Forward together — block and build against fascism

BY:DC Young Communist League| April 17, 2024
Forward together — block and build against fascism

This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors
While voting against fascism is undoubtedly crucial to defeating the fascist danger, the slogan itself does not effectively convey the depth of our ideals or the urgency of organizing a genuine mass struggle to defend and deepen democracy. Now more than ever, our Party must clearly and concisely explain the need for sustained organizing, not just on Election Day, but for as long as it takes to permanently overcome the fascist danger. It is imperative that we strive to communicate our ideas in a manner that resonates not only with a broad audience of the working class but also with the vanguard fighters who are dedicated to building a broad front for peace, democracy, and progress. Therefore, I propose an alternative to “Vote Against Fascism” and ask that the Party consider the clarity and call to action expressed by the slogan “Block and Build Against Fascism.”

In order to advance the organization of progressive forces and achieve our Party Program’s stated goal of Socialism USA, our slogans must not only point out the path of struggle forward but illuminate it clearly for all to see. The stakes are extremely high. That’s why we must loudly declare that while an electoral victory over fascism is essential, it is not sufficient alone. Throughout history, reactionary forces consistently defying the democratic will of the majority, have sought to entrench their power and suppress people’s movements. Presently within our country, reactionary forces represented by the MAGA bloc within the Republican Party are denying the results of the most recent election. This refusal to acknowledge defeat underscores the objective necessity of a militant and organized base numbering in the millions to join the anti-fascist struggle to defend democracy. It is not enough to simply defeat fascism at the ballot box, we must cultivate a mass movement to eradicate reaction from every corner of our republic. The democratic and progressive masses want more than to fight one defensive election after the next. They want and need an offensive strategy for victory; which I will attempt to outline below.

Trump or no Trump, fascism moves forward together

The persistence of the MAGA movement in pushing its agenda, regardless of Trump’s potential return to the presidency or ongoing legal battles, brings into sharp focus the reality of GOP fascism. This agenda is openly pursued despite facing resistance from the masses of people. The Heritage Foundation’s 2025 Presidential Transition Plan, known as Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise serves as a prime example. This plan aims to completely reshape government policies to benefit a wealthy minority.

With a supermajority in the highest court in the United States and intents to weaponize the Department of Justice, including rounding up leftists, there’s a clear pattern of using governing power against political opponents. This reflects the anti-majoritarian blocs intent to undo the democratic gains won by people’s movements and imposing white Christian nationalist rule, akin to an open fascist dictatorship. Spearheaded by figures harboring fascist aspirations, the MAGA bloc strategically seeks control of the entire federal government by exploiting the inherent contradictions of the U.S. constitutional system. Its ascent within the Republican Party and influence over key appointments to the Supreme Court, along with its grip on 22 state government trifectas, further highlight its prominence and alarming trajectory.

As they push forward with plans to consolidate power across various levels of government, it’s crucial that our slogans and calls to action continue to emphasize the imminent threat of fascism within this broader political landscape. Consequently, I propose the Party consider replacing the slogan “Vote Against Fascism” with “Block and Build Against Fascism.” This shift underscores the urgency of obstructing the far-right’s quest for unchecked governing authority while also stressing the importance of building independent working-class organizations and securing unity of action from progressive forces. This approach enables us to confront the corporate funders of fascism while also fighting for tangible victories that improve the lives of working people.

Relationship between defeating fascism and advancing socialism 

There are still some on the Left, including perhaps even a few Party members, who are confused about the nature of the struggle to defeat MAGA fascism, which requires working with broader, anti-MAGA forces, and how it relates to our final goal of a socialist United States. Thus, it is the responsibility of the CPUSA to continuously clarify the relationship between the struggle against fascism and our broader goal of advancing socialism. As part of the Left, our role is to point out the way forward, which we do without complaint or condescension.

Our nation, like many others in the capitalist world, faces a reactionary offensive from the far-right, driven by corporate-conservative interests. Led by the MAGA Republican Party, the forces of fascism unmistakably champion the agenda of the most reactionary segments of the ruling class. Organizations such as the fascist Heritage Foundation openly advocate for the dismantling of the thin facade of bourgeois democracy in favor of an open fascist dictatorship. These forces wield considerable strength and pose a formidable threat.

