Are You Prepared to be an Anti-Fascist?

If you’re on the right side of history, you can no longer deny that you need us

Abby Shab
8 min readNov 2, 2020


Black woman fighting oppression by police, 1963. | Photography Credit: Dick DeMarsico

These are America’s crossroads. If you are anxious about next week, this is why.

The country’s path will not be decided in a single day or a single night, perhaps it will not be clear for weeks. Even in the event that the “decent” Americans are holding their breath for, advocates for justice and Trumpian fascists alike will, in vastly different ways, confront America with the consequences of its original sins.

I am a modern Black revolutionary fighting for the unprecedented recognition and protection of Black lives.

Through five months of protest in the nation’s capital, shouting name after new name after new name at battalions of callous and aggressive police, I have become a soldier now. I am only 24. I’ve held my ground against shields and batons, chemical weapons, rubber bullets, bike squads, and I’ve defended comrades who have endured even worse. On the front-lines of the fight for the soul and future of America, I’ve risked it all and learned from each new scar.

And now, on the eve of this election, as my heart hangs in pieces for the Black families torn by new tragedy, I have to prepare for war. For the sake of the community and comrades I’ve committed to defending, and for the sake of the future for which I have already sacrificed so much, I must be ready for anything.

But are you?

When demonstrations for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd began in DC, I was lead by anger and resolve. My heart — as it had learned well to be, at that point — was weighted with remorse, resentment, and the haunting guilt of a lucky survivor.

I grew up a privileged bi-racial Black child in a strangled city. I was afforded all that my brilliant and determined Black mother could give me, and I made the most of what I had.

I cherish the rough village that raised me, because love and loyalty come easily to those with whom you struggle. But, even with my good fortune, I have always felt the pain of those around me and carried it as my own. In spite of the fragile luxuries passed to me by a tentatively middle-class upbringing, I still know far too many people that were taken by this system before their time. Too many names that will never be a hashtag. Names that I’ve wept for. Names erased by injustice for whom my community will never find redress.

Martin Luther King Civil Rights Activist, apprehended by police, 1958. | Photography Credit: Daniel Hagerman

I’m privileged and I’m an empath. And that is a burden.

When the dust settles in the wake of quotidian tragedies in my home city, I am often the one picking up my loved ones, and holding them together as systemic brutality leaves them behind. Though I have not always known what to call it, radical love was my praxis long before I took to the streets with comrades. But that love, to which I have accidentally dedicated my life, makes it harder and more exhausting to set out every day.

To be Black, unflinching, and a believer in radical love is tantamount to a draft or a prison/death sentence. Depending on the next few months, in my case, it could be both.

When I first set out, I was an angry radical, blessed to be supported by a handful of close friends. But now, on the brink of what could be this country’s final hour, I am still a radical, though I am no longer one in a handful.

As my heart hangs in pieces, as it has in one way or another for my entire conscious Black life, I am preparing to mobilize with a nationwide anti-racist coalition to defend the innocent from fascism.

A True Revolutionary. Washington, DC (Twitter)

I’m a Black radical antifa soldier. And unless you are prepared, I could be your last line of defense.

The Proud Boy-Breitbart-4chan- “8 more years!!!”- “And Blue Lives Matter!!” army is vast and unpredictable. The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that white supremacist extremists pose the largest domestic terror threat to the states. Not antifa. And those extremists, alongside willfully ignorant and complicit police, are the people we will face on Tuesday.

A splinter group within Trump’s army threatened to kidnap a sitting governor last month. Overlap between white nationalists and police forces across the country have long been confirmed and documented. Fights were instigated in New York by Trump supporters last Monday, ostensibly to practice for November 3rd.

But, most importantly, we simply don’t know how hard the forces of white desperation will thrash if and when they are confronted by the right side of history. We can’t fully account for the power of misguided groupthink, nor for the potency of reactionary anxiety, nor for the Dylan Roofes and other sick lone wolves waiting for the right time to strike.

Trump’s plan to steal the election is plain as day. The man was never subtle. He started undermining trust in mail-in ballots six months ago, so you can believe that his plot is thought out and concerted.

Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other states face republican challenges to the validity of their late mail-in ballots. Thankfully, many federal and state-district courts have already taken actions to rebuke the obvious manipulation by extending deadlines to accept them. Trump and the GOP will try to challenge these decisions. But even if they fail, remember, it will not convince Trump’s base to be patient.

If he can, Trump will declare victory on election night. And his cultish mob of gun-toting, truck-driving, all-jacked-up-on-mountain-dew disciples will no longer be on “stand by.” Rowdy displays of voter intimidation and bold parades of four-wheel driven, diesel-powered MAGA fervor indicate that Trump’s base is in crisis mode. For their own twisted reasons, Joe fucking Biden somehow poses a threat to their sense of American right and wrong.

(Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

And this anti-racist, anti-fascist coalition fighting to end systematic oppression poses a much larger threat to their delicate false-realities than Biden/Harris does — In their minds, somehow, we are connected.

We are not. But on election night, the Joe “Bye-Don” democrats and the nationwide BLM and antifa union will both be in MAGA crosshairs. So, if you consider yourself in the former, I need you to listen to me now.

I’ve been fighting in the streets with a collective of dedicated comrades non-stop for five months, and I will tell you, we are prepared. I need you to take all your secret fear of rioters, all your anxiety about angry Black people, and all your cherished attachment to middle-American comfortability and put it in a little box to recognize that we are on your side. Anti-fascists are organizing to protect you, just as we’ve been organizing and demonstrating to save the future from American exploitation.

On both sides, you will likely see tensions and passions boil over. The movement will make our radical statements on November 3rd in our own way, outside of the ballot box, because my comrades and I still have so much to feel righteously anguished for. But we have never been what you, middle Americans, have to fear.

Whether you watch America’s future unfold from the streets, on your phone, or huddled warmly before your television screen, remember that the media and the American system do not want you not to trust us. They want you to think that radical change and Black liberation is an existential threat — unlike violent white nationalism.

But when shit hits the fan, you must trust us anyway. And you should.

Because even if tensions miraculously fizzle out with no catastrophe, the Revolution will still be on your side moving forward. Liberation is essential for everyone to live in a peaceful system. Liberation is essential even for those that oppose it.

(Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Hope is a funny thing. Because a person can always close their eyes.

One can always pretend that injustice isn’t happening, that history naturally arcs upward, or that progress can simply blossom from the ballot box. When the winds of change rage in America, an “ordinary” American can still choose to hide from the storm, to not pick a side, and it’s easy to have hope then.

But it will never be easy for me.

To me, hope will always come damaged. It will always come with doubt, crushed by caveats, and tainted by memories I cannot deny. If I can find hope and seize it, it is only ever from cracks in the ground.

From lesions left behind by brave souls that gave everything for a future we have yet to see.

With my eyes open, I will cling to hope now — Hope that you, the middle American, will wake up with me. Hope that through whatever comes, my comrades will never stop fighting. Hope that those who want change, but don’t know how to foster it, will find the strength to do what is necessary. In spite of all that we are up against, I have hope that the right side of history will not fall to fascism.

Good people have crashed against this system enough that I see it beginning to weaken. It is not even close to sufficient. But the slim cracks, like those on an eggshell, for which my comrades have sacrificed so much this year, are enough for me to draw a shred of hope from.

DC Revolutionaries, June 2020 (Kian Kelley-Chung)

If I am to keep it — and if you believe that I should — it’s time for you to get ready to fight with us. For your own good and the good of the future, you must become an anti-fascist. You must be an anti-racist. As we come to America’s crossroads, remember, there is no map. And the future is everyone’s responsibility.



Abby Shab

Radical activist of color working to thrive & imagine a better world. I hope we can grow through honest exchange & fearless reflection. Black Lives Matter