The RCP mass organization “Refuse Fascism” has hyped a series of planned nationwide protests planned for the 4th to create popular momentum for ousting the Trump administration. If their claims are to be believed there will be demonstrations in more than a dozen cities including Chicago, Boston, Austin and Los Angeles. The organization itself has hosted speaking events from Bob Avakian regarding Trump and Fascism. With the RCP taking a semi-explicit leadership over Refuse Fascism it makes this plan rather peculiar in comparison to others of its type, having said that, let us continue.
Avakian has described the work of Refuse Fascism as being similar to that of a united front, in which liberals and communists can bridge the gap between one another to combat the “fascism” of Donald Trump. This point is debatable, and it seems that he has made a lot of assumptions in declaring Trump’s “fascist” agenda and the strength of the united $tates at this point, but the move to action is nonetheless positive in that Trump, fascist or not, represents the head of NATO and western imperialism. On those grounds alone it seems reasonable to have deployed all available forces to build a rudimentary “popular front” in order to combat him. However, what is less clear is their actual plan of action in ousting the imperialist Trump regime, or of how to replace this regime with one which does not fundamentally represent the same system.
In this regard Refuse Fascism has a serious deficiency that we should analyze and correct, although the time to do this before the fast approaching initiation date is quickly escaping us, according to the organizers, this will only be the beginning. Since the organization and its supporters include a great many democrats of both the Clintonite and Sandersite persuasions, we have to ask what the goal of this faction is in opposing Trump and seeking his removal from power, and by whom they wish he be removed. If the goal for them, who at the moment politically dominate any legitimized struggle against Trump, is simply to reinstall the guardians of moribund neoliberalism (the democrats) and continue their vain attempt to bail out the failing empire, then we should be highly skeptical of any kind of alliance on those terms. That does not mean one cannot be beneficial, but certainly we must pay real attention to our own goals if one were to arise under current conditions.
Certainly times are not “business as usual” for the neoliberal imperial establishment, and they find themselves increasingly desperate in the attempt to salvage whatever liberal values they can in the age of extreme regression and illiberal reaction. In their desperation they have acted almost forgivingly to some of the left’s most controversial elements: namely, antifa. This has of course not been level, and has certainly had biteback among those like Nancy Pelosi, who has decried the violence “on both sides” as many liberals attempting to occupy their increasingly precarious spaces have. However, it was clear when the students and activists ripped down the statue in North Carolina without immediate police intervention that something was different about all of this. Of course they eventually staged a hasty roundup of those who had not had the foresight to wear masks or protect their identity, but nevertheless there was an obvious hesitation among the liberal establishment to intervene. Such openings show that we can garner a strategic umbrella in our fight against Trump so long as we are cautious, and remain at arm’s length from power, as it can quickly come back to swat us as it sees fit. Such is the nature of the precarious peace which periodically comes about in the “unusual times” of class struggle in crisis.
Our fear coming into November 4th is that there is no consideration of this “arm’s length” rule, which would serve to protect the revolutionary forces from potential turnback from flighty liberals who cannot readily choose one or the other when it comes to left “extremists” and the far-right that has soaked up executive power over the past year. Both prospects seem intimidating for them, and they will vacillate so long as they continue to exist in the state of political limbo they have now inherited. What’s more, we must be entirely conscious in considering what may happen if we do oust Trump and his meek side-kick, Pence. If we successfully oust one, the other steps in and continues on in a neoconservative direction, perhaps undermining the credibility of the furthest right-wing elements of the administration, but only in favor of more imperialist interventions and a more desperate plot to restore the glory of our decrepit empire.
However, if we get them both to resign and we throw the republican party into a leaderless disarray, what do we accomplish? It seems rather self-serving that such an action must be slated to occur as quickly as possible pending the 2018 mid-term elections, where the contest for the house and senate creates conditions that could be more favorable to a democratic domination of the state so long as they can achieve a weak or friendly executive office. So what if we do obtain for them this weak or friendly executive? We have paved the way for yet another democratic term, wherein the war-hungry and russophobic neoliberals can reorganize their political agenda and certainly aim it toward securing the “unity” they sought through the Clinton campaign. This “unity” means a total repression of all the disunited factions under the sun, putting far-right and far-left in their sights as they look to weld together the fractured empire—if they can.
