antifa? no, thanks

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fischerzed
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May 12 2017 02:24
antifa? no, thanks

A short piece of anti-fascism by Internationalist Perspective

Fischer
--------------------

ANTIFA? NO, THANKS

Recent comments on the Intsdiscnet-list on “Fascists March on Berkeley” (4/27/17) raise that issue with which those committed to the struggle against capitalism have grappled since the 1930’s: anti-fascism.

Historically Antifa or anti-fascism within the worker’s movement became the clarion call of Stalinism, and then the veritable basis of the Grand Alliance between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill to, yes, crush the Axis powers, and – yes – to divide the world between American imperialism, American capitalism and its British partner, and the no less imperialist ambitions of Stalinist Russia. The logic of Anti-fascism was played out on the streets of Barcelona and Madrid in 1936-37, even before the outbreak of World War Two as the Stalinists crushed the working class of Spain even before Franco and the fascists could then finish the job. Anti-Fascism then became the ideological basis for the mobilization of the working class for the second inter-imperialist war, first for its no-strike pledges in Britain and the U.S., and then for sending the sons of the working class in Britain and the U.S. to die for their national capital, for the demands of Anglo-American imperialism and its alliance with Stalin. Anti-fascism, then, was historically the ideological basis of capitalism’s response to the great depression and its accompanying sharpening of inter-imperialist antagonisms. Its success could be seen in the triumph of Anglo-Saxon and Russian imperialism, displayed for all to see in the wanton destruction of defenseless cities like Dresden, Leipzig, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when the war had already been militarily won, and in the subjection of half of Europe to Stalin.

And now? And today? Once again anti-fascism emerges as the clarion call of the “resistance” (sic.), of that faction of American capital represented by the Democratic party: the call of Sanders and Warren as they prepare for the next election; the call of Hillary Clinton, the war hawk and Senator from Wall Street, who successfully argued as Secretary of State for American military intervention in Libya, who argued – this time unsuccessfully -- for the U.S. to back up its “red line” in Syria against Assad, and to once again wage imperialist war in the Middle-East. There is where the actual logic of anti-fascism today is being played out, that is what the ideology of Antifa serves. And like its Stalinist progenitors in the 1930’s, anti-fascism today has nothing to do with anti-capitalism. Indeed, Antifa today, as it was yesterday, is an ideological trap, a basis for one more mobilization of the working class behind the interests of capitalism. At a time when the historical logic and trajectory of capitalism needs to be grasped and theoretically and politically exposed, anti-fascism once again holds out its promise that it can still serve to mobilize the working class in the interests of the very system that exploits it, and to ideologically bind it to that system.

Is fascism really what Trump, Le Pen and others of their ilk represent? There’s nothing that indicates that their aim is to do away with the basic rules of the democratic game. That doesn’t mean that they are not dangerous. But democracy can accommodate repression, war crimes and attacks on the working class just as well, if not better, than fascism. The common denominator is increased nationalism and militarism. Most of the ruling class may have preferred Clinton but they are more than willing to see if Trump can use these tools to protect and increase their profits. The health care bill, recently approved in the House of Representatives, amongst other measures, shows clearly that the new administration is launching a ferocious attack on the proletariat. No wonder it evokes disgust and anger, which we share. We express our solidarity with the protests and struggles against the attacks of the state, while at the same time pointing out that this is capital attacking the working class, not fascism attacking democracy. In fighting back, the choice comes up: do we ally ourselves with factions of the ruling class in opposition in order to defeat the faction in power, or do we fight them both? By framing the conflict as one between fascism and democracy, the partisans of antifa are making the first choice seem logical and necessary, and are thereby, despite their combativity, acting as water carriers for capitalism.

Internationalist Perspective

admin: don't post thread titles in all caps

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May 29 2017 13:58
Which Side Are YOU On?

Internationalist Perspectives' piece above was written in response to a digest I sent to the Intsdiscnet-list, based on my first-hand accounts of the anti-white nationalist demonstrations in Berkeley, California -- although you'd never know it by reading their piece, because it's as if they never even saw it -- originally posted here on libcom. So it is appropriate to post my response to them from Intsdiscnet-list.

