Chomsky on antifa

96 posts / 0 new
Last post
Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 26 2017 04:54

Hey, I'm not a troll either.

And is it acceptable to edit your posts significantly without any notification. See my note in post 54.

Have you been told off?

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Sep 26 2017 05:23
Tom Henry wrote:
Have you been told off?

By Joseph Kony?

Or one of the other 49 bad guys?

I have a confession to make: I've been told [off] that you're a much, much more flamboyantly dilettantish troll than Milo Yiannapolis.

DevastateTheAvenues
Offline
Joined: 17-03-17
Sep 26 2017 06:27

I mean, look, I get Tom Henry's basic point. Moralistic justifications of antifascism are weak because they are susceptible to "greater problem" arguments i.e. "fascism is bad, sure, but you should be focused on this greater problem"; or they get people involved in unsavory politics or cross-class alliances in a popular antifascism. But this is obviously based in an erroneous either-or fallacy that so many of the anti-antifa pundits push, in which it is claimed without substantiation that one can either be a committed revolutionary or an antifascist. The calls for Tom Henry to come down from the world of abstract philosophizing aren't moralistic defenses of antifascism, it's a plea to drop this made up either-or problem and to argue that you can't actually do revolutionary working-class politics if you ignore attacks on the working class.

Imagine, if you will admit this somewhat contrived situation, trying to do communist politics in an area in which fascists are in ascendence. You, committed revolutionary, have obviously scoffed at those distracting antifascist counterdemonstrations that pop up whenever the fascists come into town because you don't want to get sullied doing mere antifascism. You get down to all that good workplace organizing, in fact you're even in a spot where a coworker who you've been working with on some workplace-wide grievance is asking you about what your politics are. So you get down to explaining the class struggle, the self-abolition of the working class, all that good stuff. Then your coworker says to you something like this: "well, that's great, but where were you/the anarchists when I almost got my skull caved in by a bunch of fascists/the Nazis were attacking my working class neighborhood/whatever; before I can even think about the class struggle, I have to defend myself, and a politics that precludes my defense outside of the workplace because it thinks it's a distraction isn't a politics that I can participate in."

That's the basic question at the heart of anarchist antifascism. Or do we have to wait for the fascists to move from "merely" attacking working class people and neighborhoods to attacking our attempts at workplace organization before it becomes an issue for the working class as a class? We all know that will happen eventually if we cede the ground and the initiative for antifascism to liberal bourgeois politics and politicians, who the Nazis will roll over because we all know that the bourgeoisie would rather a Nazi win than a communist. We all know that if we leave fighting the fascists to the bourgeoisie, that the bourgeois will simply allow the fascists to gain strength while we hemorrhage ours to fascists attacks on working class people that we, in our "principled" stance, refused to oppose. Or is this another episode of "after Hitler, our turn" kind of thinking, now with extra farce? That, somehow, after the fascists run roughshod over the bourgeoisie, we will be in a position to defeat the fascists and somehow win the social revolution?

If you're worried about anarchists and communists getting pulled into bourgeois politics by antifascism, it's all the more reason to have an explicitly anarchist antifascism opposed to both the fascists and the capitalists. Only such a movement can show that these two groups are not in conflict nearly as much as they would like people to believe, that so long as there is capitalism there will be fascism, and successful antifascism requires the class struggle against capitalism.

S. Artesian has some useful words on the subject: https://anticapital0.wordpress.com/why-we-are-not-anti-antifa-why-we-are-anti-anti-antifa/

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Sep 26 2017 06:08

DevastateTheAvenues, great post!

The KKK in the U.S. has had 3 phases:

Phase 1: its founding in 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee for the purpose of the restoration of white supremacy

Phase 2: its resurrection in 1915 in Atlanta

Phase 3: the current one, begun in 1946 when it forged alliances with southern police departments to oppose the Civil Rights Movement

In the 2nd phase, it spread to also become an urban movement. It advocated for prohibition and was strongly opposed to the flood of working class immigrants coming from southern and eastern Europe, as well as directing attacks against them in addition to violence against blacks, Jews and Catholics. The Klan were a proxy arm of the bosses, as well as being loyal defenders of the authority of the state. They were used as a volunteer army of scabs, putting down strikes by militants from the IWW in places like Denver, Colorado, Portland, Oregon and San Pedro, California (among numerous other attacks on strikes, class struggle and working class militants). Cops, much like today, were often active in the Klan and the latter functioned as vigilantes to do what the the police couldn't legally get away with. Between 1920 and 1925, the KKK grew to as many as 5,000,000 members, including governors of Texas, Indiana and Oregon, and mayors of Atlanta, Indianapolis and Denver.

