An analysis of the events on August 18th
The March Against Far Left Violence and its counter-demonstration organized by the weak and poorly disciplined ATX-Resistance Action stand as a prominent example of how not to organize. Our organization and its supporters (largely outnumbering them) boycotted the counter-demonstration on the basis of political principle, so it comes as no surprise to us that the numbers of the left and liberal alliance were sub-par.
Even holding our position to sit this one out as a matter of principle, we have eyes and ears everywhere so we feel it appropriate to issue the following analysis and make a public call to get organized in a more meaningful, and effective way.
First and foremost we must recognize that not everyone in attendance of the left-liberal rally is a class enemy, anti-communist or reactionary, there were certainly good people who we would consider to the fit the category of “our friends.” To them, we maintain solidarity and make this statement with the intention of constructive critique. There were also a few from the left-liberal alliance who were arrested, we support them and will share any fund-raisers we come across no matter which org or ideology they belong to. No one should remain in jail for opposing fascism. Lastly, there were those in the March against Far Left Violence who are just misguided people that have backward views but are not fascists. In fact, most of them were not fascists. This last point offers a contradiction within the camp broadly called “our enemies”. Our position is simple, conservatives who are not fascists should immediately stop tolerating fascist’s presence, or they must be considered collaborators. Because ultimately—there were fascists in attendance and these are the main enemy.
Let’s look at the event from a military perspective. Many from the right-wing side, including the fascists, were well armed and equipped. While this makes them dangerous, their tactical strength is overshadowed by their strategic weakness. All their weapons and their fighting condition mean absolutely nothing without support from the broad masses of people. Regardless of their current lack of popularity a fascist populist movement is still a threat and backward elements of society are moved to become fascists during economic crisis. This is the main reason why we oppose fascist’s presence or any attempts on their part to organize.
The left-liberal alliance however is both tactically weak and strategically weak. Its main flaw is bad leadership, a willingness to talk things out or even debate with fascists and their collaborators. The left-liberal alliance, led by social-democrats (the social fascists who only appear left-wing, like Democratic Socialists of America and Austin Socialist Collective) as well as white hippies and many anarcho-liberals, provide the worst leadership possible. They refuse to view anything through the lens of military strategy and see antifascist actions as a social outlet, the same exact way that petty bourgeois white Americans view festival culture, they put on costumes and engage in street theater—resistance is only an act, it’s always “symbolic”, they dance around and make fools of themselves giving numerous advantages to the enemy—they view antifascism as if it were Burning Man or Bonnaroo etc.
A concrete analysis of concrete conditions in Austin must be the departure point for any action against fascists—this means evaluating the subjective forces of the antifascist side, the fascist side as well as the objective conditions of the police and the laws they intend to enforce. Neglecting this of course the left-liberals opted to take the South Steps of the Capitol (a position they later ceded to the right with its huge PA system which was heard loudly over the “noise” demo), this guaranteed that the left-liberal alliance on the grounds would be both unarmed and mostly unmasked, giving decisive advantage to the enemy which correctly took the position of the South Gate—where the Department of Public Safety (Brown Shirts ) can no longer enforce the ban against weapons and masks. Even basic items like wooden flag poles, helmets, and shields are banned on capitol grounds making South Steps the worst possible place to occupy, especially if you have no fighting capacity to hold the position and prevent the right’s speeches from taking place.
To make matters worse the left-liberal alliance lacks the discipline and organization to be early, let alone on time. The fascists and their collaborators however showed up before their scheduled event to hold the space which the left-liberals had set their event page to meet spreading confusion among their support base and putting the already low-energy section on the steps at greater risk. Being that the enemy side was made up mostly of backward masses and trump supporters and not organized fascists the risk was minimalized and no one according to our reports was injured (including the fascists present). All in all, the day saw an unwillingness to fight from either of the main two sides.
Our principle is that when you go against a class enemy you hit him—that if you do not hit him he will not fall. The fact that no fascists were harmed in the making of this “counter-protest” only proves that the main organizers have no stomach for antifascism—for us antifascism is concrete—it does not mean simply voicing a disagreement it means stopping fascists in their tracks and hurting their efforts to the point where they stop organizing.
