Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Mark Evans

For a Revolutionary Struggle Against Fascism


Published: Workers Herald, Vol. 1, No. 3, January 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Everyone who is aware of political developments in this country can see the signs of a rising fascist movement. We are not speaking of isolated acts of reactionary terror or of government repression. Today, we are speaking of a coordinated, determined effort by the most powerful and reactionary sectors of the bourgeoisie to prepare all the conditions for the establishment of fascist rule should it become necessary.


The ruling class is motivated by the economic and political conditions in the world today. It is facing the most severe crisis that it has confronted since the Second World War. Following the war, there was a respite for the capitalists. The war-ravaged West European and Japanese economies were reconstructed with U.S. capital. The replacement of capital destroyed by war created an extended market for capital goods. In the 1960’s, the Soviet Union and a number of other countries formerly in the socialist camp returned to the capitalist sphere. U.S. capital, in particular, was able to penetrate the neo-colonies in place of the domination of the former colonial rulers. In short, a period of relative stability ensued and capital was able to expand.

This expansion, however, inevitably ran into the barriers of the limited market under capitalism. These barriers, and the consequences of extended production of weapons and war materiel, were “discovered” during the economic crises in the 1970’s. The last decade has been characterized by increasingly fierce world-wide competition among all the imperialist powers for sources of raw materials and markets for capital and goods. It has also seen near default of neo-colonial countries on imperialist loans, skyrocketing inflation, monetary and financial instability and crises, a slowdown (and even stagnation and decline) in production, massive layoffs and unemployment levels unprecedented since the Great Depression. The bourgeois-revisionist countries, which were able to maintain fairly stable economies for a while after capitalism was restored, are now stumbling as well and are completely tied up in the world capitalist crisis.

There are no “easy” solutions for the capitalists in this crisis. They are aware that the capitalist world is not facing a temporary “slump” in the business cycle, but a long, agonizing decline in which each depression will bring the capitalist economies to greater crisis. In these conditions, the finance capitalists of each of the imperialist countries are adopting strategies^to minimize the effects of the crisis on their profits and to salvage their position in the world. In order to do this, they must: 1) fiercely attack the standard of living of the working class in their own countries, increasing its exploitation and pushing up the relative surplus value gained by the capitalists from production; 2) crush greater and greater sectors of the petty bourgeois entrepreneurs, driving them out of business through monopoly maneuvers, increased taxes and inflation; 3) increase the exploitation of the working people in the colonies and neo-colonies, and crush the native bourgeoisie’s efforts to gain a greater share of the profits, placing these nations under more savage economic and political domination by the imperialist powers; and 4) increase their share of the imperialist plunder in relation to the other imperialist powers, taking over sources of raw materials and markets for capital and goods from their imperialist rivals. In their attempts to accomplish these objectives, the monopoly capitalists adopt a course which inevitably ends in sharp clashes with sectors of the petty bourgeoisie, the oppressed nations and the other imperialists. In the 1930’s, similar economic and political conditions led to the rise of fascism in a number of imperialist countries and to an imperialist war of unprecedented death and destruction. The economic and political conditions today are leading the imperialists on the same path.

The hostile encounters between the imperialists and oppressed nations, such as in Afghanistan and Iran, and among the imperialist powers indicate the danger of world war. The capitalist world is divided into two hostile camps – one led by the Soviet Union, the other by the United States. A feverish military build-up is taking place on both sides.

Internally, the efforts to crush the proletariat and petty bourgeoisie force the bourgeoisie to strengthen the instruments of government repression and smash the democratic rights of the people. The growing inability of the economic organizations and the bourgeois-democratic government to function in the “normal” way in the conditions of economic and political crisis demand a more open system of state terror.

The economic crisis is accompanied by, and greatly aggravates, the political crisis. More and more, U.S. presidents are rejected by the people before completing their terms of office. Carter’s defeat illustrates the people’s disillusionment with the Democratic Party and liberalism. Similarly, both major political parties are losing ground as fewer and fewer citizens participate in elections. With the vicious attacks on the living standards of the working people, and sharper class conflict, the facade of bourgeois “democracy” wears thin and cannot contain the demands of the workers.