Others responded as well, which reached a kind of consensus that IP's comments were "bloodless."

Here's my response, edited for clarity and to add further details:

Which Side Are YOU On?

First, students at Bethune-Cookman University had no problem with which side they were on today when they heckled and turned their backs on Betsy DeVos during her commencement address at their own graduation ceremony. In my own working class multi-ethnic immigrant neighborhood, I never run into people of color who are confused about which side they're on. Race and class are not some abstract categories for polite debate in salons, but are their everyday lived experience -- and that existence is increasingly defined by fear and exploitation, whether from the threat of the immigration agent and white nationalist militiaman or from physical exhaustion from working two, three or even four jobs as precarious proletarians.

I've been immersed in learning about the alt-right non-stop since Trump's election and the only, and let me say that again for emphasis, the only place I have ever seen the debate framed as "democracy v. fascism" was by Internationalist Perspective comrades. Bloodless, indeed!

All of the comrades in my proximate circles see the election of Trump as unleashing reactionary forces in the class war, enabling and emboldening racists to come out of the woodwork to not only scapegoat but also to physically attack immigrants, Muslims, non-whites, LGBT people, homeless people and anyone not conforming to their narrow view of who is American. The result of their rise is that our class, the working class, gets further divided and weakened and our attempts at class struggle are undermined. Defending our working class brethren against these attacks is clearly in our own material self-interest, so we should be sharing accounts of inspiring examples of acts of solidarity -- like "Tigertown Beats Nazis Down: Reflections on Auburn and Mass Anti-fascism" that Oliver Twister posted.

Internationalist Perspectives accounts have implied that I "raise that issue with which those committed to the struggle against capitalism have grappled since the 1930’s: anti-fascism." I did nothing of the kind. I gave my own first-hand account of youth in Berkeley going toe-to-toe with white nationalist goons -- many with both police and military training (rumors are circulating that some are still active in both) -- armed with only their skateboards, sticks, fireworks, mace, and their bravery. My comrades and I have meet and talked with several of them. We can confirm that at the two conflicts in Provo Park, many combatants were from Berkeley High, which is across from the park; others attend Berkeley City College, a half block up the street the other way. Many are youth-of-color. I talked with a south Asian college kid, whose parents are immigrants, about his involvement in the Black Bloc and he said that white reactionaries had called him "sand n-word" one too many times. I have read accounts, written by friends, who talked with young black female college students who said they came to fight because they had been called the n-word too, as well as being called "ISIS" and told to "go back to Africa." Their involvement goes beyond simple community defense; they see it as self-preservation. I have been to all of these "anti-fascist" battles in Berkeley, but have yet to hear the debate delve into "Stalinism, and then the veritable basis of the Grand Alliance between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill to, yes, crush the Axis powers" or "Spain" and anti-fascism "played out on the streets of Barcelona and Madrid in 1936-37" [from a post to Intsdiscnet by someone from Internationalist Perspectives]. Sorry IP comrades, you are creating a straw man. These are kids who simply don't want to get their asses kicked -- or to end up like Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Freddy Gray, Philandro Castile, Jordan Edwards and on and on and on and on and on and on and . . . .

As a reference to the above, I implore everyone to watch the James Baldwin documentary, I Am Not Your Negro [the above screenshot is from the documentary, showing white Southern protestors in Birmingham in the 1950s] and read Wesley Lowery's "They Can't Kill Us All": Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement (despite whatever reservations I have about the latter's liberal, reformist slant, it's excellent on-the-ground journalistic reporting).

