Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

May 21, 2019

Putin, Trump, the Christian Right, Austrian fascists, and the schizoid left

He paved the way for Max Blumenthal and Roger Waters

I came across articles this week that demonstrate how both Christian evangelists in the USA and the alt-right Freedom Party in Austria have been building ties to the Kremlin. An Open Democracy article titled “Revealed: Trump-linked US Christian ‘fundamentalists’ pour millions of ‘dark money’ into Europe, boosting the far right” was written by Claire Provost on March 27, 2019. It demonstrates how US Christian right ‘fundamentalists’ linked to the Trump administration and Steve Bannon are key players that have poured at least $50 million of ‘dark money’ into Europe.

Meanwhile, the same kind of affinities have been shared by the Kremlin and the same alt-right parties, including Austria’s Freedom Party that has been undone by a sting carried out by unidentified parties which showed the party’s Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache meeting with a woman in Ibiza who represented herself as the niece of a Russian oligarch. The party’s first leader was Anton Reinthaller, a former Nazi functionary and SS member. It became the first far right party since the end of WWII to become part of a government when Jörg Haider entered a coalition with the conservative People’s Party in 2000.

In exchange for supporting Russian interests, Strache would be expected to receive secret and illegal donations from the oligarch to the tune of millions of Euros. In the same week that I noticed any number of articles on my FB timeline calling attention to the valiant role of the USSR in defeating Nazism, I wondered how many people posting links to them were aware that the Freedom Party is trying to recreate the Third Reich. An Atlantic Monthly article on the scandal reported:

A state senator for the Freedom Party, reporters revealed, once belonged to a fraternity that openly glorified the Third Reich. (“At that point, the Jew Ben Gurion came into their midst,” go the lyrics for one of the fraternity’s songs, “and said: ‘Step on the gas, ye old Teutons, we’ll manage the seventh million.’”)

People on the left who try to debunk the notion that Trump is pro-Russia will always bring up matters such as how the Ukrainians are receiving heavy weapons from the Pentagon or how sanctions have been maintained and even beefed up. They take Trump at his word when he says that he is the most anti-Russian president the country has ever seen.

However, they don’t bother to address the question of how the Kremlin colludes—dare I use the word?with Christian evangelicals. To a large extent, this simply reflects the tendency of some on the left with a particularly Manichean brand of geopolitics to act as if the Cold War had never ended. During the Cold War, the Christian right was a mainstay of the anti-Communist crusade. Billy Graham, For example, in the summer of 1954, spoke to 25,000 West Germans gathered in Düsseldorf’s Rheinstadium about how Berlin was “a battleground, a continent for conquest”. During the Vietnam War, Graham agreed with Nixon that bombing the dikes in the North would be necessary even if it cost the lives of a million Vietnamese.

But his son Franklin had a different take on Russia. In March 2014, Decision Magazine, a publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, featured a cover article on Vladimir Putin. Inside, a Franklin Graham op-ed praised Putin’s signing a law barring the dissemination of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to children. He wrote: “It’s obvious that President Obama and his administration are pushing the gay-lesbian agenda in America today and have sold themselves completely to that which is contrary to God’s teaching,” Graham wrote. In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”

Mother Jones took note of the ties between Russia and the Christian right just around the time that Decision Magazine article appeared. The World Congress of Families decided to hold its annual meeting in Russia that year. The WCF is one of the most powerful voices of the Christian right. Showing its continuing ties to the European far right, it held its annual conference this year in Verona, Italy where Matteo Salvini, the fascist Interior Minister of Italy, spoke on the need “to defend the family that consists of a mother and a father”. Other participants included Dimitri Smirnov, a Russian Orthodox priest who says abortion is  “scarier than the Holocaust” and Forza Nuova, an Italian neofascist party.

Does the sting of the Freedom Party leader in Ibiza mean that he was like some poor soul in the USA who was entrapped to take part in some illegal act, like bombing a synagogue? While I am opposed to stings of this sort as a matter of principle, there is little doubt that Putin is for the rightwing coalition government in Austria until the scandal forced the withdrawal of Strache and other party members.

