At the latest Need to Know, a wide-ranging conversation with as many opinions as voices did seem to gravitate toward one idea: we have a tricky but potentially productive situation facing our movement.
On the one hand, we need to combat the clear threat of fascism. Need proof it’s imminent and very threatening: Jam. 6, 2021. And we don’t have the ability to combat it as a movement — we’re not adequately organized and unified. We aren’t sufficiently armed. We aren’t trained and many of us don’t have much experience with this kind of violence.
We just aren’t ready.
So we need to look at how we approach this government, which is one of the components in our tactical array. We have to demand that it do what it’s supposed to — protect the institution of this society from anti-democratic attack and possible destruction. We have to demand that it protect us from these disinformed sociopaths and the surprisingly broad and powerful movement they have built and will continue to build.
We can expect that, in meeting its obligations, this government will use surveillance and, after President Obama made effective, world-wide surveillance one of his administration’s priorities, the U.S. government enjoys access to the most powerful and sweeping surveillance system in human history. In fact, the only way for the government to effectively combat this fascist threat is by using surveillance. At this point, it hasn’t developed adequate relationships with communities at the grass roots level to permit anything but “drop in” surveillance.
That’s not good news for our movements. It’s important to remember that, no matter the political nuances of the moment, our movement is capitalism’s greatest enemy. The struggle against the far-right is a struggle within the ruling class. The struggle against us is the class struggle and we can be sure that every single weapon these people find to use against fascism will be used every more forcefully against us.
So here’s the question: how do we handle this? How do we push the government to step up while making sure it doesn’t step on us in the process?
Don’t know. Maybe we should start by talking about it.