Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 19, 2014

Pat Buchanan: Is Putin one of us?

Filed under: conservatism,Russia — louisproyect @ 7:27 pm

Is Putin One of Us?

Tuesday – December 17, 2013 at 1:37 am

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative?

In the culture war for mankind’s future, is he one of us?

While such a question may be blasphemous in Western circles, consider the content of the Russian president’s state of the nation address.

With America clearly in mind, Putin declared, “In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered.”

“They’re now requiring not only the proper acknowledgment of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgment of the equality of good and evil.”

Translation: While privacy and freedom of thought, religion and speech are cherished rights, to equate traditional marriage and same-sex marriage is to equate good with evil.

No moral confusion here, this is moral clarity, agree or disagree.

President Reagan once called the old Soviet Empire “the focus of evil in the modern world.” President Putin is implying that Barack Obama’s America may deserve the title in the 21st century.

Nor is he without an argument when we reflect on America’s embrace of abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values.

Our grandparents would not recognize the America in which we live.

Moreover, Putin asserts, the new immorality has been imposed undemocratically.

The “destruction of traditional values” in these countries, he said, comes “from the top” and is “inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people.”

Does he not have a point?

full article: http://buchanan.org/blog/putin-one-us-6071


  1. When will Conservatives realize that America is and always has been, a liberal country? Hollywood values are American values. When Reagan talked about the Soviet Union being “evil” did he consider their rates of abortion? Or their rate of divorce? Or the size of their pornography industry? I remember the porno industry growing quite rapidly under the reign of Reagan. But of course, they want it both ways; a materialistic society based solely on economic and technological growth, and yet still retain moral values. This is why they are stupid and silly and stupid.

    Comment by St.Paul — March 19, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

  2. [“When will Conservatives realize that America is and always has been, a liberal country?”]

    St. Paul got that right.

    My late father was not only genius but an Unrepentant Marxist.

    Among the 2 most important political axioms he ever taught me:

    1) Uncle Sam’s foreign policy has ALWAYS been Liberalism.
    2) Foreign policy can only be an extension of domestic policy.

    That’s why he always rejected the idea that voting for some Democrat for President was the “lesser of 2 evils” for he taught that ultimately the USA is a 1 Party State with 2 factions bickering over the best way to screw over working people.

    Whenever I hear or read something by Pat Buchanan I’m instantly reminded of the famous quote by John Stuart Mill:

    “Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — March 20, 2014 @ 12:40 am

  3. Here is neo-Stalinism in its chemically pure form delivered to us by the pseudo-Trot Gerry Downing. Read it an weep. It is the rationale for participating in Putin’s fascist irregulars in Eastern Ukraine against the revolution.

    `Anti imperialist and Anti fascist United Front’

    We are for an Anti imperialist and Anti fascist United Front with Russia and Ukrainian workers and for armed workers defence squads and permanent revolution to win the struggle. This means a united front without political support with Putin, with the Eastern oligarchs or with the devil and his grandmother to smash these “storm troopers of finance capital”.
    If Russia invades to seize the east of the Ukraine, thereby smashing the fascist there the working class should form a united front with them, knowing that on the morrow they would have to fight their former allies and whatever government the Russians might install in the east as representatives of the oligarchs there who would then form a new alliance with western Imperialism.’

    Yes folks a united front with the international war criminal and working class-despising gangster capitalist Putin and his imperialist kleptocracy against a popular revolution against …. gangster capitalists.

    Comment by David Ellis — March 20, 2014 @ 11:55 am

  4. Not enough can be said against Putin, who in any case is clearly trying to reconstruct as much of the USSR as he can, minus the rhetoric of socialism.

    Nevertheless, isn’t an important issue here the idea that in any serious political struggle at the national level, one side must represent The Revolution (or the permanent revolution, or whatever). So one polemicizes endlessly about the correct revolutionary line to take in Ukraine, when the fact appears to be that in the near term the people in general are going to be screwed both in Russia and Ukraine no matter who wins.

    Historically, the People Yes have wound up getting screwed pretty much by revolutions in general, with the good side of it being that in the best of them some real bad guys get their heads chopped off–and that generations later, people are a bit better off than they were, except for the ever-growing threat of extinction posed by industrial damage to the environment.

    For all the horrors of the Terror and the dictatorship of Napoleon and his mediocre successors, who would want to go back to a Bourbon and Catholic France? Even the royalists don’t really want this. And nobody really wants to go back to pre-industrial times.

