August the Month of Terror
Last August saw the now infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville serve to publicly demonstrate in no uncertain terms what the nazi-right has in mind when they chant “Make America Great Again.” This year, the nazi-right have expanded their scope, planning to strike major cities on both coasts almost every weekend in August. As It’s Going Down reports, Portland will be targeted on the 4th, Berkeley on the 5th, DC on the 12th, and a general nationwide demonstration on the 18th. What happens on the 18th will greatly depend on what happens during the preceding weekends.
So what specifically is going to happen? Nazis will drive, bus, and fly, that is, invade, Portland and attempt to murder any and all that would oppose them. From there, the very same group of nazis will invade Berkeley and attempt to kill and maim anew. It is highly likely that a portion of the same group of nazis from the west coast will be present for the attempted civil war on the east coast as well, but the east coast nazis that were unable to campaign on the west coast will serve as fresh reinforcements for the main slaughter in DC.
It should be relatively clear that each successive demonstration is contingent upon the victory of the previous one. The nazis are bussing in from far and wide, if they are stopped at the first demonstration, they are that much more demoralized for the next. If the working-class of Portland is exceptionally successful, all subsequent demonstrations may simply be celebrations of the death-throes of the American nazi-right. However, even if Portland does not go well for the working-class, our reserves run deep and can draw from the workers of Berkeley and DC. The reserves of the nazis are extremely shallow and depend entirely upon the success of the first shock-troops.
There is, of course, a third actor which we have not mentioned, the State. The State is not a neutral arbiter in this war between the nazi-right and the working-class. The police have routinely disarmed the working-class before pushing them in to combat with the still armed nazi-right. When and where antifa begins to show signs of defeating the nazis in the street, the police will gladly step in for a quick course-correction in favor of the nazis.
Numbers Aren’t Enough
Despite outnumbering the nazi-right, the working-class still has to contend with the might of the State apparatus which supports the nazi-right. We need our own State apparatus to work in our interests. This does not mean running for office, it means constructing the new State. Organizations capable of articulating, enforcing, and imposing working-class interests form the building blocks of this new State apparatus, but building blocks scattered across the floor does nobody any good. For these building blocks to be put together and truly begin constructing a workers’ State requires an organizing center dedicated to struggling for the improvement of every facet of working-class existence. It requires a workers’ party.
The already existing building blocks of the future workers’ State are easy enough to see in the streets fighting not just against the nazi-right, but also fighting for positive improvements in the lives of the working-class. Antifa, as heterogeneous and nebulous as this name is, accurately identifies our primeval urge to have armed defense of the institutes of the workers’ State. Those groups which identify as Antifa have correctly articulated their goal of protecting the most vulnerable sections of the working-class from nazi violence. Nazi violence isn’t the only type of violence that the working-class encounters, however, and the Black Lives Matter movement, along with the more recent movement to abolish ICE and even some calls to abolish police, represent working-class resistance to the direct action of the armed capitalist State.
Safety from a legal or extra-legal execution isn’t where the activity of the workers’ State ends. Unions have long been referred to as the ‘schools’ for workers, from Engels calling them “schools of war” to Lenin naming them “school[s] of communism in general.” The point being that we have a lot to learn about running a society, and that a lot can be learned from the union struggle. Beyond providing us with lessons on workplace control, unions serve to enable the working-class to improve its living conditions through the struggle for higher wages and shorter hours. Fight for 15, which has large overlaps with the Black Lives Matter movement, and the recent states-wide teachers’ strikes are recent examples of organized labor in action.
Just like the innumerable departments and subdepartments of the capitalist State, there are also many different smaller efforts made to improve the lives of the working-class. From tenants’ associations, to ICE rapid response hotlines, to free tutoring for the children of undocumented immigrants, to copwatch programs, all these multifarious activities have a place in the workers’ State.
The chief element that is lacking is a centralized coordinating body which directs and enhances the efforts of all of these organizations. What is lacking is a workers’ party. This is not to say that all previously mentioned forms of organizations lack limitations. Indeed, many modifications and re-organizations will be required of currently existing working-class institutes such that they can truly become institutions for the entire working-class. But the key element, the catalyst for this transformation of all previously existing organizations is absent more or less entirely. An in-depth discussion of the workers’ party is beyond the scope of this article and will appear in a later Anti-Capital article.
So this August will be a test of power. A test of power between a more numerous but less organized working-class against a nazi-right which lacks numbers but has the backing of the capitalist State. A victory for the working-class in August will herald an extension of time, a larger period in which to continue organizing working-class power. A defeat for the working-class in August will be a call to arms for even further nazi violence against the most vulnerable sections of our class, ultimately leading to a degradation in the conditions for the entire working-class.
“They got the guns. But we got the numbers ” Jim Morrison sang, but Jim Morrison is a bit out of date. They don’t just have the guns, they’re already shooting the guns at you and I, a bit drunkenly, a bit confusedly, but the next capitalist crisis is certain to sober them up, sharpen their aim, and steel their resolve. Will we be ready?