Tag Archives: fascism

Για τους οπαδούς του φον Πλεύρη

Κάλιο αργά παρά πωτέ που λένε. Ανακάλυψα σήμερα τον άγριο ξεφτιλισμό του Κωστάκη Πλεύρη μέσα απο το κείμενο Κώστας Πλεύρη: Ο Ιεροεξεταστής της Ιστορίας το οποίο είναι απλά εκπληκτικό και ως πρως τον ξεμπροντιασμό του φασιστάκου, και ως πρως το χιούμορ που διαθέτει.

Είναι μακρύ αλλά αξίζει πολύ να διαβαστεί.  Ένα μεγαλο εύγε στον συντάκτη.

Does not-voting help the fascists?

flag of the Spanish Falange Party
Image via Wikipedia

One very frequent argument I hear when I suggest that people, and especially anarchists should abstain from voting is that by doing this, we only play into the hands of fascists who use the lower turnout to get a bigger influence in electoral politics and therefore actual power. It is claimed that if the fascists manage to get in the government, things can only end up being worse than if a liberal or social democrat was there. It’s suggested then that it is a a better option to vote for the lesser evil just so that things don’t deteriorate even more.

However this argument, especially when coming from anarchists, seems to suggest the the slugginess and ineffectiveness of the state somehow is lifted when a extremist right-wing party is in power. That somehow fascists will be able to push through measures that other governments couldn’t without a hassle and that they would be even more in league with the ruling elite than every other politician.

I do not see any of this as very likely. The state will remain ineffective and the fascists will not be able to change either the constitutions or the legal system.  Much like the conservatives and the social democrats, they will be mired in parliamentarism and forced to sing the capitalist’s tune like every other politician. This means that they will be unable to boost their support in the working class by making things any better for them in any practical way and they will be unable to crony up to the capitalists without risking working class direct action.

Perhaps the fear is that they’re going to try to pass more xenophobic and authoritarian measures while they’re in force, but to tell you the truth, I don’t see this as any different than what the current governments are doing already. Perhaps you fear that they’re going to accelerate this? I doubt it, not only because it’s unlikely that they’ll have enough electoral majority to do this without the usual degree  of incompetence but even if there’s enough people abstaining from elections (in favour of direct action) to give them a powerful parliamentary majority, then it would also mean that there’s a lot of people to resist and consciously ignore any new fascist rules.

Perhaps the fear is that through Parliamentarism, they’ll be able to gather popular support by gaining visibility and/or funds from the laws that provide state funding to parties. History should have proven how useless the former is. Marxist-Leninist parties have been in the parliament for ages and it has done nothing to increase their support or their visibility. They only end up sounding antiquated and largely ignored except by those who are already convinced. Using parliamentarism for propaganda is a failure. As for the latter, this is not really going to empower them any more than any other party. At best they’ll simply abuse the money for their own personal expenses and destroy their own trust and at worst they’ll use it to fund extra-parliamentary activities with an amount that is less than what they would have if they put their efforts there in the first place.

Perhaps the fear is that they’ll increase and intensify the corporate cronyism, but this in turn would simply make them indistinguishable as a party from any other right-winger. History has shown how much the state is a tool for capital anyway, regardless of which position the ruling party espouses rhetorically. A Fascist party will at best sell the interests of the working class to the capitalist at an unsustainable rate, that is, a rate of exploitation that will quickly radicalize the working class to the point of rebellion, rather than the slow erosion of conservatives or the sweet palliatives of the social democrats.  This in turn will only marginalize the Fascists more and turn more people towards the only thing that can actually work for change: Direct Action.

Perhaps the fear is that the parties of the early 20th century will be revived in different forms and enact similar atrocities. However this misses a few very important differences with that time. First of all, those parties manage to do what they did, exactly because they had significant support from the populace at large, who at that time was clueless about the intentions of Fascists. This was in fact the reason why they managed to gain power even while not being democratically elected and why they didn’t have to. Their power did not stem from elections but by the large number of citizens who, even when not supportive, were willing to passively accept their rule, even when they voted against them during elections.

