|A comment on RCP's current "Battle for the Future" campaign (part 1):|
Crying "Wolf" over Fascism
Hysteria about "fascism" serves to hide
the essential role of the Democratic Party in
the political and economic system of imperialism
http://struggle.net/ben/2005/wolf.jpg The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP,USA) has recently begun distribution of a leaflet titled The Battle for the Future Will Be Fought from Here Forward. I respect the hard work and dedication of the good comrades around the RCP -- but I believe that it is important for activists to understand that much of what this leaflet says is pure and simple crap.
The main content of the leaflet is hysteria-mongering over the supposedly impending fascist danger from Bush and company. The RCP's leaflet (which really needs to be read to be fully appreciated) says that it is an "open question" whether any democratic rights at all will remain by the end of Bush's term.
Of couse all serious activists are concerned about the steady and increasing erosion of our civil and democratic rights. And yes, if Bush and company had their way, most of us probably would be rounded up and sent to interrogation/torture camps like those in Guantanamo Bay. But so what? Bush cannot make any major changes in how this country is run without the support and backing of the ruling bourgeoisie (ie: the class of big-time capitalists who own or control the corporations, the politicians, the police, courts, schools and media personalities) as a whole. And the bourgeoisie in the US has no compelling material interest, under present circumstances, that would lead it to endorse such a reckless gamble as would be involved in attempting the wholesale elimination of democratic rights and plunging the US into fascism.
Such a desperate course of action by the bourgeoisie would:
(a) instantly politicize tens of millions of people,
(b) destablize the entire system of bourgeois rule and
(c) destroy illusions in the bourgeois political system that the bourgeoisie
has carefully crafted and painstakingly cultivated over many decades.
As a general rule, the bourgeoisie of any modern, economically developed nation has only resorted to fascist measures (ie: the forcible suppression of all opposition via arrest, torture, summary execution or death squads) within the home country in periods of extreme crisis -- when its class rule was threatened. These, for example, were the circumstances in which the German bourgeoisie made its infamous gamble on Hitler. But the bourgeoisie does not prefer fascism (which it considers as clumsy and ill-suited to the needs of capitalist development in a modern economy). Rather the bourgeoisie prefers ordinary bourgeois democracy in which its class rule is carefully hidden behind a screen of supposedly democratic institutions (ie: parliaments, the so-called "free press" and the various legal parties which serve to pacify the masses with sweet songs).
The RCP's leaflet does not mention any of the above factors which would restrain the bourgeoisie from endorsing such a desperate gamble as would be entailed by plunging the US into fascism.
Pandering to the naive
Rather, the RCP's leaflet panders to (ie: encourages and reinforces) the worst and most naive prejudices (which are, unfortunately, all-too-common amongst most new activists) that some kind of fundamental distinction exists between the twin ruling parties of US imperialism.
(Of course there are distinctions between these two parties -- but these distinctions are more in the way of a division of labor between committed partners in which (1) the Democratic Party makes concessions to the mass movements when the people are aroused and (2) the Republicans then take back the concessions once the Democratic Party has managed to suck the life out of the mass movements and lull the masses back to sleep.)
Historically, the struggle against fascism has been used as an excuse to unite progressive activists with bourgeois parties in such a way that the progressive activists surrendered their independent agenda and became subordinate to the bourgeois parties. This, for example, is how the CPUSA (ie: the original Communist Party in the US) betrayed the workers and became subordinate to the Democratic Party machine in the mid-to-late 1930's.
I suspect however, that the RCP's current campaign of hysteria over fascism may have less to do with justifying unprincipled alliances with liberal-bourgeois trends -- and more to do with simply recruiting activists who (unaware that the current climate of repression is not more severe than the Palmer Raids of 1918-21 or the McCarthyite witchhunts, jailings and blacklists during the Cold War 1950's) may be somewhat alarmed by the comparatively mild (ie: compared to open fascism) forms of repression which activists in the U.S. face today.
We are more powerful with open eyes
In any event, RCP's recent leaflet is profoundly mistaken and does a disservice to the movement. The struggle against increasing repression will be far more powerful and effective when based on a solid, class-based analysis of how the bourgeois political system really works than on the basis of hysteria over a supposedly impending fascist danger.
When activists understand how our society really works -- how all the institutions and levers of capitalist society are part of a single orchestra -- they often experience a transformation from feeling powerless and being powerless -- to feeling powerful and being powerful -- because they understand at last how the ruling class, in spite of its seemingly all-powerful appearance -- is actually only a tiny minority in society -- and that this minority cannot rule by force alone -- that this minority stands in opposition to the material interests of the overwhelming majority of society -- and can only continue to rule as long as it is able to maintain an increasingly vulnerable system of political deception.
And when we understand how our movement is being held back -- when we understand the true weaknesses of our enemy -- and the true strengths of our own forces -- we will be far better prepared for the day when talk of fascism may be more than crying wolf.
Struggle for revolutionary mass movement
requires public criticism today
Finally -- for those supporters of the RCP or RCYB who may believe that this article is somehow "anti-party" -- understand that sincere criticism is often the most powerful form of genuine support. The RCP, through its decades of hard work such as in writing articles in support of the struggles of our class brothers and sisters here in the US and around the world, has earned the respect of many activists. But this only makes it all the more important to criticise its errors.
The object of this article is not simply to defend our movement against wrong ideas or even to assist the RCP to overcome its errors. There is also a larger purpose. If activists today are to successfully confront the challenges of our times -- then we must make serious and systematic use of all of the possibilities of the unfolding revolution in digital communications -- for the purpose of helping all of us understand the strengths and weaknesses of all the trends on the left.
Only in this way will we be able to build a conscious revolutionary mass movement and assemble the talent and dedication needed for a genuinely revolutionary mass organization. Such an organization would not only be able to distribute millions of copies of a leaflet (as RCP aims to do with this one) but (equally important) would also have the ability to defend its views in forums (such as this Indymedia thread) in ways that are concise, informative and even entertaining.
Ben Seattle -- January 28, 2005
Ben's views may not represent the views of
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Another article about the theoretical weaknesses of the RCP's current leaflet (ie: a failure to acknowledge the necessity of fundamental democratic rights in the period ahead after bourgeoisie rule is overthrown) can be found here.