Isn’t America a Dream?
America constantly reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. People resettled on Mars keep trying to pretend that they’re still on Earth (in Europe, in China, in Mexico, in Russia?), with mediocre results. Matroyshkas gawped at me from the shop windows, Gus-Khrustalny crystal sparkled by, until finally, I came across a sign that read “HIRING a woman with experience to MAKE pelmeni and vareniki.” I decided to grab a bite. The menu featured pelmeni, vareniki, borscht, plov, and khinkali. Russian pop stars danced across a large flatscreen TV. An elderly regular was telling the waiters—and apparently, not for the first time—that this restaurant had perfectly captured the atmosphere of a Moscow café. For me, there wasn’t a moment when I could forget that I was on the other side of the world.
After Brighton Beach, I immediately wanted to return to the center of Brooklyn. I headed to a demonstration in support of black trans women, seven of whom had been murdered in the US in the past two months. The demonstration was happening in front of the Barclays Center. And it was there, among a diverse crowd of young people, holding signs and beating drums, that I actually felt at home. It reminded me of the best moments of the 2012 protests. It felt like I was back at Occupy Abai.
Russia and the Western Far Right: Tango Noir
About the book:
The growing influence on the Western far right has been much discussed in the media recently. This book is the first detailed inquiry into what has been a neglected but critically important trend: the growing links between Russian actors and Western far right activists, publicists, ideologues, and politicians. The author uses a range of sources including interviews, video footage, leaked communications, official statements and press coverage in order to discuss both historical and contemporary Russia in terms of its relationship with the Western far right.
Initial contacts between Russian political actors and Western far right activists were established in the early 1990s, but these contacts were low profile. As Moscow has become more anti-Western, these contacts have become more intense and have operated at a higher level. The book shows that the Russian establishment was first interested in using the Western far right to legitimise Moscow’s politics and actions both domestically and internationally, but more recently Moscow has begun to support particular far right political forces to gain leverage on European politics and undermine the liberal-democratic consensus in the West.
Contributing to ongoing scholarly debates about Russia’s role in the world, its strategies aimed at securing legitimation of Putin’s regime both internationally and domestically, modern information warfare and propaganda, far right politics and activism in the West, this book draws on theories and methods from history, political science, area studies, and media studies and will be of interest to students, scholars, activists and practitioners in these areas.
No, the Sutherland Springs Shooter Wasn't Antifa
And other fake news from the week.
These rumors from the past week, on the other hand, aren't worth it. They're just fake:
The Sutherland Springs shooter wanted to start a war in the name of antifa
For the past two weeks, this column has checked in with the right-wing rumor mill's laughable fixation on the idea that anti-fascists are on the verge of a bloody uprising against white people. The antifa civil war was supposed to begin on November 4, but didn't (you would have heard about it if it did). Instead, the organizers of the nonviolent "Refuse Fascism" events that prompted all this scaremongering held small protests, with a couple more events planned for the coming weeks.
Dismayingly, in the hours that followed the nightmarish shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, leaving 27 people dead, that rumor mill revived the fake uprising the right had been fantasizing about. Mike Cernovich, who seems to want to be considered a legitimate journalist, was among the first to speculate about it...
About four hours after Cernovich's tweet (according to a timeline about the rumor that ran on HuffPo), the antifa rumor was ostensibly "confirmed" by notorious the lie manufacturer Your News Wire. According to made-up witnesses shooter Devin Kelley "carried an Antifa flag and told the churchgoers 'this is a communist revolution' before unloading on the congregation,'" Your News Wire wrote. The Your News Wire story also included a fake image of Kelley's Facebook page, featuring an antifa flag. An astonishing 264,000 people shared the fake story on Facebook.
Socialist Action and Syrian Revolution Solidarity
On November 4 Socialist Action is sponsoring a conference at Central Connecticut State University entitled “The Solution is Socialism.” This conference comes at a time in American history when reception to radical and socialist ideas are at an all time high. The location of this conference, away from one of the centers of American metropolis is also of note because it gives those interested in socialist ideas, who do not have a large spectrum of the left in which to participate, an opportunity to meet with like minded leftists and exchange ideas.
In the spirit of this exchange of ideas the undersigned individuals issue this statement to show our solidarity with the people of Syria in their struggle against the Assad regime, US & Russian imperialism as well as the local and regional actors who seek to derail their struggle for a better world. We hope that this statement will resonate with members of SA and seek to use this piece to reopen a debate within SA.
While the undersigned come from a variety of schools of socialism, one thing that unites us is the outrage we share for the sectors of the US left that have looked askance at the struggles of the Syrian people or worst have provided political cover for the Assad regime’s slaughter of the Syrian people in concert with Russian bombs.
Some members of Socialist Action may privately share views of solidarity with the Syrian revolution, however, what ultimately counts in politics is public activity and, Socialist Action publishes articles that justify and cover for the atrocities being carried out by the Assadist dictatorship in Syria. Importantly, it is not merely a fringe of Socialist Action that justifies atrocities against the Syrian people but its current national secretary and 2016 presidential candidate, Jeff Mackler.
Covering for Assad
Mackler, as the leading voice of Socialist Action, has put forward these views and has remained unchallenged so far within the press of Socialist Action. For those at the conference new to socialism and those within Socialist Action who have yet to give formal voice to their opposition to Mackler’s views on Syria, it is incumbent that we point out the more egregious aspects of the pro-Assad statements made by Mackler insofar as they violate the spirit of internationalism.
One strategy that Assad has used in his war against the Syrian people, for example, has been the denial of food to areas held by forces opposed to him leading to famine like conditions. Yet in July of 2016 Mackler wrote,“To fuel the drive to increase U.S. and allied imperialist intervention in Syria, we are once again witness to a demonization campaign, this time directed at President Assad, who is charged by the “51,” and a host of other imperialist warmongers, of violating all the so-called cease-fire agreements negotiated in February, including denying food shipments to “starving people” in Darya — a suburb outside of Damascus — and of bombing U.S.-backed rebels who are supposedly fighting ISIS.”
Contrary to Mackler, we begin our investigation not from the statements of the imperialists, but from what Syrians on the ground report. We furthermore doubt that Mackler has read what the imperialists have said about Syria, seeing as all of they seem to accept that the Assad regime is their preferred manager of the Syrian proletariat.
