Build Workers Defence Guards to Crush the Fascists!

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15/07/2018 by Ian

The violent attack on Steve Hedley, leading figure in the RMT, and his partner Bridget, by neo-Nazis while they were eating in a London pub after yesterday’s anti-fascist mobilisation is a symbol of the hatred of these racist scum for trade unionists, socialists and ethnic minorities. It is excellent that there were a number of trade union banners and contingents among the 3000 or so anti-fascist demonstrators who assembled in Whitehall yesterday in opposition to the so-called ‘Democratic Football Lads Alliance’, a front for violent neo-Nazi, pro-Zionist scum and football thugs like Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

Yaxley-Lennon is the imprisoned fraudster, criminal hooligan and Israeli tank-jockey ‘Tommy Robinson’ whose ‘defence’ against the charges of interfering with a trial of suspect paedophiles he was jailed for (he pleaded guilty!) is being funded by an Israeli source, related to those who fund fake ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunts in the Labour Party.

Yaxley-Lennon is one of Donald Trump’s mates. In fact Trump’s US Ambassador has been lobbying for the release of this violent criminal. And thus the protests against Trump this week cannot really be separated from the anti-fascist mobilisation on Saturday, though they are on a different level of consciousness and organisation. It is remarkable that something like half a million people marched in London alone (maybe a million nationally!) against the fascist-inclined US President on a weekday, a real ‘Friday the 13th’ for the fascists that underlined that most British working class and middle class people loathe Trump for his violent racism and misogyny.

But the diffuse nature of that mobilisation needs to be harnessed for more concerted political action to crush the neo-Nazi scum that Trump and Brexit has given birth to. There were approximately 3000 anti-fascists at Whitehall on Saturday, countermarching against approximately 6000 fascists. This is a huge improvement on the miserable relation of forces on June 9th, when the complacency of the left mean that only around 350 leftists confronted 10-15,000 fascists. Obviously the sheer size of the anti-Trump mobilisation acted as a political blow to the crowing fascists from 9 June, and the left has now begun to mobilise properly against the scum.

But it is only a beginning. The real big battalions of the left and the workers movement, that are able to give coherence to a diffuse mass movement such as the anti-Trump movement, are the trade unions. The attack on Hedley appears to signify that the fascists are aware of this. It is a big argument for mobilising the ranks of the unions for anti-fascist mass actions that can dwarf Saturday’s anti-fascist mobilisations. The trade unions have the social muscle not merely to mobilise members in demonstrations like the ones on Friday, but to take command of militant anti-fascist actions. The trade unions are currently dominated by a pro-capitalist bureaucracy whose careerism is often at odds with class militancy; this needs to be counteracted politically by the left organising within the unions to mobilise the rank and file to force the bureaucracy to act, and where they continue to block what is necessary, going over their heads.

The perspective that needs to be put forward today, as politics is clearly heading for the kind of decisive clashes that last took place in the 1930s, is similar to that put forward by Leon Trotsky in the Transitional Programme of 1938:

…The struggle against fascism does not start in the liberal editorial office but in the factory—and ends in the street. Scabs and private gunmen in factory plants are the basic nuclei of the fascist army. Strike pickets are the basic nuclei of the proletarian army. This is our point of departure. In connection with every strike and street demonstration, it is imperative to propagate the necessity of creating workers’ groups for self-defense. It is necessary to write this slogan into the program of the revolutionary wing of the trade unions. It is imperative wherever possible, beginning with the youth groups, to organize groups for self-defense, to drill and acquaint them with the use of arms.

A new upsurge of the mass movement should serve not only to increase the number of these units but also to unite them according to neighborhoods, cities, regions. It is necessary to give organized expression to the valid hatred of the workers toward scabs and bands of gangsters and fascists. It is necessary to advance the slogan of a workers’ militia as the one Serious guarantee for the inviolability of workers’ organizations, meetings and press.

Only with the help of such systematic, persistent, indefatigable, courageous agitational and organizational work always on the basis of the experience of the masses themselves, is it possible to root out from their consciousness the traditions of submissiveness and passivity; to train detachments of heroic fighters capable of setting an example to all toilers; to inflict a series of tactical defeats upon the armed thugs of counterrevolution; to raise the self-confidence of the exploited and oppressed; to compromise Fascism in the eyes of the petty bourgeoisie and pave the road for the conquest of power by the proletariat.

Engels defined the state as “bodies of armed men.” The arming of the proletariat is an imperative concomitant element to its struggle for liberation. When the proletariat wills it, it will find the road and the means to arming. In this field, also, else leadership falls naturally to the sections of the Fourth International.

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