Russia has naturally denied any ties to Strache’s party but at least one journalist noticed disturbing contacts not only between Putin and these fascists but with Trump as well. In a December 20, 2016 Progress Pond article titled “Trump, Austrian Neo-Nazis, and Putin”, Martin Longman reported that Strache came to New York just after Trump’s election to meet with Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor who subsequently stepped down after he was charged with unauthorized communications with Russian officials. Oh, did I mention that he sat at the same table with Max Blumenthal and Vladimir Putin for the RT.com 10th anniversary banquet in 2015?

A day before the Progress Pond article was published, the NY Times described the fallout from the Strache-Flynn meeting. A cooperation agreement outlined plans for regular meetings to hammer out economic, business and political projects. It was signed by Sergei Zheleznyak, a member of Putin’s United Russia Party. In welcoming the fascists to his party headquarters, Zheleznyak cited Europe’s “migration crisis” as a field for cooperation. I can’t say I am surprised that this is a field of cooperation since the European fascist movement prioritizes nativism as well as homophobia and anti-abortion laws just as does the Trump administration.

In the 1950s, schizophrenia was often mislabeled as an illness entailing a “split personality”. In fact, the word “schizo” is Greek for split. It was confused with dissociative identity disorder that was dramatized in the 1957 film “Three Faces of Eve” that was based on a true story of a woman manifesting 3 different personalities. In 2016, M. Night Shyamalan upped the ante with “Split”, a film whose main character had 23 different personalities.

Perhaps the first popular culture expression of this phenomenon was Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde”, in which the transformation to the evil Mr. Hyde was triggered by chemicals produced in a laboratory rather than in the brain.

It occurs to me that the Doctor Jekyll/Mister Hyde duality is rampant on the left today with many people saying all sorts of good things about the Palestinians but evil things about the Syrians because of their embrace of Manichean geopolitics that sees support for every Kremlin initiative as incumbent on “anti-imperialists”. Max Blumenthal is a prime example although one has to wonder if his being paid in rubles rather than ideology or chemical imbalances explains his evil writings on Syria. You get the same thing with Roger Waters and Susan Sarandon who would likely martyr themselves on behalf of the Palestinians when their “good” half takes over but when the “evil” half kicks in, they have no trouble defaming the half-million or so martyred Syrians as jihadists who deserved what they got.

Today, the left is mobilized around the threat to abortion rights in places like Alabama, Georgia and Ohio that is being pushed by the Christian right. It is this very Christian right that Steve Bannon is aligned with as it hopes to transform Europe into something resembling Alabama on a continent-wide basis. Dennis Bernstein can write an article for Consortium News about the ongoing struggle for abortion rights in 2016 and then turn around in 2018 conduct a softball interview with the late Robert Parry, who founded Consortium News, about The Rush to a New Cold War, which repeats the same talking points you hear continuously there, on Grayzone, WSWS.org, The Nation and elsewhere. Parry tells Bernstein:

The Russians have taken a very different perspective, which is that the United States is encroaching on its borders and threatening them in a strategic manner. They also look at what happened in Ukraine very differently. They see a U.S.-backed coup d’etat in February 2014 that ousted an elected president and put in a regime that is very supportive of free market, neoliberal policies, but also includes very strong right-wing elements, including neo-Nazis and far-right nationalists. A crisis was created and tensions continue to spiral out of control.

A search for “Freedom Party” and Austria on Consortium News returned zero hits.

Perhaps the only explanation for this part of the left’s split personality is its failure to understand world politics from a class perspective. If your unit of analysis is the nation-state and if you somehow think that the Cold War, that had at its roots a conflict between two different modes of production that were as irreconcilable as capitalism and feudalism, has never ended, you can easily end up waking up in the morning writing benign articles or Tweets about the need for solidarity with the Palestinians and closer to midnight writing crap about how Syrians gassed their own families with chlorine as a “false flag”, with blood dripping from your fangs. Is there any hope for such people reintegrating their personalities by reading Marxists? If so, I’d recommend that they start with Leon Trotsky’s 1938 “Learn to Think”:

Let us assume that rebellion breaks out tomorrow in the French colony of Algeria under the banner of national independence and that the Italian government, motivated by its own imperialist interests, prepares to send weapons to the rebels. What should the attitude of the Italian workers be in this case? I have purposely taken an example of rebellion against a democratic imperialism with intervention on the side of the rebels from a fascist imperialism. Should the Italian workers prevent the shipping of arms to the Algerians? Let any ultra-leftists dare answer this question in the affirmative. Every revolutionist, together with the Italian workers and the rebellious Algerians, would spurn such an answer with indignation. Even if a general maritime strike broke out in fascist Italy at the same time, even in this case the strikers should make an exception in favor of those ships carrying aid to the colonial slaves in revolt; otherwise they would be no more than wretched trade unionists – not proletarian revolutionists.

