This article is a part of a series of articles that will be published this year, first online followed by print editions, that discuss the successes of the People’s War in Peru over the past forty years. Our intention is to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the initiation of the People’s War in Peru as well as to discuss the lessons the working-class in Canada can take from their struggle to incorporate into our own.
By: Jung Yul-Sung, A Supporter of MER-RSM Vancouver
Fascism is once again crawling out from the vile sewers of capitalism, dragging its sinister body along as it prepares to defend the failures of imperialism from the just anger of the masses. As anti-fascists – who must be guided by a genuine Communist Party – prepare to again wage historic struggle against the fascists, it is critical that they well understand the nature of fascism. This situation is complicated by the threat of social-fascism, which works to disguise fascism for consumption by the masses and derail genuine anti-fascists from their ardent struggle. However, history has shown time and time again that fascists cannot win, for fascism is only a death rattle which capitalism lets out as it approaches the end of its final stage. Pitted against disciplined anti-fascists with a good understanding of fascism, it is but a paper tiger, to be burnt up and blown away by the winds of history.
To understand why fascism is emerging from the shadows in Canada, both on the streets of cities such as Vancouver and within the state apparatus, the question of “What is Canada?” must first be understood. In response to this question there can only be one correct and complete answer, given by a document of the same name by the PCR-RCP: “Canada is a capitalist, settler-colonial, and imperialist state,”  where a working class (the proletariat) is exploited by the owning class (the bourgeoisie), colonised nations of the Indigenous people are oppressed by the settler ruling class, and the ruling class exports capital to profit off the resources and labour of poor foreign countries. The ruling class, fearing revolution by the working-class which it wickedly exploits, then uses the plunders of the internal colonies and foreign countries to give bribes to the workers while maintaining a growth in profit. The product of this is the labor aristocracy, the small subset of privileged and bribed workers who take leadership in toothless unions and attempt to direct the proletariat towards opportunism. This process of imperialism, where monopolies of cartels and banks inject capital into colonies in order to extract vast amounts of wealth from the colonies’ labourers and resources, is the final stage in capitalism, as the entire world has come under the rule of opposing capitalist blocs, and capitalist profit seeking is forced to search for indefinite economic growth on a finite planet with finite resources. Under this context, fascism arises as imperialism inevitably begins to fail, and the forces of revolution threaten the rule of the capitalists to its core. The capitalist class, in its losing attempt to continue its rule, brings out the weapon of fascism, as opposed to its other mode of operation, liberal democracy. With fascism, they are able to more effectively smash the struggle of the oppressed and continue with their exploitation of the world. Today, as we live in the age of strategic offensive of the world revolution where imperialists know they are soon to be crushed under waves of revolution, fascism becomes an ever-looming threat, mobilised and ready to be unleashed on the people.
The imperialists’ very nature, which as Chairman Mao said is to “make trouble, fail, make trouble again, fail again,” explains why fascism is rearing its ugly head once more in Canada as well as other imperialist powers across the world, principally the United States. Imperialists are failing again. However, this understanding does not explain the rise of fascism in poor, imperialist-dominated countries, and does not get to the root of what fascism actually is. For this, we must study the teachings of Chairman Gonzalo, who led the shining People’s War against the fascist old state in Peru from 1980 to his arrest in 1992. He teaches us that fascism can indeed arise in poor, dominated countries as well, forced into existence against the resolute current of history by class contradictions which exist in all societies before communism. This expands on the previous definition by Georgi Dimitrov, which stated that fascism was “the open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, and most imperialist elements of finance capital,” which implied fascism could only arise in the imperialist centre where finance capital was. Here, in these downtrodden “third world” countries, there exist two broad sections of the capitalists. One, the big capitalists, who control the vast majority of large industry and resource projects. They collaborate with foreign imperialists to accommodate the exploitation of their country, while the other, the small and middle capitalists of the small shops and factories that are themselves held back by the domination of the big bourgeoisie are generally democratic in their outlook. Just like how the imperialists are the root of fascism in Canada, in these semi-colonial nations it is the big capitalists which cultivate fascism’s bastardly fruits as a last measure against the anti-imperialist democratic motions of the middle and small capitalists, the intellectuals, and peasants, led by the workers through the Communist Party.