The mobilization of the country for war demands the concentration of economic and political control. It urges on the iron-fisted rule of the armament makers, oilmen and of finance capital, the merger of bank and industrial monopolies. The massive internal opposition to the Vietnam War and the inability of the imperialist army to discipline its own troops during the occupation of South Vietnam certainly have shown the bourgeoisie its difficulty in waging imperialist war without establishing fascist rule. These conditions have convinced larger sectors of the bourgeoisie of the need to prepare for fascism. In the mid-1970’s, the Trilateral Commission, a body representing the most powerful sectors of the capitalists of the United States, Western Europe and Japan, published a paper entitled “The Limits of Democracy,” which carefully outlined their plans. More recently, the Hoover Institute, an ultra-reactionary research institution closely associated with the Reagan administration, has published documents in which more specific guidelines for the development of the fascist state are spelled out. The growth of the fascist movement and the adoption of reactionary repressive measures by the government in recent years, therefore represent preparations to institute fascism, “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinist, and most imperialist elements of finance capital.” [Georgi Dimitrov, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 8]


Since the mid-1970’s we have seen a rapid expansion in the activity of openly fascist political organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. Their representatives appear regularly on bourgeois network television, and they are publicized in interviews and promotional articles in national magazines and newspapers, such as the New York Times, Esquire and Junior Scholastic. Klansmen, and Nazis won primary elections in California and Michigan last spring.

The fascists have been active in the anti-busing movement. They have stirred up anti-foreign hysteria with the Klan “Border Patrol,” which terrorizes Mexicans and Chicanos in California and Texas, and with their provocations against Iranian nationals and Cuban immigrants. In recent years, Klan organizations have been built on practically every major ship and base in the U.S. Navy and they are being promoted at a similar pace in other branches of the armed services. The Klan is actively building its “Youth Korps” in high schools around the country. Klan marches and rallies are a weekly occurrence in communities across the south and in other parts of the country as well.

The Klan organized the shooting of Blacks in Miami, Florida, Wrightsville, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee last summer. The Klan and Nazis, along with federal and local police agents, organized the assassination of five members of the revisionist “Communist Workers Party” in Greensboro, North Carolina in November, 1979. The murderous rampage of Joseph Paul Franklin and the racist killers in Buffalo and Atlanta, along with the wave of arson attacks against Black people’s homes and the step-up of white racist violence across the country are part and parcel of the rise of Klan and fascist activity and their preparations for “race war.” The Klan, with the expertise of police and army officers (active and retired) has set up military training camps in Alabama Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Illinois and Connecticut.

These developments are not spontaneous. The Klan is financed by the rich, and tremendous sums have been pumped into it recently. It is organized by the state, through the FBI, police, sheriffs and military officers. It is promoted in the press of the ruling class. The engineering of the massacre in Greensboro by government agents and the subsequent acquittals of the Klan and Nazi murderers contains a clear message to all revolutionaries, as well as all reactionaries – the bourgeois government fully supports the rise of fascist terror and, in fact, is the organizer of this terror.


In addition to the growth of political organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis, which represent the open face of fascism, we are also seeing a growth of fascist-type measures by the government. Over the last ten years federal, state and local governments have established “emergency decree” laws which permit them to institute martial law. Laws have been passed restricting the right to bear arms, especially in connection with demonstrations. Recent legislation and court decisions have further limited the right to strike and to demonstrate publicly and have, at the same time, given the police greater rights of search and seizure. The draft law makes it a felony to advocate resisting the draft.

The CIA has been freed to once again, “legally,” carry out unrestricted covert activity. Just last month the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee established a Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism to “investigate organizations that advocate the overthrow of the government.” The purpose of this committee is clearly to bring about a new wave of McCarthy-type persecution, directed first and foremost at communist revolutionaries. The Reagan administration is discussing relaxing “controls” on the FBI: allowing it to use wiretaps without the need of a court order; open mail; burglarize homes and conduct surveillance of political groups without evidence of any “illegal” activity. Of course, the FBI has been doing these things all along, but these present efforts to officially raise the government organs of repression above the formalities of bourgeois law represent a clear move towards the establishment of a fascist state. The new administration is making plans to introduce a national identification card similar to the repressive passbook system in South Africa.

The ruling class took great pains to assure the election of its favored candidate, Reagan, in order to intensify the attacks on the people’s living standards and pcH’-ical rights. The Ku Klux Klan endorsed Reagan and proclaimed that the Republican Party platform “sounded like it was written by a Klansman.” And indeed, while the Reagan administration does not openly fly the banner of Hitler-type fascism, it has been brought in to dramatically accelerate the movement toward fascism. We do not live in a fascist dictatorship today, but the establishment of fascist rule is the objective of a whole series of maneuvers and campaigns organized by the ruling class now.

