Those on the “left” who think that Fascism can be defeated through intellectual debate can obtain for themselves a very graphic example of why this is a utopian concept courtesy of one Ilias Kasidiaris, a legislator in the Greek Parliament and member of the definitely fascist “Golden Dawn” party.
In a brazen attack on two female Greek parliamentarians from two working-class parties, this fascist cretin, tiring of the mental strain of having to think and politely respond to questions and challenges from his socialist and Communist Party interlocutors, rose from his seat and continued the “debate” in the way the fascists prefer: by physically assaulting the two women – on live, national television, no less!
The fascist scum from “Golden Dawn” who usually carry out their “debates” on the question of immigration by forming gangs and going into towns and city centers and physically assaulting anyone who “looks foreign” need to be put down like the rabid dogs they are. The very existence of fascist political parties is a standing lethal threat to the workers movement and all decent human beings. We call on our brothers and sisters in the Greek workers movement to unite and go out and give these “Golden Dawn” scum a golden shower! “Acquaint their heads with the pavement!” Fascism must be crushed in the egg, or it threatens to annihilate the workers movement – physically.
The great Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky, who gave his life leading the heroic struggle against the rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy from 1927 – 1940, understood well the true nature of Fascism. Writing in the 1930s, before the rise of Hitler and his Brownshirts, Trotsky warned the German working class of the danger that would result if the German workers organizations – unions, and both major rival “left” parties of the working class, the Social Democrats and the Communist Party, did not join forces to smash the fascist threat while it was still “in the egg”. The failure of the two largest workers parties to make a political bloc against the Nazis – primarily due to the Stalinized Communist Party of Germany’s refusal to do so – led directly to the rise of Hitler and the physical destruction of the revolutionary workers movement in Germany.
Marx was quoted, famously, as saying: “all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice… the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” Today we see the tragic events of 1933 in Germany restaged, with an all-Greek cast: the Greek so-called “left”, represented by the left coalition Syriza movement, plays the role of the class-collaborationist German Social Democrats; the “ultraleft” leadership of the Stalinist German Communist Party of 1933 is portrayed, convincingly, by the “ultraleft” Stalinist leadership of today’s Greek Communist Party. Von Hindenburg, the senile “grand old man” representative of the equally senile German bourgeoisie of ’33, is portrayed by his modern counterpart in Greece, 83-year-old Karolos Papoulias. Papoulias, representing the utterly discredited and ready-for-the-dustbin-of-history Greek bourgeoisie of 2012, held an ominous meeting on May 13 with the head of the would-be-Hitlerite “Golden Dawn” Fuehrer Nikolaos Mihaloliakos. This meeting, eerily reminiscent of Hitler’s tete-a-tete with Hindenburg just before Hindenburg made Hitler Chancellor in 1933, is the politically (and in every other way as well) bankrupt Greek bourgeoisie’s way of preparing the way for a fascist/military coup in the event that the working class gets the upper hand over the capitalist class in the near term.
Replace the word “France” with “Greece” – or any other capitalist country you’d like, including the U.S. – in this excerpt from a 1934 article by Trotsky and see if it rings a bell apropos of today’s political situation:
“Of course, in France, as in certain other […] countries […], there still exist parliaments, elections, democratic liberties, or their remnants. But in all these countries, the same historic laws operate, the laws of capitalist decline. If the means of production remain in the hands of a small number of capitalists, there is no way out for society. It is condemned to go from crisis to crisis, from need to misery, from bad to worse. In the various countries, the decrepitude and disintegration of capitalism are expressed in diverse forms and at unequal rhythms. But the basic features of the process are the same everywhere. The bourgeoisie is leading its society to complete bankruptcy. It is capable of assuring the people neither bread nor peace. This is precisely why it cannot any longer tolerate the democratic order. It is forced to smash the workers and peasants by the use of physical violence. The discontent of the workers and peasants, however, cannot be brought to an end by the police alone. Moreover, if it often impossible to make the army march against the people. It begins by disintegrating and ends with the passage of a large section of the soldiers over to the people’s side. That is why finance capital is obliged to create special armed bands, trained to fight the workers just as certain breeds of dog are trained to hunt game. The historic function of fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery.
“The fascists find their human material mainly in the petty bourgeoisie. The latter has been entirely ruined by big capital. There is no way out for it in the present social order, but it knows of no other. Its dissatisfaction, indignation, and despair are diverted by the fascists away from big capital and against the workers. It may be said that fascism is the act of placing the petty bourgeoisie at the disposal of its most bitter enemies. In this way, big capital ruins the middle classes and then, with the help of hired fascist demagogues, incites the despairing petty bourgeoisie against the worker. The bourgeois regime can be preserved only by such murderous means as these. For how long? Until it is overthrown by proletarian revolution.”
Source: Leon Trotsky, “The Collapse of Bourgeois Democracy” from “Whither France?”, 1934
So what should be done with these fascist gangs, whose idea of “fun” is to rampage through Athens beating up “foreign-looking” immigrants and tourists? Again, let’s turn to Trotsky:
“Fascism finds unconscious helpers in all those who say that the ‘physical struggle’ is impermissible or hopeless, and demand of Doumergue the disarmament of his fascist guard. Nothing is so dangerous for the proletariat, especially in the present situation, as the sugared poison of false hopes. Nothing increases the insolence of the fascists so much as ‘flabby pacificism’ on the part of the workers’ organizations. Nothing so destroys the confidence of the middle classes in the working-class as temporizing, passivity, and the absence of the will to struggle…
“[The socialist and communist newspapers write every day:]
“the united front will not permit…”;
“the fascists will not dare”, etc.
“These are phrases. It is necessary to say squarely to the workers, Socialists, and Communists: do not allow yourselves to be lulled by the phrases of superficial and irresponsible journalists and orators. It is a question of our heads and the future of socialism. It is not that we deny the importance of the united front. We demanded it when the leaders of both parties were against it. The united front opens up numerous possibilities, but nothing more. In itself, the untied front decides nothing. Only the struggle of the masses decides. The untied front will reveal its value when Communist detachments will come to the help of Socialist detachments and vice versa in the case of an attack by the fascist bands against Le Populaire or l’Humanite. But for that, proletarian combat detachments must exist and be educated, trained, and armed. And if there is not an organization of defense, i.e., a workers’ militia, [the Socialist and Communist newspapers] will be able to write as many articles as they like on the omnipotence of the united front, but the two papers will find themselves defenseless before the first well-prepared attack of the fascists.”
[Source: Leon Trotsky, “The Workers’ Militia And Its Opponents”, from “Whither France?”, 1934]
The time has come in Greece to organize such a “workers’ militia”. The only “debate” the fascists understand is a debate which will end with the workers “acquainting the fascists’ heads with the pavement”!
[For more of Trotsky’s writings on the subject of how to oppose fascism, see: “Fascism: What it Is and How to Fight It” here: http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1944/1944-fas.htm as well as his the excellent collection of his articles on the rise of fascism in Germany in the 1930s that make up the book “The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany”, Pathfinder Press. Many of the articles in this book can also be found here by looking for the articles about Germany and/or fascism: