Fascism and anti-Fascism

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meerov21
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Oct 18 2018 03:09
Fascism and anti-Fascism

If a society is experiencing serious social problems, millions of people can vote for far-right, fascists or ultra-nationalists. It happens for the reason that ultra-nationalist forces offer simple social solutions: to take away property (money, benefits) from the "wrong" part of the population and transfer to another "good part". Chicago sociologist George Derlugian notes that many people easily agree to such conditions, because this decision seems to them very simple and convenient.

Anti-fascism is trying to argue from the standpoint of the protection of tolerance and so it can not solve this problem. The truth is that so many people do not need tolerance, they just want to improve their social situation. These people may be enough to bring the Nazis to power.

It's not like "anti-fascism is just a tactic." This tactic does not work: historically it failed in Germany and Spain in the 1930s. Anti-Fascism is focused on the fight against its political opponent, has nothing to offer millions of disadvantaged people who are not interested in the idea of tolerance. Anti-fascism does not provide alternative motivation for them to fight.

When the state in Spanish Republic put the economy under its control and forced people to work in poverty and hunger, their motivation to fight fascists fell sharply in 1938 - 1939. Italian anarchist Camillo Bernery warned that the population suffering from poverty would not identify themselves with the anti-fascist Republic. After the fall of Catalonia in February 1939, members of the CNT National Committee (anarchists) admitted that the population "no longer feels the enthusiasm of the first days" [of the revolution] (Vadim Damier. The Forgotten International. p. 404).

Anti-fascism can be successful only if its opponent is another street youth subculture. Maybe one mob can beat another in a street fight if it's better organized. However, if fascism turns into a mass public mood, then anti-fascism will inevitably be defeated.

Historically, millions of workers of different nationalities can only come together if you offer them an alternative collective way to change lives: Autonomous multinational workers сouncils that fight together to improve the situation of all workers (and then one day take control of production and infrastructure). https://libcom.org/forums/theory/it-somewhat-gives-me-vision-what-ongoing-anarchist-communist-society-would-look-16

The Addition A: The campaign "against ideas of hate" is not a practice of self-defense that the masses can use. This is idea of the rich tolerant liberals. Calling the people to say "No to sexism, homophobia, racism!" is a waste of time, it's a meaningless bourgeois ideology. Who are you talking to, the poor Afro-Brazilians who will fight against the Nazis? Are you serious? Masses of poor people will be able to defend themselfs only attacking fascists and bosses. Of course, we can say: "This is not driven by hatred, but by the purest love of all mankind. And precisely because of this love, we have hatred of those who slaughter us and preach hatred among us, so we are for war against the rulers". But anyway the main weapons of the masses is a hate-speech, not tolerance.

ajjohnstone
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Oct 18 2018 04:31

A 1974 SPGB article on fascism

http://socialiststandardmyspace.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-way-to-deal-with-fascism-1974.html

meerov21
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Oct 18 2018 08:59

Thank you!

alb
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Oct 28 2018 20:50

Good stuff, Meeov, till the last two paragraphs. "Anti-fascism" today is an anachronism since fascism was a historical product of the inter-world-war period that it is not going to be repeated (because conditions are not the same today) and so is not a threat. Today "anti-fascism" as such can only be, as you hint, warfare between two rival street gangs, a re-enactment at street level of the last wold war. Nor are far-right parties with any significant support "fascist"; they are racist and xenophobic.

A more accurate term to describe combatting what is a very real problem today is anti-racism, so it is against pure and simple anti-racism that your arguments are valid. But it's not true that:

Quote:
Calling the people to say "No to sexism, homophobia, racism!" is a waste of time, it's a meaningless bourgeois ideology

This has to be part of any effective anti-racism campaign and is not mere bourgeois ideology either. In fact it's part of what being a socialist/communist involves.

