Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 2, 2018

Russia and the Western Far-right: Tango Noir

Filed under: Counterpunch,Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 1:03 pm


On September 20, 2013, Vladimir Putin gave a speech at a Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in the Novgorod region that announced his new orientation to the far-right internationally:

Another serious challenge to Russia’s identity is linked to events taking place in the world. Here there are both foreign policy and moral aspects. We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.

The excesses of political correctness have reached the point where people are seriously talking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote paedophilia. People in many European countries are embarrassed or afraid to talk about their religious affiliations. Holidays are abolished or even called something different; their essence is hidden away, as is their moral foundation. And people are aggressively trying to export this model all over the world. I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis.

I discovered this hair-raising speech in Anton Shekhovtsov’s “Russia and the Western Far-right: Tango Noir”, a carefully researched book that was published in August 2017 and that is must-reading for anybody trying to make sense of the deep divisions on the left about Russia’s role in world politics. Information about the book can be found on Shekhovtsov’s website alongside a blog that keeps up with the same kind of research. For example, a June 2018 post reveals that ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky hosted a conference in Moscow intended to connect like-minded Russians with groups like the National-Democratic Party (NDP) in Germany that is regarded as the country’s most significant neo-Nazi party since 1945.

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  1. “As Rosa Luxemburg once put it, the choice is between socialism and barbarism.” YES, and thus I’ve been immersing myself in another author who also saw this stark, unavoidable choice, an author who went further than anyone else I’ve encountered to actually flesh out the former alternative. For those interested, here’s a two-part essay on a now-forgotten genius named Edward Bellamy, whose major works are freely available on the net.


    Comment by newtonfinn — October 2, 2018 @ 1:25 pm

  2. It’s worth noting that at present in the U.S. overt fascism has very little “mindshare”–the much-ballyhooed “unite the right” debacle recently in Washington underlines this.

    The general incompetence and Klown Kar character of the current regime in political power has no doubt much to do with this, for which we can be slightly grateful despite the lack of any real opposition from the Kavanaugh-loving “adults” of the Demicrap Party.

    But we should remember that fascism, like other tendencies on the far right, can flare up from next to nothing given an appropriate set of circumstances. Nazism in Germany in 1929, pre-Depression, appeared to be on its way out. The market crash and the accompanying call-in of the loans on which the German economy depended changed all that.

    The reasons for this are complex–one of them may be that fascism is in fact nothing in itself but a nexus of violent reaction seeking an excuse to explode under pressure. It isn’t that there is no intellectual content, but that views, ideas, facts, and science are all hostage under fascism to an action plan that is without real principles apart from a consensus about what the actors wish so horrifically to do–and to whom. Capitalism has recourse to fascism, if available, when it sees no alternative or finds it most convenient in the face of real opposition.

    If we experience a new Great Depression in the context of Trump and Kavanaugh (etc.) being throttled back (not that there is the slightest hope of Kavanaugh not being approved), especially if there is a revived labor movement, we may very well see an upsurge in actual fascism in this country, even though it seems to be dead for the time being.

    The Hungarian and other European cautionary tales currently being told–and the skill with which Putin is fostering these tendencies in the Russian interest–cannot be overlooked. Is Putin himself a fascist? Maybe not–he is altogether bad enough in his own way, and it’s important to understand that he probably sees himself as making use of fascism outside Russia in the same way in which he makes use of Thom Hartmann.

    It’s important to understand that the “barbarism” against which Luxembourg warned is much broader than fascism–fascism is only one path available to barbarism.

    The rapist and ruling-class vicious thug Brett Kavanaugh–soon to hold irrevocable life tenure in arrogantly deciding the fate of those he considers his inferiors–may not be a fascist, but he is nevertheless the face of barbarism, a barbarism that can kill the hope of socialism without a single “sieg heil” being uttered.

    It’s important to keep the whole picture in mind, depressing as it is.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — October 4, 2018 @ 8:43 pm

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