Mackler goes as far as to suggest that Assad was not withholding food by putting “starving people” in scare quotes in the context of referring to it as a “demonization campaign” against Assad. Assad’s strategy of starving whole populations is very well documented. While the centrist left pushes the narrative that the Syrian situation is too complicated to unravel, there is no denying that starvation is a tactic used by the Syrian state. “Kneel or starve” is even a slogan used by his supporters in Syria as documented by 60 minutes.
Further evidence of Assad’s starvation campaign comes from the reporter Janine di Giovanni who has visited Daraya and kept in touch with people there. She wrote that she asked them what they had eaten for the day some would say: “Grape leaves, some salt.” While di Giovanni provided her report in September of 2016, just one year ago, Reuters documented approximately 4 years ago the Assad regime’s starvation tactics with one very vivid example of an Assad soldier denying a child the right to transport food:“I‘m telling you, not a single morsel is allowed in there. I don’t make the rules. There are those bigger than me and you who make the rules and they’re watching us right now. So go back home.”
Testimonies from Syrians gathered by Amnesty International also speak to the starvation being forced upon the Syrian masses. In a piece with a telling partial title, “In Madaya you see walking skeletons” Mohammad, a resident of Madaya recalled in January, 2016,“The adjacent towns of Madaya and Boukein, west of Damascus, have been besieged since July 2015 by Syrian government forces. … Families do not have basic food supplies.”
Even the United Nations, a tool of imperialism masquerading behind the veil of human rights, has acknowledged that starvation is a real problem in Syria. True to their imperialist orientation, however, the UN has let the Assad regime to dictate the terms of aid,“Data shows that around 96 percent of aid goes to regime areas while only 4 percent goes to opposition areas. As a result, all deaths from starvation in Syria have happened in opposition-held areas.”
These are a few of many examples of the starvation tactic employed by the Syrian regime. It is particularly appalling that inside Syria Assad and his supporters openly threaten people with starvation, but what does it signify that a leader of an ostensibly revolutionary socialist organization like Mackler denies that it is happening?
It is well documented that Assad’s dominant military strategy has been the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. The weapon most associated with Assad’s war has been barrel bombs, which“are so imprecise that the Syrian military does not usually drop them near the front lines, for fear of hitting its own troops. They are useful mainly for pummeling civilian neighborhoods.” and “That is one reason residents of opposition-held parts of Aleppo told me that, unlike in almost any other war, some civilians have — astonishingly — moved closer to the front lines, preferring to brave the more predictable artillery and snipers than the barrel bombs’ random death from the sky.”
When Mackler only mentions civilian deaths that are the result of US bombs and when he calls for defeating the rebels and does not mention the systematic attack on civilians and civilian infrastructure by the pro-Assad forces, no one involved in politics committed to human liberation should be fooled — this amounts to support for the Syrian state under Assad. It is de facto war propaganda that whitewashes and enables atrocities. Moreover, this blindness to the real plight of the Syrian people has led these “anti-imperialists” into a corner where they are organizationally unable to respond to ongoing US bombings in Syria. By embracing an Islamophobic War on Terror rhetoric against the Syrian rebels, Mackler and company havecontributed to the demobilization of the anti-war movement.
Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons
Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians is well-documented yet in 2014 Mackler asserted the 2013 Sarin attack was a “false flag” to justify US-driven “regime change”. The absurdity of his thesis is shown not just by the facts known about the crime, but by the fact that the Obama administration did everything possible to let Assad continue to kill civilians, shown most forcefully by seeking to extend their August 2016 deal with Putin even after the Russians flagrantly attacked an aid convoy.
Seymour Hersh’s pieces — Mackler’s only “evidence” — have been extensively debunked. Furthermore the extent of Hersh’s intellectual and political corruption was recently further exposed by his role in enabling the conspiratorial narrative that the Democrats had Seth Rich killed — a narrative that was constructed to distract from Trump’s ties to Putin. Hersh backed up claim in the same way he did his stories on Syria, with a single anonymous source with no other kind of corroboration.
On Palestinian Self-Determination and Syria
While many on the left are divided over the question of solidarity with the Syrian revolution, no such difference or ambivalence is present on the socialist left regard the struggle of the Palestinian people. The just cause of the Palestinian people is not being used here as a debating point but because it contains a deep connection to Syria. The fate of the Palestinian people is directly and deeply intertwined with what is happening in Syria. Whatever Assad is doing to the majority of the people of Syria, he has done to the Palestinians there; sieges, torture, imprisonment, starvation, barrel bombs and depopulation.
Russia Investigation Puts Alt-Right-Friendly Congressman In The Spotlight
According to NBC News, investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have begun questioning witnesses to a September 20, 2016 meeting between retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) as part of the ongoing Russia probe.
The Making of an American Nazi
How did Andrew Anglin go from being an antiracist vegan to the alt-right’s most vicious troll and propagandist—and how might he be stopped?
Anglin sequestered himself on the family farm again. Now he advocated “brutal extremism.” He wrote that he was not calling for violence “at this time” but added: “If I thought violence could work to free us of the yolk [sic] of the Jew, I would absolutely and unequivocally endorse it.”
He developed an almost religious infatuation with Vladimir Putin, or “Czar Putin I, defender of human civilization,” as Anglin called him. For Anglin, Putin was a great white savior, a “being of immense power.”
This fixation on strength is common among members of the alt-right, but Anglin took his devotion to power to a wild extreme. “He thinks in terms of a fascist Disney film,” a prominent white nationalist who has collaborated with Anglin told me, adding that Anglin believed that if he tried hard enough, disciples would flock to his cultish vision and help him summon another Hitler into existence. “He imagines he has some magical power.” Over his heart, he’d tattooed the spidery black sun of the Sonnenrad, an occult symbol in a mystical strain of neo-Nazism whose followers embrace such notions as Hitler being an avatar of Vishnu.
In March 2013, Anglin, or perhaps his father, used Greg’s email address to register the domain name for The Daily Stormer. Then Anglin left the country again. First he went to Greece, where he stayed in a hostel in Athens for three months. He found work giving tours of the Parthenon and other sites and attended meetings of Golden Dawn, Greece’s ultranationalist far-right political party.
