“We are also opposed to ‘Left’ phrase-mongering. The thinking of ‘Leftists’ outstrips a given stage of development of the objective process; some regard their fantasies as truth while others strain to realize in the present an ideal which can only be realized in the future. They alienate themselves from the current practice of the majority of the people and from the realities of the day, and show themselves to be adventurist in their actions” Mao Zedong, On Practice, 1937.

Comrades in Richmond, VA have recently participated in an Anti-Trump rally and posted a write-up about it which can be found here. We in Boston, while being affiliated with these comrades, do not support this sort of action or their summation of its impact. While we agree that there is a need to struggle against and defeat fascist politics, we do not believe that comrades in Richmond are actually engaged in a struggle against fascism. Rather, it seems that they have posited the existence of a fascist threat (which is equated with the supporters of Donald Trump) instead of engaging in a material investigation of the nature of white supremacy in this conjuncture. The lack of material understanding of the nature of white supremacy is embodied in the statement that “[liberals] expect us to give fascists the benefit of the doubt, and to wait until we’re all in concentration camps before we start resisting.” Yet it is not clear that there is an immanent threat of the creation of concentration camps in the United States. Furthermore, this action is proportedly taken in defense of the victims of the “white nationalist resurgence,” namely “oppressed black and brown people” and “white women” to whom, it is claimed, this resurgence poses an “existential threat.” Without a clear analysis of the nature of the supposed fascist threat this effectively amounts to a liberal politics of recognition and enumeration of supposedly agency-less victims.

There is an abstract equivalence posited between the white supremacist violence of fascists, Trump supporters, and the police. Without a concrete understanding of the materiality of white supremacy communist militants cannot actively work to resolve this contradiction; instead, they, like the comrades in VA, will remain at the level of reactionary actions and self-aggrandizing statements which do nothing to address the material reproduction of the systems of white supremacy.

In our eyes, it is the lack of concrete analysis of the nature of white supremacy that led comrades in VA to posit that “They have promised us violence, and we must promise them the same.” Much like the fascist threat, it remains unclear exactly who the “they” is in this sentence (Trump supporters? Outright fascists? The police?). However, what is clear is that comrades in VA believe that revolutionary violence is the same as the violence of the white supremacist capitalist state. This effectively advocates a ultra-left position of reciprocating state and fascist violence with violence that is qualitatively the same. This is just one example of the reactive politics being put forth by comrades in VA. That is to say, they are formulating a politics that is based in reaction to oppression and exploitation, instead of pursuing a politics that seeks to destroy the conditions of possibility of oppression and exploitation. When politics remains mired at the level of simple reaction it cannot truly proceed beyond a liberal outrage at the injustice of the existing state of affairs that amounts to the demand for a more just master.

It is only at the end of the article that comrades in VA speak of the need to link this Anti-Trump rally up to “the construction of autonomous working class organizations in workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and prisons.” In our view, this amounts to a backhand admission that this action did nothing to further the cause of proletarian revolution and eliminate the conditions of possibility of inequality. Despite the insistence that the action was “in defiance of police authority,” in our view there is little to support such a claim. Furthermore, the articulation of the actions of comrades as defying authority figures speaks to the left-adventurist fantasy of a trangressive act that breaks the explicit prohibitions of a given figure of authority. In our view, this protest was not qualitatively heterogeneous to capitalism or police authority, nor does it amount to a “humiliation” of police forces. Rather, it seems that the police were well aware that they could let the protesters march for a few hours because it actually did nothing to challenge the existing structures of oppression and exploitation, and, come sunrise, business as usual resumed in Richmond.

In order for actions, protests, and rallies to realize real gains for proletarian politics, they must be dialectically related to the struggles in “workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and prisons” from the beginning. This cannot be a future objective, but must be pursued in the present. Comrades in VA’s indefinite deferral of these tasks speak to a fantasy that it is possible to create revolution through the subjective force of small groups alone and to a poor analysis and understanding of the nature of white supremacy. It must be admitted that both of these go hand in hand. Against this deviation we assert that communist politics cannot be the “same” as the violence of white supremacy. Rather, the task of communist politics is the destruction of the conditions of possibility of inequality. This task cannot be immediately realized by the violence of a small group of individuals who fancy themselves to be the embodiment of revolution. The path to revolution and to communism is built through the urgent task of correctly handling the contradictions amongst the people and the antagonist contradiction with the class enemies of concrete situations. The positing of an abstract and half-invisible fascist threat amounts to a metaphysical outlook that divorces white supremacy from the materiality of its structures and systems.