A century of opposition to fascism as a comic-book street fight.
Many readers associate the rise of fascism with World War II, and most Americans were unfamiliar with the term “Antifa” until the clashes with alt-right demonstrators in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. The context provided in this brightly colored, action-filled graphic narrative details a longer, deeper history of fascism and opposition to it. With a tone that is more matter-of-fact than inflammatory, Hill (The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book: From the WTO to the G20, 2012, etc.) traces the rise of fascism from the end of World War I, in response to the Russian Revolution and fear of communism, through a variety of contemporary eruptions. The author details Mussolini’s rise in Italy through the early 1920s and the street-fighting backlash it ignited, suggesting that such resistance “could have potentially led to the defeat of Italian fascism before it gained power.” Instead, the rise of Mussolini and his fascist Blackshirts anticipated greater horrors in Germany, where “the Nazis grew with increasing support among the middle class.” Well after the defeat of Axis fascism in World War II, Hill documents consistent threats from the totalitarian right, from German Nazi revivalists to skinheads and punk rockers in the U.K. to the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Brotherhood, and other racist extremists who adopted a cloak of respectability as the “alt-right.” This last gave rise to American Antifa, which would refuse to turn the other cheek to the threat of violence from the right. The soft-sell approach of the book sounds the warning that refusing to recognize the threat and failing to respond physically means failing to learn from history.
Even those who oppose Antifa’s tactics will find their perspective broadened by this graphic history.