In the last decade there has been a colossal growth in police brutality and murder of the residents of the U.S. This carnage has been justified by the bourgeoisie as necessary to fight crime. National minority people are particularly victimized by these attacks, but police violence is also being stepped-up against white working class youth. It is only the heroic rebellions of Black, Puerto Rican and Chicano people against police terror that have prevented wholesale massacres by the police. Another indication that repression is becoming the favored tactic of the ruling class is the increasing goon attacks organized by the trade union bureaucracy against rank and file union fighters, coordinated with police and legal action. For example, goon squads were organized to terrorize rank and file workers at the last three conventions of the USWA, and also at conventions of the UMWA. In Birmingham, “brownshirt” local union officers attacked a demonstration of unemployed steelworkers from the Fairfield Works in September, 1980. The murder of the TDU activists in Detroit and the murder of Jock Yablonski are further examples of this trend. Moreover, the increasing presence of the Klan in the trade union bureaucracy, the organization of police “unions” (Teamsters and Fraternal Orders of Police) and the acceptance of these into the trade unions councils – even into the leadership of these councils – reveals the trend toward fascization of the trade union bureaucracy.

Parallel with this growing fascist form of rule internally are massive preparations for war. Over the last two years, while slashing social service programs, the Carter administration and Congress have ordered tremendous increases in the military budget to build the cruise missile, a new fleet of nuclear submarines, the MX missile system, etc. The state has taken preliminary steps to re-institute the military draft, and has created a “quick strike force” designed to rapidly move troops and weapons to invade foreign countries, in particular those in the Middle East. From talk about “detente” and “armaments reduction,” the bourgeoisie has passed to the themes of “maintaining nuclear superiority,” developing “first strike capacity,” and winning “limited nuclear conflicts.” The mobilization of the nation for imperialist war will be greatly stepped-up by the Reagan administration.


We must fight to deny fascism a social base among the petty bourgeoisie and the backward workers who are rejecting the traditional political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, and are seeking radical solutions to the problems they face. Typically, it is this mass of the discontented petty bourgeoisie and backward workers that the fascist movement seeks to deceive and bring into its camp. It hides the fact that it is the bourgeoisie that is crushing the people and attacking their standard of living, instead scapegoating the “communist menace,” oppressed nationalities, the immigrant workers, foreigners, unemployed workers, labor unions, and so on. The fascists particularly play on the desire of the petty bourgeois to “return” to the days of “prosperity” for small enterprises.

We must address the problems faced by the petty bourgeois classes: the problems of monopolization of production and trade; profiteering by bank capital; skyrocketing inflation and taxes that are being used to drive small farmers and businessmen out of business and consume the savings of the petty bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy. While making no concessions to th» desires of these strata to “go back,” we must clearly expose that it is the monopoly bourgeoisie that is attacking them, not the working class and oppressed nationalities in this country and abroad.

In order to appeal to the increasingly radicalized masses the fascist demogogues even oppose in words the rich and powerful, and the government. The John Birch Society has perfected this propaganda, attacking the “Rockefeller-communist-one-world-government conspiracy.” The Klan attacks the “Jewish usurers and moneybags” and “their” federal bureaucracy and “interference.” These, of course, are old tricks used by Hitler, Mussolini and other fascists as well. We must show how Hitler and Mussolini did not diminish the power of the monopolies and the banks after they seized power, but increased it on an unprecedented scale. They did not “get the government off the backs of the people,” but increased the power of the bureaucracy and raised taxes. We must demonstrate with facts that the Klan is organized by the most powerful, reactionary sectors of the imperialist bourgeoisie and their government.

The John Birch Society, the Minutemen and other fascists attempt to identify themselves with the democratic traditions of the American revolution, while Klansmen portray themselves as “rebels” in order to exploit revolutionary and democratic sentiments among the masses. We must expose the fascists as the perpetrators of the most brutal dictatorship, and the hatchetmen of the most ferocious attacks on the democratic rights of the people. We must expose the kinship of the American fascist movement with the German Nazis, and demonstrate the ideological, political and organizational ties between the two. We must expose the old southern Confederacy for what it was: the brutal dictatorship of the slavocracy over the Black and white masses of the south, and the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes against the Black slaves. We must defend the democratic traditions of the American bourgeois-democratic revolution in 1776 while pointing out its limitations and showing that the fascists do not represent any of the progressive aspects of this revolution, but only the hypocritical, false side of it – the systems of slavery and capitalist exploitation that precluded any possibility of true equality and democratic freedom.

