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8th February
2018
written by ARoamingVagabond

I have updated An Investigation Into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, And The Western Left again and request libcom.org to please update their republication again in accordance.

The following is my reply to the comments of the user teh in the comment sections of libcom.org’s republication of my investigation and I leave it to the admins of libcom to decide what to do with it:

The user teh starts by insinuating that calling the tug of war between Yeltsin and the National Salvation Front is an endorsement of the consolidation of private capital in Russia. What they don’t mention is the nature of that specific alliance of Yeltsin’s opponents, which was made not of genuinely socialist elements of the former Soviet Union, but of reactionary neo-Stalinist Soviet nationalists originating from the nationalist and chauvinist sections of the Soviet establishment allied to fascists and monarchists. Analyzing the composition of this alliance does not in itself constitute an endorsement of Yeltsin’s disastrous neoliberal policies: Yeltsin and his liberal economic policies were bad, and so were the reactionary sections of the opposition to him.

User teh then repeats the same meme which can be traced back to Kemalists, National Bolsheviks and the likes of Thierry Meyssan and William Engdahl by characterizing the PKK as an “ethno-nationalist terrorist group” and later calling it “kurdish separatists whose booj leadership want the class rights denied to them by the coalition of socialist and arab nationalist parties in Damascus “, by which they reveal they don’t know what they are talking about. While the PKK was originally a Kurdish nationalist Marxist-Leninist, and therefore revolutionary authoritarian socialist, organization, it has since moved on to a model of anti-authoritarian socialism called Democratic Confederalism which explicitly rejects nationalism and nation-states and attempts to build socialism from the bottom up within already existing state structures. Within Syria, the PYD, which is the PKK’s Democratic Confederalist sister organization, was created in reaction to the massacre of Kurds in 2004 by the Syrian state’s forces and to the decades long oppression and marginalization of Syrian Kurds by Syria’s Arab nationalist governments through stripping thousands of Kurds of their Syrian citizenship, suppression of their language and culture, and colonization through Arabization settlement policies. Why I support this movement despite a past tactical alliance with the Syrian Ba’ath regime is precisely because the PKK was able to preserve its independence as a movement and did not become subordinate to Ba’ath; teh somehow missed that my post covers active collaboration between certain sections of the Left and fascists.

Then teh criticizes the appeal of Gabriel Levy to support the prisoners of the Bolotnaya Square case as support for the red-brown members of the rally itself. A closer reading of Levy’s afterword clearly shows that he instead calls for resisting state power, whether Ukrainian or Russian, in the larger context of a crackdown by both of these capitalist states on dissent against their reactionary policies. If teh wants Vagabond’s position on the Bolotnaya Square case, then my position is to oppose state power and persecution while also supporting the sections of the Russian Anarchist and Socialist movement who stand for genuine radical, anti-capitalist, anti-nationalist, anti-racist and anti-patriarchal principles and against this red-brown movement. Why I did not talk of Limonov between 1998 and 2014 (the post does mention him in 2001 and 2010) is because my analysis focused on Aleksandr Dugin, and Limonov becomes marginal in this analysis after he and Dugin parted ways. I have however accepted to add more details on Limonov joining the anti-Putin opposition in a more recent update.

teh asserts that I express support for the Orange Revolution and the protests in Russia in 2011 when my post’s mention of them is neutral and instead covers how the fascist network tied to Aleksandr Dugin (a man who once called the Waffen-SS an “intellectual oasis”) reacted to these, which does not constitute an endorsement. Furthermore, the conspiratorial element here refers not to the established Western support, but how the US-supported Orange Revolution (which of course deserves to be criticized from the Left as part of leftist opposition to America’s imperialist foreign policy) was reinterpreted by Dugin, in whose worldview the United States is a center of liberalism which seeks to destroy Russian culture and Eurasian civilization, as a Banderist plot concocted by the West against Russia, something which as researcher Andreas Umland explains, was done by focusing on the role of nationalist Ukrainians from the North American Ukrainian diaspora and local small far-right groups in the Orange Revolution. Similarly, it is one thing to criticize anti-gun laws proposed by American politicians as being racist and against the interests of working class self-defense, it is another thing to interpret them as FEMA Camp and Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theories. Moreover, criticism of the imprisonment of LGBT rights activist Ildar Dadin is not support for the Bolotnaya Square protests, and instead needs to be discussed in relation to the ever shrinking space and limited options within which the Russian opposition is able to operate. Similarly, an article about the imprisonment of Sergey Udaltsov is in itself not support for the Bolotnaya Square protests (if teh missed it, my post is very critical of the Left Front and ROT Front which Udaltsov participates in), and needs to be discussed in the context of opposition to state repression by the Russian state as not being an endorsement of every one of its opponents in the same way as opposition of the American state’s domestic repressive policies is not active support for every one of its opponents.

