Trust is hard. And in today’s modern surveillance state, it has become even harder to give and receive trust. But, in order to build and survive an anti-fascist movement, it is entirely necessary. Trust that your comrades are on your side, trust that they are fighting for the same things that you are, as well as trusting that you will have their backs the minute they need you. In other words, anti-fascist movements require solidarity.
To further a point Portia made yesterday, trust and solidarity sound easy when you are around your friends, people you know and like. It is easy to trust and show support for someone who you’ve known for 25 years and have been on the picket lines with. It’s much more difficult, however, to trust and show solidarity for someone you have never met, or perhaps have met and personally dislike. Amber A’lee Frost, in her essay “Not Here To Make Friends: A Statement of Support for George Ciccariello-Maher,” perhaps says it quite well, “Solidarity is not dependent on amity or admiration, it is the acknowledgement of a shared struggle for dignity, liberation, and rights, applied consistently to all of humankind. There is no such thing as conditional solidarity.” There is no way to create a movement where you only defend people you personally like. As long as they’re on your side, you have to show solidarity.
Trust and solidarity, of course, are not eternal factors. People who show that they are acting in bad faith, or are purposefully detrimental to the cause and refuse to correct their mistakes, should be dealt with appropriately on a case-by-case basis. This is a war we are fighting. But no comrade should be approached with skepticism, or have to earn their way into your trust. Simply by being anti-fascist, people deserve solidarity and trust. Disagreements on tactics and strategy will arise. And these disagreements need to be resolved. This situation occurs in every movement, especially those movements that live primarily on the left. But these disagreements must be dealt with the understanding that no one group is trying to undermine the whole cause through their argument. Trust in one’s comrades whether they come down on the side of Trotsky, Mao, Luxembourg, or Big Bill Haywood is essential to a successful fight.
Immediate doubt of intentions only sows discord and creates factions where there should be none. Mutual trust in each other’s purpose is the bedrock upon which any successful anti-fascist movement is built. Without it, any anti-fascist movement would turn to dust, split into small cadres each with a deep mistrust of the others, taking turns tearing each other apart, while throwing feather punches at the real enemy. There must be a trust among the anti-fascist. A trust that all are working toward the same goal and with each other. A trust that allows knowledge to be shared without anything being held back, a trust that new people aren’t “infiltrating," a trust that the veterans of the cause do know what they’re talking about, and a trust that the enemy is greater than any internal strife that may arise.
In the end we must be a family. And to quote Dominic Toretto, America’s foremost expert on families “No matter where you are, whether it's a quarter mile away or half way across the world, you'll always be with me. And you'll always be my brother.”