Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 3, 2015

Axis of Resistance or Axis of Compliance?

Filed under: Greece,mechanical anti-imperialism,Russia — louisproyect @ 8:16 pm

“Moscow’s long-standing policy of trying to be friends with everyone.”

Back in 2011, just around the time that the Arab Spring began, a section of the left became convinced that the revolts in Libya and Syria were not genuine. Instead they were attempts by the West and its allies in the region, especially Saudi Arabia, to topple legitimate nationalist and even radical governments as part of a strategy to isolate and then destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran, which despite its flaws, was a key member of the “Axis of Resistance” (AOR). Of course, once Iran fell into the hands of the brie-eating and white wine-sipping Green Movement, that would increase the pressure on Russia that was in the final analysis the major obstacle to American imperialist designs.

Somewhere along the line reality got in the way even though the AOR left has not allowed that to get in its way. To some extent it is impossible to ignore evidence that this schema did not and could not match up to the byzantine geopolitics of the region. For example, in today’s CounterPunch, there’s an article by Jason Hirthler titled “Going Off-Script in St. Petersburg” that reprises AOR talking points such as a reference to Putin being pressured to abandon Assad to step down, something that reflects “the chief imperial aim of the West” even though there are copious reports on America demanding that the rebels they train take no action against the Baathists.

The article tries to square the circle. Even though its intention is to portray Putin as the number one enemy of imperialism, it has to acknowledge the purpose of the meeting in St. Petersburg—to bring together the American corporate elite with the Russian government officials in order to discuss business deals, even if WSWS.org warns about nuclear Armageddon in the next few months. Hirthler writes:

Filled with thousands of businessmen cutting deals with the Russian state, it provided a platform for Russia to reshape the dominant western narrative that Russia is an international pariah.

For those of us still old-fashioned enough to take Marx’s writings seriously, it is a mystery why Hirthler can’t make the connection between the interests of the bourgeoisie and the state that acts in its interests. As Marx put it in “The Communist Manifesto”: “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” So as long as people such as this get the red carpet treatment in St. Petersburg, I doubt that there will be much need to find a nearby air raid shelter. The NY Times reported on June 19th that 12 CEOs were in St. Petersburg to discuss deals, including Jim Rogers, chairman of the Miami financial company Beeland Interests; John Wories, president of Amsted Rail; and Jacob Frenkel, chairman of J. P. Morgan Chase International.

The European corporate executives were even more anxious to do business.The heads of BP the French bank Société Générale showed up. Meanwhile, nothing would appear to stand in the way of Royal Dutch Shell Gazprom’s plans to  build a third liquefied natural gas plant on Sakhalin Island in Siberia. Someone remind me. Is this the sort of irreconcilable conflicts Lenin described in “Imperialism: the latest stage of capitalism”? I must have missed something.

Even Saudi Arabia is getting into the act as Hirthler refers to it signing a raft of agreements with Russia during the powwow. For a more detailed account of the growing affinity between the Kremlin and the Mideast’s most reactionary power, you can read Fred Weir in the latest issue of the Christian Monitor. For those of you unfamiliar with Weir, I can assure you that he is a long-time Marxist even though his first-rate journalism avoids any kind of editorializing. He writes:

Mr. Putin and Prince Salman sat down for a friendly meeting on the sidelines of a St. Peterburg economic forum last month, where they reportedly signed six deals, including a nuclear cooperation agreement that could see Russia helping to build up to 16 atomic power stations in the desert kingdom. They also are reported to have inked contracts on  space cooperation, infrastructure development, and a deal on high-end Russian weaponry.

For the Kremlin, the effort to establish good relations with a major Mideast player that has long shunned Russia comports well with what Ms. Zvyagelskaya calls “Moscow’s long-standing policy of trying to be friends with everyone.”

Does this business about trying to be friends with everyone ring a bell. It should because it is essentially another way of expressing what Kissinger said: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”

Meanwhile for all the talk of “sticking it to the man”, one has to wonder why Russia does not come to the aid of Greece that is locked in a battle with the European bankers, the IMF and the EU, which supposedly are part of the economic and geopolitical forces that want to turn Russia into a Yeltsinite colony. One would think that helping Greece to withstand these vultures would be in Russia’s interests.