On July 4, 2013, The Daily Stormer launched in beta mode, replacing Total Fascism. Anglin named his new site after Der Stürmer, a virulently anti-Semitic Nazi-era weekly that Hitler had read devoutly. (As Anglin would later write, the official policy of his site was: “Jews should be exterminated.”) The Daily Stormer was unlike anything else in white nationalism: The design was clean, the posts were infused with Anglin’s wry humor. It was Nazi Gawker, and it caught on.
Another widely circulated photograph of Anglin appears to show him at a gathering of Golden Dawn, an extremist group in Greece.
Anglin’s editorial approach, which he has explained in various podcasts, borrowed from both Mein Kampf and Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. From Hitler, Anglin learned to dumb down his argument: Good guys versus bad guys. A few themes repeated over and over. From Alinsky, he learned counterculture tactics: Attack people instead of institutions. Isolate targets. Make threats. One Alinsky rule in particular stuck with Anglin: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
Ridicule was hard to counter. So Anglin mocked. He made people laugh. “The whole point is to make something outrageous,” he said on the site. “It’s about creating a giant spectacle, a media spectacle that desensitizes people to these ideas.” He considered jokes about Josef Mengele training dogs to rape Jewish women “comedy gold.”
In 2014, Anglin was living in Europe when he found a partner in Andrew Auernheimer, a.k.a. “weev,” a neo-Nazi hacker and troll. Auernheimer grew up in the Ozarks and went to federal prison in 2013 on identity-theft and hacking charges. After his conviction was vacated on appeal a year later, he moved abroad. He now lives in Transnistria, a small, Russia-backed breakaway region on Moldova’s eastern border.
Auernheimer ran the tech side of The Daily Stormer, and also contributed his considerable gifts for subversion by making printers on U.S. college campuses pump out swastika-bedecked flyers for the site. “I don’t know what I would be doing if it wasn’t for him,” Anglin said in an interview with another white nationalist last year. “He’s the one basically holding the whole thing together.”
Anglin, meanwhile, gained infamy for his troll attacks. In 2015, he tormented the University of Missouri during student protests against racist incidents on campus. He used Twitter hashtags to seed fake news into the conversation, falsely reporting that members of the KKK had arrived to burn crosses on campus and were working with university police. He claimed that Klansmen had gunned down protesters and posted a random photo of a black man in a hospital bed. As his rumors spread, the campus freaked out.
But Anglin wasn’t content to troll alone. He wrote instructions for his followers on how to register anonymous email accounts, set up virtual private networks, mask their IP addresses, and forge Twitter and text-message conversations. He created images and slogans for them to use. Anglin warned his Stormers not to threaten targets with violence, a disclaimer meant to shield him from law enforcement.
Still, Anglin’s mob was a terror. He sicced his trolls on American University’s first black female student-body president. He had them go after Erin Schrode, a Jewish woman running for Congress in California, as well as Jonah Goldberg and David French, writers for National Review. As I reported this story, Anglin sent his trolls after me, too, and my interactions with them confirmed my suspicions that they were, by and large, lost boys who felt rejected by society and, thanks to the internet, could lash out in new and destructive ways. When I tried to draw them out about their lives, some admitted that they struggled with women. One told me that he struggled with his own homosexuality. Most imagined they were rising up against an unchecked political correctness that maligned white males. The more the liberal establishment chose to revile them, the more they embraced their role as villains.
In recent years, psychologists have found a powerful connection between trolling and what’s known as the “dark tetrad” of personality traits: psychopathy, sadism, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. The first two traits are significant predictors of trolling behavior, and all four traits correlate with enjoyment of trolling. Research published in June by Natalie Sest and Evita March, two Australian scholars, shows that trolls tend to be high in cognitive empathy, meaning they can understand emotional suffering in others, but low in affective empathy, meaning they don’t care about the pain they cause. They are, in short, skilled and ruthless manipulators.
In the summer of 2015, another great white savior—himself a troll—appeared to Anglin, this time gliding down a golden escalator in Manhattan in front of a crowd of paid extras. A few days after Donald Trump declared his presidential candidacy—launching into an attack on Mexican “rapists”—Anglin endorsed him as “the one man who actually represents our interests.”
Anglin immediately put all his resources toward willing a Trump presidency into reality. He churned out cheerleader posts and deployed his trolls on behalf of Trump, directing several of his nastiest attacks at Jewish journalists who were critical of the candidate or his associates.
Anglin hadn’t been to the polls in years, but he wasn’t going to miss a chance to vote for Trump. His absentee ballot arrived in Ohio from Krasnodar, a city in southwest Russia near the Black Sea, according to Franklin County records. That the Russian government wouldn’t know about an American inside its borders publishing a major neo-Nazi website seems improbable.
Anglin worshipped Putin, and seemed like exactly the type of online agitator Russia might use to sow chaos during the U.S. election. In March, Auernheimer told Daily Stormer commenters that he was setting up the site’s forum on “a much beefier server in the Russian Federation.” Anglin would later swear on his site—“under penalty of perjury”—that he’d never taken money or direction from the Russian government.
But whether Anglin knew it or not, his site appears to have gotten a boost from someone in Russia. A collective of data scientists called Susan Bourbaki Anthony conducted an analysis of The Daily Stormer’s reach on Twitter from February 2 to March 2, 2017, and found that Anglin’s content was being spread by a mysterious network of accounts. This network, which is still active, has amplified divisiveness in American political discourse on Twitter since at least early in the year. It includes bots and “sock puppets” (accounts operated by actual people under false identities), and essentially shuts down each night from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast—midnight to 6:30 a.m. local time in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The election helped elevate The Daily Stormer from one of several influential white-nationalist sites to a key platform of the alt-right, though the site wasn’t nearly as popular as Anglin wanted people to think. He and Auernheimer often bragged that it got millions of unique visitors a month, but comScore put the site’s monthly visitors closer to 70,000. Still, Anglin knew how to make noise—and by any metric, the post-Trump trend line for his site pointed up.
In May 2016, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had asked then-candidate Trump about the death threats and harassment Anglin’s army had leveled against the journalist Julia Ioffe after she wrote a profile of Melania Trump for GQ magazine. (Ioffe now works at The Atlantic.)