What makes it ineffective is that it not combined with anti-capitalism and anti-nationalism as this leaves unchallenged and unchanged the economic and political conditions which the far-right exploit. Combatting the ideas of the far-right has to be primarily a battle of ideas waged via leaflets, pamphlets, books and these days websites, podcasts and social media and armed with anti-capitalism and anti-nationalism as well as anti-racism, not by streets fights or by bans and prescriptions whether imposed by the state or by "direct action".

ajjohnstone
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Oct 29 2018 01:18

Coincidentally, one of the SPGB blogs has just put online a 1936 response to a letter about the party's attitude towards a fascist takeover.

http://socialiststandardmyspace.blogspot.com/2018/10/letter-spgb-and-fascism-1936.html

Spikymike
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Oct 29 2018 12:40

The label of 'fascism' may be misused and abused by many on the left and right of capitalist politics and some of what alb and the spgb argue is fine , but still what label would the spgb prefer to describe those organised minorities that combine ideas based on ultra-nationalism, racism, misogyny, homophobia and religious fundamentalism for instance, and how would the spgb respond to such, who from time to time represent an actual physical (rather than just ideological) threat to almost anyone expressing opposition to their ideas and practice including even the spgb? Or is that something left for individuals in your organisation to decide for themselves when they are threatened without any confidence they would get your organisations support? What is the spgb's attitude to physical self-defence against such threats against them or other fellow workers, beyond rightly arguing 'the case' for working class unity and socialism in pamphlets, leaflets, podcast etc? Some differences there maybe between alb and meerov21.

alb
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Oct 29 2018 15:00

Of course no one is going to object to people organising themselves to deal with threats of physical violence agains them or their property. That's elementary and you could almost say sub-political and in any event doesn't require the intervention of professional "anti-fascists". But this is rare compared with the size of the far-right parties which have grown in recent years (due to the failure -- the impossibility -- of the conventional parties to solve the problems thrown up for the majority class of wage and salary workers by the operation of capitalism which requires that priority be given to profit-making over meeting people's needs). They have to be opposed politically not physically.

I remember when I lived in Belgium some years ago visiting the town of Mechelen just after a general election there. Voting is compulsory in Belgium and some one-third of the electors in Mechelen had voted for a far-right Flemish nationalist party whose predecessors had been pro-German during the last world war. As I walked through the streets I thought that every one person in three I passed was a far-rightist and reflected how stupid were those who wanted to suppress physically what they had voted for by fighting them.

I thought Meerov put it rather well when he wrote:

Quote:
Anti-fascism can be successful only if its opponent is another street youth subculture. Maybe one mob can beat another in a street fight if it's better organized. However, if fascism turns into a mass public mood, then anti-fascism will inevitably be defeated.
Spikymike
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Oct 29 2018 16:02

I suspect a reference in alb's response above in use of the words ''elementary'', ''and their property'' and ''sub-political'' to be an attempt to reduce what is, in practice, an organised political and physical attack by minorities (with or without the sanction of the state) against any attempts by workers at collective defence of their interests short of a conscious socialist effort, to one of a personal, moral, individual matter apparently of no concern to the spgb as a primarily educational organisation above the everyday class struggle. Self-defence in these circumstances is maybe closer to meerov21's approach and is not to be identified with 'professional political anti-fascist street gangs'.

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jef costello
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Oct 29 2018 16:42
meerov21 wrote:
It's not like "anti-fascism is just a tactic." This tactic does not work: historically it failed in Germany and Spain in the 1930s. Anti-Fascism is focused on the fight against its political opponent, has nothing to offer millions of disadvantaged people who are not interested in the idea of tolerance. Anti-fascism does not provide alternative motivation for them to fight.

Anti-facism as a tactic is not "fight fascists because they are fascists", unless you are talking about Red Action and even then they aspired to a bit more. You can argue that no-platforming is ineffective as anti-fascism and you may be correct. Perhaps communists and anarchists should spend more time sharing their ideas than fighting fascists. The people I have met who have engaged in anti-fascism did so as a direct strategic need and alongside other activism. Now I haven't spent time with antifa, for example, but I was thinking of signing up and one of the things that comes up is that they expected you to be involved with other things, they weren't looking for people who wanted to fight nazis, they were looking for political allies willing to fight nazis when necessary.

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Anti-fascism can be successful only if its opponent is another street youth subculture. Maybe one mob can beat another in a street fight if it's better organized. However, if fascism turns into a mass public mood, then anti-fascism will inevitably be defeated

If anti-fascism is a youth sub-culture then it will lose against the mass public mood. If commmunism remains a viewpoint advocated by a miniscule section of the population then it will be defeated by a mass movement. Anything that isn't a mass movement will usually be defeated by a mass movement.

alb
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Oct 29 2018 17:44
Spikymike wrote:
'professional political anti-fascist street gangs'.

