30 June 2017

For Labor/Black Action to Stop the Fascists!

Fascist terror is a clear and present danger, and Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche are among its victims. On May 26 in Portland, white-supremacist Jeremy Christian murdered the two men after they intervened to stop his racist tirades against two young women—one black, the other Muslim. A little over a week later, on June 4, several hundred race-terrorists, feeling the wind in their sails in Trump’s America, mobilized in downtown Portland—essentially in a celebration of the murder of these two courageous men.

The rally included supporters of fascist outfits like Identity Evropa, the Proud Boys and the Traditionalist Worker Party. It was addressed by “alt-right” poster boy Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, notorious for his attacks against antifa activists in Berkeley earlier this year. Making clear that they were out for blood, a prominent fascist pointed to the antifa counter-protesters and told the press, “I look over there and I just want to smash.”

The Portland cops, Oregon State Police, FBI and Department of Homeland Security heavily mobilized to protect the fascists. They attacked the anarchist antifa protesters, disarming and dispersing them using stun grenades, pepper balls and tear gas. Fourteen antifa activists were arrested. Defend anti-fascist protesters! Drop all charges now! The cops made clear that their role is to be the guard dogs of the capitalist order and of its fascist auxiliaries. Indeed, the police are the main source of racist violence against black people and other minorities.

Less than a week after the June 4 fascist mobilization, “anti-sharia” rallies called by American Congress for Truth, the largest anti-Muslim group in the U.S., were held in more than two dozen cities, including NYC, Chicago and other urban centers. The New York rally of some 100 included a significant presence from the Proud Boys, Identity Evropa, Anti-Communist Action and other fascist groups. The fascist-inspired “Kekistan” flag flew prominently, while a placard declared: “No More Muslims.”

The meaning of such declarations was made clear on June 18 in northern Virginia. While walking back to a mosque with friends for an early morning Ramadan prayer session, 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen, who was wearing an Islamic abaya, was assaulted by Darwin Martinez Torres. He attacked her with a baseball bat and dragged her to his car. Her body was found later that evening; she’d been beaten to death. The cops have dismissed Nabra’s murder as an incident of “road rage.” Her father, Mahmoud Hassanen, an immigrant from Egypt, told reporters: “It’s racism. Getting killed because she’s Muslim.”

Now, several prominent fascists have called a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. The slated speakers are a veritable who’s who of the contemporary American fascist movement. First among them is would-be führer Richard Spencer of the innocuously named National Policy Institute (last month in Charlottesville, Spencer led a group of dozens of fascists carrying torches and chanting Nazi slogans to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee). Other speakers include Matthew Heimbach, head of the Traditionalist Worker Party, and Michael Hill, president of the League of the South. The flyer for the rally includes Nazi-style eagle logos, Confederate monuments and soldiers marching with the Confederate flag.

The fascists are emboldened by the “Make America Great Again” racism of the Trump administration. They feed off the economic misery and devastation inflicted on the population by the capitalist rulers. Every time they successfully rally, they gain confidence and win new recruits to their program of race-terror. The ultimate aim of today’s fascists, including the new breed that dresses in suits and speaks of defending “Western Civilization,” is no different than their Nazi and Klan forebears: racial genocide and the destruction of workers organizations, including unions and the left.

When the race-terrorists reared their heads in NYC on June 10 for the “anti-sharia” rally, our comrades participated with a contingent in the counter-protest. At the same time, we emphasized that what is needed are massive, integrated, disciplined mobilizations based on the social power of the multiracial working class to stop the fascists and crush them in the egg.

A small taste of that power in action was provided last month by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 in Oakland. On May 25, Local 10 members walked off the job when a hangman’s noose, the symbol of racist terror in America, was found at the SSA terminal in the Port of Oakland. This was the second time in just over two weeks that a noose was found at the terminal, a calculated and deadly threat against the ILWU, particularly its black members, who make up a majority of Local 10. (See “ILWU Work Stoppage Protests Lynch Rope Provocation,” WV No. 1113, 2 June).

The labor movement has been flat on its back for many years under a misleadership that is committed to capitalism and has shackled the unions to the capitalist Democratic Party. With labor struggle at an all-time low, the ruling class currently has no need to let loose its fascist thugs to destroy the workers movement; but they hold their shock troops in reserve.

It is in the interest of the whole of the working class to mobilize the power of labor in defense of black people, immigrants and all the intended victims of fascist terror. As we wrote in “Fascists Fueled by Trump Election” (WV No. 1110, 21 April): “It is the fascists—not black people, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, leftists and others—who must be made to feel the sting of fear.” Standing at the head of the oppressed, and relying on its collective strength, the working class has the power to beat back the fascist threat through united-front action. Above all, it is vital to forge a revolutionary, multiracial workers party that fights to finish the Civil War through an American workers revolution. Proletarian rule will lay the basis for black equality and the liberation of all the exploited and oppressed, putting the last nail in the coffin of the fascist killers.

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1114, 30 June 2017)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.