“The Gilets Jaunes have blown up the old political categories”

The article at the link below is the best one we have found on the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement in France. We recommend that people read it and think:


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This article first appeared in The Anvil Vol 7 No 3, published on 19 Nov 2018.

One hundred years ago this month, the guns of World War I fell silent. Ever since then, 11 November has been used to mark the end of that war and an intense political struggle has been waged over its meaning. The war was a devastating event of unprecedented savagery. Millions died and people naturally want to know why. The capitalist media won’t tell you why it started and they won’t tell you how it ended.

World War I began because two great rival imperial alliances had formed, contesting over who was going to be master of Europe. It was a war for conquest of territory, colonies and markets. It had almost started two years earlier, in 1912, but diplomacy headed it off. If diplomacy had prevented the assassination of an Austrian Archduke from starting the war in 1914, it would have happened later on, triggered by something else. The showdown was inevitable.

By chance, the war started when the state of military technology favoured defenders over attackers. With the aid of trenches, sandbags and machine guns, a platoon could hold off a battalion. Given that the two rival alliances were of roughly equal strength, the scene was set for a military stalemate. Governments and generals, as contemptuous of the human life of the lower orders as ruling classes always have been, and as stupid as can be expected in systems built on inherited privilege, proceeded to waste millions of lives of soldiers and others in a vain attempt to break the stalemate.

To cut a long story short, the pointless slaughter generated increasing opposition throughout all belligerent countries. The chain broke at its weakest link, with revolution breaking out in Russia in 1917. The February Revolution overthrew the Czar and the October Revolution brought the Bolsheviks to power, on a promise of peace. They negotiated the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which got Russia out of the war in March 1918, while discontent continued to build in the rest of Europe and in the Ottoman Empire.

Developments in military technology (most importantly the tank) and the entry of the United States into the war had broken the stalemate. Germany and the other Central Powers were under increasing pressure and had reached breaking point. In a last ditch effort, on 24 October the German Admiralty ordered the Navy to sea in order to take on the Royal Navy and break the blockade. The German sailors rightly considered this a suicide mission and mutinied, first at Wilhelmshaven on 29 October, followed by a larger mutiny at Kiel on 3 November. The attack was cancelled, but it was too late. The sailors’ revolt had sparked a revolution. Revolts spread throughout Germany in the early days of November and workers in city after city formed workers’ councils. By 9 November, the Kaiser had been forced out and a republic proclaimed. The new government, centred on the Social Democratic Party, signed the Armistice on 11 November.

Germany’s allies had also collapsed. Bulgaria had capitulated on 29 September, while the Ottomans signed an armistice on 30 October. Instability within their borders had combined with military reverses to force this. The Hapsburg Empire of Austria-Hungary signed an armistice on 3 November, but it was already falling apart by then, with independence proclamations issued in several cities. The Armistice on the Western Front, therefore, marked the end of the entire war. Discontent in the armies of the British Empire, slower to develop, peaked after the Armistice and focused on demands for demobilisation.

World War I was ended by social revolution. The population of the Central Powers, under the pressure of intense privations brought on by the war, and with the example of Russia to their East, withdrew support from the belligerent regimes. The fall of the Kaiser, the dissolution of the Hapsburg Empire and the dismemberment of the Ottoman one were the result of workers, peasants and soldiers who had had enough. If the Central Powers’ morale had held, the war would have continued for some time.


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This article first appeared in The Anvil Vol 7 No 3, published on 19 Nov 2018.

The Victorian State election scheduled for 24 November offers workers no advance towards socialism. The incumbent Labor Government, led by Daniel Andrews, appears to have leapt straight from the pages of the latest edition of a neo-liberal textbook written in the bowels of the International Monetary Fund. A few mildly progressive initiatives and some inadequate action on climate change are firmly subordinated to capitalist market relations. Meanwhile, Labor’s pretences at being socially progressive haven’t stopped it joining in the Right wing media’s racist campaign against “African crime gangs”.

