The worst product of fascism? It’s antifascism!

The worst product of fascism? It’s antifascism!

Here are some “working theses” about the bourgeois polarization fascism versus antifascism. They are not an absolute, neither a bible and even less a “holy text” that should be necessarily signed, but just a preliminary for a more extensive discussion on this issue.

libcom note: While we may find points of agreement within this text, we think that - like many 'anti-anti-fascist' from the ultra/Communist Left tradition - the omission from its discussion of 'anti-fascism as community self-defense' is a significant oversight: the experiences of, for example, the Asian Youth Movements in repelling fascist attacks in areas such as Brick Lane and Southall, or of the anti-fascist squads which later became Anti-Fascist Action, cannot be reduced to a simple promotion of bourgeois democracy and the capitalist state.
As such, we also think that the title is both incorrect and unhelpfully outrage-seeking: ultimately, the worst product of fascism was not anti-fascism but, rather, the mechanised industrial death camp and the systemic exterminationist policy it enacted on millions of people. Ignoring this fact in favour of a title seemingly constructed with the express intention of provoking a negative response from the very people it seeks to engage (i.e. potential readers) only takes away from the more substantive, if incomplete, critique contained within the piece.

We have dug out from the archives of a comrade this old text, which is a more than 20 year old text and which had at the time circulated mainly in English in Eastern Europe, but also in France and Spain. We made some small corrections but we would like, however, to point out the ideological categorization remaining in the text according to which the dictatorship of Capital is articulated around the poles “democracy” versus “dictatorship” (even with the use of quotation marks), a categorization which tends to elude the deep nature of the social dictatorship of Capital which is precisely and really democracy (i.e. ITS democracy!) as mainly the negation of class antagonism and its conflictuality.

Like all political material of our class and our struggle, this text needs to be lively criticized. So, discuss it and provide the contradiction to strengthen our community of criticism against Capital.

1. The essence of antifascism is based on struggling against fascism by promoting democracy, opposing one to the other, that is to say struggling not to destroy capitalism but to force it to renounce to become totalitarian. By promoting this utopia, antifascism diverts very concretely class antagonisms; there are no longer two classes confronting: proletariat against bourgeoisie, two projects opposing: communism/anarchy against Capital, destruction of the Old World against conservation of this one, abolition of class society and imposition of human needs against dictatorship of Value; but instead of this there are bourgeois polarizations: “democracy” versus “fascism”, “constitutional State” versus “police State”, “civilians” versus “the military”, “parliamentarianism” versus “one-party dictatorial regime”. At “best”, fascism is identified with State totalitarianism. All these bourgeois campaigns are the negation in acts of class antagonisms, of their secular and implacable struggle; therefore they are in this sense the reign of democracy. Playing the game of antifascism is to strengthen what we think we fight against. The current antifascist campaigns led by the bourgeoisie (along with the fascist campaigns) aim to reconstitute the national union around the State, in order to push proletarians to adhere to the reproduction of the capitalist social relation. They allow also today, as well as yesterday, to recreate a polarization for triggering a new war allowing (according to our class enemies) to boost a new cycle of accumulation…

2. Therefore the problem is not that “democracy” ensures a milder exploitation than “dictatorship” (to use the conventional categorizations introduced by Social Democracy): everyone “would prefer” to be exploited in the Swedish way than to be tortured in the Brazilian way. But do we have the choice? Indeed, we have no choice in the way we are exploited. It is always the State of Capital that changes the forms of its dictatorship following its needs of valorization. This “democracy” will transform itself into “dictatorship” as soon as it will be necessary. The State can only have one function, that it performs “democratically” or “dictatorially”.

3. Fascism is explainable only by taking the preceding period into account: the crushing of the revolutionary wave of 1917-21 by Social Democracy (Russia, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc.). It is first and foremost Social Democracy that ideologically and practically disarmed the proletariat and repressed militarily its insurrections. In Germany, the Free Corps led by the socialist Noske were the spearhead of the campaign of restoring order. Fascism, as its great brother Stalinism, did “only” complete the work of the counterrevolution by finishing off a defeated proletariat. The so-called dictatorship comes always after proletarians have been defeated by democracy, with its trade-unions and its left-wing parties. Antifascism conceals this fundamental reality by identifying fascism with the “forces of evil” and reducing it to an “irrational”, a-historical “reaction”, coming from nowhere. The credibility of fascism in the thirties could be explained by the fact that it implemented partly the program of Social Democracy: “improvement” in “living standards”, important public works, reduction of unemployment, etc.

