On the incidents of the anti-fascist rally on October 10th in Utrecht
On Saturday 10 October the far-right movement of Pegida held a rally in Utrecht. Many organizations and groups of the Dutch and international Left and Anarchy decided to demonstrate in order to prevent the fascist poison from spreading. The demonstration was first held at Janskerkhof, then the most determined demonstrators attempted to stop the rally of the fascists.
A considerable number of anti-fascists joined the demonstration, over 400 in particular. Such anti-fascist actions are necessary to block fascism and actively support migrants. But for the anti-fascist movement to accomplish its goals, it should overcome its limitations. To this end, some self-criticism may be useful. The dark clouds of racism and fascism gather over Europe. We must not allow this to happen again.
Of course anti-fascism is not just about opposing some lunatics who believe in blood purity and race. Anti-fascism is mainly a struggle against the political parties implementing neoliberal policies to the interests of the bourgeoisie. These policies equal to a sheer attack on working people’s rights, income, pensions and access to public healthcare and education. These parties might not have a fascist rhetoric, but they pave the way for the rise of fascist movements and ideologies by creating social instability, obscene inequality and massive poverty. In sum, by plunging people and countries into debts and despair.
From this perspective, only if anti-fascists show how fascism is linked to the capitalist system will they be effective. It is only by perceiving anti-fascism as a form of class confrontation that simplistic chauvinist arguments, such as those attributing unemployment to migrants, can be resisted and fought. In the example of the Syrian refugee crisis, anti-fascists should point out that Syrians are migrating because the interests of the European and American bourgeoisie are best served in conditions of a continuing war.
To defeat fascism in all its expressions we should be united and open to society. The success of any anti-fascist action is premised on the unity of the trade unions and the left-wing and anarchist organizations. At the same time, the anti-fascist movement should be inviting every individual or social group that wants to oppose racism and fascism to join in. However, such unity and broadness would be fake and fragile if not based on political criticism. Thus, although people who have voted for PvdA or other neoliberal political parties are welcome in anti-fascist actions, we should be clear about the responsibility that these parties have for the rise of racism and fascism and the launch of imperialist wars. Crying crocodile tears for the refugees, while voting measures against migration or harsh austerity policies should be openly criticised and condemned.
Anti-fascism is not a matter of an one-day battle. All of us, either Dutch or migrants, who want to live peacefully with one another, should work on a long-term, multifaceted plan for this common cause. Creating anti-fascist committees in every city, which will explain to society how fascist phenomena and migration are linked to political decisions and strategies imposed by the neoliberal governments, the EU and the NATO, is such a long-term anti-fascist action. The Dutch left-wing and anarchist organizations and groups should come up with such actions and back up the creation of a broad popular front against racism and fascism.
United against whom?
After the anti-fascist protest at Janskerkhof, a big part of the anti-fascists tried to reach the rally of Pegida. Their anti-rally was prohibited by the police and considered as illegal. When the anti-fascists gathered, the police tried to turn them away even resorting to physical violence and arrests. These actions prove that there cannot be any “state anti-fascism”, as some people claim. When the state and police protect Pegida, they share responsibility for Pegida’s views and deeds.
With the political decision to allow Pegida’s rally, Dutch bourgeois parties and the state give the message that fascist rhetoric and ideology are welcome. And when dealing with people who believe that migrants should either drown in the Mediterranean or die in their countries by the bombs of Europe, the US and ISIS, it is not about ensuring the right to the freedom of speech. Despite the claims about preventing episodes of violence among the protesters, the prohibition of the anti-Pegida rally resulted in the protection of Pegida from the Dutch mainstream media spotlight and public exposure. Dutch mainstream media are now focusing on the Pegida phenomenon in Germany and not on its persistent attempt to set foot in the Netherlands. In view of Pegida’s comeback to Utrecht on the 8th of November, such prohibitions by the police and the media coverage of the issue should be among the subjects addressed by the anti-fascist movement.
The enemy is not only Pegida, but also the neoliberal political parties that create the conditions for fascism to rise and the police, prohibiting and repressing anti-fascist rallies. To defend the migrants, we should struggle against all those who want the Dutch society hypnotized with lies and terrorized by the police or fascist brutality. We should struggle against capitalism and the 21st century comeback of fascism that it gives rise to.