Party Unit Discussion on Refuse Fascism

Digging In & Scientifically Summing Up

December 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


The Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA says the following about Party units:

Party units combine the strengths of their members and collectively approach the world, and making revolution, with sweep and rigor; imagination and thoroughness; creativity and perseverance; and struggle and unity. The unit is the principal site where members work to systematically grasp and apply, deepen and develop, and struggle over the line of the party. Units base themselves on the theory/practice/theory dynamic, leading their members in the ongoing process of knowing and transforming the world.

The following report, from a party unit made up of newer comrades, gives a sense of what this means—and has some important insights overall.

December 2017

We sat down with local leadership to discuss some of the questions that were forwarded to all comrades and Revolution Club members to help guide summation.

We began by discussing our overall thoughts provoked by the materials by BA, as well as other material on and elsewhere, about the current situation. We’ve each individually been going back to different works of BA, articles on, as well as other things coming from different perspectives that speak to the current situation but that don’t necessarily recognize the fascist character of the regime.

In going back to other works by BA in addition to the new talk, I was struck by the need to actually keep going back to what’s concentrated in the method. We have to take it up more fully and fight with people to go there and take it up. BA speaks in the new talk about how people who were all caught up in all this relativism now that Trump got elected feel that the truth matters. We still have to struggle with people about reality, how do we know what’s true, how do we change it. We’re under a fascist regime and we’re up against the urgent need to drive it out, but we’re running up against all kinds of problems. It’s all contradiction, the science is key, we need to have a scientific approach to everything, and it tends to get separated off too much. We’re communists in RF and if we’re trying to change reality our best chance to do so is to be scientific: theory, practice, theory all throughout. There is a pull to being overwhelmed by the actual shit that’s happening but they’re all contradictions. How are we going to deal with them? There’s that second to last question in Part 4 of the Q&As. We have to confront reality as it actually is and act with urgency but not in a frenetic way, there is a need for urgency on a scientific basis. It’s hastening while awaiting, but with a scientific approach, not just go go go.

X was moved to go back to “Unresolved Contradictions” and “The Truth about the Right Wing Conspiracy” piece off of what she’s been learning about students’ thinking. People are agonizing about the situation, students came out to protest Shapiro but [we had to argue]: would you ask pointed questions to people fighting for segregation if you were against it? They responded: not the same situation because people now have rights. People were separating off Ben Shapiro from the regime: “There are people who believe these things and if we don’t engage these people how are we gonna change their minds?” vs. an understanding of the regime. X was thinking about the need for people to understand the development of the situation and how we got here. Not just that Trump is a lunatic and the separation of powers are gonna save us. No, for decades, people have been working on this; a Christian fascist core has been going at this for decades. People aren’t seeing their program for what it is and how the fascists are seeing their necessity. That’s really important and clarifies a lot of shit, and we don’t go there enough with people. People need science and materialism. Why haven’t we gone there? I don’t know, there’s a separation where we’re not bringing in what we understand, e.g. the definition of fascism. Are we just using a more popular one vs. revcom’s definition? We rely on doing a lot of exposure on the horrors which is very important, but don’t enough make the case about how the checks and balances are being undermined and how society is transforming. Do we really understanding that enough? Do we pay attention to what the fascists are doing? Not sufficiently.

Y was speaking to how she’s been thinking about the talk and why is it that BA gets into the questions that he gets into. These are the questions that are on millions of minds and how even with us we don’t see it in a way where it needs to get to millions. That millions of people are agonizing over these questions and where they actually engage this talk it can have an impact on how people understand things and move them to act. We don’t know how people in the club see this film, we don’t think that people [in the club] are asking those questions: Why does BA speak to what he does? And it’s not just a matter of repeating what BA says, but bringing it straight to them for them to engage. We need to appreciate that this film is for millions and the core should be deepening our understanding and leading people to go back to and watch it themselves because it’s important. Why is BA speaking to those questions, those questions are what people are running up against, what’s paralyzing people from acting, not understanding in a scientific way where this regime came from? It didn’t come out of nowhere, they weren’t under a rock somewhere, it’s been building up to that. The talk traces examples of how even in a period where things were supposed to be OK, they were openly doing shit that is exposing itself, small steps of how things have been building up. People get Bush, then Obama and now Trump. The history of capitalism and white supremacy has everything to do with where we are now. It goes up against how Trump is viewed—not an egomaniac, stupid, he’s going to fail—but he’s actually dangerous and BA walks through why that is.

X spoke about reading an article in The Atlantic that’s titled “The Nationalist’s Delusion.” It speaks to a long held strategy in American politics where racism is disavowed but racist agendas are carried out. All men are created equal and yet they had slavery, segregation, etc. Even critics look to find different explanations for Trump’s election, “economic anxiety” or things like that, but not white supremacy. You can see how bound up this is with American chauvinism and why BA went there in the new talk when speaking to the fact that it’s not the greatness of western civilization but the fact that capitalism developed differently in different countries. It’s possible to say that people have gone further right in mainstream politics, but it’s not the case that people have gone further left. In reading the revcom piece “Why the Democrats’ Victories Do NOT Spell the End of Trumpian Fascism...” while it’s not fully getting into the history and development of fascism, it does provide evidence for people on how coming under the banner of the Democratic Party is so harmful, that going further right is actually the strategy for the Democrats. We have to make the case and provide evidence for people: why what is happening is happening, why the illusions people have are illusions and lay bare evidence for that.

