Their Tactics and Ours
An audio version of this article is available on SoundCloud
The Present State of Affairs, or Good Night Alt-Right
Congratulations are in order to the American antifa movement, the alt-right has been dealt a staggering blow and is currently forced to lay low. Richard Spencer punched in the face, MAGA rallies the nation over shut down, even the generally fascist sympathetic Reddit admins were forced to shutdown the major alt-right subreddit, there is great cause for pride. In tallying these successes we should note that the goal has been more or less achieved (though it is always a constant struggle), prevention of the coalescing of the fascistic forces around a center.
An additional more subtle victory has also been achieved. Anti-fascism as a term and as a practice has remained firmly in the revolutionary movement. Historically, the term and practice has been used to defend American Democracy against German and Italian Fascism. In order to shore up this position, it is worth remembering and emphasizing that Fascism is inextricably linked to Democracy. Bourgeois society is always more or less trending towards Democracy or Fascism. We cannot oppose Fascism on the grounds of bourgeoisie Democracy, it can only be opposed from the basis of a revolutionary movement. But we must not rest on our laurels for having won these victories.
A power vacuum exists in America today, the ruling class is faced with mass opposition which, although largely decentralized and thus uncoordinated, could coalesce and become a dangerous movement if provoked directly. By violently shutting down the alt-right, we have managed to prevent the most direct transfers of State power to the fascists because they have no organization capable of accepting the power. At the same time, however, the revolutionary movement is unable to protect the immigrant working class from the cruel and violent attacks of ICE. Moreover, we are in no position to be making demands, and our organizations are too weak to fend off the multifaceted attacks of the bourgeoisie. In essence, we have the ability to win street fights against opponents that attempt to harass the most vulnerable sections of our class, but we lack the ability to ward off State-sanctioned assaults. While we may have beaten the alt-right in the streets, it is very unlikely that we have seen the last of them.
Their Tactics, or Good Morning Police State
You may have read in Anti-Capital’s bulletin Dogs, Licensed that, “The Director of ICE shall…take all appropriate action to expeditiously hire 10,000 agents and officers, as well as additional operational and mission support and legal staff necessary to support their activities,” and asked yourself, what kind of worthless human being would WANT to be an ICE agent? Ladies and gentlemen may I present you with the alt-right’s ticket back to relevance, State sponsored legitimacy for the fascists handed over with a badge and a gun (they already had guns, but now they have license to shoot). The line between fascists and police could very quickly become blurry, and as the fascists enter the ranks of the LEOs fraternization is inevitable. So while we may have beaten the alt-right out of the streets, our tactics are forced to evolve as our enemy could quickly swap his Cheeto-dust covered sweatpants for a blue vest. I do not need to point out that the strategy of violent confrontation may have worked well in the past, but punching an ICE officer named Richard Spencer holds a world of political difference from punching internet memer Richard Spencer. Spencer has already called for the formation of a ‘white-bloc‘ to counter the black bloc which we may very well have seen the stirrings of at the most recent confrontation in Berkeley where antifa forces appear to have been fought to a standstill by an organized group of fascists.
It bears emphasizing that the fascistic ground elements such as the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps could serve as ready made material for the human architecture needed to enact Trump’s so-called “Border Surge.” Instead of simply being a group of wingnut right-wing fascists in the desert, they become a branch of the government. If this future seems distant and unlikely to you, you may be surprised.
But we should not be blind to the opportunity this presents us. The antifascist actions have largely been targeted against those that would call out undocumented immigrants. Now that the alt-right could potentially receive State sponsorship, we have the potential to unite previous movements against police brutality with the movement to protect undocumented or documented immigrants. As our enemy takes a strategic retreat to regroup forces and bring the might of the State to bear, we must concentrate our forces as we advance.
Engels, when speaking of unions claimed that “as schools of war, the Unions are unexcelled.” I offer up the unions as a strategic outpost that we should utilize in order to defend both ourselves and the more vulnerable sections of the working class. The right-wing of capital has long recognized the fact that unions serve to protect the most vulnerable sections of the working class, it is time we accept this fact as well. If we work toward linking immigrant workers and their organizations with the broader labor movement and anti-fascist actions, successful resistance to state violence is more likely. The collective “we,” is much more likely to be positioned inside of anti-fascist or labor organizations, so the onus is ours to figure out how to best aid immigrant groups.
So what does that look like? In an immediately practical sense, it could take the form of street level antifa fighters physically preventing the deportation of undocumented immigrants. More generally speaking our answer remains the same as always, with a heightened importance, find where the working class is struggling, and intervene to help them and orient the struggle in a revolutionary direction.
Note: Article originally written before the clashes in Berkeley
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