From New York City comes the disturbing news that the local Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council (MACC) will be holding a "No Platform For Fascism" meeting and self-defense workshop on Aug. 30 at the Solidarity Center on West 24th Street, which is also the headquarters of the Workers World Party, an entity that does a good job of dressing up its ultra-reactionary and ultimately pro-fascist politics in pseudo-left garb. Another WWP front-group, the Peoples Power Assemblies, is named as co-sponsor, as is Workers World itself. It looks like MACC is being exploited in an attempted sectarian takeover of metro-area antifa.
No Platform For Fascism seems to have first come together to oppose the Islamophobic "March against Sharia" held in Foley Square in June. But whatever the legitimate origins of the project, MACC is making a grave error by blocking with WWP and its satellite organizations. Although they presumably don't realize it, it is a fundamental betrayal of anti-fascist principles. WWP interlocks on multiple levels with the fascists they claim to oppose. We have already noted the open enthusiasm for genocidal Syrian dictator Bashar Assad among the Nazis who marched in Charlottesville. Note that identical enthusiasm for the war criminal Assad has been displayed at "anti-war" (sic) demonstrations held in New York by another group to emerge from the WWP orbit, the ANSWER Coalition.
Check out this video of what goes on at the Solidarity Center. As recently as July 14, it hosted a talk by Stephen Gowans of the Hands Off Syria Coalition to spew his line dissing the Syrian revolution (including the anarchist-oriented Kurdish resistance). Four activists in solidarity with the Syrian revolution—including one Syrian woman from war-torn Idlib province—who attended and dared to ask adversarial questions were physically ejected from the premises, after being manhandled and shouted down with chants of "CIA out!"
MACC has no business loaning legitimacy to the Solidarity Center by meeting on the same premises where this happened.
And this was not an isolated incident but part of a pattern. In 2011, ANSWER Coalition's Los Angeles branch hosted an event by Cynthia McKinney, part of her nationwide tour to sing the praises of Libyan dictator Moamar Qaddafi (as she has since been doing for Assad, of course). Members of the Libyan community in LA were barred from entering the event.
And these are the same people who now pretend to oppose xenophobia and fascism? The irony of these groups' names should be obvious. The Hands Off Syria Coalition has no problem with the massive Russian intervention in Syria in support of the Assad dictatorship. And, supporting such regimes, ANSWER should be rendered "Act Now to Support War and Encourage Racism."
You'd think activists would be wise to these guys already. Workers World and its front groups supported the Tiananmen Sqaure massacre as a necessary crackdown on "counter-revolutionaries," cheered on the Bosnian Serbs in their genocidal campaigns of the 1990s, openly defended Slobodan Milosevic, rallied uncritically around Saddam Hussein, and now thusly rally around Putin and Bashar Assad. ANSWER broke from Workers World in a faction fight a few years back and is now within the orbit of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), a WWP splinter group based in San Francisco. But it shares the same toxic politics.
And these guys have actually met and sat down with exactly the radical-right racists they now claim to oppose. December 2014 saw an international conference in Moscow on the "Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and Building a Multi-Polar World," bringing together various of the Euro-fascist formations supported by Putin. Participants included a delegation of American "leftists" from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and the International Action Center (IAC). Both these entities are spawn of Workers World. UNAC is a recent effort to reunite the organizations in the orbit of Workers World with ANSWER and PSL. IAC is the primary "anti-war" vehicle of Workers World (also sharing that same 24th Street address). Also in attendance at the Moscow confab was a delegation of white nationalists from the neo-Confederate League of the South.
So just too fucking ironic that local WTVD reports that the toppling of a Confederate monument in Durham, NC, earlier this month was instigated by Workers World cadre (or, more likely, they just successfully took credit for it). It should be noted that this kind of thing represents a real break for WWP and its spawn, who usually enforce cooperation with the police at their street rallies. But they clearly see an opportunity for party-building in the current anti-fascist upsurge in the United States. Depressingly, a People's Congress of Resistance to be held at Howard University in Washington DC will feature Phil Wylato of UNAC and Brian Becker of ANSWER. And the organizers have clearly done their homework. Also featured are several survivors of victims of police terror, including the aunt of Akai Gurley. It is painful to see them being thusly exploited.
This is all part of the alarming phenomenon of fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Workers World represents what in Europe is known as Red-Brown Politics—the notion of an alliance between fascism and the left against capitalism and the West. It is imperative that we do not take this toxic bait.
A final point. Workers World is not the only sectarian group to exploit authentic activist struggles for party-building. The annual Oct. 22 Stop Police Brutality march in New York City is organized at its core by the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), a Maoist formation. RCP's latest vehicle is the anti-Trump initiative Refuse Fascism. Their last one was the anti-Bush World Can't Wait. They of course aggressively hawk their newspaper at all these events. But they are ultimately less cynical and dogged in their party-building than Workers World, which attempts to absorb in Borg-like manner every activist initiative to emerge. And their politics are not nearly as sinister. RCP has an embarrassing personality cult around its leader Bob Avakian, and unseemly illusions about Mao Zedong and his latter-day emulators such as Peru's Sendero Luminoso. But they are at least smart enough to cut no slack for Assad or Putin, and they are not in bed with international fascism as Workers World and its spawn are.
Opposing Workers World is not anarchist sectarianism or purism. Least of all is it "red-baiting" or anti-communism. It is a matter of fundamental anti-fascist principle.