In fact, elections had very little to do with the power of those regimes. Mussolini practically grabbed power by the throat through fear and terror. Franco simply maneuvered himself into position within the Rebel forces during the Spanish revolution and then conquered all the outside opposition – and was not even a fascist to boot. Hirohito was a monarch and assumed power via birthright. Hitler was the only one who could be said to have been elected, but that is seriously stretching the meaning of democracy and ignores the significant maneuvering and terror he had to manufacture in order to place himself into power. It’s ignoring the real material circumstances that surrounded his rise to power (the economic situation in Germany particularly) and how those don’t exist in most areas which have fascists running for office. It was the material circumstances, combined with a reign of terror, ignorance of fascism, handy scapegoats and the still heavy religious and traditional populace which could be dragged along via their delusions and respect for authority.

In almost every area where people claim that we need to vote just to prevent the fascists, almost none of these circumstances exist and in fact, many can’t exist anymore. For most of the first world nations, respect for religious authority and especially organized religion is in decline. Traditionalism is fading and only Nationalism is poised to regain some credence given worsening economic conditions. But nationalism cannot carry the ball alone. Furthermore, there’s no handy USSR and evil commies to use an as external threat, although I’m certain China might come in handy for that purpose if push comes to shove. Fascism has also been severely discredited in the minds of most humans by now, making it even more unlikely that they’ll ever enjoy the mindless support of the 20s and 30s.

So at the end, you have a toothless threat. I’m not saying it’s not a threat at all of course, but the issue will not come through elections, but by them gathering popular support and/or pushing through an agenda via terror and lies. And those direct action tactics will not be defeated by counter-electioneering any more than voting prevented Mussolini, Hitler or Franco from coming into power. They will not be defeated by simple arguments either for that matter as Fascism is far more about emotion than it is about reason.

No, the only thing that can prevent fascism from ever coming back to power is the same thing they will use to practically do so: Direct Action. By countering their terror through mutual aid. By countering their shows of power via counter-rallies. By striking back on their acts of violence. In short, by not letting people believe that the Fascists are the only ones willing to take action in difficult situations when words are not enough.

Suggesting to take part in elections in order to oppose the fascists is not only useless, but is furthermore playing into the hands of the state which uses a handy boogieman to gain votes for the lesser evil parties at best or simply provide itself with legitimacy at worst. And anarchists especially, should know better than to play into the hand of the ruling elite just because fascists are considered to be the greatest evil.

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On using questionable tactics in struggle

deadfascists
Image by protokol via Flickr

I was reading what happened to a holocaust denier on Friday and while I couldn’t avoid getting a bit of schadenfreude out of it, it did create a feeling of discomfort on account of the actions used by the antifa in this case. This is in fact something that has been bothering me about the actions of the more active elements of the Anarchist movement but in a way that I was not certain what to make of it.

I understand and wholly agree with the sentiment to counter fascist, racist, sexist and all other similar mentalities but I also understand that the means we use to do so will colour the ends we achieve and will affect our chances to achieve them in the first place. So while such ideologies must be eventually extinguished, there’s many ways to go about doing it. Just because any way promises to achieve the same result does not mean its ethically equal to all the others.

For example, defeating the anti-semite movement could be attempted in one of these ways or any combination of them: Legally banning all anti-semite expression and ideas, assaulting and/or killing all anti-semites, ridiculing and  refuting anti-semite arguments, fixing the root causes of anti-semite sentiments (needs for external scapegoats to hide the results of capitalist exploitation), mutual aid to prevent any direct acts by anti-semites etc. While the effectiveness of any of those tactics is debatable, it is far more important to ponder on the ethical aspect of choosing any particular one for anarchists.

You see, even if a legal ban or assaulting anti-semites was more effective, it would still not be a good choice of means due to the way it colours the ends. By being open to assaulting and/or killing anti-semites, you implicitly support such an act as valid response to ideas you disagree with. Even if such an act was successful, you would still end up in a future society where assaulting and killing the people’s who’s ideas you find abhorrent is a morally permissible act. Such an idea would quickly devolve in a “might makes right” situation where the most powerful party would simply extinguish opposing ideas by force. This is certainly not what we wish to live under. Not only because the anarchists might not be the “winning side” but whatever the result might be, it will certainly not be Anarchy.

