Chapter 16: Fascism and anti-fascism

16

Fascism and anti-fascism

Given the jargon that has infected some political and working class sectors, entirely contrary to the views of the FORist movement in Argentina and Uruguay, and in view of the persistent use of the word, “anti-fascist” by the Spanish and international “ministerialists”, we believe that it is necessary to offer a few reflections on what we understand by the term, “fascism”, and by its negation by its seeming antithesis, “anti-fascism”.

Fascism, or more precisely, its essence, is nothing new in the history of the peoples. It is the maximum, the most refined, cruel and brutal manifestation of the authoritarian system; oppressive and domineering from top to bottom. All the coercive means have been employed in order to give the State the power of domination that is necessary; to fully centralize brute force in the governmental mechanism. All the means of “persuasion” have been regimented in order to silence the public conscience and slogans are recited with an absolute “unanimity”, “molding” the most diverse opinions according to the political needs of the State.

The same procedures used to silence the voices of the heretics that were put into practice by the executioners at the orders of the inquisitors Arbués and Torquemada, adapted to the “progress” of our century, have been utilized by the totalitarian regimes imposed in Italy, Russia, Germany, and now in Spain.

The saying of the Uruguayan politician they call “Rasputin”—“Calm down and live, or rebel and die”—is the norm of the way of life imposed on the peoples so that they will silently endure the state monstrosity. I am the State, I give the orders and you must obey me, say the dictators, and the peoples obey, smiling, with applause and tranquility in order to avoid the consequences of the anger or the suspicion of the henchmen of authority.

Human consciousness is becoming mechanized. Speech has been standardized. Gestures, stereotyped. People fall silent when they are not mouthing words of conformity and servility. The inhabitants of the world have been regimented, and they know when, where and how to work or refrain from working, what to think, etc.; where they can gather together and relate to one another. The State knows everything due to its legions of spies or informers and has its “solution” for everything. Shootings, the gibbet, decapitations, the despicable garrote, the guillotine and the electric chair, are the final, “quite convincing” arguments that its “devotees” engage in and that become more frequent with each passing day….

In Germany, they cut off heads. In Russia, they “purge” the opposition and the people. In Italy, they prescribe castor oil; then the garrote or the firing squad. In Spain, at the present time, they are setting a rather high standard; without any trial, they shoot “convicts” at the rate of up to “800 murdered …” at a time.

And this only refers to the totalitarian regimes; regarding which one could say that fascism is becoming generalized.

***

Now let us take a look at the “democracies”. In France they use the guillotine. In the United States human beings are eliminated by means of electrocution or hanging. In the other countries, the same or similar procedures are utilized “for setting an example”. Torture is also employed by means of rubber truncheons or cattle prods, with which we are familiar in our part of the world.

In some countries there has been an attenuation in the suffering, an attractive label, a disguise with plebian gilding, but always based on violence, audacity, inhumanity and crime: the shell of the state.

Fascism, Nazism, state communism, nationalism, democracy, socialism, are all different names but all are based on one thing: the authority principle; and one goal: the state.

The goal does not change, then, whether you call it dictatorship, empire, kingdom, parliamentary republic, or even if you give it the pompous title of: republic of the “workers” or of the soviets—“proletarian” dictatorship—or any other “transitional bridge”, as is insinuated by the “anti-fascists” of the CNT-FAI.

Now that we have expressed these very simple deductions concerning what is often called—because of snobbism—a fascist regime, we should point out that the word “anti-fascism” has an identical origin, because the powers that, calling themselves democratic, claim to fight the fascist regime cannot be differentiated from the latter, nor can the political fractions that are its opponents, using demagogy, deny their authoritarian essence.

***

Who presents themselves to the workers as anti-fascists?

The socialists, who adore, uphold and advocate the statist structure! In France, the socialist Briand was in power, and the army and the police at his orders liquidated the French railroad workers strike, persecuting, imprisoning and massacring the striking workers. In Germany, a socialist cabinet presided over by Noske ordered the massacre of the people of Bavaria, murdering, in addition, outstanding anarchist militants, among other people, comrade Landauer. In Spain, before the military revolt, the socialists dominated republican cabinets, and Casas Viejas is still fresh in our memories: Arnedo, the shack of Seisdedos where a peasant family of eight was burned alive and the members of the CNT and the FAI and the Spanish people were persecuted and murdered.

