BURLINGTON, Vt. — Activist and author Mark Bray has made headlines across the nation for his statements defending violent tactics by the black-clad, masked activist group Antifa. Now he’s bringing that controversy storm to Burlington.
“Mark Bray is a historian of human rights, terrorism, and political radicalism in Modern Europe who was one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street,” a press release from Phoenix Books Burlington reads.
Bray will speak and sign books 7 p.m. Tuesday at the bookstore.
Past books by Bray include “Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street.” He also was co-editor of “Anarchist Education and the Modern School: A Francisco Ferrer Reader. His writings have also appeared in Critical Quarterly, Foreign Policy, ROAR Magazine, and other publications.
Presently, he is a lecturer at Dartmouth College and professor of gender research.
But his most recent book — the one generating controversy nationwide — is “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.” In it, he explains the group’s reaction to the violent mob riots in Charlottesville, Virginia. The release states that the Antifa movement originated with the resistance to Italy’s Benito Mussolini and Germany’s Adolf Hitler during World War II. It further states that the group has been rejuvenated with the election of President Trump and the rise of the “alt-right.”
“They have been seen in news reports, often clad all in black with balaclavas covering their faces, demonstrating at the presidential inauguration, and on California college campuses protesting far-right speakers, and most recently, on the streets of Charlottesville, VA, protecting, among others, a group of ministers including Cornel West from neo-Nazi violence,” the news release states.
Some reports of Antifa in action paint a very different narrative in which Antifa activists show up with weapons and jars of feces and initiate violence.
Bray, however, spared no time coming to the defense of Antifa’s actions in Charlottesville. On the Aug. 20 edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said, “I think that a lot of people recognize that, when pushed, self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacy and neo-Nazi violence.”
Some statements have not gone over well with his employer, Dartmouth College. College president Philip J. Hanlon, responding to Bray, said, “As an institution, we condemn anything but civil discourse in the exchange of ideas. The endorsement of violence in any form is contrary to Dartmouth values.”
True North made attempts to contact Bray through Phoenix Books but was unable to contact him in time for publication.