Beyond Boots and Bandanas: Anti-Fascism Is Ideological Struggle

Anti-fascism is not a particular organization or a group. It is an ideological position, and one which must be carried out in practice to be more than it has been in the past. We engage in street confrontations and counter-protests because, as you will hear often if you hang around anti-fascists, “we can never let fascists have the streets.” This is an absolutely correct thing to do, and under no circumstances should we stop meeting fascists in public, outnumbering them, and forcing them to either engage us or hide behind a police line. There is no need to espouse the usefulness of this tactic, but we have to understand what fascism is and how to fight it before it reaches the point where we must engage with them in the streets. What fascism is and what it is not are key aspects of understanding and combating fascism.

There are many people defining fascism and attempting to obscure the class basis of it. This has always been the case since the days of the Comintern and Otto Bauer [1]. The rising tide of fascism must be understood exactly for what it is. It is, and always has been as the Comintern defined it: an openly terroristic dictatorship of the bourgeoisie against the working class. It is the most hostile and chauvinistic elements of the bourgeois maintaining dominance. They recruit these other elements, the disparate classes which they trample on, to their cause through an appeal to the most base and violent national chauvinism imaginable.

It should be mentioned, and I think it is important to understand, that at no point should any person involved in anti-fascist work consider what I am about to say an attack. I value all of our work in the streets. I value the experiences that anti-fascists have and the tradition that I also stand as a part of as an anti-fascist. The tradition of combating fascism in the streets has always been a part of what must be done, from union battles against the American Legion [2], and that most distinctly American historical fascist group, the Pinkerton thugs [3] and their related organizations. We have traveled across the world to stop fascists whenever they arise, and we will not be stopping. But, we must also move to new methods.

Fascist organizations and youth rely on the harsh individualism of capitalism, the brutal reality of being alone in a society. They recruit from the proletariat and the lumpen to ensure that they have not just a base, but also loyal foot soldiers to serve bourgeois interests. They don’t care for these people, and would gladly throw them in front of a bullet to cover their own skins, often play acting courage and in the heat of the moment showing themselves. They prove themselves to be bosses, as they always were, and not leaders as we must be. They stand behind a police line giving orders and making speeches while their foot soldiers get routed again and again across the country. They know that this manipulation will continue to work because they promise something that was denied under capitalism.

Community, and this, my dearest comrades, is where our battle with fascism must begin, the streets are the final line. When they feel bold enough to take the streets, we must be bold enough to throw them back, but this is the last line of defense. We have to go beyond the boots and bandanas method, incorporate it, and prepare to utilize it when necessary. But first, we have to absolutely begin by building communities. We have to build neighborhoods and cities that are inimical to fascism not because they are solidly proletarian, after all, our class has been turned against itself before, but because it is a place where people are not isolated. Where people do not have to go seeking community and finding fascists with open arms looking to welcome them. Modeling ourselves after the old left, and the true inheritors of their legacy from the new left, the Black Panther Party we must strive to make these community programs both accessible and driven by needs which exist in our community. [4]

We have proven time and time again that we outnumber them [5], that we are stronger than them in the streets, but we must counter-recruit. Every time we manage to remove a member from the fascist ranks and return him to a staunch defender of his class and our communities we have won a victory. After all, Sun Tzu told us two things. The first, ““Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” this is the goal and obligation of anti-fascists as a whole. This is what the whole thing is about. We will break them before we ever take them to the streets, we will not risk ourselves and our bodies. If we are forced to the streets we will dominate but the objective is to avoid dangerous street battles. The second, and the only argument necessary for counter recruitment, “ a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy’s provisions is equivalent to twenty of one’s own, and likewise a single picul of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one’s own store.“ [6]

We will no longer be forced to fight fascists in a way that is narrowly devoted to street battles and displays of strength, after all, we don’t want them to know how strong we are ever. Instead we will make neighborhoods where they have no connection, no pull, an no way to recruit. We will make neighborhoods where every anti-fascist can meet them in the streets when we must, but also know that our community will have our backs during the battle.

References

[1] https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/dimitrov/works/1935/08_02.htm#s2

[2] https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/shaw-g/1943/06/legion.htm

[3] https://aflcio.org/about/history/labor-history-events/1892-homestead-strike

[4] http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html

[5] https://itsgoingdown.org/antifascists-won-battles-berkeley/

[6] http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html



Categories: Anti-Fascism

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