Real antifascist work means engaging with workers, not dismissing them

Every possible effort must be made to win duped workers away from backward ideas that act against their own class interests and help to keep them enslaved.

Large numbers of police 'keep the peace' between Britain First and its 'antifa' opponents at a demo protesting the Westminster bombing. London, April 2017. No worker on either side was enlightened as a result of this activity.

Proletarian writersParty statement

The following motion was passed unanimously by the party’s eighth congress in September.

This congress recognises that a section of our members and supporters are increasingly alarmed at the noisy display of nationalism made by a section of the working class under the leadership of various nationalist outfits, the Football Lads Alliance, English Defence League etc.

Congress notes that the work of such organisations receives constant coverage from the section of social democracy that paints itself ‘the left wing’, the ‘labour movement’, the ‘antifascist movement’, etc.

Congress recognises that the term ‘fascism’ was precisely defined by the Communist International, which warned of the dangers of fascism at the sixth congress of the Comintern (1928), elaborated upon its description at the thirteenth plenum of the executive committee of the Comintern (1933) and subsequently in the main report delivered by Georgi Dimitrov at the seventh world congress in 1935.

In the latter report, Comrade Dimitrov characterised fascism in power as “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital”.

Congress recognises that the germs of a fascist movement are to be found in every imperialist country, and yet fascism is not being implemented. There are many reasons for this, though the most important reason is that it is not necessary to implement a naked, terroristic rule over the workers owing to the hopelessly reactionary and backward state of the workers’ movement.

The workers’ movement is poisoned and crippled by social democracy and poses no threat to bourgeois rule. Hence, fascism is not yet a necessity for the bourgeoisie. Until a real, revolutionary proletarian movement is to be observed in our country, bourgeois democracy, and bourgeois parliamentarism will be the prevailing political forms of bourgeois dictatorship.

The FLA and EDL, and any other extreme chauvinist-nationalist group will not be the political organisations to implement fascism in Britain. Such groups are merely one form of the outward expression of reactionary ideas that hold sway in British society and culture more generally.

As the crisis of capitalism deepens, we have seen a revival of hopes in social democracy rather than a collapse. This is on account of the hope placed in Jeremy Corbyn and ‘left’ social democracy.

There has also been a corresponding increase in the activity of the more militant and vocal nationalist forces, firstly on account of the deepening crisis, and secondly because no revolutionary proletarian perspective is being offered to the reactionary politics of Labour and Tory.

Such a situation enrages a section of the working class. The prolonged attempt to undermine the referendum result to leave Europe contributes to this, as do the continued imperialist wars of aggression and the work by the British state to arm, fund and assist the most backward forces of feudal reaction in the middle east and elsewhere: Syria and Libya in particular.

A direct result of imperialist meddling since 2011 has been the terrorist acts carried out in Britain and Europe by those who have been encouraged by imperialism to carry out similar atrocities abroad. Such atrocities contribute to the spread of reactionary ideas and the movement of the FLA, EDL, etc.

Congress notes that the activities of the FLA, EDL, etc are restricted to propaganda espousing national chauvinism. Street demonstrations are the most visible form, although well-organised online work often centres upon expressing similar ideas through social media. Attempts to ‘out’ paedophiles along with online exposures of ‘grooming gangs’ interest them only in so far as they are able to depict all such lowlifes as immigrants, with a focus upon Pakistanis (after the Rotherham events).

Low-level violence exchanged with left social-democratic groups, who style themselves as ‘left’ or ‘antifascist’, is epitomised by the thuggish hooliganism of a group of ‘leftists’ who ambushed former EDL leader Tommy Robinson as he left McDonalds (filming the fracas for their social media accounts).

Our own experience teaches us that no matter how well-meaning individual members of Trotskyite and anarchist groups are, such groups as Unite Against Fascism (UAF), the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), Antifa, etc are loyal servants of British imperialism, defenders of the imperialist Labour party and cheerleaders for Corbyn’s ‘left’ social democracy, and as such are incapable of persuading, influencing or turning any worker who has been poisoned by the prevailing reactionary propaganda away from racist, chauvinistic ideas and aggressive nationalism, let alone winning them to proletarian politics which they themselves do not hold.

Only the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) is able to carry out such a task.

Recognising the above, this congress instructs its branches as follows as regards to the attitude they should adopt towards groups such as the FLA, EDL, etc, and instructs them to make a concrete assessment of their forces and abilities before engaging in any such work.

1. FLA and EDL members, and certainly their sympathisers who attend demonstrations during the summer months when they are deprived of their only cultural activity, namely attendance at a Saturday football match, must not be treated as ‘the enemy’, as the main ‘fascist threat’ or as a target for condescending derision.

Rather, these men and women constitute a politically backward strata of the working class that has fallen prey to the most extreme reactionary nationalistic ideas, which are themselves only an extreme version of the habits and prejudices to be observed in society at large, including amongst the ranks of the self-identifying ‘left’.

2. Acts of violent hooliganism of the type irresponsibly indulged in by anarchists, lifestylists and others towards what is quite a broad group are counterproductive and play into the hands of the most militant racialists and others.

3. Alliance with the UAF, Trotskyites, the Labour party, Searchlight and all manner of ‘left’ social-democratic organisations, all of whom are backers of British imperialism and collaborators with the class enemy, is harmful to the cause of winning the workers away from such reaction.

4. Face-to-face engagement with members and supporters of these organisations is the only way of delivering a proletarian understanding to this section of the workers. Conversations, meetings, cautious leafleting and the spreading of Marxist ideas is the way to undermine the hold of reactionary ideas and substitute in their place ideas that represent their true class interests.

5. To this end, the central committee shall appoint a committee to work upon written material which shall be so designed and tailored as to have some hope of the arrow finding its target.