Is Milo Yiannopoulos a “fascist”? What about Steve Bannon? Or Donald Trump?
How one defines “fascist” is critically important. When you define every right-wing person who hates immigrants a “fascist” then your ability to identify actual fascists disappears. You also single out these mere disgusting conservatives for extreme punishment of the sort communists and anarchists traditionally reserve for the actual fascists of the Ku Klux Klan or Nazis. This is wrong and it destroys the credibility of the revolutionary socialist and anarchist left in the eyes of the workers whose support we seek. It also plays right into the hands of the capitalist class and their fascist attack dogs by helping to camouflage the real fascists. The working class needs to be able to clearly distinguish between its pro-capitalist conservative political opponents and the fascist threat which is like a knife held to the throat of the working class.
Trotskyists seek scientific precision when making political characterizations of their opponents
Revolutionary Marxists employ scientific terminology to describe political phenomena just as natural scientists employ their own precisely-defined terminology to describe the elements of the natural world from sub-atomic particles to black holes. Revolutionary Marxism/Leninism/Trotskyism utilizes a more precise scientific method than the bourgeois scientists do: the scientific method of dialectical materialism. By carefully analyzing political movements and their leaders not, as with bourgeois political science, as discrete and fully-formed entities but as evolving phenomena, revolutionary Trotskyists seek to precisely characterize the class origins and trajectory of political movements. Our method is derided by vulgar bourgeois political scientists as being “too dogmatic”. In fact, bourgeois political scientists despise the dialectical materialist method of the revolutionary Marxists because it enables us to tear off the masks from the political movements arrayed against the working class that pretend to be on the side of the workers of the political movements – which pro-capitalist bourgeois political scientists have carefully created and maintained in the service of their capitalist masters. Scientific terminology is as indispensable to revolutionary Trotskyists as it is to mathematicians, physicists or surgeons because without that agreed-upon scientific terminology scientific inquiry and experimental work is impossible. It is as desirable to be precise when discussing politics before we act just as it is when surgeons utilize the precise scientific terminology of modern medicine, biology and anatomy before they operate. Utilizing precise scientific language when operating in the political world is far more important than using precise scientific terminology when preparing a surgical procedure on a single human being because in politics, not single lives but billions of lives are at stake. No one ridicules the surgeon for being “too dogmatic” when he’s preparing to perform open-heart surgery on a friend or relative. Political science requires the same kind of precision and for the same reasons. The wrong terminology, mistaken identification of the illness and inadequate description of the operation to be performed and the methods to be used often results in the loss of the patient. In political science, terminological imprecision results in massive human suffering and in deaths of millions of people. Words matter. Outside of the revolutionary Trotskyist movement, political terminology is bandied about in the same way that a 3-year-old handles a loaded gun: we are unfortunately witnessing that today in the case of our wayward anarchist and “antifa” friends who are going around calling mere repulsive conservatives “fascists”.
What is dialectical materialism and why is it important?
Marxism is even more reality-based than bourgeois science. Dialectical materialism is the scientific philosophy that the entire superstructure of revolutionary Marxism is based upon; it seeks to comprehend the material reality of the universe in toto, encompassing every aspect of a phenomenon and recognizing that nothing is permanent – everything is in a state of development and transition, from atoms to the universe itself. Bourgeois science tends to study things as discrete phenomena and struggles to conceive of the material world as something that is not permanent and unchanging (this is more true for some scientific disciplines than for others). This is a most serious problem for bourgeois political scientists and economists who, on top of the fact that they do not utilize the dialectical method of analysis of phenomena, which itself leads them into making enormous errors in their work, they are charged with the responsibility of covering up the truth about the fundamental nature of capitalist society. A major part of their job is to convince the workers of the world that the capitalist economic system and its corresponding political system is the highest form of human society possible; that it is “the best of all possible worlds”.
Marxists do not see the world in stark “black-and-white” terms as bourgeois political scientists do. We understand that the collective state of mind of the working class and the capitalist class and all of human society the world over are in a constant state of flux. We also recognize that there exist intermediate forms of matter that fluctuate from one state to another and back again – solid to liquid to gas to liquid to solid – and that this happens in the political world as well. During the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Cossacks – who had long been the Czar’s brutal anti-Semitic pogromists periodically unleashed to attack Jews and communists – became during the revolution some of the most heroic elements of the vanguard of the first successful workers revolution in world history – led by the communists of the Bolshevik Party, many of whose top leaders were Jews. Many of the Czar’s own top military officials also went over to the side of the Bolsheviks and helped create the Red Army. The Marxist worldview recognizes that there is only one constant in the material world: change. In political science we see the long historical view of the evolution of human society and understand that there are long periods of relative political stability that are broken up by periodic upheavals and revolutions after which the new social landscape is hardly recognizable in comparison with the social structure that existed before. We also recognize the capabilities of human beings to change their political beliefs over time. And this doesn’t just happen on the right-wing side of the political spectrum: Mussolini, who was the originator of fascism in Italy, began his political career as a revolutionary Marxist.
