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“Antifa: The Anti-fascist Handbook” author explains the movement

If you’re somebody who frequents alt-right blogs, you might think that antifa is planning to sow the seeds of the apocalypse this weekend, unleash civil war, and send out millions of masked, leftist super-soldiers to behead white American parents.

Not exactly. A new anti-fascist group called “Refuse Fascism” has designated Saturday as its “day of action” and is planning rallies across the country from Honolulu to Philadelphia to protest the Trump administration.


The group took out a full-page black-and-white ad in the New York Times Thursday: “THE TRUMP/ PENCE REGIME MUST GO! NOV 4. IT BEGINS. BE THERE. JOIN WITH THE THOUSANDS,” followed by a link to

But the wild conspiracy theories highlight the mystery surrounding the activities of the masked activists, and offers the opportunity to clear up lingering questions: What does the movement want, and what are some of the biggest misconceptions about it?

READ: White Lives Matter march thwarted by heavy security

Joining VICE News via Facebook Live is Mark Bray, a visiting professor at Dartmouth College’s Gender Research Institute, and the author of “Antifa: The Anti-fascist Handbook,” which explores the roots of anti-fascism, starting in Europe in the 1920s, and offers helpful tips for organizers hoping to put anti-fascist ideas into practice. Join us at 4 p.m. ET for the live interview:

Bray and his publisher moved quickly to release the book in the wake of August’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, after President Donald Trump famously blamed “both sides” for the events leading to one death and dozens of injuries.

WATCH: Charlottesville: race and terror

At the outset of the book, Bray makes it clear that he supports “violent protest” as a means to resist fascism. In an interview with “Meet the Press” shortly after the book was released, Bray said “when pushed, self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence.”


Right-wing media outlets, including Breitbart, pounced, saying Bray exemplified liberal bias on college campuses, and that his endorsement of violence was unacceptable. In response to those articles, Dartmouth College released a statement disavowing Bray’s words, saying that the school was a firm proponent of “civil discourse,” not violence.

But more than 100 faculty members rallied behind Bray, and published a letter calling on the school to retract its statement.

“We have watched with gratitude as our junior colleague Mark Bray, on the strength of his historical scholarship, has become the national expert on a subject that is suddenly terribly urgent: the 20th-century history of fascism and anti-fascism, in Europe and, more recently, the United States,” the letter stated.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s most recent count, in 2015 there were nearly 900 hate groups active in the United States, up more than 100 from the previous year.

SPLC researchers expect that number to increase exponentially in 2016 and 2017, given the increased visibility and activity of new white supremacist groups that are rapidly attracting young men to their ranks. SPLC and lawmakers, including GOP lawmakers, have said that President Donald Trump’s rhetoric (as a candidate and while in office), as well as his failure to condemn white nationalist groups, has emboldened the American far-right.