4. The essential tactical of all antifascist fronts is to paste noisily the fascist label on the State (for example in France the slogan: “CRS=SS”), which has the same effect as to denounce the political parties at the head of the State. In both cases, the criticism of the State is concealed behind the denunciation of those who run it. Furthermore, antifascism means promoting and strengthening democracy and therefore its State.

5. Antifascism constantly reminds the Nazi massacres, which serves to justify this war by giving it a humanitarian character, and thereby, to conceal the reality that the war is a material necessity for Capital, allowing to liquidate in a few time a surplus mass of productive forces. But each war necessarily needs a justification to recruit proletarians under its flags. The struggle against fascism allowed justifying the massacre of more than 50 million of proletarians by promoting a struggle against “totalitarianism”. And nevertheless, even with a pacifist and bourgeois humanist analysis, the Nazi’s death camps were not the only “horrors” of the war: for example, atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, murderous and massive bombings on big German cities, massacres of Sétif in Algeria by the French army in May 1945, on the very day of “the Liberation”, etc.

6. The development of Capital results in these two main consequences: the obedience of workers, and therefore the soft or the violent destruction of the revolutionary movement; and the competition with the other national capitals, therefore the war. The capitalist social relation is built and structured around competition and the establishment of nations as a support, as a material basis for wars. Any nation produces its nationalism, which is competitive with the neighbor nationalism; any nation tends to monopolize its neighbor’s market share. Any nationalism is imperialistic by essence and as a result contributes to wars. Any nation contains within it the seeds of imperialism, even the so-called progressive nations of “third-world”: Vietnam, Nicaragua, etc.

7. Capital’s triumph is never as complete as when workers are mobilized for it, believing it could “change life”. “Dictatorship” and “democracy” are rather two ways to control the proletariat, either by integrating it forcibly or by associating it through “its” organizations: trade-unions, parties, associations, etc. Consequent antifascism consists in strengthening the State, always presented as “democratic”, “constitutional”… while attaching the proletariat to it, by “involving people”.

8. For all the reformers of the capitalist society, democracy is conceived as an element of socialism, element already present in the world today. Socialism would indeed be a total democracy in their conception. The struggle for socialism would consist in getting more and more democratic rights within capitalism. This is a Social Democratic ideology named gradualism. Antifascism will always result in increasing totalitarianism; its fight for a “democratic” State (it is so by essence!) consolidates the State. For revolutionaries, socialism, communism, anarchy means total destruction of the capitalist social relation, therefore of its classes, its State, its democracy. We do not have to improve, and therefore ultimately to strengthen, what we struggle against. Fascism and antifascism are part of a whole; they are the two jaws of the same trap crushing us.

9. When proletarians join voluntary and militantly the side of democracy, antifascism, and the State, they lose all capacity to defend their own class interest, they deny themselves as a revolutionary class, destructive of this class society, they strengthen what they pretend to fight: the State. There is no (that is to say no more) autonomous proletarian movement from the given moment when it locks up in the State limits.

10. The communist movement can only overcome if proletarians go beyond the mere uprising (even armed) that does not attack the wage system itself.

11. Spanish war was used to polarize proletarians from all over the world, from “fascist countries” as well as “democratic countries”, around the opposition fascism-antifascism, and prepared thus the Sacred Union of 1939-1945. It was a general repetition of the second world war, the same way the Balkans war was for 14-18. The bourgeoisie always seeks to formalize alliances, to polarize competing sides, to push proletarians to join its flags in order to give a strong material basis to its solution: i.e. war.

12. Through support to the existing State under its “democratic” form in order to avoid it to assume the “dictatorial” form, antifascism does disarm proletarians ideologically and materially by falsifying, by negating the antagonism that opposes them to the State, the State of Capital. Antifascism hands thus proletarians over to the repression by calling to stop the struggle against the class enemy. But the latter is determined to carry on to the end. That’s what it did, among others during the bloody struggles of Barcelona in May 1937. It’s the lack of rupture of proletarians and revolutionaries with antifascism, and more globally with Social Democracy, that led them to defeat and death.

13. For a radicalized fringe of the proletariat, the Spanish War will serve as beginning of justification for the (future) war against fascism. Refusing so far the Sacred Union, even against Nazi Germany, proletarians who had yet resisted, came to accept it, as a “lesser evil” compared to the fascist victory. The great ideological function of the Spanish War will therefore be to polarize the waverers around the alternative “democracy” against “fascism”, presented on both sides as the only possible response to the “plutocratic” or “fascist” totalitarianism. And in 1936, as in 1940 or in 1914, it’s always Social Democracy that is at the forefront in mobilizing proletarians for war.

