|British Workers smash Fascists in battle of Cable St.|
There is an article today in the NYT on the Black Bloc. It is titled "Anarchists Vow to Halt Far Right's Rise, with Violence if Needed." (It has a different title in the online edition). It is by Farah Stockman and on the front page. It is not very complete or detailed but worth reading. It does not explain the differences between various types of anarchists, and this is not helpful. The article refers to the role of the anarchists, which wing I am not sure, in closing the WTO conference in Seattle, and their role in Occupy and the slogan of the 1%. The article claims the anarchists were the inspiration behind Occupy and the 1% slogan. If this is so, and I think that it is at least to some extent correct, they would have to get some credit for that. These events raised the consciousness of the working class. The idea of the 1% made people think how much this country was divided between the rich and the poor, increased class consciousness.
However while giving credit where credit is due, the tactics of the anarchists and the best known of them, the Black Bloc, have to be looked at. In doing so we have to see that there are racists and there are fascists. They are not always the same. While both have to be opposed by the working class because both divide and weaken the working class, we have to recognize that there is a difference between racists and fascists? If all who were racist were fascist, then the entire Republican Party and most of the Democratic Party would be fascist. This is clearly not so.
The difference is this. Racists hold racist views and express racist opinions. But fascists do more than this. Fascists make propaganda and organize military wings to physically enforce their racist views. They do this with their speeches and Nazi/fascist symbols and salutes and by organizing military wings to physically attack working people, minorities and anti-racists. This is the difference.
It is this difference that makes it correct to physically stop the fascists from speaking and organizing, to deny them the opportunity to speak, to deny them the opportunity to organize. Hitler said that he could have been stopped, but only if he and his forces had been physically driven off the streets and out of the workplaces and their organizations physically destroyed and their voice physically silenced.
The difference between racists and fascists is that fascists are those who espouse racist views but also espouse and organize violent means to enforce those views. This is why it is correct to physically stop them. This leads to the question of the debate over the Black Bloc and their tactics. In relation to the the Black Block, Facts For Working People, is in favor of closing down the fascists and preventing them from speaking for and organizing for, their aim of building military forces to carry out their objectives. We are not fooled on this. When the fascists wear the swastika and give the Nazi salute at their meetings they are advocating building a Nazi party and a military force. There should be no ambiguity, this is what they are doing and why they should be shut down.
There is another question on which those of us around Facts For Working people wish to engage the Black Bloc. We agree it is correct to close down fascist forces but there is the question of how. Here we have differences with the Black Bloc. We do not see this to be the task of the middle class youth. Of course, we want the middle class youth to oppose fascism, but we see the task and the power that can defeat fascism to be the united working class. Consequently we see it as the task of the working class to defeat fascism and the working class must be united to do so.
To that end, instead of directing the anti fascist forces to mobilizing mainly middle class and student youth, we seek to mobilize the working class to oppose racism and defeat fascism and to close down and crush the fascists. We are in favor of directing our orientation of directing our work towards, workers, the union rank and file, the work places, the working class communities, the schools and colleges and explaining why racism and fascism has to be opposed, how they have to be opposed because they divide and weaken the working class and so allow the capitalist class to rule. Racism and fascism both divide the working class. Fascism goes further and organizes fighting squads to divide the working class. Fascism must be crushed.
And fighting squads and forces of fascists can only be stopped by the working class mobilizing and taking them on in mass movements and mass movements that build our own fighting squads prepared to physically confront them in the streets and workplaces or wherever they show their faces. Facts for Working People's difference with the Black Bloc comes from this point of view. Their tactics makes it more difficult to interact with the working class, to convince the working class to act as a collective force to fight racism, their tactics are orientated mainly to the petit bourgeois youth and tend to put off the working class.
They should put their resources to turning to the working class and explaining their opposition to racism and fascism and also link the need to fight these, including fighting the fascists physically. In doing so we also explain the need to unite the working class in the struggle for better wages, benefits, conditions, health care, education, housing against wars and foreign occupations, mass incarceration and police brutality. The same police and security forces will be used against workers in strikes and on picket lines and it is the same jails that will house us. We also explain that US capitalism can no longer afford “guns and butter”, it cannot afford its foreign interventions and wars to safeguard profits and relatively stable living standards at home.
We can anticipate that the Black Block will answer our criticism by pointing to their role in the WTO, in the Occupy etc. And they have a point. Facts For Working People understands that to convince people of our ideas we have to earn the right to criticize. We have to explain our position and explain also that while we have very little resources we seek and have always sought to mobilize the working class against racism and fascism.
We have that in common with the Black Bloc and all anti -racist and anti-fascist forces but we fight racism and fascism along the lines we explain here, by seeking to mobilize and unite the working class, and we explain that we think that the method of the Black Bloc is counter productive as rather than mobilizing the working class and uniting the working class it alienates workers and puts off the working class. It does not help to get large numbers of workers to gather to close down the fascists if they have no input into the decision making process of groups like the Black Bloc and know that they will likely end up breaking windows and smashing automobiles.
In explaining our position we separate ourselves from the capitalist elements, the pacifists, the liberals and the trade union leaders who attack the Black Bloc. These capitalist and pro capitalist elements all line up to criticize the Black Block. We ourselves criticize the methods of the Black Bloc. But we have to look at these capitalists, these liberals, these pacifists and in particular the trade union leaders with their 14 million members: do they have the right, have they earned the right, to criticize the Black Block? They have not. They have done nothing to stop the fascists.
This is especially true of the trade union leaders. They have never lifted a finger to mobilize their 14 million members against the racists and the fascists, or even to defend their own members against the capitalist offensive. It is only when they do that they will have earned the right to criticize the Black Bloc. People have to earn the right to criticize.