Fascists and state repression

Fascists and state repression

Some brief observations regarding attitudes towards the repression of the far-right by state forces.

The following observations are in no way typical of the majority of anarchists, just a small minority I have encountered in recent weeks.

The last few months has seen a marked increase in the active interference by the Police in the activities of various far-right groups, such as the English Defence League, Infidels of Britain, National Front, and the Combined Ex Forces (CxF).

Individual fascists have received letters ordering them not to attend events; they have had mobile phones, computers, and other hardware confiscated, and houses raided. They have been arrested prior to attending demonstrations, and detained in the cells for the duration of the demonstrations without charge. There are several examples of fascists being arrested for making racist comments on-line, and for uploading provocative film clips.

The ‘Infidels of Britain’ in particular have come in from some very close attention from the counter terrorism police, who are openly attempting to hamstring their activities.

The state interest in the ‘Infidels’ has increased since they started charging into town halls, staging roof top protests on local government buildings, and making threatening comments on-line.

Within the last month there have been film clips of EDL boneheads on a protest in London being battered by the police. These pictures have been widely disseminated on-line, and have been the source of much hilarity too many. Whilst I can always raise a smile at the misfortune of fascists, the idea of revelling in misfortune brought about by the state does not sit comfortably with me whatsoever.

Having spoken to a variety of people, read discussion forums, and seen various on-line threads, you would think that some people believe that the state are only interested in targeting fascists.
Fascists are undertaking ridiculous activities without any forethought of the potential consequences, and are presenting themselves on a plate for the authorities.

As so-called ‘revolutionaries’, how do we expect to achieve even the smallest amount of radical social change without having to fight against state intervention? Do we think the ruling elite will roll out a red carpet and instruct the police to stand aside? We have already seen activists snatched out of their beds on the day of the Royal Wedding to prevent protests, several examples of police infiltration within environmental groups, and anarchists being arrested at Heathrow, on their return from St Imier.

Whenever the state deems anarchists or whoever they deem to be ‘far-left’ as a threat, then we can expect much of the same, if not worse.

So however tempting it may be to gloat at the misfortune of fascists, we should be focusing more on watching each other’s backs, and taking the threat of the state much less flippantly.

Originally published in Freedom newspaper.

Posted By

working class s...
Nov 8 2012 17:52

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  • Whilst I can always raise a smile at the misfortune of fascists, the idea of revelling in misfortune brought about by the state does not sit comfortably with me whatsoever.

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klas batalo
Nov 8 2012 20:47

dig it. obviously fighting capitalism in total will be more beneficial, and it is just as scary to see them do this stuff to any political minority, as much as i despise them.

litingtingsmile
Nov 9 2012 07:16

Great piece of work thanks.I was looking for the same.

NannerNannerNan...
Nov 13 2012 06:11

You know, this reminds me of something weird I saw in a documentary. A really bad documentary, but that's besides the point.

The whole documentary was a broken clock getting it right, a very reactionary look at the pervasiveness of political surveilance in the United States. Since it was a pretty right- wing documentary, all the victims of this political surveilance were like radical anti-choicers, ron paulite types, ultra-reaganites, super-conservatives, etc. They were largely the types of people who ought to be watched, but, y'know, the fact that any modern state that purports to be liberal and democratic was shocking to me.

Today, I am left thinking, "why would the state persecute it's greatest defenders?"

We all know that any time a radical movement gets too powerful the state rolls out its big guns. From the assassination of Tiberius Gracchi to COINTELPRO and Operation Gladio, the state engages in the most monstrous behavior to protect wealth and power. If you wish to see the farce of the "liberal democratic state", look at how easily the state will dump the democratic part to protect the liberal side.

During the rise of fascism in Europe, marxist radicals realized that this cartoonish anihilation the state engages in to defend capitalism had changed in some ways. They noticed that the state would bring out war, nationalism and, eventually, fascism to defend the state in the event of radicalism. The forces of capitalism would embrace fascism with zeal if it promised to kill socialists, communists and anarchists. The state would do away with all nicities and resort to totalitarianism to protect the power of wealth.

This theory is hegemonic amongst radical circles, that fascists exist to protect the upper classes from the will of the people - that it is an ideology brought up out the ether to destroy radical movements.