My point is that as the 3rd phase morphs into a new era with a sympathizer in the White House, we'll inevitably see more open, overt attacks on the working class by white nationalists as in the 2nd phase.

We can't bury our heads in the sand and wish them away, nor should we follow Tom Henry on safari to track down Joseph Kony in Uganda. I just read an account on the internet that said white nationalists in the U.S. have killed 27 people this year already. Add to that all the black and brown folks murdered by pigs emboldened by a white supremacist agenda.

DevastateTheAvenues wrote:
S. Artesian has some useful words on the subject: https://anticapital0.wordpress.com/why-we-are-not-anti-antifa-why-we-are-anti-anti-antifa/

I agree about Artesian's excellent piece; I've been sending it around to comrades since he wrote it.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 26 2017 07:00

Hahaha

Did I say I was against Antifa? No, not at all.
Am I against Antifa? No, not at all.
Am I against anti-fascism? Where did I say that??
Did I say I was worried about anarchists getting sucked in by bourgeois politics - no, I suggested that they should get stuck in on all levels, and not limit things by being holier than thou. There are a vast number of people to work with, and many different ways of working.

Devaswhatever wrote:

Quote:
Only such a movement can show that these two groups [capitalists and fascists] are not in conflict nearly as much as they would like people to believe, that so long as there is capitalism there will be fascism, and successful antifascism requires the class struggle against capitalism.

But this is just an idealistic slogan like we have heard so many times before, it is just saying: look we need to convince everyone that fascism and capitalism are linked, while simultaneously building the anti-capitalist movement. Your strategy above doesn't sound like genuine participation, it sounds like propaganda for your politics - people see through that shit pretty quick.

And this movement is not being built and, as bootsy states, the most pressing threat in the US is fascism - so surely there should be, following this logic, a fully collaborationist strategy that we become properly part of to destroy or contain that threat in the first instance?

If you continue to refuse to collaborate genuinely with the wide range of people and groups who are anti-fascist, while you sanctimoniously harp on about the the revolution against capital, trying to recruit people to your cause, then you are going to become guilty of weakening the broad anti-fascist sentiments and actions that exist right now.

DevastateTheAvenues
Offline
Joined: 17-03-17
Sep 26 2017 08:47

I don't know, Tomfoolery, maybe I think you oppose antifascism because you think antifascism is some kind of an unresolvable moral conundrum that is ultimately going to lead to some wrong conclusion you never explicitly spell out, but you imply what it is by saying that "fascism hums like a motor in low gear at the core of all ideology and all belief"; in context, this is presumably meant to be the "wrong outcome" of antifascism aka the antifascists are actually secret fascists, or at least are somehow playing into the hands of fascism. These claims are all offered--without substantiation, of course--in your post in this thread.

Or maybe it's because in a number of threads you've attempted, rather crudely, to bait people who defend antifascism into taking up all sorts of unsavory political positions e.g. collaborating with the Allied nation's in WW2, in this most recent post and elsewhere in this thread attempting to tie up antifascism with reformist politics, and so on.

Being generous, I assume you think fascism, class collaboration, and reformism are bad, and if you think antifascism is linked to these things then you oppose antifascism. But perhaps I am mistaken and you actually want fascism, class collaboration, and reformism instead.

In any case, once again you present antifascism and revolution as an either-or situation without actually providing an actual argument why this is the case. Let me put it to you simply: you're not as clever as you think you are. No matter how many times you say it, there is no straight line between "fascism is a problem" and "we must collaborate with the capitalist bourgeoisie against fascism", particularly if the argument is that capitalism itself foments fascism. That's like saying that if one has swallowed a fly, the logical next step is to swallow the maggot-infested rotting carcass it came from in the misguided belief that it will get rid of the fly.

An anarchist antifascist has every reason to refuse collaborating with the capitalist bourgeoisie against fascism on the simple grounds that such collaboration will not actually defeat fascism.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Sep 26 2017 11:59

Don’t you get it? The nihilists have reached communist enlightenment and from their heightened plateau they graciously descend like theoretical guardian angels to point out how things really look from their ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE viewpoint. Everyone else is wrong, their practice a failure so far. The solution? No practice! An anti-practical/impractical theory. No more engagement with non-theoretical reality, the only safe bet against possible error - and also against any possible revealing of the errors of a hermetically sealed theory. Ni-comm - a ‘theory’ for hermits.