 

 

May 6, 2019

Is Tucker Carlson becoming woke?

Filed under: National Bolshevism,Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 5:53 pm

On May 1, Grayzone reporter Anya Parampil appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to denounce American intervention in Venezuela. Since Fox News is widely considered to have the same relationship to the Trump regime that RT.com has to the Kremlin, this appeared to be an astonishing anomaly.

Earlier in the same show, he sounded like he could have become an honorary member of Grayzone himself: “We’ve heard it before. But before the bombers take off, let’s just answer a few quick questions starting with the most obvious, when was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan tonight? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain and take your time.”

Another example of Carlson’s leftist tilt is this commentary on student debt:

A search for “Tucker Carlson” and “capitalism” on Nexis-Uni turns up 294 articles. On November 15, 2018, he interviewed Eric Schiffer, the CEO of the private equity Patriarch Group and a typical rightwing entrepreneur, about Amazon’s backing out of a deal to build a HQ in New York.

Carlson told Schiffer he had big problems with tax breaks for Amazon:

Why is New York, which is crumbling, I’m there a lot, you may be there now, the city’s falling apart. It smells. The subways break. It’s disgusting. Why would the city be spending $3 billion to the richest man in the world?

Why wouldn’t that money go to, I don’t know, fixing the subways, just throwing out there, cleaning up the streets or plowing the snow or helping the people who already live there? I’m just confused.

I am not the only person who has taken note of Carlson’s lurch to the left. Blogger Captain Kudzu, who describes himself as a “common-sense conservative” posted What Do Tucker Carlson, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandra Ocasio Cortez Have In Common? on January 29th:

Elizabeth Warren and Alexandra Ocasio Cortez have made the news recently with their attacks on billionaires and capitalism. As proof that politics makes strange bedfellows, however, Tucker Carlson, the conservative, Trump-supporting Fox News commentator is sounding more and more like the two Democratic congresswomen.

To make the point, look at the three quotes below and try to determine which came from Carlson and which came from Warren and Ocasio Cortez:

“I’m definitely against a system where really the only success stories are like 27 billionaires who hate America, which is where we are now.”

“Our leaders don’t care. We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule.”

Uber is “not a sustainable business model. The only reason it continues is because of your generosity. Because you’re paying the welfare benefits for Uber’s impoverished drivers.”

If you suspected that this was a trick, you’re right. All three quotes are from Tucker Carlson. The first was from the 2018 Student Action Summit, the second from Carlson’s January 3, 2019 monologue in response to a Mitt Romney op-ed, and the third from an August 30, 2018 segment on his Fox News show. Without context, the lines could just as easily have come from Alexandra Ocasio Cortez or Elizabeth Warren, however.

In an attempt once again to build bridges to the left, Carlson invited Dutch economist Rutger Bregman to talk about his challenge to the billionaires gathered at the World Economic Forum. Fully expecting Bregman to allow himself to be stroked on the neck like the Grayzone guests, he was mortified to discover that his guest viewed him as a total hypocrite:

It is pretty obvious that Carlson is staking out a position close to that held by others advocating a Red-Brown alliance. One of the more striking commentaries on his left turn appeared on UNZ.com, a website that features both Patrick Cockburn articles (against the permission of the newspaper he writes for) and those of open neo-Nazis. Titled “Tucker Carlson Takes On Venezuela Intervention” and written by Brad Griffin, it has a graphic that affirms Carlson’s wokeness:

Griffin writes:

Venezuela illustrates why a 3.0 movement is necessary.

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration’s military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

The Trump administration’s interventions in Syria and Venezuela are victimizing mainly poor brown people in Third World countries. And yet, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is extremely animated and stirred up in a rage at the neocons who are currently running Blompf’s foreign policy. Similarly, it has cheered on the peace talks between North Korea and South Korea.

