Monday, May 17, 2010

The Fight Against Fascism: Necessity and Misconception

To those with open eyes it seems that this is the building period for the fascists and hopefully the antifascists as well. Since Obamas’ election the Nazi movement has doubled in size and with that comes the necessity to examine the reality of the fascist potential. It is often said by many groups of the political spectrum that Nazis are a group that are to be laughed at and to some, only pose danger to the extent that they offend or that one may slip into a position of political power and have some influence. The latter being a scary thought, but only minimally in comparison to its pure and “revolutionary” form. Revolutionary fascism as a term, as well as in its physical presence, is not something to be laughed at and more importantly is not something to be ignored.

A genuine Fascism is revolutionary in the sense that it seeks to gain its power not unilaterally or by reformism but from the ground up. A grass roots anti-capitalist movement that preys on the frustrations of the “potentially insurgent workers” (Don Hammerquist, Fascism and Anti-Fascism, Discussion Documents for a militant movement, p.16). One "minor branch" of fascism that poses serious threat is  the third position. In what is called the third position white nationalists abandon their traditional right wing tendencies and appropriate stances typically voiced by the left. Stances such as anti-war, anti-globalization, and environmentalism. To some this may sound like a good thing, a progression or a platform to change minds, however, these positions have a very different interest and very methodical intention unique to those on the left. Their intention is to seek outside the reformist right in hopes to attract a new and larger crowd, specifically of the working class, the youth, and those aligning or sympathizing with ideals traditionally valued by the left. Their incentive however, is preservation of the white race, white rights and supremacy. With that being said there are two important realities that must be understood in order to debunk this political appropriation. The first is, that these stances are only temporary and would change the second the interests of whites were at stake. Lets take Anti-globalization For example, if Nike’s outsourcing to china didn’t take jobs away from any white people than the fact that Chinese families are working 60 hour weeks in a hot factory for next to nothing wouldn’t be a problem. The second is, if these efforts to skew the lines that differentiate freedom from oppression are successful, then the threat of fascism maximizes greatly as does the need for anti fascism.

Once we realize that the threat of Fascism is real, we must then learn to critique some typical left notions on what to do and what not to do. The first being ignoring them; the argument has been made that the fascists pose no real threat and only seek attention, thus ignoring them will make them go away. The reality is that ignoring them will only allow them to organize more effectively and more rapidly and may minimize the radical left’s revolutionary potential by failing to visibly create physical and theoretical opposition, because not only will the un-politicized masses then be easier led to believe the lies but antifascist work in it’s self can be applied to the larger social and political dissent. The second is to respect their “freedom of speech”. This is the idea that “Everyone has the right to say what they believe” no matter what their rhetoric may be. This concept has been voiced time and time again by liberals as well as the fascists themselves, however, Freedom of speech is only to be taken serious in relation to the fascists and the state. Every day people must recognize the importance of eliminating a movement that seeks the genocide of people of color, Queer folk, Jewish people and the physically and mentally disabled. It should go without saying that the repression of that ideology is far more important than the liberal notions of free speech. The last, yet no less destructive notion, on what to do, is to outlaw the fascists, making being involved in their organizations punishable. This tactic has two very important reasons to be dismissed; One is, that outlawing them will actually increase their revolutionary potential, even simply by advancing their urgency or making their cause more sympathized with. The other is that it will only be so long before that government repression is further applied to us. We have already felt the blow of this in recent times, where the so called need to prevent terrorism on U.S. soil by foreign "enemies" has in the end been used against radical left movements and organizations as harmless as food not bombs.

Militant anti-fascism has proved many times over to be concrete in its strategy. Some of its tactics may be debated under the concept of morality but never in terms of success. When we say militant anti fascism we speak of the ones who are not only willing, but understanding the need, to employ direct action against the fascists. Not only physically but mentally and technologically. From street battles to group infiltration radical antifascists seek to intimidate, confuse, misinform, expose and create paranoia within the ranks of the Fascists. We are also smart enough to keep as far from the state as possible since a great deal of this work is done not within the confines of the law. Although these tactics get the job done, and in both theory and practice they are sound, militant anti-fascisms’ more often than not physical and reactive state causes some important obstacles to be overcome. First, it can be easy to attract and create a chauvinistic presence that is polarizing and may also allow itself to overlook less risky yet more, situationally, successful strategies. Second, in regards to often being reactionary, it sometimes creates a lack of pro-activity and depending on both how active the fascists are, and how broad our scope of oppression is, our momentum can be slowed down. We must create a more broad range of action than purely following the fascists and battling on the turf they decide. Lastly, the fact that we put so much weight in confronting the fascists carries the ability to make one more easily overlook deeper and less obvious facets of racism such as gentrification, white supremacy and privilege that occur and exist in not only mainstream society but in the Radical/Activist community as well. For the latter it is important to realize that although fighting the bone heads is a beautiful example of race traitorism (assuming antifascists are largely white)this work is more anti fascist rather than anti-racist. Although racism remains a predominant factor in why we resist our enemy, realizing this can allow us to better understand that the spectrum of anti-racist work is far broader and often less visible.

Fascism is a realistic threat and must be challenged on all levels. We who understand this and struggle against fascism must critique its theory, its action, ourselves and, unlike the Nazis, be honest in our mistakes if we actually intend to win. Fascism plans to grow and so should we.

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