Their dialectical Rubik cube conundrums - juggling potential philosophical contradictions - seek to ‘prove’ nothing must be imposed on reality but more of their theory. Any decisive action or agency risks vanguardism so best avoided (though, philosophically, even stating this is an intentional ‘action’ and so may – theoretically - keep them awake at night.) This reinforces their preconceived conclusion, their ideological pose; more waffling and do-nothingism that supposedly protects them from the risk of being mistaken or required to find any practice that would test their ‘theory’. They have pretty little theoretical formulas to nurture like flower pots on their window sill and to try to impress the neighbours with. And that is the limit of their engagement with reality and the limit of their relevance to anything. All else is endlessly trolling their Big Idea and the smugness induced by its possession. As a static theoretical strand devoted to justifying doing nothing rather than something, brilliant. As anything useful beyond an intellectual stuck record and as passing amusement for others - useless.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 26 2017 22:49

You haven't understood a word of what I have said.

I am suggesting a very simple practical change in strategy, attitude and perspective.

I am saying that we should suspend all efforts to draw people to our cause of anti-capitalism under the threat of fascism and/or dictatorship.

(This was the essence of my asking about WW2, but that is a more complex issue, as posters indicated, and I still haven't made up my mind about it).

We should participate in anti-racism and anti-fascism not as 'revolutionaries' with their patronising mindset.

I am not against reformism. I am not against class collaboration if it achieves a worthwhile reform, or outcome, such as the containment of fascism.

We should not effectively help to promote the recruiting drive that Trotskyists, Leninists, Maoists, and Anarchists identify in the social antagonism towards fascism.

It will be the case, of course, that we end up being alongside these recruiters, and that is fine, but we should always make it plain that our participation is only to resist fascism, not to help the supposed cause of their particular sect, or indeed proletarian revolution itself. Our perspective should be that we are not there to help their particular party or group. We should attempt to thwart and expose any recruiting efforts by left recruiting organisations in these circumstances.

The identification of possibilities to aggrandise one's own political project - that is, to turn the fight against fascism into a fight against capitalism - is wholly suspect and instantly recognisably so by those who do not want to become part of what they might see as some leftist cult.

It is also a dishonest and paternalistic way of going about things. ("We know best, we know all about fascism and capitalism, we know what is best for you, just open your eyes.")

Anti-fascism should be divorced from all these recruiting impulses.

If anarchists etc engage in fascism as a way of promoting anti-capitalism then they are acting disingenuously and ultimately, even immediately, are betraying the people who will suffer from fascism (including themselves) because they weaken the possible broad resistance by fragmenting it and weakening it from the outset.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 27 2017 00:03

It has been pointed out above that something I wrote might contradict what I am saying here. On the ‘six reasons why Chomsky is wrong about antifa’ thread:

Quote:
But there are two principles one can take away from the arguments over fascism and anti-fascism.
The first is that anyone who believes in freedom of speech is either a dupe or a liar.
The second is that fascism hums like a motor in low gear at the core of all ideology and all belief.

But this does not contradict what I am saying, in my view, because what I am arguing against here again is an immersion in ideology (the ideology of revolution or anti-capitalism, or democracy, etc).

What I am arguing for is a simple fight against racism and fascism, under no political sect banner, with no hidden agendas.

DevastateTheAvenues
Offline
Joined: 17-03-17
Sep 27 2017 04:18
Tom Henry wrote:
I am saying that we should suspend all efforts to draw people to our cause of anti-capitalism under the threat of fascism and/or dictatorship.

And I am saying that, following a premise that capitalism foments fascism, this is obviously counterproductive. Anarchists have generally taken the lessons of the Spanish revolution, for example, to heart: to neglect the fight against capitalism in favor of a narrower fight against just fascism means our defeat at the hands of both. No one here has seriously said otherwise, no one's justification for fighting fascism here has anything to do with that kind of lesser-evilism, so I have no clue why you thought that this proposal of yours would be accepted by anyone--or, rather, that you thought that you could catch anyone in such a crude argumentive trap.

Quote:
We should participate in anti-racism and anti-fascism not as 'revolutionaries' with their patronising mindset.

And, finally, Tomfoolery comes down from the world of abstract philosophy to comment on the actual practice of fighting fascism and his damning criticism is that it's...patronizing. Well, thanks for nothing, I suppose.

