No new red scares – Stand together against the criminalization of militant protests and leftist politics
Uprising and repression
The recent upsurge of protests sparked by the police murder of George Floyd has brought people out into the streets on an unprecedented scale and has revealed the power of the people to shake the foundations of the capitalist regime we live under. The world watched as the initial protests against racist police killings were met with even more state violence. When this attempt to silence the movement backfired and brought even more people out to express their anger, the system then tried to offer toothless reforms to pacify the crowds. But seeing the ruling class flinch so quickly at widespread uprisings has only emboldened the people in the streets, who are demanding something this system can not provide – justice.
The best the ruling class can offer is crumbs of reforms and performative gestures that do little to dismantle the police state and the structural racism built into the capitalist system. They need the constant threat of police violence to maintain an unjust system that only benefits a handful of capitalists at the expense of everyone else. The ruling class is terrified by the righteous anger of the people and they are planning to unleash a bigger wave of state repression to crush dissent. All signs point towards a new red scare and this is underscored by what is described in the following paragraphs.
Donald Trump has threatened to designate antifa as a terrorist organization despite the fact that antifa is a political stance (anti-fascism) and not an organized group. He has been increasing his denunciations against anarchists and the far left in general while sending federal police to cities across the country to attack and kidnap protesters. At the time of this writing he is attacking the Black Lives Matter movement by labeling it as Marxist.
In addition to Trump’s attacks on dissent and the political left, US Attorney General Willaim Barr has portrayed militant protest tactics as domestic terrorism and is using the Department of Justice to bring federal charges against leftist protesters. Hearings have been held by Senate subcommittees to denounce anarchism and Marxism in the United States while the State Department threatens to investigate US volunteers who fought against ISIS in Kurdistan and increasingly links attacks on Marxism-Leninism to their sabre rattling against China.
It is important to remember that the police state is a bipartisan project and the Democrats bear as much responsibility for it as the Republicans do. Joe Biden, eager to prove that he is a loyal servant of capitalist order, has also come out in favor of arresting and prosecuting anarchists. This is not surprising since he is the author of the racist crime bill that caused a massive increase in the prison population. Other Democrats have tried to appear sympathetic to the people in the streets while voting to renew repressive legislation and funding for the federal police who are terrorizing the population. The Democratic and Republican parties are skilled at playing the good cop/bad cop routine but they are both pig institutions and the ruling class is united in their support for maintaining the status quo.
Red scares hurt workers
The first red scare occurred after World War I and the Russian Revolution. Labor unrest and xenophobic fears of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe led the United States Justice Department to conduct illegal raids, arrests, and deportations of suspected anarchists and radical leftists. In Braintree Massachusetts, 2 Italian immigrant labor organizers and anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti, were framed for a robbery and murder. Despite massive protests and evidence of their innocence, they were both murdered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in an act of state terror directed against the radical labor movement and immigrant communities.
Another red scare was launched after World War II that resulted in persecution of suspected Communists including Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed more for their political beliefs than for the charges against them. The Taft-Hartley slave labor bill was also passed during this time. This legislation outlawed nearly all of the tactics that made the 1930’s labor movement so effective in addition to forcing union officials to renounce communism. The McCarthyist repression of decades ago is still taking its toll on today’s weakened labor movement. Without militant organizers who understand the exploitative nature of capitalism the AFL-CIO officialdom is incapable of leading the fight for working class liberation.
An injury to one is an injury to all
When facing a crisis both the Democratic and Republican parties will join forces to become a unified Party of Order and in doing so they will portray all political opponents as criminal enemies of the state. The ruling class understands that this unjust system works for them and they will use any repressive measure at their disposal to maintain their hold on power. One tactic often used by the capitalist state is to seize upon and weaponize ideological or tactical differences between leftist groups to prevent unity or promote infighting. It’s important that we refuse to fall for such divide and conquer schemes such as the good protester/bad protester narratives, blaming outside agitators, or any other attempts to split off and attack any section of our movement. Only by standing together in a united front can we defend ourselves against these attacks and move forward to defeat this system.
Now more than ever it is time to put into practice the old labor slogan “An injury to one is an injury to all” and stand together in solidarity against emerging fascism, systemic racism, and expressions of bigotry coming from backwards sections of the population. Our liberation requires the broadest possible solidarity between all sections of the working class both in the United States and around the world. The working class is incredibly diverse and our strength lies in our numbers. History is full of examples of workers from different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles coming together to fight and win against seemingly impossible odds. If we stand together we can build a movement that will be strong enough to overthrow capitalism and begin building a socialist society.
The working class needs a Workers Party
The Workers Party of Massachusetts is a non-sectarian working class political organization and our members are drawn from a broad socialist spectrum. We maintain our unity by keeping our focus on our common program and political work instead of dwelling on the conflicts of the past. We have our differences and internal debates but we march forward together and refuse to let the ruling class sow antagonistic divisions within the working class. We stand for the broadest possible unity of all revolutionary anticapitalist political tendencies.
We believe there is a material basis and immediate need for working class political organization everywhere the working class exists and we seek to build these working class political organizations in cities and towns across Massachusetts. If you agree with our program and political work and want to organize where you live please get in touch.