The alternative government, the Liberal Party, is an altogether less complicated beast. As the official mouthpiece of capital, its economic policies are stuck in 1990s IMF zealotry. There aren’t enough capitalists to win elections, so the Libs also need social reactionaries to vote for them. Therefore, the Libs are against taking any action on climate change and they’ve been working closely with Right wing media in fomenting a general “law and order” campaign, centred around a panic about alleged African crime gangs.

So, who else is running? Let’s pass by the assortment of Right wing nut jobs (who bicker amongst themselves just as badly as the Left does) and single issue parties, whose very existence is a statement that “Everything about this society is pretty well OK, except for this one particular issue”. The biggest challenge comes from the Greens. They are certainly committed to better environmental and social policies than either major party. They are fundamentally handicapped, though, by their delusion that a just and sustainable capitalism is possible. Grassroots activists have described them as “neo-liberals on bikes” and it’s difficult to disagree.

This time, we also have the Victorian Socialists, who are running in a number of upper and lower house seats. They are seriously trying to win an upper house seat in the Northern Metropolitan province. And because this is not just a flag-flying exercise, they have to pass a strict test. We oppose running for elections because, although it’s possible to enter a capitalist Parliament on a principled basis, we think it’s a waste of time and effort to do so. The energy required for the election campaign can be far more usefully directed towards building grassroots struggles. Nevertheless, the question arises of how to respond if a State Socialist group decides to waste its resources that way.

Firstly, the party has to be standing clearly for Socialism and against capitalism. The Vic Socialists are doing this. If the election campaign is just a flag-flying occasion, that’s basically enough, provided the party hasn’t disgraced itself in front of the whole working class like the British SWP has with its rape apologism (put “Comrade Delta” into your favourite search engine). Second, the party has to advance strong progressive positions on the issues of the day. The Vic Socialists do this, too. There’s room for argument about their adequacy in this or that area, but it’s not litmus test material for a State upper house. Third, the party has to promise to take the side of workers and oppressed groups in struggle. They tick that box, as well.

Unfortunately, the Victorian Socialists fall at the last hurdle. In the absence of argument to the contrary, the act of a Socialist running for Parliament serves to raise illusions that a parliamentary road to socialism exists. Potential voters will see their vote as the vehicle for attaining Socialism, through the election of sufficient Socialists to Parliament. It is therefore the duty of principled Socialists to explain that, while Parliament may be able to deliver some worthwhile reforms, Socialism can only be achieved by the revolutionary action of the workers themselves. The Victorian Socialists are conspicuously silent on this point.

To vote for a Socialist who has no hope of winning is simply to say “I’m against capitalism and for Socialism”. In lower house seats and in seven of the eight upper house provinces, this is the meaning of a vote for the Victorian Socialists. And there’s no harm in that. If the Socialist has a chance of being elected, though, we need to look at the situation more deeply. A Victorian Socialist in the Legislative Council of Victoria might make stirring speeches in support of grassroots struggles and might fight hard to get reforms out of this neo-liberal Labor Government, but if they don’t explain to the working class that this isn’t how we’ll win Socialism, they’ll be leading workers in the wrong direction.

On this basis, the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group says that it is not possible to lodge a principled vote in the Victorian election on 24 November in Northern Metropolitan, the one constituency where they have a slight chance of winning. None of the candidates offer a road to Socialism.


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MACG Statement of Shared Positions

Adopted 12 Nov 2018
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group
Statement of Shared Positions

This document is to be read as a supplement to the Aims & Principles of the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group. Agreement with the positions in this document is a condition of membership.

1. The social revolution will be the act of the working class, organised in the workplace. Other classes (e.g. the peasantry) and social strata (e.g. students) in society may support the workers in this struggle, but cannot substitute for them. The workers have a unique role because of their numbers, their role in production which means that they are able to remove the economic power of the capitalists by organising under their own initiative, and the fact that the experience of social co-operation in production tends to produce the values that promote solidarity in the struggle against the employer. One corollary of the fact that the struggle will be decided in the workplace is that it will not be decided by street brawls with the cops. While it is certainly necessary to defend ourselves against police attack, capitalism’s achilles’ heel is in the workplace and our strategic orientation must be there.