Quote:
I am not against reformism. I am not against class collaboration if it achieves a worthwhile reform, or outcome, such as the containment of fascism.

Then I am completely uninterested in anything you have to say.

Quote:
The identification of possibilities to aggrandise one's own political project - that is, to turn the fight against fascism into a fight against capitalism - is wholly suspect and instantly recognisably so by those who do not want to become part of what they might see as some leftist cult.

It is also a dishonest and paternalistic way of going about things. ("We know best, we know all about fascism and capitalism, we know what is best for you, just open your eyes.")

Anti-fascism should be divorced from all these recruiting impulses.

If anarchists etc engage in fascism as a way of promoting anti-capitalism then they are acting disingenuously and ultimately, even immediately, are betraying the people who will suffer from fascism (including themselves) because they weaken the possible broad resistance by fragmenting it and weakening it from the outset.

Sounds to me like the only one with a recruitment mindset is you, requiring that anarchists abandon principle and theory so that you can get as many people as possible for a misguided fight against fascism and fascism alone, as if such a thing were even possible in the first place. This supposed "simple fight" against racism and fascism obviously doesn't exist, and to think such a thing could exist is to think that racism and fascism are isolated social phenomena wholly disconnected from the rest of life and reality, and therefore can be excised out by a "simple fight" against them. In other words, it's totally fucking bonkers, and I don't give a single shit about anything bonkers.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 27 2017 06:00

You have made a number of mis-readings of what I have written in the post above and previous ones.

Just one question:

If you are against reformism does that mean you are against participating in workers' struggles for such things as improved wages and conditions, or against the establishment of, for example, gay rights?

I recognise the limits of reformism but I cannot be against it, since I participate in and support workers' struggles for improved wages and conditions, and support efforts toward equality.

Amongst other misunderstandings you respond to one thing I write thus:

Tomfoolery writes:

Quote:
We should participate in anti-racism and anti-fascism not as 'revolutionaries' with their patronising mindset.

Devaswhatever responds:

Quote:
And, finally, Tomfoolery comes down from the world of abstract philosophy to comment on the actual practice of fighting fascism and his damning criticism is that it's...patronizing. Well, thanks for nothing, I suppose.

I wrote not that the practice of fighting fascism was patronising, but that the mindset of revolutionaries was patronising (we know best, we know how the world works) - particularly if they participate in the fight against fascism to try to elucidate for others the connection between fascism and capitalism. This kind of approach instantly erodes their effect unless they are only talking to a tiny band of true believers. And it never worked in the past either, when there were a lot more socialists around.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 27 2017 06:19

Anyway, I am now just repeating myself so I will leave it here, unless there are any coherent postings made.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Sep 27 2017 11:45
TH wrote:
We should participate in anti-racism and anti-fascism not as 'revolutionaries' with their patronising mindset.
I am not against reformism. I am not against class collaboration if it achieves a worthwhile reform, or outcome, such as the containment of fascism.

So now, after all his 'radical' critique of 'revolutionaries' as unconscious leftists, TH is making an explicit argument for cross-class popular front anti-fascism. His participation would be on the basis of not mentioning his anti-capitalist views (just like the entryist leftists).

TH has previously argued that there's an irresistable gravitational pull dragging all activity towards leftism (others might call that opportunism, confusion and/or stupidity). But maybe TH just wants to start where he believes things must inevitably end up; according to TH, any intervention either way will end badly anyway;

Quote:
the debate over anti-fascism must always devolve down to the taking of one or another type of presumed moral high ground. ...
The right thing to do - now and in general - appears to ultimately lead to the wrong - or a wrong, or unexpected - outcome. The reverse of this formulation also applies. Perhaps that’s the ruse of history. http://libcom.org/blog/6-reasons-why-chomsky-wrong-about-antifa-18082017?page=2

Or perhaps that's just someone disappearing up their own theoretical hole.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 28 2017 00:40

This is worth responding to.

RM writes:

Quote:
His participation would be on the basis of not mentioning his anti-capitalist views (just like the entryist leftists).

We all have views that might be irrelevant to making an activity effective. Therefore if someone goes on an anti-racist action and pesters people with their belief that the only way to understand the world is through an examination of train timetables and that racism can only really be ultimately defeated by developing a trainspotter's community... then the people this person pesters are going to want to avoid her/him - even if s/he is actually, ultimately, right! And every time s/he turns up wearing her/his train badges and other regalia, people may feel a sense of revulsion or ennui.