In a similar vein we can evaluate almost any other means we might think of using to defeat such ideologies. Legal banning? It would certainly lead to a society which would require a top down enforcement agency (i.e. a police force) and a centralized law making party which decided on the laws for everyone else. In other words, it would lead to supporting a centralized and powerful state, something which I’m certain is something not many of us wish for.  What about ridiculing and refuting? Well at worst this would lead to a society where ridicule of absurd ideas is widespread (making at least for a funnier society) while refutations (and the critical thinking they require) would be valued. Certainly this result sounds better. Mutual Aid to oppose and stop abhorrent acts (say harassment of semites by anti-semites)? Then that would lead to a future society where mutual aid is more widespread and people rely on each other to lend assistance against acts they commonly oppose. A very good approach towards Anarchy don’t you think?

So taking a look at the article above we see that the Antifa used two tactics in this case. One was to figure out where David Irving was planning to give speeches and then call those establishments and warn them that they are hosting holocaust deniers and neo-nazis. Unless lying was used to get them to cancel the events (eg. claiming that Irving was planning something violent) this is a pretty good tactic by itself as it promotes direct action. The second one however was more ambiguous. Antifa hackers cracked into his web servers and managed to compromise his website, emails and other information. Then they proceeded to destroy his website and spread the info everywhere. I think that was wrong.  Like before, this promotes the idea that hacking and destroying someone’s server/website because you disagree with them is a morally acceptable and this is certainly something I do not wish to see becoming widespread.

And if we do not wish any of those acts to be done against us, we cannot go ahead and do it ourselves to others. I certainly would not like to see the Division by Zer0 brought down by some fascist hackers as an Anarchist target and I would then rightly condemn such an attack and all those who did it or cheered for it and I would hope that many others (Anarchist or not) would do the same. However were the Antifa who did those attacks or the One People’s Project who supported them to be hacked then any such condemnation coming from them would be seen as hypocritical. “Why do you complain?” would the fascists ask “Did you not do the same not a long time ago? Did you not support such means as an acceptable way to fight back?” and they would be right (to say that, not to hack). The Antifa can’t then claim that they are allowed to do so because their opponent is anti-semite scum. This will only make sense to those who already accept that against and only against anti-semite scum everything goes, in other words, it would be preaching to the choir.

To all this I expect some to say that the Fascists do this or that all the time. Doesn’t that then justify us fighting back with a similar intensity? Can’t we fight fire with fire if we’re justified? The answer again is to realize that we do not have the same ends as the fascists and thus utilizing the same means makes no sense and most likely be counter-productive. You see, the fascists use violence, harassment, suppression of free speech and bullying tactics because they do really aim for a society which would be characterized by such behaviour. Of course they cannot realize what they will achieve if they are successful but we should. It’s thus imperative to not do what the fascists do, no matter how effective it seems in the short term.

Not only can we not judge the effectiveness of any such act accurately but we can immediately see that such acts go against all that we’re trying to achieve anyway. Not only is it likely that anarchist ways (e.g. mutual aid) will be far more effective in the long term by making non-anarchist more positive to our cause but it will also mean that any success we have will not have unintended consequences causing far greater harm (such as legitimizing violence or hacking against people we disagree with).

“But Db0” I imagine some saying “Anarchist tactics are not as effective as fascist (or state, capitalist, etc) tactics. We’ll never achieve anything”. As I explained above, the “effectiveness” of an act is quite difficult to judge and certainly the dominance of an idea or tactic is not enough to judge it as a success. What we can easily figure out however (and history is ample proof of that) is that you cannot discard a social rule by using said social rule to do it. You cannot use the state to dismantle the state. You cannot dismantle capitalism by becoming a capitalist. You cannot abolish slavery by becoming a slaver and you cannot stop bullying by being a bully. This is why reformist and state socialism fails so abjectly. And this is why any such tactic, no matter how “effective” is doomed to failure. Even if against all odds it manages to achieve its short term results, the long term consequences will be far more harmful and more than likely perpetuate rather than abolish what it’s trying to destroy.

The general rule of thumb then not more complex than the Golden Rule: Do not do what you wouldn’t like others to do to you. It is not difficult to understand why this works when you realize that whatever you do serves as an approval for others to do the same. It thus makes no sense to aim for Anarchy and on the other hand promote acts which would go counter to the workings of such a society.

