5. Not This Time!

Editorial

First they came for the Muslims, and we said: “Not this time, motherfuckers!”

Whirlwinds of Danger


ROAR Issue #5: Not This Time! is out now.


Image: professor punches Nazi.

Dark forces are stirring across the globe. A right-wing revolt rages, and everywhere the pillars of liberalism crumble. Demons once thought banished are resurfacing with a vengeance. As authoritarian strongmen maneuver into position and a motley crew of billionaires and unapologetic white supremacists take the reins of the most powerful state on the planet, an old word suddenly re-enters our political lexicon. Are we witnessing the resurgence of fascism in our times? If so, what can be done to stop it?

Coming to grips with the complexity of our present conjuncture requires us to confront both the old and the new. On the one hand, we must recognize the novelty of the situation and the enormity of the challenges that now lie before us. These are extraordinary times that will require extraordinary measures. The democratic resistance will need to be creative — the solutions of the past will no longer do. On the other hand, we must not lose sight of the continuities between the unfolding catastrophe and the liberal status quo that gave rise to it. Spiteful chauvinists spewing bigotry and hatred have long been a constitutive element of Western politics, and marginalized and historically oppressed groups bore the brunt of an incipient everyday fascism long before Brexit and Trump struck fear into the hearts of the establishment press. In many important ways, the neoliberal security state — whose anti-democratic machinations we picked apart in our previous issue — prefigured the racist, sexist and authoritarian turn represented by the nationalist far right. It is therefore in the struggles of the marginalized and the oppressed that we must look for answers.

One thing is clear. The liberal order that was established in the postwar decades after the defeat of historical fascism is reeling. Once again, the center cannot hold. Representative institutions long considered impervious to change are rapidly fraying, as the capitalist world economy continues to spiral out of control. A new era of global disorder is upon us — and the rise of the extreme right will only hasten its arrival. Meanwhile, between Trumpist bigotry and Clintonite technocracy, the existing political system is manifestly incapable of offering a credible solution to its own existential crisis. It is plain for everyone to see: liberalism cannot defeat fascism. The latter lives in the former’s bosom and thrives on its self-inflicted decay. What is urgently needed today is a radical alternative emerging from within society — a broad-based, inclusive and forward-looking anti-fascist mass movement led by the marginalized and oppressed and organized on the principles of solidarity, feminism, internationalism, anti-racism and anti-capitalism.

Just as fascism re-emerges from the shadows of the past, so the anti-fascist resistance must now rise to the occasion and claim center stage in a new cycle of struggles. This fifth issue of ROAR Magazine asks how we might begin to do that. It looks at the evolution of far-right movements in Europe and the US, considers important lessons from ongoing anti-fascist and anti-racist struggles in Rojava, Greece and the US, and documents the failings of liberalism across the board — from its implication in the rise of the far right to its deeply flawed opposition to Islamophobia and its problematic doctrine of nonviolence.

The bottom line is that we cannot look at fascism and the rise of the far right as isolated phenomena. As the contributions to this issue show, the resistance to fascism is intimately bound up with the struggle against patriarchy, ecocide, white supremacy, religious fundamentalism, capitalism, imperialism and the state. Only a radically democratic mass movement with a strategic vision on how to confront all the above can begin to make meaningful inroads against the fascist resurgence. We have seen this movie before. We know what happens next. First they will come for the Muslims.

It is up to us to stand firm and insist: “Not this time, motherfuckers!”

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The ROAR Collective publishes ROAR Magazine, a quarterly journal of the radical imagination providing grassroots perspectives from the front-lines of the global struggle for real democracy.

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Source URL — https://roarmag.org/magazine/whirlwinds-danger-fascism-resistance/

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