In Defense of Ska Ep 155 Josh Fernandez (Author of “The Hands That Crafted The Bomb: The Making of a Lifelong Antifascist”)

In Defense of Ska
January 3rd, 2024

Does being a ska fan inherently make someone an antifascist? While this topic gets frequently debated among ska fans, it’s important to remember that antiracism and antifascism have long been an important part of the ska scene. The 2 Tone ska bands were explicit in their stance. They came up at a time when fascism was on the rise in England, and they dealt with nazi skinheads at their shows. And the bands (mostly) didn’t shy away from confronting these nazis and putting them in their place. This battle has continued to be part of ska and punk as time has progressed. 

But what does it mean to be an antifascist. And how has the battle between white supremacists and anti-fascists changed over the years? This is the central question we address in this week’s episode with Josh Fernandez, author of the new book, The Hands that Crafted the Bomb: The Making of a Lifelong Antifascist, which will be released on PM Press on February 13, 2023. 

Josh started going to punk shows in Davis, CA in the late ’80s. Many Nazis invaded these shows, so he and his friends organized and fought back. He continues to oppose nazis, proud boys, Patriot Front and other far right groups in the street to this day. But the battleground is no longer punk shows. His book tells his story. The main thread is about how he was under investigation at the college he teaches at because he started an Campus Antifascist Network chapter there. He nearly lost his job. Teen Vogue even interviewed him about the experience. 

We also talk about Josh’s history as a music journalist, his horrible experiences interviewing David Choe and Immortal Technique, his love for Sublime, seeing Operation Ivy back in the day, why he doesn’t think colleges are actually leftist, and he talks about how running marathons helped him quit drugs. 

Plus, we learn which of his tattoos he likes the best! 

If you’d like to support us and listen to early access, ad-free episodes with bonus content, check out our Patreon

If you like our theme song, go download the EP Lives by Slow Gherkin. They wrote the opening and closing songs for our podcast. You can get both tunes from their Lives EP. Also, check out Dan P and the Bricks two LPs. They provided the mid-roll ad transition music. 

Support the In Defense host Aaron Carnes by purchasing a copy of his book, In Defense of Ska. The 2nd, expanded edition of In Defense of Ska will release in Oct 2024. 

Co-host Adam Davis has a band called Omnigone. Their latest record, Against The Rest released on March 31, 2023. 

The In Defense of Ska editor Chris Reeves runs a record label called Ska Punk International. They have new releases coming out all the time.

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