The Real Dilemma is not "Parliamentarism OR Fascism" But "Socialism OR Barbarism"

In the wake of the murder of the rapper Pavlos Fyssas at the hands of a neo-Nazi Gold Dawn thug and the arrest of the leader of that party Greek Internationalists issued the following leaflet. Its warning is clear. To be only anti-fascist today is to fall into the trap of the Greek "democratic" state which is bringing in new repressive measures not only against immigrants but against all dissenters of capitalism.

The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn squads are an informal auxiliary arm of the official repressive rule of the parliamentary state, carrying out the class war of capital against labour. This was, after all, the historical role of Nazism at its birth.

In the current context Greek neo-Nazis have become part of the neoliberal management of the deep crisis of domestic capitalism and express its anti-working class attitude at its most extreme through their so-called anti-system demagogues. They emerged from the bowels of a bourgeois society in deep crisis. They were nourished on the politics of rapid devaluation of labour power and the suppression of weaker elements of the working class, and on the racist and nationalistic propaganda that was prevalent in the politics of the conservative and social-democratic governments.

They express the rapidly increasing despair of bankrupt reactionary smallholders and the dehumanised amongst the unemployed, bringing into politics the dregs of society. Politically they formed a cannibalistic mass that acted in the service of the most offensive portions of big capital. Nazis, as always, are the genuine children of that capitalist decadence that the parliamentary regime nourishes.

The government, which like all the previous ones, was harbouring and protecting Nazi terrorism, today plays on anti-fascism in order to exploit the event for petty electoral purposes and primarily to defuse tension in a way that is the most profitable for itself and for the system. It presents the image of an anti-fascist state that intervenes as the guardian of democracy and legality which acts decisively in a civil conflict between the "two extremes".

This tactic is designed to reassert the State’s monopoly of violence in order to carry out the repressive aims of the Nazi gangs themselves. The same goes for the political declassification of the Nazis and their reduction to a purely criminal organisation; a policy which has the full support of the regimented Left. Golden Dawn's violence is thus portrayed not as Nazi violence but simply criminal violence, as if its attacks were simply a matter of personal reckoning with the victims and not the exercise of political terrorism.

Amongst the current governmental plans is the extension of this legislation to non-armed political groups. For anyone with a modicum of political intelligence every effort to criminalise the political existence of the Nazis, under the guise of "defence of democracy" - something that is opportunistically supported by various members of the capitalist left and some stupid ultra-leftists – gives the state a free hand to suppress the real opponents of the system. It is a weapon that the state will rush to utilise against the militant proletariat and its bearers and will turn eventually against the organised Left itself, if needed.

The current game of anti-fascism, whether led by a conservative right-wing government, or by the social-democratic opposition which aspires to manage the system, works for the benefit of the system itself, in which, despite their parliamentary competition they are simply loyal political sections. That's because what will be strengthened in the end is the state itself in the name of the protection of parliamentarism, ritually baptised as "democracy".

And because the state is not neutral but a class institution, and the current parliamentary state is nothing but the democratic dictatorship of capital, any strengthening of it contributes to the enhancement of the current brutal class war of capital against labour. It is, after all, the same parliamentary regime that nurtured the Nazis which is a component of the state itself. As always, anti-fascism, even in its most militant form, cannot but end up in the lap of bourgeois democracy.

In any case, anti-fascism – even if it takes the form of a massive militant labour movement, as happened in the interwar years – cannot by nature go beyond the limits of the defence of bourgeois democracy, even if it has revolutionary ambitions, because it limits the fight to just one manifestation of capitalism, while the real issue is the dismantling of the system itself. Within the current context, neo-Nazism is not a discordant echo of the past in a fixed and consolidated parliamentary system, but fits the same strategic direction of capital, launched and implemented by the same parliamentary bourgeois parties.

The current bourgeois strategy in conditions of deep recession is the revival of the system by smashing the working class. This strategy, which is still in progress, if only just beginning, consists in the dramatic fall in the price of labour power, the systematic suppression of the unemployed mass, the militarisation or even the elimination of the “excess” population through strengthening the rule of authoritarianism and consolidation of a permanent state of emergency. In the long term the ultimate way out is a global confrontation between the forces of multi-polar imperialism, which is presently carried out through a series of local proxy wars.

In the face of this dark prospect, the only way out of the current crisis is the overthrow of capitalism. Otherwise the system, having disposed of the threat of a proletarian uprising, will, eventually, use the classic method through which it solves its major crises: a new world war for the destruction of surplus capital and people and a new redistribution of markets so that a new cycle of capital accumulation can resume. And to achieve this it will enlist, once again, millions of workers to become "cannon fodder" for the sake of the “glory of the nation”, the “glory of the fatherland”.