Edward Crawford Jr. of Ferguson, RIP

Many of us from the ultra-left/left communist/anti-Bolshevik communist milieu have marched in the streets when the pigs -- or vigilantes like George Zimmerman -- killed another unarmed man or woman. And we know that this systemic racism does not just oppress black and brown people, although they are shot in disproportionately high numbers, which gets excused away due to the legacy of white supremacy. Working class whites, both unarmed and many times armed, get shot down in large numbers too. Systemic racism on the West Coast, where I live, has a long legacy predating the 1930s by centuries, when the Spanish came to North America and attempted to enslave the indigenous population as early as 1769 in Alta California. The Yankees coming from the other side of the continent launched a genocidal war against the Native Americans, justified by the ideology of Manifest Destiny. They also brought the first slaves from Africa in 1619. Railroad capitalists recruited Chinese laborers to build the railroads, then abandoned them when the transcontinental line was finished in 1869. Then it was left to working class white reactionaries, in San Francisco led by Denis Kearney, to start pogroms against the Chinese beginning with the Sandlot Riots in 1877, building his white supremacist Workingmen's Party of California, and culminating in the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act which was the first ever immigrant ban in the U.S. So Trump is fully within this 135-year-long racist lineage (as was Obama before him). The banning of immigrants from China further empowered legally codified racist laws against the "Yellow Peril" in the 1920s, and again enabled the imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. As working class militants, aiming to abolish class society and the category of work, we must oppose Denis Kearney-like class traitors everywhere, as well as their contemporary manifestation in all the alt-right white nationalist reactionaries who have been mobilizing to march on Berkeley, Auburn, and Austin -- and seem emboldened with Trump's presidency to keep trying to rear their ugly heads everywhere.

So it's kinda stupid to say that those of us who identify with the traditions opposed to racist exploitation are "water carriers" for capitalism and the state (an accusation made against anti-fascist militants a couple times on Intsdiscnet). You can't be a water carrier for something you are fighting against and that is trying to kill you. All of us anti-capitalist radicals are obviously in favor of uniting the class in order to fight against the social relations of capital -- and the value-form -- and are opposed to divisions based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, religion (or lack thereof), and all the oppressions created by capitalist society.

Why is Internationalist Perspectives regurgitating the debates of the 1930s and not talking about the conditions of the working class -- and potential for class struggle -- in 2017?

The class composition of the global proletariat, especially in the U.S., began to change drastically around eight years ago. Obama took office, presiding over the greatest crisis since 1873 (perhaps this point is debatable, but read on). Seven month before Apple Inc. had launched the iPhone, which runs apps that allow forms of instantaneous communication never before heard of. Facebook and Google, with their own platforms and apps, started taking off with wild popularity. The use of broadband internet was reaching across the U.S. and hardly anyone was untouched by this technology. And into this breach stepped new forms of the exploitation of labor, like Uber, Lyft and Juno in transportation, and the commodity form expanded -- potentially -- into every living space with Airbnb. This new model of exploitation goes by many names: the sharing economy; the gig economy; the on-demand, peer, or platform economy. They are based on ratings-based labor markets and in-app payments. Examples are TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, Postmates, Handy, Dogvacay, etc., etc. In certain cities Amazon and Google can have commodities to your door within an hour. Entertainment content can now stream into your cellphone anywhere with internet connectivity -- which more and more is everywhere. Through this digital invasion, the commodity form -- including labor power -- is just a click or swipe away. How long before Uber, Google, Apple or one of the global auto producers will have autonomous cars or trucks driving down our streets and highways? I can sometimes see the experimental versions out my apartment window in San Francisco. How can class struggle take place on the shopfloor -- or point of production -- when it becomes digitized with no fixed location and capital has created the legal fiction that permits everyone to become an "independent contractor," with the delusion that we are all our own bosses?

And parallel to these changes, working class whites are finding racist, reactionary ideas as a pole of attraction where they blame immigrants, people of color, and society's most oppressed and downtrodden for social problems not of their making -- a classic case of blaming the victims for the social deterioration and exploitation of class society, while white proletarians driven by feelings of ressentiment play the role of victim by claiming to have been "passed over," becoming enraged at losing their entitlements based on white supremacy.

How do we deal with the concerns of the side we're on, our class, in 2017? How do we fight the class war today? How do we fight the rising tide of white nationalism and spark widespread class struggle, which offers an alternative pole of attraction?

