Workers Vanguard No. 1110
21 April 2017
Monday, June 05, 2017
We Are In A Cold Civil War-Join The Anti-Fascist Resistance-For Labor/Black Action to Stop Fascists!
We Are In A Cold Civil War-Join The Anti-Fascist Resistance-For Labor/Black Action to Stop Fascists!
By Frank Jackman
Usually I place articles and announcement from various left-wing and progressive groupings that I do not necessarily agree with but think that the general radical-left liberal milieu might find of interest in a blog site dedicated to American Left History (and its complement cultural component) past and present. I have noted more than once that I usually do not comment on the views expressed and if I do have differences I can either write my own comments or if the differences are severe or reflect bad taste not post the item. Occasionally in the struggle against the ugly forces that have reared their heads in the age of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States and apparently nothing but a common criminal and maybe a sociopath, have felt the wind at their backs under his tenure I find some article or statement which I am in general agreement with and will as here take the time to express general if not total solidarity with the views expressed by others.
The most important point made in the article belong which deals with an analysis and program to defeat the emergent serious extra-parliamentary right-wing threat is that we must learn the hard lessons of history on the question of stopping the fascist and fascistic elements in the egg. If that had been done in Germany at any point up to and including 1933 the history of the Western world could very well have taken a different trajectory and we would today probably not be faced with what looks like yet again a global right-wing counter-revolutionary movement baring its knuckles. Closer to home we have to nip the small but growing fascist threat which seemingly is turning the cold civil war we have been facing for a while now and which is getting more heated in the bud- and in the streets.
A second point to note is knowing what period we are in and who is and who is not going to benefit from the rise of the fascists (call them as they call themselves “the alt-right” it is the same damn thing that has been with us since post-World War I times). The rise of Trump was by parliamentary means-by regular bourgeois norms elections and does not represent a fascist take-over as some claim. The ruling class at this moment has not been defeated anyplace in the world militarily, at least where it would fatally hurt, as it did in Germany after their World War I defeat and that ruling class here is not now, and I emphasize not now, confronted by any militant mass left-wing movements that would threaten their power necessitating the need to go beyond their normal military/police forces to curb.
As this cold civil war heats up there will be plenty of those in the opposition, on our side, who want to call on the government to stop the fascists, or better yet, call on the opposition party, the Democrats, to do something about the matter. Wrong. While we may unite with all who want to oppose the fascist threat on the streets, including democrats, to rely on the good offices of any establishment political organization to do our work for us is fool-hardy and in the end dangerous. We must rely centrally on our ability to gather masses of working people and the oppressed to stop these sewer rats. History shows no other way but a straight up fight to the finish or else these scumbags, excuse my vulgar usage but we are in a fierce fight and the niceties of everyday politics are not called for, will be further emboldened. Those who profess some “rational” and “reasoned” approach to deal with this life-threatening menace are doomed to the scrap heap.
Finally there is no room for being “liberal” in this fight. These fascists are not a literary/political club movement we can debate with or permit to spew their trash talk under the banner of “free speech.” Those who thought that approach might work in the Weimar Republic in the 1920s and early 1930s either had to flee into exile or found themselves in some death camp. We can give no quarter here. Period.
So yes, for once, on this issue of fighting the emerging fascist threat I stand in solidarity with the views expressed below with its sober analysis and program to fight the menace right now.
For Labor/Black Action to Stop Fascists!
Fascists Fueled by Trump Election
Hundreds of Jewish headstones desecrated. Women wearing the headscarf attacked on the streets. Two software engineers from India shot, one fatally, in Kansas in February by a Navy vet who howled, “Get out of my country.” A Sikh American shot in his driveway in Kent, Washington, last month by a masked white man screaming, “Go back to your own country.” Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old black man, murdered on the streets of Manhattan on March 20 by a white-supremacist who had come to New York City from Baltimore with the express purpose of killing black men.
The race-terrorists have been emboldened by the campaign and victory of the right-wing demagogue Donald Trump, and are taking their cue from the unabashed racism and anti-immigrant vitriol emanating from the White House. The ultimate aim of the fascists, including those who congregate around the “alt-right,” is racial genocide and the destruction of workers organizations, including unions and the left.