“I don’t have a message to the fans,” Trump said.
The fans. His people. “We interpret that as an endorsement,” Anglin told a reporter when asked about Trump’s refusal to condemn white nationalists.
Inside Russia’s alliance with white nationalists across the globe
SINCE VLADIMIR PUTIN'S RETURN TO POWER IN 2012, THE WESTERN FAR-RIGHT HAS LOOKED TO RUSSIA FOR SUPPORT.
There’s been plenty of coverage on Russia’s ties with the far-right in Europe over the past few years – with the National Front in France, Jobbik in Hungary, the Freedom Party in Austria – but I was wondering: In your research over the past few years, was there anything that stood out that may have been the most under-reported aspect of the relationships, like the agency you just mentioned on the part of these far-right groups?
I think that that was the most problematic feature in the coverage, especially in the media – not from experts, but from the media – that they consider these relations as a sort of one-way type of relationship, that the Kremlin is manipulating them, or that the Kremlin was behind all those initiatives.
But this is not true. First, there were a lot of initiatives coming from the far-right, and second, unfortunately the knowledge of Russian politics, of how Putin’s Russia functions, is generally too low in Western media. One thing that they don’t realize is that the Kremlin makes only very important decisions – but many of these relations that have been developing since 2008, or 2011-12, these relations were operated not by the Kremlin but by people who wanted to produce a result coming from those relations that they could sell to the Kremlin. They would be pro-Kremlin, obviously, or pro-Putin, but they wanted those relations to succeed and then sort of sell it to the Kremlin in exchange for better access to resources. So a lot of these relations were operated and developed by, say, freelance activists or pro-Kremlin politicians.
That description of freelance activism sounds like the types of relationships Western secession movements have developed with Russian operatives, when it didn’t necessarily begin as a top-down, Kremlin-led initiative but kind of a middle-up initiative that the Kremlin eventually began funding. So on that point, and turning to the American context, we have white nationalists like Matthew Heimbach describing Russia as the “leader … of the anti-globalist forces around the world,” and Richard Spencer leading a group of white supremacists chanting that “Russia is our friend!” How much of this is simply noise, and how much of this should we pay attention to, and even be concerned by?
NOTED AMERICAN WHITE NATIONALIST MATTHEW HEIMBACH HAS
DESCRIBED THE KREMLIN AS WHITE NATIONALISM’S “MOST POWERFUL ALLY.”
Well, I believe that absolutely you should keep an eye on them. But I would say that partly all these narratives – about Russia is our friend, or other pro-Putin or pro-Russian sentiments that they have – they don’t really point to any significant relations these neo-Nazis and the Russian regime.
I think one example would be when the Daily Stormer registered in the .ru zone, and they published this piece, which I found quite funny, that said [Donald] Trump called Putin and Putin gave them this registration. This is trolling! They were trolling mainstream media, because mainstream media is so crazy about the Russian interference – which was indeed the case – but this is part of the alt-right trolling. And they’re very good at it. So I think sometimes chants like “Russia is our friend” is part of the trolling. Of course, there is ideology, because they truly believe Russia is a white country that is against globalization, and against, say, Jewish conspiracy, or the New World Order. But partly this a trolling.
You just mentioned that these far-right figures view Russia as a “white country” – do they really have no idea how diverse Russia is, either in terms of ethnic makeup and religious views? Do they just have no idea how multi-ethnic, multi-confessional Russia is?
Some of them are aware. If you look at website like Counter-Currents, which is a website run by an American far-right activist, they look at Russia as a white country but they understand Russia is ethnically and culturally diverse. But then you have people like Richard Spencer, and I truly believe that within these more extreme neo-Nazi circles, their education is quite low, and they simply don’t understand what Russia is.
Mike Cernovich Claims Michael Flynn Was Targeted By Deep State For Investigating Pedophilia
By Jared Holt | November 21, 2017 4:48 pm
Mike Cernovich, a right-wing pundit infamous for his role in elevating the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theories, claimed that General Michael Flynn has been subjected to investigation by the “deep state” and criticism by media elites because he had investigated pedophilia.
While discussing recent floods of sex abuse allegations against powerful men with Infowars host Alex Jones today, Cernovich explained that media figures who once praised alleged sex abusers such as Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein were complicit in a “conspiracy of silence.”
Cernovich then made a hard pivot to claim that Flynn’s investigation into pedophiles is what made him the target of a “deep state” investigation, rather than his suspected involvement in a Russian influence operation during the 2016 election that may end in his indictment.
“That’s why they all hate Trump and that’s why they hate General Flynn, because they were investigating the pedophiles and the pedophilia,” Cernovich said. “That’s the real big story nobody wants to talk about.”
“The real reason they went after General Mike Flynn is because he was really focusing on pedophilia and he had happened upon this story accidentally and that’s why deep state freaked out. Of course, hopefully this comes out. Unfortunately Gen. Flynn can’t talk to anybody because lawyers’ advice and everything.”
Cernovich believes that he is also a targeted by the deep state because he discusses pedophilia.
A “New Dawn” for Fascism: The Rise of the Capitalist Anti-Establishment
August 24, 2017
Wall Street’s Bolshevik Conspiracy?
Today the main proponents of the fabrication that the Bolsheviks were merely tools of Western imperialists are right-wing conspiracy theorists, many of whom like to refer to themselves as either libertarians or apolitical. One of the most famous texts expounding this timeless deceit is Antony C. Sutton’s Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (1974), a book whose “research” has now been given a new breath of life by Professor Richard Spence’s more sophisticated but equally conspiratorial book Wall Street and the Russian Revolution: 1905-1925 (2017). But despite being an apparent specialist in modern espionage and the occult, Spence, like many more run-of-the-mill conspiracy theorists, has an unhealthy propensity for treating declassified files released by ill-informed intelligence agencies at face-value. Spence however is no marginal scholar as in 2010 he worked as a research fellow at the neoconservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and has been interviewed the Russian television channel NTV as a so-called specialist on “Trotsky’s American Connections” for an upcoming documentary on the Russian Revolution. In addition he remains a regular contributor to the popular pro-Putin conspiracy magazine, New Dawn.
