Revolutionary Anti-Fascism: A Necessity and an Obligation

Revolutionary Anti-Fascism: A Necessity and an Obligation

To many of us, the concept of militant resistance to fascism
and racism comes almost naturally. Essentially all currents of
revolutionary anarchism or Marxism agree on at least this simple
principle: Fascists cannot be allowed to speak, organize, march, or
have a platform in any way shape or form. It is a matter of basic
safety, for ourselves as revolutionaries, and for all of those who,
because they for some reason, be it the color of their skin, their
sexual orientation, their nationality, or what have you, do not fit
the norm of a proper "Aryan," and therefore become targets for
fascist aggression every time they leave their homes.

Anti-authoritarians are, needless to say, as a general rule
opposed to censoring people. We believe that your freedom extends to
where that of the next begins, and as long as you do not attempt to
impose your will on others through coercive means, you are within
your rights to say and do as you please. Yet this of course has
limits, and one of those limits is preaching racial hatred and
justifying genocide, which is essentially what groups such as the
WCOTC do. Because although they may claim that they do not condone
violence (at least we at Barricada are honest about our beliefs), one
has only to take a look at some of the WCOTC graphics and links,
which include sites titled "Better than Auschwitz" which gives tips
on how to bait "niggers and spics" in order to assault them safely
and graphics depicting WCOTC members squeezing to death a Jewish
person (or at least what they believe a Jewish person looks like).
Needless to say, most revolutionaries interpret this as overstepping
the boundaries of tolerable free speech.

Yet, some people in our movement don't seem to agree with
this, and believe that being an anti-authoritarian somehow means
placing no restrictions whatsoever on what people are allowed to
say. This seems to be primarily a US phenomenon, where even
revolutionaries in some cases are still to a certain extent
influenced by the "constitutional right to free speech" propaganda.
However the fact remains that, as many have already learned
firsthand, fascism is not an issue of free speech. It is a dangerous
and violent ideology, and when the proponents of that ideology are
allowed to take to the podiums unopposed, we need only to look at
history to see what the results are.

Fascists understand that, if they rule the streets, it marks
the end of all grass roots level organizing and action for
revolutionaries, and thus leaves the terrain open for them to present
themselves as the only serious alternative to capitalism in a
community. This is because they, through attacks, fire bombings,
beatings, harassment, and whatever else it takes, ensure that it is
unsafe for revolutionaries to take to the streets. It is for this
precise reason that we cannot treat fascist and racist ideologies as
issues of free speech, but rather a physical threat. Most class
oriented anarchist and Marxist organizations throughout history have
understood this, and pretty much every organization of significance
today agrees as well that there can be no discussion with fascism,
only battle. Furthermore, they realize that Fascists and racists
have repeatedly and openly declared war upon us, and violate the
freedom of others on a daily basis through intimidation and direct
violence, thus any actions which are taken against them must
therefore be seen primarily as acts of self-defense. This is why
groups like the CNT (both in France and in Spain), Anti Fascist
Action (England, composed mainly of anarchists), Autonome Antifa
(Germany, anarchists and Marxists of all extra-parliamentary
stripes), the USI (Italian anarcho-syndicalists), the Francophone
Anarchist Federation, the Italian Federation of Anarcho-Communists,
the FAI Spain, SCALP (France), ARA here in North America, Love and
Rage when it was around, the FORA in Argentina, the Anarchist
Federation (England), and many, many smaller organizations which it
is not necessary to list all routinely organize to stop fascist
demonstrations, shut down their meetings, etc.

It is also important to note that fascism has historically,
from Mussolini to the present day, utilized almost the exact same
organizing strategy, based on a double-edged approach of violence on
one hand, and respectability on the other. When fascists groups or
organizations grow they first seek to establish a street presence, as
described above. Meanwhile, their more "respectable" advocates, such
as Matt Hale, attempt to appeal to the "responsible" citizen. This
fools people into believing that they are actually not what
the "leftists" make them out to be, but respectable and concerned
citizens maligned by "the Jewish press" and other such nonsense. The
aim here is to develop a supporter base of "normal" people and give
the revolutionary left a bad image by portraying us as the violent
ones. Yet, does this mean that we should not combat them? No, it
simply means that we need to not only physically oppose them, but
work to expose them at every turn and allow people to make the
necessary connection between the suit and tie fascist, and the street-
level Nazi thug.

The fact is, that sitting around arguing that combating
fascism is "being as bad as them" is unjustifiable. Groups such as
the World Church of the Creator and the National Alliance, to name
only a couple of the many in existence, are openly racist
organizations with a history of violence. For example, Benjamin
Smith, a "Creator of the Month," went on a rampage killing two and
wounding nine, while "Skinheads of the Racial Holy War" (the WCOTC
shock troops, not real skinheads, boneheads) are among the most
violent racist gangs in the US today.

To those who tell us that we shouldn't work to shut down
groups like the WCOTC, we should ask if they would be willing to tell
the relatives of the people Benjamin Smith killed that the WCOTC
shouldn't be stopped, or tell the man of North African descent who
was thrown into a freezing river by fascists after a National Front
march in Paris that they should be allowed to march, or tell the
Turkish shopkeeper in Germany that the Nazis who beat him to a pulp
and set fire to his store after their concert had a right to be
there, or tell the thousands and thousands who have died or gone to
jail fighting fascism that they are wrong and "behaving as badly as

The truth is, it is unacceptable. So is fascism, which needs
to be outlawed, but not by any government and its laws, because this
only allows them to paint themselves as the victims, while setting a
precedent for silencing of opposition which could very well backfire
on us. Fascism needs to be outlawed, but by people, being in the
streets and by demonstrating, both through education and direct
confrontation, that it is simply not tolerable and will be fought by
any means necessary wherever it arises.


Barricada Collective