It is clear that the perversion of fascism is endemic to all capitalist societies, but what is fascism? After all, not even the most militant anti-fascist can hope to be effective at liquidating fascists if they are not capable of identifying fascists and differentiating them from other reactionaries. Indeed, the reason that anti-fascist movements in North America – typically led by anarchists without a Party – have largely been ineffectual is precisely because the scientific definition of fascism, synthesised through the long struggle of the international communist movement, has been muddled and robbed of its meaning. Demonstrating this is the way in which those on the post-modernist left tend to characterise all forms of state violence as “fascist”, even if this violence is inflicted within the bounds of a liberal-democratic, if phony, constitution. This is an incorrect analysis. Here again, Chairman Gonzalo teaches us a great lesson. In his luminary 1988 interview with El Diario, he says “With regard to identifying fascism with terror, with repression, we think that this is a mistake.” He says this because in the Marxist view, the purpose of a state – its raison d’être – is to inflict violence against enemies of the ruling class. Even during times of liberal parliamentary “democracy”, the police and other apparatuses are employed to put down with horrific violence those brave members of the working-class who follow their class instincts and employ their right to rebel. That the same happens under fascism as well, albeit on a heightened level, is not very useful in defining what fascism is. Instead, fascism is to be defined according to three cardinal characteristics: the negation of liberal democracy, the executive centralisation of state power, and the corporatisation of society. By studying these three elements, the true class nature of fascism, as well as how to find and weed out all types of fascists, becomes painstakingly clear.
The first element, the negation of liberal democracy, is perhaps most similar to capitalist notions of what fascism is. It is also this element that allows us to see that fascism is just one side of the capitalist coin, the other side being liberal democracy. In the eyes of the capitalists, their “democracy” is mainly represented in their elections. However, for the workers who make up the vast majority, this democracy is a sham, controlled by corporate media hegemony and fought by a mostly homogenous group of capitalist parties. For the workers, what is more important about liberal democracy is that under a liberal democracy, the capitalists allow the workers to organise somewhat freely, in their gatherings, publications, and organisations. Furthermore, the capitalist state under this false democracy allows revolutionaries, who lead the workers and educate the masses, to operate with minimal interference at least regarding actions which fall into the narrow band of their legality. The capitalists will use either methods of operation depending on what is necessary to prevent revolution, but fascism is not a new stage of capitalism. Rather, it is one weapon which the ruling class can wield against the workers. The negation of liberal democracy, the other weapon, shows that the weapon of fascism has been picked up. When even elementary forms of working-class organisation are met with political violence, the first qualifier of fascism, the negation of liberal-democratic principles, has been met.
The second element, centralisation of power into the executive, is something which has been seen throughout the 20th century in the imperialist centre, especially in the United States. This concept is rather simple – it is the directing of power away from elected, “democratic” institutions, such as a parliament, into executive posts such as a presidency. The purpose of such a change is to sideline the debates and disagreements within the ranks of the capitalist class, allowing the state to rapidly and ruthlessly deal with any crisis so that the capitalist class as a whole may survive. In practice, it can be seen in the creation of agencies such as the CIA, which reports directly to the executive branch of the US government headed by the president and is largely unaccountable to bodies such as the Congress. In the Canadian context, this can be seen in the almost limitless power which the Canadian Security Intelligence Services is given to conduct investigations through questionable means.
The third element of fascism, the corporatisation of society, is something which has been a fundamental part of fascist theorisation from its very beginning in Mussolini’s Italy. This perverse theorisation holds that society is to be organised along the lines of industry – that is, corporations should be formed which encompass all members of all classes in each industry. For example, a corporation for the automobile industry would be formed where all those employed in automobiles, from factory floor workers to managers and executives, would be members. Each of these corporations are then to act as a unified organ within the greater “body” of a nation, such an arrangement supposedly bringing about national harmony. In practice, this supposed harmony is only the suppression of the interests of the workers. The interests of the workers and the capitalists are irreconcilable, and any attempt to unite their interests somehow is simply a hateful attempt to subdue the rightful rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressors. That fascism holds this practice so dearly only reveals even more what fascism truly is: a last-resort tool of the capitalists to “harmonise” the workers away from its revolutionary role, through deception and coercion.