For those who simply don’t have the time to keep up with the latest extraterrestrial elite machinations and the New World Order’s genocidal plots, you should know that New Dawn is a big-hitter in the field, with bimonthly issues over-brimming with ‘adverts’ for alternative medicine boosted by all manner of quasi-fascist nonsense. The latest issue of this bloated magazine leads with the article “Putin takes on the U.S. Deep State” (July/August), with the author of this piece being former InfoWars editor, Patrick Henningsen. Most notably the only politician listed on New Dawn’s roll-call of endorsers for their verbose tosh is the neo-fascist, Alexandre Dugin, who they correctly identify as the “leader of International Eurasian Movement.” As Dugin’s endorsement explains: “New Dawn magazine is one of the best sources of realistic information on the state of things in our world as it nears its inevitable and predicted end.”
Here the connection between the delusions promoted by New Dawn and the mystifying work of people like Professor Spence is the utility of their ideas to the powerful, more specifically in helping to undermine the legitimacy of revolutionary socialism. Certainly the liberal (globalist) elites that New Dawn and their writers obsess about do engage in anti-democratic activities. But New Dawn’s paranoid ramblings about the actions of these allegedly all-powerful elites is far removed from the sober Marxist class-analysis that is necessary to understand how such elites profit from capitalism (and sometimes from fascism). But what else would you expect from a magazine that includes well-known fascists like Dr Kerry Bolton upon its roster of regular writers. Focusing on Bolton for a moment, he cites as authorities for his own pro-Putin conspiracies the work of Antony C. Sutton and Richard Spence, and asserts that Stalin was correct in his belief that both Trotsky and his followers “were agents of foreign capital and foreign powers” seeking to promote capitalism!?
Bolton points to the fact that a handful of leading Trotskyist intellectuals went on to work hand-in-hand with the CIA as further proof that Marxists were always working for Wall Street. What Bolton fails to mention is that these intellectuals all renounced their belief in Marxism in order to become well paid and respected conservatives. Moreover in the early days of their new-found careers as turncoats these former Marxists simply joined forces with the longstanding conservative leadership of the AFL-CIO, who right from the early days of the Russian Revolution had been open in their opposition to Bolshevism and to union democracy more generally. Bolton is therefore only correct when he says that neoconservative activists eventually went on to help create the US Government’s interventionist and imperialist National Endowment for Democracy (NED), but only in the early 1980s. Bringing his conspiracy up-to-date, elsewhere Bolton draws a direct connect between “international capital” and individuals like George Soros and groups like the NED, with regards their continuing role in “fomenting revolutions”. As he goes on to explain for an article published with the neo-fascist/Traditionalist publisher Counter-Currents (an outlet which popularizes the nazi mysticism of “Hitler’s Priestess” Savitri Devi):“The primary factor that was behind the bankers’ support for the Bolsheviks whether from London, New York, Stockholm, or Berlin, was to open up the underdeveloped resources of Russia to the world market, just as in our own day George Soros, the money speculator, funds the so-called ‘color revolutions’ to bring about ‘regime change’ that facilitates the opening up of resources to global exploitation. Hence there can no longer be any doubt that international capital a plays a major role in fomenting revolutions…”
In the November 2014 issue of New Dawn the magazine featured another article authored by Bolton titled “The great conspiracy against Russia: what is really behind the campaign against Putin?” His purile rant began with considerable gusto:“When the war-drums start beating in Washington against a state or statesman, one is entitled to wonder what transgression might have been made against the ‘New World Order’. Over the past few decades we have seen one nation after another succumb to either financial blandishments, or when those fail, long-planned, well-funded ‘spontaneous’ colour revolutions, and as a last resort bombs. The states of the ex-Soviet bloc largely succumbed to ‘colour revolutions’ orchestrated by the Soros network, aligned with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USAID and a host of other funds and NGOs.”
Following close to Putin’s now-official propaganda line, Bolton fumes against the imperialist interventions of the NED undertaken in the Ukraine and their allegedly manufacturing of endless popular uprisings. But in reality it should be obvious that the sizable financial support provided to civil society groups by US elites does not allow them to manufacture revolutionary discontent out of thin air; it only allows them to promote their own capitalist interests in their ongoing attempts to forestall genuinely radical, dare I say, revolutionary socialist change. Yes, the US will do everything in their power to encourage new capitalist governments that are more likely to prioritize friendly relations with them, but so too would Russia.
Putin relaxing (as featured in New Dawn magazine)
So in the Ukraine, as elsewhere, Putin intervenes as an imperialist power-broker to promote his own countries’ capitalist foreign policy objectives, while the US does the same. Neither, however, have the best interest of the working-class at heart, and so both governments and their contributions to the “East-West tug-of-war” deserve our criticism. This is not, however, how other political commentators see matters, and perhaps in part because of the lack of an influential working class political alternative (which still needs working on), some misguided people end up following the crude logic that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Bolton breaks from such motivations only because he chooses to support Putin because it serves his own personal agenda – even though, it should be said, Putin himself is no fascist.
Regime Change Inc. and the New World Order
A further intriguing example of similar reactionary thinking vis-a-vis the dynamics of social change is provided in the work of F. William Engdahl, who in 2004 republished his 1992 book A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order with the left-wing publisher Pluto Press. Prior to Pluto’s not so inspired decision to publish this book, Engdahl had spent decades working as an editor for Lyndon LaRouche’s conspiracy network (at least until 1997), and his book merely recycled many LaRouchite narratives including that the 1960s counterculture New Age movement was a manufactured CIA-backed “project.” To be more specific, according to Engdahl the creation of the hippie movement had been overseen by the “Anglo-American liberal establishment” which was then used in conjunction with another “weapon” of the elite, the creation of a “manipulated ‘race war’”. As part of this fictional elite-orchestrated process of social change Engdahl went on to add more details to his heady conspiracy, noting that: “The May 1968 student riots in France, were the result of the vested London and New York financial interests in the one G-10 nation which continued to defy their mandate.”
On the Peculiar Racism of Soviet Émigrés
Israel as myth, or, “dirty Arabs”
For the majority of post-Soviet Jews, including those living outside of Israel, the Jewish state possesses an almost mythical status. Nothing is more important than its security, preservation and prosperity. Criticism of Israel is not tolerated. Such an uncompromising stance often perplexes more liberal American Jews who are raised on the principle of freedom of speech, and who cannot understand why support for Israel should not exist alongside a critique of the less pleasant manifestations of the country’s foreign and domestic policies. As liberals are more prone than conservatives to criticize Israel, they are a favorite target of hatred, with accusations of antisemitism readily thrown around, as well as accusations of sympathizing with Arabs and Muslims.
