October 31, 2014

Attacks on young communists in France, Serbia and Venezuela are the latest violent examples of growing fascist threat

Communist Youth of Venezuela respond to attack
targeting their office and activists
By Drew Garvie
General Secretary, YCL-LJC of Canada

In late October, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, a global anti-imperialist federation of youth organizations founded after the fascist defeat in Europe in 1945, issued two statements condemning fascist violence in both Venezuela and Yugoslavia. These attacks had occurred in the preceding weeks.

In the early morning hours of October 21st in Caracas, members of the Communist Youth of Venezuela (JCV) were finishing their work at their central offices. Several firebombs were launched at the building and a fire was started in their meeting room. Fortunately no comrades were injured in the attack and the fire was extinguished.

The JCV Executive Committee released a statement contextualizing the attack against them: "This deed occurs within the framework of violence imposed by fascism since February of this year carried out by mercenaries and paramilitaries serving the extreme, pro-imperialist right." This references an upsurge in right-wing protests that took place from February through June, which led to the deaths of 43 people. Most recently, Robert Serra, the youngest parliamentarian elected in Venezuelan history, and a member of Venezuela’s Socialist Party (PSUV), was murdered with Colombian paramilitaries being implicated.

The JCV office after the firebombing
The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) condemned the “terrorist and fascist attack against JCV at the same time that it calls for international solidarity with the people of Venezuela”. The Communist Party of Venezuela and the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, both immediately condemned the attack. Maduro called on all “political forces” of Venezuela to join him and offer solidarity. The objective of these attacks, “was to bring our country into an atmosphere of confrontations and hatred that leads to chaos”, said President Maduro.

The attack on the JCV offices were accompanied by more disturbing events in Europe, also taking place this October. Several activists of the League of Communist Yugoslav Youth (SKOJ) and the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia (NKPJ) were physically assaulted in Belgrade and Novi Sad.

One of the targets was Aleksander Djenic, the General Secretary of SKOJ, who has played an important role in student protests against the European Union’s “Bologna reforms”,  which have attacked their education system. Two members of the neo-fascist group “Serb Action” attacked Djenic in Belgrade. The police arrived almost immediately and promptly arrested Djenic for his actions in self-defence.

On October 11th, a fascist gang attacked students at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad, including a SKOJ activist. Simultaneously, elsewhere in Novi Sad, another SKOJ activist was attacked.

Djenic, Secretary of the SKOJ, is facing criminal charges
for defending himself from a fascist attack
The NKPJ and the SKOJ responded with a statement saying that these were not isolated incidents, “but a clearly orchestrated campaign, with the goal of intimidating and threatening the lives” of their members. In contrast to the state’s response to the violence in Venezuela, the SKOJ has had to demand that police stop being complicit in fascist violence: “What is worrying, immoral and hypocritical is that members of neo-fascist organizations are treated by authorities as victims.”

The WFDY called for action against the violence and expressed “solidarity with SKOJ and to the comrade Aleksandar Djenic, and [WFDY] also supports NKPJ and SKOJ in their demand for the dismissal of the charges against comrade Aleksandar Djenic...The World Federation of Democratic Youth condemns all the aggressive attacks of clerical ultra right-wingers against NKPJ and SKOJ members, and understands that the attacks have to do with ideological and political beliefs.”

In addition to the events in Serbia, last Thursday, October 23rd, comrades from the Young Communist Movement of France (MJCF) were also the victims of an attack by an ultra-right group in the city of Aix-En-Provence, near Marseille. The young communists were organizing a film night when approximately 15 individuals from the ultra-right group “Action Française” entered and physically attacked the crowd. Action Française, is an old organization known for its monarchist and ultra-right, racist, xenophobic and religious positions. One of their slogans during the attack was “down with the republic” and in 1934, while admirers of Hitler and Mussolini, they tried to reinstate the monarchy.

Members of the Young Communist Movement
of France demonstrate
Since the election of François Hollande, France has witnessed an increase in the ultra-right’s activity. The Social Democratic government of Hollande has imposed harsh austerity measures that even the traditional right would have trouble enacting. With the failure of Social Democracy to act with the people resisting the austerity assault of the French and EU capitalists, the road is paved for the ultra-right to spread its toxic message, depicting all political parties as the same, promoting xenophobia, violence, anti-communism and anti-unionism. But fascism, behind its populist rhetoric, plays the role of supporting the capitalist system by shifting the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working people by force, while eliminating democratic rights.

Fascism is even better established in Eastern Europe, especially in countries where counterrevolutionary forces won victories in the 1990s, such as in the case mentioned above in Serbia. In many of these countries, attacks on the communist movement have even been led by the government. Hungary, Lithuania, and Moldova have all banned or attempted to ban Communist symbols such as the hammer and sickle or the red star in recent years. The most recent case is the attempted ban on the Communist Party of Ukraine by the extreme nationalist, NATO backed, coup government in that country. We should also remember the ban on the KSM, the Communist youth of the Czech Republic in 2006 which was defeated by popular mobilization, including the WFDY’s international solidarity campaign. It is not a coincidence that Ukraine and the Czech Republic are two countries in Eastern Europe that have a relatively strong communist movement, and as such were targeted.

Conservative Jason Kenney has been a major
promoter of anti-communism in parliament
The rise of European fascism and the imperialist backed violence in Latin America are not disconnected. These events even have an expression right here in Canada. The Young Communist League of Canada at its Central Committee meeting this July, made note of the global right’s drive to rejuvenate anti-communism as a weapon to be used in the context of the current economic and environmental crises of capitalism. The violence and rhetoric aimed at communist and progressive forces “aims to reinforce the myth that ‘there is no alternative’ to capitalism.” Referencing Prime Minister Harper’s anti-communist tirade at a fundraiser dinner for a “monument to the victims of communism” in May of this year, the YCL-LJC wrote: “far from being pro-democratic, anti-communism is also a smoke screen used to create the political conditions for accelerating Tory attacks on the trade union movement and democratic rights and freedoms in Canada."

Harper’s appeals to anti-communism, and in the past couple weeks against “homegrown terrorism”, not only opens the door to more surveillance and repression from the state, it also gives fascist groups more room to manoeuvre. As the Tory government promotes Islamophobia, xenophobia and fear mongering against “eco-terrorists”, “multi-issue extremists” and “Communists”, the ultra-right benefits. Here in Canada we need to keep a close eye on anti-communism and fascism abroad, stand in solidarity with those resisting around the world, and make sure fascism is unable to consolidate here.

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