Ertugrul Kurkcu, a parliamentary representative of the HDP, a leftist party that emerged out of the Kurdish struggle that has been called the Syriza or Podemos of Turkey, has shown the kind of solidarity that is absent from the Kremlin. The Washington Post reported on June 30:

On Tuesday, support for Greece and its leftist government led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras came from a rather unlikely place. Across the Aegean Sea in Turkey, one member of parliament urged his government to help bailout their neighbors.

“It is the biggest help that Turkey can do for its neighbor when times are tough,” said Ertugrul Kurkcu, of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, known by its Turkish abbreviation HDP.

Kurkcu, who hails from the western Turkish port city of Izmir, urged Ankara to extend a 1.6 billion-euro “zero interest loan” to Greece to help repay its debts to international creditors, according to the Daily Sabah.

“Turkey’s humanitarian help in 2013 was $1.9 billion. Turkey’s resources are sufficient enough to make this aid to Greece,” Kurkcu said.

Russia’s GDP was equivalent to 2.097 Trillion dollars in 2013, which is about a thousand times the amount that Greece is being forced to deliver to the IMF. If Putin really was the leader of the “Axis of Resistance”, you’d think he’d pony up with the dough. What explains this reluctance? Are we dealing with the “Axis of Resistance” or maybe the “Axis of Compliance”? Maybe Putin was not cut from the same cloth as the Turkish HDP leader who understands what it means to struggle against oppression and exploitation. Maybe Putin has more in common with the businessmen he has put down the red carpet for rather than the pensioners and workers of Greece, at least that’s the conclusion one would draw from forexlive.com, a news aggregator geared to investors:

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24 Comments »

  1. It’s been reported that Putin sells some half a million barrels of oil per month to the Pentagon to supply the War Machine in Afghanistan. It’s also been reported that the Pentagon pays an average of $500 per gallon for fuel to drive that War Machine. Since a 42 gallon barrel of crude produces 19 gallons of fuel then 19 times 500,000 times $500.is an incredible sum every month which has likely been going on for 15 years now.

    Just think about that one business deal next time you read that WW3 is imminent.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 3, 2015 @ 11:33 pm

  2. Before the start of the Second World War, there were massive economic and other exchanges amongst the USSR, UK, Germany, USA, Japan, etc… This did not stop the war from happening. Grow up guys. Foreign relations amongst nations is not like junior high school, where teenagers at odds ignore each other completely.

    Comment by Georges — July 4, 2015 @ 12:09 pm

  3. Georges, you need to read Ernest Mandel’s “The Meaning of The Second World War” or maybe read anything because you strike me as singularly uninformed.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 4, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

  4. If we took the straw men out of this article we would be down to about 20 words.

    But I will make this assertion (I will say assertion and not fact in case Levi is watching on), history is replete with nations doing deals just before engaging in brutal war with each other, or being on the opposite side of national alliances.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 4, 2015 @ 1:28 pm

  5. Oh sure. Maybe the USA will invade Canada like Ali G. advised to Brent Snowcroft.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 4, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

  6. I’m misinformed because I pointed out that prior to the start of WW II, the belligerents had extensive relations amongst themselves and this did not prevent war ? This is not true?

    Comment by Georges — July 4, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

  7. No, it is not true. When Hitler invaded Russia, it was an attempt to gain access to resources that were essential to German capitalism–oil in particular. In fact, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor after the USA placed an embargo on oil sales to Japan. The late 30s were marked by intense nationalist drives to protect the interests of the bourgeoisie. There’s a ton of material on this that can be found on the Internet including this:

    The slump led in 1931 to a major breakdown in the system of international payments. Production fell in country after country and trade plummeted. Gold became concentrated in the hands of the dominant capitalists in the USA, Britain, France and the countries associated with them. These states also had a monopoly of access to most of the sources and raw materials in the world. The world thus became divided into two groups; those countries which had the gold and raw materials and those which lacked them. Germany, Japan and Italy were in the second group and in a bid to solve the problems this presented, the governing parties organised on an aggressive totalitarian basis and resorted to policies which challenged the other, dominant group.

    To get gold and currencies to buy essential raw materials the totalitarian states tried ‘dumping’, i.e. selling their products below cost. In their trade with other countries they used devices which avoided gold, such as barter and bilateral trade agreements and credits which had to be used to buy their goods. All these devices tended to tie their trading partners to them and thus take them out of the world market.