If I join in an anti-racist action and support a particular football team, but do not mention it and do not try subtly to get people to like my team and what it stands for, would I be doing entryism for the football team I support?

Entryists don't not mention their views, they try their best to draw people closer to their views by various subtle or not so subtle means, and they try to influence the direction of things so that things move closer to their vision of what should be done. And they do this consciously. (In most cases we can't help what we do unconsciously, nobody's perfect.).

What I am proposing is resistance to this impulse, as I have said a few times now.

Resisting and thwarting the entryist strategy and impulse, in ourselves and others, is what I am proposing as a strategy and perspective to consider.

So I think you have misunderstood what entryism is.

RM also writes:

Quote:
according to TH, any intervention either way will end badly anyway

Yes, this is an ultimate possibility. We have the whole history of capitalism and the state to back that argument up. Or do you think that things have got better and better after all the class struggle we have witnessed, and that we are at the high-point now, with paradise just around the corner?

But how things might ultimately turn out, while interesting, is irrelevant: we are compelled to resist, and struggle against, injustice and oppression, and to do this is natural and right.

What I am suggesting is in regard to effectiveness in a particular situation, for the attainment of a particular, specific outcome.

What I am suggesting is that we can remove two factors from our participation in actions and movements: our hidden agendas and our paternalist and patronising mindsets (by which I mean our apparent access to higher knowledge), that is, our effective entryism.

We can, of course, say things to others like: "I don't ultimately trust these Trots, who have another agenda here, so we have to watch for if they begin to effectively derail what we are actually fighting for."

These two factors within the 'revolutionary' approach do not oppose injustice and oppression, they just reflect it, but in a slightly different light... and many people outside of 'revolutionary' circles, or having abandoned revolutionary politics, perceive this - because they actually aren't stupid.

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Sep 28 2017 09:41

''Agendas'' don't have to be ''hidden''. Our involvement in a variety of everyday struggles based on our own self-perceived material interests can still benefit, firstly from discussion amongst our own closest friends and comrades as to the benefits of that for ourselves and others. and secondly from the usual discussions amongst the wider group of people involved in any particular struggle - a process of self-education which is potentially beneficial for everyone if it is carried on in an open and honest way. Issues are connected in this society it makes no sense to avoid discussion of those connections. That process isn't necessarily any less justified if it involves the efforts of organised political groups by way of leaflets, blogs, and online journals etc. Tom is perhaps over-reacting to the way that many small competing political groups (not just the Trots) operate with either hidden agendas and/or on the false assumption that they somehow have the only true path to salvation, but in my experience most workers when involved in these everyday struggles will pick and choose whatever might be of value and use to them from the competing array of ideas from such groups based on their own experience, and the level of trust they have in the honesty and commitment of the individuals in those groups. On that level it would seem that Tom and Red might agree? However Tom seems to be searching for some kind of psychological system that will unearth and guard against what he perceives as our individual innate tendencies to pursue 'hidden agendas' which could just be an expression of his own anxiety that he now takes upon himself to project onto the rest of us. I suspect this given Tom's own apparent 'hidden agendas' in some of the ways he has sought to argue his own case on this site which has then coloured the irritated responses he has got from others.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Sep 28 2017 10:58

TH states obvious things as great revelations that prob most here have long considered and dealt with; I doubt most people here try to ram down people's throats their revolutionary politics at every opportunity. But the contradiction remains - after claiming everyone was an unconscious leftist, now TH's proposal for ani-fascism mirrors leftism exactly. The further contradiction - that anti-fascism as bourgeois ideology seeking only to reform, refine and cleanse capitalist democracy can't be critiqued without acknowledging its function within capitalism - is ditched by the great theorist of The Total Critique in favour of ... what? Immediate pragmatism and hoped for greater acceptance. Yet he's spent years smugly lecturing others on their pseudo-radicality and hopeless falls into leftist behaviour.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 28 2017 11:08

This is specifically about anti-fascism. In this context (but it might apply to others) I am suggesting that agendas have to be abandoned.

You are misunderstanding what I have written, and apparently trying to pin some psychological disorder upon me because what I have written you disagree with, thereby derailing the discussion. There is a long history of this sort of behaviour in politics.

We all have agendas on this site, because it is a site for general discussion in a general arena of libertarian communism.

