London Indymedia

Is Anti-Fascism returning to Europe?

antifa xyz | 19.03.2014 11:26 | Analysis | Anti-racism | History | London

Review of an anti-fascist event in London.

Maybe already the title of the event could have raised an eye-brow "Is Fascism returning to Europe?", as if there was any question about it. There are fascists and Nazis in all European countries and in some countries they are even part of the government. So why was the question posed?
The event itself took place on 23rd February 2014 at SOAS in London and the answer in the event to the question was strangely rather a NO. A film was shown, where the situation of immigrants in Greece was discussed, who were attacked by Golden Dawn. One man, described as community leader of the Pakistani immigrants, had the analysis, that they were attacked because they were workers. One of the speakers of the event, Tariq Ali, praised that man for becoming more radicalised in recent years, which would enable him to see that the immigrants were attacked because they were workers. In the view of Mr Ali and another speaker, the filmmaker Aris Chatzistefanou, the fascists are directly working for the capitalist. This is the same analysis of fascism that the communists had in the 1930s. Fascism is seen as the last line of defence of capitalism in a crisis, the capitalists supposedly create the fascist organisations and are the only ones responsible for it. As Mr Chatzistefanou put it: Fascism = Capitalism + Violence. And following this analysis, Mr Ali found, that the best way to fight against fascism is to support a left party to come to power. In the case of Greece, Syriza is the left party, which -according to Mr Ali - the anti-fascists should support.
So it turned out, the event was mainly to provide arguments why it is good to support the party Syriza. Given that the organisers of the event "Anti-Fascist Action for Greece" have close relations to Syriza, it is not too surprising.

Most of what was discussed in the event was wrong. When Golden Dawn attacks immigrants, they don't do that because the capitalists pay them to attack workers, but they do that because Golden Dawn has a racist ideology and Golden Dawn members act according to their racist world view, when they attack immigrants. When there are capitalists working with Golden Dawn, then because these capitalist are also racists and that makes them work together with the racist proletarians who carry out the attacks. But there was no mentioning at all of racism in this presentation. That is of course not without precedent, communists tend to believe there is only one main contradiction (proletariat vs bourgeoisie = capitalism) and all other contradictions are secondary (e.g. racism, anti-Semitism, sexism). Such secondary contradictions should not be discussed, as this would divert attention from the main contradiction. And only by resolving the main contradiction all other contradictions would be mysteriously resolved. Of course, this is nonsense, a left organisation who refuses to recognise or discuss racism, anti-Semitism or sexism, will not start to recognise or discuss these topics after they have come to power (by election or by revolution). If left organisations educate their members for years to reject discussions about racism, anti-Semitism and sexism, then their members will have internalised this approach. And for those, who don't internalise this, Mr Ali warned, that anyone who opposes the unity of the Left would support the capitalists (and thereby the fascists). The message is clear, if you want to fight against fascism, then shut up and do as the communist party (or Syriza) tells you. When Mr Ali spoke out against sectarianism, he argued in favour of disciplining the members inside the communist party (to reject discussions about anything but capitalism). But this is also targeted against those who are outside of the communist party (e.g. anarchists, feminists, anti-racists, those who fight against anti-Semitism).
The other very problematic point when twisting the reality (immigrants attacked by Nazis because they are workers...) is, what if the Nazis attack an immigrant who is not a worker? Does that mean that the communists / socialists have no objection to such a racist attack?

In an event about fascism in Europe, of course the absence of any mentioning of anti-Semitism is also revealing. In the words of Mr Ali, if the Nazis in Germany had not done what they did, then also many Jews would have joined the Nazi party. The message behind this strange sentence is, that communists see Jews as members of the bourgeoisie and therefore they see the Jews as the capitalist enemy. Communists cannot see what anti-Semitism is, because they themselves think that Jews are the enemy (there are also some minor variants to this, e.g. some communists think, that Jews only support the capitalist enemy). Again according to Mr Ali, the name of the Nazis ("national socialists") is only a trick to obscure that the Nazis worked for the capitalists. Already the socialists and communists in the 1930s had no idea of what anti-Semitism and Nazism really was. Some called anti-Semitism the "socialism of the fools", others thought that the Nazis were the last line of defence of capitalism and therefore the rise of the Nazi movement showed how week capitalism was and that communist revolution was imminent. Even after the WWII in the communist governed DDR (east Germany) historians wrote books about how the Nazi Death Camps were nothing but capitalist factories where the profit was ultimately maximised - to the extent that the death of the workers within a short time was accepted. Most communists cannot see that anti-Semitism was the central ideology of Nazism, that the Nazis would even risk losing the war in order to continue their program of murdering Jews. Anti-Semitism was the main reason for the growth of the Nazi movement in Germany, it attracted people from all classes - including from the working class. Anti-Semitism is still an important reason, why the Left finds it so difficult to grasp the Nazis. Some parts of the Nazi movement wanted to overthrow capitalism (they equated capitalism with Jews), their anti-Capitalist propaganda was not only a decoy to attract Socialists and Communists (who equated Jews with capitalism) or an obfuscation of their real goals. The assumption, that anti-Semitism would go away after capitalism is defeated, is based solely on the theory that all secondary contradictions would be resolved once the main contradiction is resolved. But again, this argument is mainly there to enforce party discipline and keep away "sectarians".

For both racism and anti-Semitism, irrespective of the theoretical question what would happen after a revolution, the real issue is about the present time. A Left, which does not recognise racism and anti-Semitism, cannot fight against it. And without fighting against it, the Left becomes complicit. To say, all that is not important, because the Left fights against capitalism is not sufficient. If minorities are attacked in UK, Germany, Greece or elsewhere, then it is important to fight back against racism and anti-Semitism. This should be a major part of anti-fascism, to fight against fascists and Nazis, because they are racist and anti-Semitic and attack minorities. And anti-fascists should also fight against racism and anti-Semitism outside of fascist and Nazi organisation. Also the political mainstream carries out attacks on minorities, be it with racist propaganda on vans, be it with racist stop-and-search operations.
Such anti-fascism will not lead to a career in a party bureaucracy or a government department (i.e. after the election victory of the one or the other left party). But that should certainly not be the motivation for anti-fascism anyway.

antifa xyz


Hide the following 2 comments

let's go

19.03.2014 11:42

there are other antifas in london and not only old skool communists. north london antifascists and some other groups are for real. nice to see there are many new antifa groups around.

John Smith

practical solidarity

19.03.2014 11:48

communist or not everyone fighting against the nazi scum is good
but get your point
are some of them really fighting at all

Jon Hal


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