For anti-fascists in the 21st Century, we are in strange times. One of the things that is difficult about Antifa organizing specifically is that its existence is in direct negation of an opponent. This is to say that it is mainly “against” something, though most organizers are drawn by libertarian left values of direct democracy, anti-authoritarianism, and radical egalitarianism. The unfortunate thing about this organizing strategy is that the opposition, mainly organized fascism and White Supremacy, defines our organizing model because we are in response to their existence. As we move into a more thoroughly multicultural world, yet one that still has increasing tensions with the reactionary elements of the white populations, we are seeing a shift away from the Klan robes and swastika arm-bands of the past.
Suffice it to say that many of the fascist currents we confront today wrap themselves in mysticism, ecology, meta-politics, and faux intellectualism. At the same time, the more traditional elements on the American far-right, such as militiamen and paleoconservatives, have evolved as well, and are seeing a strong resurgence both in their above ground and under ground manifestations.
What this indicates is that we need a sense of history and understanding of these counter-movements, including understanding the more esoteric and philosophical underpinnings. This gives us foresight and longevity in the movement, as well as helps us to build a positive politic out of a better understanding of the enemy. Hitting the books can be a great way of getting a deeper understanding of the fragmenting face of contemporary fascism, as well as flesh out the history of resistance it has inspired.
We have compiled a sort of “top ten” list putting together the best books on neo-fascism/post-WWII fascist movements. We ranked these really based on quality, interest, depth, and accuracy, hoping to provide them as resources that will be useful and engaging. Some take a more academic turn, while others are eye-on-the-ground journalism. A few focus directly on the working-class American movements, while others take a look at the sort of “alternative fascism” that has come out of Europe with racialist paganism, esoteric Hitlerism, and radical deep ecology.
We want to note that none of these books are explicitly books on Anti-Fascism. We are saving that for another list.
The only reason this is higher on the list is that it is a bit dated, the topic is incredibly narrow, and the author herself is certainly problematic on other areas. The book itself, however, is the best book that dissects and debunks Holocaust Denial, the effort by modern anti-Semites to use pseudo-historiography and conspiracy theory to disprove the systematic extermination of the Jews of Europe. The books itself takes us from the first accounts of the genocide during the second World War and then up until the early 1990s when it was published. The book gained infamy when it named known historian David Irving as a Holocaust Denier, which he came out as and is now a known Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite. He sued Lipstadt, and they went into court where they proved that Irving was a liar and that there was no reasonable claim of denial. Lipstadt herself refused to speak at the trial as she has a policy of never speaking to Holocaust Deniers. It is incredibly useful at understanding the use of Holocaust Denial by the far right, as well as countering their arguments effectively.
This is again a controversial addition first because it is also so specific to one subcultural element, and second, because the author himself is a neo-fascist. Michael Moynihan is a jack-of-all-trades for the “alt fascist” movement. A priest in the Church of Satan, editor of the radical traditionalist publication TYR, editor of the folkish Heathen magazine Runa, supporter of Nazi-Satanist-Mansonite James Mason, and musician in the Martial Industrial band Blood Axis, he is all over the occult far-right scene. This book made him famous, but there are still insights here that are useful when thinking about the way that fascist ideas make their way through musical cultures. Focusing on Black Metal in Scandinavia, it looks at the church burnings and Nietzsche politics that created a culture of Might Makes Right. He offers his own theories about the “Nordic collective unconscious,” but together it provides an incredible look into a world on the edge. A lot of things should also be put in context since the author is not really to be trusted.
- Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture
The large-format book counterpart to the early 1990s documentary Blood in the Face, which looked into a gathering of organized racists on a farm. The book traces a broad history of American racist movements, with a special focus on more rural organizing, especially around Christian Identity and the Ku Klux Klan. This is an easy read that gives a lot of plain facts and a great lot of historical photos and documents. This is the perfect way to get a good survey of the way many of the modern violent racist organizations developed over the 20th century, though it does not have much contemporary information.
A look at a side of the neo-Nazi movement that often goes under our radar, but is a key part to much of the counter-cultural fascist circles that revolve around neo-folk, ecology/animal rights crossover, and paganism. The book draws on the most relevant areas of mysticism that draws directly into neo-fascist/neo-Nazi organizing. With chapters outlining Savitri Devi, Miguel Serrano, Julius Evola, as well as racialized Satanism, Gnosticism, and Heathenry, there is a lot of facts packed into this book. It did come out from New York University Press so it was intended for an academic audience, but it is a very clear and straightforward study of these movements. The amount of depth it goes into the far-rights own paranoia, superstition, and underlying spirituality is striking, and it really gives a lot of foundations for much of the entryism that these fascist ideas are having in circles that were previously thought to be on the radical left. He also has similar books on Savitri Devi specifically as well as the esoteric and occult ideas that led directly into Nazi Germany.
- A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America
This incredible work looks at neo-Nazi skinheads through the context of the murder of Muragata Seraw by East Side White Pride, the lawsuit against White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger, and the entire subculture of skinhead punks and foot soldiers. This is a great study using a single starting point to analyze the violent threat, as well as the way that organizing can confront it.
Shifting towards the clear “populist” faction of the far-right like the KKK, America-first nationalism, patriots and militiamen, Too Close for Comfort is an interesting work that looks at the places the far-right forms and how it crosses over into public discourse. Interesting analysis of things like the Buchanan campaign in the early 1990s, the inclusion of the LaRouche movement as a neo-fascist project, and serious look at the ways that the far-right can whip up reactionary fervor from working-class people in an effort to halt left-wing values.
Again, a very specific book looking at the revolutionary racist Creativity Movement started by Ben Klassen and continued by Matthew Hale. This tells the story in a rich journalistic way that puts you right into the rise of one of the most dangerous neo-Nazi movements in the U.S. This is critically important because of the role Creativity plays in skinhead culture as well as in acts of “lone wolf” violence.
One of the most thought provoking books on the list, Gods of the Blood goes deep into the various ways that white supremacist discourse has made its way into the different pagan sects that have been claimed by these movements. Specifically looking at things like Wotanism, Asatru, Satanism, and other intersecting spiritual traditions, it takes a critical eye as to how they developed in this direction and how to separate out the religions. This is the defining book on racial paganism, and it is perfect for understanding the entryism that far-right ideas have had in radical ecology, animal rights, anti-war movements, and neo-paganism.
The perfect short read for those who want a quick and easy understanding of most of the interwar and key ideas of Fascism. It has a clever use of images and comic formats, while also answering a lot of questions without requiring a ton of additional reading. Philosophically, it also understands many of the more complex issues at play and can still be useful for creating counter-narratives, confronting the core racial and hierarchical ideas, and the understanding the important movements.
- Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream (Leonard Zeskind, 2005)
For people in the United States, Blood and Politics is the most comprehensive and readable history of the fascist/White Supremacist movements between 1978 and 2005. The book makes two distinct poles of this movement main characters are follows them through their lives. First, Willis Carto of the Liberty Lobby as he amassed wealth on populist racism, and William Pierce, who mobilized the more revolutionary neo-Nazis with the National Alliance. The book goes in very deep in the militia movement, the modern KKK, the candidacies of David Duke and Pat Buchanan, and pretty much every organization in between. At almost 700 pages it can be an intimidating book, but it is a quick read as Zeskind weaves it as a story of the reality of Americana, and it is the kind of creative nonfiction that long-form journalism is built on.