The FTAA & anti-fascist perspectives on the movements against globalcapitalism

Tony Tracy tony at
Thu Feb 22 02:16:02 MST 2001

I received this rather thought-provoking email earlier today from some
comrades who are involved in Anti-Racist Action, a militant anti-fascist
grouping that is largely anarchist led.

The "anti-globalization" movement and the new anti-capitalist movements
that are presently taking hold are more than interesting -- up here in
Canada much of the recent debate has been about the Free Trade Agreement
of the Americas (FTAA): much of this movement has it's roots in the
"Seattle movement" (ie. the anti-WTO demonstrations in that city)...


(Vancouver, BC, Canada)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 14:39:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: ARA and the FTAA, An anti-fascist perspective on the movements against global

Here's the text for a speech at "From protest to resistance" on Jan. 25th
by Mike Donovan, a member of Anti-Racist Action in Toronto. Although it
was written with help from other folks in ARA Toronto and the gist of it
was ran by ARA Toronto as a chapter but it doesn't represent the views of
everyone in ARA Toronto.

ARA and the FTAA,
An anti-fascist perspective on the movements against global capitalism.

On April 20th -22nd, 2001, thousands of people will converge on Quebec
City to oppose the Summit of the Americas, The Free Trade Agreement of the
Americas (FTAA) and capitalism in general.  Among them will be a strong
contingent from Anti-Racist Action (ARA), an international network of
direct action, anti-fascist groups in North America.  Some will ask what
the FTAA, and capitalism have to do with the fight against racism and
fascism. Why is ARA organizing against the FTAA?

We are organizing against the FTAA because we are part of the
international working class resistance to capitalism (which is the system
of the rich stealing the wealth that we create!). We see ourselves as part
of the same resistance that has farmers in India setting fire to fields
containing Monsanto's genetically modified seeds, the Zapatistas resisting
the Mexican army in Chiapas, The storming of the annual meeting of the
Asian development bank in Thailand as well as the demonstrations against
the WTO in Seattle, The IMF / WB in Washington and Prague, the
Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue in Cincinnati, the EU In Nice, and the
current fight back against the Conservative Ontario government initiated
by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

We are organizing against the FTAA in solidarity with indigenous people of
the Americas, both north and South.  No one has been as screwed over,
exploited, and generally scammed as the indigenous people of the Americas.
They've had their land stolen, treaties broken, been pushed onto ever
smaller "reservations" (and let's not forget that Canada's reservation
system was the blueprint for apartheid in South Africa), their land has
been raped for commodities, their children sent to government run
residential schools in a effort to destroy their culture and had outright
war and genocide inflicted upon them.

The history of indigenous people is also one of incredible resistance.
>From the Red River rebellion to Pine Ridge, from Kanesatake to Gustafson
Lake, from Stoney Point to the Zapatistas in Chiapas, who kick-started the
fight-back against the neo-liberal agenda in 1994 when the North American
Free Trade Act first came into effect.  The movements against global
capitalism have a lot to learn from indigenous resistance movements and we
damn well better be in solidarity with them and their struggles too.

We ask nothing from the state. The state cannot be depended on to write in
"social contracts" to international "agreements" on trade, let alone to
enforce them. The state's primary purpose in the capitalist system is to
subsidize and protect large corporations interests while attacking the
working class and indigenous resistance movements opposing those
interests. This is exemplified by the massive mobilization of the state's
police forces for The Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, which has
been called the "largest security operation ever undertaken in Canada". As
was last June in Windsor for the demonstrations against the Organization
of American States which initiated the FTAA process. To put any faith in
the state would be putting faith in one of the most powerful forces
directly opposing our calls for labour rights, environmental protection,
indigenous self-determination, open immigration and an end to capitalism

We are against economic nationalism. We are not fighting the FTAA in favor
of isolationism or tariffs against foreign made goods, which can quickly
take on a racist and nationalist politic. Despite the ruling classes
claims we are not "anti-globalists" wanting to return our countries to
isolationist, nationalist economies. We want a system of international
trade that is based in the local physical, economic and cultural needs of
the worlds people. We believe the worlds working people should be free to
immigrate to wherever the bosses are paying the best wage or indeed
producing at all. In fact, we are working towards a world where not only
are people not economically displaced but one where all workers receive
all the wealth that they produce. In short a world without bosses where we
democratically make the decisions that affect our lives.

We are organizing against the FTAA as part of, and for white folks like
myself, in solidarity with, people of colour in North America. Who owing
to the system of white supremacy in Canada and the U.S. have the worst
jobs at the worst pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Now, the way I see it as a working class male, with some limited access to
middle class privilege, whose family has been categorized as "white" for
the past couple of generations (before that we were just a bunch of dirty
micks), this primarily benefits the rich. Even the white working class see
their pay, benefits, and working conditions worsen under white supremacy.
After all, why should the boss hire a white worker, or increase pay and
benefits and implement better working conditions to white workers when the
boss can just hire people of colour or women who he can pay less and treat
worse because they are more oppressed by our white supremacist system?