In contrast, the forces advocating for socialism remain relatively weak—particularly in the United States, where the Left is undergoing a significant period of resurgence and rebuilding. Must we therefore become pessimists and concede that only through the harsh realities of fascism can the democratic masses be persuaded to socialism? Absolutely not, as this would represent an absolutely criminal betrayal to the working class and amount to a silent partnership with reaction.

In this context, Lenin, in Petty-Bourgeois and Proletarian Socialism, holds significant meaning: “Can a class-conscious worker forget the democratic struggle for the sake of the socialist struggle, or forget the latter for the sake of the former? No, a class-conscious worker … understands the relation between the two struggles. He knows that there is no other road to socialism save the road through democracy, through political liberty. He therefore strives to achieve democracy completely and consistently in order to attain the ultimate goal — socialism.”

Necessity of block and build against fascism 

While the democratic and progressive masses of the country may not yet be ready to struggle for socialism, they are currently prepared to defend their democratic rights and standards of living against the GOP’s fascist offensive. Moreover, there’s a growing willingness amongst these people to join the struggle for peace. These masses have the potential to defeat this offensive and shape the political trajectory of the country. However only to the degree that they are organized and experienced in struggle. Merely installing fear of MAGA is insufficient to unite and galvanize these masses into taking action against fascism. In addition to sounding the alarm about the danger of MAGA fascism, we must also seek to convey what the working class can build under a Democratic victory as opposed to a victory for the GOP. For instance, emphasizing the pro-worker nature of the current National Labor Relations Board which is providing much needed energy for a resurgent labor movement.

To effectively organize and mobilize the masses, we must be prepared to stand in solidarity with them, addressing their immediate struggles against the most reactionary manifestations of capitalism while patiently persuading them of the necessity and inevitability of socialism based on their own political experiences. This entails ongoing advocacy for the development of a united front among the working class and its organizations, including trade unions, Marxist education schools, civil rights groups like the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, community organizations like the Poor People’s Campaign, and other groups. Additionally, we must work towards building a broad People’s Front, with the Working Families Party emerging as a promising vehicle for this endeavor. Drawing inspiration from successful initiatives like the coalition that supported Brandon Johnson’s election in Chicago and the historic victory of the Philadelphia Working Families Party in displacing Republicans from their city council, we can learn valuable lessons for building a viable progressive alternative to the deeply entrenched two-party political system in the United States.

In this connection, I would like to quote Bulgarian Communist Georgi Dimitrov who served as head of the Communist International from 1935 to 1943. In his seminal text on the Fascist Offensive which was presented and adopted at the 7th World Congress of the Communist International, Dimitrov declared:

“We are not historians divorced from living reality; we, active fighters of the working class, are obliged to answer the question that is tormenting millions of workers: Can the victory of fascism be prevented, and how? And we reply to these millions of workers: Yes, comrades, the road to fascism can be blocked. It is quite possible. It depends on ourselves-on the workers, the peasants and all working people.”

In conclusion, the challenge facing our Party and advocates of socialism everywhere is connecting the immediate struggles of the working masses with their long-term interests in a socialist future. The masses of working people, who are the ultimate makers of history, must be convinced through their own political experiences of the necessity of a socialist transition. As a result, any initiative that effectively organizes and mobilizes the working class and its allies against its most dangerous enemies ultimately represents progress towards socialism. Conversely, any action from the left that undermines or discourages the unity of the working class and the broader democratic masses should be dismissed as left sectarianism. Now, in the context of capitalism’s deterioration into reaction and fascism, the primary task for the working class, and especially for communists, is to block the path to fascism and build a united, popular front to advance social progress.

This is the fundamental concept of the relationship between the People’s Front and the struggle for socialism that underlines the slogan of “Block and Build Against Fascism.”

Images: Gerrymandering protest, Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); Fighting machinists, LaborNotes; NY/YCL; Brick blocks, Thamizhpparithi Maari (CC BY-SA 3.0 Deed); 2017 NYC Labor Parade by
Thomas Altfather Good (CC BY-ND 2.0 Deed); Repeal fascism by WOSU Public Media


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