Think Out Loud

New book by Portland writer, filmmaker explores antifascism, the far-right and deradicalization

By Rolando Hernandez (OPB)
Jan. 3, 2023 7:26 p.m. Updated: Jan. 5, 2023 8:01 p.m.

Broadcast: Tuesday, Jan. 3

On Jan. 6, 2021, thousands of Trump supporters and right-wing protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol. In a matter of hours, disinformation spread blaming the attack on antifa and the Black Lives Matter Movement, despite no evidence proving that connection. Antifa itself is not an organized group with structure or a leader, so why was it blamed and what exactly is it? To share more on the history of antifascism and explore the work being done today to combat the far-right, we’re joined by Shane Burley. He is a Portland-based writer and filmmaker and the editor of a new book, “¡No Pasarán!: Antifascist Dispatches from a World in Crisis.”


The following transcript was created by a computer and edited by a volunteer:

Dave Miller: From the Gert Boyle Studio at OPB, this is Think Out Loud. I’m Dave Miller. We turn now to a new collection of essays. It’s called “¡No Pasarán!: Antifascist Dispatches from a World in Crisis.” It was edited by the Portland-based writer and filmmaker Shane Burley. He writes, in the introduction, that ‘this new world of explosive crisis and change makes fascism an increasing possibility for how rage may be both expressed and cultivated by those in power.’ But antifascism, he writes, ‘is the alternative - a way to protect ourselves and channel that discontent to create a future based on faith in human flourishing.’ Shane Burley, welcome to Think Out Loud.

Shane Burley: Thanks so much for having me.

Miller: Thanks for joining us. In your introductory essay for this new collection, you start with a Patriot Prayer rally that you covered in Portland in June of 2018. It feels like that happened a lot more than four and a half years ago. But I’m curious why you started with that particular day?

Burley: I think it feels kind of dense because it happened so many times. This was like a sort of repeating incident. And I started with that one because the depth of the crisis, which is sort of a theme throughout the book, became really obvious there with the level of violence that we saw. For folks, when they read that, they might even remember this incident when Patriot Prayer and The Proud Boys staged a rally downtown and then marched directly into counter demonstrators. And what followed was an incredible amount of violence, people being very seriously hurt, some sent to the hospital with really serious injuries. I talked about there being blood staining the road there for weeks afterwards.

That level of confrontation is not one you see in popular progressive city streets very often. And it showed that there was a real shift in the political culture, one where this level of conflict was becoming more endemic. And it’s one that was then exported to city after city and has continued up to the point of being a major feature of our political scene up to and including January 6th. So I think that, really for me, was the continuation of something we had seen for a couple of years, but it hit a certain peaking point at that moment.

Miller: That was after the deadly rally in Charlottesville, the summer before - but obviously before the COVID-19 pandemic - which had its own whole summer of protests against police violence. [It was] obviously, also before the attack on the capitol on January 6th that you just referenced. I’m curious how much you think has actually changed just in those four years in the overall terrain of the rise of the far right on the one hand and then this countervailing antifascist effort on the other?

Burley: Yeah, we’re living in a different world. So on the one hand, we’ve seen some far right movements decline the quote unquote “alt-right” and a lot of white national organizations sort of imploded under pressure from either activists or from state authorities or their own kind of incompetence. But what happened was their ideas became so much more ubiquitous that they have continued to be the energy pretty particularly in primary sectors of the GOP. So the growth of national conservatism. Also the growth of a conspiracy has become foundational to right wing politics. And I don’t just mean the fringes. I mean, in mainstream right wing politics.

They have left their imprint on our discussions about immigration or discussions about race or discussions about now, healthcare and basic kind of reality. So that has made a really big change. And you’ve seen the turn towards in-person violent actions and sort of instigations of an almost revolutionary approach on the right. That’s become ubiquitous. At the same time, what you’ve seen is antifascism becoming one of the largest social movements in American history. One where we are seeing a response that brings out tens of thousands of people.

So you mentioned the deadly rally on August 12th and 2017 in Charlottesville. But just a few weeks after that, there was a rally where Proud Boys were trying to rally in Boston. Except they were unable to because 40,000 people flooded into the streets. Now if I see 40,000 people in the streets, they do what they want. They sort of take control over the space. And this is actually happening around the country. There’s such a mass consensus that a problem is happening that just tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people are joining different types of organizations. They’re participating in different ways. But they’re trying to respond to what they’re seeing as a crisis.