To put it more simply: If you don’t think any particular act should be commonplace, don’t do it.

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Communism in the garbage bin of history

Marching for Communism in Iran
Image by Petteri Sulonen via Flickr

As the Iran situation becomes worse1 and more and more people start speaking about it online, it seems that many take it as an opportunity to take a swipe at communism while they’re at it.

I’ve started monitoring twitter for mentions of political currents I am interested in and among the usual ignorant bashing, the following phrase, in various similar forms, seems to be posted often:

Theocracy is destined for the garbage bin of history along with Communism and Fascism.

This seems to be repeated by Liberals, Conservatives, Rothbardian minarchists and a generally a lot of people standing on the “right” side of the political spectrum. Putting aside the idiocy of putting Communism and Fascism side to side, there’s the implicit assumption that Communist has indeed been delegated to the “dust bin of history”.

But how much truth is contained in such a statement? While it’s undeniable that Communism has been severely slandered by those who would rather that you don’t know much about it; has it been discredited like fascism, to the point where ideological basis is rejected by most people outright? As much as it would seem so in the US political scene, the answer fortunately is no.

In times of a capitalist boom, there’s always a lot of pundits who will eagerly proclaim the obsolescence of Communism, the end of class struggle and “The end of History”. That lasts only as much as the next bust, recession and depression when the socialist spirit once more rises up to haunt the ruling class. It is at this point where the same pundits will try to stem the tide by reminding us that they already proclaimed Communism obsolete so why are we bringing it up all over again?

But in fact, Communism itself has not been discredited. The core idea of Communism: a stateless, classless society can’t be, as instinctively it sounds positive for most people. Instead what has been discredited are the hijacked results of socialist revolutions of the early 20th century, results which for the delight of the western propagandists were self-described as “Communist” or “Socialist”.

These ideas, that a totalitarian regime can somehow act for the best of the working class, have deservedly been discredited by history itself, which is incidentally proved Anarchist predictions correct. But, and this is the important point, since Communism is not about totalitarianism, this does not affect it.

Now some US Americans might claim that due to popular use, Communism has been accepted to mean the USSR, PRC example and as such, the phrasing is right. But then of course one could easily point out that the USA has completely fucked up the political definitions they use to the extent that, like their measurement system, they are the only ones who accept it.

For most of the world, Communism is far from discredited and even the Stalinist currents in many countries are still going strong. Certainly, many people might think that Communism can’t work in practice, but that’s not the same as rejecting the system altogether. Indeed most of the time it simply takes a libertarian perspective on it to show that what’s practically impossible is only the authoritarian currents.

But if one can say this about Communism, how about Fascism? Doesn’t it mean that Fascism as well can be considered valid? The main difference between them is that Fascism has been rejected by most people altogether, from the ideological components (racism, xenophobia, anti-labour, cronyism etc) to the specific practical implementations of it. It’s been rejected because its whole base is rotten to the core. And while there will always be people rotten enough to embrace it, it’s unlikely to gain popular support. (although of course, I can always be proven wrong)

But this is not the case with Communism, which still has pure goals and people have simply been prevented from progressing towards them; not as a systematic fault but because of the particular (flawed) paths that people took towards the goal. But there’s still other ways to attempt, other paths to take and fortunately there’s quite a lot of people willing to listen.

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  1. Personally I refrain from saying much about it as it seems there is a lot of propaganda from both sides, for an external observer like me to decide either way. Furthermore, neither of the two warring parties are on the side of the people of Iran []

Quote of the Day: Anarcho-Capitalist "Freedom"

Quoth Ludwig von Mises (H/t to An Anarchist FAQ)

It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilisation. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live eternally in history.” [Liberalism, p. 51]

Yes, Fascism has really saved civilization. Why? Because it didn’t let Capitalism go down of course. Thus we see the classic example of “Anarcho”-Capitalist where Anarchism is meant to imply Anti-Statism but only when it’s in the interests of the Plutocracy.

And yet, many people still promote these ruling-class apologetics as the only true “Freedom”.

Are the USA heading towards a military coup?