Think of capitalism as a fancy restaurant, there are the super-rich
investors, money speculators and the born rich who just laze about gorging
themselves with the food that we make and sipping cocktails that we mix.
Then there's the owner of the restaurant who directly profits off of the
workers labour, followed by management, levels of skilled workers and then
unskilled workers, and let's not forget the unemployed handing in resume's
and hanging out just outside ready to take the job of anyone who get's out
of line.

Because of the system of white supremacy let's think of white workers
falling roughly into the position of skilled workers, say cooks. Now,
cooks are better paid and have more status than say dishwashers, who can
represent people of colour or women, but when it comes right down to it
cooks are only given a thin slice of the cake that they help make, the
vast majority going to the ultra-rich, then next big hunk going to the
owner, then management, then the skilled workers on down. The dishwashers
get the half-eaten scraps and the unemployed outside get nothing. The
reason that skilled workers get more, or indeed any, slice of the cake is
partly because they have skills that the boss needs in order to make a
profit, but it's also a pay-off to keep their boot on the throats of the
less skilled workers and the unemployed.

Now does this system really benefit skilled (white, male) workers? Yes and
no, skilled workers are getting a better deal, a slightly bigger slice of
the cake, than unskilled (read non-white or women) workers. However, what
white workers gain by keeping the system of white supremacy in place is
peanuts in comparison to what they could gain if they were part of an
autonomous, industrial organizing with ALL levels of workers in the
restaurant AND the unemployed. Then all workers and poor people could go
to the boss, or the rich bastards dining in the front, and in the words of
Black Panther Bobby Seale shout out "Stick 'em up motherfucker!"

The class struggle cannot be separated from struggle against racism and
the struggle against racism cannot be pushed to the side while taking on
global capitalism. We have to be simultaneously fighting capitalism and
the racist, sexist, homophobic shit system that helps maintain it.

As anti-fascists we see our role as unique in the anti-corporate
globalization movement. While the movement against global capitalism is
largely one made up of various progressive and left wing organizations it
also has strong participation by the protectionist right wing, including
such people as Pat Buchanan, the radical right such as the US militia
movement and increasingly outright white supremacists such as Matt Hale of
the World Church of the Creator.

Let's take the phone message Matt Hale recorded on Dec 6th 1999, on that
message the first news item was the massive demonstrations that shut down
the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle just a few days earlier.

Hale says,

"... the riots were incredibly successful from the point of view of the
rioters as well as our Church. They helped shut down the talks of the Jew
World Order WTO and helped make a mockery of the Jewish Occupational
Government around the world. Bravo!"

Hale, who was in the Seattle area to network with local white supremacists
and speak at a memorial rally for racist terrorist Robert J. Mathews, goes
on to state,

" I witnessed some of the marches, and while there was certainly a fair
amount of non-white trash involved in them, the vast majority were white
people of good blood who can be mobilized in the future for something
besides their economic livelihood or environment: their continued
biological existence. It is from the likes of white people who protested
the WTO (and in some cases went to jail for illegal actions) that our
World Church of The Creator must look to for converts--not the stale
"right wing" which has failed miserably to put even one dent in the armor
of the Jewish monster."

This sort of rhetoric is not without historical precedent. In fact, the
original Nazi party, the NSDAP, was called the National Socialist German
Workers Party for a reason.

Listen to this quote and tell me if it sounds like something you might
hear at a forum such as this,

"We are Socialists, are enemies, mortal enemies of the present capitalist
economic system with it's exploitation of the economically weak, with its
injustice in wages, with its immoral evaluation of individuals according
to wealth and money instead of responsibility and achievement, and we are
determined under all circumstances to abolish this system!"

That quote is from the essay "Thoughts about the tasks of the future"
written in 1926 by Gregor Strasser, who was a leading nazi party official
during the 1920's and whose thoughts are widely held in the socialist
current within National Socialism to this day.

In fact, one of the left's biggest failures has been refusing to recognize
that Fascism isn't simply a marionette of capitalists scrambling to save
themselves but a popular mass movement that has a contradicting mix of
socialist, capitalist and nationalist politics. This "Third way beyond
Capitalism and Communism" as third positionists or Strasserite fascists
put it, is rapidly gaining prominence in the fascist right again and
presents a real threat politically to the growing movement against global
capitalism. It is a threat that we have to take on head first and
physically and politically kick out of our movements. Failure to do so has
grave consequences for all of us, but especially for oppressed

On September 23rd Czech fascists rallied in opposition of the IMF and
World Bank in Prague. Fortunately they were met with an anti-fascist
demonstration of over 1000 that ended with anti-fascists intercepting the
fascists at a train station blooding those who were unable to run away.
Three days later on September 26th those same anti-fascists were on the
front lines opposing the World Banks and the IMF meeting. No Fascists
dared to try and show up and be part of the broader mobilization.

We see our role as anti-fascists in exposing and routing the radical right
and any collaborators out of the anti-capitalist movement.  But fighting a
defensive fight against fascists and white supremacists within the
movement against global capitalism is not enough. We are also part of the
radical anti-authoritarian tendency within that movement and it is our
role to continue to push the movement away from reformist strategies and
symbolic protest to a movement of real resistance.

More information about the Marxism mailing list