2. We stand for the complete equality of the sexes and oppose all forms of oppression of women. The liberation of women from patriarchy will not be achieved without the overthrow of capitalism and the destruction of class society. The overthrow of capitalism will not be achieved without the full participation of working class women in the struggle. It is therefore in the interests of male workers to support all struggles for equality and freedom for women, even if these are at the expense of male privileges. The solidarity of the male and female halves of the working class can only be built on the principle that an injury to one is an injury to all. We support the right of women to organise autonomously within the wider working class movement and also within Anarchist organisations.

3. We oppose the oppression and dispossession of indigenous people in Australia. This means that indigenous people have the right to equal treatment within Australia (i.e. no racial discrimination, whether from the State or in society) and have the right to remain indigenous (i.e. retain their lands and culture, without pressure for assimilation into the dominant culture). Indigenous people in Australia have never ceded sovereignty and have never sold their land. We acknowledge the desire of indigenous people in Australia for a treaty to recognise their prior occupation and continued rights, but believe that no such treaty can be negotiated on just terms for indigenous people while capitalism and its State endure in Australia. We believe a just settlement for indigenous people can only be achieved after a revolutionary transformation of society, including crucially the abolition of capitalist real estate.

4. We are internationalists, opposing the division of humanity into conflicting nation States and supporting working class solidarity as the one force which is capable of being an axis of effective counter-mobilisation against nationalism and racism. We therefore support open borders as a principle that will be implemented under Libertarian Communism and in the meantime will support struggles which provide opportunities to move in that direction. In particular, we support the struggle of refugees for asylum in Australia and oppose both immigration detention and deportation.

5. We oppose both pacifism and terrorism. Instead, we support the right to use reasonable force in self defence.
Pacifism is the principled refusal to meet physical force with physical force. Terrorism is the strategy of using violence, or the credible threat of it, in order to create a climate of fear for personal safety in the civilian population of a society, or a definable sub-group of it, to achieve a political end.
The problem with pacifism is that it assumes that there is a degree of humanity at work amongst the capitalist class and its State and that there are limits to their ruthlessness. The history of the last hundred years, however, provides plentiful evidence to the contrary. In the face of totally non-violent resistance, a sufficiently ruthless force, even if a tiny minority, could impose its will on the rest of society.

The problem with terrorism is that it is a strategy which marginalises the mass of the working class politically and drives it into the arms of the State for protection. Even if used in the pursuit of supportable goals, therefore, its political effects are inevitably reactionary. The callous and instrumental attitude to humanity necessary to use terrorism is completely antithetical to the principles of Anarchism and thus to resort to this would be to betray our philosophy.

Our position is that we recognise the right to use reasonable force in self defence. We are consistent on this point and thus we repudiate the State’s proclamation of a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Rather, we insist that we do not lose the right to self defence when we enter the field of political struggle. Workers thus have the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves against police or thug attack on the picket line or on demonstrations.

We oppose the use of force beyond what is reasonably necessary for self defence. This would contradict the humanitarian values of the society we wish to create. The working class, being the immense majority in industrialised societies, has the advantage of the weight of numbers and the ability to use economic force to press its cause. We therefore have no need of violence, beyond what is necessary to defend ourselves against those who themselves would use violence to prevent us achieving our goals non-violently. We also believe that the use of unnecessary violence would alienate sections of the working class and make it harder to break them from authoritarian ideologies. In particular, it would strengthen the position of authoritarian groups active within the working class.

