I’m pretty tired of seeing everyone rave about fascism on their news feeds. (For those without context, it’s mainly because of the fascists in the protests in Ukraine, but also the Golden Dawn in Greece.)
Stop freaking out and answer this question: what are you going to do about it? Of course I suspect no one cares about this question because they’re not serious about winning, but just your typical Leftist who act like those dolls that say a random quote when you poke their bellies. To many Leftists, socialism is not a religion of the path, but a religion of the book. And in religions of the book, all that matters is believing the right positions.
Taoism in practice: the way to fight fascism is not to focus on fighting fascism. Instead focus on revitalizing an openly socialist Left.
Some people think that we can do everything at once – if not in practice, at least in terms of education or propaganda. This is false. Even mental attention is a finite resource. We’re forced to choose.
For anyone who is confused about this, I’m anti-fascism. I don’t want a red-brown synthesis.
However, the great lesson of the Spanish Civil War is that opposing fascism is not enough to stop fascism. Why?
Because fascism grows out of crisis. People only resort to fascism during extreme times, when they are willing to take extreme measures.
This means that rallying to defend the vanilla “democracy” of the capitalist state is a non-starter. It will not sufficiently energize the masses, because that “democratic state” has obviously been failing them so much that they are willing to entertain some seriously crazy shit. They won’t pour into the streets to defend a Congress whose approval rating has dipped into the single digits.
This means that when fascism is a threat, we need to offer an equally extreme alternative. We need something that cuts through the red tape and actually goes as far as it has to go in order to solve people’s real problems – their economic problems. We need to openly assert socialism, in its fullest, most democratic form.
Fascism is a vortex. It defeats you with fear. Once it rears its head, you can’t stop looking at it. You get so bogged down in opposing it, that you forget to do the one thing that could actually defeat fascism – you forget to build your own side.
You must maintain your focus even in the midst of the vortex, even though the situation’s urgency and everything else around you begs you to take focus on the vortex, or focus on something else. Resist the vortex. Ignore it. In the rare moments that it stops barking and actually tries to bite, bite back. Fight it physically, with all your numbers and all your strength.
But that isn’t most of the time. Most of the time, do your thing. Rather than the urgency of the vortex causing you to give in and focus on fascism, it should give you that much urgency toward building the party.
The US Left is in a special moment. Things are changing. People are questioning old methods that haven’t gotten anywhere, and looking for something new. People are finding and experimenting with different things — running for office, or non-union methods of class struggle, like solidarity networks, or Fight for $15. People’s minds are a bit more open than they used to be. Some of the old lines are melting, and blurring. People are more interested in working together.
We have got to continue focusing on that, so when the brownshirts actually do emerge in the US, we have the numbers to kick their asses, instead of the typical Left disgrace of marginalization, powerlessness, and having nothing to fling at the enemy but words.
As Buddhists say, the arrow is cast. This is the situation we find ourselves in; the only thing we can do is to keep on trucking and do what we can. There are always going to be reactionaries. Our job isn’t to focus on them — that’s their job. Our job is to focus on us.