“I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world.”
Bob Dylan, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
The rain is falling very hard indeed. In a move that might very well signal the reversal of the social-democratic trend in Latin America, open fascist Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil on October 28th. Using rhetoric very similar to that of his North American counterpart, Donald Trump, Bolsonaro campaigned on an anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion, and anti-environmental protection platform. Bolsonaro has stated his opposition to “secularism,” and vowed to destroy the left in Brazil.
Bolsonaro in Brazil, Le Pen in France, Alessandra Mussolini in Italy, Sneider in Hungary, Tyahnybok in Ukraine, Batten in the UK; far-right, fascist, and neo-Nazi movements are on the rise the world over. Some are poised to take power. Some have taken power. In the United States, the proto-fascist Trump regime has given both implicit and overt support and encouragement to individuals such as Steve Bannon and Richard Spencer, and to organizations such as the Proud Boys. Right-wing and fascist-apologist “intellectuals” and media figures, such as Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro, command high speaker’s fees and find their scribblings on the bestseller lists. Incidents of racist and fascist-inspired violence are becoming a common occurrence in the United States. Indeed, the possibility of such violence is a daily reality in the lives of people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, and other oppressed and marginalized groups.
What is to be done?
The point that needs to be realized is that we are no longer talking of what to do to prevent fascism. Fascism is here. The time for debates as to whether or not fascists have the right to speak, march, or organize is past. Lives are being destroyed. Right now. As I write. The situation as gone from the danger of fascism, to the actual presence of fascism.
Fascism will not be defeated by mere voting or by symbolic actions. The fascist wave can only be halted and reversed by active mass organizing. In the streets, the neighborhoods, the workplaces, working people must be organized to defend themselves against fascist violence. No amount of clever memes or electioneering for the Democratic Party will work. Voting has its place, but only as part of a larger strategy of mass mobilization and militant action and protest. Fascism will only be defeated in the streets, not online, and not in the polling booth.
This is the sacred duty of communists.
The time is now. The stakes are life or death. For ourselves, our loved ones, and our world. History is a harsh judge. And it will not forgive us if we fail.
Allow me to close with another Dylan quote:
“You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone.”