In April, South Australian Police arrested two men associated with the neo-Nazi National Socialist Network for possessing handmade explosives and extremist far-right material. The internet activist lobby group, Get-Up, leapt into “action.” In a petition campaign, it demanded that the Morrison government denounce neo-Nazi groups in Australia.
There is a growing fascist threat, as Get-Up argues. Training exercises this year in Gariwerd (also known as Grampians National Park) over the January 26 weekend and more recently in the Cathedral Ranges — are a sinister sign that Nazis are mobilising. But to appeal to the State, instead of organising in our unions and communities, is dangerously wrong.
The State is no protector against fascism. Over and over again, this has been made clear in counter-mobilisations against fascists in Australia and around the world. From street blockades and pepper spray to arrests, police direct their force against anti-fascists. For fascists they open the streets, even escort them to safety. And who can forget the photo, from a confrontation in Melbourne in 2015, of a cop high-fiving a Nazi?
Under capitalism, the State exists to safeguard the interests of private property and capital. It does not see Nazis — pillars of white, male, national and family pride, which profit depends on — as a threat. But it’s terrified of revolt from the exploited and oppressed, who organise. Finance capital decided to back Hitler when Germany was on the verge of working class revolution. Fascism — the crushing of workers’ capacity to organise and defend ourselves — is capitalism’s final weapon.
Expect no denunciation from Canberra. ASIO provides a clue. In March, the State’s spy agency announced a shift from tracking “far-right extremism” to hunting down “ideologically motivated violent extremism.” Peter Dutton, now Minister for Defence, insisted that “left-wing lunatics” must also be dealt with. As resistance in Australia swells, we can expect the full force of the State to come down even harder on groups associated with the Left and unions — the prime bugbears of capital.
Defend ourselves! Capital fears its working class nemesis, because we’re so massive. It knows that once we unify and organise, we can bring it to its knees. We can do this to fascists right now — and we must, while they’re still fragmented and weak.
Heed these warning signs. It’s time for everyone on the fascists’ hit list to go on the offensive: we need to join together as a united front — women, unionists, socialists, anarchists, First Nations, immigrants, LGBTIQ+ folks, homeless people and those with disability. As Russian Revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky put it, “March separately, but strike together!”
Before the outbreak of World War II, Germany’s working class movement had the opportunity to do this, but failed. The fascist State then built the concentration camps. We must learn from this history to ensure we don’t repeat it.