    But “The Revolution?” Maybe the awful reality is that The Revolution is a chimera.

    Comment by Bill Smith — March 20, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

  5. Putin is first independent russian president since 1885, uncontrolled by the banking mafia.

    Comment by Tłumacz — March 20, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

  6. Putin is popular in Russia, particularly among the ‘workers’ who the Left portends to represent. He’s not so popular amongst the creative class types.

    Comment by purple — March 21, 2014 @ 2:50 am

  7. “Nevertheless, isn’t an important issue here the idea that in any serious political struggle at the national level, one side must represent The Revolution (or the permanent revolution, or whatever).”

    That’s a Leninist idea, rooted solidly in the nationalism of that ideology. Once the USSR was declared “the motherland of socialism” it’s national interests trumped class interests. Promoting Moscow’s line was promoting the proletariat. That led to what you see even now with “leftists” picking sides in each war and battle between ruling class factions as if they were routing for a team in the World Cup.

    And that junk has been roundly criticized since it first emerged. See Rosa Luxemburg, The Workers Group (not to be confused with the Workers Opposition), Paul Mattick, Anton Pannekoek, etc.

    Comment by Mikey — March 21, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

  8. Purple remarked [Putin is popular in Russia, particularly among the ‘workers’ who the Left portends to represent. He’s not so popular amongst the creative class types.]

    So fucking what? Marxists are not Workerists who imagine workers are always right.

    World War One was popular amongst Russian workers until creative types like Lenin built a party that not only educated them but smashed Czarism.

    Lots of older Black Americans still love LBJ even though he napalmed to death tens of thousands of Vietnamese children.

    The Teamster’s, the largest trade union in the USA at the time, voted en masse for the reactionary baffoon Ronald Reagan.

    Putin is a modern Czar trampling upon Georgia, Chechnya & the Crimea like the big Russian Chauvinist bully of a century ago. That Russian workers tolerate and even admire this new great Russian chauvinist czar only goes to show how backward the Russian workers are today, thanks in no small part to the legacy of Stalinism and the counterrevolution it paved the way for.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — March 21, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

  9. It is not true that the US “has always been a liberal country”. The working class that developed in the US between the 1880’s and 1970’s featured oscillations between bouts of militant radicalism and a “social conservatism” as a result of the hegemony of a pro-imperialist, pro-Catholic, anti-socialist, white supremacist labor aristocracy organized around the AFL (and later AFL-CIO in a bureaucratic formation as a veritable American politburo that would have made Brezhnev proud). This latter reached its zenith of influence in the 1950-60’s, as its President, George Meany supported the Vietnam War and attacked all those he saw on the “social-liberal” side. It is here that the catholic Pat Buchanan got his start with demagogic appeals to what eventually became know as “Reagan Democrats”, socially conservative workers in the Midwest and Northeast.

    The hegemony of this profoundly reactionary working class layer has subsequently been broken by the economic policies of Reagan and his successors, and this sector itself has been in the process of dissolution since the 1990’s at least. A US working class of an entirely different composition is now emerging. No wonder Buchanan gazes longingly at Putin’s Russia.

    That’s the Good News For Our Times 😉

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — March 21, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

  10. Matt. On the contary. Once you understand that Manifest Destiny was a liberal project, you know, civilizing the savage natives and so forth you begin to see that Uncle Sam’s liberalism is typically ushered in on bayonets.

    Like the quote from the General in Full Metal Jacket said: “Inside every Vietnamese is an American waiting to get out.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — March 21, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

  11. Putin isn’t the Tsar, Stalin, Hitler or Pat Buchanan.
    What he actually said about the USSR was:-
    “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.”
    So he’s no Lenin or Trotsky either.

    The problem the West has with him is that he’s no a pushover and is in control of a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. They also don’t like any form of state protectionism, which Putin has used to revive the Russian economy.

    Under Putin, the Russian State has regained a majority share of key companies such as Gazprom, Rosneft and the United Aircraft Coroporation. This has been combined with He’s joint partnerships with international corporations to attract capital to Russia and gain access to Western technology and markets.

    The threat of an “expansionist Russian empire” is scare-mongering.
    Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s statement that Crimea is “the gravest threat to European Security and Stability since the end of the Cold War” is just ridiculous.
    There’s no reason for hypocritical Western politicians to get involved in the situation and no need for sanctions.