Bourgeois political scientists use vague, non-class-based terminology to hide the true nature of capitalist system
Imprecision in political science as well as all of the sciences in the capitalist world is part of the narrow worldview of the capitalist class which permeates all of human society under the capitalist mode of production. Bourgeois political scientists speak in very imprecise, non-class-based terms when they describe the political world around them. When Marxists speak of “fascism” and “fascists” our use of the term is precisely defined to describe a specific type of political philosophy and political fauna that arise out of the capitalist system in times of acute political and economic crisis. The bourgeois political world, mocking the precise scientific terminology of Marxism as being “hopelessly dogmatic” – has adopted terms that assist the pro-capitalist ideologists hide the true nature of the capitalist system from the eyes of the working class. For example: “The people” is used by bourgeois ideologists – and their fake-left “tails” – instead of the Marxists’ far more precise “working class” and “capitalist class” to describe “the masses”. “The people, united, will never be defeated” is a popular political slogan of the pro-capitalist bourgeois ideologues and the fake left. Why is it a pro-capitalist slogan? Because “the people, united” means “all classes united”: the rich and the poor, capitalist and worker, peasant and landlord. And when the exploited working class or peasantry “unites” politically and militarily with their exploiters – the capitalists and landlords – the workers and peasants will ALWAYS be defeated!
Simply by substituting the phrase “the people” for “the workers”, the bourgeois apologists for the capitalist system prepare the working class and peasantry psychologically to fall under the yoke of “reasonable” pro-capitalist political leadership: the working class and peasantry are politically disarmed by this simple, very popular and very deadly political formula! The Democrats love to chant “the people, united will never be defeated”. But change the words to “the workers, united, will never be defeated” and watch their big smiles turn to worried frowns! They know the difference between these two slogans – and so do their capitalist masters. There is a world of difference in terms of the political content of the two opposed slogans. One – “the people, united” – supports class-collaboration with the political representatives of the capitalist class and defends the capitalist system; the other – “the workers united” is a call for working class solidarity against the capitalist system. You can tell if you are a bourgeois liberal or not just by whether you can or can not discern the deep political difference between the two slogans. Bourgeois liberals insist revolutionary Trotskyists are just “being dogmatic” when we denounce the use of the term “the people”. They do that because they know we are unmasking them by revealing the true class nature of their favorite political slogan, which is in fact nothing more than a stratagem for leading the workers to walk blindly into the mousetrap of pro-capitalist politics!
Bourgeois ideologists speak of a vague, broad “middle class” that to the much more precise terminology of a Marxist is actually composed of three separate classes, the majority of which is merely the slightly more well-to-do section of the working class who make enough money to be able to afford to purchase their own homes. The vague, unscientific, vulgar terminology of the bourgeois political scientist obscures rather than clarifies the real class relationships that compose human society in the capitalist era. This is done – consciously or unconsciously – to confuse and divide the working class into antagonistic, imaginary sub-classes. In bourgeois political discourse we see that the term “working class” is barely even used; “middle class” is the term used to describe working class people who “rise” mysteriously into this “middle class”… the moment they become indentured servants for life to the banksters by draping themselves in the heavy chains of a home loan! In “third world” countries, hundreds of millions of dirt-poor peasants live in houses they built for themselves but no one describes the “homeowners” in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro as “middle class” – not even the epigones of vulgar bourgeois political science. Only the revolutionary Marxists (who today are known by the name of “Trotskyists”) consistently employ a truly scientific terminology in their political science. We do it because it is literally a matter of life or death.
Terminological precision is necessary in order to win the working class to a revolutionary socialist program dedicated to the overthrow of the capitalist system
The primary reason why scientifically precise political terminology is important in the eyes of revolutionary Trotskyist political scientists is because only the revolutionary Trotskyists actually seek – not to “peacefully coexist” with a capitalist system that became thoroughly reactionary more than a century and a half ago – but to overthrow it. The Trotskyists seek not to prolong the life of capitalism one more day but to overthrow the world’s capitalist system and replace it with a global alliance of egalitarian socialist workers states. The Trotskyists understand that if you want to change something you must first understand precisely what it is that you wish to change and determine what social forces can be enlisted on the side of the working class and what social forces can be expected to form up the ranks of the enemy capitalist class and its allies. Goals, in order to be achieved, must first be formulated with extreme precision and a program devised that is equally precise so that we can get to there from here. If we try to travel from Chicago to Paris but we neglect to purchase either a plane ticket or passage on an ocean-going vessel we will have a very difficult journey ahead of us.