Miller: I want to turn to some definitions. And in many ways that’s how you start the book too because this book is very international in scope. It includes neo-nazi, mixed martial arts clubs in Russia and Germany and Ukraine, the rising power of far right parties in Britain and Brazil. In France there’s a long chapter about ultra-nationalism in India in addition to a lot of coverage about the US. What unifies these disparate strands all across the world?

Burley: There’s a couple of central features when we’re talking about Fascism, we’re talking about these sorts of central ideas. So in my first book, “Fascism Today,” I defined it along two temples: On the one hand, it’s this return to the belief in human inequality that we need a society that’s cleanly stratified. The price of progress that we think of in modernity, is about horizontalizing social relations as much as possible, at least as much as possible in the social organizations we have now. So the far right really wants to turn the clock back to a much different vision of social revision. And the other temple of that is identity. Usually racial but not only racial. We also see this around gender with things like the incel movement and the manosphere. But it’s around creating an inequality of these identities, nationalism being the biggest form of this. And so what binds these different movements together around the world is that they have that common structure. Their specifics though are governed by those specifics.

So for example, you mentioned hindu nationalism in India. That’s different than white nationalism in the United States. It has some common features but the context is different. And so when we’re thinking about international, and this is one of the big questions about antifascism, is how would there be a commonality between activists in different countries in different contexts if the movements they’re responding to are so different?

Miller: Right. I mean, we could spend an hour just tackling that question alone. But what are the top level ways that activists are thinking about answering that, about bringing together anti-fascism globally?

Burley: I think it’s actually a part of the question about how they do it in the US as well. And that’s by building large coalitions on shared interests. This is sort of the history of American politics in general, that people do build coalitions on shared interests, on shared changes, they want to say shared reform, shared progress. And so what’s happening in a lot of the movements that are discussed in the book is that people are building bonds between labor unions, community groups, church groups, things like that, to get a large mass of people to participate. Big enough that they can actually stop the advance of a far right movement, which can be incredibly dangerous and violent. That’s the same thing internationally. Those coalitions have to have those connections. So the same issues that people are confronting around nationalism in the US, they have a lot of that shared struggle, even share its tactics, shared need for coordination with folks in South Asia, certainly with folks in Britain fighting the rise of the post-Brexit far right, in Brazil and so on.

This idea of building a common relationship along shared values is really important for pretty much any social movement, but it’s especially important here. So as people are fighting for things like reproductive justice, they’re fighting for LGBT, safety inequality. They’re fighting for immigration reform in a positive and just way. Those are going to be issues that allow them to build bridges in other countries and allow us to continue to kind of internationalize this movement, which is increasingly important as we’re talking less and less just about being isolated in our nation states. We’re talking about global issues. We’re talking about mass coordination, mass platforms to do that. So we have to think about that in a global sense.

Miller: I wonder if you could read us a part of the Preface by the writer Tal Lavin? This gets to the diversity in the methods of antifascism.

Burley: Yeah, absolutely. So this is from the Forward that Tal Lavin wrote,

“Methods to thwart Fascism are at least as variegated as the ways to spread it, if not more so. Antifascism can utilize the full spectrum of human creativity. There are those who create antifascist art to undermine the spread of genocidal propaganda and music that invigorates and inspires. There are those who provide food, clothing, safety gear, childcare and water to street operatives, those who worked bravely as street medics, bandaging wounds and flushing tear gas from weeping eyes. And there’s a whole range of activities in the internet age that occur from behind the keyboard. These include infiltration and surveillance of fascist groups, and relaying gleaned intelligence to others in order to anticipate fascist movements. There is the intentional sowing of internal discord, to thwart fascist operations. There is the digital detective work of unmasking the identities of those who seek to harm and threaten minorities, from beneath the veil of anonymity, pairing ugly words and threats to real names and faces. There is the work of writing and education, whether journalistic or in the form of community resources to keep people aware of the state of fascist movements. There are those who call for boycotts of venues, who host fascist conferences or events in the effort to disrupt logistics and to provide disincentives to making fascist money. There are those who target the advertising and monetization of fascist blogs, shops and video channels, or seek to deplore platform fascist ideologues from social media perches that enable them to recruit. None of these activities are less or more antifascist. Each is necessary. Each is complementary. Each is part of the broad, sprawling, individuated effort of building a dike against the rising tide of violent cruelty that threatens to sweep away our world.”