The hatred of the previously mentioned educated lady from Moscow/Leningrad/Kyiv/Chisinau for the figure of Barack Obama is a product of the historical and cultural processes described above. Her racism, along with that of hundreds of thousands of her former compatriots, was formed within what seems to me a unique historical context. This context was marked by isolation from Western culture and Western ideas about societal mechanisms, as well as by confrontation with the official internationalism and antiracism of the Soviet state. But back to the admirer of Tolstoy and Sholem Aleichem: for her, Barack Obama manages to embody several historical trends, amalgamating the image of a black moderate-liberal professor with a suspicious-sounding name into the image of an enemy.
The Soviet Union may have ceased to exist long ago, but millions of people, including immigrants living in the West, still perceive reality through the prism of their Soviet experience. It is for this very reason that our philharmonic-loving lady and the majority of her real and virtual friends see Obama as a demonic figure, a Western leftwing intellectual and European-style socialist, indulging “dirty” Arabs and Muslims who hate Israel, and all the while destroying the fundamental pillars of capitalism. This is also why this lady turned out to be so susceptible to the conspiracy theory (promulgated, among others, by Trump) regarding the 44th US President’s supposed African birth and Muslim faith. Naturally, seen through such a phantasmagorical lens, little remains that would resemble American political reality, but the truth becomes murky when one’s world view has been formed on the basis of convictions and prejudices going back to childhood. After all, he is black, which must mean he is red.
Against But Not Anti: “What’s Left?” December 2017, MRR #415
I fancy myself a “citizen of the world,” but I’m merely a denizen of these United States of America. As such I feel obliged to oppose US imperialism and seek to dismantle the American empire. But that doesn’t make me an “anti-imperialist.” To quote Gilles Dauvé: “I am against imperialism, be it French, British, US or Chinese. I am not an ‘anti-imperialist’, since that is a political position supporting national liberation movements opposed to imperialist powers.”
For me then, part of not being a dyed-in-the-wool vulgar Leninist anti-imperialist and opposing imperialism “objectively” everywhere is focusing primarily on my country’s imperialist exploitation and appropriation around the world. I really don’t spend much time and energy railing against, for instance, either Russian imperialism or Israeli imperialism.
Russia is a US rival and sometime enemy that has imperialized Georgia, Chechnya, Ukraine, etc., while Israel is a US ally and client state that has imperialized the West Bank and parts of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Those military and economic encroachments are only secondarily my concern as I am currently focused on US saber rattling in East Asia (Korea) and South America (Venezuela).
There can be extenuating circumstances of course. I am Polish by family origin so when Russia recently threatened Poland over the removal of WWII Soviet era statues I took notice. My wife is a Jewish “red diaper baby” and she has a consistent anti-Zionist take on Israel. But we don’t spend every minute of every hour of every day denouncing respectively Russian or Israeli imperialism.
What’s more, I suspect that my fellow American netizens who spend all their time and energy condemning Russian imperialism or Israeli imperialism have ulterior motives. In the case of Russia it’s Cold War anti-communism and in the case of Israel it’s old fashioned anti-semitism. Long associated with rightwing politics, anti-communism and anti-semitism are more and more products of the Left.
Anti-imperialism is one of those unifying principles common to Leftist organizations and movements. From the Black Panther Party’s 10-Point Program to more generic points of unity, an ideological laundry list is de rigueur for the Left. Classical anarchism remained largely aloof from this requirement until the rise of the New Left in the 1960s. The practice of formulating points of unity as a programmatic norm and organizing method eventually became part-and-parcel of anarchist organizations and movements generally as they incorporated elements of New Left and old Left politics, an argument post-left anarchists are fond of making. As for the ultraleft, we’ve tended to make each point in any list of basic positions a thorough treatise worthy of its own volume of Capital. Antifascism is yet another unifying Leftist principle.
We’d planned to go to Crissy Field to confront the Patriot Prayer fascists on August 26 when the whole Bay Area was mobilizing despite cancelled bus lines, locked down militarized neighborhoods, unnerving uncertainties, and real physical dangers. There was a lot of political pressure for the National Parks Department to cancel the permit, which didn’t happen, even as other similar provocations around the country were shut down. The overwhelming media coverage of the proposed event guaranteed that the Bay Area Left showed up in force on Saturday.
Other protest events had been planned nearby, such as the SF LovedUp Mobile Dance Counter-Rally just down the bay at Marina Green Park. And lots of folks thought the best strategy was to avoid Crissy Field altogether for symbolic anti-fash events elsewhere. Me, I think it’s always necessary to confront fascism directly. So when Patriot Prayer cancelled their rally the night before and it was clear Joey Gibson had flown the coop the morning of, I was relieved and elated, but also disappointed. Things had changed from directly confronting real live fascists to symbolically protesting the rise of fascism, and I’d done enough symbolic protesting during my last half century of leftist politics thank you. So while I was glad, I only briefly attended the largely celebratory demonstrations at Alamo Square and then the Castro, and I didn’t care to march down Market Street yet one more time. Truth be told, while I was happy San Francisco had repelled the fascists through our mobilization, the symbolic mass demonstrations that followed were a bit of a letdown.
Leave it to Berkeley to set the standard for directly confronting the fash, when a demonstration of 7,000 anti-fascist protesters marched on MLK/Civic Center Park, with 500 embedded black clad antifa overwhelming the police and taking over the park on Sunday, August 27.
I’d intended to demonstrate in San Francisco as an unaffiliated leftist against fascism, not as antifa. For one thing I’m 65 years old, take blood thinners, and have bad knees. I’d stopped the blood thinners days before in case I got hit upside the head by a rogue nazi. But I was there to demonstrate against, not to fight the fash, so I wasn’t going to be on the front lines. I admire antifa and their stated strategy to confront fascism everywhere with direct action. I post a lot of pro-antifa stuff on my facebook profile. But I also hold to a diversity of strategies (per Doug Henwood of The Nation), where “some of us are fighters, some of us organizers—and some of us like to write about history, theory, and the current conjuncture.” I was never good at the “boring hard slog of organizing” and I’m too old for “street-based politics.” So now I kibbitz from the sidelines and go to demonstrations and protest against fascism.