Antifascism is a formula of confusion!

Fascist or antifascist, the dictatorship of Capital is the democracy!

The struggle against fascism begins with the struggle for social revolution!

Posted By

Guerre de Classe
Oct 11 2021 16:31

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Guerre de Classe
Nov 5 2021 16:19
Quote:
libcom note: While we may find points of agreement within this text, we think that - like many 'anti-anti-fascist' from the ultra/Communist Left tradition - the omission from its discussion of 'anti-fascism as community self-defense' is a significant oversight: the experiences of, for example, the Asian Youth Movements in repelling fascist attacks in areas such as Brick Lane and Southall, or of the anti-fascist squads which later became Anti-Fascist Action, cannot be reduced to a simple promotion of bourgeois democracy and the capitalist state.
As such, we also think that the title is both incorrect and unhelpfully outrage-seeking: ultimately, the worst product of fascism was not anti-fascism but, rather, the mechanised industrial death camp and the systemic exterminationist policy it enacted on millions of people. Ignoring this fact in favour of a title seemingly constructed with the express intention of provoking a negative response from the very people it seeks to engage (i.e. potential readers) only takes away from the more substantive, if incomplete, critique contained within the piece.

I think that a reply to your note has somehow already been published in another post (HERE):

Quote:
Historically, the proletariat has always had to confront these organs of the State which are the employers’ militias (Pinkerton in the US, networks close to the SAC, the OAS and Peugeot in France), the pistoleros in Spain during the years 1920s, the White Guards and Armies, the death squads (Triple A in Argentina, Honor of the Police in France, GAL and Guerrillas of Christ the King in Spain during the 1970s) or the Free Corps in Germany and Hungary in 1919. The proletariat also had to always arm itself consequently to defend itself from threats and attacks against its living conditions and against the organization of its struggle.

In this sense, it is necessary to clarify the real content of the action of proletarian groups which act as self-defense groups against the State which in this case takes the form of armed fascists often ready to kill, because the use of expressions like “anti-fascist struggle” can only reinforce the confusion. The polarization fascism versus antifascism has only served to lock up any revolutionary advance in the defense of a lesser evil and therefore of the existing order, by mobilizing the proletarians for the defense of the State, to prepare the warlike confrontation on a terrain which is not that of our class. It is a global vision of the phenomena and a historical critique of anti-fascism that allow us to consider quite correctly the example of the so-called “Spanish war”: the latter was not only in an eminently practical way the coffin of the militant proletariat in this region but it also ideologically prepared the whole class of the exploited to accept to become recruited in the generalized massacre that was the so-called “second world war”.

Cheers!

Red Marriott
Nov 5 2021 19:59

The claim that Spain

Quote:
ideologically prepared the whole class of the exploited to accept to become recruited in the generalized massacre that was the so-called “second world war”

is not very convincing, especially if it's being suggested WWII wouldn't have otherwise occurred. The massive wave of class struggle in the years preceding WWI didn't stop millions of proletarians marching off to slaughter. Nor was there that much practical international solidarity with Spain: only 40-60,000 from the whole global proletariat went to fight or participate in Spain and there were few strikes or other practical international working class actions. I don't think that's because the international working class had a radical critique of anti-fascism, rather that the conditions that made WWII recruitment possible already existed prior to Spain 1936.

meerov21
Nov 6 2021 15:31

To the author of the text. Friend, this is an excellent text, against fascism and anti-fascism. Please write me privately, I have something to say to you.

Red Marriott
Nov 6 2021 17:06

The article is a tired rehash of the standard left-comm anti-anti-fash line spouted ahistorically for the umpteenth time since the 30s. They would've been better just linking to an article on the subject better written than this one. As usual with most left-comm articles, it resolves to the simplistic 'one solution - revolution' conclusion: with little or no consideration of the practical process involved. Like the communisationists, they fetishise the ultimate climax while ignoring the foreplay.

Nor is there much consideration of how the working class defend themselves against present threats from fascism: Guerre de Classe 'replies', as usual, not as an individual, but only with quotes from his group's Holy Texts and their supposedly eternally correct lessons from a distant very different past. Quotes about workers militias, formed in times of much higher class struggle, defending against state and bosses' attacks rather than against the kind of fascist and supremacist group activity dominant today.