The anti-fascist front has never been the proof of anything other than the imminence of defeat

From, a reflection from france on the necessity of anti-fascism as anti-capitalist.

It is all of the world’s reactionary forces that gloat with Bolsonaro’s victory. Faced with this, leftist militants and organized labor movements seem stunned and disarmed. This must change. Including in France. And quick!

A global rise of the extreme right and a democratic fascism

It would take much effort to make the list of countries whose future has darkened in the last 5 years … In addition to Trump’s America, Putin’s Russia and Erdogan’s Turkey, we can mention several extremely alarming elements that make us think that we are at the beginning of a particularly gloomy historical period: the rise of the extreme right and a conservative right in almost all of the countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Ukraine, of course, is experiencing a nationalist revival with the Donbass war, Bulgaria has seen unprecedented electoral scores for these movements, the Baltic countries are seeing a rise in nationalism under the pressure of Russian expansionism … But it is above all the example of Hungary and its racist regime subsidized by the EU that is a textbook case; the ruling party of ultranationalist Victor Orban has a solid foundation and a structured state.

The unprecedented scores of the extreme right in the historical EU countries and in the central countries of the capitalist economy, which seemed more spared until recently by the reactionary tidal wave, suggest the worst: for example in Austria, where the FPÖ, a long-established party, has barely missed a majority; in Norway and Denmark, they are in government; in Germany, where the increase in power, in less than two years, of the AFD party and the influence of the Islamophobic Pegida organization, resulted in pogrom-like actions that seemed to have waned, particularly in the east of the country. We can also mention Switzerland, where the SVP is the majority in the “National Council”, or the Netherlands. Finally, the Italian situation is the most desperate because through the game of an alliance with the 5 Stelle (5 Stars) party, the Northern League has found itself in power and dictates its policies as it sees fit. This is obviously not without consequences, as the number of attacks against and assassination of immigrants has jumped!

The rise of Islamism in its various forms, in all Arab countries and in much of sub-Saharan Africa, has either resulted in its integration into power (as is the case in Morocco or to a lesser extent in Tunisia) or, in cases where the jihadist phenomenon has gained a lasting presence, a hardening of the state in response to the provocations of Islamists, a hardening of the state which coincides obviously with loss of freedom for everyone …

Asia is not excluded, with the Duterte presidency in the Philippines, the anti-Muslim pogroms in Burma and the Indian BJP (Hindu nationalism) which strains social relations in favor of the most reactionary forces over a large part of South and Southeast Asia.

It is still difficult to talk about fascism. First because it is a historical phenomenon and then because it does not really correspond to what is happening right now. Fascism can be defined as:

a dictatorship based on a doctrine of class reconciliation in the service of the nation, articulating a corporatist and vertical organization of workers to an all-powerful militarized state. It professes an anticapitalism that is only a facade, since in reality it has always come to power with the help and approval of large capital and a large part of the bourgeoisie [1]

If many of these factors are found today, an element is however not present: the structure of the state remains unchanged. The “democratic” cadres remain, the elections are maintained and the opposition parties, although abused, still exist. Russia at this level is a shining example. All the elements of historical fascism are there: cult of personality, political police, expansionist will, nationalist discourse, militarism. Nevertheless, there are still some opposition parties that have become puppets. Their leaders are regularly imprisoned, but more rarely murdered, missing or deported. Elections still exist, although sometimes with fraud. The regime does not need dictatorship since the population has little choice in the face of political and popular pressure. This democratic framework is preserved because it is fully compatible with the globalized market economy.  But this democracy bears only its name. Since all of the elements that allowed the establishment of these “democracies” are based primarily on strong popular pressure. For all of those who think of fascism only in relationship to the state, they forget one thing: it is above all a popular, chilling and dangerous movement.  In all the examples mentioned, the coming to power of budding dictators was done with the support of a large part of the population, and not as is heard here and there, only of the bourgeois classes. 55 million people voted for Bolsonaro; to hear leftists speak, unable to change their perspective, it was only bourgeois and reactionary petty bourgeois who supported him. Except that in essence, the bourgeoisie is not the majority in the population and it relies on the margins of the proletariat who are more or less receptive to them, depending on the occasion. And the era is obviously rather conducive to very disgusting ideologies. These popular movements, which can not be ignored, are accompanied by all possible horrors: racist assaults, lynchings of homosexuals, attacks on left activists, breaking strikes … and all that is not carried out by the police is made possible by fanaticised popular groups. This process is completed in Turkey, Russia, Hungary or the Philippines. It is underway in Italy where the hunts for immigrants are organized, in Germany where it is not good to be of a wrong colour in certain regions … And this concerns any activist or intellectual of the “left”. It is therefore not possible to reduce what is happening to a simple political alternation, a simple change of form, but a change of atmosphere throughout the society.

