March separately, but strike together! For a united front against fascism in the US! General Strike now!

Two facts are now clear. Firstly, President Trump will use fascist thugs and his control of the executive and judiciary to try and stay in power regardless of the vote on Nov 3rd. Secondly, the Democrat Party will not offer any resistance to this coup. The consolidation of a presidential dictatorship means the end of democracy and the basic rights of free speech and assembly won by the working class over the past two centuries.

What path forward then for the US working class? The answer lies in organising for a general strike organised by a United Front of all anti-fascist forces in the US to bring down the Trump regime. The United Front against fascism was a strategy proposed by Leon Trotsky the last time a capitalist ruling class called upon the filth of fascism. He argued the German working class must unite in action to stop the Nazis. His call was not heeded. The same mistake must not be made in the US today.

What is a United Front Strategy and why is it needed?

A United Front strategy seeks to unite as much of the working class as possible in common defensive struggle against fascism. Trotsky unsuccessfully encouraged the German Communist Party (KPD) to adopt the strategy in 1930 when he wrote:

The Communist Party must call for the defense of those material and moral positions which the working class has managed to win in the German state. This most directly concerns the fate of the workers’ political organizations, trade unions, newspapers, printing plants, clubs, libraries, etc. Communist workers must say to their Social Democratic counterparts: “The policies of our parties are irreconcilably opposed; but if the fascists come tonight to wreck your organization’s hall, we will come running, arms in hand, to help you. Will you promise us that if our organization is threatened you will rush to our aid?”.

What would this look like in the US today? It would be a call out for united action to defend protests, meetings and gatherings from fascist attack. The number of attacks on Black Lives Matters protestors or anti-fascist protestors by thugs using cars, guns, mace and other weapons in the US is truly frightening. Trump has openly called for the fascist gangs to “Stand back and Stand by” to prepare to unleash organized violence and intimidation to suppress the vote and disrupt the voting before November 3rd, at the polls, and on the day after. This will serve the double purpose of bludgeoning working class resistance to the coup and adding to an atmosphere of chaos to legitimize the Supreme Court’s ratification of his coup.

Kyle Rittenhouse, left, walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 25, 2020, with another armed civilian. (/The Journal Times via AP)

Defensive organising must begin now to defend all forms of political organising by the working class. Défense committees based around the social movements, trade unions, schools and universities, and workplaces must be formed. Workers must come rushing to help each other. However, spontaneous action will only lead to more, not less bloodshed on the streets. Collective action must be organised across the US.

What is a general strike?

A general strike is the withdrawal of the labor of all workers across all industries joined by students and the unemployed. If the US ruling class was rattled by the recent large Black Lives Matters protests, imagine the power of tens of millions of people on the streets if schools, universities and workplaces shut down! Such a strike would alter class relations in the US. It would represent the working class intervening to defend its own interests rather than conceding the political terrain to either faction of the ruling class. Workers can unite in this strike around the central demand – No to fascism! Down with the Trump regime!

 What is the working class?

In Marxist terms, the working class is everyone who has to survive by earning a wage e.g. by selling their labor. This is the vast majority of humanity who all share the same social interests of wanting access to good working conditions, healthcare, education and a clean environment. The working class is not just “blue collar” or industrial workers but teachers, nurses, retail workers, people in the service industry etc but everyone who survives by earning a wage.

Why the Democrat Party will not lead this fight

This is not a call to support any form of electoral alliance with the Democrat Party or a vote for Biden. Since Trump’s election in 2016, the Democrat Party have done everything in their power to deaden any mass mobilisation of the working class against Trump. Instead they have tried to direct all opposition to Trump down reactionary dead ends such as Russiagate. They are not calling for people to head to the streets if Trump steals the election, but are fostering the illusion a fascist coup can be headed off by a large Biden majority. They are terrified that any mass mobilisation of the working class could spiral out of control and lead to demands for radical political change in the US. The last thing they Democrats want is to come to power on the back of a working class uprising. They would much rather live with an election stolen by the far right forces around Trump just as they did in 2000 when Gore and his party refused to challenge the anti-democratic ruling of the Supreme Court.

