By Alexander Reid Ross
Does anti-fascism bear revolutionary potential? This question lingers in today’s tense climes — yet the precise meaning of “revolution” remains unclear. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in the United States this year, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage identified the successes of Brexit and Donald Trump as the beginnings of a “great global revolution.” Either Trump and Farage have joined the revolutionary left — or reality is far more complicated.
To understand the rise of Trump and Brexit, we would do well to return to the notion of the “national revolution,” which has over the years led many members of the working class to actively support, or at least passively acquiesce to, the gains of reactionary movements worldwide. Only by understanding the complex intersections between left and right can we begin to develop the analytical and tactical tools to prevent the creep of the working class towards fascist ideology, and to clarify the necessity of anti-fascist struggle against the very state-form as such.
The National Revolution
The antecedents of the fascist creep go back to the 1920s and 1930s. Before Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, his second in command, Gregor Strasser, led a powerful tendency in the Nazi Party that stressed affiliation neither with capitalism nor with communism, but with a “national revolution” favoring a United States of Europe — with workers’ syndicates functioning under a corporatist state within the ambit of national solidarity.