Paul Messersmith-Glavin: Interview with Shane Burley, Editor of No Pasarán! – Antifascist Dispatches from a World in Crisis

Institute for Anarchist Studies, October 28, 2022

Paul Messersmith-Glavin: Talk about what was going on in the world four or five years ago and what motivated you to put this collection together.

I think I first came up with the idea in 2018 when I was at a bar with Kim Kelly and Spencer Sunshine. It seemed like the time to start something like this, and I knew it would be a multi-year endeavor. There was a lot of interest in the idea of antifascism because people were joining antifascist groups, creating new ones, building these really mass actions, and, more importantly, trying to figure out what was next. There were some good books out at the time, and some great ones still to come, but we were thinking about how to build outward. What was missing?

So the thought was to talk about different kinds of experiences, different voices, really open it up, and hear from people who had not had a platform. Then we wanted to flip the script and come at it from different directions. There were a lot of approaches that could distinctly be called antifascist that had yet to really get attention. Musicians and religious groups who were developing subcultural strategies, international movements that had never been identified as antifascist, entire histories that were being defined out of antifascism. So the goal of the anthology was to widen the scope and to think about all the different facets of the idea, and in doing so to help create a plurality of what types of tactics, organizations, and strategies we could use to fight fascism. And that’s what’s so great about the book being released right now, because this is the perfect time to be asking that question since the entire terrain is shifting so rapidly. We don’t know entirely what comes next, but it won’t look like what we were fighting just a couple of years ago and so we need an intensely diverse approach.

Paul: Can you give an overview of this collection of writing? What topics and perspectives are contained within No Pasaran, and which organizers and thinkers? What is distinct about this collection in relation to other recent books on antifascism?

The book is an attempt to split open the expectations that many have on what antifascism is and to open up new possibilities, to bring in other histories and ideas into the framework of antifascism, and to try and envision a new future of what antifascism can look like in the coming years. Few works on antifascism have tried to pull together something of this wide scope, both thematically and in terms of who is contributing, and we have tried to zoom out enough so that the chapters have wildly different subjects and approaches. So we move into questions of geography, identity, strategy, intersectionality, and expansive histories as it relates to antifascism, an incredibly diverse topic that has not typically been treated as diverse.

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