A revolutionary youth’s perspective
History proves fascist terror must be fought
Published Jun 13, 2012 8:40 PM
The ugly killing of Trayvon Martin, the campaign of anti-immigrant terror in Arizona, the racist killing spree in Tulsa, Okla., and the recent barrage of public appearances by the Ku Klux Klan have left many progressive people wondering what should be done.
It is clear that some kind of action must be taken against this campaign of racist violence.
The U.S. government, run by Wall Street bankers who use racism to divide the working class and hold on to power, has proved numerous times that it will not halt fascist terror and defend oppressed people. Only independent mobilizations of the people can counter fascist terror.
During the horror of Jim Crow segregation, the U.S. Congress refused to halt the horrific crime of lynching. Between 1882 and 1968, more than 200 anti-lynching bills were proposed before Congress by liberals and anti-racists. Sometimes these bills were supported even by right-wing representatives, who simply were not content with the normalization and acceptance of extralegal violence. Yet none of these bills became law and the lynch mobs continued.
The Smith Act of 1940 was used to imprison 18 leaders of the Socialist Workers Party during World War II and many members of the Communist Party later on. Yet the Great Sedition Trial of 1944, the only attempt to prosecute Nazi sympathizers under this law, ended in a mistrial. Even while the U.S. was at war with Hitler’s government, the federal courts could not manage to convict open Nazi supporters.
Members of the Klan and the American Nazi Party shot to death five members of the Communist Workers Party in Greensboro, N.C., in 1979 in broad daylight. Their actions were recorded on film. The records show that the local police department had infiltrated the Klan and knew long in advance what was planned. Sixteen Klan and Nazi members were arrested; five were charged with murder. They all were acquitted by all-white juries. The Justice Department of the “liberal” Carter administration refused to bring federal charges.
Anti-NATO activists currently face trumped-up terrorism charges for possessing beer-making kits. Yet the racist, anti-immigrant Minutemen patrol the U.S.-Mexico border openly carrying firearms. Brutal Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio identifies with the anti-immigrant fascists and has posed for photographs with neo-Nazis.
The Internet activist group “Anonymous” has revealed that demagogic presidential candidate Ron Paul has frequent face-to-face meetings with a white supremacist.
Oppressed people and their allies cannot, and must not be expected to depend on the Wall Street-run, racist government to protect them. Sam Marcy, founder of Workers World Party, wrote a groundbreaking book entitled, “The Klan and the Government: Foes or Allies?” explaining this to the progressive movement in the 1980s.
Marcy argued: “The fascist menace cannot be legislated out of existence. The employment of legal, judicial and other methods in the struggle against fascism is necessary and often indispensable as a prerequisite to winning the broadest sections of the masses. But reliance upon the capitalist state to effectuate political measures directed against the threat of fascism is a hopeless, deadly illusion.
“Nowhere, and at no time, has a capitalist government ever effectuated legislation clearly directed against fascism and proscribed existing fascist organizations without at the same time also limiting and proscribing the existence of revolutionary, working-class organizations.
“The general tendency of capitalist legislation against fascist organizations generally comes down to banning ‘subversive organizations in general,’ which is an umbrella formula to prohibit progressive working-class and revolutionary organizations while at the same time protecting and defending the right-wing and fascist organizations.”
Working-class resistance to fascism
Self-defense against fascist terror that does not ask for the government’s permission has a long and honorable history in the U.S. and around the world.
Robert F. Williams, Mae Mallory and the Deacons for Defense and Justice organized armed self-defense against the Klan. The Teamsters union in Minneapolis repelled fascist attacks from the “Silver Legion of America” by forming armed Workers Defense Guards.
Youth Against War & Fascism, the youth wing of Workers World Party in the 1960s and 1970s, held its first demonstration against George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the U.S. neo-Nazi movement, who cancelled his New York appearance when 1,000 protesters showed up.
YAWF also disrupted meetings of racist demagogue George Wallace with mass mobilizations. In Boston, YAWF defended African-American school children from racist anti-busing mobs.
The united actions of the working class have defeated fascism countless times. In 1936 in London’s East End, the British Union of Fascists, similar to the modern British National Party, was shut down by a mobilization of 300,000 anti-fascists before it could march through a Jewish neighborhood. This was called the Battle of Cable Street. Workers of English, Irish, Jewish, African and Southeast Asian descent together halted the fascist parade, proclaiming “They shall not pass!”
The Tinley Park Five, heroic anti-racists who allegedly shut down a neo-Nazi meeting in a suburb of Chicago during the lead up to the recent NATO summit, must be defended. Workers World Party demands that all charges against them be dropped and calls for all sections of the movement to defend them.
Self-defense against fascist terror is the right of oppressed people and their allies, no matter what form it takes. This must be a principle of unity for all who struggle against fascism.
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