Part of the Socialist Strategy in the Trump Era Series
(The title of this section is a tribute to another piece of writing.)
It’s not important here to get into a debate here over definitions of fascism and Trump, or at least not to me. Instead, we can all acknowledge a few things: Trump has definitely generated and whipped up right-populist forces of some sort, and an actively violent minority wing of these forces has emerged whom we should stop.
At the same time, it’s also critical to say that the liberals (and much of the Left, absorbing liberal idiocy) has overblown what proportion of the Trump base is hardcore and violent. Much of the Trump voter base is merely conservative, anti-Clinton, or lesser-evil voting, has highly mixed consciousness, and is still an appropriate target for persuasion and argument rather than violent confrontation. They may be sharp arguments but some of these people are workers who may simply have never heard socialist arguments before, and for whom that could change everything.
That being said, we absolutely must develop a strategy to shut down the violent right wing.
This strategy must involve a balance of practical front-line defense against the immediate violence occurring, but also a strategic counter-offensive against the economic crisis which empowers fascism and made bigotry and Trump popular in the first place. Anti-fascist defense alone, without class struggle and a leftist social solution equally radical to fascism being put forward, fails to defeat fascism every time: this is the negative lesson of Nazi Germany and the Spanish Civil War. The first part is traditional anti-fascist action, organized on a larger scale with more liberal and community allies instead of the typical anarchist and communist milieu. The second is a reassertion of the economic/class agendas typical of Occupy Wall Street, the Sanders campaign, and Socialist Alternative before the total disappearance of anti-1% rhetoric after Trump’s victory, when the entire focus became defending the minority groups under attack from Trump rhetoric, as well as boldly resuming the putting of socialism back on the agenda. Socialism and class struggle take the wind out of fascism’s causes, instead of its symptoms, by addressing the economic crisis which brings it into existence in the first place.
Elsewhere I detailed a practical plan for coalitions for organizing actual defense against hate crimes and racist/fascist/homophobic violence: how to create a system of response networks to create safety, buddy systems, and response networks against hate crimes, as well as respond to graffiti and incidents in the community, as well as broadcast awareness of hate criminals and bigots in the community to keep on the lookout for and shut down at the next sighting.
The question here is, who do we really want to even do this with? A lot of the already-mobilized scenes and demographics coming out of the anti-Trump rallies are so disgustingly dominated by liberalism and identity politics to the point that they aren’t really our audience. It’s hard to imagine how someone would inject any kind of class perspective at all into working with them. Better to look for actually-targeted communities at this point, or just start from the socialist groups you work with and call community meetings from them or something, and connect to targeted communities from there.
And who are “we?” I myself am in a place where I can’t stand virtually any of the existing socialist groups, as I will detail in a later section, though I will put forth my vision for a new sort of group after that.