Precise definition of the obstacles that lay ahead of us is necessary before we head out on this or any major endeavor. A revolutionary working class leader who can not detect the sometimes subtle shades of difference between “ally”, “neutral” and “mortal enemy” can only lead the working class into defeat; so precision is necessary when we analyze the class forces as they appear on the battle field: are they friends or enemies of the working class – or are they representatives of the undecided middle or petit-bourgeois class who will join either the side of the workers or the side of capitalist reaction depending on which side seems most likely to prevail in the event of a social revolution? Are the largely working-class ranks of these political movements or even military formations in a state of transition? How will they react to an appeal to join the ranks of the revolutionary workers party?
Before we analyze any political movement or leader we must determine their class origins and their political trajectory. Petit-bourgeois origins of fascism.
We live in a class society based on the capitalist mode of production. What determines, to a Marxist ones class identity depends not on whether or not you own a house but upon your relationship to the capitalist means of production: are you an owner of factories or a worker in a factory? Capitalist class society is fundamentally divided into two primary classes: the capitalist, exploiting class known by its precise Marxist name of “bourgeoisie”; and the exploited working class. In between these two classes lies not an amorphous and ambiguously-defined multi-class “middle class” but an intermediate class revolutionary Marxists call the “petit-bourgeoisie”. “Petit-bourgeoisie” is a term that was coined by the revolutionary French political scientists of the 1700s; it is a combination of the terms “petit” meaning “little or small” and the term “bourgeoisie” meaning wealthy capitalist or businessman. In modern times “petit-bourgeoisie” is equivalent to “small businessperson” who owns a business that exploits a number of workers who are not of his or her own family. This may all seem way off-topic but it is not, because in the Marxist analysis of capitalist society and of the phenomenon of the rise of fascism it is the petit-bourgeoisie that is the critical source of recruits to the fascist movement.
This “petit-bourgeoisie” is defined by Marxists as an intermediate and highly politically unstable class whose members have either risen from the ranks of the working class or are “de-classed” elements who have fallen out of the ranks of the bourgeoisie. The stereotypical petit-bourgeois generally admires and aspires to being wealthy someday and to eventually rise into (or back into) the ranks of the “big-bourgeoisie”, and simultaneously loathes the big bourgeoisie which rips off the small businesspeople at every opportunity and often threatens to wipe out the small businesspeople entirely. A good example of the “petit-bourgeoisie” is the owner of a small family-run grocery store that has been in a community for a hundred years and is now facing the destruction of its long-popular local business by the arrival in the community of a massive big bourgeoisie operation like WalMart. This is just one example: the petit-bourgeoisie includes not just small businesspeople but all manner of “self-employed” workers and artisans as well, from handymen to artists, actors and musicians. The petit-bourgeois is trapped between her admiration of the ruthless “self-made” billionaires like Donald Trump (or the multi-millionaire hip-hop or movie star with “her own” ridiculous jewelry, clothing and fragrance lines) and the hopeless struggle to survive in competition against rivals whose enormous purchasing power enable them to achieve economies of scale and to survive the inevitable periodic economic crises of the capitalist system.
The struggle of the petit-bourgeoisie to survive independently in an era of brutal competition from the big bourgeoisie creates anger and resentment in the petit-bourgeois. As his sales decline he “has to” cut wages to his workers or make unwanted cutbacks in his own standard of living. The small businessman is caught between the two fires of the working class and the big bourgeoisie, both of whose good will the small business person needs in order to survive.
He seeks political assistance from the local representatives of the major political parties: is there some way he can ban these big capitalist enterprises from coming into his town and ruining the small local businesses? But the major political parties are owned and operated by the big bourgeoisie and are discovered to be in the pay of the capitalist class! What can the petit-bourgeois do?
It is in this environment that the petit-bourgeois is driven to take sides in the great struggle between the capitalist and working classes. The petit-bourgeois has sympathy for the working class from which he and his family likely originated; yet he also admires the big bourgeoisie and wants to become a big success like, for example, the billionaire Walton family of WalMart fame. He might like to pay his workers higher wages but believes he can not afford to do so and still be able to live at the standard of living he feels he deserves – rightly or not. The formation of a union in his store would only, in his eyes, hasten the day of his company’s collapse. (Whether or not this is true means nothing under capitalism; capitalists big and small are “free” to do whatever they want with “their” money – stolen as it is from the working class. The capitalists deny that they bear any responsibility for unemployment, homelessness or any of the other social ills endemic to their system).