If this has been possible, it is because the state of Western-style democracies is in complete disrepair …

A phenomenon that will not spare France

France has no reason to be spared by this brown wave that invades the world. If we draw a parallel with Italy, a frontier country and “brother” of French democracy, several elements are strikingly similar. For 20 years, the traditional parties have collapsed, the all-out re-composition of a political class of hucksters has left a gaping political void. All “left” and “right” political organizations, have abandoned themselves over to wheeling and dealing, giving up all values in the name of power and triumphant neo-liberalism. All this was done against a backdrop of identity affirmation and racism. We are exactly in the same dynamic in France, where the Socialist Party paid for what it had to pay. A new, completely cynical and baseless party (LREM – La République En Marche!) has taken power, without having a political project other than the application of the MEDEF (Mouvement des Entreprise de France) program. The LREM does not have a militant base likely to counter a possible rise of any structured organization.

Faced with this, entire sections of the proletariat have been abandoned and are no longer structured by the organizations of the workers’ movement. These margins are at the mercy of far-right influences, whether they are from the political class (Marine Pen, Dupont-Aignan, La Lega in Italy or Bolsonaro in Brazil) or outside it (Soral, anti-Semitic youtubers, Fdesouche, conspiracy theorists …). These discourses place themselves in a competitive space against us, the revolutionaries, or simply, progressive militants. A vast segment of the proletariat is sensitive to this often simplistic and flattering rhetoric, that plays on the competition between the exploited.

This portion of the population would be of little significance if the remnants of the labor movement were not voiceless and completely shocked by the situation. Trade unions, in France as in Italy, say nothing. Political organizations say nothing. Radical groups say nothing. We look, dazed; a horrible situation. Each one falls back on his friends, his closest comrades and his affinities. The collective dynamics are broken and little sustained.

We are not ready and yet only social struggles can save us

It is not a question here of calling for an anti-fascist front. Anyway, a front with whom? La France insoumise continues to humiliate itself on social networks, getting bogged down in dubious debates about left-wing patriotism. Lutte ouvrière still has not understood that we were not in 1917. The NPA (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste) is only a big leftist band that does not stop splitting in all directions, on bizarre bases. Libertarian organizations no longer exist … Moreover, the anti-fascist front has never been the proof of anything other than the imminence of defeat. It’s about getting organized in order to maintain a balance of power, so that the social destruction, which systematically accompanies the rise of fascists ascents, is countered, in order to resume the path of reality. For it is in social struggles that languages are loosened, that oppression becomes visible. It is collective mobilisations that reveal to workers that the exploitation they suffer is the result of a political and economic system. It is the homosexual collective mobilisations that reveal to the world what hetero-normativity is. It is collective mobilisations that have put the issue of racism on the table. It is collective mobilisation that has allowed feminism to become a political force capable of challenging the patriarchal norm.

Now, this reality, this anchorage that is the strength of all the revolutionary movements that have ever weighed on history, we no longer have. We no longer have it because of the economic situation, it’s true. But we do not have it because of idleness and a lack of desire. Activists, quick to make so many judgments and criticisms, seem to be quicker to make memes on facebook than to think about organisational potential. Political collectives have turned into mere bands, impossible to join and condemned in the long run to dissolve into the limbo of interpersonal history. The mobilisations are done without any propaganda other than facebook (in other words, with people already convinced in advance) …

Some networks and collectives exist but they are animated only by an overly small number of people. Some examples :

The canteens, of the ZAD, Rue des Pyrénées, or in Rouen, which allow for a logistics and a sizable support for our struggles.

The network Mutu, which includes , and which is organised at the national level for the dissemination of anti-authoritarian ideas and as a counterweight to the media and fascists.

Anti-repression coordination and solidarity funds, which kill an absolutely monstrous strike from the state.

Physical spaces that are not numerous enough, like L’Écharde in Montreuil or the Rémouleur in Bagnolet.

The organisations of undocumented migrants who are still too lonely in the face of repression and employers.

But we can also imagine collectives responsible for inventing slogans, more interesting than those chanted at the moment, groups of graphic designers a little ambitious to cover the walls of Paris with propaganda, feminist collectives that are reachable by all those who rage against guys, antifa groups who do counter-information in our neighborhoods, local newspapers, people who develop autonomous servers on the internet to confuse the cops, people to reach out to the families of victims of the police, often too isolated. We may also wish for groups of intervention with employees in struggles, graffiti artists who cover the city with slogans that people can understand, collectives of fraudsters for a free metro … All these practices that have existed at some point and which no longer exist or much less so.

We forget it for sure and it is important to say that there are many things going on. But not enough and alive enough to really weigh.

Hey leftists, it’s time to move because many of us have planned something other than spending our next ten years in prison or under house arrest. No more than living in a vitrified society where all expression is impossible. And it’s not because you’re doing nothing right now that you’re not going to have repression fall on you. Because the state never forgets who it has in front of it. And fascism does not accept repentance, especially in the digital age. We are in a fight to the death. And if you want to wait for someone to knock on your door to pick you up, your free to do so.

So before you get there, it’s time to raise your head and fight.

[1Analysis to be found at the site of  l’Organisation Communiste Libertaire

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