Why we have to do everything we can to keep Pegida small

Events like the Pegida demonstration this Saturday in Amsterdam are key moments for antifascists to keep the fascist movement as small as possible. Pegida has been trying to seize momentum in the past months, but they haven’t succeeded very well. This is thanks to the antifascists who turned up time and time again to disturb their protests. Standing in the way simply made it very hard for people to join or even see Pegida demonstrations. The patriots from Germany have never been able to mobilise more than 200 people in the Netherlands, the majority of whom are notorious neonazi’s, Dutch and foreign.

Despite favourable media coverage of Pegida, disturbing the events always gave it an odour of uneasiness; it has made the whole Pegida thing a littly shady. There are a lot of people who are potential Pegida protestors, but so far they have stayed home because of these reasons.

The people Pegida is trying to mobilise are the angry white working class, who has been the victim of the capitalist crisis and the neoliberal cuts that followed. Working class people have seen social housing, health care, education and public transport become inaffordable. And they are pissed. And they should be. Only they direct their anger in totally the wrong way, at other victims of the same capitalist system: working class people of colour, refugees, Muslims. It is so easy for neo-fascists – from Geert Wilders to Pegida to ID Verzet and NVU – to scapegoat them, because of a total lack of a leftist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist narrative in the parliament as well as in societal institutions and the white supremacist bias of the bourgeois media.

As it’s getting to hard to keep track of how many demonstrations Pegida has had in the Netherlands, their presence has normalised a little. Even for antifascists it might become sort of a routine to repeat the whole thing again and again. It may seem an endless fight without results. But right now it’s vital to acknowledge that what we are doing is has yielded results: Pegida has remained quite small so far because of us. It’s also important to realise that the past and the coming few months are key moments for the growth of the Pegida movement. Now more than ever we have got to take to the streets to again disturb Pegida in any way we can. We literally have to stand in the way between the nazi’s and the working class in order to prevent the latter from becoming the first. From blocking the streets to putting fake bombs at the square: it has worked in the past and it will work again. Pegida started small, they are still small and they will remain small until they die a heroless death. We are going to make that happen.

No pasarán! Pegida fuck off!

Why we cannot rely on the state to fight fascism

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.

Shut down petty bourgeois leftism: organise radical people’s power

Shoutout to the amazing feminists who interrupted the PvdA (labour party) during the pacifist “anti-racist” demonstration yesterday in Amsterdam! Blowing whistles and shouting slogans, they pointed out the hypocricy of collaborating with this ruling party and made sure the PvdA representative was inaudible for people in the front. It made me realise we should do this more.

The response of the organising committee was as shitty as predictable. They hurried to say that “we shouldn’t be divided” because the times are so rough now. And that we should stand as a unity because we are all against racism or something.

This ridiculous response is typical for mainstream leftism. Calling for a unity with the ruling (!) labour party? The party who has actually been fucking over the working class for twenty years by privatizing health care, privatizing social housing and making education more expensive? The party who has designed, expanded and executed a deeply racist migration policy? The party that has cooperated so much with the neoliberals that by now they have become them? How the fuck do you form a unity with that kind of party? But instead of being real about this, the leftists organisers actually allowed these racist neoliberals to co-organise the event and they backed them up after PvdA had left the stage.

The interruption was good because it emphasised exactly that. But it also showed something that’s not being highlighted enough: the petty bourgeois politics and the strategical failure of mainstream leftism. The kind of “left” that sides with (or are) hypocrite racists rather than being honest and engaging in an actual politics that will liberate the people. That repeats a shallow narrative about how everyone should be equal rather than organizing people to disturb the fascist manifestation 250 meter further down the road. The kind of left that wants to create a “broad” but empty “unity” with the very people who are our class enemy rather than building genuine radical political power that can smash fascism. The organisation even explicitly called for the attendants to “not go to the Pegida demonstration” to disturb it. They literally do not want to confront fascism, let alone stop it. This pacifist idea is only one of countless efforts to please the bourgeois media; it doesn’t connect with material reality in any way. It shows that what they are concerned with most is upholding a false belief in long ago watered down ideas that represent only their own narcism and their petty bourgeois line. The result is the displaying of the highest possible form of irony when they argue that nazis should have freedom of speech, but at the same time silence the critical voices from their own so-called “broad unity”. How disconnected from anti-fascist struggle are you if you take this position?

Disturbing a bullshit theater like the one yesterday is a good example of an appropriate response to mainstream leftism. We need to engage in confrontation with them in order to sharpen the contradictions among “the left”. This will attract people who want to move forward and overthrow capitalism and it will filter out the fakes. The fakes will only hold you back and depoliticise and neutralise you under the banner of “building a broad movement”, sucking up the energy you could be using for building actual radical political power. Building a movement doesn’t start in the mainstream. It doesn’t start with (siding with) political sell-outs, racist, lying capitalists. It can only come from the margins, the most exploited and oppressed parts of society. We need to open up spaces for potential radicals to meet up, develop and organise, organise and develop. We need to shut the spaces down for mainstream leftism. We need to propagate a genuine socialist future and create radical alternatives to the existing “left” that actually have the potential to overthrow capitalism and smash fascism.