    This decline in the use of gold threatened the financial centres of London and New York. London was also threatened as the centre of dealings in raw materials. Pursuing these aggressive economic policies Germany had considerable success in Southern Europe and Latin America, while Japan made headway in the markets of Southern Asia. In 1931 Japan used armed force in Manchuria to set up a trading monopoly there. In the past the imperialist powers had decided on an open door policy for trade with China as none of them was strong enough to exclude all the others. Now Japan was trying to do just this, a policy which inevitably led to conflict with America and Britain. Italy similarly used force to get an overseas market in Abyssinia in 1935.

    By way of response, the dominant powers decided on a determined campaign to regain the markets lost to the totalitarian countries. German, Japanese and Italian goods were boycotted. Credits were offered to the countries of Southern Europe to win them away from dependence on Germany. The more successful these policies were the more desperate became the economic position of German capitalism. Without the funds to give credits, force appeared to be the only way. Hence the annexation of Austria in 1938, the breaking up of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

    At this point the conflict of economic interests was coming to a head. Germany was trying to keep its gains in Southern Europe by all means, including force, and Britain and France were using credits to undermine German influence. There was no backing down on either side. War would break out as soon as Britain and France decided to resist force with force. This was delayed as long as possible, particularly because of the vague anti-war feelings of British and French workers; but in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland the Second World War began. In a few years Russia and the USA were drawn in also. It was a war which blazed over all Europe and Asia and parts of Africa. It was a war fought between rival groups of capitalist states over markets, trade routes and sources of raw materials. It was not about democracy or fascism.

    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/depth-articles/history/what-caused-two-world-wars

    Comment by louisproyect — July 4, 2015 @ 2:51 pm

  8. Look people. The largest transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1% in the history of the universe happened around 7 years ago with the Bank Bailout. Not a shot was fired.

    The 1% still pinch themselves every morning in disbelief.

    Since they ultimately call the shots for the Pentagon they’re sure as hell not going to fuck that windfall up now, especially since around the same time as the bailout the US Military couldn’t even find 1200 troops to call up from its reserves to fight in Iraq!

    If the Iraqi Resistance and the Taliban virtually overwhelmed Uncle Sam’s troop capability imagine the prospects of fighting a nuclear tipped army across 9 time zones — an army so big it could occupy all of Europe.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 4, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

  9. Why should the interests of transnational corporations–who happen to be based in the US or other “western” countries–always be aligned with the US government? Companies lobbied for decades to normalize relations with Cuba. The same is true now apropos Iran. I don’t think anyone’s accused Russia of being other than an opportunist. Russia is an opponent to US imperialism simply because US imperial interests are, inevitably and for very obvious reasons, a threat to Russia.

    Comment by Peter — July 4, 2015 @ 6:10 pm

  10. Louis, that’s a fair analysis/summary of the political economy of the pre-war period. It does not, in any way negate the fact that western and Asian powers had a whole set of complex business and diplomatic relationships before the outbreak of the war. Furthermore, these relationships, though they were crucial to important sections of the various capitalist groupings within each nation, did not stop the war. Brutal trade wars are common even between the friendliest of capitalist countries; how they lead to open warfare is a different question.

    Comment by Georges — July 4, 2015 @ 6:16 pm

  11. “It does not, in any way negate the fact that western and Asian powers had a whole set of complex business and diplomatic relationships before the outbreak of the war.”

    This is an anodyne and useless formulation. There was nothing remotely similar to the conditions that exist today and that existed in 1939 when Germany was ruled by a fascist madman who had already put millions into concentration camps and was preparing to invade Russia. The inter-imperialist rivalries had reached a fever pitch. Russia is the 3rd largest recipient of FDI in the world. There are BMW dealerships all through Moscow and oligarchs own apartments in London and New York that cost $10 million and up. We only hear about the threat of WWIII every time some godforsaken former territory controlled by the Kremlin steps out of line, like Georgia or Ukraine. What you need to do is look at the news before such disputes take place. This is typical from 2001:

    Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin have met for the first time and appear to have hit it off.

    The two men still differ over enlarging Nato and US missile defence plans, but they exchanged warm words.

    ” I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul,” said George W Bush.

    They say they found the basis for a relationship of mutual respect.

    At the end of their first summit meeting in Slovenia Mr Bush described Mr Putin as a straightforward and trustworthy man.