We can then see that fascism is a tool or mode of operation for the capitalists that rids the workers of even its most basic political rights and attempts to eliminate the universal phenomenon of class struggle. How do we fight this? This is the most important question of all, because understanding without doing is a pointless endeavour, and knowledge “must manifest itself in the leap from rational knowledge to revolutionary practice,” just as Chairman Mao said. To this question, there is only one correct answer. In order to fight fascism, we must take up the cause of revolution and be willing to fight for it. This is because our definition of fascism shows that fascism is endemic to capitalism and is just as natural for it as liberal democracy. If we are to liquidate fascism off the face of the Earth, socialism must oust capitalism across the world and humanity must march together towards communism. In this long and hard path that we must take, however, there is an obstacle we must face before we are even able to tackle fascism: social-fascism, or as it is better known, social democracy. This evil twin of fascism, social democracy weaves its way into the anti-fascist movement, seeking to thieve the workers of its claws and fangs before it has even had first contact with the enemy. The characterisation of social democracy as a twin of fascism is not simple slander, but a conclusion which has been reached through a century of experience and struggle. As the definition of fascism shows, fascism is itself a negation of liberal democracy, which is put away by the ruling class as it brings out fascism to crush the rebelling oppressed. Its symptom is the unleashing of a wave of undisguised terror against the workers, which is robbed of its legal rights to politically advocate itself. Yet, the social-fascists, who worm their way into the ranks of the workers with vague “leftist” rhetoric, trick workers into ideas of being “moderate” and refraining from the supposed violence of true anti-fascism, and instead goad them against their instincts into relying solely on the limited and soon to be revoked rights that liberal democracy grants them. This results in spineless protests and gutless chants as states begin their transition into fascism by requesting snipers against Indigenous land defenders  and setting up concentration camps for brown immigrants. Fascism is in essence a military assault on the working-class to which the workers must respond with its own military defenses. Social-fascism steals the weapons which the workers have – its organisation, its militancy, and its historic role as the last class in history – just as the working-class is readying itself against the oncoming offensive of the capitalists.
It is not a coincidence that just like fascism, social-fascism serves to prevent revolution, one by crushing with force, and the other by subverting, and directing the anger of the masses towards an unproductive outlet. Likewise, it is not a coincidence that scattered throughout history are numerous instances of direct collaboration between the two twins, whether it was the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) sending the fascist Freikorps to murder our beloved comrade Rosa Luxemburg and crush the German Revolution or the non-violence pact between the Italian fascists and their social democratic party. One of history’s greatest struggles against fascism and imperialism, the People’s War led by the Communist Party of Peru since the 1980s, also came into contradiction with social-fascism. As the declassified reports made for the US Department of Defense by the RAND Corporation’s National Defense Research Institute indicate , the ability of the Peruvian social-fascists to waste the revolutionary energy of the masses through legal means was one of the fascist Alan García regime’s most effective defenses against the Communist Party of Peru in the capital city of Lima. In Canada too, the social-fascists, represented chiefly by the New Democratic Party, steal the energy of the masses in the service of fascism. “We are against fascism,” they claim as they attempt to appeal to workers and progressives, but where are their supporters at the militant anti-fascist protests in Vancouver, where Maoists and anarchists stand off against street fascists and their cop collaborators? Certainly, they cannot be busy at Parliament Hill, since none of their seats in the House of Commons, which they bet everything on are being used to do anything against Canadian capitalism, colonialism, or imperialism, as ineffective as that would be. Seeing this, the correct thing for any prospective anti-fascist to do would be to abandon any false hope in these sham capitalist parties, and do what the brave masses in Peru dared to do: join with the communists to make revolution.
This day and age is one which belongs to the strategic offensive of the World Proletarian Revolution. Capitalism is approaching the end of its final stage, and the crisis of imperialism becoming more and more acute with each passing day, straining as it feebly attempts to hold back what is inevitable. In this last push towards a just world, the working-class and all those who lead and fight alongside it must be prepared to give everything to fight fascism, to give everything to win everything. As the great Chairman Gonzalo said, “being communists, we fear nothing,” and we must carry our lives “on our fingertips so that we may give it whenever the revolution demands it.” Anti-fascism, which is necessary because the objective conditions for an all-out communist struggle are ripening, must itself be taken up as part of the revolutionary cause, and a necessary task of the working-class as the final class in world history. To succeed in this heavy task will take the greatest devotion of the most advanced fighters that the working-class can bring, guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the ideology of the workers today. Anti-fascism must be picked up by communists, and together with the masses they lead, they will send the vile stain of fascism violently to the trash heap of history, to never be seen again.