Tag Archives: antifascism

Reclaiming Antifascism

Antifascism needs restoration. Layers of additional meanings and intentions have accumulated since its inception in the 1920s and ’30s, obscuring its original character. The first layer formed already during World War II, when the phrase “premature antifascists” entered the American lexicon as a label for those on the left who had actively opposed fascist regimes […]

Going Underground

Lately, the idea of resistance has a renewed urgency and appeal. But we won’t be able to fight a fresh wave of authoritarianism without appreciating the symbols that animated the antifascist imagination of the past – in particular, the underground. That symbol has very deep roots in European and US culture, but over the course […]

The Partisan’s Lament

From eastern Ukraine to an Oregon wildlife refuge, right-wing militias have lately expropriated the memory of antifascist resistance and partisan struggle. But we would do well to remember the progressive and emancipatory potential of that history. Below I’ve translated a famous song of the French Resistance, “La Complainte du partisan” (1943). Here’s a beautiful version by the […]

A Poem for Dark Times

We surely live in dark times. This afternoon I remembered a poem that Bertolt Brecht wrote in the late 1930s. It was called “An die Nachgeborenen,” and it aimed not to console, but to provoke. Below is my loose translation from the German. (Here’s a recording of Brecht reading the original.) To Future Generations – I […]

“Dear Michel” (an excerpt from the archives)

While sifting through the papers of the Bavarian SPD leader Waldemar von Knoeringen at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Bonn a few months ago, I came across a heart-rending letter from May 22, 1946. Writing almost exactly one year after the Nazi capitulation, Knoeringen’s old comrade from the Neu Beginnen group Eugen Nerdinger tries to […]