However, I think that, after studying the nature of statism, that the idea that fascism and ultra-rightism is ALWAYS in the interest of the state is false.

I'm sure the citizens of Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile, Fascist Italy and anticommunist Argentina are likely to disagree, so I'm going to backtrack a bit. The marxists were observing a pheomena that does happen plenty of times in plenty of countries. Capitalism usually brings out naked fascism to protect itself. In fact, in the majority of cases, fascism exists to protect capitalism from the will of the people. Authoritarianism, ultra-rightism, and the like play the same role as the protector of capitalism - Fujimorist Peru, Junta-era Brazil, and Salazar's Portugal all come to mind.

However, there is an exception to every rule.

What capitalism, and by proxy the state, seeks is stability. That is, stable profits, stable expansion, stable growth. If the right-wing myths were true and capitalism naturally brought wealth to the great masses of people, the capitalist class would care little. As such, it cares just as little when its profit and stability exists at the expense of the great mass of people. The capitalist is not just a malevolent villain who worships poverty and injustice - he is also a cold, unthinking being who is concerned with nothing more than the expansion of markets. The capitalist is primarily concerned with stability, the status quo, and making sure it can squeeze just a bit more from the proletariat. Politics, liberal democracy and the like all exist to serve the bourgeoisie's need for stability and expansion.

The bourgeoisie must ask whether the liberal democratic state is succeeding in its role to protect entreanched power and privilege. If it is not doing so efficiently, the skheads on the street soon become the politicians in the capitol.

This is why Golden Dawn, despite frightening parallels to the nazi fascists, will never take state power. The New Democracy thugs are serving the interests of capitalism just fine, and it will never come in breathing distance to the 30% the nazis got thanks to strong working/middle class parties like SYRZIA, and the communists. It will probabaly take the role Pasok played, except with more reactionary macho posturing bullshit.

The repression of the British far-right can be laughed at without too much guilt, it is simply the liberal democratic state serving its role as guarantor of stability to the capitalist class. The state represses radicals to protect capitalism and power, the state represses the far-right reactionaries to protect stability and a comfortable status quo.

Mao ain't popular, but we must know who our true friends and enemies are. The fascist scum, they fall firmly in the latter camp. They are the trump card for the bourgeoisie, the proinverbial last ditch effort. We must not get all caught up with their repression even on the grounds of liberty, they are not victims. The state represses radicals to protect power and privilege, it represses the far-right reactionaries because they wish to preserve the stability of capitalism and bourgeois society in general. They do not get repressed because they are radical, they get repressed because they aren't useful yet.

.

Steak and Kidney Pud
Nov 19 2012 03:28

Freedom has to be indivisible, no matter who the victims are. A genuinely libertarian revolution would not deny freedom of speech and freedom of conscience to any of its members, regardless of how abhorrent their views.

We should also support freedom of speech and freedom of expression in bourgeois liberal societies, as they are a step forward from the feudal repression of the past - a repression that authoritarian socialism has always been happy to slide back into. We should also understand that repressive tactics used against a few misguided twonks can all the more easily be used against us.

Why do you think the libertarians of the CNT in Spain always voted for bourgeois liberals on the occasions they did vote, rather than for the crypto-Stalinist PSOE? (Though the fact the PSOE and UGT were notorious strikebreakers, and that Largo Caballero even sent the Civil Guard in to open fire on CNT strikers, certainly had something to do with it.)

NannerNannerNan...
Nov 19 2012 13:27

I'm not trying to justify the repression*, I'm trying to explain it. I've always found it quite strange that ultraright movements in the anglo-saxon world are largely marginalized when ultrarightism is in the interest of the capitalist class. Here in the US, our far-right is both racist and fiercely capitalist. The radical left is so utterly not there that the popular political movement the state represses commonly is some racist propertarian's ideology of TROO capitalism.

Despite being anti-democratic, pro-elitism, and anti-poor, it has penetrated the working class in an alarming way.

Personally, I disagree anyway on your pro-freedom of speech stance. I've always found a staunch defense of the social aspects of liberalism is easy when you're not a minority who could concievably get abuse hurled towards them.

If you want to see what happens when you get "total freedom of speech, no matter what type of view you have", go to the US; the only thing preventing a successful progrom today is the, notoriously flexible, standards of the very powerful ultra-right. Freedom of spech is bullshit when a few rich capitalists own the entire media.

