Yesterday, on Father’s Day, Mike Klonsky posted a tribute to his father, Max Robert Klonsky, who went to Spain in 1937 to fight fascism as part of the legendary Lincoln Brigade. He was a “premature anti-fascist,” the saying at the time. The Spanish Civil War was a rehearsal for World War II. Only genuine leftists understood that Franco and Hitler were preparing for a wider attack on the democracies of Europe.

Mike says proudly that his dad was a true antifa. The current antifa lives mainly in Donald Trump’s nightmares.

I was born in 1938 and grew up in Houston, which was super-conservative during the 1950s when I first became conscious of political matters. I never heard of the Spanish Civil War until after I graduated college in 1960. It was not taught in any of my American or European history classes. I learned about it living in New York City, where contemporaries debated left wing politics. I learned about it working for a small democratic-socialist (and decidedly anti-Communist) magazine called “The New Leader,” where writers argued about the Rosenberg case, Alger Hiss, HUAC, Trotskyites, Mensheviks, Cannonites, Schactmanites, and other issues and personalities of the left. I learned about it as I studied Picasso’s “Guernica.” I learned about it listening to Pete Seeger singing songs of that war (I still remember the lyrics of the song about The Valley of Jarama, where Mike’s dad fought).

Reading about Mike and Fred Klonsky’s father made me sense a part of history come to life.

He was a premature anti-fascist.

In World War II, all Americans were anti-fascist.

I am anti-fascist. Aren’t you?

CORRECTION: Typo: I was born in 1938, not 1948 (Department of Wishful Thinking).