Isn’t it the supreme irony that the “racists” in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called “humanitarians” like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the “racists”?

So, who is this Brad Griffin anyhow? He blogs at Occidental Dissent that describes itself in favor of “Peace, Populism, Progress, and Prosperity”. In addition to articles like Tulsi Gabbard Slams Regime Change in Venezuela, you’ll find Griffin commenting on another contributor’s article: “Personally, I want to create a Jew-free, White ethnostate in North America. That’s why I call myself a White Nationalist.”

Griffin offers a hat tip to Daily Stormer at the top of his article. I won’t provide a link for fear that it will get me banned from FB but can tell you that the Daily Stormer’s article is titled “Venezuela is What’s Going to Get Tucker Fired” and concludes “When the US invades, they can’t have him [Carlson] on there speaking out against it. Especially not when they’ve done such a great job since the Iraq War of cleansing any and all media of anyone who questions the foreign policy agenda from the left.” The article was written by Andrew Anglin, who is probably the best-known neo-Nazi in the USA along with Richard Spencer.

So what is going on here?

To get straight to the point, you are dealing with a revival of National Bolshevism. In Weimar Germany, there was a section of the Communist Party that sought to build ties with the nationalist right before it became clear that the Nazi Party was not interested in such an alliance.

The German party was then thrown into a new crisis over the Treaty of Rapallo, a peace agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union concluded at the end of April in 1922. This treaty raised the same sort of contradictions as the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact of 1939. How could Communists call for the overthrow of a regime that the Russian party had just pledged to maintain peaceful relations with? Stalin resolved this contradiction in a straightforward manner. He declared that anti-fascist agitation should immediate stop. The Communist Parties of 1922 had not become degenerated and still tried to maintain a revolutionary outlook, no matter the difficulties.

Karl Radek interpreted the Treaty of Rapallo as a go-ahead to support the German bourgeoisie against the dominant European capitalisms, especially France. Germany was forced to sign a punitive reparations agreement after WWI and was not able to satisfy the Entente powers. France then marched into the Ruhr in order to seize control of the mines and steel mills. The German capitalist class screamed bloody murder and proto-fascist armed detachments marched into the Ruhr to confront the French troops.

Radek interpreted these German right-wing counter-measures as a sign of progressive nationalism and argued that a bloc of all classes was necessary to confront Anglo-French imperialism. At the height of the anti-French armed struggle in the Ruhr, the German Communist Party took Radek’s cue and began to issue feelers to the right-wing nationalists.

On June 20, 1922 Radek went completely overboard and made a speech proposing a de facto alliance between the Communists and the Fascists. This, needless to say, was in his capacity as official Comintern representative to the German party. It was at a time when Trotsky was still in good graces in the Soviet Union. Nobody seemed to raise an eyebrow when Radek urged that the Communists commemorate the death of Albert Schlageter, a freecorps figher who died in the Ruhr and was regarded as a martyr of the right-wing, a German Timothy McVeigh so to speak. Radek’s stated that “…we believe that the great majority of nationalist minded masses belong not to the camp of the capitalists but to the camp of the Workers.”

Radek’s lunacy struck a chord with the German Communist ultraleftists who went even further in their enthusiasm for the right-wing fighters. Ruth Fischer gave a speech at a gathering of right-wing students where she echoed fascist themes:

Whoever cries out against Jewish capital…is already a fighter for his class, even though he may not know it. You are against the stock market jobbers. Fine. Trample the Jewish capitalists down, hang them from the lampposts…But…how do you feel about the big capitalists, the Stinnes, Klockner?…Only in alliance with Russia, Gentlemen of the “folkish” side, can the German people expel French capitalism from the Ruhr region.

I don’t think that there is any imminent danger of a fascist takeover in the USA but in the event of a stock market crash like 2007, a major terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11, and finally a rapid growth and radicalization of the DSA that leads to it reaching 200,000 members or so and breaking from the Democratic Party (the most unlikely event of all three), all bets are off.