Notice I didn’t say I was antifascist. I have Gilles Dauvé’s reservations of liberal antifascism: “I am (and so is the proletariat) against fascism, be it in the form of Hitler or Le Pen. I am not an ‘anti-fascist’, since this is a political position regarding the fascist state or threat as a first and foremost enemy to be destroyed at all costs, i.e. siding with bourgeois democrats as a lesser evil, and postponing revolution until fascism is disposed of.” Antifa suffers from a similar political monomania, tempered only by it’s emphasis on direct action and it’s de facto anarchism.
And I have criticisms of antifa’s direct action and default anarchism as well. Militarily speaking the decentralized black bloc tactic might work well as cat-and-mouse with the cops, but it’s more like brutal gang warfare against alt.right paramilitary formations. It lacks the capacity to scale up to higher levels of organization, logistics, and mobility, so I think antifa needs to investigate other historic antifascist modes of self-defense such as militias and commando operations.
I have the usual ultraleft critique of anarchism, but for now I think that antifa’s implied goal of anarchism is so far removed from its tactics and strategy as to be useless. To understand my point, consider the goal of democratic socialism held by orthodox social democracy. To achieve that goal social democrats usually put forward parallel political party and labor union mass strategies out of which spring a myriad of tactics—education and propaganda, electioneering and organizing, shadow governments and mass strikes, etc. Rules of engagement are derived from one’s strategies and measures of success from the outcome of one’s tactics. By contrast, antifa has a single strategy—stop the fash—which produces limited tactics—education, doxxing, direct action. Strategy and tactics are so immediate and narrow as to have virtually no direct connection to any stated or implied goal of anarchism. Frankly, I don’t see how one leads to the other except for the usual @ cliché that antifa’s means and ends are identical.
I’m critical of anti-imperialism even while I’m against imperialism. I have criticisms of antifascism and antifa even while I’m against fascism. Similarly, I have problems with most anti-capitalist and anti-colonialist stances even while I’m against capitalism and colonialism. I like to think my political critiques are well-reasoned and not simply a product of my characteristic devil’s advocacy, my knee-jerk contrarianism expressed by Groucho Marx and the Ramones when they sang: “I’m against it!”
The Future of the Past
by Bini Adamczak
On November 7th, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution was celebrated. Wrongly. The revolution has no anniversary because it did not happen in a single day. The storming of the Winter Palace was a military maneuver, hardly bigger than the May Day demonstrations in Berlin. In reality, the Russian Revolution consisted of a multitude of revolutionary waves that ran together and against each other, piling up and overflowing into each other, often breaking or ebbing too soon.
The revolution lived in the mass desertion of the First World War (“peace!”), in the unlawful expropriation of feudal land (“bread!”), and in the formation of workers' councils (“All Power to the Soviets!”). It showed itself in the villages, where farmers refused to pay the church tax, in the brothels, where sex workers went on strike, and in bourgeois dwellings, where domestic workers left their chambers and moved into bright living rooms.
Asked when the Russian Revolution began, many historians tend to say February 23, 1917, or March 8, which according to today's calendar, is International Women’s Day. The demand for the overthrow of the Czar grew out of a demonstration for sexual equality and more bread. What followed was the most emancipatory sexual and gender politics the modern world had seen so far: universal suffrage for all genders was enforced already by the Provisional Government. The early Soviet government also legalized abortion, abolished discrimination against illegitimate children, and turned marriage and divorce into bureaucratic trivialities: a slip of paper was enough.
If today in Putin’s Russia the ban on “propagating homosexuality” is justified by claiming that “homosexual activity” is “non-Russian,” that can only be done by denying history: Russia was one of the first places on earth where Christian “sodomy laws” were annulled. But the queer feminism of the revolution went far beyond that.
Reporting a marriage “against nature”
In 1922, the story of a marriage between a member of the Cheka, the political police of the Bolsheviks, and a postal worker came to public attention. Worried citizens had reported the marriage to the local authorities because it concerned a relation between a cis woman and a trans man or drag king. Thus, to the informers, it was a marriage “against nature.” In 2017 Germany, often seen as very progressive concerning gender and sexual regulations, announced the so-called "transsexual law" (TSG) would be used. This law is a disgusting concoction whose name already represents an anachronism, and that requires people who want to enter their chosen name in the German passport to expose themselves to pathologization by psychologists and the assessment of a judge. With regard to marriage or parenthood, the purpose of the TSG is above all to enforce the cis-gender norm and to make life hell for all those who are not satisfied with it.
How refreshing, however, was the logic that the Soviet court followed almost a century ago. It declared that particular marriage to be lawful, simply because it was concluded by mutual agreement. That's it. The Russian Revolution was obviously ahead not only of its time. But also ours.
Perhaps the Soviet court was so relaxed when handling marriage law because it did not care for the protection of bourgeois marriage anyway. The institution of marriage only remained alive thanks to a tactical calculation: the Bolsheviks wanted to limit the power of the Orthodox Church. Anyhow, in 1917 marriage for all would not have seemed like a particularly progressive slogan. The aim of radicals was not the expansion, but the abolition of this patriarchal institution and all its privileges, in other words—marriage for nobody. This was no accident. Marxist theoreticians such as Friedrich Engels, August Bebel, Clara Zetkin, and Alexandra Kollontai understood the division of the world into the sphere of reproduction and the sphere of production, into family and work, as the material basis of gender difference and patriarchy.
They discovered that the family had already lost influence due to capitalist industrialization, and so they called for completing this process. They wanted to liberate people from the misery of the nuclear family, from all the atrophy, abuse, and suffering it generates. If children were freed from cramped apartments and if care for the elderly and the sick was no longer privatized, if no one had to cook, wash, and clean at home, and if tenderness was no longer limited to romantic relationships, then the family would finally be superfluous. All the work done in its sphere would now be organized in public. In reality, that meant the state. Female-coded work in the family household would be replaced nationwide by male-coded wage work.