We believe that Fascism provides an example, unique in advanced capitalist democracies at present, of a specialised application of the principle of reasonable force in self defence. A Fascist group is not a debating society, but a permanent conspiracy to murder. It is an open threat of violence against women, immigrants, indigenous people, all other minorities and ultimately, to the working class and its organisations. Defence against Fascism is therefore necessarily, in many cases, pre-emptive. Fascist groups should be defeated and broken up, if possible, whenever they show their faces. We emphasise that this position is unique to the issue of Fascism and does not apply to Right wing populists, where the ordinary use of the principle of self defence would apply when fighting them.
We recognise the possibility that, in revolutionary situations, self defence may require pre-emptive action against forces of the State. This is not a pretext, however, for abandoning a principled opposition to offensive violence. The situation must still be assessed using the criteria of whether the use of force is both necessary for defensive purposes and of a reasonable degree given the threat.

We reject any attempt to equate property damage with violence. Property has no rights and damage to it must be assessed in the light of its impact on people. Damage to nuclear weapons, therefore, is the complete opposite of damage to a worker’s home.

6. “Free thought, necessarily involving freedom of speech & press, I may tersely define thus: no opinion a law — no opinion a crime.” — Alexander Berkman

We therefore oppose State bans on any opinion, even ones with which we passionately disagree. Any such bans would end up being used, in the end, against the working class and its organisations.

We also, therefore, recognise complete freedom of conscience. We support the right to believe in any religion or none, to practice any religion or none and to preach any religion or none. In the Australian context today, this includes a special responsibility to defend the right of people to be Muslims without discrimination or harassment.
In addition, freedom of conscience is a right of every individual person and is not restricted to religious leaders. Adherence to religious precepts must therefore be entirely voluntary. Attempts by religious leaders or denominations to compel adherents to conform to their teachings or discipline must be resisted and we resolutely reject any attempt to give them State backing.

7. In line with our commitment to social revolution, we hold that there is no Parliamentary road to Libertarian Communism. We agree with the statement attributed to Lucy Parsons, “Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.” Parliament, being elected by all classes together, can only be a bourgeois institution. The working class must organise independently in order to have its own democracy.

On this basis, we oppose holding executive office in the capitalist State (e.g. government minister, mayor, etc). Political groups or parties which do so cross the class line and join the other side. We thus oppose running for election to these offices.

In contrast to executive office, we believe it is possible to enter a capitalist Parliament on a principled basis. This would require:

(a) Refusing confidence to all ministers and ministries;

(b) Opposing all war expenditure and borrowings;

(c) Using the platform of Parliament, and campaigns for election to it, to support working class struggles;

(d) Taking what opportunities are available to secure worthwhile reforms, provided this can be done on a principled basis; and

(e) Explaining to the working class that, no matter what reforms are secured through Parliament, a free and just society can only be achieved through workers’ revolution.

While it is possible to enter a capitalist Parliament on a principled basis, we believe that it is a waste of the movement’s time and effort, so we therefore oppose Anarchists running in Parliamentary or local council elections. We will not campaign for any candidate for Parliament or local council. Class struggle Anarchists can achieve far more from building direct struggles on the ground than they can by putting the same amount of time and energy into an election campaign. We therefore advance the slogan “Build Movements Not Elections”.

We recognise that other groups in the working class movement, for example State Socialists, may decide to waste their time and energy by running for Parliament. Whether it is possible for an Anarchist to cast a principled vote for such a candidate depends on one of two tests.

If there is no realistic chance of the candidate being successful, all that is required is that the candidate be clearly standing for Socialism and not to have disgraced themselves before the whole working class (as, for instance, the SWP has in Britain with its rape apologism). In this case, the vote is purely symbolic and amounts to putting up one’s hand and saying “I’m against capitalism and for Socialism.”

If the candidate has a realistic chance of being elected, however small, they also need to judged according to what they will do if successful. They therefore need to meet criteria (a) to (e) above. Criterion (e) is especially important because, in a capitalist society, the very act of running for Parliament creates illusions in the eyes of the workers who are considering voting for you that they can, indeed, reach Socialism through Parliament. A principled candidate would need to dispel those illusions by explaining that this is not possible.

8. A libertarian communist society will be one that is ecologically sustainable. Even if capitalism were just and supportable on other grounds, it would fail the test of sustainability. We need to reject the instrumental thinking inherent to capitalism and realise that we are part of nature – a conscious and creative part, but a part. As such, nature is not something to be dominated, but to be protected – and particularly to be protected against human damage.