And if Internationalist Perspectives weren't stuck in the rut of endless debates about inter-imperialist statecraft during and after the World Wars, they'd realize that the medium of debate of the culture wars today is social media. In the age of Twitter, it's kinda like they keep up with world events by watching newsreel footage during weekly visits to the cinema

I'll finish with a couple quotes:

Rosa Luxemburg:

    "The modern proletarian class does not carry out its struggle according to a plan set out in some book or theory; the modern workers' struggle is a part of history, a part of social progress, and in the middle of history, in the middle of progress, in the middle of the fight, we learn how we must fight.." (from The Politics of Mass Strikes and Unions, Collected Works 2)

Bertolt Brecht:

    "People who fight may lose. People who do not fight have already lost."

For the Abolition of Class Society,

Hieronymous

10 May 2017

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May 12 2017 02:49

For a political ideology which can analyze slight miniscule changes in capitalism and make pronouncements saying how everything is different now, left communism sure likes to directly compare every contemporary left movement and sect to the period between the World Wars.

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May 12 2017 07:41
Quote:
Is fascism really what Trump, Le Pen and others of their ilk represent?

While this is an important question to ask, this article really is quite a load.

First, there are two distinctions it fails to grasp. One, while Trump may not be a fascist (La Pen on the other hand...), he's brought fascists out of the woodwork. That means when antifa goes out to counter these demonstrations, many of the people they're opposing are fascists. Two, there's a big difference between state-sponsored anti-fascism and a working class anti-fascism rooted in the labor movement and in immigrant/oppressed communities.

Second, seriously?

Quote:
Once again anti-fascism emerges as the clarion call of the “resistance” (sic.), of that faction of American capital represented by the Democratic party:
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May 12 2017 13:10
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Quote:
Is fascism really what Trump, Le Pen and others of their ilk represent?

While this is an important question to ask, this article really is quite a load.

While I'd agree that it's an important (or at least interesting) question, it's actually completely unimportant for the scope of this article: even if IP decided Trump etc. were fascist, they'd still be against 'anti-fascism' so I don't even get why that question is in there. It's like they half realise how weak their argument is and so need to qualify it ('they're not even really fascists anyway')..

And as for that section you quoted about anti-fascism as "that faction of American capital represented by the Democratic party", what a huge sweeping statement which is not once backed up with any evidence. As if everything that's happened in the recent anti-fascist street mobilisations could be boiled down to just loving the Democrats!

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May 12 2017 14:09

'Democratic ideology' as promoted by capitalist political parties, has used and might well again seek to use an 'anti-fascist ideology' (as now to some extent in France) to recruit/derail independent working class struggle and defence against actual street level fascist and racist intimidation and turn it to their advantage, but being aware of that genuine danger from our history should not be an excuse to avoid, let alone condemn, the need for practical street level solidarity across the racial divide within our class however messy the formation of that might proceed. Disappointed with this bland IP text - they are capable of much better.

S. Artesian
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Jul 15 2017 03:25

Removed in protest of Libcom allowing publication of texts by racists

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May 12 2017 22:26

Amazing how the times we're living in are bringing certain parts of the ultra-left around to the opportunist right.

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May 12 2017 23:15
S. Artesian wrote:
Water carriers? IP is calling the rank and file individuals confronting the fascists as water carriers for capitalism? That's fucked-up.

word

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May 12 2017 23:16
OliverTwister wrote:
Amazing how the times we're living in are bringing certain parts of the ultra-left around to the opportunist right.

word

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May 14 2017 20:23

Some thoughts:

1. Communism is against fascism, but it is not antifascist; in the same way that communism is against imperialist, but it is not antiimperialist.

2. One of the typical refrains against Internationalists is that we're logically inconsistent, we are inconsistent with the logic of our [supposed] political commitments, that we are only half-hearted in our commitments, etc., because if we were truly, 100% antifascists, we wouldn't refuse to side with the leftist government in Venezuela, or the Rojavists, or the Democrats, or Remain, or Macron, or the Allies, ..., but by this refusal, we reveal our inconsistencies.

3. The point at which simply being against fascism becomes consecrated as a new ideology, is the point at which it assumes new ideals and goals as ends-in-themselves which, over time, reveal themselves to diverge significantly from the communist perspective.