At the point where a handful of “antifa” showed up, there were only about 25-30 of them, no weapons for defense, no shields no sticks—these were led by Austin Socialist Collective. An organization which in spite of all its posturing has never actually won a fight with the right, they have never even come to blows. For Maoists and our supporters, we learn by doing—in order to learn to fight you must fight. No matter how many martial arts classes are held by ASC their courage in the street is as lackluster as it ever has been. This will not be altered without action on their part, which is stifled by their conservative play-it-safe leadership.
ASC appearing in their new hammer and sickle masks (nearly identical to our own except they are black, a fitting symbol of their black reactionary line opposed to our red revolutionary line) only highlights their tailist mentality opposing their watered down “communism” to actual Communists who have been doing the work better and longer than they have. According to the brief and very distorted summation from ASC:
“Fascists thought they could have a rally in Austin today. They were wrong. Hundreds of communists, anarchists and other antifascists came to chase them out of town after drowning out their rally.
They’re right about one thing: we WILL take their ‘freedom’ to support fascism, imperialism, or capitalism in our city. And the Left in Texas WILL be energized as it continues to grow in size, discipline and confidence.”
Let’s unpack this a little bit; there were not “hundreds of communists, anarchists” this is their first distortion as the numbers of the total left-liberal alliance (mostly composed of DSA members) only numbered about 150 at its peak, if we are to be generous here. Second distortion is that the “fascists” who were mainly just run of the mill flag wavers, were not drowned out by any noise made from the left-liberal alliance and more importantly they most certainly were not “chased out”. Third distortion; ASC claims Austin as “their city” while they could hardly muster 30 undisciplined troops under their loose and pathetic command structure. They attempted a march after the conclusion of the rightwing event but were unable and uninspired to take the streets and it degenerated on the sidewalk after a few moments.
ASC would rather claim an easy “victory” even if it means lying to their supporters instead of being realistic and self-critical the way Communists must be. When offering analysis it is our prerogative to divide things into two main aspects, strengths and shortcomings so that the overall work progresses in a revolutionary direction—this is beyond the scope of the fake Marxists in ASC. Their lying and distortion only serve to make them unstable and deficient as they have been since their start by their own admission. So now after years of anti-Communism they hope to try and clone our work, devoid of ideology and create a revisionist pole in this city. This is not going to happen we will confront them the way the PCP has taught us in their confrontations against the MRTA. They are but a hollow, blackened imitation of the red power we have been establishing in Austin and throughout the US with our comrades in other Red Guards collectives.
The ASC bloc now includes the tailist anarcho-liberals of Autonomous Student Network, since Maoists would no longer tolerate their snitch apologia they have now come under the rotten black wing of ASC. This accumulation of flotsam and jetsam has hardly witnessed an increase in quantity and seen a decrease in quality —all of the real anarchists long since quit working with ASN viewing it as a liberal identity politics organization, which it is.
We must also mention the fact that there were a small few armed leftists, these were mainly some open carry folks associated with the Houston Socialist Movement, this armed presence was not under the direction of any centralized leadership and arms were left to complete voluntarism, some of the armed people in camo with no political insignia were confused as part of the rightwing march—a failure to keep the centralized Communist organization in command of the gun. Guns without discipline are not what we encourage when we call for the left to arm itself. Overall the event lacked decent coordination and any strategy at all; its tactics ranged from nudist voyeurism, to festival celebration of a fascist visit, to pretend -antifa pageantry.
From a total failure to recognize the contradiction between patriot-reactionary nationalists and actual neo-Nazis, the whole of the right was qualified as “Nazis” which only provides a bigger pond for the actual Nazis to swim in. Failing to analyze the internal contradictions of the enemy group is a major error with negative results.
In all of this the most vocal opportunists of Oh Shit What Now, failed to make any presence worth noting.
DPS brown shirts managed at one point to dissect the left-liberal alliance in half using classic military techniques of divide and conquer, nothing was done to prevent their forces from being split right down the middle. The fascists moved (sometimes armed) freely through the ranks of the left-liberal alliance, who were positioned off Capitol grounds. The only physical confrontation was with one older reactionary in which at least two people from the left were arrested after the rightwing event ended. There is no reason that a group of this size should not be flexible with high mobility, the reason it was not was because of loose mis-leadership on the ground.
So to reiterate, 1. The rightwing demonstration proceeded as planned and was heard over the “noise” created by the left-liberal alliance. 2. The rightwing demonstration was carried out to its conclusion when the rightwing decided on their own, to call it a day, with no coercion or force from the left-liberal alliance which proved utterly toothless with all bark and no bite.