I was spurred to elaborating this idea on anti- fascism by bootsy's post above. I became aware that anti-fascism as practiced by the far left was most probably shooting anti-fascism in the foot. This is interesting, and I think important, see my posts above.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Sep 28 2017 12:42

I don't ultimately trust these nihilists, who have another agenda here, so we have to watch for if they begin to effectively derail what we are actually discussing and fighting against. How is Tom Henry's hidden agenda of dogmatic donothingism and trollish know-it-allism any different from the entryism of a garden variety Trot or Leftist?

lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Sep 28 2017 18:25

I'm having trouble following the conversation with Tom Henry. Too many layers of irony.

I was asked earlier not to be so abstract, so I'll do my best. From the thread about supporting the allies in WW2:

fingers malone wrote:
If you were in France, Yugoslavia etc and trying to fight in a resistance movement, wouldn't you be somewhat dependent on the Allies for resources? Isn't that a lot of the reason for anarchists supporting 'The Allies', the need for weapons and supplies?

It is true that all militant efforts require either being supported by a state or being a state (i.e., taxing and conscripting the population under your "protection"). The material side of orienting yourself like a state: you must rely on nasty friends or become nasty yourself. This is the reason why war is incompatible with anarchism.

lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Sep 28 2017 18:26
lettersjournal wrote:
A heuristic: if my enthusiasms are also promoted by journalists and activists and politicians, I'm a sucker. Sure, I am earnest in these enthusiasms and sure of their authenticity - that's what makes me a sucker. 'Self-defense' is the rationale for every war. Don't go to war. Don't be a sucker.

I'm not caught up in the enthusiasm for antifascism, but I can be a sucker sometimes too, for other things. It's hard to avoid.

We're faced with an interesting situation. It's not exactly that competing forces are trying to recruit us for their projects (stop climate change! crack the Russian conspiracy!) but more that all the competing forces are incoherent and confused. There are no clear projects. No one is lying because there isn't a truth to deviate from. Each enthusiasm lasts for only a short time, sometimes mere hours and minutes, and the enthusiasms that get lumped together never add up.

On some level, contemporary enthusiasm for antifascism could be understood as a messaging strategy by the Democratic Party (going back at least to Clinton's 'alt-right' speech), but I think that assigns the DNC too much agency and coherence. Political parties and journalists are swept along just like the rest of us.

It doesn't matter if you have the correct positions about the 'issues of the day': being stuck in the cycle of responding to daily events and controversies overrides the content of your responses. What matters is freeing yourself from that cycle and pursuing a different orientation and project. And I mean that in a practical way, not just philosophically. But I also mean it philosophically.

fingers malone's picture
fingers malone
Offline
Joined: 4-05-08
Sep 28 2017 19:57
lettersjournal wrote:
I'm having trouble following the conversation with Tom Henry. Too many layers of irony.

I was asked earlier not to be so abstract, so I'll do my best. From the thread about supporting the allies in WW2:

fingers malone wrote:
If you were in France, Yugoslavia etc and trying to fight in a resistance movement, wouldn't you be somewhat dependent on the Allies for resources? Isn't that a lot of the reason for anarchists supporting 'The Allies', the need for weapons and supplies?

It is true that all militant efforts require either being supported by a state or being a state (i.e., taxing and conscripting the population under your "protection"). The material side of orienting yourself like a state: you must rely on nasty friends or become nasty yourself. This is the reason why war is incompatible with anarchism.

War is incompatible with anarchism..... I certainly think militarisation of a struggle is a very serious threat to any liberatory potential, but what should people do when a war lands on their heads?

lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Sep 28 2017 20:21

I don't know. I imagine I would do what most people do: run away or hide.

radicalgraffiti
Offline
Joined: 4-11-07
Sep 28 2017 20:34

so here any interaction with academics is is unatcepable

https://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/why-article-has-been-removed-07102011?page=14#comment-598537

Tom Henry wrote:
In bed with Academia:

What could possibly go wrong?

but here we most work with anyone with out the slightish criticism regardless of tactical differences and ojectives

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/chomsky-antifa-17082017?page=2#comment-598463

Tom Henry wrote:
You haven't understood a word of what I have said.

I am suggesting a very simple practical change in strategy, attitude and perspective.

I am saying that we should suspend all efforts to draw people to our cause of anti-capitalism under the threat of fascism and/or dictatorship.

(This was the essence of my asking about WW2, but that is a more complex issue, as posters indicated, and I still haven't made up my mind about it).