Right now it seems the plan for November 4th rides on a very lofty premise, and one that we should do well to be involved with and adjacent to, pending any success it may have. Certainly it is trying to create the conditions that a revolutionary left could benefit from: popular resistance, a direct call for overturning the current order, and all in a traditionally left-wing costume: anti-fascism. One good thing about the Avakianist leadership has been the overt discussion (be it one-dimensional window-dressing) around imperialism, although it is caught up in the fraying discourse on whether or not this is a new or permanent amerikan problem. Intervention around the primary contradiction is not negotiable if we—that is, anti-imperialists—are to participate in these demonstrations. Unfortunately, as it stands, even the revolutionary elements of the call for November 4th seem to be offering themselves as tools to the neoliberal establishment, proposing that just ridding ourselves of Trump/Pence is a revolutionary demand, without an eye for what is to come afterward.
That is what we should be concerned with. What will come afterward? Whatever it is, if it is not a stronger and more unified revolutionary and communist left, then it is not necessarily a good thing, in fact it may even be worse. All of our efforts may have been expended for the expansion of imperialist power; for the expansion of state repression and a reduction in our expressive rights. Imperialism, for decades, has relied on social democracy as a regulating institution, and social democratic campaigns serve, systemically, to humanize, realign and restore confidence in the institutions of empire. Our involvement in any way with elements which compose parts of the state should be marked by trepidation, and our position should always be as self-serving as those with whom we deal. We will not be repaid for our kindness, and our cooperation with the “democratic” forces in this country, and for that reason we should deal honestly with them, but deliberately in the direction of anti-imperialism. None of this should indicate that we categorically reject alliances or fronts with liberals, please note. That said, any such alliance has a great capacity for opportunist and even liquidationist elements to sabotage our movement and set us back as far as 20 or 30 years. It is important to be honest about these defects, and to avoid them.
But what does it mean to move deliberately in the direction of anti-imperialism? In this case, we should focus our activities inside and adjacent to the November 4th actions (should they materialize) toward the recruiting for and building of popular opinion for a complete destruction of the state. If we can demand the end of a regime, we can demand the construction of a new one! That is precisely what we should do. We do not mean to usher in some Clintonite “democratic” dictatorship to replace the quasi-authoritarian amerikan imperialism we have seen imposed for the past two centuries. Let us be very clear on this point: our role should be to push the fringe to the center, and energize the forces of anti-imperialism and revolution, out of the bourgeois attempts to whip us up into a frenzy for their benefit. We must construct committees to orient ideological struggle in our favor, anti-war and anti-imperialist working groups and revolutionary cells capable of laying the groundwork for new, stronger revolutionary networks working in step with our comrades mobilizing in the Third World. We must make ourselves felt as an organized bloc, and never fail to advocate the total disintegration of the current system—its empire as well as its state.
To do this we must decide on principles, with a guiding pole-star to focus all of our demands into something which extends beyond the “democratic” opposition and their quest to restore the neoliberal, imperialist “normal” over the “fascist and authoritarian” abnormal we are now supposedly facing. We must consolidate the various calls for civil rights, recognition and access to resources with the overall objectives of decolonization, socialism and anti-imperialism, and where these are incompatible, to insist on the latter. To do this, we must agree upon what these terms mean in at least some rudimentary sense, and move forward from there. We must, if possible, become the left-flank of this “anti-Trump resistance.” Without a direct call and plan of action in the disintegration of amerika as a settler-colonial and capitalist-imperialist state, we will certainly be reduced to ineffectual tools within the greater “democratic” ploy to catapult the Clintonite neoliberals back into power. Amerika is dying, comrades, and we should not be its second wind. So let us participate, let us fight back, but we will not be instrumentalized. Snatch victory from the hands of defeat and demonstrate that we have learned something in 100 years of communist revolution.