“For decades, the antifa scene in the UK has been one of the most relentless, whether it is full-on neo-Nazis or today’s neo-Fascists of the English Defence League (EDL). It has inspired music, culture and other kinds of art, so it was only a matter of time before someone would put out a volume of antifa-inspired poems, and that’s what brings us to Andy Carrington, an antifascist writer and poet living in the Northern England town of Bradford. Inspired by today’s attacks on Muslims by the EDL, Antifa is quite the spiritual journey through the history and the anger that comes with taking on fascists who cannot seem to get the message.
“My main fight throughout putting this book together has been with the English Defence League (EDL) and British National Party (BNP), whose members, I’ve found, tend to hide behind patriotism as a way of targeting Muslims and installing fear in others about the apparent threat Islam poses to Western democracy at this point in time,” he writes in the forward, where he also notes how there is very little difference between the discrimination seen by the Jewish people during Hitler’s reign and that which is felt by Muslims today.”
“From this we are given over fifty poems that address several facets of hate and fighting it. That last part has to be noted, because while many of the poems address racism directly, several of them encourage people to take action, such as “Cities Lead the Way” and “A Little Bit of Anarchy is Good for the Soul”, but there’s also admonishment for those who take a more…passive position. Carrington has little use for those who come up with excuses not to call out racism when they see it, or those who make up excuses for the racism itself. One of the more powerful pieces is “The Many Shades of Prejudice” where he zeroes in on people who do some sort of selective racism, hating one ethnicity while giving a pass to others, and thinking that doesn’t mean they are racist. In this day and age where conservatives in the US think they can be absolved of their racist sins by parading people of color in front of everyone claiming to be friends with them, Carrington hits it out of the park when he writes in the piece “(T)hat’s one of the reasons why humanity’s failing/ And some of us are still struggling to really get along.
“Carrington’s antifa work apparently has generated some infamy among his country’s fash as they have profiled him a number of times on Redwatch, a neo-Nazi website that tries to identify and locate antifascist activists. But in his piece “Fuck Redwatch”, he has more than a little fun with that particular lot. You know it’s getting good to him when he tells the Nazi webmasters of that little site, “I guess I should take it as a compliment that it’s me you chose to feature/ And times I just laugh at how pathetic you lot appear to be./ Am I getting to you?/ Am I really?
“And while it might be getting to them, the rest of the collection is enough to bring a round of cheers from the rest of us. Rare do we see such candid observations from the antifa side, and this alone makes the book Antifa an inspiring must-read.”