Everything Is Not OK
Thoughts on fascism written late at night and posted in case they’re useful to you.
1. I don’t really care whether Trump or whoever is a fascist or not. What we can say is that leaders like Trump, Le Pen, Farage, Wilders and Putin are: authoritarian, economic protectionist, white nationalist, keen on using LGBT+ people and other minorities as political scapegoats, populist, and in most cases explicitly anti-democratic. You may find “fascism” or “neo-fascist” a useful way to describe this, or you may not.
2. These leaders have built a powerful counter-order, a collaborative far right network across the Global North. They share resources, tactics, movements. They are nowhere near as powerful as the order of the neoliberal centre, but they are far more organised and have far more material power than the North’s left. The left lacks networks, trust, programmes, direction, social infrastructure, material power. Brexit and Trump are the start, not the end, of a swell of far-right power: all of these leaders have been empowered, most European countries have some version of them, and there are a lot of elections coming. We can expect more fascist/far-right heads of state in Europe soon.
3. These new leaders will gain control of expanded executive power — a power which neoliberal heads of state have built. For example, Obama has accrued the power to the Presidency to order the extra-judicial killing of his own citizens, and now that’s been handed to Trump. See also: mass surveillance. And many of these leaders are excited about expanding or consolidating executive power more, as Putin has done.
4. Putin has played a blinder. His expansionist gambles have consolidated cultural power in Russia, and he’s also been consolidating the executive. He’s successfully sown division in NATO. His tampering in the American election was transparent, and it turned out the Americans didn’t care. He got the President he wanted, which will more or less give him a free reign in Syria. Whether or not the situation with NATO or Trump turns hostile (and things are finely-balanced), he’s removed even more checks to his power and will want to exercise it.
5. Speaking of Syria: Rojava is in a bad way. Turkey (under Erdoğan, who also belongs in this group of leaders) is planning or executing an all-out military assault, far worse than they’ve faced from ISIS. Trump will withdraw what meagre military aid the Kurdish resistance has had. One of the few beacons of hope in the world right now is under grave threat. Send material support. http://www.supportrojava.org/
6. To summarise all of the above: I turn 30 in a month, and I don’t think the world ever felt this fucked before.
7. I can’t see any other reasonable approach than to fully face the fact of how bad the situation is. I mistrust anyone who says “stop making such a big deal of it”. I mistrust anyone who says “it’s going to be OK”. I know that I have a habit of using heightened rhetoric, so maybe I’m coming across as crying wolf here: I have never been so pessimistic about the future, never been so scared, never felt so fragile. I want to start by studying just how bad it is.
8. I believe in accepting how bad it is not to wallow in despair, but to be motivated to act. All around me I’m seeing people — some of whom have been active before, some of whom haven’t really — saying “We have to do something. What are we going to do? I want to act.” This is very good. There is will, need, energy. Some of it is desparate, but I think we can care for those fires together. I want to act too.
9. I talk a lot and write a lot and have ideas, but I also don’t really know what to do. I’m returning to first principles: connecting with the people around me, and talking with them about how we can defend our lives and fight for something better. I’m having frank conversations about the serious material threats that we face, and how we can marshall the resources to meet them. No one has all the answers, no single platform has the answers: the answers can only be discovered together, as a process of struggling to defend what we have and win more. I’m beginning the slow work of working together to build networks, connect groups. All on the basis that I’m expecting us to have the fight of our lives ahead of us.
10. No-one is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves. https://itsgoingdown.org/no-one-coming-save-us-anarchist-r…/