The fascist movement commits the grossest, most vitriolic slanders against communism and uses anti-communist hysteria as a powerful lever in its attacks on the proletarian and all progressive movements in this country. The efforts of the bourgeoisie in this direction have been very successful, largely due to the ideological weakness, capitulation and revisionist degeneration of the “Communist Party” USA (CPUSA). We must show in practice, as well as in words, that we communists are the greatest defenders of democracy and the interests of the people.

The fascist movement in the United States is bound up with the system of national oppression and U.S. fascist ideology is meshed with its natural companion, national chauvinism and racism. The strength of racism and national chauvinism among many whites is one of the greatest strengths of the fascist movement in the United States. We must dedicate tremendous efforts to combatting white racism through strong ideological and political struggle. We must concentrate our attention especially on cultivating anti-racist sentiments and actions among white workers.

White workers share a common class interest with the workers of the oppressed nations. They must join together in common struggle against their common enemy. Their banner is internationalism. We must train the working class in its internationalist duty to combat national chauvinism and racism with the ideology of proletarian internationalism. The great majority of white people, and white workers particularly, oppose the Ku Klux Klan, but the anti-fascist movement has not developed the proper forms of mobilizing them. We must demonstrate to white people that fascism is their direct enemy, which intends to viciously attack them, driving down their standard of living and crushing their democratic rights. We must convince them that it is in their own interests to vigorously combat fascism.

A legacy of the defeat of U.S. imperialist aggression in Vietnam is that the country is now divided on the question of imperialist war. During the course of the war a massive opposition movement was built, the greatest mobilization against imperialist war in the history of this country. Embryonic anti-imperialist consciousness grew among broad sectors of the American population, and, most importantly, amongst the soldiers in the U.S. army. Massive opposition to imperialist war still exists and stands as a great obstacle to the immediate designs by the bourgeoisie to mobilize the country for war.

The bourgeoisie and their fascist servants are doing their best stir up “revanchist” sentiments among Americans, to “regain” America’s lost domain, to stop the Arabs, the Iranians, the Vietnamese and particularly the Russians “from stepping on America.” The coordinated government/vigilante persecution of Iranian nationals in the U.S., the stirring-up of anti-Iranian hysteria, the semi-official, fascist slogan, “Nuke Iran,” the widespread propagation of the idea that the U.S. “has the right” to invade the Middle Easf to protect our interests and our oil have all been part of this ideological offensive to prepare the American people for imperialist war.

We must rekindle and cultivate the anti-imperialist sentiments that grew out of the Vietnam War. We must fortify this anti-imperialist consciousness, showing clearly which class instigates and benefits from imperialist war, and which classes suffer and die. We must combat the Klan’s slogan “America First” and promote proletarian internationalism, encouraging the identification of U.S. workers with workers in the Soviet Union, Iran, etc. At the same time, we must not fall into the stupidity of the “Revolutionary Communist Party” (RCP) with their slogans of Red, White and Blue, We Spit On You, which do nothing to advance anyone’s understanding of proletarian internationalism. Georgi Dimitrov, the great leader of the Bulgarian communists and a spokesman for the Communist International, opposed the tendency towards “national nihilism” among communists.

The task of educating the workers and all working people in the spirit of proletarian internationalism is one of the fundamental tasks of every Communist Party. But anybody who thinks that this permits him, or even compels him, to sneer at all of the national sentiments of the broad masses of working people is far from being a genuine Bolshevik, and has understood nothing of the teachings of Lenin on the national question. [Dimitrov, Vol. II, pp. 71-72]


The objective of the fascist movement is to establish a fascist dictatorship and deny democratic rights to all people; we must take the stand that the fascists cannot be given the liberty to do this. The fascists have no right to organize. We must fight for the passage of laws to make the Klan and all other fascist organizations illegal. We must fight to ban Klansmen and all other fascists from the trade unions and other mass organizations.

Trotskyists, and certain other revisionists, claim that the demand to outlaw the Klan is reactionary because the bourgeois government will use any such law to repress the left. This is an infantile “leftist” position. The bourgeoisie will always try to twist any reform to render it useless, and use it for its own purposes, against the interests of the working class. This does not mean, however, that we do not fight for the genuine reforms’/^ it means that we demand that the reforms be implemented to meet the demands of the working class and its allies.

We must not accept vague laws against “political terror” or “military training” that the bourgeois liberals propose with the specific intent of using against the revolutionary movement. We must fight for laws specifically and exclusively outlawing the Klan and other fascists, laws like those passed by the democratic Reconstruction governments in the south after the Civil War.