The necessary fight against neo-Nazism should be a subset of the struggle against the bourgeois state and capital. Under conditions of an acute crisis of capitalism any prospect for reform or humanising the system is a vain hope that could turn out to be lethal. What we need is to develop an autonomous proletarian movement and to create an internationalist class political organization of the proletarian vanguard. The answer to capitalism’s wars is the class war of the proletariat for a self-managed society without the exploitation of one human being by another.

Internationalist Comrades
Athens 25/9/2013
Wednesday, October 9, 2013


It has been the custom to regard all capitalist states since approximately the end of the 19th century as imperialist, thus also regarding all wars as being inter-imperialist and, especially as regards World War 2, as being a struggle for democracy (bourgeois democracy) versus fascism. Of course the western states at the start of that war were certainly imperialist and concerned for world-wide territory. But when the war developed into a war not only between some of them and the USSR, although the 'communist left' regards all states as reactionary and the rule of Stalin as also reactionary, it seems to me that, despite that attitude towards Stalin, in fact the post-1917 rise of working class power in the USSR means that after 1941 the war was a combination of an inter-imperialist war and an imperialist versus proletariat war. Workers in almost all the lands involved hated being invaded and ruled by nazis, however much they were exploited and misled by their respective rulers, so the battles really were between the working class and fascism in many ways.

I am writing this comment on the 10th October, 2013. 10th October1944 was the date on which 800 Gypsies were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau by the nazis, having been brought back from Buchenwald. On January 27th 1945 the death camp was liberated by soldiers of the Red Army, which went on to final combined victory in Berlin. In recent years there have been many attacks by neo-nazis on Gypsies. To dismiss 'anti-fascism' as just a defence of 'bourgeois democracy' is to under-estimate what has been and is going on.

You have not read the article carefully. It states quite clearly that in fighting fascism we must not stop there. We must recognise that we are fighting one emanation only of the capitalist system. the only people who can object to our version of anti-fascism are those who wish to claim democracy (the dominant form of capitalist rule today) as wonderful. Anti-fascism today is the last resort of all kinds of leftists who having no coherent understanding of what capitalism is and can use this as their one way to recruit.

Well, I did read the article carefully and have read it again. I have also read the Communist Manifesto, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism, and Fundamentals of Leninism, as well as the steady stream of articles of the CWO-IBRP-ICT, if that's any comfort to you, plus many of those of the ICC and the Liverpool based I-C-P. By now you might be saying, that's all very well, but what of the actual article now being considered? Certainly the continuation of capitalist propaganda counterposing their forms of 'democracy' as being the only alternative to their dread of proletarian revolution misleads many of those whom you dismiss as 'leftists', though of course the organisers of such propaganda at the helm of various 'leftist' papers are largely responsible, but to 'close the door' on all those workers who demonstrate against the various acts of violence committed by neo-nazis, especially in eastern Europe recently, seems to be counter-productive to building thoroughgoing fully informed Marxist tidal waves of opposition to the capitalist system, until it is overthrown. When it has been overthrown, and the dictatorship of capital replaced by the dictatorship of the proletariat, the way in which that is enforced seems to me to require much less a nebulous array of workers' councils and much more a clearly well-recognised party and leadership, aided by advanced technology, especially computing, for organising the economy by and for workers' best interests.

Sorry for a careless error re books read - 'The Foundations of Leninism', not 'fundamentals'.

Why do you think that the article says what you allege in your sentence "but to 'close the door' on all those workers who demonstrate against the various acts of violence committed by neo-nazis, especially in eastern Europe recently, seems to be counter-productive to building through-going fully informed Marxist tidal etc etc.". What the article is doing is to say yes we have to fight fascsim but don't be lured into false defence of democracy (and in Greece the democratic state is taking on some of Golden Dawn's racist programme) as the alternative. This is the Popular Front method advocated by Stalinists and all it does is ensure that we don't get "fully informed Marxists" fighting capitalism but social democratic attempts to identify with one part of it.

You are under the impression that only doing things your way is of any use. Wading through reams of articles which you produce, all of which have to be read 'carefully', might give those with sufficient time to spare some idea of what you are about, perhaps fighting fascism in some way or another, as long as that doesn't amount to defending bourgeois democracy, but what exactly does your 'organisation' amount to today ? Is it purely theoretical, or if not, then what else ? In the IBRP statement eight years ago, in September 2005, on refining the concept of decadence, it concluded 'Socialism isn't the natural outcome of capitalist decadence but the fruit of the victorious struggle of the proletariat guided by its international, and internationalist, party.' However, we are being told that you are not (yet?) the party, but (etc). So is it still too early, despite the worsening situations of the working class, for you to actually form a party ? Are you so afraid of being declared a small sectarian outfit that you don't take the leap and form a party with a clear statement of intent, so that the average worker can see exactly what he would support and reject by joining it ? Of course workers will consider whether various parties are of any use to them and so they should.