The race-terrorists have played on the racist backlash against Barack Obama, America’s first black president. Obama’s eight years in office offered nothing to black and working people; the Democratic Party no less than the Republicans represents the very capitalist order that breeds fascism. During the Obama administration, conditions for black people and workers continued to worsen while cops wantonly gunned down black people on the streets. More industrial areas turned into rust bowls, while strongholds of union power continued their steep decline. Obama rigorously pursued U.S. imperialism’s war aims abroad, while ramping up the “war on terror” at home, which targets Muslims in particular. The fascist thugs feed off anger and frustration arising from economic devastation; they scapegoat black people, immigrants and minorities for the misery inflicted on the population by the capitalist rulers.
On April 15, when hundreds of “protesters” descended on downtown Berkeley for a pro-Trump rally, the fascists infesting the crowd made clear that they were out for blood. Chanting “Hitler did nothing wrong” and giving Nazi salutes, they viciously attacked antifa activists and leftists with clubs, flagpoles and knives. One viral video shows Nathan Damigo, head of the fascist group Identity Evropa, punching a woman in the face. Last June, in Sacramento, white-supremacists of the Traditionalist Workers Party and the Golden Gate Skinheads stabbed and slashed at least seven anti-fascists, sending them to the hospital. In Berkeley, anti-fascists were able to defend themselves from fascist violence but a number were injured.
Individual acts of courage are not enough to smash the fascist threat. What is needed are massive, integrated, disciplined mobilizations based on the social power of the multiracial working class. The workplace is the only real point of integration in American society, providing the potential basis for unity in struggle to defend working people and the oppressed. Black workers in particular can be the living link that unites the power of the working class with the anger of the ghettos.
The union movement has been flat on its back for many years under a misleadership that is committed to capitalism and has shackled the unions to the Democratic Party. A fight by militant unionists to organize labor/black power to crush the fascists can give the working class a taste of its social power. It is the fascists—not black people, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, leftists and others—who must be made to feel the sting of fear.
Who Are These Scum?
Today, many fascist groups in the “alt-right” claim that they are something different from the Klan and Nazis. They dress in “respectable” suits and ties and promote themselves as intellectuals. One of their leading voices is Richard Spencer, führer of the innocuously named National Policy Institute (NPI). When the NPI held a conference in Washington, D.C., shortly after Trump’s election, Spencer responded to the audience’s stiff-armed Nazi salutes by declaring: “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” (the latter a translation of the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil”).
Allied with Spencer is Identity Evropa, which describes itself as an organization of “awakened Europeans” and requires that its members be of “European, non-Semitic heritage.” Its leader, Damigo, is a former Marine who was twice deployed to Iraq. After returning, he held up an immigrant taxi driver at gunpoint in San Diego in 2007, believing the man was Iraqi. While in prison for four years, he immersed himself in the writings of “former” Klansman David Duke. Before founding Identity Evropa in March 2016, Damigo—who describes black people as “inferior to whites, genetically”—was a leader of the now-defunct National Youth Front, the youth arm of the white-supremacist American Freedom Party.
Identity Evropa is currently waging a campaign, called “Project Siege,” to recruit from College Republicans. Its members have appeared at colleges and its posters and stickers have been spotted on campuses around the country. These posters consist of Greco-Roman images with slogans like, “Protect Your Heritage.” Their slick website serves as a portal for those who claim racial superiority and who deny the Holocaust. As part of their recruitment drive, Damigo, Spencer and others held a rally on 6 May 2016 at UC Berkeley, the former bastion of left-wing student protest.
Today, outfits like Identity Evropa, the Traditionalist Workers Party and others are still small. But they will strike with force, as seen in Sacramento and Berkeley. It is vital that they be crushed in the egg before they grow. Against those who call for bans on “hate speech” or who argue for “free speech” for fascists, we say that when these race-terrorists rear their heads they must be repulsed through mass protest. Fascism is not about speech or ideas; it is about racist terror. “Anti-extremism” bans, whether instituted by campus administrations or government forces, will always be used to silence leftists, anti-racists and minority activists.