Not my exact words but this is quite a good description of Red Action and Anti-Fascist Action. I didn't think you were one of them or of those who favour the Trotskyoid tactic of taking over other people's struggles as a source of recruits. I can't imagine you as a street-fighting man, but I maybe wrong. How many "fascists" have you hit over the head with a baseball bat or fought in individual combat?

For the record, the only group to have tried to physically attack SPGB members in recent years was Red Action following a debate with them in Islington in 1986. After the debate they waited outside the pub for our members who, judging that discretion was the better part of valour, stayed in till after closing time. Apparently they objected to being called "bar room rebels" for supporting the IRA.

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Uncreative
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Oct 29 2018 18:26
alb wrote:
As I walked through the streets I thought that every one person in three I passed was a far-rightist and reflected how stupid were those who wanted to suppress physically what they had voted for by fighting them.

Has anyone got an example of one of these stupid anti-fascist groups that apparently exist whose main strategy has been "find an area in which 1/3 of people voted for a far right party, then run through the streets battering everyone you see"? Because im no expert, but im coming up with nothing. Would be good to know if this is just some absurd characture of anti-fascist politics, or if there is even the slightest bit of substance to this criticism whatsoever.

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Noah Fence
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Oct 29 2018 18:40
Quote:
Perhaps communists and anarchists should spend more time sharing their ideas than fighting fascists.
Quote:
If commmunism remains a viewpoint advocated by a miniscule section of the population then it will be defeated by a mass movement.

Indeed. Maybe it would be a bit of a derail here but sharing our ideas is something I’m increasingly convinced needs attention and creative actioning.

alb
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Oct 29 2018 20:32

Uncreative, try:

https://www.facebook.com/antifaBelga/

http://www.oocities.org/capitolhill/1131/belgium.html

There's a certain irony in a Maoist group (the PVDA/PTB) posing as "antifascist" but that's another issue.

Mike Harman
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Oct 29 2018 20:36

http://www.oocities.org/capitolhill/1131/belgium.html - this describes people collecting 500k petition signatures against fascism.

It is not an answer to:

"Has anyone got an example of one of these stupid anti-fascist groups that apparently exist whose main strategy has been "find an area in which 1/3 of people voted for a far right party, then run through the streets battering everyone you see"? "

The facebook page also does not have any information of that kind.

alb
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Oct 29 2018 20:43

I never said that any anti-fascist group wanted to take on a third of the population of Mechelen, only that there were groups in Belgium that did advocate physically confronting "fascists". Of course they didn't go to Mechelen but satisfied themselves with a petition and an annual demonstration, in other words, conventional politics. When it came to confronting a mass support for a far-right movement they backed down, thus confirming the futility and emptiness of their posturing.

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Uncreative
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Oct 29 2018 22:47
alb wrote:
I never said that any anti-fascist group wanted to take on a third of the population of Mechelen, only that there were groups in Belgium that did advocate physically confronting "fascists".

If thats not what you meant then fair enough, but if you read back the bit i quoted from you, you can see how someone as daft as me might mistakenly think you were talking about fighting the general population and the people you walked past, no? People make lots of weird claims about actually existing antifascists and what they do and think. Also, you say one of those groups are maoists? I wouldnt be surprised if a bunch of maoists actually did this (or rather, talked about doing this), tbf.

That said, i can see the argument that in an area with a large amount of passive support for fascist politics (as evidenced by the vote), the last thing you should do is leave the local fascist organisation free to further embed themselves, recruit, draw passive supporters closer, start moving into neighbouring areas, etc. Doesnt seem like an obviously stupid thing to do, to take steps to prevent that? It would certainly make it easier to hand out leaflets saying "actually, socialism" if there wasnt a well organised local fascist organisation ready to respond when a sympathetic local tipped them off to your presence, and the worse you got was random isolated shouty idiots.

alb wrote:
Of course they didn't go to Mechelen but satisfied themselves with a petition and an annual demonstration, in other words, conventional politics. When it came to confronting a mass support for a far-right movement they backed down, thus confirming the futility and emptiness of their posturing.

