Speech given by Emily Woo Yamasaki for the Freedom Socialist Party at the March Against Racism and Fascism in Foley Square, New York City on March 16, 2019.
I’m happy to be speaking on behalf of the Freedom Socialist Party, one of the many member organizations of United Against Racism and Fascism-NYC, and to be here with all of you who came out today against racism and fascism.
I’m here as a proud queer socialist feminist and unionist of color. What is a socialist, a communist, but a defender of the working class against the fascists. So glad to see unionists here! And feminists, and freedom fighters of all colors.
First, let us condemn — and mourn — in one voice the murders this week of 49 Muslims at two mosques in New Zealand, as well as the October assassinations of 11 Jews at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and the killings not long ago of nine African Americans at Mother Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina. These were all acts by self-proclaimed white supremacists, and unfortunately the list of such horrors does not end here.
What I want to focus on today is the root of fascism and how we can most effectively defeat it.
In the U.S. and other parts of the world, racism is a pillar of fascism. African Americans are no strangers to fascism and right wing terror. The Klan is an ugly part of American history. The first police forces in this country were formed to catch runaway slaves and prevent slave revolts. But the resistance of the Black community and whites who, together with Blacks, also put their lives on the line to fight men in white hoods as well as men in blue is also an important part of our history.
It’s not always easy to work across the color line. But now more than ever we need to be doing that and go beyond the identity politics that divide our movements and communities. White people need to not just be on the sidelines, and people of color need to stand shoulder to shoulder with our white comrades.
People of color and whites, immigrants and non-immigrants, all have a common enemy — the corporate profiteers of capitalism, and this takes us to the root of fascism. Without capitalism, there would be no fascism. Fascist currents grow when people feel besieged and desperate, and we can blame the Democrats as well as the Republicans for propping up capitalism and the ever-growing extreme economic inequality which sets the stage for today’s polarized political climate. And blame Trump and his administration for emboldening the shock troops of the ruling 1%, like the Proud Boys.
Just as in Nazi Germany, fascism needs scapegoats — scapegoats are supposed “enemies” to blame for the economic scarcities that actually the one percent is responsible for. The ultimate goal of fascism is actually to smash the power of the unions and the working class itself.
Can we really defeat the right wing? Yes we can! The Freedom Socialist Party has a long history of fighting the fascists and, along with our sister organization Radical Women, was part of a successful campaign spearheaded by people of color, feminists, LGBTQ people, leftists, young people, and unionists all working together, in a united front that kicked Nazis and white supremacists out of the Pacific Northwest where they tried to establish an Aryan homeland.
A united front means that groups can have their programmatic differences but strike back together wherever the ultra-right rallies, marches or holds an action in our city. It means we exercise our First Amendment rights to mount the biggest, loudest, most unified direct counter-demonstration we can, not holding demonstrations many blocks away from where the fascists are rallying.
We are proud to be part of the coalition that organized today’s march. Check out the Facebook page for United Against Racism & Fascism-NYC to get involved and come to the next meeting!
We are not living under fascism — yet. The fascists are in the process of coalescing their forces, and they are well-funded. When it comes to who they target, they don’t leave anyone out. So the very survival of their targets — that’s all of us — depends on our building a broad, democratic united front to stop the stormtroopers in their tracks. Together, we can defeat the fascist threat!
We are many, you are few!
Beat back the fascist attack!