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Posted November 6, 2005
In this publication of reprints by Pathfinder Press, one can read first hand the accounts of fighters against fascism, from the 1930s of Father Coughlin and the Silver Shirts to the 1970s fights against ultra-rightist outfits that physically attacked school integration in Boston. The early writings reprinted from socialist and labor papers vividly describe the tactics needed to fight fascism in the United States. These tactics included the detailed descriptions of the formation and use of armed defense guards led by trade unionists and other anti-fascist forces to protect the unions and other working class institutions from thugs. Some of the most fascinating exchanges in the publication recount the mass counter-demonstration outside of Madison Square Garden in 1939. When a Nazi rally was scheduled inside the Garden, a demonstration of over 50,000 marched in the streets, chanting ¿Down with Nazi terrorists¿. The article succinctly explains the glaring political differences between the Stalinists, Social Democrats, and Trotskyists in their responses to the Nazi forces. Many articles in the collection take up the tactics and strategies needed to defend worker¿s rights from Workers Defense Guards, guns at the ready, to unwavering defense of the Bill of Rights. In the ¿Free Speech and the Fight against the Ultraright¿ article written in 1975, Malik Miah gives advice that is just as useful today, ¿¿the most effective way to deal with these racists was through a campaign of education and broadly sponsored protest actions. The aim is to win over the majority¿¿ Also included are always interesting and insightful writings on the above subject by Leon Trotsky.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 3, 2005
This 60-page booklet presents in an easy-to-understand way what is fascism, why it exists and how it can be defeated. The booklet is an Education for Socialists compilation of speeches, letters, reports and documents of the Socialist Workers Party assembled through the course of about 40 years. The compilation traces political developments in the aftermath of the worldwide depression of the 1930s through the buildup to and conduct of World War II and the capitalist crackdown on the trade union movement. During the war years, the name of the game was ¿labor peace,¿ and this compilation documents the way the capitalist class used fascist forces to frustrate union power. A theme throughout the document is the Socialist Workers approach to dealing with fascist and right-wing elements. Most notably, it argues against the ultraleft path of attempting to shut down the speaking rights of fascists. At the same time, it never yields to false claims that the fascists, regardless of how repugnant their message is, also have rights to organize and speak that must be protected. Throughout, the booklet makes it clear that the way to defeat fascism is for the labor movement and its allies to out mobilize them in the streets. An appendix excerpted from a resolution adopted by a February 1950 plenum of the national committee of the Socialist Workers Party puts it this way: ¿Class-conscious workers should not fall into the trap of demanding infringements of anyone¿s civil rights, including those of the fascists. ... The civil rights of fascist elements are not being threatened: the authorities are in league with them. ... The menace of fascism does not arise from their propaganda but from their gangsterism, their mob attacks upon advanced workers, Negroes, and labor organizations. With tacit acquiescence of the authorities, the fascists operate as extralegal agencies of repression against the institutions and freedoms of the working class and minorities.¿ The booklet is a must-read for anyone wanting to know how working people can defend themselves from the increasingly brutal attacks that will come during the decline of capitalism.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.