Vacillating petit-bourgeoisie must ultimately choose between giving support to working class or to the fascists
The revolutionary Marxists and the fascists offer the petit bourgeois two diametrically opposed ways out of this blind alley: the revolutionary socialists offer workers socialist revolution where the endless struggle for economic survival for the petit-bourgeois will itself cease and she will perhaps be given the money necessary to continue operating their small businesses from the new socialist government; the fascists “offer” a militarized capitalism where the rights of the citizenry are sharply curtailed, dissidents are imprisoned, trade unions are outlawed and revolutionaries and other “social undesirables” are put to death. For the more greed-inspired petit-bourgeois, this choice is not as easy as it would appear to be to you, a decent and honest worker.
As the class struggle heats up as a result of the declining standard of living forced upon the working and petit-bourgeois classes by the big bourgeoisie, the working class begins to organize itself in opposition to the big bourgeoisie and its predatory capitalist system. Those workers and petit-bourgeois who are anti-racist and pro-union gravitate towards the champions of workers rights and internationalism – the revolutionary Marxists-Trotskyists; those workers and petit-bourgeois who are racist and who hate unions and “reds” gravitate towards the ranks of the fascists.
The rise of Donald Trump indicates the start of a period of sharpened class struggle and increasing polarization of society between extremes of revolutionary socialism and fascism.
This is where the capitalist world stands in 2017. The political landscape in the US and Western Europe especially is becoming increasingly polarized between the pro-working class and anti-working class parties whose extremes are represented by the revolutionary internationalist Trotskyists and anarchists on the left and the union-hating ultra-nationalists financed more and more by the big bourgeoisie (Klan and Nazis) on the right. In between these two polar opposite camps in this transitional period are now appearing all kinds of intermediate characters whose semi-formed political ideologies borrow freely from both the fascist and the communist ideologies, depending on which way the political winds are blowing at any given time.
One of the most definitive qualities of the petit-bourgeoisie – this “middle class” caught between the two fires of the capitalists and the working class – is precisely this “flag in the wind” character of their politics. When the unions, led by the revolutionary Trotskyists are growing stronger, the petit-bourgeoisie presents a friendly face toward the workers and begins to place its hopes in a workers revolution to save the petit-bourgeois from economic ruin. If the revolutionary upsurge becomes powerful more and more of the petit-bourgeois join the ranks of the revolutionary workers parties. But when the unions are in decline – as they are now across the United States and Europe – and it looks like there is no pro-working-class revolutionary socialist solution to the problems of the petit-bourgeoisie on the horizon then the small businessman or woman looks to the racist, nationalist and even fascist parties for a “way out” of the economic and political impasse of collapsing capitalist society.
Capitalist class and their politicians scapegoat immigrants, refugees, religious and ethnic minorities in order to maintain their class rule by dividing and conquering the working class. Fascists are the capitalists’ weapons of last resort in this struggle.
In the United States in 2017 the long-running decline of the workers unions and the revolutionary political parties of the working class has led the petit-bourgeoisie – and the big bourgeoisie – into despair. The phenomenal emergence of the planned socialist economy of Maoist China as the world’s next economic superpower (which will blow past the United States within the next 10 years or maybe less) the capitalist world is thrown into political chaos. The greed-based capitalist economies can only increase their profits by driving down the wages of the workers of the “first world” to the level of those workers in the brutally exploited “third world”. In every capitalist country we see attack after attack on social programs and on the high wages won over centuries of struggle by the trade unions. The capitalist class and its media try to pretend that it is not the capitalist system that is responsible for driving down the workers’ standard of living. To make their getaway complete the capitalists use the old ruse from the famous story of the thief who escapes capture by pointing to another person and shouting “Stop, thief!” The capitalists look for scapegoats they can point the workers towards in order that they, the capitalists can get away with their stolen booty. “Stop, thief!” the capitalist screams, and points to… the immigrant workers. “Stop, thief!” the capitalist hollers again, and points to… the refugees. “Stop, thief!” the capitalist yells again and this time points to… the Chinese. “Look! They are all stealing your jobs!” shouts the capitalist – and as soon as the workers, led by the fascists, are off attacking their innocent immigrant, refugee Muslim or Jewish brothers and sisters… the capitalist gathers up all the workers’ money and heads to his bank, chuckling all the way.
In this way the capitalists whip up racist anti-immigrant and anti-refugee campaigns to cover up the fact that it is indeed the capitalist system itself that is to blame for the endlessly declining standard of living of the working class. With even the capitalists’ own economic institutes producing scientific study after scientific study PROVING that it is the capitalist system itself that is at the root of all economic problems, the capitalist class begins to spread outright lies through its media outlets to confuse the working class and keep the workers fighting each other instead of uniting to overthrow the capitalist class that is systematically robbing all the workers blind.
