Resolution on No Platform for Fascists.

30/08/2013 by socialistfight

Resolution on No Platform for Fascists. 
1.       We defends unequivocally the traditional Marxist position of No Platform for Fascists.
2.       We stand by Trotsky’s classical definition of Fascism; ‘The historic function of fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery’.
3.       Fascism has no fixed ideology of its own; it can be characterised globally as consistent reaction against the organised working class. Because their ultimate aim is to destroy the organised working class from the most reformist trade unions to revolutionary socialism they also need to destroy bourgeois democracy because this allows the working class to organise themselves and allows revolutionary socialists to fight to lead that class in revolution.
4.       As Trotsky observed in Whither France, ‘The despairing petty bourgeois sees in fascism, above all, a fighting force against big capital, and believes that, unlike the working-class parties which deal only in words, fascism will use force to establish more‘justice’. The peasant and the artisan are in their manner realists. They understand that one cannot forego the use of force’.
5.       As a group fascism depends vitally on mobilising the middles classes to crush the organised strength of the working class, Whither France again, ‘The petty bourgeoisie is economically dependent and politically atomized. That is why it cannot conduct an independent policy. It needs a ‘leader’ who inspires it with confidence. This individual or collective leadership, i.e., a personage or party, can be given to it by one or the other of the fundamental classes — either the big bourgeoisie or the proletariat’.
6.       The emergence of the BNP/EDL signifies that a section of the British middle class and some declassed workers have lost hope in the organised working to solve their problems and, via the medium of the fascists, are coming under the sway of the imperialist bourgeoisie, the BNP/EDL’s ultimate masters.
7.       Whither France again, ‘But the petty bourgeoisie can also find a leader in the proletariat. This was demonstrated in Russia and partially in Spain. In Italy, in Germany, and in Austria, the petty bourgeoisie gravitated in this direction. But the parties of the proletariat did not rise to their historic task. To bring the petty bourgeoisie to its side, the proletariat must win its confidence. And for that it must have confidence in its own strength’.
8.       It is therefore vital to use the tactic of the United Front of the organised working class against the fascists and the reject the Popular Front as advocated by Searchlight (Use your vote, Hope not Hate) and the Socialist Workers Party (‘The strategy for anti-fascists is to unite the broadest possible forces against the Nazis’) which ties the working class to parliamentary democracy and even allows voting Tory (as a last resort) to keep the fascist out.
9.       Similarly we reject the CPGB/Communist Student position of opposing No Platform by ‘free speech for fascists’ as a libertarian excuse to avoid the class struggle necessary to defeat fascism and the capitalist system which breeds it in its decline.
10.    We are against state bans on political parties, including fascist and other far-right parties. Staterestrictions on what can and what cannot be said in political debate must also be vigorously opposed. Any such bans or restrictions would inevitably first and foremost affect the advanced part of the working class.
We need to analyse the causes of the rise to power of fascism in Italy (1922) and Germany (1933) to understand the threat the BNP/EDL poses today and how we might stop it. The appearance of the BNP/EDL signifies the decline of the capitalist system and the failure of the organised working class to achieve socialism through revolution. In Italy the Socialist Party betrayed the revolutionary upsurge around the factory occupations of 1920. The communist party was too new, too small and too steeped in Bordiga’s ultra leftism to understand how to relate to the existing social democratic leaders of the working class.
By the time Nazism loomed as a danger in Germany the CP there had apparently a far more militant opposition to fascism and now characterised the SPD as social fascists, as the main enemy of the working class and threat of counter-revolution. The German KPD saw fascism as merely another variety of reaction, the same mistake as the current CPGB leadership make about the BNP/EDL. Not alone did the KPD discuss with the Nazis, they organised joint actions against the SPD like the infamous Red Referendum in Prussia in 1931 of the Berlin Transport strike in 1932. And here we see the beginning of the justification for the No platform tactic, because as Trotsky pointed out it is ridiculous to say that there is ‘no difference between the Social Democrats and the fascists, that is, that there is no difference between the enemy who deceives and betrays the workers, taking advantage of their patience, and the enemy who simply wants to kill them off’ Leon Trotsky Against National Communism! (Lessons of the ‘Red Referendum’, August 1931).
The Bolsheviks were correct to make a united front with Kerensky against Kornilov in August because he was then the main danger. This united front method has many implications. In the first place not only did Trotsky reject the idea that the SPD were social fascists, he asserted strongly that they were part of the organised working class, as the British Labour party is today.. The SPD had perpetrated far more terrible crimes against the German working class than the LP has ever done in Britain. It had voted the war credits to the Kaiser on 4 August 1914 to enable the slaughter of WWI to begin, it had murdered the leaders of the German Revolution, it had drowned that revolution in blood, it had, with the full support of the trade union leaders, administered and preserved the most appallingly repressive measures against the working class in defence of capitalism. Yet the German working class, particularly its older, skilled and employed sections saw no electoral alternative to it. The KPD won vast sections of the youth and unemployed and a vote of almost six million in November 1932. In July 1932 the combined vote with the SPD was still greater than the Nazis.  