The Democrats are attempting to chlorophorm the working class to accept that the military will prevent a Trump fascist coup. This is a deadly trap. Whilst General “Mad Dog” Mattis and the military brass may have spoken out in June against Trump’s threats to use the insurrection act, this tactical move should not be taken as evidence of their commitment to democracy. To do so would ignore the blood soaked role that the US military and intelligence agencies have played in destroying and undermining democracies and the popular will around the world. Secondly, a democracy “saved” by the military would be a democracy in name only. One need only look to the experience of Egyptian democracy being “saved” by the military in 2013 which led to the installation of the “Butcher of Cairo,” Al sisi. Allende, the Social Democratic President of Chile also hoped that General Pinochet would help protect Chilean democracy in 1973.

We appeal to all those workers and democratic forces planning to vote for Biden in hopes of blocking fascism to join with us in a joint struggle for real action to stop Trump and the fascist coup. Join us in the struggle to build defence committees and for a general strike!

Trade Unions

Similarly the trade union bureaucracies which tie workers to the Democrats cannot be trusted. They remain silent about the growing threat of a fascist coup. We appeal to the workers in trade unions to do all they can within their unions, but also to reach out to their class brothers and sisters in the non-unionised sector to build for a general strike of the entire working class. 

On October 8th, the Rochester Labor Council, in the State of New York, passed a motion calling for all labor organisations in the US to “prepare and enact a general strike” if the election is stolen by Trump.

March separately, strike together!

We are not making a call out for any political union or merger between Marxist and non-Marxist forces— only for an agreement on a specific joint action. As Trotsky wrote in 1931:

No common platform with the Social Democracy, or with the leaders of the German trade unions, no common publications, banners, placards! March separately, but strike together! Agree only how to strike, whom to strike, and when to strike! Such an agreement can be concluded even with the devil himself, with his grandmother, and even with Noske and Grezesinsky. [5] On one condition, not to bind one’s hands.

What is the class function of fascism

Fascism is not just some evil ideology that emerges at random times in history. Fascism aims to destroy the ability of the working class to organise in times of intense social crisis when the ruling class fears the specter of mass opposition to its rule leading to its overthrow by socialist revolution. This is why it gained in strength in Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s after the Russian Revolution and during the Great Depression. Now it’s back again as the world plunges into an ever deeper economic crisis beginning with the 2007/8 Global Financial Crisis, and now intersecting with the disaster of covid19. A section of the US ruling class has come to believe that under conditions of such staggering social inequality and mass desperation, even limited forms of democratic rule must be jettisoned and replaced with outright fascist dictatorship. Likewise, the maintenance of the domination of US imperialism in the world market vis a vis the growing power of economic rivals like China may require the launching of ever more horrific wars, including nuclear war. The same ruling class faction does not believe that both a social war on the wages and living conditions of working class, and an imperialist war against a rival competitor, can be carried out under democratic conditions given the overwhelming anti-war sentiment of ordinary people.

As revolutionary Marxists, classconscious.org sees fascism as an outgrowth of capitalism. We insist that the only way to truly defeat fascism is through the struggle to put an end to capitalism once and for all and replace it with socialism. This is a system where the international working class owns and controls the means of production (the important parts of the economy), and the productive capacities of humanity are consciously planned to meet human need rather than private profit.

Spread the call out!

However, the threat posed by fascism in the US is immediate and dire. Revolutionary socialists cannot fight this struggle alone. We need a united front of all trade unionists, socialists, anarchists, Marxist tendencies, and their allies in the middle class and the social movements to defend the democratic right to assemble peacefully in protests, meetings, and pickets and against the fascist militias. We need joint organising for a general strike.

Classconscious.org is a very small group. We hope that by spreading this demand we play a role in helping to support the growth of a mass working class anti-fascist movement to bring down the Trump regime and rout the fascist thugs on the streets. The fate of the international working class is tied to the US working class. Likewise, the crisis of capitalism is driving the growth of fascism internationally. In countries as far afield as Brazil, the Philiphines, India, Hungary and Poland far right governments are in power. This process is emboldened and strengthened by the growth of fascism in the US which views fascist allies as essential as it plans war against its strategic rivals. A victory of fascism in the US would set us all back and spread the virus of fascism and dictatorship around the world. A victory over fascism in the US would strengthen us all in our struggles.

Contact us on ClassConscious@protonmail.com if you would like to discuss with us how to work together to urgently promote the tactics and action for a united front against fascism and for a general strike in the US.

We have also formed a Facebook Group United front against fascism! General Strike Now“.

Trotsky on Fascism

To read more about what fascism is and the tactic of the united front, Trotsky’s writings on Germany maintain a burning relevance. They can be found on marxist.org here.