    More than one BBC report from Eastern Ukraine has demonstrated that local opponents of Kiev aren’t “Russian agents”.
    Workers interviewed at a plant in the Donbas industrial region said they didn’t want the EU shutting down their factories, which supply the Russian Market.
    Farmers picketed roads and railways to prevent pro-Kiev tank divisions moving towards the border, because they saw them as a threat to peace.
    None of them expressed a wish to join the Russian Federation.

    It’s hard to see how the economic situation will improve, as the EU and IMF want to impose Austerity. Workers in Ukraine will be prepared to bring down the Kiev government if it delays elections, or bans rival parties, which is quite likely.

    Comment by prianikoff — March 21, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

  12. Prianikoff, I am not sure what your politics are but I am a Marxist not a nationalist. I don’t give a shit if the Russian state has a majority share in Gazprom or whatever other firm there is. I advocate the overthrow of capitalism. And as such, my natural allies are the Russian left no matter how small they are. Over the years I have documented their activity and beliefs. One of the Russians I respect above all is Kirill Medvedev, who I met through Keith Gessen, an editor of N+1, an American journal of the arts and politics in the spirit of the Partisan Review of the late 30s when it had a number of Trotskyists on the editorial board. Medvedev has contributed to N+1 and you can see his articles and poems archived here: http://nplusonemag.com/authors/medvedev-kirill

    Here’s a profile on Kirill from the New Yorker magazine:

    One bright April day last year, the Russian poet Kirill Medvedev visited the Tagansky District Court, in Moscow. Inside the building, in a courtroom crowded with press, a pretrial hearing for the radical art-rock band Pussy Riot was getting under way. Activists had planned a concert to protest the proceedings, and Medvedev, who belonged to a militant folk band named for the socialist poet Arkady Kots, had come to Tagansky to play.

    When it became clear that authorities would not allow the concert to take place, Medvedev and a bandmate began an impromptu performance. They sang a couple of songs and traded jokes with a small crowd that had gathered to watch. (“Which one of you is Arkady? Which is Kots?” “We take turns.”) When the police arrived to arrest him, Medvedev had just enough time to hand his guitar to a bystander before he was dragged off to a waiting paddy wagon.

    After the two members of Arkady Kots were taken away, a reporter observing the scene asked a policeman what crime the musicians had committed. The officer replied that protests outside courthouses were illegal. “So you’d detain people for reciting poems?” the reporter asked, as noted by the blog Chtodelat News.

    “For poems as well—for any unsanctioned actions.”

    “Is it permitted to converse in prose?”

    “Prose is allowed.”

    “What about unrhymed free verse?”

    This last question apparently puzzled the policeman into silence. But activists who overhead the conversation suggested that, “given the political situation, free verse was doubly forbidden.”

    full: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/09/kirill-medvedevs-personable-provocations.html

    Those are the kinds of people I want to make connections with, not the dregs of Socialist Unity and the STWC.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 21, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

  13. “My Russia” by Zyuganov was certainly stirring. When the CP was at its most popular under Zyuganov, it stirred this anti-American Empire activist more than what the Russ state capitalists were offering then.
    Anyone here familiar with that not so long ago era?

    I believe Dugin was also with the CP then. Perhaps even Limonov.

    But you go with what’s best on offer. To an American anti-imperial it looks like Euro-socialism via Putin just now.


    Comment by truthbetold — March 21, 2014 @ 6:19 pm

  14. Along with just a handful of others I was lucky enough to attend a reading by Kirill Medvedev last year sponsored by the Russian Studies Dept. at Harvard. He read selections from his book ‘It’s No Good’, including a section of the hilarious and brilliant poems, Incursion. He was an impressive guy, and politically sophisticated. You could see his annoyance during the question period when an older Russian émigré was trying to get him to denounce communism and the Bolsheviks, and endorse capitalist restoration.

    From some of his recent FB postings, while condemning Putin’s intervention in Crimean politics, he and a number of those on the Russian left that seem politically close to him don’t see Crimea’s wish to secede as due only to that intervention. And while they seem to agree that the break off of the Crimea as not the best scenario, they also support a mass movement for its independence if that’s the path it takes. Of course I’m depending mostly on Google translate so there could be some inaccuracies.

    Comment by Rick — March 22, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

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