Poem of the Month

17 March 2021


Fish and Fascism

by Dave Hill


First Performed at the 3 July Introductory Plenary Session of the 9ICCE2019 Conference (International Conference on Critical Education), Universita Federico II, Napoli, Italia and then at the Labour Left Alliance meeting in Brighton, UK, 19 December 2019.


If it looks like a rotten stinking fish,

if it smells like a rotten stinking fish,

if it acts like a rotten stinking fish,

if it stinks like a rotten fish.

Then it is a rotten stinking fish.


If it looks like a fascist,

If it sounds like a fascist

if it acts like a fascist,

if it smells like a fascist,

Then it is a fascist.

Even if the label on the box

says democratic

and it dresses in a pin-striped suit.


Bolsonaro, Orban, Trump, Erdogan, Salvini, Modi

the Law and Justice Party in Poland

all say they are democrats.

They stir hatred.

They stir violence.

They stir suppression of critical thought.

in universities, schools, in minds.

They intimidate those of us who protest.

They threaten.

They enact.

They destroy civility.

They peddle fear,

and hatred


They normalise dehumanisation

they desensitise cruelty

-they kill

Marielle Franco, Pavlos Fyssas, Jo Cox, Heather Hayer….


There is a road,

travelled in the past,

and being travelled now,

through the beatings and the killings

Of the subhuman,

"The Other”

the Outsider,

the immigrant,

the minority,

the LGBT,

the feminist

the homeless,

the impoverished,

the `alien ideology’,

the internationalist,

the trade unionist,

the communist


It is that road we,

we here,

we elsewhere,

we everywhere,

must work to block,

must work instead,

in opposition,

to build the road

to social justice,

to economic justice,

to equality


It is not easy.

Many of us have the scars.

We have to do it.

We must do it!

Like in the 1930s, the 1940s, the 1970s,

In different places, in different times,

like in past and recent history

We have to do it


With our words, our hearts,

our minds, our bodies,

our political and social organisations and parties,

our solidarity, our compassion-

our humanity!

our hard political analysis and understanding

Our leadership of experiences and analysis and action

Our leaderships, not ossified, but open


Fascists, neo-Fascists, pre-Fascists, post- Fascists,

proto-Fascists, quasi-Fascists... Fascists!

No Pasaran


Like stinking fish,

they belong

in the dustbin of history.


Throw them there


Dave Hill is a Marxist (member of Anti*Capitalist Resistance) anti-Fascist political and trade union activist, a working-class professor based in the UK.

Email: dave.hill35@btopenworld.com

There is a wiki at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Hill_(professor)

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