Yiannopoulos, Bannon and their kind are merely right-wing conservative demagogues, transitional figures between bourgeois democracy and fascism – they are not “fascists”
The fascists feed on the capitalists lies that immigrants are at the root of the economic decline of the working class. They are only too willing to help the big bourgeoisie smash the communists and trade unionists whose demands for higher wages and increased social spending can only come out of the pockets of the bourgeoisie – big and “petit”. With the union movement in decline, the petit-bourgeois licks his finger and holds it up into the air and determines that the wind is indeed blowing strongest from the direction of the fascist parties; and so she begins to overcome her disgust for the more vulgar political ideas of the fascists and moves closer, step by step, to the fascist camp.
To facilitate this transition of the petit-bourgeoisie towards the fascist camp all kinds of transitional figures emerge as if on cue. Sensing that they can profit from the indecision and confusion that reigns among the middle-class and large sections even of the working class, these people freely borrow elements of the political program of the communist left and the fascist right and duct-tape together a ramshackle political “program” that is a more palatable version of a supposedly “neutral” middle ground between the two extremes. This is the milieu of the “alt-right” swamp inhabited by such shady characters as Milo Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon, Alex Jones and a whole slew of half-bright right-wing ideologues. Their “fascism-lite” program is a bridge between what had once been the “traditional” conservatism of, say, a George Bush pere and the more extreme and even fascist right wing. These transitional figures may express elements of the fascist program from time to time – but that alone does not make them “fascists”. We must recognize them as what they are and calibrate our responses to them accordingly. Should a sleazy right-wing provocateur like Milo Yiannopoulos or Steve Bannon get the same treatment from anti-fascist worker-militants as an outright Klansman like David Duke? This is the question.
Fascists represent not merely a political but a mortal threat to the physical existence of workers movement.
Fascism represents a mortal threat to the lives of the workers all over the world. Fascist political parties and leaders find ready financing from the ranks of the capitalist class and, in Europe, from the monarchist remnants of the old aristocratic ruling families as well. These people fear the power of the working class and would rather drown the working class of their own countries in blood rather than allow the workers to seize power. The capitalist class and the aristocrats know all too well that they have committed massive crimes against the workers of the entire world, and they live in mortal terror of what will happen to them if the revolutionary workers ever erase that “thin blue line” of police that protects them.
Fascists are hired by the capitalists and the aristocrats precisely to draw a line in workers blood when an upsurge of worker militancy threatens the continued existence of the capitalist system. When the typical methods of police brutality no longer suffice to keep the working class in check, the capitalists finance, arm and unleash their fascist wolf packs. The fascist stormtroopers are not politicians looking to discuss politics: they are psychologically deranged xenophobes who seek not merely to discriminate against workers of color, immigrants, gays, religious minorities and militant workers of all political persuasions, but to physically exterminate us! Fascist ideology represents a qualitative leap beyond “mere” intolerance into organized mass pogroms against every racial and religious group they despise. The Nazis do not seek to merely “deport” immigrants and Muslims: they want to impose a “final solution” – the complete physical extermination – of people they identify as being “social undesirables”. There is a world of difference between a right-wing bourgeois politician who espouses a disgusting program to deport immigrants and a fascist who wants to hunt down Mexican workers as they cross the border and shoot them dead the moment they cross the line!
Yiannopoulos, Bannon and Trump are not “fascists” – they should not be treated as such.
As revolutionary Trotskyists we uphold the free speech rights of right-wing blowhards like Milo Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon and yes even Donald Trump; we might protest their appearance wherever they wish to speak; we would debate them in public if the opportunity arose – in order to expose their political bankruptcy and (in Trump’s case) murderous criminality. But we do not physically attack them or try to deny them their free speech rights – because they are not actually “fascists”. Milo Yiannopoulos, for example, is a gay, white man who brags at his public appearances about having sex with black men – which alone would make him a target of the fascists, not one of their leaders. He has repeatedly sued various newspapers and magazines that have called him a “white supremacist” and has won retractions from several of them. This is not the kind of thing an actual fascist or white supremacist would do. Many of his political statements skewering the “political correctness” campaigns of the campus liberals are quite accurate. His criticisms of the Democratic Party as well often hit their mark – and that is why the bourgeois liberals hate him. He calls Donald Trump his “Daddy” – he’s quite pathetic, really. Many of his opinions are objectionable and amount to bigotry, like his hatred of Muslims. But none of this right-wing bloviating amounts to a fascist program of the physical extermination of his political opponents. Having read several of his speeches he’s given in the past year on various US college campuses, we must conclude that Milo Yiannopoulos is simply not a fascist. It is not easy for an openly gay man to join the ranks of the Klan or Nazis (although there were many gay men in Hitler’s retinue in the early days of National Socialism). But they didn’t remain in the fascist ranks for long because Hitler had most of his gay followers either executed or put in concentration camps. “Good luck” to Milo if he wants someday to “transition” into becoming a fascist!
