International Socialist Tendency Split

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Mar 11 09:23:48 MST 2001

Red Rebel:
> Which also proves just how inneffectual, and indeed self-defeating, it is
>for the supposedly "revolutionay" left to be relying on the state for
>protection. This is after all, the very state we are supposed to be
>hell-bent on overthrowing!

The point in calling the cops is to make the record that the Klan was
breaking the law. By blasting the Klan and the cops at a press conference,
it put additional pressure on local city government to cut its ties to a
terrorist group. This is what was needed for the left to move forward in
Houston. If we had to worry about midnight pipe bomb attacks on our
bookstores, etc., we would not be able to reach people effectively with a
socialist message.

>Perhaps if the CWP had been armed with M16's then they wouldn't have fared
>so badly. As I understand it (and I am open to correction, having only read
>of this incident in SL lit), the CWP were unarmed (or at least, didn't have

You have zero understanding of the relationship of class/political forces
in the USA. First of all, the CWP did have baseball bats and clubs which
they planned to use. It did have pistols also, but did not plan on using
them. But before they could begin to use them, five of their members were
left dying in a pool of blood.

>And surely the whole point of this tale isn't that this was a
>shootout between extremist factions (as reported by the media) but a
>massacre of communist activists by the KKK, who were infiltrated by the FBI
>and protected by the cops.

The whole point of the tale is that the US in 1979 was not an appropriate
arena for armed confrontation between tiny Maoist groups and terrorist
gangs that were given sub rosa support by the cops and local government.
Perhaps you are confused with the German class struggle of 1923 in which
the Revolutionary Shop Stewards group threw dynamite at the army in the
coal fields of Saxony. An understandable mistake. I often fantasized that I
could fly or become invisible when I was a small child.

> It seems to me strikingly obvious that if your enemies are armed then you
>should also be armed appropriatly. In the UK, Anti-fascist Action, the group
>your correspondent is referring to, entered into 'squaddist' assaults on the
>BNP. NF and then Combat 18 (much to the disdain of the bulk of the
>trotskite/liberal left, despite the fact that it was their members who were
>been beaten and terrorised on the streets and in their homes on a regular
>basis). Although firearms were never used in open conflicts, every weapon
>short of such was utilised by both sides. And as was pointed out, the result
>was that the British far-right gave up on open activity for half a decade as
>a direct result of these attacks.

You really should make an effort to understand American politics and the
special role of the KKK. It is unlike anything that exists in Great
Britain. The Klan murdered tens of thousands of blacks through the 1950s
with the full backing of the state.

> The lesson learnt by Anti-fascist Action is that to dissuade attacks on
>your organisations from the far-right, you have no option open than to
>'terrorise the terrorists'. It does work. Fascism thrives on the weakness of
>it's targets. It crumbles in the face of strength. 'Pro-active
>Self-defence', if you like.

Terrorize the terrorists? Empty bluster. Throwing rocks at or punching
skinheads has absolutely no relationship to what the American left faced in
the south. There are occasions when a mobilized labor or civil rights
movement employed self-defense, including arms, but this had no
relationship to the objective conditions or relative weight of the CWP in
1979 in North Carolina. Tactics flow from concrete circumstances, not empty
ultraleft blustering.

> The far-right in Britian does have access to fire-arms, however they tend
>to only be 'holding' them in transit for the rather more threatening
>fascists of the Loyalist death-squads in occupied Ireland. There, of course,
>the response from the 'left' (ie Republicanism) to armed fascist and state
>attacks was a very effective response in kind.

If I ever blather on about Irish or British antifascist tactics armed with
as much ignorance as Red Rebel has about US politics, I give James
Farmelant full permission to sedate me.

Louis Proyect
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