Anarchism in Interesting Times
No one should be surprised that 21% voted for Casey in the presidential election. 34% voted no in the referendum on the 8th amendment. 38% voted against marriage equality. They had much larger turnouts. The 21% for Casey, if that is accurate only represents around 280,000 votes out of an electorate of 3,336,255 (based on the total registered electorate for the May referendum and the projected turnout for this one.) It was only when this nothing business tycoon started spouting anti-traveler racism and verbally attacked social welfare recipients that his support rose from a paltry one to two percent to around the twenty mark.
We already knew that there was a hardcore of bigots out there, despite the fact that the vast majority of people here are far more progressive. We met those bigots on doorsteps during the repeal referendum campaign. We encountered them in the streets. We know from history that right up to the point of revolution, and even after, there will be a virulently reactionary constituency among the population. It’s far bigger than the 280,000 votes that Casey got. It’s somewhere between there and 723,000 voted against repeal.
Thats probably not the height of it. In times of crisis more people can be won over to the extreme right if the revolutionist left doesn’t have its shit together, even if it does. And you will even find reactionaries on the side of revolution, who will try to limit what that revolution means. There are people on the edge of progressive that will be swayed to reaction by fear and uncertainty about the future. It has already happened. We’ve seen people who were on our side on water charges and the household tax spiral deeper and deeper into the pit of reaction; Into anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, transphobia, misogyny. They are among us still. On the other side it is fair to say that a small minority who were pro-repeal are susceptible to the classist and racist ideas Casey was peddling. It’s impossible at this time to divide people into neat recognisable categories.
What should be clear from Casey’s result and the numbers who voted against repeal and Marref is you don’t defeat these people and their reactionary ideas with rational debate. They don’t speak rational. You might as well be speaking Klingon to them. It’s the same for a lot of people, they react quicker to an appeal to emotion, that’s what the right does, it stokes up fear of the other, fear of change, turns that into anger, hate (I sound like Yoda here but it’s the same principle). What we did well in the referendum was appealing to compassion, tolerance, by humanising the issue, showing the affect of the ban on abortion.
The far right also heavily relies on symbolism, the swastika the best example here, a potent symbol, aesthetically pleasing, angular, ordered, became representative of Nazism and not so much a fully fledged rational ideology as an emotional state. The swastika once it became associated with Hitler’s fiery speeches and a general sense of the German nation being wronged was able to on sight conjure from the unconscious an emotional state that lead a nation all the way to the holocaust. The Comintern had the hammer and sickle, another potent symbol but one that became in many places associated with defeat and or bureaucratic counter revolution. Basically the ‘far’ left needs to get better at branding.
Another thing we need to do is continue to call out and ostracise the most repulsive elements of reaction, to make it impossible for them to function as members of society, as part of the left, as part of clubs and societies. If they are people who time and time again show an inability to change their reactionary ways when exposed to counter argument, emotional appeal, and everything else in our arsenal then there is no other option than to ostracise. There have been people on the left who rallied against so called ‘call out culture’, but you have to make it difficult for reactionary ideas to spread. The extra difficulty is deciding when someone has gone beyond the point of reason or emotional appeal, when is the moment when you know they can’t be won over and have to be sidelined permanently?
Finally, the last resort, which will always be resorted to is violence. The far right will, if they get into power, imprison and kill leftists, immigrants, Travelers, Muslims, Jews, lgbtq people, the neurodivergent, anyone whose difference is a threat to their vision of a white supremacist patriarchal subservient society will be eradicated. Violence against the far right is self defense. Do we wait until we, the revolutionist left are rotting in jail cells while caravans and mosques burn and all the progressive changes in society we fought for are rolled back? Or do we smash them, physically, organisationally and ideologically without mercy? When general reactionary sentiment starts to crystalise as organised fascism, you crush it before it can grow, by any means necessary.
Step one is uniting all those who the far right wish to destroy. Step two is creating a culture and symbolism that stirs the desire for freedom, autonomy, compassion; That rouses the progressive emotions. Step three is finding the nucleus of any emerging far right movement and crushing it underfoot. Step four is taking that desire for liberation from the forces of reaction and turning it into a revolutionary movement that overthrows the hierarchical social relations that reaction feeds off. Step five is creating new social relations that bring out the best in humanity, that give everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, creed or social background the autonomy to live lives free from hatred, with the opportunities to develop their talents, follow their passions and satisfy their needs and desires.
To be consistently anti-fascist, the goal must be communism, full communism, libertarian communism, a world without hierarchy and economic exploitation because only by destroying the social conditions that give rise to fascism do hit bury it for good. Stay vigilant. No platform for fascists. We bury the past by fighting for the future. ¡No Pasaran!