Excerpts from a review by Malatesta – read the full review here
The book is well written, at times funny, and although from a fairly singular point uses insider information from the folk who were actually there which makes it very readable. The case for physical opposition is made absolutely clear and uncompromisingly. Physical force is not for everyone but that does not mean it cannot be employed alongside other strategies against fascism
Some of the stories have clearly been well polished over the bar but are honest and unflinching in the descriptions of fear and outright violence. Accounts of events will always be disputed and obviously, in the heat of battle, participants’ experiences and views of events can differ radically but the subjective nature of the descriptions counter balance any dry theorising. And it is these anecdotes – rather than the dry analysis of SWP hacks like Dave Renton – that give the book its flavour
Beating The Fascists quickly dismisses the nonsense point of view that anti-fascists are somehow fighting on behalf of black or Asian people. Anti-fascists fight against fascists because of political opposition not as some misguided social work
The book does point up the heavy white male aspect of Red Action (although AFA was much more gender mixed) but this kind of anti-fascism is not for the meek. It requires violence, physical stamina and people able to dish it out as well as take it. There can be no dispute over Red Action’s organising skills, the hassles and isolation that they faced with the internecine disputes amongst the left, and their uncompromising ability to take it to the Nazis. And, more importantly, win.