We should participate in anti-racism and anti-fascism not as 'revolutionaries' with their patronising mindset.

I am not against reformism. I am not against class collaboration if it achieves a worthwhile reform, or outcome, such as the containment of fascism.

lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Sep 28 2017 21:14
the croydonian anarchist wrote:
lettersjournal wrote:

If you forgot about the anti-fascist activism and went about your life, it's likely you would henceforth never encounter a single fascist, much less have to defend yourself against one, whereas if you define yourself in opposition to a thing, you cleave yourself to it. (In the same way, if you defined yourself as an anti-Islamist, I'm sure you would find yourself in fights with Islamists.)

What if part of your life involves, I don't know, being a practicing muslim for instance. Or an openly trans person? Or, god forbid, being black. For those with less privilege than the copious amounts you obviously have, as evidenced by your abstract nonsense, you might find their experiences differ.

Almost no muslims or transsexuals or black people have picked anti-fascist activism or street fighting as a reasonable or necessary thing to do with their lives. So if the aggregate/average behavior groups is your guide for what ought to be done, anti-fascism is not an obvious choice, to put it lightly. If you are worried about fighting against groups who kill muslims and black people, I think it would make more sense to be an anti-Islamist or anti-gang militant.

(Survivors and family members of the congregation attacked by the fascist in Charleston responded to the event with calls for Christian love and forgiveness of the killer, as did the father of the young woman killed in Charlottesville.)

Let's explore the practical/abstract distinction re: fascism. The denunciation of the abstract in favor of the concrete was a fascist slogan, with 'abstract' being used to mean 'Jewish'. I don't think that's how you mean it, so I'm curious to hear why my abstraction is bad (especially compared to your proposed alternative: a thought experiment of imagining myself as a practicing muslim).

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 28 2017 21:54

radicalgrafitti wrote:

Quote:
so here any interaction with academics is is unatcepable

https://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/why-article-has-been-removed-07102011?page=14#comment-598537

Tom Henry wrote:
In bed with Academia:
What could possibly go wrong?

but here we most work with anyone with out the slightish criticism regardless of tactical differences and ojectives

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/chomsky-antifa-17082017?page=2#comment-598463

I didn't write or mean to imply that 'any interaction with academics is unacceptable' - I meant that for the purposes of class struggle it is fraught. I also agree with bootsy's intuition on that other thread that being an academic is fraught. The universities are key motors of what could be termed capitalist culture and they are centres of authority and research for the control of populations and the working class. The university is not an innocent satellite to Western hegemony. Rather, it is a central process. The university sucks in radicality and spits out better ways to manage situations for the benefit of progress. It is never an innocent repository of objective knowledge. On the contrary, it is an action on the world, a one-way dialogue, funded by the ruling classes, that disingenuously presents itself as impartial and objective. .

So, my suggestion that we work with a variety of people at all levels of society in the struggle against fascism doesn't discount the perils of that endeavour, but the point of the suggestion is to make anti-fascism more effective - and yes, I think my argument should be challenged with the history of popular frontism, but I think that instead of creating a new umbrella organisation (that people suspect might be a vehicle for a particular political ideology) we should perhaps become involved in the more informal structures of resistance that are already in place (this includes working with the formal structure of something like Antifa, but recognising its possible limitations). I am concentrating on one thing here, not the social revolution.

lettersjournal writes:

Quote:
I'm having trouble following the conversation with Tom Henry. Too many layers of irony.

I'm not sure if the implication here is that I am being ironic too. I am not. Read everything I have said as what I actually think, without any irony.

the croydonian anarchist's picture
the croydonian ...
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
Sep 28 2017 22:47
lettersjournal wrote:

Almost no muslims or transsexuals or black people have picked anti-fascist activism or street fighting as a reasonable or necessary thing to do with their lives. So if the aggregate/average behavior groups is your guide for what ought to be done, anti-fascism is not an obvious choice, to put it lightly. If you are worried about fighting against groups who kill muslims and black people, I think it would make more sense to be an anti-Islamist or anti-gang militant.

(Survivors and family members of the congregation attacked by the fascist in Charleston responded to the event with calls for Christian love and forgiveness of the killer, as did the father of the young woman killed in Charlottesville.)