By fighting for laws outlawing the fascists, and by demanding that the government enforce those laws that do exist, we attack and expose the promotion of the fascists by the bourgeoisie, the press and the government, and condemn the opposition of the bourgeois government to passing and implementing such laws. But laws outlawing the fascists are not the solution and cannot be promoted as such. The government is the organizer of the fascist movement and will never destroy it. We must mobilize the masses to destroy the fascists.


We must defeat fascism ideologically and we must defeat it politically. But, we must defeat the fascists militarily as well. The Klan is dedicated to the armed suppression of the workers’ movement and all progressive political movements. The Klan’s reactionary terror will only be beaten back by responding in kind. The fascists have no hesitation about attacking the unarmed. Common sense tells us that armed self-defense is the only protection that the masses have against the reactionaries’ terror.

The Communist International made abundantly clear the way the fascist movement was to be prevented from destroying the revolutionary and democratic movements. The Fifth Congress of the Communist International, held in 1924, called for the:

1. Formation of armed defence detachment against armed fascism.
2. Disarming of the fascists...
3. Fascist demonstrations to be answered by counter demonstrations of workers with armed protection.
4. Terrorist fascist actions (destructions of trade union offices, printing works, etc.; attempts on workers and workers’ leaders, etc.) to be answered by general strikes, the use of working-class mass terror by reprisals against fascists, their leaders, their printing works and other undertakings.
5. Stopping railway transport when the fascists organize marches, meetings and demonstrations...
6. Driving the fascists out of the factories; sabotage; passive resistance; strikes in factories where fascists are employed or are used to supervise and split the workers.

Some people admit the necessity for armed self-defense against the fascists, but never propagate the idea, hiding it from the masses, and most importantly, refusing to organize it. In fact, these liberals, posing as anti-fascists, go so far as to say people have no need to fear fascist attacks. They claim that the masses are not prepared to accept the necessity of armed self-defense and that to raise this specter would scare them.

And while these philistines claim that the masses are “not ready,” working people have in the past and are today ready and willing to fight the fascists with arms. In addition, Black people in Miami, Wrightsville, Birmingham and Chattanooga have risen in armed rebellion against fascist attacks. Black people and other national minorities are arming themselves and forming self-defense groups in cities around the nation. White people who are familiar with the Klan and have seen its terror and propaganda in their own communities also know that the Klan must be stopped with guns. They know they have far less to “fear” from organized self-defense than from claims that “the Klan will not attack us.” It is this sector of the people, who have no question about the absolute necessity of organizing armed self-defense against the Klan, that will form the solid base of a genuine anti-fascist movement. Those who are confused or deceived by pacifism and religion will follow this movement anyway if they are serious about fighting fascism, because it is only this genuine movement that will really fight fascism.

Moreover, we will not win people to understanding the necessity of organizing armed self-defense by conciliating with pacifism and philistinism, and by hiding the reality of the inevitability of armed conflicts. The longer that the ideas of “peaceful struggle against the Klan” and “relying on the police” are allowed to linger in our movement, the longer we postpone the preparation of the masses.

Particularly today we must widely propagate the need to organize armed self-defense against the fascists. We must use the recent step-up in fascist terror, the Greensboro massacre, the attacks in Decatur, Wrightsville, Chattanooga and Miami, the Klan military camps, etc., not to morally condemn the Klan, or to terrify the masses, as is the habit of the “CPUSA”, the “Communist Labor Party” (CLP) and other revisionists, but to call upon the people to arm themselves and organize self-defense against the Klan.

Mobilize the Vast Masses in the Anti-fascist Struggle

As long as the imperialist bourgeoisie remains in power the danger of fascism cannot be finally eliminated. Only the proletarian revolution, the destruction of bourgeois rule and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat will be able to completely put an end to the danger of fascism.

Until the imperialist bourgeoisie is overthrown, the struggle against fascism is essentially a struggle for reforms – to defend and expand the democratic rights that we are allowed under bourgeois democracy. It is urgent to defend these rights now, when they are under attack by the ruling class. We cannot listen to the “left” revisionist rhetoric of the “RCP” and others who claim that the struggle to defend democratic liberties under bourgeois rule is a “farce” designed to distract us from the proletariat’s real goal of socialist revolution. Of course, we must fight for socialist revolution in order to finally destroy fascism and the system of exploitation that gives rise to it. But there is no antagonism between the struggle for socialist revolution and the struggle to defend and expand democratic rights under capitalism, nor could there be. The struggle for democracy, in fact, aids the struggle for socialist revolution by exposing and isolating the bourgeoisie, gathering the other democratic classes and strata under the leadership of the proletariat, and increasing the people’s freedom to organize. Lenin described the relationship between the struggle for democracy and the struggle for socialism in these words:

