by Mariana Riscali (National Leader of MES-PSOL)
Last weekend Hurricane Harvey, that hit the Gulf Coast, brought destruction to Texas, causing a tropical storm that left dead, injured and thousands homeless, being the strongest to hit the state of Texas in 50 years. But this is not the only phenomenon that has put United States in the spotlight in the last period. The polarization between the extreme right and the organized resistance against fascism and prejudice, which had its milestone in Charlottesville’s episode on August 12, is a showcase of the resumption of the political struggle and of the rising of the combat of fascism in the country, that now also hit the streets arena.
The rise of Donald Trump, a president with openly racist, xenophobic, sexist and anti-LGBT positions and who maintains relations with sectors of the extreme right that also composes his government, was the electoral expression of a sector of the American population attracted by the conservative discourse and the false idea of the resumption of growth before the damages of the economic crisis which is realized in unemployment, increasing poverty and scrapping of social services. At the same time, the Bernie Sanders phenomenon in the Democratic Party’s primaries, the emergence of movements such as Black Lives Matter and the boom in demand for socialism as an alternative, reflected in the recent exponential growth of Democratic Socialists of America, were expressions of the strengthening of the left as the other side of this process.
Charlottesville, in this context, was the first major expression of the streets on this polarization. Fascist sectors motivated by the amplitude of their positions through the president and the growth of the “alt-right”, devised a calendar of marches and meetings across the country, but had as an answer a huge mobilization which showed that large proportion of the American population is not willing to accept this policy of intolerance and hatred, being able to organize themselves to forge the resistance against this conservative movement. After the battle of Charlottesville, immediately dozens of marches against the right and racism and in reaction to the death of the militant Heather Heyer, who became an expression of this struggle, spread across the country. The unity of the social movements and the left was exemplary: DSA, BLM, ISO, SA and other organizations were at the forefront of rallies that mobilized the cities of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, New Orleans, among others.
On Saturday, August 19, Boston’s turn to show their strength in response to the “Free Speech Rally”, on which conservative organizations rely to justify their right to exist and spread their hate speech. After popular and media pressure, the organization of the march sought to differentiate itself from Charlottesville, claiming not to share the same principles of its organizers, which was quickly unmasked as part of their drivers and confirmed figures were the same as the previous rally.
Under attention of the public opinion that feared the repetition of a new conflict, what happened was a huge and successful peaceful march which gathered around 40,000 protesters in the city of Boston, against fascism, racism and intolerance. The right’s march did not met more than a few dozens, and their prejudice screams were boldly drowned out by crowd chanted slogans and wielding placards stating “Black Lives Matter”, “No to Trump, KKK and Racist America” and ” Americans against hate “.
Last weekend there were more conflicts and one was in Berkeley, university city in California, where a march was organized in response to a rally “Against Marxism in America” – highlighting the fact that the dispute goes beyond identity politics’ agenda but also has as its center the class struggle and confrontation with imperialism and the capitalist system, and that it also takes place on universities, where both sides dispute their speech among young people, students and opinion leaders.
As a partial unfolding of these events, the streets’ response was so significant that resulted in a major setback from the right, little reported by the media: the ACT for America, one of the groups of “alt-right” known for its anti-Islamic positions announced the cancellation of 67 marches that were being called in 36 US states, showing not only the correctness of the policy of the left organizations and movements who bet against the marches but also the important rejection of sectors of mass to the advance of fascism.
They are great challenges and also the opportunities that are presented to the North American left. As we noted in the report on the Convention of the Democratic Socialists of America (put link), the growth of resistance and socialist struggle in the United States is a major step not only for this country but for all internationalism. For these reasons supporting this process and adding to the resistance to fascism in the world is a duty of all revolutionaries, with the attention this time facing the North.