"I did not go as far as many, who claimed to be observing a wholesale, long-term collapse of the large-scale organizations which aimed to change the social structure completely, but I too saw the tough and important small-scale activities of frequently disparaged organizations like the League of Human Rights, which actually saved many people, which constantly and untiringly exposed injustice with its small voice, and which galvanised many to return to the struggle. So we saw that the fight against injustice must not only be waged in the most ultimate way, addressing all of its causes, but also in the most general way, i.e., using all the means available, even the most feable. For even worse than the illusion that it is possible to eradicate unnecessary misery without removing its causes is the illusion that we can fight the causes without their consequences, separately, without recourse to the weakest and most feable of means. I have seen how knowing about these terrible things actually prevented many people from combating their terrible consequences." (Brecht on Art and Politics 140-141)
So it could be said that Brecht's phrasing of these pairs--capitalism/fascism, condition of possible action (unfriendliness)/principled action (friendliness), cause/consequence--represent a strained equality. I am not sure that this is the best way to phrase a relationship that seems to have the markings of a base/superstructure form, but I feel that given the moral weight of the terms, the type of conflict and commensurability that Brecht presents is a version of his "realism," and thus of his reality. In other places (such as most of the ones cited by David Pike), Brecht seems to hold blindly to the "conditions of production" as the bearers of reality. This might be especially clear in his address at the First International Writers' Congress in Paris in 1935 ("A Necessary Observation on the Struggle Against Barbarism"), where he is clear that the conditions of ownership bear upon every relation man has in society. It might also be clear in places where he equates these conditions to the "truth" of communism (and the lie of capitalism). But in this little piece, it seems less clear that one's project need always be with the conditions, or the cause. That the weakest weapons might be what is needed to fight some of the consequences seems to formulate still a need for weapons, a clarity of "a cause," and the sense that any action counts.
image: Dragon, Tim Hawkinson (2007)