As leftists, we must take care not to do the state’s work for them.
We must avoid certain atmospheres taking hold that hinder progress and revolution.
While alertness and paranoia are necessary for our safety, we must avoid an atmosphere where we allow fear to rule. This limits our effectiveness.
The state is a influential and insidious oppressor that purposely breeds fear and division within the working class.
With all of the enemies that we face, we do not need to make enemies of comrades.
Our life, the life of the proletariat, is stressful enough, trying to keep our lungs from drawing water, struggling not to be pulled into the deep and current-heavy sea of capitalism’s excess.
Add to that the perils connected to the struggle against the current rise of fascism, and the state’s apparent indifference to the creeping vines of the “alt-right” as they choke the life out of the “democracy” they claim to uphold.
It is easy to allow fear and paranoia to invade our spaces, to the point where we are too afraid to stand up for our comrades when they come under attack by powerful personalities interested in their own personal recognition and gain, for fear of being ostracized for nonconformity.
This, comrades, is counterrevolutionary.
If we allow these self-servers to use our natural and essential paranoia against us, to dictate to us who is and who is not a true comrade, irrespective of a person’s obvious dedication, then we will surely lose.
We cannot let people pick apart our collectives with unprovable allegations of collusion with fascists and the state.
We must not hesitate to call for proof of any accusations before we are so quick to condemn those who have committed their lives and time to our cause.
We must not hesitate to communicate with our comrades and defend each other against enemies who would throw up obstacles in our path over personal vendettas and their own quest for clout and recognition.
We must not allow those who are trying to climb to some non-existent top, to do so on the broken backs of our comrades.
If we fail to have each other’s backs, then we leave them open to the knife blade of the capitalists, the state, and their fascist lapdogs, and they will not hesitate to bury that blade into our exposed flesh.
There is no one revolutionary who is more important than the revolution itself.
While education of the masses is necessary, we must avoid an atmosphere where we routinely alienate potential comrades with a culture of ideological purity.
Searching for the perfect revolutionary is a fruitless task in our current environment, and finding one even in the long history of class struggle is impossible.
It has taken centuries of social conditioning to get us to the point that we are at right now.
To have knowledge of this, and at the same time expecting everyone automatically to have this same knowledge, is in and of itself a thought process of elitism.
There is not one revolutionary who is not themselves a product of the very conditions and social conditioning that made their revolution necessary in the first place.
There are no idols. To dismiss someone’s work, old or new, because of actions in their past or the path of their growth, fractures our movement and makes the job of the state that much easier.
Rejection of comrades for ideological impurity will not only prevent the building of the critical mass necessary for radical transformation, but its logical endpoint is a movement consisting indeed of zero people.
To dismiss the potential camaraderie of a willing ally simply because they haven’t read any Marx, don’t understand intersectional feminism, or because they don’t quite understand white privilege, is counterrevolutionary.
Invasive liberalism has already done a good enough job of watering down the revolutionary work of civil rights activists in the past, with its fantasy of nothing but peaceful “turn the other cheek” activism in the face of insurmountable violence.
Conservatism, which has steadily spun off to the far right, has been in the rural areas convincing rural white members of the working class that everyone is their enemy aside from the capitalists who actually have the most impact on their life. If we fail to foster class consciousness first among these workers, and we fail to recognize and address the root causes of their poverty and their economic stress, we leave them open to be devoured by the comfortably tribal rhetoric of the rising fascist tide.
It is possible to foster class consciousness, and to educate around the systemic reasons why non-white working-class comrades have it harder. For white members of the working class to understand this, they must first understand that they are indeed comrades, and that involves undoing social conditioning that was invented and has existed to convince them otherwise.
We must strive to understand their level of knowledge, and work to build them up, rather than looking down upon them so critically, with such disdain, and gratifying ourselves by beating them down.
It is harmful to the movement when the more academically-inclined shame those who are not automatically at the same level of knowledge around such concepts as systemic white supremacy and the cishet patriarchy.
The struggle to survive capitalism does not leave one much time to question the world one lives in critically, and it is built that way by design.
The proletariat gets worked so hard that we often only have the time and energy to consume the message fed to us by the church and the state.
We must seek to attack what makes up this harmful social conditioning.
The media is involved, so we must propagate our own media, or at the very least fight to take back the narrative of our movement, shed light on the good that antifascists do in their community, and win the hearts and minds of the working class.
The music industry is involved, so we must help promote independent revolutionary musicians when we can.
The institution of American Christianity is involved, and we must counter that theology of fear, damnation, and misguided obedience to the mechanisms of the status quo with a theology of liberation.
Even the Democrats, watered down with the delusion of comfortable, corporate-funded, peaceful liberalism, are part of this, and we must work to hold them accountable for their failures as the pouting, stubborn occupants of the “left” side of institutional political space. It has been decades since they were anything resembling a party of the working class.
If we fight every facet of this conditioning without faltering, we can overcome all obstacles.
We must work to tear down the walls, barriers, and road blocks of systemic oppression against the marginalized that were erected to maintain a caste system within the working class, and we must work to spread class consciousness through the ranks of the non-marginalized.
We must reject the atmosphere in which our comrade becomes our enemy.
It is imperative that the left works together.
We have no choice but to unite the working class, for those who now kneel may someday soon need to rise with a rifle in their hands and their comrades at their side.
Great Lakes Antifa, October 2017.
As many of the Enough team live in Europe, we dont have all insights on infights in the US. To make it possible for our readers to make up their own mind, read also:
Statement on ‘Great Lakes Antifa’ from Cleveland Antifascist Network: https://itsgoingdown.org/statement-great-lakes-antifa-cleveland-antifascist-network/