Among the most engaging passages in Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution are those dealing with the weeks and days leading up to the October insurrection, when the Petrograd Soviet, under the leadership of the Bolsheviks, began pushing. That is, they gradually took for the Soviet more and more power from the Provisional Government, waiting at each step to see if there would be resistance. The more they gained, the more certain was the victory.
In the past, reading about this, I was focused on the importance of revolutionary leadership—indeed, this tactic was one of the reasons the October Revolution was all but bloodless. But now I’m seeing it differently: the same tactic applied by our enemies.
Each step of militarizing police, of normalizing murders by police, of increases in surveillance, of attacks on the free press such as Julian Assange’s extradition, and now of the reversal of Roe v Wade, needs to be seen as fascism pushing, seeing how far they can get before there is resistance, thus weakening the resistance in advance.
In this, the Republican Party—by now openly fascist—has no greater ally than the Democratic Party, which plays the role of stifling the resistance, of keeping everything within the safe channels of electoral politics.
You don’t stop fascism by voting for the non-fascist party. It takes a mass working class movement under a socialist program. The working class has, right now, no more dangerous enemy than their own illusions in the Democratic Party.
7 thoughts on “Creeping Fascism”
I was having some thoughts as I looked at portraits of various French kings who were generally awful. One of the concepts of how nobles should act is noblesse obligé. They are supposed to work to protect those above whom they are elevated. Unfortunately, vanishingly few nobles seem to really possess or even pretend to possess it.
This brings me to “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. At its root it has some of the same concepts as noblesse obligé except that it applies to everyone and not just an elevated class. As society uplifts us all, so should we pay back society by striving to better everyone’s needs.
The first part of that uplifting is to get people out of the fascist/capitalist cycle of destruction. Your lot will be better by helping uplift people rather than keeping them down with your boot in their face.
Well, but if the Far Right pushes TOO far, the House Democrats will totally hold a hearing in it.
The Democrats want to play fair, against an opponent who does not. The Beer Hall Putsch was 1/6, and nothing has happened. 2024 will be the fall of democracy. How can that be stopped?
I certainly agree with you about the danger!
How to stop it? By organizing against fascism the way it has been done successfully before: August of 1917 against Kornilov, 1936 at the Battle of Cable Street in London, 1938 in St. Paul against the Silver Shirts. (I might add 1949 in China, but I haven’t studied Chiang’s nationalist movement closely enough to determine if it exactly qualifies as fascist.) These were occasions where a massive and growing fascist movement was stopped dead in its tracks and dissolved.
The point is, fascism cannot be stopped by the electoral process, because its very essence is an attack on democracy. We must organize outside of the electoral process, and, right now, the Democrats are doing everything in their power to prevent exactly that.
I heard an analogy that I liked yesterday:
The United States is the Uvalde school shooting.
The Republicans are the school shooter.
The Democrats are the cops who had the power to stop him but waited timidly outside instead.
Except for the fact that the school shooter would still be alive and well if the analogy were to be more accurate.
Yeah, I came across that same analogy. It especially works because the Uvalde cops acted to prevent people from going in and trying to stop the shooter. “No, we won’t do anything, and we won’t let you do anything either.”
And, finally, both the Uvalde police and the Corporate Dems operate according to the same primary imperative: that, at the conclusion of the crisis, they will still maintain their position and powers.