Building an anti-fascist culture post-Brexit


This text was written by some people involved in the Anti Raids Network – it doesn’t represent the position of the whole network.

A vast amount has already been said about ‘Brexit’ and the general  climate of nationalism and xenophobia in which the vote took place.  We want to concentrate on where we can go from here. Between rising  fascism on the one hand, and despair on the other, we think  it’s essential we build a culture of anti-fascism based on solidarity and autonomy. Solidarity here means taking action to  support each other against those who seek to impose their  authoritarian and racist ideal of a uniform society. Autonomy means unlearning our habit of looking to leaders for solutions, and taking the initiative to organise for ourselves.

For our anti-fascism to be meaningful and effective, we feel that it  should follow a few basic principles:

It should be decentralised & grassroots

Rather than searching for the next political party/saviour  figure/controlling coalition to dictate our direction and tactics,  now really is the time for each of us who identify with anti-fascist  position have the courage and commitment to take the initiative.  Seek out and get involved in local groups, or better still, start your own*. Our groups and actions should multiply, not  massify, and with this carry the crucial idea that anyone can be part of this struggle.

It should target all forms of nationalism & xenophobia – from the  street to the state

We need to think creatively about how to effectively counter  nationalist groups taking to the streets, but it is critical that we do not neglect the ‘respectable’ xenophobia of the suit-wearing demagogues in power and those who carry out their commands. Both these groups reinforce one another, with politicians normalising such practices as deadly border controls and the daily round-up of migrants from our neighbourhoods, while street groups and keyboard warriors garner citizen-support for these right wing agendas and demand that they be taken to more extreme levels.

It should be braver

Too often, we respond to the latest oppressive state action or  policy by seeking the validation of our friends and comfortable  social media ‘scene’, rather than taking action. Instead of seeking  solace from Twitter,  why not go out and put up some posters? We  also need to challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zones,  and not leave risky actions to some mythical ‘others’, who have no responsibilities or cause to fear repression. Of course, there are  some who face more severe reprisals due to issues such as their  immigration status, race or class – but anti-fascism wouldn’t be called a struggle if it didn’t carry any risk. When the time comes  to hold the line, we need to be there for each other.

It should be creative

At the same time, conflict cannot be sustained without a broader culture to nourish it. This struggle is not simply about the  defeat of an authoritarian ideology; we also have to show an  alternative form of power – the power of solidarity and real community. Our culture should carry the seeds of a new society,  another way of life, and not be purely orientated towards what we  oppose.

It should be multiform

…postering, organising cultural events, blocking immigration vans,  leafletting, graffiti, running DIY martial arts clubs, neutralising nazis on the streets, sabotaging deportation attempts, giving  workshops and skillshares, supporting resistance in detention,  running regular stalls, making anti-fascist art and music,  mobilising against evictions, taking direct action against the peddlers of nationalism and bigotry…… building an anti-fascist culture takes these forms and many more. We should recognise the value of all these actions and encourage & support different  people’s contributions according to their interest and skills.

These are just a few possible guidelines for what we hope will be a  fiery, emancipatory, and truly grassroots resistance that can be our  only response to the shackles of nationalism, borders, and state control.

*If you would like to act against immigration raids in London, check out our statement of principles and feel free to visit your nearest anti raids stall (times correct at the time of writing):

See here for more ideas for what you can do to fight the raids.