Left Unity Is A Suicide Pact: For An Anarchist Antifascism

  • Posted on: 2 March 2017
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

In most of our lifetimes, anarchy has never been in as good of a position to start wrecking shop and making marks on the story of the place they call America as right fucking now.

A totalitaritarian nationalist has ascended to power, his rise spurred on by a combination of promises to fix a country in which no one feels they have a say in their futures, and to punish the law-breakers, foreigners, outcasts and heathens (expressed in words that can be compatible with both mainstream center to right sensibilities, as well as a growing wave of ecstatic fascists, depending on how one wants to hear them). In power, he shows that his priorities are far more with intensifying the speed and intensity with which those on the margins are persecuted and beaten down than they are with bringing any sort of better life to the Rust Belt, Appalachia, or the forgotten, so called “real” America. What middling support the new tyrant had on election night against an incarnate symbol of a system that has never given a fuck about anyone who has ever set foot in a Wal Mart or ridden on a public bus is sinking fast, but that significant fraction who were in it for a strongman, cops with gloves off, or ethnic cleansing couldn’t be happier.

While scores of millions are outraged by the new tenant on Pennsylvania Avenue, only a fraction seem to be really mourning the loss of business as usual. Naturally, those voices speak the loudest in the media, and in the clumsy infrastructure of resistance that has popped to fight one new master rather than them all: swearing that this new world is not to be normalized, as if the old “normal” was anything to be celebrated. But most are generally reacting to a new intolerability aimed at their person, their loved ones or their ideals that no party platform has ever delivered on, and many are excited to see anarchists do what we do best: doing shit that needs doing, beholden to no agenda but our own. Burning limos and punching famous fascists are serious crimes in any state, yet these actions have been cheered on by millions who have never set foot in an infoshop and couldn’t pick up Emma Goldman out in a lineup. Anarchists have the benefit of wrecking it in all times, and it is looking to serve us well.

And as always, most are just trying to survive, seeing politics as a storm to weather or avoid, with nothing to offer them but a headache.

All of this isn’t intended to deceive ourselves into thinking the masses (whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean) are on our side and don’t know it yet, just to say that things are moving fast in drastic and terrifying directions, and the soil is uniquely ripe for the ideas and actions of those who have the enemies of authority from the word go, if we can stick to our guns.

And into that mix, comes a monster called “left unity.”

Left unity, at least as I have encountered it, seems to be code for “authoritarian Marxists and anarchists must stick together, cause we both hate liberals and are cool with shooting cops and fascists, or at least joking about it.” I don’t know how it plays out in anarcho-hubs where it seems anarchists can be as open as they can about whatever the differences they have amongst themselves and still find plenty of people to build and/or break with, but in most of the rest of the country and online, this relationship seems to be solidifying as the default. It’s rare to find explicitly “anarchist” or anti state organizations and projects, rather a sea of “anti-capitalist” or “radical left” formulations, where the circle A and the hammer and sickle sit side by side or intertwined as just alternate options, heading in the same direction, the differences more or less irrelevant in the face of a greater enemy. This seems especially true (and to be fair, has been for a while) in anti-fascism.

And yes, the state communists may be reliable to be, or at least talk, militant towards far right forces and the liberal state. They always seem a lot more organized, seem to have plans and histories of winning (and then losing spectacularly, torn down by the very people they claimed to liberate but w/e) Fuck it, plenty of them aren’t bad people, and Marxism has brought some good shit to the table. It can be tempting to find common cause with people who share the same enemies and are resolute in fighting them with us, even grace us with the sweet name of “comrade”, especially in times of rising far right power. But this left unity is a suicide pact that we don’t have to join.

I will leave alone for the most part the horrendous history of cooperation between state communists and anarchists over the last 150 years. This article is being written mostly for those I trust to know that history but if anyone unfamiliar with the history is reading this, it usually involves our kind being mass murdered by the leaders these so called friends put up altars to. No other ideology has killed as many anarchists over the twentieth century, and the treatment for rebellious proletarians and others that have refused to take orders from an absolute state authority has been the same. In 1900, the workers movement and anti-capitalism was demonized as a place for lazy people and dangerous rebels, and potential recruits were scared away from it by fear of chaos and anarchy. A hundred years late, capitalism could make a dishonest but convincing argument for itself as the path of liberty and self determination, their point made by a century of Marxists in power.