    The Russian leader said he regarded the US as a partner.

    full: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1392791.stm

    Comment by louisproyect — July 4, 2015 @ 6:33 pm

  12. The Russian Republic is a state where an entrenched elite controls the economy and suppresses any attempt by the populace to challenge that control. Putin’s alliance with the Eastern Orthodox Church is one of the ways that he ensures that opposition remains weak and fragmented.

    In this, it is not markedly different from other examples of this kind of state since the end of World War II: Indonesia under Suharto, China under the CCP post-Mao, Mexico under the PRI and the PAN, Iran under the Shah. None of these states, with the possible exception of Mexico until the election of Salinas in 1988, are known for being part of an Axis of Resistance to the US, and neither is the Russian Republic. Of course, the US hasn’t launched a military attack upon any of these countries, and is trying to bring Iran back into the fold so that US and EU capitalist can make deals with the Islamic Republic leadership.

    The left confuses capitalist competition with resistance. If the Russian Republic were part of an Axis of Resistance, it would lend money to Greece because the geopolitical benefits outweigh the financial risk, much as the USSR assisted Cuba for many years. But Putin made a capitalist calculation instead, recognizing, as the IMF does, that without substantial debt reduction and suspension of interest payments for 15 years, Greece will be perpetually bankrupt. Hence, no help.

    Comment by Richard Estes — July 4, 2015 @ 6:34 pm

  13. I don’t think anyone’s accused Russia of being other than an opportunist.

    Clearly you haven’t been reading Mike Whitney or a hundred other “anti-imperialists”:

    The “Big Shift” is already underway, which is why obstacles have to be removed and Putin’s got to go.

    Second, Putin has made himself a general nuisance vis a vis US strategic objectives in Syria, Iran and Ukraine. In Syria, Putin has thrown his support behind Assad who the US wants to topple in order to redraw the map of the Middle East and build gas pipelines from Qatar to Turkey to access the lucrative EU market.

    Third, Putin has strengthened a number of coalitions and alliances –the BRICS bank, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization–all of which pose a challenge to US dominance in the region as well as a viable alternative to neoliberal financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank. Going back to Brzezinski’s “chessboard” once again, we see that the US should not feel threatened by any one nation, but should be constantly on-the-lookout for “regional coalitions” which could derail its plans to rule the world.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/06/oil-price-blowback-is-putin-creating-a-new-world-order/

    Comment by louisproyect — July 4, 2015 @ 7:02 pm

  14. re: “The left confuses capitalist competition with resistance.”

    This is about as succinctly phrased a criticism of the “anti-imperialist” left as I’ve ever run across.

    Comment by srogouski — July 4, 2015 @ 8:49 pm

  15. I think that Panitch and Gindin’s The Making of Global Capitalism provides a framework (including a densely historical analysis) for the argument that the American Empire is not really threatened by those powers (including Russia and China) whose elites compete for advantages and rewards within the rule of that system.

    Comment by David Green — July 5, 2015 @ 12:23 am

  16. Not much can be added to Richard Estes’ sober and succinct skewering of the Axis of Resistance nonsense (see above).

    But for an example of the sheer, slavering sycophancy of Mike Whitney’s abject Putinism, see the current online issue of Counterpunch. In an article breathlessly entitled “Putin Gobsmacks Uncle Sam–Again!” Whitney says that “judo expert Putin” (how fascist can you get?) symbolically castrated U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter two days before Carter’s recent arrival in Europe when Gazprom

    announced that it was putting the finishing touches on a massive deal that would double the amount of Russian gas flowing to Germany via a second Nord Stream pipeline. The shocking announcement made it look like the clueless Carter had no idea what was going on and that his efforts to isolate Russia were a complete flop.

    Thus the masterly Putin strikes a blow against imperialism by cornering the European energy market. Estes: “The left confuses capitalist competition with resistance.” Q.E.D.

    Whitney, bootlicker that he is, is of course not content with this. He throws in a pile of horseshit about the U.S. having annihilated the infrastructure of Libya (as if repetition at high volume could make this meaningful) conflates the Ukraine with Vietnam and Afghanistan, and, as a finishing touch, while crowing about the bankruptcy that anti-imperialist Russia is about to impose on the, per him, U.S.-installed “Nazi” puppet Ukrainian government (and its, to Whitney, inconsequential people, except for the Russian-speaking ones) refers to Ukraine with utter, unprovable paranoid euphoria as “the country that was so critical to US plans for luring Putin into a Vietnam-type quagmire.” (emphasis mine).

