Attacks on refugees by white supremacists are treated as minor incidents in court – if at all – while at the same time the state is tiexecuting its own anti-refugee project of Incarceration & Deportaon. This week the state symbolically convicted fifteen white supremacists who had thrown firework bombs with the force of hand granades at refugee children. Their punishment? 40 and 120 hours of community service. And they have to pay 2000 euros in damages to a security guard. (No damages to the refugees of course.)
Exactly the same punishment was given to the Zeister 7, a group of activists who were accused of cutting a piece of fence at the family detention center in Zeist. They too were convicted to 120 hours of community service. Some of the fascists even got less. Apparently a simple fence has the same value as 148 traumatised people. So next time you think of throwing bombs at children who fled war, know that the horrible consequence could be one to three weeks of unpaid working.
The fact of the matter is that the state really doesn’t care about refugees. On the contrary, in a less explicit way for the last sixteen years they’ve been doing exactly the same as the Woerden fascists in October. The state has been illegalising, criminalising, incarcerating and deporting people, resulting in hundreds of reported and unreported deaths within the national borders. The only difference between the state and the Woerden fascists is their methods. The state uses bureaucratised, legally violent, institutionalised means to hunt people down, incarcerate them, intimidate them, and either deport them or force them to “voluntarily” let themselves be deported. The fascists used more blunt, explicit means, but their goal was exactly the same: intimidating the hell out of the refugees so they will go away.
This is why a trial like this is a joke. On the one hand it’s just a symbolic gesture to keep up appearances about the rule of law being about justice. On the other hand it’s reassuring the state monopoly on violence. They want to make sure they are in control of what happens. Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited the shelter after the attack to condemn it and to say it was “unacceptable”. The only thing that was “unacceptable” however was the fact a self-organised gang of fascists did what the state considers to be it’s own task.
The state has the power and the resources to protect the refugees and to oppress the violent fascist movement of today. But they aren’t doing it. Not in the Netherlands, not in Germany, not anywhere else in Europe. Instead they are symbolically condemning attacks and handing out minor punishments to fascists. It will be only a while before the state apparatuses realise that what the fascists are doing, is only beneficial for them. And then they will let the facists do their thing, pretending not to see it, or they will even actively support it by organising or funding citizen’s militias, like some right-extremist politicans are propagating already. State supported or not, fascist mobs are terrorizing the country more and more and it will only get more intense and violent.
It is now more than ever vital to start organising self-defense networks. We cannot sit around and wait until deaths are the result of white supremacist violence. I see self-defense as a two-fold thing: at the one hand targeted people (refugees, Muslims, people of colour, lefitsts) should always be ready to defend against a possible attack. This means we should be having fighting and self-defense trainings. Really, if you aren’t doing this yet, start doing it. The current situation in Germany is a reflection of what we can expect in the Netherlands. Every day there has been at least one attack on a refugee housing for more than a year now. Refugees in Germany already are taking measures because they know they can be attacked on the street at any time if they are alone.
The second means of self-defense is one for the long term and as a necessary part of our overall anti-capitalist struggle: the flight forward. As we are getting better organised on a political level, we should also organise ourselves to actively remove the biggest fascist threats. Attacking your attacker also counts as self-defense. Waiting around until your enemy starts killing you is just hoping the odds of luck will be in your favour. Survival doesn’t come down to counting on imaginary guardian angels; it comes down to being well prepared, being trained and being ready. We can only survive the tsunami of fascist violence if we are better organised than them.
Some people might argue that organising fighting squads is doing exactly the same as what the fascists are doing. Saying this is not considering the crucial fact that the goals are entirely different. What the fascists want is a whites only country, a homogeneous and violent society that would neatly fit into the existing capitalist framework, based upon genocide, exploitation and oppression. What we want is a society without classes where people are free regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, etc. What we want is the overthrow of the white supremacist patriarchal imperialist capitalist state. Overthrowing a violent system of oppression and exploitation is not going to look nice. Considering it’s a long road towards that we had better take the first neccesary steps.