So what does paramilitarized antifascism look like?
To anyone who is sick and tired of being let down, put at risk, or wasting time at these demoralizing failures there is a better and more effective way to make an impact against fascists. Many of the left-liberal groups just run candidates, tail yellow capitalist unions, and in essence preach pacifism; unity with them is not going to get you anywhere. Real working class unity against fascism is what matters.
To begin, antifascism must be popularized among the broadest and deepest sections of our class, whom already stand far to the left of this spectacle which we have called the left-liberal alliance. Working people are not interested in performing an act in front of those whose racist ideology wants them disempowered, then dead. To make antifascism appeal to them we must stop playing into the most negative stereotypes and start proving our capacity at community self-defense and bold revolutionary actions. The left-liberal model of “antifascism” actually draws support for the enemy and alienates the masses from taking up antifascism as their own thing.
The post WWII “antifa” model has met its natural limitations, it has plateaued and stagnated. Instead of disorganized unarmed “affinity groups” which rely on nothing but a vague cultural identity for their points of unity, we encourage the formation of paramilitary organizations on two levels. The first being those who are mainly unarmed but are prepared and trained to carry out fist fighting or using blunt weapons like axe handles or flagpoles as well as shields and basic armoring. The second level is the more advanced embryo of a Red Army, which is trained militarily and operates as soldiers all the time, engaging in production and mass work among the proletariat and the oppressed nation’s people. We support the formation of street committees and rapid response networks of masses who have secure means of communication and clear leadership.
Our methods differ greatly from the liberal-left who fall short of any combat action—in one arrest affidavit from one of the antifascist actions we led last year the Department of Public Safety, while lying about who started the riot got a few things right—showing the difference between hard and soft antifascism, between antifa as a fighting unit which closes ranks on an enemy and “antifa” as a goofy performance art troop which puts on plays for fascist spectators and their collaborators.
What does antifascist unity look like?
It is time for Austin to stand up, to shake off bad leadership trying to impose itself on antifascism and come together under a better model of actual resistance and not token performance. When we organize and lead actions the fascists do not march every step they take is met with physical confrontation and they are bombarded from all sides.
We are willing to work with, and accomplish temporary unity with anyone who can be united with; we simply will not liquidate our leadership behind anti-communists, Democrats or social-democrats. Antifascism is in and of itself neither Socialist nor Communist but it must not be Anti-Communist. Communist leadership of a united front must not be liquidated. According to Chairman Mao:
“Capitulationism must be strenuously opposed. When we make concessions, fall back, turn to the defensive or halt our advance in our relations with either allies or enemies, we should always see these actions as part of our whole revolutionary policy, as an indispensable link in the general revolutionary line, as one turn in a zigzag course. In a word, they are positive.”
That is, our collaborations with those who genuinely wish to defeat fascism must not come at the expense of our own ability to fight fascism, or our ability to grow and expand strategically. While understanding the need for certain tactical unity against fascism we understand that antifascism is just one part of our overall revolutionary work. We will not change our color as Communists; we will not liquidate our program or allow cessation of ideological and political struggle. While we will unite first, we will not fail to criticize second. Those who are worthy of the sharpest criticism are the very same ones who frame any and all critique as a personal attack and cannot self-criticize.
ASC and their handful of supporters should realize once again that they are in tailing position, that their political line as it stands now lacks direction. They have no official ideology and remain an eclectic bunch of rightists. Making a play to oppose us is the errand of fools. Our movement will overcome all odds and can strike out at multiple enemies. If there is to be any coordination then it will be behind what works and not behind what doesn’t. Once again we invite any of their disheartened rank and file to leave their stifling ranks and express themselves in one of Austin’s numerous revolutionary mass organizations. ASC can alter its appearance, this will not change its essential character. Antifascism is not monolithic, any work among the masses is contested space which revolutionary Communism must combat revisionism, politically and at times with politics by other means. We make no apology for this fact because it is a fact derived from Marxism.
On the basis of our principled united front work, fascists and their collaborators can be drowned out, run out, routed, beaten bloody, and even annihilated. These are our principles and we aim to hold them to the very finish.
Drown fascism in a sea of resistance!
Our color is red, the flag of our people is red!
Oppose the hollow imitations represented by the Black Guards!
Antifascism is a question of forming paramilitary units!
Red Guards Austin, August 2018