 

May 11, 2016

The Freedom Party in Austria: the vanguard of a global red-brown movement

Filed under: National Bolshevism — louisproyect @ 8:40 pm

220px-norbert_hofer

Norbert Hofer: Austria’s Donald Trump

Yesterday the NY Times reported on the great strides being made by the Freedom Party in Austria, which can be described pretty much as their version of the Trump campaign. Like the USA, Austria is being riven by the politics of immigration. The head of the Social Democratic Party Werner Faymann was ousted by his comrades after he made a deal with the People’s Party over tightening border controls. This is a Christian Democrat type party that has been shifting to the right, just like the Republican Party in the USA. The Social Democrats had been in a “Grand Coalition” with them, which you can think of as a ruling party that combined Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio’s economic programs.

Pressure from the Freedom Party [FPO] forced the People’s Party to the right, especially over immigration. While Faymann was willing to go along with them, the base of the party said nothing doing. Like the ascendant Trump campaign, the Freedom Party made a spectacular leap forward in last month’s parliamentary elections. Norbert Hofer, the party’s standard-bearer, got 1/3 of the vote and will now face the Green Party’s candidate in the presidential elections. The Times summed up the reaction of left-leaning Austrians to Hofer’s success:

The Freedom Party’s nationalist and anti-Islam message seems to have struck a chord even in Vienna, with its history as the cosmopolitan former capital of the multiethnic and multilingual Austro-Hungarian Empire, and — from 1918 onward — as “Red Vienna,” where workers fought street battles to resist the rise of Nazism, in contrast to the crowds who cheered Hitler when he annexed Austria in 1938.

For some on the left, the Freedom Party is apparently not verboten. In 2010 it organized a “Color revolutions in the CIS countries and their current impact” conference that took place in Vienna at the Imperial Hotel. As it happens, the participants were in complete agreement with most of the Western left, particularly the kind of people who write for websites that rally around Bashar al-Assad. Anton Shekhovtsov reported on the gathering on his blog, which should be bookmarked by anybody fed up with the “axis of resistance” bullshit:

As it could have been expected, everybody was discussing the “terrible” nature of the colour “revolutions” in Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kyrgyzstan (2005). Strache [the Freedom Party leader at that time] particularly condemned the US that had allegedly orchestrated these revolutions with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and National Democratic Institute (NDI). The presence of the representatives from the “affected countries” was not surprising: Georgia (Levan Pirveli), Ukraine (Vladyslav Lukyanov) and Kyrgyzstan (Bermet Akayeva).

Now how could you possibly not agree with speakers who castigate the USAID and the NDI that was founded by Madeline Albright even if they would also like to keep Muslims from entering the country? Nobody’s perfect, after all. In fact, the Russian delegation to the conference included Boris Kagarlitsky who is regarded as one of Russia’s leading Marxists. Even if he is critical of Vladimir Putin, that does not get in the way of the Kremlin funding his think-tank. They obviously understand the value of cobbling together reds like Kagarlitsky and a brown outfit like the FPO.

Six years ago I wrote a critique of an interview that Chris Hedges conducted with Noam Chomsky that put forward the idea that the USA was going through a period similar to the Weimar Republic. Chomsky commented:

There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over. The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen.

Of course, now six years later, Chomsky would undoubtedly state that such a “charismatic” figure has arisen—the porcine sexist and immigrant-hating presidential candidate who would get the red carpet treatment at an FPO gathering.

While I don’t think that a new Nazi takeover is imminent, there are parallels with the 1920s that must be mentioned especially in the context of a red-brown alliance that is developing all across Europe and the USA

In the early 1920s, a wing of the Communist Party developed a National Bolshevism program that envisioned collaboration between the red and the brown as I pointed out in an article I wrote about fifteen years ago:

The German party was then thrown into a new crisis over the Treaty of Rapallo, a peace agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union concluded at the end of April in 1922. This treaty raised the same sort of contradictions as the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact of 1939. How could Communists call for the overthrow of a regime that the Russian party had just pledged to maintain peaceful relations with? Stalin resolved this contradiction in a straightforward manner. He declared that anti-fascist agitation should immediate stop. The Communist Parties of 1922 had not become degenerated and still tried to maintain a revolutionary outlook, no matter the difficulties.

Karl Radek … interpreted the Treaty of Rapallo as a go-ahead to support the German bourgeoisie against the dominant European capitalisms, especially France. Germany was forced to sign a punitive reparations agreement after WWI and was not able to satisfy the Entente powers. France then marched into the Ruhr in order to seize control of the mines and steel mills. The German capitalist class screamed bloody murder and proto-fascist armed detachments marched into the Ruhr to confront the French troops.