Here we see the masculinist limitation of the traditional socialist model of emancipation. Gender equality meant equality with men. This politics of impoverishment is partly responsible for the cruel failure of the first great socialist experiment. At the same time, it indicates where it left long-lasting effects. When, in the 1930s, the “sexual counter-revolution” of Stalinism stopped the dawn of revolution, it made a notable exception. Homosexuality was criminalized again, abortion banned, and the nuclear family promoted as the nucleus of the state. However, the female employment rate continued to rise, and is still higher in Russia today than in the USA.
How feminism is denounced today
Today, given the right-wing backlash, feminism is often denounced as identity politics. This is a gross misunderstanding. Struggles for sexual emancipation are fought on the material basis of society; they are struggles about the division of the world—into rationality and emotionality, anonymity and intimacy, the public sphere and the private. And only here can they be won. This is demonstrated by the anti-feminist backlash in times of crisis. It is not by chance that the new fascism rises again to defend the family. The family promises security and belonging against the indifference, competition and precarity of capitalism.
However, the disempowered family can rarely fulfill the hopes placed in it. For its constant failure, scapegoats are sought—and found in feminists, queers, migrants, refugees. Enlightening educational work will not change much, not anymore than elections will. What creates fear over and over again is the way in which we shape our basic social relations: not the much-discussed racist fear of an imaginary danger or even the little-discussed real fear of the racist danger. What the capitalist economy inevitably creates is a general fear: the fear of not being enough, of being superfluous, of being replaced. “The abolition of fear,” Theodor W. Adorno succinctly put, “is the task of the revolution.”
Translated by Jacob Blumenfeld
Originally published: Oct 25. 2017 http://www.taz.de/100-Jahre-Oktoberrevolution/!5453878/
BINI ADAMCZAK lives in Berlin and is the author of Communism for Kids (MIT Press, 2017), Beziehungsweise Revolution: 1917, 1968 und kommende (Suhrkamp, 2017) Der schönste Tag im Leben des Alexander Berkman (edition assemblage, 2017), and Gestern Morgen (edition assemblage, 2015).
A NIHILIST SPEAKS WITH THE DEVIL: A REJOINDER ON THE 25 THESES ON FASCISM
By Alexander Reid Ross
During the late Soviet days, the bohemian dissident Alexander Dugin used to stay up late with an assembled group of aesthetes in the flat of Yuri Mamleev, situated just a few blocks from the great statue of poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. The circle of friends who trudged down Yuzhinsky Pereulok to Mamleev’s apartment building, ringing six times before gaining entrance and climbing six flights of stairs to his flat, engaged in what they called the “mystical underground.” Exchanging stories on ancient myths, esoteric secrets, and cosmic mysteries, the “Yuzhinsky Circle” embraced alcohol, guitars, and occult fascism. They participated in Satanist ritual, held séances, and hoped to reach a kind of reality-breaching mystical state through which everyday reality might break down and the delirium of fascist worship would bring the arcane from the ether all “Seig Heils” and “Heil Hitlers” (Clover 152-153).
A wild, freewheeling drinker, Dugin mistakenly left a collection of forbidden texts in his own apartment, and when KGB agents found them in a search of his house, he catfished on the Yuzhinsky Circle to save his own hide. Joining a KGB-connected “historical restoration society” (read: ultranationalist political organization) called Pamyat (Memory), Dugin wormed his way to the core of nationalist leadership advancing through the waning Soviet nomenklatura before another Russian fascist pushed him out for his ambition (Clover 161-165). Subsequently, Dugin moved to Western Europe in 1989 and took up with the so-called “European New Right” in Belgium and France, where he learned the networks of European fascism and the parlance of “geopolitics” (Shekhovtsov 37). Also in France was Eduard Limonov, a Russian punk who had lived dissolute in New York City before joining the European New Right in France in guest editing the left-right satirical periodical L’Idiot International (Lee 317-319, 478n74). After the fall of the Soviet Union, Limonov and Dugin returned to the Motherland, met amid red-brown circles, and designed the National Bolshevik Party while disseminating fascist precepts through other party organizations, such as the populist Russian National Liberal Party and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (Atkins 81; Chaudet, Parmentier, Pelopidas, 54; Clover 209-213; Sedgewick 231-232).
Their ideology hinged on geopolitical notions of “large spaces”—a spiritual empire from Lisbon to Kamchatka comprised of ethno-states in which cultural minorities would be Verboten (Bar-On 205). Yet they insisted on other ideas for the spectacle—absolute power in the form of the man, whether Bakunin, Stalin, or Hitler (Shenfield 209). Sweeping, history negating deeds that could remake the past through a stroke of expurgatory violence. “A revolutionary has his own morality: it is the effectiveness and success of his struggle against global despotism,” Dugin would write in Eurasian Mission (158). Insisting that liberalism depends on techniques to the point of gutting meaning from life, Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory insisted, “the liberal discovers his way to [fascism] when he takes one step further and achieves self-affirmation as the unique and ultimate instance of being” (110). The uniqueness of the individual opens to affirmation not unlike what Heidegger discovered in Nietzsche’s later works called “positive nihilism”—the clearing and leveling process of destructive nihilism that opens to a movement toward philosophical recreation (poesis). “Logos has expired and we all will be buried under its ruins unless we make an appeal to chaos and its metaphysical principles, and use them as a basis for something new,” Fourth Political Theory continues. “Perhaps this is ‘the other beginning’ Heidegger spoke of.” (211)
What stirs in the heart of these feverish words is the heart of revolutionary idealism—the deconstruction of the reality produced by the various moving pieces of everyday life through an act of symbolic sabotage that at once reveals the obscure meaning of life and death, the movement of the stars, the arcane. Yet the direction of this motion toward sublime truth is contaminated with ultranationalist presuppositions that manipulate revolution toward the ends of insidious interests. This is why it’s fatal for revolutionaries to ignore fascism in its germ—its summoning and deployment of revolution theory, its assessment of nihilism and usage of avant-garde constructions.
What’s more, I suspect that my fellow American netizens who spend all their time and energy condemning Russian imperialism or Israeli imperialism have ulterior motives. In the case of Russia it’s Cold War anti-communism and in the case of Israel it’s old fashioned anti-semitism. Long associated with rightwing politics, anti-communism and anti-semitism are more and more products of the Left.
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