"Left group sacrifices practical action in favour of march and petition" is not news.

meerov21
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Oct 29 2018 23:25

Anti-fascism as a social movement always loses. They say Fascism will not pass!, No pasaran! and fascism always passes. Anti-fascism can prevail in a street fight with the fascist freaks and subculturing. But he is always defeated, when fascist sentiments become widespread. This was the case in Spain in the 1930s, as is the case today in Brazil. Many people do not need a Republic (as an alternative) because it gives them neither freedom nor good jobs. We are either working to organize a social revolution against fascism, and against parliamentary democracy, or we don't.

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Khawaga
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Oct 30 2018 03:41

Meerov's resorted to just copy and paste, now?

alb
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Oct 30 2018 09:03

This diversion into Belgium brings out another flaw in "anti-fascism". The far-right parties that have considerable electoral support that they target are not in fact "fascist". They don't advocate a one-party dictatorship and don't have a Leader who has to be worshipped and they accept the parliamentary system. What they are are xenophobic, covertly racist and ultra-nationalist parties. Their views are obnoxious, mistaken and dangerous and have to be opposed, but not on the basis of "anti-fascism".

To return to Mechelen for a moment, I don't think the Vlaams Blok militants would object to socialist or anarchist leaflets being handed out there as long as they were in Flemish. You'd only get trouble from them if they were in French. In fact anybody doing this would be.

meerov21
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Oct 30 2018 11:37

jef costello
Perhaps communists and anarchists should spend more time sharing their ideas than fighting fascists. The people I have met who have engaged in anti-fascism did so as a direct strategic need and alongside other activism

The Communists? Sorry but What are you talking about? Ultra-leftist Communists, critics of Leninism, usually reject anti-fascism, using arguments partly similar to those I have cited. As for the supporters of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky or Mao, they are the "red fascists", as the supporter of the autonomy of the Soviets Otto Rule and anarchist Vsevolod Volin (Mahno's ally) rightly wrote about it.

meerov21
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Oct 30 2018 11:58

jef costello
If anti-fascism is a youth sub-culture then it will lose against the mass public mood. If commmunism remains a viewpoint advocated by a miniscule section of the population then it will be defeated by a mass movement. Anything that isn't a mass movement will usually be defeated by a mass movement.

Yes, of course, if you talk about communism based on the principles of Autonomous struggle for a stateless society, it is not a mass movement either. But I, for example, believe that it is a way of qualitative radical change of the human universe. Once millions of people thought so, and perhaps so will be in the future, at least I see a chance for this. As for anti-fascism, I am not interested in it, as well as many people who are at the bottom of the social pyramid. I have been a poor worker in a democratic Republic. I'm not interested to fight for the preservation of such a life. Anti-fascism is an absolutely idiotic idea, because it offers to shed blood for the Republic and capitalism, it gives nothing to people like me.

Yes, anarchists and anti-authoritarian anti-Leninist Communists may have an agenda to fight against fascists, but this is only one of the areas of struggle and not the main one, and this struggle is not conducted for the values of tolerance.

But usually, when people talk about anti-fascism, they mean the unification of the left liberals, totalitarian groups (Stalinists, Maoists, etc.), the social-democrats, movements of some nationalist groups of ethnic minorities and some part of the anarchists. The main goal of this movement is the protection of bourgeois rights and freedoms, the Republic and tolerance. I have nothing against free speech, and I don't like racists, but such a movement is a common political bourgeois trash with elements of totalitarian influence.

meerov21
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Oct 30 2018 16:06

P.S.

Most people in Brazil will not fight for tolerance and parliamentary democracy, people do not need it. Same here. I think we need not a struggle for tolerance, but an alternative economic and social agenda (direct actions of workers and residents in defense of their social rights). Real resistance against Bolsonaro and Putin starts not when they are struggling with democracy and tolerance, but when they start unpopular economic reforms and reduced social support. The vulnerability of these politicians is not tolerance and democracy, to which most people do not care, but their economic plans.

meerov21
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Oct 30 2018 16:21
alb wrote:
I never said that any anti-fascist group wanted to take on a third of the population of Mechelen, only that there were groups in Belgium that did advocate physically confronting "fascists". Of course they didn't go to Mechelen but satisfied themselves with a petition and an annual demonstration, in other words, conventional politics. When it came to confronting a mass support for a far-right movement they backed down, thus confirming the futility and emptiness of their posturing.