In building a sustainable society, it is essential to end the use of non-renewable resources – or develops ways of making them renewable. In the short term, this means a rapid transition away from burning fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. In the medium term, we need to restructure our existing cities for a preponderance of medium density living and decentralise into a considerably larger number of smaller cities. And in the long term, we need to phase out mining before the exhaustion of accessible mineral deposits at practical grades forces us to abandon it involuntarily.

A commitment to ecological sustainability does not, however, mean enforced poverty in living standards and even less so does it require a return to a hunter-gatherer society. We therefore reject Malthusians of all varieties and especially in their primitivist manifestation. Production of a wide variety of goods and services needs to be increased, not decreased, in order to abolish poverty and want from the face of the Earth. We hold that it is capitalism, not human nature, that is responsible for the wanton environmental destruction which has occurred in the last two centuries and is threatening the very liveability of the planet which we inhabit.

Further, the fact that technology has been developed under capitalism does not irretrievably contaminate it. Different technologies have capitalist relations embedded into them to different degrees and in some cases development of a particular technology has been slowed because it doesn’t fit well with contemporary capitalism. Nuclear power is an example of a technology which will have to be abandoned as anti-social, while solar power is an example of a technology which, on the whole, undermines the power of the great capitalist corporations.

A libertarian communist society will resolve the current conflict between the need to increase production and the need to limit the environmental damage that capitalist production imposes by:

(a) Producing for rationally determined needs, rather than for wants generated by advertising;

(b) Producing quality goods which last, rather than shoddy ones which break down quickly;

(c) Using only renewable energy;

(d) Using closed loop manufacturing processes, with 100% material recycling and zero waste;

(e) Rationally planning the satisfaction of social needs in the most energy and resource efficient manner;

(f) Using the most modern technology to institute efficient small-run production of a wide variety of goods, thus eliminating a large part of the need for long distance transport; and

(g) Planning cities, and the means of transport within and between them, on ecologically sustainable and energy efficient lines.

Finally, we believe that the current so-called “population crisis” is an illusion caused by the inefficient, unjust and unsustainable practices of capitalism. While there is a natural limit to the carrying capacity of the planet, we believe that this limit is impossible to determine until after capitalism has been abolished and its destructive practices eliminated. If population reduction is called for after the planet’s carrying capacity is established, it can be achieved gradually through social consensus.

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This article was published in The Anvil Vol 7 No 2, Sep-Oct 2018

The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group believe that workers’ revolution is the only way to achieve a society of peace, freedom and equality for all. This is not a fashionable view.

It is understandable that our view isn’t fashionable for two reasons. First, the capitalist media and capitalist educational institutions work hard to build faith in other roads to a good society, or to discredit the very idea. Second, the failure of States that claim to uphold workers’ revolution to achieve a free and equal society has done much to discredit both the objective and the strategy. So people who still believe in workers’ revolution have some explaining to do. The MACG believes it can make a good case.

Before the rise of industrial capitalism, dreams of abolishing social class and establishing economic equality were confined to rare intellectuals or occasional outbursts of struggle during revolutionary periods. The intellectuals usually conjured up authoritarian communist utopias which could only be created by a ruler – but which no ruler would want to create. The outbursts of struggle fell away when faced with the problem of dealing with material shortage, and new ruling classes emerged or old ones reconsolidated.

The Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 18th Century and, over the following hundred years, spread across Europe, the United States, Britain’s settler colonies & elsewhere. The working class separated from the middle class, since most workers now had no realistic expectation of advancing to self-employment. It was this new working class that made possible a mass movement towards a free and equal society, because this was a force with the necessary motive and potential power. This movement prefigured a society based on these values because of the organic link between the practices of the movement and the structures of the new society.

