Professor, Teesside University

Nigel Copsey is a Professor in Modern History at Teesside University who specialises in the study of historical and contemporary forms of anti-fascism alongside the study of fascism and the far right.

His first history of anti-fascism in Britain (published as second edition in 2017) has become a key point of reference in the developing field of ‘anti-fascist’ studies. His co-edited volume, Varieties of Anti-Fascism (2010), which examined the plurality of anti-fascisms in inter-war Britain further advanced historical interest in this area. His more recent work focuses on contemporary forms of transnational militant anti-fascism, including studies of militant anti-fascist exchange. Nigel has recently co-edited a volume on Nordic anti-fascism, Anti-fascism in the Nordic Countries, and he is currently working on a transnational history of global anti-fascism.

Professor Copsey co-edits ‘Routledge Studies in Fascism and the Far Right’ as well as the Brill journal, Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies. He is a member of the Executive Committee of COMFAS, the International Association for Comparative Fascist Studies and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Personal webpage


  • Copsey, N., Brasken, K., and Lundin, J (eds.) (2019) Anti-fascism in the Nordic Countries. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Copsey, N. (2018) “Militant Antifascism: An Alternative (Historical) Reading”, Society, 55 (3): 243-247.
  • Copsey, N. (2017) Anti-Fascism in Britain. Abingdon: Routledge.
  •  Copsey. N. (2017) “VON ROM NACH CHARLOTTESVILLE: Eine sehr kurze Geschichte des globalen Antifaschismus”, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (16 Oct).
  • Copsey, N. (2016) “Crossing Borders: Anti-Fascist Action (UK) and Transnational Anti-Fascist Militancy in the 1990s”, Contemporary European History, 25 (4): 707-22.



Violence and Restraint within Antifa: A View from the United States

In recent months recurrent calls have been made by conservative right-wing politicians to designate Antifa a “domestic terrorist organization” in the United States. Fixated on the spectacle of its Black Bloc tactics they have equated Antifa, what is essentially an ad-hoc, non-hierarchical, geographically dispersed social movement comprised of local autonomous activist groups, with organized violent extremists. And yet, the evidence for such an equation has been mostly limited to a handful of instances that usually bare the hallmarks of political exaggeration or are alternatively attributable to individuals loosely associated with the Antifa movement. Why is this so? How do militant anti-fascists in the US understand violence and exercise restraint in their use of it? This article seeks an answer to these questions based on interviews with activists from Portland’s Rose City Antifa, one of the United States’ most well-known Antifa groups, and an analysis of a collection of the group’s Tweets. It reveals that Antifa exercises considerable restraint, internally and externally, with regards to both the literal and rhetorical use of violence within its street and digital activism. In turn it calls upon others to exercise reciprocal levels of restraint by ceasing their labelling of Antifa as a “domestic terrorist” organization.

(From the journal abstract)

Copsey, N., & Merrill, S. (2020). Violence and Restraint within Antifa: A View from the United States. Perspectives on Terrorism, 14(6), 122–138.

Authors: Nigel Copsey, Samuel Merrill

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