The communists! In Russia—whose mystical and stoic people know the rigors and the omnipotence of the dictatorship imposed by the ruling party: Lenin yesterday, and now Stalin—the “red” army at the orders of the “generalissimo” Trotsky—today a “voluntary” exile from the country of his “great deeds”—mercilessly massacred the sailors of Kronstadt, which had been, during the period of Czarism, a beacon of freedom and rebellion, and whose garrison had been the spearhead of the revolution during that disastrous regime. The brave Maknovist guerrillas were exterminated, who had expelled the mercenary armies from the Ukraine. The anarchists and opponents of the dictatorship were shot or hidden away in the prisons of inhospitable regions, and more recently there have been repeated “purges” of the members of the ruling party, shooting as “traitors and Nazi spies” some of the intellectual figures who were comrades of Lenin.

The radicals of Argentina! We recall the strike in the metallurgical plant of Vasena, where violent clashes with the Irigoyenista police took place, in which many comrades died, an episode that led to what we call the “Week of January” and which the bourgeois journalist Juan J. de Soiza Reilly—without going into the distinctly proletarian aspect, which was anxious and cruel—described, vaguely reflecting some scenes, in these paragraphs:

“I just came back from an sorrowful journey. I visited some of the homes of the Israelites where they shed tears of blood. I have seen innocent old people being dragged by their beards. I have seen a pale and smiling little old man who lifted up his shirt to show us two of his ribs. They stuck out of his skin like sticks, bleeding…. I have seen hard-working and humble laborers—like all the Jewish workers—with both legs broken, in casts. Piled up like firewood on the sidewalks. I have seen scientific libraries burned…. I have seen a heroic woman who was forced to eat her own excrement. I have seen houses looted and pockets emptied by robbers. I have seen poor little girls of 14 and 15 years of age crying on the street corners. They covered their faces with their hands. They were ashamed. They had lost the holy treasure of their innocence among the claws of the beasts…. One of them showed me her right hand, cut by an axe, “because I tried to defend myself from the brute”…. I have seen, in addition…. But, why reproduce the horrors that I have seen, the revulsion that I felt?

“If I dip my pen into this revulsion, I would write this chronicle with rage….”

And the sorrowful episodes of Patagonia, where the soldiers under the command of colonel Varela made the strikers dig their own graves before shooting them? And the massacres of the Chaco, the persecutions and deportations of FORist militants?

The battlistas, government colorados and the blancos! The streets of Montevideo and some of the towns of the interior have been drenched in the blood of the workers; those who went on strike were beaten and the jails swallowed many anarchists.

Why do the political fractions that formed the “Popular Front” in Spain call themselves “anti-fascists”, when, prior to July 19 and during the civil war, they murdered the anarchists who refused to obey the authoritarians?

All of this is villainy, arrogance, violence and criminality, even if the perpetrators call themselves socialists, communists, radicals, blancos, colorados or anti-fascists, and they cannot by any means be distinguished from the ways of the fascists. It is always the State.

Therefore, the alliance made by the “responsible” leaders of the CNT and the FAI with the authoritarian elements of Spain is entirely illogical, and cannot be justified by any valid, convincing argument, any more than such an alliance with the Marxists of our part of the world would have.

***

A recent political event, which caused a “sensation” in certain statist spheres and among some simple-minded people will reinforce our argument: the embrace of Hitler and Stalin. They have brought together, in one solid bundle, rabid anti-communism and cynical anti-nazism.

This event will not have been surprising to sensible people, because while they are political ideologies that seemingly repel each other, with regard to their methods, the regimes and their interests are identical and cannot remain separated.

The embrace of Stalin with Hitler might impress those who, concealing their authoritarian inclinations and ways, had taken up as a rallying banner a meaningless, deceitful and puerile label, but this has no importance for those who, like us anarchists, do not allow ourselves to differentiate between the regimes and consider the actions, the maneuvers and the falsehoods of those who rule over the peoples to be a logical consequence of the corruption that engulfs the capitalist system. One thing is certain: anti-nazism and anti-communism signed a military pact and then gorged themselves on the bloody spoils of the Polish people, sharing out, in addition, the land, the wealth and the inhabitants living in the framework of the borders that the map assigned to Poland, just as previously—the same or other States—had divided up the lands of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Ethiopia, The Transvaal, India, Morocco, etc., and are still assailing these peoples.