Let's explore the practical/abstract distinction re: fascism. The denunciation of the abstract in favor of the concrete was a fascist slogan, with 'abstract' being used to mean 'Jewish'. I don't think that's how you mean it, so I'm curious to hear why my abstraction is bad (especially compared to your proposed alternative: a thought experiment of imagining myself as a practicing muslim).

Almost none.......yeah sure -_- What is your definition of reasonable and responsible. Anti fascism is self defence for a lot of people. Self defence is both reasonable and responsible.

I am not sure what the point of you bringing up 'abstract' being made to mean 'jewish' by anti semites if you don't think I meant it in that way. I am not asking you to engage in a thought experiment, I am asking you to engage in some empathy and checking of privilege, which again you exude and seem to actively revel in.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Sep 28 2017 22:58

Spikymike writes:

Quote:
On that level it would seem that Tom and Red might agree?

In fact, if one reads through the 'Setup In Charlottesville' thread (from RM's first post) and compares what Red Marriott and Hieronymous are arguing with what I have been arguing here one can see that we three are arguing for the same thing.

My contribution is just a suggestion for a tweaking of strategy and perspective - something that could actually serve to bring 'the left-comms' into things as well.

lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Sep 29 2017 14:33
the croydonian anarchist wrote:
lettersjournal wrote:

Almost no muslims or transsexuals or black people have picked anti-fascist activism or street fighting as a reasonable or necessary thing to do with their lives. So if the aggregate/average behavior groups is your guide for what ought to be done, anti-fascism is not an obvious choice, to put it lightly. If you are worried about fighting against groups who kill muslims and black people, I think it would make more sense to be an anti-Islamist or anti-gang militant.

(Survivors and family members of the congregation attacked by the fascist in Charleston responded to the event with calls for Christian love and forgiveness of the killer, as did the father of the young woman killed in Charlottesville.)

Let's explore the practical/abstract distinction re: fascism. The denunciation of the abstract in favor of the concrete was a fascist slogan, with 'abstract' being used to mean 'Jewish'. I don't think that's how you mean it, so I'm curious to hear why my abstraction is bad (especially compared to your proposed alternative: a thought experiment of imagining myself as a practicing muslim).

Almost none.......yeah sure -_- What is your definition of reasonable and responsible. Anti fascism is self defence for a lot of people. Self defence is both reasonable and responsible.

I am not sure what the point of you bringing up 'abstract' being made to mean 'jewish' by anti semites if you don't think I meant it in that way. I am not asking you to engage in a thought experiment, I am asking you to engage in some empathy and checking of privilege, which again you exude and seem to actively revel in.

There are maybe ~2000 antifa activists in the US, and almost all of them are white. So it's fair to say that there is no group of people for whom antifa activism is necessary, otherwise the numbers would be much higher. Far less than 1% of black people in America have decided to become antifa activists. Why do you think that is? May I empathize with those, like the survivors and family of the slain in South Carolina, who respond to fascist violence with love and forgiveness? Or are they 'privileged' too?

I bring up the history of opposing abstraction because I want to learn more about why you oppose it.

A few years ago, criticizing anti-fascism (and the idea of 'privilege') was the standard libcom position. No longer, it seems. As with the old threads about the Tahrir square protests in Egypt, critical ideas are abandoned at the first moment of action. A good illustration of why we shouldn't jump into action.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Sep 29 2017 15:19
lettersjournal wrote:

Almost no muslims or transsexuals or black people have picked anti-fascist activism or street fighting as a reasonable or necessary thing to do with their lives.

This is false both in the current situation and historically.

For UK examples historically:

Tower Hamlets 1968-1970 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0306396816642997

Lewisham 1977: https://libcom.org/history/articles/battle-of-lewisham-1977

Southall 1979: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si1eZQb17zU

In the US in the '60s there was Deacons for Defense.

Lots of people individually now attending anti-fascist stuff in the US, obvious example is the flameflower guy: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/charlottesville-care-worker-neo-nazis-corey-long-flame-thrower-peaceful-protest-virginia-ku-klux-a7894161.html

lettersjournal wrote:
If you are worried about fighting against groups who kill muslims and black people, I think it would make more sense to be an anti-Islamist or anti-gang militant.

"black on black crime" are you Tomi Lahren?

Black Badger
Offline
Joined: 21-03-07
Sep 29 2017 19:03
Quote:
There are maybe ~2000 antifa activists in the US, and almost all of them are white.

In places like Modesto, LA, and the greater Bay Area, this is demonstrably false. If you insist upon relying on such "alternative facts," then there's nothing more to discuss with you.