Miller: You write, at one point, “antifascism can act as a kind of antibiotic agent against the worst inclinations and possibilities.” What do you see as those inclinations? I mean, I guess what I’m really asking is, what you see as the most salient reasons for fascism’s rise right now?

Burley: I think a lot about and there’s this comparative fascism studies scholar named Robert Paxton that refers to ‘mobilizing passions.’ These are the energies that kind of motivate social movements in general, radicalism in general, both of the left and the far right - things like the experience of inequality, of alienation, of the feelings of loss of status, dislocation, particularly around changing social mores, feeling lost in society. Those elements are accelerating in our current world from a number of factors, sort of economic shifting. In some ways it’s declined, particularly the American side, absolute ecological chaos, and the increased kind of geopolitical consequences of that. Just changing social mores in general. These create certain mobilizing passions. And these are the same things that are, for example, fueling the rise of a new labor movement. It’s the same things that brought people out in 2020 into the streets against police violence. It’s the same thing that built the Women’s March. All of those have mobilizing passions to them. But for other folks, they contextualized those mobilizing passions differently. They understand them through narratives of white privilege and white supremacy, of the idea of maintaining privilege.

Instead of coming together as a larger mass of people and fighting for equality that should be sort of beneficial to all of us, they’re instead trying to hold on to that level of privilege as much as possible by sort of turning that anger, that mobilizing passion, back on the other marginalized folks. So I think as we’re seeing very real problems that are taking place and very real social shifts that are happening, we have to look at where that energy can go wrong. Where can it go in a non-liberatory direction? Where can it actually seek to blame and then too, divide people rather than create a common solution? So that’s why when we’re talking about the rule of antifascism, it’s not just about fighting the far right, it’s actually about fighting the far right’s influence on us in our communities as well. That way we can create space for something different, something more positive, to have a progressive future instead.

Miller: This gets to a point you make, and others make, at various points in the book, which is that antifascism should not or can’t just be defined in opposition to something else. Can’t just be defined in opposition to fascism. But it has to be its own movement in arguing in favor of its own principles in a positive way. What are those principles?

Burley: I think those principles are about maintaining equality and access to democracy, having a focus on liberation, as something that happens at all identity levels, in all communities. And so we want to see that crisis reframed. We want to see it as actually an opportunity to build something totally different.

As I mentioned earlier with the coalitions, antifascism is a piece of a much larger movement to change society. It’s the same energy that’s fighting sexism and patriarchy. It’s the same issues that are fighting against the kind of attack on immigrants coming over the border. All of those are actually pieces of a shared vision for a more progressive, equal future. And so antifascism is a piece of that. It’s the piece that defense communities that need that space, either while they’re organizing or just simply to exist. It’s the part that fights against sort of a reactionary impulse that tries to mutate people’s instincts to change their situation. So it ends up being a piece of that and that’s different than simply stopping the far right.

And as we talked about in the book, there are other ways that people have historically tried to push back on the far right. Law enforcement focus, for example. What we’re seeing in the FBI, investigations around January 6th. Antifascism is different from that.

Miller: As you were going through some of those the larger social movements that, as you’re saying, tie into and are a part of antifascism, I’m wondering how much Venn Diagram overlap you see between what you call the broadest version of antifascism and, say, progressive politics in the US?

Burley: I think it’s bigger than it used to be. A lot of social movements, particularly around formal organizations, used to be a little bit more siloed off. And so you would see, in particular in antifascist groups, where people tend to have to be trained on how to do research or learn about how these social movements work, there’s a certain barrier to entry in that way. There used to be less overlap. But now what we’re seeing is a real shift, and not just into fascism, but into other protest movements, into this real mass participation. Big mass protest events, really big rapidly sort of inviting events.

We saw this around COVID-19 where people sort of created and joined mutual aid networks, which used to be the property of really radical anarchist subcultural movements. But it had millions of people joining and participating in a really rapid way. And that’s happening with a lot of protest movements. So the overlap comes from this fact that people are sort of joining in a really mass way and that mass itself has the overlap. So you see a lot of people are coming out to stop Patriot Prayer. A lot of those folks are the people that came out into the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd. Those are the same folks that helped create mutual aid networks earlier that year to fight COVID infections. These are a lot of the same folks. So when people are participating they’re not just participating as ‘I’m this one kind of person that’s one kind of activist and this one kind of organization.’ They’re shifting between that.

