[Marxism] ‘Antifa’ Grows as Left-Wing Faction Set to, Literally, Fight the Far Right

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 18 14:32:31 MDT 2017


On 8/18/17 3:35 PM, Greg McDonald wrote:
> http://libcom.org/blog/6-reasons-why-chomsky-wrong-about-antifa-18082017
> 

1) Antifa's 'predecessors' are more significant than Chomsky thinks

(clip)

"And in North America they were the Teamsters who formed a defense guard 
against the Silver Shirts in the 1930s..."

---


This is a complete crock of shit. Here is what the Trotskyists did. It 
had nothing in common with the kids in masks throwing bags of urine at 
the fascists in Charlottesville.

The United States in the 1930s became a battleground between industrial 
workers and the capitalist class over whether workers would be able to 
form industrial unions. There had been craft unions for decades, but 
only industrial unions could fight for all of the workers in a given 
plant or industry. This fight had powerful revolutionary implications 
since the captains of heavy industry required a poorly paid, docile 
work-force in order to maximize profits in the shattered capitalist 
economy. There were demonstrations, sit-down strikes and even gun-fights 
led by the Communist Party and other left groups to establish this basic 
democratic right.

Within this political context, fascist groups began to emerge. They drew 
their inspiration from Mussolini’s fascists or Hitler’s brown-shirts. In 
a time of severe social crisis, groups of petty-bourgeois and lumpen 
elements begin to coalesce around demagogic leaders. They employ 
“radical” sounding rhetoric but in practice seek out working- class 
organizations to intimidate and destroy. One such fascist group was the 
Silver Shirts of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In chapter eleven of “Teamster Politics”, SWP leader Farrell Dobbs 
recounts “How the Silver Shirts Lost Their Shrine in Minneapolis”. It is 
the story of how Local 544 of the Teamsters union, led by Trotskyists, 
defended itself successfully from a fascist expedition into the city. 
Elements of the Twin Cities ruling-class, alarmed over the growth of 
industrial unionism in the city, called in Silver Shirt organizer Roy 
Zachary. Zachary hosted two closed door meetings on July 29 and August 2 
of 1938. Teamster “moles” discovered that Zachary intended to launch a 
vigilante attack against Local 544 headquarters. They also discovered 
that Zachary planned to work with one F.L. Taylor to set up an 
“Associated Council of Independent Unions”, a union-busting operation. 
Taylor had ties to a vigilante outfit called the “Minnesota Minute Men”.

Local 544 took serious measures to defend itself. It formed a union 
defense guard in August 1938 open to any active union member. Many of 
the people who joined had military experience, including Ray Rainbolt 
the elected commander of the guard. Rank-and-filers were former 
sharpshooters, machine gunners and tank operators in the US Army. The 
guard also included one former German officer with WWI experience. While 
the guard itself did not purchase arms except for target practice, 
nearly every member had hunting rifles at home that they could use in 
the circumstance of a Silver Shirt attack.

Events reached a climax when Silver Shirt leader William Dudley Pelley 
came to speak at a rally in the wealthy section of Minneapolis.

Ray Rainbolt organized a large contingent of defense guard members to 
pay a visit to Calhoun Hall where Pelley was to make his appearance. The 
powerful sight of disciplined but determined unionists persuaded the 
audience to go home and Pelley to cancel his speech.

This was the type of conflict taking place in 1938. A capitalist class 
bent on taming workers; fascist groups with a documented violent, 
anti-labor record; industrial workers in motion: these were the primary 
actors in that period. It was characteristic of the type of class 
conflict that characterized the entire 1930s. It is useful to keep this 
in mind when we speak about McCarthyism.

full: 
https://louisproyect.org/2017/08/18/the-ex-member-of-larouches-fascist-cult-who-writes-for-robert-parrys-consortium-news/



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