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An old comrade would often remind young antifascists of two sayings.

Nazis are people too.

Fighting Nazis can be fun.

The first I always understood as a reminder that even the most vile and violent fascists have all too human motivations at work, often quite pedestrian. In order to fight them effectively, one must understand them on their own terms. Not empathize with them, but understand them so as to defeat them.

I don’t agree, but I understand.

This, rather than a variation on what I gather to be the original saying, “kids are people too”. It was never meant to mean ‘don’t punch Nazis’, allow them platforms or that doxing is mean.

Which leads us to the second saying, ‘fighting Nazis can be fun’. Antifascist action, especially that work undertaken in the shadows, can be painstaking and laborious, with results that don’t yield immediate benefits. Rewards and plaudits will not be forthcoming, because Antifa activists, by definition, are anonymous. Some comrades will attack your work as adventurist or so much tilting at windmills. So what’s to recommend? Anti fascists fight fascists and uphold the red and the black. That, and at the end of the day, dance once in awhile, then do what LKJ said, so as to dance on their graves. Did you get that?

To these fine recommendations I offer a third that on first glance may appear cheeky, even disingenuous. But I mean it sincerely.

Hate the good hate.

Hate is a strong word. We have come to associate it with the foulest expressions of bigotry, as we should. But there is a flip side to this emotion and the language that expresses it that, if left only to the bigots, can render us monolingual. We should speak from love, but not always. Too often the language of love renders as false hope rather than daring audacity; surrender and victimhood are misrepresented as progress; tolerating that which is intolerable is upheld as a virtue.

We love our enemies, it is true, but that love must insist on our own common humanity, precisely that which they deny. When they deny even our basic human dignity, the bile will rise up in your throat. So as not to choke on it, you must spit it out.

Spit it back at them.

Hate the good hate.

Just be mindful of whom you strike, how and why.

If you can, live to fight another day; if not, leave us, and them, something to remember you by.

But strike back, nonetheless.

Strike back with fury, precision and devastating effectiveness.

Strike back.

Hate the good hate.