I think one thing that might be different though, is that a lot of this is built around the idea that electoral politics, legislative politics is not giving the full enough answer and that people have to be engaged in their community beyond that. And so that’s a piece I think of what we’re seeing here is that both antifascism as a community-based response, but all these other social movements too. People are moving into the space where they’re not just depending on advocating for progressive politicians or progressive reforms. They’re actually engaging the community themselves. They’re building these mutual networks and helping people get their medications or food during COVID.  They’re helping people organize on the job in forms of unions or alternative formats. So I think that’s actually part of the shift. But you’re seeing this back and forth connection between all these different social movements in a way that used to be very siloed off.


Miller: You’re very clear that antifascism is activism and organizing an action outside of the state and certainly outside of law enforcement. But what do you want to see the state, meaning government at any level, do in response to the rise of an often violent far right?

Burley: This is a really difficult question, because I think a part of the antifascist hesitancy - and this is something we heard from hundreds of antifascists I’ve interviewed over multiple books and articles and things - is the inability to trust kind of law enforcement’s neutrality when dealing with the far right end with them as activists. An example is during those 2020 protests, there was a lot of coverage of the incredible amount of violence among police, both locally and federal authorities Trump sent in, that attacked the Black Lives Matter protesters here in Portland. But this was mirrored around the country. The same could not be said of how far right rallies, both in Portland and around the country, were treated by police.

This created an incredible amount of distrust between activists and the police. And again, likewise, when there are intelligence efforts to take down far right organizations, they will actually disrupt their organizing pretty effectively. What we’ve seen historically is that those same methods are then used against left wing social movements at disproportionate rates. They’re used against marginalized communities at disproportionate rates. So there’s a lot of, I think, hesitancy to believe that there’s a strong longterm kind of law enforcement solution, outside of this direct community based approach.

I think if you’re asking what are useful law enforcement interventions, I think following suit on prosecutions for the far right, when they actually engage in violence, having that be as uniform and dependable as possible is an important piece of that. But I think there is going to be a long term rift between law enforcement and activists on this issue because of the disproportionate use against the left.

Miller: You focused one of your essays in the collection on a Portland-based group called Pop Mob. What is the idea behind this group?

Burley: Pop Mob was formed a few years ago in response to, again, these rallies that we talked about earlier with the Portland/Vancouver-based Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys and various far right constellation that surrounded them. They were having these rallies where they basically tried to stoke people into conflict. They particularly looked for situations in which they could get only a small response and where they can dominate the space. So they would hope that the protest response would be kind of small and then they would be able to look strong in opposition and, oftentimes, engage in attacks and violence there. So Pop Mob formed as a way of creating a mass response, seeing how many people that could possibly get out to counter them.

And the idea would be that if they could get hundreds or thousands of people to join this, these large coalitions, and protest that, they would totally swamp Patriot Prayers. Not only would they not be able to move around the city and attack people, but they would be demoralized. The whole conversation would change, and would now become a platform for the progressive ideas that the groups in the coalition were doing.

So this started out and they brought about 1,000 people to their first response rally. They had dozens of organizations come together, labor unions, progressive groups, church groups, had speakers, and did a big march. And they did a series of events after that, including big carnivals, dance parties, really trying to have a positive kind of counter messaging to the kind of hateful and fear-based rhetoric of the far right. So that was a way that a bridge was built between more radical activists and people in progressive movements that wanted to participate, but weren’t quite sure how. They created a safe space where people could participate in all kinds of different ways. All kinds of different personalities, all different kinds of styles were present. And that way they could use that huge, huge number of people as the way to silence the far right.

Miller: I should note that we talked to one of the spokespeople for Pop Mob, Effie Baum, in 2019. Folks can find the audio and a transcript of that conversation online. I want to dig deeper into this idea of the bridge you were talking about. What exactly do you see as a connection between a group like Pop Mob and a more militant group like Rose City Antifa?

Burley: I think they are tactically different but theoretically aligned, both of which want to use the community to stop the advance of the far right. Pop Mob’s goal was to engage as many people as possible in a way where their tactics were based on mass participation. So they win by how many people come and participate. And you do that by creating a safe space where the most number of people can participate: having speakers, having music, having food, and having fun things. That’s the way that you do that. And the mass of people is how you determine whether or not who wins or loses.

Rose City Antifa is different. They physically disrupt events. That is part of their tactical approach. Both of those are different, but they have the same kind of goal in mind which is to counter the far right to overwhelm them to shut down their functioning. And so I think they’re basically different approaches to the same thing. And part of the Pop Mob ethos and part of the ethos of a number of groups all around the country that are formed is ‘how can we get all of these communities together to bring the largest bridge possible to have different tactics going at different times, but also respect people’s differences in a way where you can get hundreds or thousands of people to do what just a few people couldn’t do.’

