I disagree entirely. Fascism depends on the idea of a “war economy,” implied in that is war, which is a violent struggle. One cannot both be pacifist and believe in violent struggle.
On the other hand, there are plenty of socialists and Communists who want peaceful revolution, and will only violence as a very last resort. I am a pacifist as well as a Trotskyist. I take offense to this statement.
Sorry but pacifism keeps fascists safe. They know that no pacifist is a threat because they can just do away with the peace lovers.
The hippies in the 60’s, the pacifists, did nothing to change an adminitration.
I would love peaceful revolution, I am just at the point where this is probably never going to happen.
1. It depends on what kind of fascists you’re talking about – Nazi fascists, aka those pursuing physical aggression, deserved to be slaughtered in the streets. But economic and political fascists, the ones not actively trying to take over the world by force, can be overthrown – you can’t have an economy without workers, you can’t have government control if no one follows the rules. In a situation like Yemen, where peaceful protesters are being shot at, that’s a time where peaceful protest basically is an impossibility. Violence becomes the only option.
2. The hippies in the 60s were excusable because of the influence of drugs, rock music, and other social factors. The political agitation was seen as another symptom of a teenage style, not as an independent, legitimate concern. We are different – our dissidence is perhaps aided by visual and musical tools, but we haven’t constructed a stylistic persona around political dissidence. It stands on its own.
3. Non-violence is an ideal. Being a pacifist, but also a pragmatist, I believe that we should do everything we can to be peaceful and stay peaceful, but I recognize a possible need for violence. But we can’t start the shooting, we can only shoot back. Just because Communist revolution is not a real possibility in the US doesn’t mean I’m going to give up being a Communist. It’s an ideal, not an immediate corse of action.
4. If we quickly resort to violence to stage revolution, the revolution will become unpopular. In every revolution of every type where a minority group used violence to overthrow the majority, the revolution was seen as heinous, bloody, unpopular, and the leaders were seen as dictators.
Just because there’s a tendency for people to overuse and misuse the word fascist doesn’t mean we should forget what fascists are. Fascism is an ideology that relies on ultra-nationalism, authoritarianism and a cult of personality. Their solution to the rich/poor divide is for the centralised, un-democratic state to take control of big businesses which isn’t a fix but instead a fomentation of political and economic power into one place rather than spreading that power amongst the masses. Lets not use the term as a catch-all but realise it very specifically relates to an ideology. Fascism doesn’t depend purely on a war economy, it’s much more complicated than that. The reason that pacifism is a fascist trait is that it creates a zone which is safe for fascist activity: it is in itself a protection of fascism.
You can’t have control if NO ONE follows the rules but that wishy-washy shit doesn’t fly in reality, because the people who go on demos talking to the police saying “but you don’t have to follow the rules man!” are the ones that get baton’ed in the face first. Politics fundamentally comes down to relationships of force: how are exploitative and alienating business practises that cause suffering, poverty, hunger, a plethora of mental and physical health issues and even death anything other than violence against the worker? Just because we’re normalised into seeing them as every day life doesn’t make the damage they do any less tangible, any less real, we’re just not inclined to make the direct connection.
When workers go on strike and scabs are called in to undercut them, is that not a continuation of the violence inherent within capitalism as it denies workers the ability to fight for better conditions? When nationalists march the streets, ostracising the target minority (currently in the UK that would primarily be Muslims, but historically anybody who’s not a WASP has been and no doubt will continue to be a target) is that not a continuation of oppressive conditions? When they beat people up because of their perceived national identity is that not the very real violence of nationalism, ultra-nationalism, proto-fascism and fascism? When we live in a society where all these events are created, where they act as a cohesive and integrated organ of oppression, how can you not see anti-fascist force as being not an act of spontaneous violence but a legitimate act of self defence, or an act in solidarity with people who may be more directly effected?
Trotsky understood this. That is why he advocated fighting groups as a response to the spread of fascism: because every oppressive slogan is directly linked to ostracising a section of society. It may not be the thrown fist to the face in itself, but it normalises and legitimises prejudiced hatred. It creates a zone where prejudicial violence is accepted and encouraged. Every oppressive slogan is just as much an act of violence against the oppressed.
This isn’t about whether or not violence is something that is popular, that people accept: this is about the fact that the alteration of the political language away from seeing violence as a legitimate response is directly down to bourgeois protective rhetoric. The challenge isn’t to find ways to achieve ends without violence because force is the only language that politics knows, and violence cannot be removed from that. The challenge is to create a counter-hegemony to explain how the bourgeois state is violent every day, that it will use violence to maintain and empower itself and in resistance violence is not only going to be legitimate but at times a necessary response.
Capitalism consumes that which attacks it: Che Guevara t-shirts are a commodity, the language of revolution becomes co-opted and used in advertising campaigns and populist music tied into big businesses and the capitalist market. Cultural attacks against capitalism must be tied into the proletarian resistance but without the reality of force they will be taken from you, de-clawed and sold on for profit. That is how capitalism works, that’s what it does. That’s why you see cities creating specific zones or events for street art: because far more an effective response to purely cultural anti-capitalism than fighting it, is to create the idea of an accepted and an un-accepted form, and to use the “accepted” form as a way to draw people to shopping areas to spend money. People become normalised into believing and accepting the contradictions, what was once an attack against becomes a participation within.
You say you can’t start shooting, only shoot back. The truth is we’ve been shot at for hundreds of years, we just can’t see the gun. It’s time we started learning how to fight back, not ignoring the bullets.