By a commentator for Tjen Folket Media.
This is an debate article. Analysis and viewpoints belongs to the author.
Originally published July 3, 2020.
In the aftermath of the victory over the fascists in Trondheim on June 29, where youth drove both the fascistic SIAN and the police out of the town square in Trondheim and destroyed the fascists’ sound equipment and propaganda, a number of politicians and commentators have predictably enough distanced themselves from many of the youth involved.
A number of activists who took part in the demonstration appear to have been affected by this. Or they have their own opinions which lead to them distancing themselves from what happened. In light of something that ought to fill all anti-fascists with joy, namely a clear victory against the fascists, they are instead sad that the victory and the bourgeois critique “overshadowed” peaceful protest. They distance themselves from violence and they distance themselves from vandalism, and several are concerned with underscoring that they are “against vandalism” when they recount what happened.
From the proletarian standpoint where one always stands on the side of the masses against the bourgeois state, from a Marxist standpoint where one understands the state as a bourgeois state, and from a revolutionary standpoint, where one sees that the system cannot be changed from within but must rather be torn out by the roots and smashed, we must conclude that all forms of condemnation are incorrect and harmful. Even if they come with the condition that they are “from a good place”, the distancing becomes incorrect on many levels.
A Great Victory Where the Masses Took Matters Into Their Own Hands
First, the victory has not damaged the struggle against fascism in any way. “Bad PR” is nothing more than what is to be expected in a society where the media is bourgeois. Of course the media will stand with the police, as they protect the very same capitalist interests in this system. In other words, one must anticipate that the media and many commentators will be negative. In fact, it is just as Chairman Mao said, that it is not bad to be attacked by the enemy, but that it is good, because it shows that we have drawn a clear line between us and them.
Militant struggle and rebellions have always been condemned. If condemnations led to fewer struggles, then there would not be any struggles anywhere. But after the struggles in the US, condemned by the media, and after the victory at Mortensrud that were also condemned by the media, there was a fiercer struggle in the square of Trondheim than has been seen in the city for several decades. The condemnations bounce right off, and the struggle inspires. The militant struggle comes absolutely first and gives both the greatest result and the most inspiration.
Secondly, it is great when the masses take matters into their own hands. The alternative is that one begs the police to fix things. If one hates the police and understands the police’s character, one will not plead for the police to remove fascists. The police will always protect fascists. They cover them , and they are by and large the profession that has the most fascist attitude. Nobody is more happy with bourgeois order and authority, with corporative “cooperation”, and with uniforms and power through violence, than the police. It is their job. How could one expect them to stop fascism? To do so is to not have learned from history, and to lack an understanding of the class character of the police. To take matters into our own hands is the mass line, and it means trusting the masses, to have faith in one’s own strength and the strength of the people, rather than waiting for help to arrive from above.
Third, it is repulsive when people who call themselves socialists or red condemn the young masses and decry them as “a small group of troublemakers” or something to this effect. In Trondheim, as in other Norwegian cities, it is often these “troublemakers” who experience both the most intense hate from the fascists and the most harassment and violence from the police. The police drive around at night and seek out congregations of proletarian youth, harass them, chase them, frisk them without cause, yell at them, and call them names. There is something truly disgusting about the fact that petty-bourgeois middle class politicians talk about these youth in a manner that stigmatizes them just as much as SIAN’s vulgar hate for “gangs” and “rabble”.
The police harass youth, just as they always have. And they protect the fascists. Therefore, the youth who stand at the forefront for a small victory against them in the square of Trondheim deserve all possible honor and praise. It is just as legitimate if they were part of planning meetings before the demonstration. They show that the masses can and will go even further then what leftist activists have planned, and this is nothing to criticize. On the contrary, it is well-worth supporting and congratulating. Especially when the police detain youth, and immediately begin to threaten, shout at, and shove them. Any kind of “criticism” of these youth is nauseating.