This new ideology is possessed of a certain underlying political logic, which tends to obscure the general, long-term, class perspective (i.e. struggle against the state/capital in general) in favour of the particular struggle (against a particular form of the state/capital - fascism); to overlook the long-term communist perspective and prioritise the immediate. In other words, it involves a mystification or distortion of the terms of class struggle (labour vs. capital/state), and their substitution for new terms (antifascist vs. fascist), and a redrawing of boundaries.

Taken to its logical conclusion, the political ends of antifascism diverge signficantly from the destination communists want to reach.

4. Related to '1.': it seems to me that most of the working-class are disgusted with fascism but do not positively identify as 'antifascist'.

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May 15 2017 05:52

Craftwork seems to be the only one in this “discussion” who grasped the difference between standing up against fascists and the ideology of antifa.

IP’s text was not meant as a critique of Hieronymous’ report on his encounters with alt-right, and even less did it want to condemn or denigrate vigourous defense against attacks by racist thugs, emboldened by the rise of Trump et consorts. After all, these attacks are all expressions of the identity-politics which the ruling class uses to divide and defeat us. It benefits the ruling class to spread the belief in the phony communities of race, religion, ethnicity and nation. Our concern is that alternative identity-politics are not the answer, that it is necessary to recognize the hand of capitalism in the attacks waged on us. In order to develop an alternative, it’s essential to know what we oppose.

A critic on the Intsdiscnet list thought that it was inconsistent that we oppose antifascism while also participating in protest marches against police murders. He did not understand that we stand in solidarity with struggles against the attacks by capital and its state on the proletariat while opposing the
narrative of the capitalist left, according to which the enemy is not capital but a specific part of it, the fascists. Craftwork is right to draw the parallel between antifascism and anti-imperialism. It’s the same issue.

Several critics of our statement have written that people they encounter in struggles (many black youths, they emphasize) , don’t think about anti-fascism per se, about its role in history, about how it was used by the ruling class, about its functionality to the capitalist left, that it’s ridiculous to bring that up. They just fight to survive, Hieronymous says. As if that implies that no political questions arise in the struggle. But they do, especially when the struggle increases. As the IP statement says:
In fighting back, the choice comes up: do we ally ourselves with factions of the ruling class in opposition in order to defeat the faction in power, or do we fight them both? By framing the conflict as one between fascism and democracy, the partisans of antifa are making the first choice seem logical and necessary.

None of the critics adresses the question where the logic of antifacism is leading to. Instead, we got emotional outbursts, as if we had called the defense against racists wrong, as if we had taken the side of the fascists. But none has bothered to explain where antifascism is leading to, how it can lead to anything else than the struggle for a better democracy. So the question Hieronymous asked, “which side are you on” is relevant, though not in the way he meant. Artesian, who never says no to an opportunity to show his warm feelings for IP, is one who seems to long for a purer bourgeois democracy, reproaching IP for not participating in the protest against voter supression. Against the false hope that a better democracy can save us, we stress that democracy is just as deadly and dangerous and destructive as fascism, that they are two heads of the same beast.

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May 15 2017 09:47
Sander wrote:
So the question Hieronymous asked, “which side are you on” is relevant, though not in the way he meant. Artesian, who never says no to an opportunity to show his warm feelings for IP, is one who seems to long for a purer bourgeois democracy, reproaching IP for not participating in the protest against voter supression. Against the false hope that a better democracy can save us, we stress that democracy is just as deadly and dangerous and destructive as fascism, that they are two heads of the same beast.

What way was my question "meant"? It was pretty straightforward. The question still stands (and remains unanswered): which side are you on?

And if you think S. Artesian is being an asshole, just say it. Please don't be cute (or passive-aggressive); play the ball, not the player. If you feel he "longs for" bourgeois democracy, you should take it up in a new thread. You could title it: Water carriers for the state/capital.

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May 15 2017 15:53

Sander, pretty much everyone got your point. You're will just making excuses for not bothering to oppose actual Nazis and fascists. Your entire analysis would be better posted at a cosplay forum, replete with costume tips.for historical figures in the era when anti fascism actually​ had the ideological function you say. The situation is not the same today. Deal with the world today,not the one 100 years ago. Who is the standard bearer for antifascism? Nobody. But you've been lured in by the fascist; don't you wonder why all of a sudden there is a general attack on antifa by the fascist because they know that unless antifas are beaten, they won't have as an easy time. Good on you for taking part in this; willing idiots comes to my mind.