Antifa can resist other youth subculture. Of course, they cannot stand up to the General population when and if the General public supports the far right. Anti-fascists can be good street fighters if they're well organized. But this is not a solution to the problem of far-right big movements.

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Khawaga
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Oct 30 2018 16:31
Meerov wrote:
Most people in Brazil will not fight for tolerance and parliamentary democracy, people do not need it. Same here. I think we need not a struggle for tolerance, but an alternative economic and social agenda (direct actions of workers and residents in defense of their social rights). Real resistance against Bolsonaro and Putin starts not when they are struggling with democracy and tolerance, but when they start unpopular economic reforms and reduced social support. The vulnerability of these politicians is not tolerance and democracy, to which most people do not care, but their economic plans.

Again you are wilfully ascribing such a position to people who don't have it. Yes, there are Leninist/Trotskyist anti-fascist united fronts that are effectively defences of capitalist democracy, yes there are anti-fascist groups that preach "civility", but it is totally bs to argue that those of us who think anti-fascist work is important do not base that in actually building that on a working class basis. What you, and others who have gotten so riled up about feminism and those pesky peope of colour, ignore or have forgotten is that there is no working class movement unless we actually fight what is separating us: racism, misogyny etc. I can already see your (and others) predictable response: that is bowing down to liberal-academia identity politics (and later will wonder why on earth there are so few women and people of colour in our organizations).

meerov21
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Oct 30 2018 17:18

I do not care what color the skin and what form the genitals of the working man. I am not interested in the politics of identity and left-liberal hysteria, which does not unite but divides the working class and only reinforces the hatred of the black and white working class and failed to create anything as powerful and promising as the historical FORA or IWW, which numbered in the early 20th century hundreds of thousands of activists belonging to different peoples. As for anti-fascism, as a rule, this word refers to activities aimed at protecting the parliamentary Republic, bourgeois human rights and tolerance.

I am a supporter of freedom of speech, and I do not like racist insults. But I must say that I do not see most people in the world being seriously concerned about such problems. There is a Fact: anti-fascism is what I said, and it always fails when faced with a massive fascist or far-right movement.

Yes, anarchists and anti-authoritarian anti-Leninist Communists may have an agenda to fight against fascists, but this is only one of the areas of struggle and not the main one, and this struggle is not conducted for the values of tolerance.

Personally, I see the weakness of authoritarian nationalist dictatorships and regimes in their economic policies. In our country, Putin's ratings was very high until he began the pension reform. I think antifa can shout about tolerance as much as they want, but it will not give a result and even the majority of the black population of Brazil will not protest. The result will be when and if Bolsonaro will begin its neo-liberal reforms

Fleur
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Oct 30 2018 17:20

For someone who doesn't care about skin color or genitals, you spend an awful amount of time on these forums bitching about these things, meerov.

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Oct 30 2018 17:23
I wrote:
I can already see your (and others) predictable response: that is bowing down to liberal-academia identity politics (and later will wonder why on earth there are so few women and people of colour in our organizations).

Yup, I was spot on:

Meerov wrote:
I do not care what color the skin and what form the genitals of the working man. I am not interested in the politics of identity and left-liberal hysteria, which does not unite but divides the working class and only reinforces the hatred of the black and white working class
Black Badger
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Oct 30 2018 17:40

give an idiot enough rope...

Spikymike
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Oct 30 2018 18:02

Clearly my effort to tease out the spgb's approach to collective self-defense of working class struggle from physical attacks by politically motivated minorities and distinguish this from the ideology and narrow political activity of 'anti-fascism' did not fair well with alb. Much of the rest of this discussion also seems to have been at cross-purposes - sorry I bothered now!

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Oct 30 2018 20:53
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politics of identity and left-liberal hysteria,

Oh gawd, not this again. How the fuck does the idea persist amongst certain lefties that such things as racism, misogyny etc, which are amongst the favoured tools of the ruling class, either don’t exist or are an irrelevance? I wonder if these people consider Paul Joseph Watson a comrade?

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Khawaga
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Oct 30 2018 20:57

Don't you get it. Noah. Meerov is colour and gender blind, hence, that seem to mean that everyone else is, so if women and people of colour pipe up, they're the ones dividing us. In any case, Meerov's arguments are frighteningly close to alt-right talking points.