Why the bourgeoisie needs fascism

Excerpts taken from the Jan. 14 webinar,“Workers Can Defeat Fascism and Racism,” sponsored by Workers World Party, moderated by Ted Kelly. Tom Answeeney spoke from the WWP Buffalo branch. To view the entire panel discussion, go to youtu.be/d9_NDIKT0vw.

Ted Kelly: Comrades, we want to talk about why the bourgeoisie needs fascism. 

Tom Answeeney: We’ve seen the steady escalation of fascist violence over the past four years [during the Trump presidency]. So in some ways, the attack in Washington on Jan. 6 was predictable. 

These forces were willing to break with capitalist “democratic” norms — if we can even call them democratic! Really just those of a liberal representative democracy under capitalism. They were willing to go in and just let all that shit happen. That surprised me. I would have expected five people to die on the streets, but not inside this building that is supposed to represent the U.S. across the world. 

The attack reminded me of the Beer Hall putsch [a 1923 failed coup by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler and others in Munich, Germany, during the Weimar Republic]. In that sense, maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me, as someone who’s read some history, but seeing it happen now, in my lifetime, is uncomfortable.

Ted: Why is it that the working class is the class best suited to defeat fascism? 

Tom: The reason why only the working class can defeat fascism is that the material basis on which fascism exists is opposition to the working class, which is the primary antagonist to fascism. 

The bourgeoisie don’t have anything to gain from defeating fascism. They may be able to gain from reining it in, from keeping it corralled, from keeping it in their pocket until they need it to be a little bit more out there and a little bit scarier. But they never want to get rid of it entirely. They’d be disarming themselves.

Ted: We have been talking about what working people need to do. Should we wait for Biden to save us? 

Tom: Biden obviously can’t be relied upon for anything, nor the Democratic National Committee. Whatever resources they are promising to use to limit the threat of fascism, they will use, in fact, against the left. 

We’ve seen minimal arrests from those involved in the storming of the Capitol — even fewer than I would have expected, considering how the bourgeoisie’s own democratic norms have been torn apart. 

The dominant narrative coming from DNC leadership is one of unity and bipartisanship. They stand for nothing, and they certainly won’t stand up for us. So we need to defend ourselves. 

We need to organize; we need to study; we need to make friends and allies and coalitions, because it’s not just the communists whose neck is on the line. It’s the whole working class, and it’s oppressed people. It’s anarchists; it’s people who are liberal — and any of the working class inconveniently in the way of the fascists. The super-exploitation inflicted upon some sectors of the working class makes the entire class weaker. We need to organize against racism!

We need to be prepared to defend people acting outside the law. And understand that the law itself is there to stop us. 

When fascists came to Buffalo and organized and demonstrated in Cazenovia Park, some people beat the crap out of fascists. But I certainly wasn’t going to let the cops hurt those people. I wasn’t going to do anything to uphold a legalist stance in fighting fascism, unlike liberals who were present. 

That’s what we do as communists. And we understand that bourgeois law does not protect us and is primarily used against us. 

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