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Jun 3 2017 15:29
Sander wrote:
None of the critics adresses the question where the logic of antifacism is leading to. Instead, we got emotional outbursts, as if we had called the defense against racists wrong, as if we had taken the side of the fascists. But none has bothered to explain where antifascism is leading to, how it can lead to anything else than the struggle for a better democracy.

Perhaps we missed the homework assignment. Or perhaps you forgot to give it. Regardless, the "interventions" by IP and Craftwork are so ahistorical -- to the point of being unsupported presuppositions and groundless trans-historical statements of fact -- that there isn't really anything to debate. It would be abstraction vs. abstraction. Where would that get us? (sincere question)

Since I witnessed four events in Berkeley, California that get billed as anti-fascist or led by antifa, I need to make some clarifications, based on what I experienced and my own analysis from that.

FACTIONS OF PROTESTORS

The most consistent participants in all four events were The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).

    • BAMN tactics include direct confrontations with racists/Nazis/KKK/fascists
    • BAMN are radical liberals, yet they engage in street fighting with their enemies from the far-right; I have to admit that they are tenacious and brave fighters and they don't mask up

Since there was a Black Bloc presence at all but the last event (the canceled Ann Coulter speaking event at UC Berkeley), there's a lot of confusion about these protest methods and tactics. Neither Black Blockers nor antifa have been in the majority, so this has to be taken into account.

The Black Bloc gets conflated as antifa. The former is strictly a tactic and the latter is an ideology. They're not the same.

    • Most antifa mask up and use the Black Block tactic
    • Not all Black Bloc participants are antifa
    • Some anarchists use the Black Bloc tactic and identify as "antifa"
    • Some anarchists came to the Berkeley demo and neither participated in the Black Bloc nor identify as antifa

Most of these events have attracted a small group from RefuseFascism.org, an RCP front group.

    • Cadre from Refuse Fascism are the most ideologically antifa, but their numbers are tiny and their Maoist dogma is extremely off-putting

The remainder of the protestors in Berkeley have been a random smattering of proletarians who identify as left communists, ultra-leftists, communisateurs, Wobblies, social-democrats, liberals, and university and high school students. At none of these events have I seen anyone from the Democratic Party.

FACTIONS OF WHITE NATIONALISTS

They have been a real hodgepodge, ranging from Trump supporting grandpas who get their politics from Fox News to straight-up Nazis, from current/ex-cops and military thugs to separatist militia types, from patriotic paleoconservatives to the alt-light and alt-right racists.

Again, from my subjective observations, this is what unites them:

    • Most are not college educated
    • They are stridently anti-immigrant and tolerant of racism
    • Several were industrial workers who had been displaced by new technology or trade, hence they were anti-globalism and had anti-semitic conspiracy theories -- among many loony far-right conspiratorial ideologies
    • The extreme right has serious contradictions: the Oath Keepers joined their white nationalist brethren for the Berkeley protests on April 15, 2017, but members of their group had also visited the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) camp in support of the protestors

SOME CONCLUSIONS

    • There was no theoretical or ideological unity among the protestors against the white nationalists. So it's erroneous to call these events "anti-fascist" except in the most cursory fashion
    • There was no theoretical or ideological unity among the white nationalists (the term I now prefer using); most were pro-Trump, but after the bombing of Syria several in the alt-right have turned against him. So it's erroneous to call these groups fascists except in the most cursory fashion
    • To my mind, having been in street battles that also passed through Provo Park during the Rodney King Rebellion in 1992, as well as other fights over the Berkeley Police's racial sweeps and crackdowns elsewhere in town in the 1980-1990s (much like what the Oakland pigs had been doing for decades just a couple miles down the road, which gave birth to the self-defense of the Black Panther Party in 1966), I'd have to say that these struggles are not rooted in the 1930s, but rather they began with the creation of chattel slavery in reaction to second phase of Bacon's Rebellion in 1676-1677
    • Hence the protests in Berkeley have more in common with that 340-year legacy of racial cleavages dividing and weakening class struggle than with inter-World War inter-imperialist anti-fascist statecraft or German antifa and Black Bloc autonomen of the 1980s