But my point isn’t to warn anarchists that working with state communists means they’ll wind up in a gulag, working at the gunpoint of old friends. Anything is possible, but in this country at least, the odds of a Leninist takeover are next to fucking nothing. But every second we try to build false unity with state communists is a second that we can’t be true to our best qualities, qualities that are uniquely useful right now.

We can either fight a rising fascism as a force that believes that individuals know how to run their lives better than institutions, as sworn and weathered enemies of all oppression, or we can fight it with the fans of some of the greatest tyrants of all time, dulling everything about our message that actually appeals to people to focus on the common ground of being sharing and laughing at jokes about dead (capitalist) cops. Catering our message to be compatible with Stalinists means we can no longer be taken seriously as out for liberation.

Just as in the alt right, where a diverse mix of shitty tendencies converged to fight a common enemy, only to have statist neofascists become the main face of the movement, authoritarians trying to follow in the footsteps of proven tyrants tend to rise to the top in unity movements. Gather a slew of anarchists, Leninists and randos that hate cops, racists and bosses under their various flags and logos, and sooner rather than later it becomes an argument with bystanders about whether or not some of the most despotic regimes in history were really all that bad, and whether those they crushed had it coming by not just getting with the program. Anarchists could, in that situation, assert themselves as enemies of all authorities and the heirs of some of the greatest enemies of those states, or we could stand there next to the apologists awkwardly, our hands in our hoodies, lying to ourselves and saying we’re on the same side, all in all. Left unity means a lot of energy wasted rehabilitating the architects of great atrocities that anarchists have stood and fought consistently against (though with a slow and fatal learning curve, to be honest).

All of the time spent building bridges to small handfuls of authoritarian leftists could be spent far more effectively finding comrades that don’t believe that freedom is a bourgeois farce. There has been a growth of interest in state communism over the last couple years, and perhaps some naïve enough to think that it’s not so bad will join us if we make our objections clear and do good work, but they’re not gonna if we delude ourselves and those we speak to into thinking anarchism and a hundred years of bloodthirsty dictatorships have jack shit in common.

When 1984 is back on the bestsellers list because it rings true to the world we live in, it’s a terrible idea for anarchists of all people to be seen as having fuck all to do with the regimes that were the inspiration for that book in the first place! When walls are being built to keep an entire population out why the fuck would we want to be holding a banner with anyone who thinks the Berlin Wall was a good thing? The fascists have always framed their militant and illegal enemies as being just a bunch of “communists”, preferring it be seen as a clash of two totalitarian ideologies than a battle between those that want a world of unlimited possibilities and those that want total control. We must make it clear how wrong they are. Those in charge of the state and the Nazi and alt right reactionary goons want a world of suffocating restriction where everyone’s future is spoken for. We can fight them as the antithesis to all they want, or we can fight with people who want a life just as restricted as part of a left/right beef. Let the authoritarian left find a way to make America want to live in the Soviet Union all by themselves. We’ve got something amazing and intoxicating of our own and we’d be fools to dial it down for anyone.

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Comments

hey just wondering if this is written by thecollective or if it's taken from elsewhere? thanks in advance!

author here and, neither. just wanted it said and @news seemed as good a place as any to throw it up if they'd take it.

good shit. hopefully nobody i despise wrote it :D

forget the puppet already.

the weaponization and monetization of data continues on as before. tech companies are where power lies now. this area has overtaken puppets, politics. efficiency overtakes all areas of life. maybe that's why such teleprompter readers that are really more entertainers than politicians get in

so slow to catch on.

The moment still dictates the tone for living breathing people in the midst of all of it. Data, tech companies, all the monstrous shit that has always been evolving whoever is control remain enemies, and I do fear people may lose sight of the general in the midst of all Trump's (sorta) unique fuckery just as they did under Bush's.
That said a lot of people are pissed in the moment and if anarchists position ourselves right the result could lead to good things. And plus fighting state protofascism is always worthwhile even if we gotta remember the less flamboyant and more integral aspects of the system.

This was a great read! Thanks to the author for putting this together.

Hey, since the writer is reading comments, good faith question for you!