Fascism in the U.S. is rooted in the defeat of the Confederacy by the Union Army in the Civil War, when 200,000 black soldiers and sailors played a key role in destroying slavery. The Klan and other race-terrorists came into being after that victory and bloodily suppressed the newly freed slaves. No less than the KKK, the fascist vermin in the “alt-right” represent a threat to the very right of black people to exist. They aim to reverse the verdict of the Civil War.
Prepare to Fight!
Unlike Germany in the 1930s, when the Nazis rose to power and went on to carry out the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust, America’s capitalist rulers do not at this time feel the need to resort to fascism. The U.S. is not a defeated imperialist power, as Germany was after World War I, nor does the U.S. bourgeoisie currently face a challenge to its rule from the working class. The daily terror meted out by the cops against black people and minorities is today deemed sufficient to keep the oppressed in check. At the same time, the capitalist rulers hold the fascist shock troops in reserve, to be unleashed at times of social crisis in order to spike any prospect of revolutionary struggle by the working class.
The Trump administration is not fascist, but the fascists sure as hell have a lot of friends in high places. Trump appointed as his chief strategist Stephen Bannon, a well-known “white nationalist” who took over Breitbart News and turned it into “the platform of the alt-right,” as he boasted. Trump’s top counter-terrorism advisor, Sebastian Gorka, is reportedly a member of the Vitezi Rend, a Hungarian organization that harks back to the fascistic interwar dictatorship of Admiral Horthy—Gorka wore its medal at Trump’s inauguration ball. Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s senior advisors, joined Richard Spencer in organizing an anti-immigrant event at Duke University in 2007. He went on to work for notorious racist and defender of the Confederacy, Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general. One could go on.
Bolstered by their high-ranking friends, the fascists have put the left in their deadly sights. We of the Spartacist League were targeted earlier this year, when a fascist secretly videoed one of our comrades distributing Workers Vanguard at the D.C. inauguration protests. The fascist posted the video on YouTube and vowed to “infiltrate” our organization. In Berkeley, the fascists made it clear that they are targeting leftists by chanting “commies, off our street!” It is a matter of life and death for the left to fight for united-front actions, based on the power of the unions, to beat back the fascist threat. In such united fronts, every organization must be free to put forward its political program in the course of struggle. As Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky put it: “March separately, but strike together!”
During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, much like today, the official racism of the White House encouraged the Klan and Nazis. When the fascists tried to hold rallies in major urban centers, the Spartacist League and Partisan Defense Committee initiated and organized labor/black mobilizations. From Washington, D.C., where the Klan threatened to stage an anti-immigrant provocation, to Chicago, where the Nazis took aim at a Gay Pride demonstration, and elsewhere, we succeeded in sparking protests of thousands to stop the fascists. At the core of these actions were contingents of determined workers from the multiracial unions standing at the head of the black poor, immigrants and all the intended victims of fascist terror.
These mobilizations required a constant political struggle—against the cops, courts and other forces of the capitalist state, as well as capitalist politicians. Fearing the specter of labor/black power, Democratic mayors and other officials preached “tolerance” and “peace.” They called diversionary rallies far from where the fascists intended to march while violence-baiting those who wanted to stop fascist violence. And time and again, they were joined by reformist leftists who promoted reliance on the Democrats. When, in October 1999, we issued a call to stop the Klan from marching in New York City, the International Socialist Organization refused to endorse and instead joined a diversion organized by the Democrats where they shared the platform with a Latino police association. It should be an elementary understanding for leftists that the cops are the enemy. Historically, the policeman and the Klansman have often been the same man.
What is needed is a fight to finish the Civil War through an American workers revolution that achieves the promise of black equality, the liberation of all the exploited and oppressed and puts the last nail in the coffin of the fascist killers. The labor/black mobilizations we initiated are a small example of the leadership and forces needed to build a party of our class in struggle against the capitalist enemy. In the face of the growing fascist menace, we must be prepared to mobilize.