The question still stands (and remains unanswered):

Which side are you on?
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May 16 2017 17:18

https://www.facebook.com/londonantifascists/photos/a.654636877883458.1073741828.654619391218540/1892714594075674/

Proud to have our flag and comrades on the front line in the fight against ISIS. The battle against reactionaries is an internationalist one

Posted by London Antifascists on Monday, 15 May 2017

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May 16 2017 21:56

A Wobbly from northern California died last December in Syria fighting with YPG.

Despite whatever strong differences I have with antifa, I will not denigrate his memory by mocking those politics here.

Craftwork, your post lacks content -- unless you're having a go at London Antifa -- and is pretty bloodless. If you have a specific critique,of anti-fascists in the U.K., let's hear it (instead of your one-size-fits-all boilerplate above).

Sike
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May 16 2017 23:56

In it's present manifestation, at least within the United States, it appears as though what the writers of the Internationalist Perspective piece prefer to label 'anti-fascism' is in actual practice nothing much more sinister then working-class opposition to fascism. Or if one prefers historical parallels, more Arditi del Popolo then Stalinist Popular Front.

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May 17 2017 02:54

I have yet to see a ultraleft critique of antifascism that defines what antifascism means in 2017.

However, I've seen some stuff around the Trump rally in St. Paul, Minnesota a little while ago where alt-right/fascists types got into it with Trump supporters. I've seen some celebrating of Trump supporters separating themselves from the alt-right/fascists. I could see a situation where an attitude of "normal" right-wingers condemning fascists is encouraged, leading to weird alliances between the loose grouping of what could be considered antifascists and this "normal" right-wing. Not saying this is happening. Only that I could see a situation where it is possible. With this in mind, I think critiques that draw from the interwar experience are more valid.

Also, I've posted this before, but here's a piece by a member of the IWW's General Defense Committee responding to Dauve being used to critique contemporary anti-fascism.

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May 17 2017 06:57

The video of the IWW General Defense Committee separating out fascists from Trump supporters until they just left. "Nazis got called Nazis in Minnesota and weren't allowed a platform"
https://vimeo.com/216810119

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May 17 2017 11:06

Well some of those identifying as 'anti-fascists' over here in the UK certainly have a poor understanding of what imperialism and anti-imperialism involves and I'm sure Craftwork thought their post no 16 was a reasonable illustration of the point they made earlier even if it lacked the usual textual elaboration for those who needed it! I'm not up on all the details of the situation in the USA (which Hieronymous post no 15 helps with) but some of the minority leftist groups around over there would seem to be no better irrespective of their opposition to the Democratic Party and it's supporters. Ultra-Left critiques of anti-fascism are often stuck in the past it's true and used rather lazily as a broad brush critique of traditional left concentration on their opposition to the capitalist right wing and support for left capitalist political platforms but the substance of that critique is still valid it seems to me.

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May 17 2017 14:10
Comrade Motopu wrote:
The video of the IWW General Defense Committee separating out fascists from Trump supporters until they just left. "Nazis got called Nazis in Minnesota and weren't allowed a platform"
https://vimeo.com/216810119

Check out the video at minute 7:25.

What the speaker says shows the intellectual level of the white nationalists:

    "Black Lives Matter is part of a mosque"

Their ignorance knows no limits.

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May 21 2017 00:03

It seems to me that there's a deeper split within this thread.

When it comes to present-day antifascism, some people here (i.e. the partisans [partigianos] of antifascism) are merely concerned with questions of its being - their approach focuses on how antifascism manifests itself today, in the here-and-now, and how this form of antifascism, at this particular point in time, differs from past forms; what makes it special, hence how it can avoid the degenerations of the past, etc., But the friends of antifascism fail to apprehend that for the critics, it's not a question of what antifascism is today, but a question of its becoming. And in answering this question, we say that from the fact that the latest variant of antifascism in the US/UK hasn't yet collapsed, it doesn't follow that it's a qualitatively different phenomenon from that of the '30s/'40s. We look to the future by looking at the past.

