I love antifas. antifa as a subculture and a political movement is just a fascinating phenomenon.

I think it was at a Kurdish festival hosted by antifas that I really started thinking of antifascism as a subculture. because there were Kurdish bands playing Kurdish music that folk in Kurdish clothes danced in a Kurdish way. and then antifa bands playing antifa music that antifa folk wearing antifa clothes danced in an antifa way.

oh yes there's a recognisable antifa music; it runs from hiphop to punk to techno, but the common trend is not just the meaning, but the aesthetics, the combative energy. antifa music are battle-songs. Mal Éléve, ZSK, Zerreißprobe, Resistencia Afa, The Muslims, Sookee, Spezial-K, Broken Rules, Refpolk, Blade Loki, Alsarath, Ana Tijoux, Cistem Failure…

oh yes there's a recognisable antifa fashion! complete with commodified fashion labels (True Rebel, Lesstalk, Sixblox, La Révolté… myself, I'm a Mob Action girl, if anyone from Mob Action is reading this: I'll 100% sell out for outfits).

obviously fashion & consumerism conflicts with leftism, and the true-cred antifa will never buy a single thing and dress exclusively on hand-me-downs etc. but as the one socialist unironically delighted by fashion, I'm particularly in love with antifa wear.

like a lot of styles, antifa wear starts out from purely functional needs: it has to be quick to wear and large enough to put over civilian clothes, so you can dress up/down in little alleyways without cameras. It gotta be foldable and good for action and protect from weather or long detentions (thus the ubiquitous North Face windbreakers). And unprinted black bloc, to blend in with the squad, so that the cops can't easily tell who did what.

it was just tactical, without concern for aesthetics…

…but anything that's purely functional looks cool, because it projects power. and then it's an aesthetic. and then it acquires the functions of aesthetics, which supersede the original functions. so even though a "free Lina" print will negate the benefits of pure blac block, it will build community, make your allies know you're an ally, make your enemies uncomfortable, make people in the know feel supported, build up you confidence and sense of identity… you know, everything outfits do.

I don't feel any desire to defend fashion from the obvious criticisms (it'd take me into a whole thread about femmemisia and how come countercultural guardians always hate literally anything that teen girls love).

will just point that all subcultures, even those that prize individuality & freedom (e.g. punk) somehow seem to always converge into a recognisable style. indigenous people have shared community aesthetics, too. and maybe there's a point, a reason why people feel compelled to do that?

I think it was at the forest occupation skateboarding techno music gym, when I saw young antifas skating and holding hands and going for a drink together, all _in masks_, that I first thought of how antifas have a bit of a Zapatista thing going on: they're more themselves with the mask than without. (that was my second thought, my first thought was "wtf how is this real life this is ridiculously cool wth").

this helps a lot because antifascism is an incomplete, reactive movement…

…it's in the symbol: a red flag for MLs (*cof* appropriately *cof*), a black one for anarchists. so that we remember how our conflict left an opening for the nazis to exploit. so that we don't do it again.

but you can't just be anti-, you have to be pro- something. you need to build an alternative to fascism. and, because our goals are different from the MLs, our methods also diverge, and it's easy to cause a split.

masked, you're just another antifa. masked, you hold the front lines together.

in this way antifascism is bounded. I will put my body between the police and targeted statists, as they've done for me in the past. but I won't fucking march for their shitty left parties. so the only thing we can do together is fight, sometimes.

but lately I think I see antifascism growing a theory of its own („Antifa heißt mehr als Nazis jagen / Antifa heißt Tag für Tag das Ganze hinterfragen“). basic idea being, what are the values of fascism writ large, and what is their alternative?

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fascism envisions a world of glorious masculinity and sex essentialism; so a positive antifascism will build up queer-feminism.

they want militarism, heroism, conquest; so we build compassion, softness, empathy.

they want uniformity, nationalism, white supremacy; so we build diversity, free movement, reparations, BIPOC protagonism.

they want duty, sacrifice, hard work; so we encourage fun, love, art.

fascism is, in short, a death cult; so a positive antifascism is the affirmation of life.

it's in this trend that I see the potential for antifa crews to leverage their unique sense of trust into an independent movement. it's what refutes the common accusation of hooliganism, of being _no more than_ a fight club.

don't get me wrong, the fight is a beautiful thing. it's also justified; the wave of hostility that makes our eyes burn cold in unison when we see some fucker flashing a Reichsflag is there for a reason.

but if it was all about fighting, it'd be merely punitive justice…

of all the things German antifas do, the one I like the most is the Hanau demos. how long after media & govt cycles forgot about it, year after year we march, we invite the families of the targeted, put them on the stage, listen to their stories.

show that we remember. that we're seeing this shit. that someone cares.

and what keeps me on the streets, despite increasing State persecution, is the way Muslims and Jews and old folk stop when we pass, and their expressions when they look at us.

(for a longer discussion on positive antifascism, see Ewa Majewska's book Feminist Antifascism versobooks.com/books/3820-femi

also discussed with the author in the UK antifa podcast "12 rules for what", episode #51 soundcloud.com/12rulesforwhat/ )

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