The proletariat cannot be victorious except through democracy, i.e., by giving full effect to democracy and by linking with each step of its struggle democratic demands formulated in the most resolute terms. It is absurd to contrapose the socialist revolution and the revolutionary struggle against capitalism to a single problem of democracy, in this case the national question. We must combine the revolutionary struggle against capitalism with a revolutionary programme and tactics on all democratic demands: a republic, a militia, the popular election of officials, equal rights for women, the self-determination of nations, etc. [LCW, Vol. 21, p. 408]

All “democracy” consists of the proclamation and realization of “rights” which under capitalism are realizable only to a very small degree and only relatively. But without a proclamation of these rights, without a struggle to introduce them now, immediately, without training the masses in the spirit of this struggle, socialism is impossible. [LCW, Vol. 23, p. 74]

Historically, the Ku Klux Klan, the principal fascist organization in the United States today, was organized to maintain the subjugation of the Black Nation in the south and split the embryonic workers’ movement through the use of brutal terror. At the same time, racist vigilante groups were organized to terrorize the Native American peoples after the “Indian Wars,” and to maintain the subjugation of the Chicano Nation after the U.S. government seized the region of Texas, the southwest and California in the 1840’s. In the 1920’s, the Klan was brought into the western and northern states and merged with the local vigilante groups to create a nationwide, openly fascist movement.

The Klan and other fascist organizations have targeted for special attack the immigrants who are drawn to the United States from the underdeveloped and oppressed nations. National oppression, racism and fascism have a closely woven history in this country. Today the conditions of economic crisis and the rise of the fascist movement have resulted in intensified attacks on the oppressed nations and peoples within the U.S. The purpose of these attacks is to try to: 1) beat back the national movements in order to intensify the super-exploitation of oppressed nationality workers; and 2) turn the fury of white workers away from their exploiters, scapegoating the oppressed nationalities as the supposed cause of their problems, thus dividing the multinational working class.

The struggles of the people of the Black and Chicano nations for self-determination, and the struggles of all oppressed nationalities for full equality, are mortal enemies of the fascist movement. We must mobilize the oppressed people and nations against fascism.

The well-funded movement of Phyllis Schlafly, “Right-to-Lifers” and the Moral Majority, which makes the perpetuation of women’s oppression its central theme, is an integral part of the fascist movement in the United States. The fascist movement as a whole stands for the continued subjugation of women, under the demogogic slogans of “protecting the family and Christian principles.”

Recently, these forces have waged successful attacks on the right to abortion and have blocked the struggle of women for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the state legislatures. An end to systematic discrimination, pornography, rape and sexual harassment and for social emancipation in general, are principles in direct opposition to the fascist view. The movement for women’s emancipation has combatted the fascists in the past and will play an even greater role in the future.

Despite their demagogic lies about “representing the little man,” once they assume power the fascists crush the small businessmen and farmers and viciously attack the living standards and democratic rights of the vast masses of the petty bourgeoisie. The fascists seize the educational, cultural and scientific institutions and crush all progressive and democratic movements among the intelligentsia and the students. Historically in this country radicalized small farmers in the midwest and the south, progressive students and intellectuals and some businessmen have played an important role in opposing the fascist movement and the attacks on the standard of living and the democratic rights of the people by the ruling class.

The most powerful and staunchest opponent of fascism is the multinational working class. The working class in this country and in other countries as well, has been and continues to be the vanguard of the struggle for democracy and against fascism. In 1897 Lenin wrote about the role of the proletariat and of the other classes in the struggle for democracy in Russia.

