Walking through the streets of Dover today you might never know that, just a week ago, running battles were fought there. Pictures of wounded fascists and antifascists alike are still circulating; scrapes, gashes, broken teeth. But for a broken window here and a missing paving stone there you’d never know. Unless you look a little closer.
On those grey streets women scurry to work; men wander, drinking from tall cans, not quite sure what they’re doing there; kids pass joints, talk about school, try not to think too much. Behind the broken windows people work, the clashes of a few days ago entirely irrelevant to their lives now. In the gaps where paving was lifted, used for missiles, sand can be seen; a beach, stretching forever. But there’s also horror there.
You can feel it. Twitching beneath the surface like a word you can’t quite remember. The fighters knew of course. That’s why they were there, together, both drawn by it; some to suck it up and spit it back onto the world. The others to stop them. You can see it on television, scripted by history and ghostwritten by young graduates; articulated in parliament by old men wearing expensive suits and cracked, reptile sneers. Ink on red-topped paper.
Some feel it more urgently. The stab of hunger in an empty belly, the insensate fear of men coming for you in the night, the sight of your children drowning. Cockroach obituaries.
Fascism is not made by men with shaved heads and dull minds and clenched fists. There is not some essential part of the human soul gnashing to unleash its sickness onto the world, held back only by reason and love. It is more than ideas, unmoored from history, needing only noble truths to vanquish them. There’s no discrete ideological genesis; its germ is everywhere. And it must be fought, everywhere.
This means covering your face and throwing punches on the streets of a small Kent port town. It means crafting structures where human beings cannot be blithely dismissed as a bunch of migrants. But most of all it means fighting, in the workplace and the school and the street, to undermine the cold material horror of capitalism. To smash the system of relations which will always, necessarily and inevitably, produce and reproduce this disease.
Image: Scott Wylie/Flickr