Miller: I want to turn to another Oregon phenomenon, something that you mentioned a couple of times in different places in the book. This is that during the wildfires in Oregon in 2020, militia groups essentially set up checkpoints to stop antifascists who they falsely believed were starting these fires. How did a false idea like that spread?

Burley: I think it starts with earlier conspiracy theories. The effect that conspiracyism has on the culture is that it radically reshapes our sense of reality over time. And so we had several years of Donald Trump, the GOP itself, the alt-right, other movements, pushing conspiracy narratives that made it much more easy to believe in really outlandish ideas later on. And this became especially true as antifa conspiracy theories, which sort of warmed over Cold War era conspiracy theories like communists, began to run wild, particularly in places like Fox News, Tucker Carlson. And this created a really outsized, bizarre image of what antifa was. It seemed ubiquitous, was huge, and about to overthrow the government or whatever.

Miller: But then busloads of quote unquote “antifa” were always just outside various cities.

Burley: I think in Grants Pass over again, people lined up prepared for these rumored buses that never showed up. I think it’s also a kind of an intentional misunderstanding, in some cases, of what an antifascist is - like a particular tactic or strategy or person or not they are there to do a purpose. They’re not there to create political chaos or certainly to set fires or damage people’s homes or the environment. So this came from a long history of sort of misunderstanding what antifascists were, to the point that a lot of these activists involved in kind of a left wing or progressive social movement went out to rural areas in Oregon to support people who needed to evacuate, there to take care of animals to help them get out.

And they were actually being stopped as potential arsonists. And it could have actually stopped a lot of really important rescue operations. And it created a huge crisis. And it was one of those situations in which people are willing to choose conspiracy theories over their own survival, their own ability to have a flourishing community. And that’s why this kind of misunderstanding about antifascism and something we talked about in the book about the actual diversity of what it means when we talk about antifascism, created such a problem and has created so many barriers for building community.

Miller: If you’re going to believe that antifascists are going around setting wildfires in, say in some part of rural Clackamas County, I don’t think you’re going to be disabused of that idea if it’s debunked by OPB or The Oregonian or Willamette Week. So where does that leave us? What do you see as an effective way to fight either cynically created or ignorantly believed in misinformation?

Burley: I think, unfortunately, this may be the generational problem that we’re going to have to answer. I think one of the things that is very visible in Oregon in particular, and I think it’s true in other states, is what combats that is people actually knowing each other. The reality is that all across Oregon militias are able to flourish because a lot of people in rural Oregon don’t have strong community supports. They don’t have social services. They don’t have a lot of the things that create a lot of strong community bonds. And frankly, the militias offer that. They will drive you to the hospital if you need it, they’ll help you get portable water. So what I think is necessary is for people who want to have an alternative to that, who want to look at those mobilizing passions and move them in a different direction, they have to actually engage with those communities.

It’s much harder to make up hyperbolic fears of antifa when you actually know these people and when you’ve built long term relationships. And I think that’s what a lot of organizations like the Rural Organizing Project in Oregon are trying to do, which is to build real relationships with people, talk to them about reality and create a shared struggle to make this a real investment across communities. And I think that’s what historically, over the last couple of decades, leftists, protest groups and progressives have failed to do. They have failed to take rural communities seriously and they have to kind of return there and, in a sincere way, work with those communities.

Miller: One of the chapters that you wrote in the book is essentially an interview with the longtime antiracist activist and teacher and musician, Mic Crenshaw, who’s been on this show a few times over the years. Why did you want to talk to him?

Burley: I think Mic’s history is particularly unique because it sort of is ancestral to all of the kind of particularly more radical antifascist activism that we’ve talked so much about the last few years. As a teenager, he was an antiracist skinhead which has a long history in Oregon, in Portland. He helped found the group Anti Racist Action, which is sort of an ancestor to today’s antifa groups. As a Black skinhead, a Black antichrist activist, and later as a musician, his experience is particularly unique, informing that because he came out of this as a kind of youth activist trying to make sense of his community, talk about safety, thinking about strong issues like violence and defense and activist tactics and problems with a lot of those things. And so his experience is one that I think is more and more relevant to the questions people are asking now, because he actually lived through this in an earlier generation. And so I think it’s important to kind of think about that history.