Radek interpreted these German right-wing counter-measures as a sign of progressive nationalism and argued that a bloc of all classes was necessary to confront Anglo-French imperialism. At the height of the anti-French armed struggle in the Ruhr, the German Communist Party took Radek’s cue and began to issue feelers to the right-wing nationalists.

On June 20, 1922 Radek went completely overboard and made a speech proposing a de facto alliance between the Communists and the Fascists. This, needless to say, was in his capacity as official Comintern representative to the German party. It was at a time when Trotsky was still in good graces in the Soviet Union. Nobody seemed to raise an eyebrow when Radek urged that the Communists commemorate the death of Albert Schlageter, a freecorps figher who died in the Ruhr and was regarded as a martyr of the right-wing, a German Timothy McVeigh so to speak. Radek’s stated that “…we believe that the great majority of nationalist minded masses belong not to the camp of the capitalists but to the camp of the Workers.”

Radek’s lunacy struck a chord with the German Communist ultraleftists who went even further in their enthusiasm for the right-wing fighters. Ruth Fischer gave a speech at a gathering of right-wing students where she echoed fascist themes:

Whoever cries out against Jewish capital…is already a fighter for his class, even though he may not know it. You are against the stock market jobbers. Fine. Trample the Jewish capitalists down, hang them from the lampposts…But…how do you feel about the big capitalists, the Stinnes, Klockner?…Only in alliance with Russia, Gentlemen of the “folkish” side, can the German people expel French capitalism from the Ruhr region.

There are tons of people around today who are the progeny of National Bolshevism. Two prime examples are Jean Bricmont and Diana Johnstone who are occasional writing partners. Bricmont effused over Trump on March 30, 2016:

He is the first major political figure to call for “America First” meaning non-interventionism. He not only denounces the trillions of dollars spent in wars, deplores the dead and wounded American soldiers, but also speaks of the Iraqi victims of a war launched by a Republican President. He does so to a Republican public and manages to win its support. He denounces the empire of US military bases, claiming to prefer to build schools here in the United States. He wants good relations with Russia. He observes that the militarist policies pursued for decades have caused the United States to be hated throughout the world. He calls Sarkozy a criminal who should be judged for his role in Libya. Another advantage of Trump: he is detested by the neoconservatives, who are the main architects of the present disaster.

While Johnstone gives Trump his due (“Donald Trump has made it clear he wants to end the current hysterical anti-Putin pre-war propaganda and do business with Russia … All to the good”), she is far more enthusiastic about Marine Le Pen who she described as being “basically on the left” on the occasion of the 2012 elections:

If “the right” is defined first of all by subservience to finance capital, then aside from Sarkozy, Bayrou and perhaps Joly, all the other candidates were basically on the left.  And all of them except Sarkozy would be considered far to the left of any leading politician in the United States.

This applies notably to Marine Le Pen, whose social program was designed to win working class and youth votes.

Even she stressed that the immigration problem, as she saw it, was not the fault of the immigrants themselves but of the politicians and the elite who brought them here.  The main tone of her political message was resolutely populist, attacking the “Paris elite”.  Demagogic, yes, often vague and playing fast and loose with statistics, but a model of reason compared to the utterances of the “Tea Party”.

Is there an explanation for this kind of idiocy? I would say that it boils down to a retreat from class. In the heady, expansionist cycle of capitalism of the 1980s, postmodernism took root in the left as a way of theorizing about society without bothering with the hoary grand narratives based on class. It culminated in Hardt and Negri’s ridiculous book “Empire”.

Today under far less favorable economic conditions (except for the financial bourgeoisie), there are 10,000 writers who are drawn to the Kremlin like moths to a flame. Once again, why bother with useless criteria such as class when the real battle for humanity’s survival is the capability of the BRICS nations to leapfrog over the decadent Western capitalist countries committed to the EU? If this battle involves making common cause with filth such as Trump and Le Pen, that’s the cost of building a new international red-brown movement that will reduce the strife between nations and make the world safe for oligarchs everywhere, especially the Brazilian, Russian, Indian and Chinese  rich who own $25 million co-ops in Chelsea and shop for Hermes pocketbooks on Madison Avenue.

Blog at WordPress.com.