When the would-be racists are backed by big business in such a way that the views of the borgeoisie can be echoed throughout society, you're going to look at freedom of speech with a more critical eye.

Despite being an anarchist, the most historically individualistic tendancy of the radical left, I am absolutely anti-liberalism. It's just a sacred cow; I don't think racists, misogynists, bizarre perverts and the like deserve a platform to chip away at society. The only way to justify it is if you turn individualism, a horrid value system, into a virtue or something.

*Well, I do say we shouldn't give a shit about them and laugh at their misfortune and continue beating the crap out of them. On a related note, I have no problem with beating the crap out of them. I think the CNT only voted liberal because the conservatives attempted to repress the crap out of them and threw a whole bunch of them out of the country.

ocelot
Nov 19 2012 14:34

I suspect the specific dynamics in this instance have a lot more to do with Tory worries about UKIP eating into their vote and a concern about being flanked on the right by a radical xenophobic movement, due to being in coalition (not that the LibDems have a better record than the Tories on racist or xenophobic politics, particularly, just that the fact of coalition emboldens the eurosceptic and dissident Tory right).

Steak and Kidney Pud
Nov 21 2012 04:34

Personally, I disagree anyway on your pro-freedom of speech stance. I've always found a staunch defense of the social aspects of liberalism is easy when you're not a minority who could concievably get abuse hurled towards them.

You're entitled to your opinion, Nanner, but it's not a libertarian opinion. Libertarianism does not mean less freedom and a return to neo-feudalistic thought control. That is what is known as authoritarianism.

Who would decide in your revolution who gets to speak and who gets thrown in the gulag or gets a brick through the head? Would these decisions be made delegates without executive power exercising executive power? Would they be decided by a general vote? Or would thugs simply have free reign to take the law into their own hands?

There is more to freedom than simple economics. People need to be free in every way or revolution will never work. What's more, all the authoritarian regimes have proved that true social justice and dictatorship cannot coexist. While Stalin and Kim Jong-il were drinking champagne and eating caviar, the working classes in those countries had bread and rice shortages. If your idea of revolution is authoritarian, as a libertarian I would be on the other side. Even the worst horrors of bourgeois liberalism - including leaders like Bush, Blair and Thatcher - would have a long way to go to match the horrors of authoritarian regimes. (If you don't believe me, why not emigrate to Cuba or North Korea? [Though the "internationalists" of North Korea would certainly throw you straight in the gulag for your nationality and race.])

Unfortunately, the authoritarian tendency among allegedly libertarian leftists often seems to be the rule rather than the exception nowadays.

Arbeiten
Nov 21 2012 16:53

yeah nice one for calling this. The other day somebody on my FB kept sharing pictures of policing bashing up the fash. Didn't think it was particularly funny and I imagine they do the same where some fella with his 'smash the state' flag gets a bashing too. As usual in this game the house always wins. I think it is important to point out to people that all these things (phone bugging, infiltration etc, etc) are happening or will be happening to us (that said they don't help themselves when they share pictures of people locked up in car boots with guys holding huge knives outside).

But this,

Steak and Kidney Pud wrote:

You're entitled to your opinion, Nanner, but it's not a libertarian opinion. Libertarianism does not mean less freedom and a return to neo-feudalistic thought control. That is what is known as authoritarianism.

This is utterly mind numbing. Yes, we should support the 'right' [sic] of one to denigrate basic human status of people based on their ethnicity*, no matter how irrational, because of 'freedom of speech'. Otherwise,

Steak and Kidney Pud wrote:

Who would decide in your revolution who gets to speak and who gets thrown in the gulag or gets a brick through the head? Would these decisions be made delegates without executive power exercising executive power? Would they be decided by a general vote? Or would thugs simply have free reign to take the law into their own hands?

STRAIGHT TO STALIN!

'Stalin' and 'gulag' are like the Godwins law for 'the left'.

Honestly, I'm not 100% on my position on this one. But this sort of argument (oh yes brilliant, running through neighbourhoods of innocent people calling them all sorts of racial slurs, what a brilliant example of free speech!) is not going to cut it.

* Lets bracket for a second that this sort of racism is never 'merely' speech acts but always spills out into violence.