In Oregon in particular, Mic’s role has been really, really central to the history that took us through the early ‘90s in particular, after the murder of Mulageta Seraw and the kind of battle against far right neo-nazi and skinhead groups after that. And so I thought it was really important to highlight that history. Because we’re not reinventing the story here. This actually has played out in a number of places. And it’s important to remember what lessons we had already learned there and bring them back into the present.

Miller: I was really struck by one of his answers in the interview. You asked if early on, when he got involved in antiracist skinhead groups in Minneapolis, if he thought of himself as an activist. This is what he said: “I didn’t at that time. When we talk about this stuff, I think there’s certain journalists and academics who, from their perspective, it’s a lot clearer of a trajectory or a connection between what we did and what looks like antifascist activism today. But to me, there was something way more organic in that we were just friends who identified that there was a group of problematic individuals in our scene. And so as friends, we said, we’re going to confront these guys.” I’m curious what stands out to you in that answer?

Burley: I mean, for one there’s an incredible sincerity to it. I think that people engaged in a lot of these antifascist movements for political reasons. They want to be involved in making social change. They have political ideas. That’s different than Mic’s experience. The politics came later. What started was this feeling of fear and instability in his neighborhood particularly in Black neighborhoods where poor working class whites might also like in his case, be in what he’s talking about, might be in the Klan or might be in the nazi skinhead gangs. That creates a sort of crisis in that community. And they had to basically find a solution to that, which is to create some kind of boundaries and community defense network and things like that. And experiencing that actually was sort of a political awakening. Then when talking with older activists, they kind of sync this up with a larger theory of how the world works and how you might be able to change something. And I think that’s just actually something that people are asking a lot of questions about, how their personal experience connects to these larger political issues. That happens when people are organizing unions. How does their experience at work, connect with a larger kind of social movement in history? A lot of those questions I think have to inform how we do the work now. And it’s also critically important because when outside political people come into a situation with their own ideas, they are not hearing from the people who it actually affects. And I think what Mic is pointing out is that when the work came from them and their experiences, it was much more valid and effective because they were the ones driving it.

Miller: How do you answer that question? I mean, often you’re asking people about their origin stories as antifascist activists. When did you first identify as an antifascist writer?

Burley: I’m a Jew. So I know the implications of what far right movements can do. I think that, years back, I saw as a series of holocaust and events that were happening when I was in graduate school in upstate New York and the inability of people to understand the implications of that and what it meant, and not just of the feeling of this un-safety, but the actual material violence that can sometimes emerge from those events.

It became really important for me to be able to draw the lines for people. How does this work? Why is it important? Why do we have to actually intervene on it? Not just simply oppose it, but to actually intervene on it in some way. And so I think, you know, over my 20′s and 30s that really crystallized in something that I think is an important part of that.

And then I think looking at the way the world has changed, I think that it’s important to build a community that’s able to keep their eyes on the prize for something different. I mean, at its core, a fascist movement is one that does want to change the world. It just doesn’t want to change it in the way that I think it needs to be changed. And so if I want to see a new world and I want to see something better, then I’m going to have to protect from those who want to make it worse.

Miller: Turning back to Mic Crenshaw, he is no longer on the militant end of antifascist or anti racist organizing. He’s taken a different path as he’s gotten older, but he does not at all regret the fights that he took part in, to defend his friends and what he holds dear and to push out neo nazis. What did you learn from him about the effects of violence on the people who are, I guess, the tips of the antifascist spear?

Burley: This is something we’ve talked about a bunch of the events that we’ve had. The experience when people have experiences of violence, even when it’s in defense of violence protecting your family and things like that, or obviously combat veterans. It can be incredibly corrosive. And I think it requires a lot of support to regain a sense of structure and normalcy and vulnerability. I think that when people are engaging in these community projects, it can’t be out of some kind of macho desire to prove authority because those things are fundamentally damaging to the people experiencing them.

So I think, instead, having a real anti-violence mentality in activism is incredibly important. And I think a lot of antifascists have spoken up about this, that their work is really founded on the idea that we have to protect people from violence and do what is possible to eliminate violence from our communities. And that needs to be the motivating factor.

Miller: Shane Burley, thanks very much for your time today.

Burley: Thanks so much for having me on. I appreciate it.

Miller: Shane Burley is a Portland based writer and filmmaker, the editor of the new book “¡No Pasarán!: Antifascist Dispatches from a World in Crisis.”

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