While the mostly anarchist anti-fascist movement would likely never devolve into a question of voting for liberal candidates, the unique nature of this year’s election has changed many opinions. With the potential of a Donald Trump victory on the horizon, many are asking the question of whether or not supporting Hillary Clinton as simply a way to dethrone the nationalist movement. Given the election results creeping up on us late tonight, we have decided to present a quick debate between two competing opinions on whether or not voting is an worthwhile anti-fascist act in this context.
No Ballot Box
by Anti-Fascist Front
The question about voting is one that tends to divert from what the real question ends up being: how to build anti-fascist movements and projects that can confront the real core of the movement. It may be a benefit if Trump is not voted in, especially in that it will cut off the connection between the Alt Right and the mainstream GOP. At the same time, the struggle against fascism will only continue as the component parts are still built into the neoliberal world. Clinton herself is voice of the ruling class, one that will likely attack unions, support police murder, continue the march off the cliff of climate change, deregulate financial markets, and celebrate international bombing campaigns. She herself is not a fascist, and instead is part and parcel of American capitalism, so it is hard for many to actually expect casting a ballot will do much more than act as self congratulation.
No matter what you do today, spend no more than a few minutes on it. If you cast a ballot, then fine, and if you choose to burn yours in protest, that is great as well. What matters is what you do tomorrow, whether you begin working in your community to build an anti-fascist movement. This can be supporting anti-racist education projects or Antifa organizations in your city. It can be standing in the streets yelling Black Lives Matter or confronting anti-immigrant sentiments in schools and police unions. It means building a mass movement to undo “Trumpism” as a social concept, and that will be required whether or not Trump loses tonight.
Election results will not unring the bell of the Alt Right, and so it is going to be a necessity for us to find a way to contribute to on-the-ground work, movement building and community organizing. That is where the battle is had, so do not allow this flurry of button pushing to obscure what is really required in this struggle.
by Karl Starkweather
I contend that one should vote.
Living under liberal democracy is better than living under fascism. It is also better in terms of the Left’s ability to move in an egalitarian direction.
More concretely, currents existed prior to the rise of Trump and the neo-Nationalist movements around the globe, but Trump and the neo-Nationalist movements outside the US have helped manifest new forces and embolden older strains. And whether Trump wins or loses on the 8th, these new and old currents will have to be confronted beyond the ballot box. Still, we as Anti-Fascists must stay true to the call we took up: that the heads of State, military, and economy, when confronted with fascism, either cannot stop it or will absolve themselves into it. The only true cure for the disease of fascism is popular resistance. And in the USA, there is not currently a working mass popular resistance outside of the Democratic Party.
How? In power, a moderate-Left party does more good for the 99%. In the United States, I personally benefit from a Democratic NLRB, for instance, and from the various (inadequate and non-universal) social services and aid that nonetheless have a real impact on the day-to-day life of myself and loved ones. In addition, women are more likely to be able to access the full spectrum of health services they need; there will be more support for reforming our racist criminal justice system so I can see more energy in the world not be totally annihilated; there will remain some semblance of hope that millions–including people close to me–won’t be violently removed by Trump’s militarization of ICE; and the list goes on.
Furthermore, to be Sorelian or Nietzschean, getting turned on by “catastrophic myths” that heighten contradictions—or the proposition “that which is falling should also be pushed” by not voting or voting 3rd party—is quintessentially fascist. Only such an irrational-artistic-metaphysics of the fascist could visualize joy in that violent chaos. Are we Anti-Fascists for the people? Or are we enamoured of that fascist myth—seeing destructive chaos as some “hygiene” for the people?
What is wrong with voting then, if it can keep some things that impact real marginalized people in place? Maybe make some things better? There has been progress in some areas, the last 8 years under Democrats. It could be much better and it is our duty to make it that way. We have to continue stepping up. The Left, if more imaginative, and with more agency, could comprehend of a world where the far-Left would help win victories for the moderate Left while at the same time building a movement to turn the moderate movements more to the Left, usurp them, or transcend them (depending on your ideological persuasion).
So, as Anti-Fascists, I contend that we must use the means available. At present, in America specifically, today on November 8th, it’s the ballot box. Vote against Trump today and for the Democrats. That is the job for today, and will enable us to continue to do our job tomorrow.