The “antifa” who think Yiannopoulos is a fascist are simply wrong. They’ve been led astray by their leaders’ lack of a coherent revolutionary Marxist political program and their vague understanding of what fascism is and what it isn’t. They go crazy and mobilize their members to rampage across the Berkeley campus to stop a pathetic self-hating gay conservative while completely ignoring the fact that imperialist pig John Yoo – “the deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice” who “discovered” the “legal justification” for US imperialism’s use of torture against suspected terrorists – trains young lawyers as a professor of law on the very same campus! Yoo deserves to be driven off campus, not Milo. Yiannopoulos needs to be debated – or ignored.
For the record, Donald Trump is also not a fascist – even though he has expressed concepts that are borrowed – probably, like most of his “philosophy”, semi-consciously – from the fascist program, like his calling illegal Mexican immigrants “rapists and murderers”. Trump is a disgusting, right-wing capitalist (and now as President, US imperialist) pig – but he is not a fascist! Not yet anyway. If Donald Trump was a fascist, we would not be able to write articles advocating the overthrow of the US capitalist class: we’d either be dead or we’d be in a prison or a concentration camp! If Donald Trump was a fascist, anarchists, communists,illegal immigrants and Muslims (Anti-Islamism being the 2017 version, in the USA, of Hitlerite anti-Semitism) would be getting rounded up and thrown into concentration camps to die – or just be summarily executed – and that would be that! Fascism is orders of magnitude worse than mere “right-wing conservatism” or even the majority of the people who self-identify as “alt-right”. The “alt-right” are in a transitional phase of development; these “alt-righters” must be kept under close observation so when they actually move into the fascist camp they can be treated accordingly. In the meantime they must be combatted politically, not physically! An intelligent, rational revolutionary socialist workers party programme can win these “middle of the road” and even many right-wing workers over to the side of the revolutionary working class. To simply write off whole sections of the working class as eternally compromised because they voted for Trump is absolutely asinine. We need to present the working class with a programme that truly represents their interests and which presents a realistic prospect for a prosperous future for all the working class in a post-capitalist world. The fascists can only promise workers a future of global war, hate, bloodshed and misery under capitalism! If revolutionary Trotskyists do our jobs properly we will win the vacillating “petit-bourgeoisie” and undecided workers to our side – and the fascists and their “alt-right” movement will evaporate like piss on hot asphalt.
For the actual fascists – whose “debating methods” are guns, knives and the lynch rope – we deny that they have any “right” to speak at all!
We seek to physically drive the fascists out of human society permanently! We understand that fascists do not want to be part of the great human race and that fascists represent a MORTAL, DEADLY THREAT to human civilization itself! Fascist meetings and rallies and public speaking tours should be disrupted if they can’t be prevented from happening in the first place and the fascists themselves, personally, as the great Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky advised, “should have their heads acquainted with the pavement”! The mass murder of workers by Mussolini and Hitler’s fascists – and by the Japanese fascists in the 1930s and ’40s must never be allowed to happen again!
As revolutionary Trotskyists we seek to lead the working class to the Marxist/Leninist understanding that the working class will never enjoy the right to the basic necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter, health care and education) nor will basic human rights (womens’ and LGBTQ rights, an end to all racial, sexual and religious discrimination and bigotry) ever be made secure under the capitalist system – which is fundamentally based on the exploitation of the working class and which employs racism, religious bigotry and sexuality to divide and conquer the working class. We want to provide the clear-sighted and principled revolutionary Trotskyist political leadership that is necessary in order for the working class to successfully overthrow capitalism and to replace it with a worldwide alliance of racially integrated, egalitarian socialist workers republics. To achieve that goal we must have a clear understanding of who our mortal enemies are; we can not go off running around calling every right-wing jerk who blurts out a stream of bigoted invective a “fascist” and go and lead workers to launch physical attacks against them! This kind of political gangsterism and adventurism confuses the working class: when everyone is labeled “fascist” then no one is a fascist! The ability of workers to distinguish between run-of-the-mill right-wing assholes and the far more deadly fascist foe is entirely lost, and the politically miseducated working class becomes an even easier target for the fascist gangs.