Fourth, neither violence nor vandalism are bad in and of themselves. All revolutions entail violence. This violence is always milder than the violence that the system itself exercises. The police exercise violence each and every day in their arrests. This is the harshest towards the poorest, the sickest, towards drug users and towards the youth. Not to mention when Trondheim’s police murdered Eugene Obiora in 2006. Violence has a character, a political character, a class character. This is the difference between justified violence and unjustified violence. Violence against fascists and the police is always right.
To make a big deal about vandalism or—god forbid—to raise money to cover the cost of the damages after what happened in the square in Trondheim is downright unbelievable when it comes from red or radical people. All over the world, people rebel and they are portrayed as heroes by the left here. When Palestinian children throw rocks they, and rightfully so, get broad support. Only fringe friends of Israel speak with concern for the Israeli soldiers or sometimes historical buildings that are damaged in the resistance. The uprising of the masses cannot be polite, pretty, and reserved. It must come as a flood, it must flow over.
All damages where the fascists stood are of course the responsibility of the fascists and the police! Even all deaths during a revolution, regardless of who they are or who carries out the deadly violence, is in the final analysis at the hands of the rulers. It is right and justified to rebel. The responsibility for all damages that occur must belong to the rulers themselves. “No justice, no peace”, as the masses shout in the streets. That is to say that as long as injustice and captivity reign, there can be no peace. And this means “vandalism” and violence. As mentioned earlier, one cannot make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
If the police place fascists right in front of a historical building, then the police themselves can scramble to raise money to replace the windows.
Fifth, the episode shows with all clarity just how effective violence is. Even the relatively limited and careful struggle can clean the square of its fascists and police. A relatively small group that takes matters into its own hands can quickly accomplish what nobody can accomplish by turning their backs to the fascists or even by yelling. Lenin says that practice prevails over theory because it is immediately true. The physical actions of the masses in Trondheim were really immediately true. Throwing things, tearing down fences, breaking down barriers, confronting without fear—this is what rid the area of its fascists and made it possible to destroy their equipment. Both the violence and the vandalism were rather limited, but it had an immediate and incredibly convincing effect. The square was cleared and fell for a short time into the hands of a few dozen rebellion masses.
Cause to Celebrate and Cause to Learn
There is every reason to celebrate this, and there is every reason to learn a few positive lessons. Negative lessons can also be learned here. For instance, we see that a number of opportunists condemn violence and vandalism. For them, it is much worse that a window was broken than a fascist movement being allowed to build itself up with police protection. This is something we can see by how very clearly upset they are and how much they write now (!) in contrast to how little they did to combat fascism. We learn how opportunists, represented among the Red Party, SV, and the Labour Party, stab the masses and antifascists in the back. They run errands for the police. They snitch. And they condemn and distance themselves. Some of them can perhaps be won over by arguments and discussions, but until that time we cannot forget the heckling they have taken part in. One must be prepared to be stabbed in the back when one leads in the front with such people behind them.
There is also a lot to learn about wearing masks and avoiding being identified, as well as the fact that one need not say anything to the police. This does not apply only to those who throw an egg or a lawn chair, but to others as well. Many videos and photos are taken in such situations. The fascists film, the police film, and the media films. And they work together to take out those they accuse of “going too far”. They help each other persecute people who struggle. All who struggle ought to help each other to stand against them and to avoid being identified, arrested, or prosecuted.
The police have followed this up with a lot of harassment. They hate to be embarrassed. They see that their authority is being undermined. They strike back and use violence against youth who are maybe just the friends of those who struggled. In such situations, even the smallest amount of distancing to the youth operates as indirect support to the police’s attempt to stifle future resistance. It is worth noting, as an aside, who it is that chose this opportunity to condemn and distance themselves.
Furthermore, we must say to those who hang their heads after the demonstration that there is no reason to do so. One should celebrate, and then celebrate again. There is always someone who whines when things happen. Such is life. For the struggle against fascism and police violence, this was in truth a joyous day.
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