    Of course, the utter destruction of Ukrainian national identity and the immiseration of non-Russian-speaking Ukrainians are a source of schadenfreude to this hypocrite. But “Luring Russia into a … quagmire” indeed. This is paranoia run rampant. We will not ask how Russia–led by the greatest example of manhood and greatest genius ever to appear in history per Whitney–could have fallen initially for this “lure.”

    Why invade if you see that you are being “lured”? How can you be lured if you are Superman? Of course, only “imperialists” ask such questions where Goebbels-like oracles such as Whitney are involved. How dare they?

    Whitney cites no sources for this goofy improvisation because he made it up on the fly. Where is the documentation of this alleged master plan? Nowhere–it does not exist and Whitney knows this very well.

    I pass over the tacit adulation of Qaddafi, Assad, and Saddam Hussein–this nonsense is rife on the pseudo/ultraleft.

    Of course here, as in most of Whitney’s writing, there is no real reporting: the whole rant is a comment on an opinion piece by someone else.

    I should stop here, but can’t forbear to point out the gem with which Herr Whitney leaves us:

    Putin has done us all a favor by throwing a wrench in Washington’s plans and helping to bring the era of imperial overreach to a swift and merciful end. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.

    Way to go, Vladimir!

    If this doesn’t make you vomit, you no longer have a gag reflex.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — July 5, 2015 @ 2:48 am

  17. “Cameron touches down in St. Petersburg. Is nobody worried that the Russians will blow him out of the sky? Or Obama, or Hollande? No, because it is never going to happen. They aren’t going to let a faraway country about which they care little disrupt their trading relationship, let alone kick off a world war.
    We are sometimes invited to believe a much more convoluted version of this fancy, that there will be an inexorable sequence of events that reach the same result. Russia and America, we are told, have been fighting a proxy war in Syria. If the Americans bomb Syria, they will incur the Russians ire, who will give bigger and bigger guns to Assad. This in turn will provoke the Israelis, who again we are told are behind the movement to remove Assad, and their attack on Russian emplacements or deliveries will get them into a war with Russia, and then the US will come in on Israel’s side.
    This is never going to happen…
    If the Left claims that thousands will die in carpet bombing, that depleted uranium will be scattered across Syria, that American soldiers will be dying to help al-Qaida, and none of these things turn out to be true, it will discredit the Left, and because the Left does not control the media, that impression will stay for a long time, and when the US does want to intervene, the pendulum will have swung back to it being easy again for the US to do what it wants. And if the situation in Syria takes another step towards Hell, then there is a greater likelihood that American, French or British power will be brought to bear on Syria, rather than the empowerment of those rebels that we just don’t know about from what we’ve read in the press.”
    [http://notris.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/dominoes.html]

    Comment by Dick Gregory — July 5, 2015 @ 7:09 am

  18. Furious post after furious post and still the fact that combatants had extensive relations prior to the start of the Second World War and that these relations did not stop the war still stands. Obviously, the situation is not exactly the same as it was in 1939. I never suggested it was. If the NATO encirclement of Russia or the pivot to Asia is of no concern to anti-anti-imperialists, well I guess we know what the supporters of the Second International would sound like if they were brought back to life today.

    Comment by Georges — July 5, 2015 @ 3:09 pm

  19. Furious post after furious post and still the fact that combatants had extensive relations prior to the start of the Second World War and that these relations did not stop the war still stands.

    The only thing that infuriates me is your superficiality. I get no sense from your posts that you have ever read a Marxist analysis of WWII. I have recommended Mandel. I would also recommend James Heartfield’s “An Unpatriotic History of World War Two” (http://libcom.org/files/Unpatriotic%20History%20of%20the%20Seco%20-%20Heartfield,%20James.pdf), as well as Micky Z.’s “There is No Good War: The Myths of World War II”. Then there is the chapter on WWII in Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the USA” that I wrote about here: https://louisproyect.org/2010/02/09/howard-zinn-and-the-myth-of-the-peoples-war/

    Frankly, I don’t mind you being wrong as much as I mind you being ignorant. I try to attract erudite readers to my blog. I have no idea what you are doing here.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 5, 2015 @ 3:24 pm

  20. No, the NATO encirclement shouldn’t alarm the class conscious workers any more than they should be concerned about a gaggle of great white sharks encircling a school of hammerhead sharks.

    They are both apex predators in a big ocean with so much prey they have no need to fight.