Lack of coherent, revolutionary Marxist programme leads “Anarchists” and “Antifa” astray
In the recent protests against Milo Yiannopoulos we see the political confusion of the anarchists of the “antifa” movement leading them into launching physical attacks on Yiannopoulos as if he was an actual fascist. Yiannopoulos is a transitional figure of the “alt-right” who lies somewhere between right-wing conservatism and fascism. He does not advocate the extermination of immigrants or other “undesirable” elements of the working class. Yiannopoulos is not a fascist: he is an “opening act” for the fascists! Yiannopoulos and his ilk are preparing the road for the rise of fascism; they are creating “safe spaces” inside universities and major cities in which the fascists may operate. But they are NOT “fascists”!
One of the tremendous weaknesses of the “anarchist” movement is the total absence of any political party structure that includes a collectively agreed-upon revolutionary Marxist political programme. This political nebulosity and confusion allows all kinds of heterogeneous political characters to pass themselves off as “anarchists”. Unlike the revolutionary Trotskyists who have a well-thought-out and openly proclaimed political programme which every member of a Trotskyist political party must agree to uphold before they can become even a prospective party member, in the anarchist “movement” it’s “everybody into the pool!” There are pro-capitalist anarchists, anti-abortion anarchists, anti-communist anarchists; you name it, the anarchist movement’s got it. Because the anarchists deny the obvious necessity of the formation of a cohesive political party around a revolutionary party programme, they allow all kinds of cretins into their ranks who simply like to pretend to be revolutionaries. If you ask one hundred anarchists what their political programme is you’ll get one hundred different answers. The only thing all anarchists agree on is their puerile opposition to any kind of “state” – especially a revolutionary socialist “worker’s state”! This fundamental political bankruptcy of the anarchist movement is the primary reason why whenever anarchists are placed in a position of political power they always wind up supporting the capitalist state as “the lesser evil” in comparison to a workers’ state (we’ve just seen this phenomenon once again with “anarchist” leaders in Iceland’s Pirate Party). History has shown the absolute necessity for the working class to establish a workers’ state in order to create the basis for the initial establishment of socialism and for the suppression of the overthrown capitalist class which will not simply concede defeat and walk away the minute they are deposed. Because the anarchists refuse on principle to build a workers state to defend and consolidate the gains of the successful workers revolution they will NEVER be able to lead a successful workers revolution, period! This is why real worker-revolutionaries should reject the lame “politics” of the anarchists.
The anarchist and “antifa” leaders that are going all out to stop the conservative bigot Yiannopoulos and his supporters as if they were all fascists are simply exposing their political bankruptcy for all the workers of the world to see – and are falling into a political trap laid by the right-wing bigots behind Breitbart “News”. They are leading their members blindly into this set-up; and they and their naive members will suffer arrest, jailings, fines and the probable destruction of their organizations – all because they can’t tell the difference between a Nazi and a dollar-store right-wing blowhard! And these crazy youth who fantasize about just going around “punching a fascist in the face”? Look: if you can’t tell the difference between a real fascist and a bozo like Yiannopoulos do the revolutionary workers movement a favor and just take up MMA instead. You’re just going to give anarchism and the “antifa” movement a reputation as being “those idiots who go around punching people in the face”. That is not righteous revolutionary activism, it’s thugishness and a profound embarassment to the workers movement!
We must warn the working class of the mortal danger that fascism represents and we must put the “alt-right” on notice that the working class is keeping them under strict observation – and the moment they cross over the line to fascism they will become recognized as such and will become the mortal enemies of the organized working class and will be treated the same way we treat the fascists: they will “have their heads acquainted with the pavement”!
We defend those antifa activists who bravely defend the working class from actual fascists; but we will not defend those politically confused pseudo-anarchists who “call themselves” “antifa” but who physically attack people who are NOT fascists! We will be happy to patiently explain to any honest “antifa” or anarchist activist how to tell the difference between a fascist and a right-wing blowhard “opening act” for the fascists like Yiannopoulos.
Workers have the right to physically confront the fascists wherever they raise their heads. The police in a capitalist state have always and will always “protect and serve” their capitalist masters and their fascist gangs.
Pro-capitalist liberals of the Democratic Party and the fake-left groups howl when they see workers and students out in the streets defending themselves and society from fascist and neo-fascist mobilizations. The liberals want workers to rely not on their own organized strength – which the Democrats and their capitalist patrons fear above all else! – but on the police forces of the capitalist state to stop the fascists “if they get out of hand”; they also defend the “free speech rights” of the fascist scum.
As revolutionary Trotskyists we know that the police can never be depended upon to stop the fascists as the role of the police in a capitalist state is to protect and serve the capitalist class and their investments. And the capitalist class own and operate the fascist parties so that they may use them to smash the most powerful opponents of unrestrained exploitation of the working class by the capitalist class: the trade unions and the revolutionary socialist and anarchist parties. Time and time again we have seen, in capitalist countries all over the world, police agencies chock full of fascists and proto-fascists. In Chicago, many of the police are so racist they can’t even restrain themselves from using vile racist slurs on the police radio system when they KNOW they are being monitored by their superiors!