American chauvinism: really understanding history and reality of white supremacy... something people really need to understand and why BA spends so much time on that part.

I was thinking about why did BA go at the GTF. I remembered I said something about U.S. crimes and [someone I was working with in RF] said, “You can’t say that to people, we understand that, but people out there won’t.” But American exceptionalism, chauvinism is in the way of people confronting this is a fascist regime, it’s what’s behind the “it couldn’t happen here” thinking, and all the faith people have in this system even though it is this system that brought this forth. If people confront the actual history of this country and what it has done, then it is not so unbelievable that they would seek a fascist resolution to unresolvable contradictions. There has to be unity/struggle/unity not just unity and avoid struggle for the sake of unity. It’s not just about being anti-American and be just like “fuck them” because we want to provoke an argument, but here’s a contradiction. It’s not because we’re stubborn on this point but it’s a big obstacle in people’s thinking, it’s getting in the way of people being able to recognize the immediate danger. The point isn’t that we have to get into the mode of production in every instance of a conversation when we go out to people and struggle with them to take up the mission to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, but we do have to get into the actual history of this country.

Y had made a point about the need to lead with BA and not just playing it for people but having people actually engage with what BA is putting forth and this made me think of the last showing the Revolution Club did of the talk. There was a lot of back and forth with a couple of people who showed up and watched the entire talk and three of the Q&As but it was too much people putting forward what they understand and not leading people to go back to what we just watched. Leading with BA doesn’t just mean playing the talk for people and then having a whole separate conversation that doesn’t involve taking people back the substance of the talk and engaging with BA. BA says that a lot of people who don’t agree with him have to be part of the movement to drive out the regime or else it won’t be what it needs to be, but what’s in the talk is not limited to what most people who need to be part of this will agree with.

When talking about what brought people out and what kept them away on the 4th, X spoke to how we did identify the fear, that people heard about fascist attacks and how there was confusion about November 4. We also heard about the civil war thing, the fascists who said they were going to come armed, etc. We heard about this from a couple people, one thought November 4 was a hoax. This person did end up coming to November 4, a socialist type person. Another person, undocumented, had a fear of physical attacks.

One student was motivated because she felt like others are not relating to the situation in a way that is commensurate with what is happening. All the normalization has motivated her further. We did the burning of a MAGA hat, and we’re talking about what’s up, and people were just walking by, including progressive people. She said it’s going to affect a lot of people but they’re not acting on that. She has a visceral outrage at what’s happening, but at first she lacked political understanding that this was a transition to fascism—but when she read the panels, especially the one on civil liberties, “oh shit, not just the attacks, something else... and we really have to respond.”

Something else that held people back was people seeing Trump as failing. Including citing health care stuff and the Mueller investigation. “See, there’s opposition. He’s trying to do stuff and he’s not being successful” and that’s people just looking at Trump, not the whole regime.

Y talked to a woman who’s a veteran that was at November 4, she heard about it, knew the message behind it. She heard an interview where someone made the point that everyone of different viewpoints was welcome. She thought it was important, the unity, people coming together from different perspectives... She said she was glad she hadn’t known of the threats because that probably would’ve stopped her from coming out, but now that she saw the outcome she was glad she showed up. She said she wouldn’t have come out because she didn’t want to confront the fascists. She saw the clip from the veteran who spoke at one of the rallies. She’s proud to have served in the military, she wasn’t on the ground in the way that he was so she saw different things. Y told her that she says some of the same things as the fascist about loving this country and wanting to fight for it but the fascists are standing for white supremacy and she’s not. But still she’s conflicted because they both love this country; she doesn’t like to sound like them because people will conflate. She disagreed about the history of this country but she was coming at it from her own experience. Her parents were immigrants and she was able to go to college, from her perspective the U.S. treated her and her family well. It’s contradictory because she does see how other people are being fucked over by this regime and she feels responsible, she’s not for white supremacy but she knows that when she talks about the U.S. she sounds similar to those who are.

Other people who did come out on November 4 knew that the fascists were going to be there and came to defend people and stand with others who were stepping out. Even for ourselves, it’s been understanding the necessity and stepping out based on that understanding. There has been real fear about going out and getting hurt and it’s interesting that everyone was thinking about it but nobody said anything till afterwards.

X said that the idea that Trump is failing has a lot of weight, it’s a big thing on campus and in society. Their assessment isn’t based on anything solid other than he failed at health care. We have to fill the gaps in people’s understanding and make the case about what this is and why people need to step out. It has to do with what runs through the entire talk, people will only step out if people recognize the necessity to do so, what’s it going to take to stop it and make a decision about how to relate to it all.

We had a meeting with the Rev Club that we had to go to and didn’t go on much longer because of it, but there are important things that should be returned to.


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