This is a brief response to your last post which has moved from the issue of anti-fascism to the issue of the ICT as an organization. You criticize the ICT for being weak but also criticize us for not going ahead and declaring ourselves the party in a situation of worsening working class conditions. These criticisms seem contradictory.

As you can see from the website the ICT has sections in a number of European countries and North America and sympathizing groups in other continents. We are trying to form an international nucleus from which an international party can emerge on the basis of left communist politics. However, before a party can emerge we consider the sections of the ICT and sympathizing organizations need to have a real implantation in the working class. We are trying to achieve this and our Canadian and Italian sections have recently had some successes in this, but we recognize that we remain a weak political force. In these circumstances it would simply be megalomania to declare ourselves “the party.” At present we remain a “Tendency.”

The future party needs to be formed on clear political positions and consequently we do see theoretical clarification as a vital work at present. We have recently produced a document called “For Communism” published in the main languages of the ICT which sets out the main political positions on which we stand. It also deals with fascism/anti-fascism which is now a practical issue for our Greek comrades. We consider that the working class should fight fascism on the grounds of class, since fascism is simply a manifestation of capitalism. We argue generally that the working class should fight for its own interests and not submerge these in those of the bourgeoisie. What we oppose is the working class forming fronts with the bourgeoisie to oppose fascism as Trotskyism and Stalinism advocate. These can only lead to workers defending bourgeois interests and to disaster as the 2nd world war has illustrated.

Replying to some of the comments of azdak, I don't reckon that a small tendency, thus weak as you say, would automatically be indulgining in 'megalomania' if it formed a party. A party might be in a stronger organisational position to generate support for its views than would only a 'tendency', but that's up to you to decide, and apparently you already have. As for your closing sentence regarding 'disaster (...) as the 2nd world war has illustrated', I refer you back to the closing remarks of my comment of 2013-10-10, 23:15. I fully agree that fascism is a manifestation of capitalism and that it can only be eradicated by overthrowing capitalism, but, in the long historical course of doing so, extreme circumstances occur which require exceptional retaliatory measures.

The final two paragraphs of the latest article 'The Need for an Alternative', translated from Battaglia Comunista, assert that 'the only objective that really counts today: the construction of the class party for the conquest of socialism'. Let's see !

I'm not a member of CWO/ICT but Flagzoff you cannot build political organisation from the top down, by a few revolutionaries calling for it. It has to come out of the realities of the class struggle at all levels (local, national and international) and the need for political organisation, as well as a process of discussion and action between different groups and individuals within the broader "pro-revolutionary milieu".

This is a reply to Flagzoff's post. I think Theft is right. To declare the party without real implantation of members of the tendency in the class, in the hope that we would thus attract more workers, would be an act of voluntarism. We cannot change the present situation by an act of will. A broad international period of class struggle which starts to question the capitalist system and also strengthens our forces is required. Of course, we know that the party is required if the future struggles are to succeed and state this in our leaflets and press, hence, the ending of the Battaglia leaflet you quote. Returning to your remarks about Auschwitz and the murder of the gypsies, it seems you are saying that in such extreme cirumstances unity of the workers with the bourgeoisie is necessary. I am sure I don't need to remind you about the crimes committed by the democratic bourgeoisie such as the fire bombing of Desden and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima etc. Also it should be pointed out that the "Allies" did not give a toss about the extermination of the Jews or Gypsies. This became a useful propaganda tool to disguise their own imperialist ambitions. This is demonstrated in a pamphlet by Programme Communiste called "Auschwitz or the great alibi," which is worth reading if you haven't read it. It is unfortunately the case that the only way the crimes of the bourgeoisie can be halted is by revoluitionary action of the working class to destroy the capitalist system. Forming fronts with the bourgeoisie such as occurred in the second world war prevents any such revolutionary action.

Many concepts are wrapped up in preceding comments. We should remember Lenin's observation that every word is a generalisation. For instance, let's consider the word 'Allies'. That might be thought to be only the governments of those directly and indirectly involved in the war, whereas thousands of workers caught up in the war were aware not only that it was an inter-imperialist war, but that extremely adverse conditions existed in the side largely dominated by the Gestapo and so on. That might not be regarded as a valid 'excuse' by the 'communist left', but it certainly explains much of what was involved. Trying to counterpose the bombing of Dresden with the bombing inflicted by the Lufftewaffe could be re-evaluated time and again, but does the 'communist left' regard the advance to Berlin by the Red Army as mistaken ? This question is intended not just as of past historical interest, but as a sort of consideration of what is and is not useful and valid for workers from now on, for instance, recalling the assertion by the CL that they are not 'pacifists', which might be taken to imply that, in certain circumstances, they would and will use weapons, not only ideological struggle.

(I don't reckon to extend my comments to all this from now on, you will probably be glad to know ! I forgot the password for flagzoff so reverted to T34.). 22-10-2013.