    The US would have been more likely to attack the Russian Czar in 1915 than attack the Czar Putin a century later.

    Moreover, the business dealings between those parties today are far larger and more extensive than prior to WWII, that is, there’s far more at stake, never mind the virtual certainty of nuclear holocaust.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 5, 2015 @ 3:45 pm

  21. You call it “superficiality”, I call it being specific. Your attempt at bullying is really tiresome and pathetic. FYI, I ‘m very familiar with Zinn’s views of the war-he wrote and spoke about it often; he was deeply affected by his experiences. Gabriel Kolko’s “The Politics Of War” got me interested in alternate views of the war. I will seek out your recommendations, and will let you know when I get to the part about how the war was prevented because capitalists did not want to risk their investments in enemy nations.

    Comment by Georges — July 5, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

  22. Louis Proyect wants us to believe that destroying fascism in Europe was not a cause worth pursuing for ‘true’ revolutionaries. He’s a proponent of the neither Washington nor Moscow but the tooth fairy school of anti imperialism. In truth it is anti anti imperialism he subscribes to, combining idealism, anarchism, and ultra leftism in one package.

    WWII was an attempt by Hitler to replicate the British Empire in Eastern Europe, and to settle accounts with the authors of the Treaty of Versailles. Its meaning is best summarized by Andrei Zhdanov: “The enemy is at the gate. It is a question of life or death.”

    As for the current geopolitical struggle taking place over the continuance of Washington-led unipolarity or a multipolar alternative demanded by the emergence of Russia and China in recent years, only a fool could fail to discern the contours of this struggle and how the aforesaid unipolarity enjoyed by Washington has been a disaster for the world, especially the Global South.

    Ernest Mandel’s book is nothing more than Trotskyist drivel, confirmation of the abiding intellectual and ideological vacuity of a current that has been wrong about everything throughout its rotten existence.

    Comment by John — July 6, 2015 @ 10:18 am

  23. Ernest Mandel’s book is nothing more than Trotskyist drivel, confirmation of the abiding intellectual and ideological vacuity of a current that has been wrong about everything throughout its rotten existence.

    I imagine that this is some Stalinist schmuck who can explain for us why Stalin’s execution of his officer corps strengthened the USSR.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 6, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

  24. “Louis Proyect wants us to believe that destroying fascism in Europe was not a cause worth pursuing for ‘true’ revolutionaries . . . ,”

    Clearly, “John,” the world’s Communist Parties bear a huge share of the guilt for the calamity of the war, including HItler’s very predictable dolchstoss of Stalin, who apparently didn’t see it coming and was, by all accounts, as unstrung by it as a jilted lover.

    You cannot write the Hitler-Stalin pact out of history. The intention may have been to avoid the Soviet Union’s being sacrificed militarily in the interests of Western Europe, as Khrushchev is reported to have thought. But when Communist parties all over Europe refused to fight fascism until invasion made it a necessity, their intransigence benefited no one in the short run but Hitler, and the horror of the Great Patriotic War proceeded with even greater loss of life than would probably have been the case if it were not for the Pact.

    In any case, as far as I can tell, Louis has nowhere stated or even intimated that fascism in Europe should not have been destroyed or that revolutionaries should not have taken part. Like Zinn and many others, he argues, as I understand it, that at root World War II was an imperialist war that primarily benefited imperialism and capitalism. That does not mean fascism should not have been fought. It does, however, explain why in the end, though the war may have destroyed fascism mostly, it did not touch its underlying causes.

    Any fool can see that this is true. How else could, e.g., a gros bourgeois war criminal like Alfried Krupp have gone all but scot-free as he did following the intervention of the shadowy John McCloy? Clearly those who thought the Nazis would do their dirty work for them were right. The European and American big bourgeoisie–including the German bourgeoisie–who had supported Hitler in the first place were also first to profit, as a class (and in many cases individually), from his destruction, having first profited by the successful resistance of fascism to socialism in the aftermath of WWI.

    Meanwhile the Putinist Russian big bourgeois criminals of the present day lay in the womb of their Stalinist mother, only to step forth in time without the slightest pretense to socialism.

    For all practical purposes, communism as a political force no longer exists–a circumstance that can be laid directly at the feet of the Stalinists and their colossal failure, unless (like Roland Boer) they are merely pranksters who can’t resist playing with feces and were never meant to be taken seriously.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — July 6, 2015 @ 8:37 pm


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