As illustrated by that image of antifascist-Rojavism1, the logic of antifascist political reasoning compels its followers along a trajectory that ultimately leads to the abandonment of internationalist positions, because for them the greatest imperative is to stop fascism, even if this entails delaying/selling-out the class struggle, taking sides in imperialist wars, etc.

Just like with the unions, antifascism today might not be a big-enough phenonomenon for its counterrevolutionary function to be plain to see, but that doesn't mean that a counterrevolutionary function isn't there.

  • 1. one could also point to AFA Irish republicanism, or the resort to anti-German chauvinism among antifascists during WW2
radicalgraffiti
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May 21 2017 00:10

action opposing fascism is antifascism, and to me the claim that action opposing fascism invariably leads to nationalism and siding with factions of the bourgeois is quite extraordinary and would require really impressive evidence, which no one has come close to providing so far

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May 21 2017 01:24

Yeah, Craftwork you're arguing as if you're an Austrian economist.

Flint
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May 21 2017 06:53
Hieronymous wrote:
your post lacks content -- unless you're having a go at London Antifa -- and is pretty bloodless. If you have a specific critique,of anti-fascists in the U.K., let's hear it (instead of your one-size-fits-all boilerplate above).

They are being clear.

Quote:
if we were truly, 100% antifascists, we wouldn't refuse to side with the leftist government in Venezuela, or the Rojavists, or the Democrats, or Remain, or Macron, or the Allies

Antifa = Maduro Venezuela = Rojava = Hillary Clinton = Remain = Emmanuel Macron = Allied Powers of World War II

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May 21 2017 09:52

Not every action by the working class on the streets to resist the intimidation and attacks of either official or unofficial agents of capitalism and the state need be classified as an expression of 'antifascist ideology' even if some of those agents themselves claim the 'fascist' label. Such resistance is necessary and to be encouraged but primarily on a class basis and there is a role for pro-revolutionaries to actively encourage that and discourage political interpretations that tend towards divisions based on alternative 'identity politics' or false divisions between capitalist democracy and dictatorship. That task however is not a simple one given that people will initially get involved in such practical resistance with a whole host of conflicting ideas in their heads so questions on the role of 'antifascist ideology' are relevant and lessons from the past are still relevant even if such lessons need to be applied with some sensitivity to the different experiences of where people are coming from.

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May 22 2017 04:07
Quote:
Antifa = Maduro Venezuela = Rojava = Hillary Clinton = Remain = Emmanuel Macron = Allied Powers of World War II

Craftwork could just as easily have written:

apples = oranges = Joe Jacobs = "Uncle Joe" Stalin = Roosevelt/Churchhill/Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders = John Brown = Huey Newton = Pol Pot = Provo Park = Cable Street = Bomber Harris = Berkeley High protestor = Antideutsch = IDF = BAMN/RCP/IWW-GDC = up = down = Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold = the metanarrative breaks down = history is bunk = there's no truth or objective reality = we all live in a Yellow Submarine/Postmodern Condition

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May 22 2017 02:35

I think Flint's point was to show the logical breakdown in the chain of equivalencies.

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May 22 2017 04:06

My bad. Apologies to Flint. Above post edited.

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May 22 2017 10:45

I don't get Khawaga's reference to Austrian economists. I would say that Craftwork is arguing like a left communist.
His reference to Rojava is rather accurate: a section of the anarchist movement is precisely repeating the errors of the anarchists ( and Trotskyists) in1930s in Spain and during World War Two by aligning with an imperialist front in the name of the social revolution.
In regard to today's movements in the US: it's obvious that there is a reality to the social movement against the police killings of black people and the demonstrations against Trumpism (some more than others - like the ones in the airports for example). But given that one of the main problems of the social revolts of the last five years (including the most important ones, like the Indignados in Spain) has been their lack of class identity and their vulnerability to democratic ideology, it seems short-sighted to deny or downplay the danger of democratic recuperation of the current reactions against the populist upsurge.