The FBI did a study in 2006 (17oct2006_fbi_doc-26-white-supremacist-infiltration) that exposed the degree to which fascists and white supremacists had “infiltrated” the police agencies of the United States. Dozens of police departments north and south were discovered to harbor gangs of fascist white supremacists (a fact which every black and Hispanic worker or cop in the US has known for ages). The Southern Poverty Law Center, also in 2006, published proof that the US military is also packed with white supremacist Nazi elements – and has done almost nothing about it. The US military harbors and trains thousands of white supremacist lunatics and provides them with practice opportunities against “real world” targets all over the globe. Once they are done slaughtering people for the US capitalist class overseas and their tours of duty are over, many of these lunatics return home and get jobs working for local and state police agencies. Is is any wonder, then, that time and again we have seen these fascist-ridden police departments deployed to protect the Klan and Nazis, and once the Klan and Nazis’ provocation is over… THE COPS ATTACK THE ANTI-KLAN/NAZI PROTESTORS! The fascist-ridden police departments of the US are world-infamous for their brutal murders of unarmed black and Hispanic citizens. These are the kind of “neutral” arbiters of “public order” we have prowling the streets of US cities with badge and guns – not the “Officer Friendly” fantasy the liberals and fake-leftists want workers to rely on for “protection” from the Klan and Nazis! These are the Nazi-ridden police departments run – in almost every major US city – and defended by the “lesser eveil Democratic Party!
The police in a capitalist state are NOT “neutral arbiters” between the workers and the fascists but are one of the “special bodies of armed men and women” who exist to defend the class privileges and stolen wealth of the capitalist class and to keep the working class “in their place”. That means that when the capitalist class decides to unleash their fascist attack dogs to smash the workers movement the police can ALWAYS be expected to “protect and defend” the interests of the capitalists by “protecting and defending” the fascists!
Not small groups of activists but millions of workers organized in workers’ defense guard battalions based on the trade unions must be created to effectively smash the fascist threat in the egg!
The working class must create workers defense guards to defend the working class from the mortal danger that the fascist threat represents – whenever and wherever it appears. It is not a job for small groups of anarchists or socialists to “substitute themselves” for the integrated working class in defending human society from the fascists. Anarchists and socialists must go out and organize workers of all races, creeds and colors wherever they are: at work, at union meetings, at their places of worship, and urge them to join with us in confronting the fascist threat because it is particularly the minority workers who will be the first targets of the fascists if they become emboldened enough to operate openly in our cities. Only the effective mobilization of millions of workers into integrated workers defense guard battalions can effectively counter and crush the fascist movement in the egg. These battalions must be based on the organized power of the trade unions who are also among the top targets of the fascists. This has been done before quite effectively here in the US and around the world and it can and must be done again. Fascism? NEVER AGAIN!
It is tragic that honest political activists are led by political charlatans into physically attacking right-wing creeps who pose no serious threat to anyone – exposing those activists to brutal police attacks, arrests, jailing, and perhaps even death at the hands of racist (and often fascist) cops and prison guards! We must carefully choose our enemies so as not to squander our limited, precious and noble real antifascist activists on attacks against conservative windmills! We must organize and prepare ourselves to defend our working class sisters and brothers against our deadliest enemies: the real fascists whenever and wherever they appear. We must also not seek to substitute handfuls of heroic and self-sacrificing antifa and revolutionary socialist activists for the huge numbers of union workers of all races, creeds, colors – and political persuasions – who must be organized and brought into the streets to confront and crush the actual fascists whenever and wherever they raise their heads! We need to organize MILLIONS of worker-activists, especially in the potential bastions of working class power – the trade unions – into disciplined battalions of worker-militants in order to crush the fascist movement in the egg. Only the revolutionary Trotskyists have a class-struggle programme time-tested and successful that can not merely combat all the many forms of fascism from the Black Hundreds of Bolshevik Russia to the Ku Klux Klan but which can put an end once and for all to the capitalist system that creates, nurtures, organizes, finances and unleashes the fascist hordes to smash the workers movement. Every successful workers revolution in world history has had at its head a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries with a revolutionary program for the overthrow of the old regime and for the creation of a workers government. We need to build a Trotskyist vanguard party now to lead the next wave of workers revolutions – in the US and around the world – so all future generations can live in a world where xenophobic fascism no longer exists! JOIN US!
To smash fascism once and for all time we say: capitalism must die so that the working class may live!