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The crucial question here was to place demands on the SPD leaders demanding that they form common fighting militias to fight the Nazis. These would expose the puerile nature of the alternative KPD ‘united front from below’ which demanded that the SPD members and followers abandon their leaders and join the KPD in fighting the Nazis. But these workers still had democratic illusions in their leaders, they still thought that revolution was now impossible after the many failed efforts since 1918 and if them were reliant on electoral tactics the SPD were the best of a bad lot. The AntiFa were communist street fighters who had lost hope in their communist leaders to ever do more that talk and set about fighting the Nazis. They had no political perspective like their squadist political descendants Red Action and the AFA in Britain today. The AntiFa become more and more like the Nazis in appearance and outlook until whole groups joined the Nazis after Hitler took power in January 1933.  The KPD leaders had ceased to think for themselves and now only slavishly carried out the diktats from the Kremlin. Trotsky’s United Front tactic of placing demands for militant action on these misleaders in order to expose them before their membership as agents of the bourgeoisie within the ranks of the working class and so create the conditions for a new revolutionary offensive was rejected by the KPD because they were no longer revolutionary leaders but Stalin’s hacks. The Aesop Fable from Trotsky’s Fascism, What It Is and How To Fight It 1932 illustrates the bovine nature of the KPD leadership:
A cattle dealer once drove some bulls to the slaughterhouse.  And the butcher came night with his sharp knife. ‘Let us close ranks and jack up this executioner on our horns,’ suggested one of the bulls. ‘If you please, in what way is the butcher any worse than the dealer who drove us hither with his cudgel?’ replied the bulls, who had received their political education in Manuilsky’s  institute (the Comintern).  ‘But we shall be able to attend to the dealer as well afterwards!’ ‘Nothing doing,’ replied the bulls, firm in their principles, to the counsellor.  ‘You are trying, from the left, to shield our enemies you are a social-butcher yourself.’ And they refused to close ranks.
Some try to confuse the United Front of the organised working class with the Stalinist Popular Front, the essentially right wing trajectory which they adopted in panic after 1933, abandoning class politics and now seeking to find alliances with liberals, bishops, parsons and all and sundry, as the present Searchlight magazine and the SWP does. This is an equally if opposite disastrous trajectory which likewise facilitates the rise of fascism, as it did in France and more importantly Spain. In the Popular Front the communist must cease all talk of revolution and the class interests of the working class and speak only of ‘democracy’ and  ‘the people’ to present a view of a non-class outlook which will not frighten their new found friends. The language used by Respect and Respect Renewal are cases in point. Because the liberal bourgeoisie supply the ideology to the petty bourgeoisie and these come from the same social class as the social base of a mass fascist movement. And whilst the fascists may cause grief, revulsion and disruption to the liberal bourgeoisie it will protect their private property and ensure their security if they acquiesce to the rules; the communists will expropriate them and end their privileged existence for ever; it is no choice in the final analysis.
It is true that the fascists are not now the main danger to the organised working class but at a certain stage they may become so and at any rate they are a real danger now to immigrants, Blacks, lesbian and gays etc.  They are not a political party like any other but have as their fundamental goal the destruction of the organisations of the working class, and bourgeois democracy itself, which at least allows the workers to organise. So they must be physically and organisationally prevented from speaking or organising by whatever means necessary. Of course this does not mean suicidal adventures but it does demand taking the risk of injury or arrest to achieve this. As Trotsky pointed out the middle class is not adverse to violence when their fundamental interests are threatened (they supported Mussolini and Hitler) and neither will the working class go down without a fight even when pacifists shout ‘free speech’ and ‘law and order’ at them. The point is that organising this fight must be combined with a determined onslaught against capitalism itself and the misleadership of the working class if it is to succeed. Without this latter fascism must triumph when the crisis is deep enough.
Yes, some members of the BNP/EDL would love to be fascists again, harking back to their old street-fighting days. But the BNP/EDL no longer organises fighting squads – the defining characteristic of a fascist party…The BNP/EDL is chauvinist, racist and reactionary, but not fascist. What wins it public support is its promise to put an end to migrant labour. If you seriously want to defeat such divisiveness, then you must tackle the mainstream parties first and foremost. It is their British nationalist policies which continually reproduces the sentiment upon which the BNP/EDL thrives’.Socialist Fight

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