This article was published in The Anvil Vol 7 No 2, Sep-Oct 2018.
The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group have joined PUSH! Organising and Educating to Build a United Front Against Fascism. As its name implies, PUSH! aims to build a united front of working class organisations against Fascism. Our forces are modest, composed of a handful of groups and individual activists who have left CARF, but we are clear about our basic direction.
As capitalism evolves ever more deadly contradictions, Right wing forces gather strength. Fascism, an ideology most people thought was defeated seventy years ago, has re-emerged. Like other reactionary forces, Fascists seek to blame society’s problems on suitable scapegoats, but the distinguishing feature of Fascism is its use of violence as a strategy. By whipping up the middle classes into a frenzy of reaction, they create street gangs to attack vilified groups and “the enemy within” – progressive political forces. Ultimately, Fascists seek an open dictatorship to crush the unions and all other working class organisations. A Fascist group is a conspiracy to murder. Breaking it up is an act of self-defence and, if done using reasonable force, entirely justified.
Fascism can only be defeated by a united front, where workers from different tendencies unite all the Fascists’ targets through solidarity in action. In Australia today, this means that the unions must take the lead and rally the rest of the working class behind their banners. A mass demonstration of thousands, or even tens of thousands, of unionists and others would be unbeatable. The police could not disperse them and the Fascists would recoil in terror, to fall apart in bitter recriminations afterwards.
It is to pursue this vision that the MACG have left CARF and helped establish PUSH! While CARF has done essential work since 2015 in mobilising against Fascist rallies, it has put the only winning strategy in the too-hard basket. Increasingly, it abandoned building a united front that drew on broader forces and turned into a campaign group that merely attracted radicalised individuals. Worst of all, it turned away from the labour movement, writing off the unions as hopelessly conservative. CARF’s mobilisations have been a necessary stop-gap until we win the argument inside the unions, but they cannot win lasting victories when the constituency for Fascism keeps growing. There were some undemocratic practices within CARF, but we won’t dwell on them because frankly we’ve seen much worse and they only arose because of the political issues in contention.
The MACG will pursue our vision for an anti-Fascist united front within PUSH! We know that many groups in the labour movement don’t share our strategy, so they will have to be either won over or sidelined. And we know that the union bureaucracy is craven and conservative, but we place our faith in the rank and file workers who are Fascism’s targets. The struggle against Fascism is inseparable from the struggle against the union bureaucracy – but didn’t we know that already?