Today, the working class is the largest class in the world, outnumbering the peasants and even the 3rd World urban poor, who are largely self-employed in the informal sector. We are vastly more powerful than when we made the Russian Revolution a century ago. The social productivity of labour is so great that many agree the world is rich enough to abolish poverty if only there were the political will to do so. Poverty, once an unavoidable tragedy, is now a crime against humanity.

Since emerging in the late 1860s, class struggle Anarchists have said that it is the working class that will abolish capitalism. We have argued for revolution because we agree with the saying attributed to Lucy Parsons, “Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.” We believe the working class is central because of our numbers, but more importantly because workers create society’s wealth and make society function on a day-to-day basis. We can seize the workplace, the source of the capitalists’ power, and build our own power. The struggle for better wages & conditions is the school in which groups of workers learn their strength and come to believe in a society based on the solidarity they have built.

Critics of the class struggle strategy point to reactionary ideas amongst the working class. It is true that many workers have racist, sexist and homophobic attitudes and engage in various forms of oppressive behaviour. The leaders and propagators of reactionary ideas in society, though, are actually powerful capitalists. Years of racist dog-whistling by John Howard, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton have been essential, for example, to the rise of Fascist thugs in Australia like the True Blue Crew and the Soldiers of Odin. The fish rots from the head.

There is also a more powerful argument against dismissing the working class. Workers who hold reactionary ideas are shooting themselves in the foot. Their racism, their sexism, their homophobia, etc, are instruments of their own defeat. As well as barring the way to a just society, reaction defeats workers in the daily struggle for decent wages and conditions. Black workers lose massively from racism, but white workers also lose. Women workers lose massively from sexism, but male workers also lose. And so on. Only the capitalists win from reactionary ideologies and the oppressions they justify.

We cannot put off the struggle against sexism, racism, homophobia, religious bigotry, anti-trans hatred or any other oppression until “after the Revolution”. Doing so would ensure the Revolution never comes. Instead, we have to return to the foundation principle that built the union movement – Touch One, Touch All. All forms of oppression, inside the workplace or outside, are an attack on our solidarity and thus on the working class as a whole.

It is in the crucible of struggle that workers learn these lessons most quickly. The most famous example of this was the great Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 in Britain. The coalfields, long-time bastions of sexism, changed when women stepped forward into the struggle. Few women were directly employed in the mines, but women saw the very existence of their communities was at stake. Fundraising activity by immigrant and LGBT groups made more bonds of solidarity that transformed miners’ consciousness. In twelve months miners learned new attitudes that took decades for the rest of the working class in Britain.

The struggle of the working class is linked to the revolution in three ways. First, the struggle is located where capital gets its power – in the workplace. Second, the struggle over wages and conditions shows that economic crises are inevitable within capitalism and the looming threat of an irresolvable crisis is ever growing. And third, it is only through struggle that the working class will learn the iron solidarity necessary for the revolution. As it casts aside all reactionary prejudices (what Marx called “the muck of ages”), the working class will remake itself as a body of free and equal people fit for a libertarian communist society.


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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?

PUSH! can be contacted at antifascist.push@gmail.com or found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Antifascist.Push/.


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PUSH! Organising and Educating to Build an Anti-Fascist United Front

The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group is pleased to announce that we have participated in the launch of a new anti-Fascist organisation. The initial callout is reproduced below.

PUSH! Organising and Educating
to Build an Anti-Fascist United Front

A callout to unite forces against fascists and the far right

In Australia and around the world, we face a fascist threat. Nazis are returning to the streets of towns and cities, winning seats in parliaments across Europe and — closer to home — marching openly under police protection through the streets of Melbourne. Wherever they appear, fascists spell danger, with local groups such as Blair Cottrell’s Lads Society training for combat and Neil Erickson’s Cooks Convicts raiding local councils and intimidating immigrants and refugees.

While these developments do not mean we are in a fascist state, they are warnings. Fascists rely on enablers and collaborators in the political mainstream to give them a platform. The current wave of fascism is no different. From Israel’s Netanyahu and the Philippines’ Duterte to the USA’s Trump, far right governments light the way for these emerging fascists. So do fear-mongering mainstream “democrats,” from Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton to Matthew Guy and Daniel Andrews.

