notion of a three way fight between antifascists, fascists, and the state that underpins antifa activism. In doing so, he provides a theoretical depth to understanding the relationships between these movements. This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the ‘why’ of militant antifascism.” --Stanislav Vysotsky author of American Antifa: The Tactics, Culture, and Practice of Militant Antifascism

About the Author

D.Z. Shaw teaches at a community college in so-called British Columbia. He is the author of Philosophy of Antifascism: Punching Nazis and Fighting White Supremacy (2020), The Politics of the Blockade (Kersplebedeb, 2020), Egalitarian Moments: From Descartes to Rancière (2016), and numerous essays on philosophy and political thought. He is one co-author in the multi-author collaboration published under the pseudonym M.I. Asma, On Necrocapitalism: A Plague Journal (Kersplebedeb, 2021). He is also a co-editor of the book series Living Existentialism, published by Rowman and Littlefield.

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