... only between the working class and the autocracy is no compromise possible, only in the working class can democracy find a champion who makes no reservations, is not irresolute and does not look back. The hostility of all other classes, groups and strata of the population towards the autocracy is not unqualified, their democracy always looks back. The bourgeoisie cannot but realize that industrial and social development is being retarded by the autocracy, but it fears complete democratization of the political and social system and can at any moment enter into an alliance with the autocracy against the proletariat. The petty bourgeoisie is two-faced by its very nature, and while it gravitates on the one hand, towards the proletariat and democracy, on the other hand it gravitates towards the reactionary classes, tries to hold up the march of history, is apt to be seduced by the experiments and blandishments of the autocracy, is capable of concluding an alliance with the ruling classes against the proletariat for the sake of strengthening its own small proprietor position. Educated people, and the “intelligensia” generally, cannot but revolt against the savage police tyranny of the autocracy, which hunts down thought and knowledge; but the material interests of the intelligentsia bind it to the autocracy and to the bourgeoisie, compel it to be inconsistent, to compromise, to sell its oppositional and revolutionary ardour for an official salary, or a share of profits or dividends. As for the democratic elements among the oppressed nationalities and the persecuted religions, everybody knows and sees that the class antagonisms within these categories of the population are much deeper-going and stronger than the solidarity binding all classes within any one category against the autocracy and in favor of democratic institutions. The proletariat alone can be – and because of its class position must be – a consistently democratic, determined enemy of absolutism, incapable of making any concessions and compromises. The proletariat alone can be the vanguard fighter for political liberty and for democratic institutions. Firstly, this is because political tyranny bears most heavily upon the proletariat whose position gives it no opportunity to secure a modification of that tyranny – it has no access to the higher authorities, not even to the officials, and it has no influence on public opinion. Secondly, the proletariat alone is capable of bringing about the complete democratization of the political and social system, since this would place the system in the hands of the workers. [LCW, Vol. 2, pp. 335-336]

In Russia in 1897, the people were not fighting fascism, but against the semi-feudal Czarist autocracy. However, the roles played by the various classes in the democratic struggle that Lenin spoke of in this passage were the same, with one notable exception: the liberal bourgeoisie at some points stood for democratic reforms (but not revolution) in the age of the Czarist autocracy.

Today, in the era of bourgeois imperialist rule, the bourgeoisie has ceased to have any democratic or progressive features. There is no sector of the U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie which has an interest in genuinely fighting against fascism. One sector of the bourgeoisie promotes and organizes the rise of fascism, while the other prefers to maintain bourgeois democracy. The disagreements between these sectors become quite sharp at times; but the bourgeois liberals will never mobilize the masses of working people to rise up against fascism, for they fear the movement of the workers and the revolution more than they fear fascism. Therefore, the bourgeois liberals will covertly assist the fascist movement. While they will condemn fascism in words, they will in fact work desperately to derail the anti-fascist movement of the working people.

As Lenin points out, the national movements are not homogeneous but are divided into antagonistic classes. Not all of these classes genuinely oppose fascism. The Black bourgeoisie opposes fascism in words but, in deeds, lines up with the U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie and does its bidding. The national movements can be divided into the tendencies of national reformism, which defends capitalism even if it means capitulation to fascism, and the national revolutionary movement, which seeks the overthrow of U.S. imperialism and fights fascism. National reformism represents the interests of the national bourgeoisie and the upper petty bourgeoisie. The revolutionary national movement represents the interests of the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie. Just as in the democratic, anti-fascist struggle as a whole, the proletariat within the oppressed nations is the only consistent fighter for national liberation.

We must mobilize into a common front all of the forces that support democracy and are genuinely ready to fight fascism, to strike together and beat back the fascist offensive. The Revolutionary Political Organization (Marxist-Leninist), representing the revolutionary, class conscious proletariat of the U.S. will join in a common front with all genuine anti-fascist organizations and fighters. The RPO(ML) will join with revolutionary nationalists because they are willing to fight fascism and have a history of heroic struggle against national oppression and fascism.

We seek to join in a common front with the revolutionary women’s movement because it is willing to fight fascism. We seek to join in a common front with petty bourgeois revolutionary formations when they are willing to fight fascism. We are even prepared to join in a common front with petty bourgeois and working class forces who are suffering from reformist illusions, when they are willing to fight fascism, not only in words, but in deeds.

However, we will never join together in a common front with the bourgeois liberals (the Democratic Party, the trade union bureaucrats, etc.). We do not consider the bourgeois liberals part of the anti-fascist movement; they are not genuinely opposed to fascism, but only place themselves in the movement to defeat it from within. They use their access to money, the media and political influence to demand the subservience of the movement to them, to reformist principles and to capitalism. They promote reliance on the government and the courts, which are, in reality, the organizers of the fascist movement.

These same bourgeois liberals would have us engage in “peaceful struggle” against the fascists in the face of stepped-up armed attacks by the Klan. They are far more concerned with the fascists’ supposed “constitutional rights” than with protecting the people from the complete destruction of democratic rights that the fascists intend to carry out. They use their power and connections to manipulate the movement, deter it from its goals and strait jacket it, so that it becomes weak and harmless to the capitalist class and the fascists. When the misleader-ship of the bourgeois liberals has dominated the antifascist masses, the result has invariably been handing the government over to the fascists. The clearest and most devastating examples of this were Germany, Indonesia and Chile.