Racism lays the foundation for fascism

Australia is a state founded on the theft of Aboriginal land, the denial of the sovereignty of the people who have been living here for tens of thousands of years, and genocide to wipe out their communal culture. The capitalists need to propagate racism and reactionary nationalism to validate their position and pit workers against each other. Official state racism provides the environment where fascists are encouraged to organise.

Through rallies, elections, social media and think-tanks, fascists seek platforms to recruit from and normalise their world view, more broadly co-opting conservative or moderate forces toward their agenda. Following the examples of Hitler and Mussolini, they aim to build a movement capable of lifting them, and their ideological program, into state power. This is fascism — a mass movement, whose social base is mainly small business operators and entrepreneurs (the middle class) but also workers devoid of class solidarity, desperately looking for a solution to their impoverishment and uncertain futures.

Without capitalism, there would be no fascism

Fascist ideologues feed on their fears and prejudices, harkening to a mythical bygone era of greatness steeped in reactionary nationalism, white pride and patriarchal family values. Exploiting deep-seated and systemic racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, they offer up scapegoats to blame — Muslims and Jews, immigrants and refugees, people of colour, First Nations, women, disabled people and the LGBTIQ community. However their prime marks are trade unions and the Left, because these are the movements capable of uniting and mobilising their targets against them.

Scapegoating deflects attention from the source of ever-widening desperation: the profit system. When economic crisis becomes so critical that workers and the oppressed resist and parliamentary democracy can no longer keep the class “peace,” the billionaire class will turn to the fascists. This happened 80 years ago. This economic élite will resort to fascism again to stave off revolt and save itself. The aim is to crush the working class so that capitalism can survive.

We can stop this

Hitler himself said that organised resistance could have eliminated the Nazis when they were still small and weak. But the fragmented labour and Left movements failed to coalesce into a united front. Fascism beat the working class into submission — assassinating its leaders, sending millions into concentration campsand forced labour, enforcing “kinder, küche, kirsche” (children, kitchen, church) on women of the “master race,” and smashing trade unions.

Unity in action is our collective, mutual defence. All of fascists’ targets coming together as organisations and individuals is our weapon against aspiring führers while they’re still small, split and weak. And while we still have rights to organise.

The united front is our collective defence

Our vision is of a united front in which politically divergent groups and individuals cohere around points of agreement and work together respectfully, collaboratively and uncompromisingly in the interest of workers and all the oppressed. A united front is about marching with our own banners and slogans, and striking together.

Democracy and accountability are key to this united strength. Without them, a united front can’t build or last.

Crucial to the united front is the involvement of the union movement, because this is where workers organise and build collective self-discipline to act in defence of our class. Union officials are belatedly beginning to recognise the threat. But it is the members and delegates — the ones facing fascist targeting in their everyday lives — who are most compelled to push our unions to join.

Open letter from Victorian Trades Hall Council, August 2018. Below is an extract:

“The mighty Victorian union movement is comprised of workers from all walks of life, united across race and religion. We’re a movement built on respect, care and unbreakable solidarity. We welcome everyone.

Except Nazis.”

PUSH! Organising and Educating to Build an Anti-Fascist United Front

PUSH! is a newly formed group committed to working with all other anti-fascists fighting to defeat this threat. Our member organisations — Freedom Socialist Party, Indigenous Social Justice Association – Melbourne, Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group and Radical Women — have long histories of anti-fascist organising, from running National Action out of Brunswick and later Fawkner and ridding Victoria of the misogynist, homophobic Blackshirts, to fighting off the current fascist scourge as founding members of Campaign Against Racism and Fascism.

This is a callout to all organisations and individuals who want to join in democratically shaping the agreed principles of unity and direction for a collective, united push to remove the fascist threat and make our communities and movements truly safe.

If you agree or want to talk,
please contact PUSH: email antifascist.push@gmail.com
or contact us on Facebook at Antifascist.Push

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