In the wake of fascist terror in Charlottesville, the response has been a storm of public condemnation against attempts to mainstream Nazi and racist ideologies. Far-right politicians on both sides of the border have fanned the flames of bigotry, hoping to benefit by energizing the modern day apologists for the African slave trade and the genocidal destruction of Indigenous peoples. Donald Trump relied heavily on white supremacist forces to win the White House, despite losing the popular vote. Here in Canada, several Conservative leadership contenders, including the new leader Andrew Scheer, have used similar tactics. These Tories are closely connected with Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant, who launched his project as a platform for a sickening collection of Nazis, racists, anti-Muslim bigots, and anti-Jewish thugs who either deny or celebrate Hitler’s death camps.
None of this should surprise any observer. Anti-racist and anti-fascist groups – including this newspaper – have warned for years about the activities of the pro-Hitler scum who incite violence. Unfortunately, most elected political leaders, the corporate media and the police insist that “both left and right extremists” are the problem, justifying moves to suppress and marginalize radical and socialist movements – but rarely fascist groups. Sounds like Trump’s line? Exactly.
The huge anti-nazi rallies in Boston and Vancouver on August 19 show that the basis is emerging for truly broad, mass coalitions, including trade unions, Indigenous peoples, and other racialized communities. Such coalitions must work to block fascism and racism, not through street confrontations, but by building a powerful public consensus that advocacy of such ideas is not acceptable, and by compelling governments and the courts to lay criminal charges against those who spread hate speech. The labour movement has a moral responsibility to take a leading role in this process – we urge every effort to help make this happen.