ObamaNation
This is the kind of Propaganda I’m talking about  – Image by fletcherwarren via Flickr

I’m seeing way too many right-wing secessionist alarms coming from the US lately and the trend is much too concentrated and much too supported to be extremist scaremongering imho.

The Army generals have already declared their distrust for the current administration and I’m willing to bet that the ruling elite are funding most of the secessionist movements. They’ve already uncovered that the “Tea Parties” and “Spontaneous Rants” were setup by the NeoCons so it’s not really a stretch to imagine that much of the rest is as well. We already know that Faux News wouldn’t fart without Murdoch’s approval so their latest stunt gives at least some credence to that theory.

Personally, I’m starting to believe that this is in psychological preparation for a military coup. They want a large amount of the populace supportive of a forceful takedown of the current government. I can’t really foresee how this will go down but I assume an increasing secessionist/revolutionary movement through astroturfing and viral messages, playing on popular disenchantment and anger.

Once the kettle has been brought to a boil, all it will take will be a crisis1 that will give the cause for the generals to step in and declare the government null or somesuch.

The sad part is how the “Liberals” of the US are joking about these threats as if military coups have never happened before. If anything, with the increased reliance of the US on Mercenaries under the control of private individuals (with very strong ties to the NeoCons) such a move would be impossible to resist through democratic means. The Democrats will still be thinking that this can never happen in the land of the Free while the fascist flags are being raised on the white house.

So I see this coming and it’s scary. The signals are all loud and clear. The secessionists are proudly proclaiming their plans for terrorism and nobody even blinks (while of course animal-rights activists are labeled terrorists and detained at the drop of a hat).The ironic insult to injory is that a very large proportion of the mess the US is in right now has been caused by NeoCon policies. And now that the opposition is in the rule, they are going to use the disaster they’ve helped create to push forward something even worse.

The most unfortunate thing is that the reactionary feelings of general populace are being guided into supporting fascists instead of being agitated to struggle for their freedom. If what I foresee comes to be, US Citizens will be tricked into exchanging a Plutocracy for a Junta or a fascist regime and all their revolutionary energy will be sapped once they realize the result they’ve helped accomplish (or failed to stop).

Perhaps it can’t be helped. The Socialism movement of the USA has been hamstrung through persistent and extreme propaganda to the point that the mere word is used as slander. As such, there are few people that can push the coming reaction to the right direction and while a crisis of Capitalism can turn people Socialist overnight, a sustained misinformation campaign, such as the one going on at the moment, can easily polarize in the opposite direction.

For your sake Americans, I hope I’m being horribly wrong on this.

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  1. I’m assuming a catastrophic economic event, such as a nationa default or the disuse of the dollar as the global exchange currency []

Where's the outrage?

standiing there fascismSeriously US. Americans, what the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t you see what is going on around you? Raiding homes of non-criminals for trumpted up charges of “planning to riot”? Arresting and beating up reporters?

Have you learned nothing at all from history?

These are the leading steps to fascism people. This is how totalitarianism comes about. It does not suddently appear one day and gives you a fair chance to fight it off with your 2nd ammendment rights. It creeps insidiously, slowly eroding your freedoms and hoping your will do nothing.

And nothing you did.

Where were you when people’s homes were raided? What were the neighbours doing when police & army were marching and singing military songs in the middle of the neighborhood as if you had a goddamn military law in effect. They did nothing. If all the people in the neighborhood came out of their homes and opposed what your government did to your felow US Americans, perhaps this day would not have been so dark.

But they were cowering at their homes, or having a schadenfreude at the expense of the “hippies”.

  • “In America, they came first for the hippies, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a hippie;
  • And then they came for the immigrants, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an immigrant;
  • And then they came for the Atheists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an Atheist;
  • And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

Some of you may think that it’s just the government attempting to silence their critics forcefully. Some of you may think that since this can never be achieved with the distributed way of information, that you are safe.

But this is not what they want to achieve.

They want to scare you. They want you to leave in fear that at any point they will be able to barge into your home, manhandle you and take your possetions. They want to show you how none of your copatriots will raise a hand to help you. They want you to bask in fear so that you’re too afraid to speak.

And when the first “accident” happens, you will be.

So keep doing nothing US Americans. Keep doing nothing and see what happens.