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#Antifa 2017: We Need To Talk!

The political landscape has changed drastically in recent years. Racist and fascist parties and movements are growing, and in a few EU member states they are even in power. Trump is president-elect in the USA. What are we going to do about it?

Written by Riot Turtle for Enough is Enough.

The election of Trump could help speed-up the rise of fascist parties and movements around the world. The former chief of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, a anti-semite and racist, is now chief of strategy in the White House. Breitbart News has already announced they will open branches in France and Germany to support the fascist Front National and AFD in these key EU member states. There will be elections in both countries this year.

While Trump wants to build a wall at the Mexican border, EU border policies have already killed tens of thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean sea. More and more fences are being built at the borders of EU member states, thousands of refugees are stuck in Greece and living under inhuman conditions. Cops in Cologne, Germany checked the ID’s of 1700 people on New Years Eve, selecting people on the basis of their color of skin (in a “stop and frisk” fashion similar to what the NYPD do to black people in New York City. 

While many people in Germany approved of the massive racist police operation in Cologne – including leading politicians of the German Green Party – nobody asked for more protection of refugees, although refugees in Germany are attacked by white fascists every day. In 2016, there were more than 900 attacks against refugees and refugee shelters in Germany. More than 100 of these attacks were arson attacks. 

The fascists have recently been successful in changing views and winning debates. Racist views are regularly broadcasted in prime time TV talkshows in countries like Germany and the USA.

Terrorist violence against minorities is treated as a non-issue by German society. This is the solid basis for a shift in government policies against minorities. Apart from government policies against refugees in EU member states, anti-semitism, which never disappeared, is also growing again. Sinti und Roma are also still victims of massive discrimination and is accepted by large parts of European societies.

This is not new, but the intensity is. More and more people in Germany consider anti-fascist views to be views of naive “Gutmenschen”, a word which was often used by Goebels in the 1930’s. The fascist Pegida movement outnumber anti-fascist counter protesters every Monday in Dresden, Germany, and the elections in France and Germany could change the political landscape for many years with conservative parties taking over parts of the racist programs of the fascist Front National and AFD.

The situation in Europe, the massive influence of the EU and the USA on world affairs, the election of Trump, and the popularity of policies put forth by people like Putin show that things are not looking good for anti-fascists. So where do we stand, and what are we going to do? First of all, we want to make clear  that we are aware of the fact that there are many people who continue to fight against fascism and racism. There are many great projects and actions happening. But we are losing ground – and we have to discuss our goals, strategy, tactics and unity.

In countries like Germany, parts of the anti-fascist movement have succumbed to a subculture, and there have been similar developments in other countries. I have nothing against subcultures but, antifascists should know that subcultures are often closed. This subculture has its own music and fashion, even it’s own fashion labels. In some autonomous- and social centers you will see lots of people at parties who you will never ever see at a political action. 

A few years ago I heard a conversation in an autonomous center in Germany which made very clear why the movement is getting smaller and smaller. Somebody came into the bar of this autonomous center and was interested in political discussions and actions. One of the people in the bar said:”Hey your not wearing black, what are you doing here?”  It was made very clear that this person was not welcome, without even speaking with her. Just because she looked different. Of course this is an exception, but it wasn’t the only time that I heard this kind of talk and had to start a long conversation. Some people seem to have forgotten that Black Bloc is a tactic and not a fashion statement.

Its often difficult to discuss the dangers of a dead end subculture. People who speak about this are often defamed and called disrupters, this doesnt help create an honest self criticism about the dangers of subcultures. In Spain and Greece there are some good examples of autonomous- and social centers which are open for all people and have strong support in the neighbourhoods where they are based. In these social centers you will not hear discussions like the one above. It was this open concept that was the basis as activists resquatted the Can Vies social center in Barcelona. The whole neighbourhood took the street.

So there are some good examples how an open movement can build up a solid basis to resist capitalist projects. In order to be able to fight more effectivly  against the growing fascist movements this is exactly what we need. We need to come out of our subcultural safe zones and get into the neighbourhoods. 

We need to stop the sectarianism. We need to start looking what we have common, instead of just looking on our differences. That wont be easy, but its necessary to unite against the fascists much more than we do now. Without coalitions between different antifascist groups, we will surely lose this fight.

We need to discuss how we will fight capitalism and fascism and what kind of vision and solutions we have. Not just in our social centers, but also in the streets and squares of our neighbourhoods. We need to solve problems in the neighbourhoods. For example: In Amsterdam there was a collective called “Tegengas” (counter gas) in the 1980’s. This collective illegally connected peoples homes to the gas- and electricity network again when corporations had cut them off because they couldn’t pay the bill. They also spread a lot of flyers in these neighbourhoods explaining the role of the energy corporations in society. Many people listened to and supported them because they combined political action with practical support.

Its good to block fascist gatherings and we should continue to do so, but its not decisive. We need to win the hearts and minds of people. We need good media, and people to spread information in the neighbourhoods, blogs, but also in social networks. Even when we oppose corporations like Facebook, we cant leave Facebook to the fascists, who are using it very effectively. 

We need groups that defend neighbourhoods against fascist attacks, but also points where people can report discrimination in the neighbourhoods or state- and other offices. 

Read also: Part 2 #Antifa 2017: We Need To Talk!

These are just some thoughts and will hopefully start a debate about how to improve the struggle against capitalism and fascism. You can submit your contribution to the debate here:

2 thoughts on “#Antifa 2017: We Need To Talk!

  1. Exactly, thanks for this words! I see often arrogant behaviour in the left scene like ‘you wanna talk with us and be a part of us? First you have to act and think like us” and this is stupid. It makes impossible to come to the people, to convince them from our fight. We need more openess and tolerance in the radical left scene. If someone doesn’t want to destroy genders it’s okay. We think it would be right, but although we can fight with him or her for gender and queer equality. Someone doesn’t want to live in a world without borders? Maybe we can convince him and if not we can still fight with him or her for solidarity with refugees. And so on.

    I know many people who wanna do something agains the right wing development but the classical left groups aren’t attractive for them – because they dont get a fully political program to fight for anarchist and communist society, becauee they wewr other clothes or they use another words. And this is sad, because this people we can’t convince just because of some small stuff.

    No one is born as perfect left fighter. Let’s accept this and work with it. Maybe we can help them to become perfect left fighter. And if not, they can still be left fighter – in his or her own way. I think this is original anarchist.

  2. […] “Antifa 2017: We need to talk” part 1 and part 2, I already published some thoughts about the fight against the growing fascist […]

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