I'm definitely one of the anarchists you're talking about and I know my history. Lately all the YCL reading circle veterans have been coming to the @spaces cause we're more fun and do stuff besides talking (the bar is set low).

Q: have you actually watched anarchists stand next to tankies while they're proselytizing and not challenge them or is this allegory?

The Marxists I'll work with are the ones who've gotten sick of listening to the fools who LARP the commie vanguard. Their little scenes are in flux too.

I have seen it on a few occasions. I haven't been at too much public stuff in the last year or so, but the level I've seen it online lately is over the top. At best, one anarchist will argue with them and the rest will distance themselves from them because they're being too divisive, while conceding to the person with a hilarious gulag meme that perhaps, with all due respect, in the Soviet Union some mistakes were made, (comrade!).
And yeah, there are certainly a handful of Marxists I do respect, though usually of the more libertarian school. But there seems to be a new flock of young commies flooding in that seem to either be misled to think that all the horrendous oppression of Marxist states was either capitalist or fascist propaganda, or cool, cause those people all deserved it anyways. And a lot of anarchists, again, oftentimes new to it all, that seem to think that the differences between their philosophy and that of Stalinists or Maoists is some fairly piddly shit, compared to their differences with literally just about everyone else. There aren't many people I'm not down to have an honest patient talk with, but to say that even the reddest of anarchisms is compatible with state communism is not being honest, it's a dangerous kind of politeness or cowardice. Hell the closest anarchism ever got was probably platformism, and that was the bitter as hell cynical creation of the anarchist who probably killed more Leninists than any other!

Writing like this stirs the ancient anarchist tendencies deeply embedded within the DNA which controls my thinking processes inside my head, The genetic secrets that are revealed will guide me to a glorious utopean future ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

"When 1984 is back on the bestsellers list because it rings true to the world we live in, it’s a terrible idea for anarchists of all people to be seen as having fuck all to do with the regimes that were the inspiration for that book in the first place!"

You nerds know that:
1: Orwell was a snitch who ratted out communist to MI6

and

2: He never set foot in a socialist country, right?

Orwell was someone who did snitch on communists, and that was stupid and shitty of him to do so and think he should be critiqued for it, however that doesn't mean that his books are thus worthless because of that foolish decision. Also the idea that him never setting foot in any socialist country somehow makes his critiques of Stalinism made in '1984' and 'Animal Farm' valueless has always been baffling to me, seeing as he did have experiences with Stalinists and how Stalinism operated during the Spanish civil war and the observations of the communist parties in the UK.

BLOW IT UP BURN IT DOWN

Very good points. Im not working with statists or any top down structures. Am willing to work with antistate marxists. The elites are the state and changing rulers has never worked for the people. This is a class war and the power structures and social stratification as old as the city states of Mesopotamia must be dismantled and replaced by collectivism.

And I think Graeber would agree with me, but fuck him, he's got a better paycheck than mine!

But all of what you anarcho-lefties are attempting to do is to reify society at micro-scale. Maybe you're not aware of it... or not care too much about it. Of course, since that ain't very easy to make friends and especially keep them in this world, I can forgive you for it... and why not myself too. Yet still ain't very revolutionary.

On that weird, shortsighted statement you did about Mesopotamia... if you'd know some history, you'd also know that there have been a few big changes in State politics since ancient Mesopotamia. Magna Carta and secularism being the biggest, but there was also capitalism as a new religion, unequaled in diffuse might throughout human history. The difference between priests classes sanctioned and safeguarded by a self-serving set of esoterical beliefs is that YOU can possibly make your way through the capitalist establishment these days, no matter how disgusting that may be.

Capitalism for Dummies...

Instead of studying anthropology, philosophy, or visual arts, you could do instead business management, engineering, actuary, medicine, or hey let's not forget good ol' Law School. Then you hang out at the right clubs downtown, and golf clubs, join the right business networks or secret societies/religious groups, stop caring about your individuality, go with the flow, conform... then you're good to go! :-D

Most likely not as easy if you're Black or Hispanic, sure... but who knows, you might have more luck in the prison bureaucracy or the private security sector.

Antistate Marxist is an oxymoron. Obviously.

As for anarchist civilization apart from all 57 varieties of Marxism, well that sounds like a good idea. We should try it one of these years.

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