There are many workers and petty bourgeoisie that genuinely want to fight fascism but who are presently convinced that the bourgeois liberals “hold the key to victory.” We must show them that the leaders of the ACLU, the reformist trade unions, the SCLC, the NAACP, the Jessie Jacksons, the Julian Bonds and the Ron Dellums, are not heroes of the struggle against fascism, but capitulate to fascism and abet it. We must expose them every time they are called in to throw water on the flames of the people’s struggle against repression, as they were in Miami, Birmingham, Wrightsville and Chattanooga. We must show that even the most militant-sounding of the bourgeois reformists are capitulators and represent the same interests as such “civil rights leaders” as Ralph Abernathy and Charles Evers, who endorsed the Reagan administration.

We must convince the masses under their influence to reject the tutelage of the bourgeois liberals and to break with their capitulationist policies. If, in order to do this, we must join in mass demonstrations and activities organized by them we must always be certain that we criticize their policies, and that we expose, and never promote, them.

We do not enter into a common front with revisionist organizations that support China and the “Three Worlds Theory,” because they always trail after the bourgeois liberals and support imperialist war preparations. How can we carry out our work against war and fascism in alliance with forces that actually support war preparations?

We do not enter into a common front with the revisionist “Communist Party, USA” because it always demands subservience to the bourgeois liberals and because it supports the imperialist war preparations of the USSR. How can we convince the American people to oppose U.S. imperialist war preparations, if we are carrying out our anti-war activity in alliance with forces that support the imperialist war preparations of the USSR?

We do not enter into a common front with any Trotskyist organizations because they are splitters and wreckers, reformists and government agents.


While we seek to build a common tactical front against fascism with people of many political tendencies and different political platforms, this joint work must be based on certain fundamental tactical slogans that are essential for victory and correspond to the fundamental principles and tactics of the class struggle of the proletariat:

1. The fascists have no right to organize; the fascist movement must be destroyed;
2. Armed self-defense against reactionary terror; death to the Klan;
3. Active struggle against the fascist movement; reliance on the masses;
4. For the equality of all nationalities; equality of men and women.
While we might be compelled to join in specific common actions that are not based on these tactical slogans, we will only do this in order to help build an anti-fascist movement that is based on this revolutionary line.

Today reformism, revisionism, nationalism, anarchism and other bourgeois and petty bourgeois tendencies predominate in the working class movement, the national movements, the women’s movement, the student movement and the other progressive movements that should be part of the anti-fascist struggle. The weakness of the genuine proletarian Marxist-Leninist movement, the lack of a developed communist party, is also a weakness of the anti-fascist movement in the United States. Under petty bourgeois leadership the movement will remain weak and inconsistent. We must build the strength and influence of the genuine communists because only genuine communist leadership can correctly guide the anti-fascist movement without vacillation, adventurism or capitulation.

In all joint action, Marxist-Leninists must maintain their ideological, political and organizational independence. We must never lose sight of the proletariat’s overall strategic goals of proletarian revolution and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. We will join in common struggle with revolutionary nationalists, but we will not compromise with the ideology of nationalism. We will join in common struggle with petty bourgeois formations influenced by reformism or anarchism, but we will not compromise with reformism or anarchism. We will continue to oppose and work for the defeat of those tendencies from the point of view of the ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism.

We will not surrender our political and organizational independence. We will continue to base our actions on the interests of the proletariat, and always fight to further these interests. It is definitely in the interests of the proletariat to join with other forces in a common antifascist front, but many of these other forces vacillate in this struggle. We will join with these vacillating forces so long as they actually fight the fascists. When they deviate from this course and capitulate to fascism we will break with them and expose their misdeeds. We must be aware that those with whom we work share the desire to beat back fascism, but their long-range programs conflict with ours. As Lenin said, we must “march separately and strike together.”


The fascist movement is a powerful enemy. It must not be underrated. We’re confronting not only the openly fascist political organizations like the Klan; we are confronting the most powerful and reactionary sections of the bourgeoisie and their state which are determined to see fascism grow. But neither should the fascist movement be considered invincible, or fascism inevitable. It can be beaten back. Fascism stands in opposition to the interests of the vast majority of the people in this country and the rise of fascist terror will arouse the increasing indignation and opposition of masses of people. It is our task to broaden this opposition through unremitting, systematic and bold political action.