The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 24th February 2017

The spectre of social fascism

IN THE 1920s and 1930s in Germany, the term “social fascist” was coined after the Social Democrat Party leadership in Germany had sided with the ruling bourgeoisie in its efforts to eradicate revolutionary communism from their society completely. It was a justifiable reaction to the brutal purges the Social Democrats had been involved in against the communists, but it was a mistake because it isolated the communists and divided the masses of the working class into fighting each other at a time when maximum unity was vital against the growing threat of Nazism.

The communists in their isolation became sectarian and refused to be involved with the peasants who were being crushed economically by the effects of the global depression, so the peasants aligned themselves with the only party that would give them the time of day — the Nazis.

In 1935 at its seventh congress, the Comintern recognised this mistake when Georgi Dimitrov launched the United Front against fascism. This change of attitude towards bourgeois parties and individuals who were not Marxists but who were actively opposed to fascism paved the way for the successful defeat of Mosley’s Blackshirts in Britain, and its spirit was behind the wartime alliance between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill that was ultimately responsible for the defeat of Nazi fascism.

There are lessons for us today in the situation we are in now with the spectre of fascism again threatening — that sustaining our Marxist-Leninist principles must be done intelligently — with the best interests and unity of the working class always our priority. When individuals like Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson launch open attacks on the Labour leadership of Jeremy Corbyn — Blair by calling for Labour members to rise against Corbyn and Brexit, and Mandelson declaring that every day he does something to undermine Corbyn’s leadership — they reveal the class they are really aligned to. And considering the oppression — the austerity, the attacks on the disabled, the erosion of civil liberties and increase in surveillance, it is tempting to think of those individuals at least as social fascists. They have certainly indicated that they would prefer UKIP to win the two pending by-elections rather than Labour.

But getting angry with these individuals is not what it is all about. Corbyn should move to have them expelled but that is easier said than done because the Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) is still dominated by Blairites. Nevertheless, he should make the move and fight for it. He will not win the party structure by failing to challenge what is wrong with it. But he has shown himself weak in this respect and heavily dependent on a support machine that is run along Blairite lines to exclude active and organised workers.

But Corbyn himself is not as important as the massive wave of people all over the country who stood up to support him when he raised the flag of peace and anti-austerity policies. Until then most of those people had been demoralised, they had been brainwashed by the media into thinking that they were a small, Left, isolated margin.

The miracle of Corbynism is that when they stood up to support Corbyn they became aware of each other — that being in favour of peace and social justice is not such an odd-ball stance — and they were heartened by it. They were, and still are, a massive movement, which could change the face of this country. And this is the important aspect of Corbynism that we must foster and encourage if we really do want to change the world and defeat fascism — again.

It means working alongside all these people on a huge spectrum of issues, not allowing the Blairs and the Mandelsons to divide and demoralise people. The fact that they have declared their true class colours so openly shows their abject fear of working class solidarity and power.

We must work positively with the Corbyn supporters, and keep raising their courage and their awareness of their own potential strength — with or without Corbyn himself. We must give them the political lead as, with hindsight, we know the German communists should have worked with the peasants, giving them a political lead in the Left direction rather than shunning them because they were politically backward.