It seems that teh loves making stretches and loaded assertions and putting words in their opponent’s mouth to build a strawman they can then attack, otherwise they wouldn’t be repeatedly insinuating that I am a liberal or support liberals when it is quickly verifiable that I am an Anarchist anti-capitalist, and thus opposed to liberalism. My critique in this specific post instead comes from within the Left and I am for once critiquing a movement I consider myself part of and am dissatisfied and disillusioned with (as compared to my otherwise regular criticisms of liberals and their alliances with fascists on platforms other than this blog and which I will not mention because of obvious security reasons). But teh can stop worrying as I decided to add some updates and corrections for the sake of clarity so teh can know where I stand on this issue.

teh calling Russia, China and Iran the “top three strategic adversaries” is strange in itself. Russia, Iran and China may have foreign policy differences with the West, but they otherwise cooperate on various issues which include participating in the imperialist plunder of Iraq after George W. Bush’s invasion, supporting sanctions on North Korea, and cooperation against Da’esh. teh‘s following loaded question is no more disingenuous: the author of this investigation, me, is an Anarchist who adheres to anti-capitalist, anti-statist and anti-imperialist principles, and is opposed to any sort of action or “strategy” by Washington, Paris and London no matter what. This is a point which teh seems to fail to grasp since for them criticism of the Russian, Iranian and Chinese states as allied to fascist movements is equated with support for Western policies against these states, a position which appears nowhere in my post. My position on opposing the American war machine and opposing colonialism instead is to build intersectional, anti-war, radical movements in the West which work and form coalitions with the socialist, Anarchist, Communist, feminist, anti-war and similar progressive and radical forces internationally. I speak of the principles of Karl Liebknicht when he declared that “This enemy at home must be fought… in a political struggle, cooperating with the proletariat of other countries whose struggle is against their own imperialists“. I speak of solidarity on a civilian-to-civilian, proletarian-to-proletarian, socialist-to-socialist basis bypassing the geopolitical rivalries and alliances of the ruling parties, bourgeoisies and bureaucracies of a world which presently has more in common with that of the inter-imperialist rivalry of the beginning of the First World War than with the situation of the Cold War.

teh then characterizes my position on the situation in Syria as “supporting political islam/kurdish separatists whose booj leadership want the class rights denied to them by the coalition of socialist and arab nationalist parties in Damascus”. As analyzed by Joseph Daher, a Syrian revolutionary Marxist belonging to the Syrian Trotskyist group, the Revolutionary Left Current, all the socialist parties included within it were threatened with persecution unless they joined this ruling coalition and were allowed to operate under the monitoring and approval of the same Ba’ath Party which controls this coalition. This same Ba’ath Party undid the socialist policies of Salah Jadid after Hafez al-Assad came to power, and under Bashar al-Assad it implemented extensive neoliberal policies which allowed a bourgeoisie close to the al-Assad family to control the private capital of Syria, and which was accompanied by a slow detente between Damascus and Washington. What we have then in Damascus is a coalition of nominally socialist parties which have been tethered by a capitalist, kleptocratic party under the control of the Syrian national bourgeoisie.

The accusation of “supporting political Islam”, which is mentioned nowhere in my post, contradicts that the only factions I support in the Syrian context are Rojava, the revolutionary socialist project which teh ignorantly mischaracterizes as “Kurdish bourgeois separatists”, and the Local Coordination Committees (LCCs). As Palestinian Anarchist Budour Hassan and Syrian Anarchist Leila al-Shami have extensively explained, the LCCs were formed based on a template by Omar Aziz, an Anarchist who was previously a member of the Syrian Democratic People’s Party, formerly the Syrian Communist Party (Political Bureau), a more radical splinter of the Syrian Communist Party which opposed the Syrian Communist Party’s decision to join the Ba’ath-controlled coalition and its subsequent support for Assad’s entry in the Lebanese Civil War on the side of right-wing forces. Among Aziz’s comrades is Faiek al-Meer, another Syrian communist who once belonged to the Syrian Communist Party (Political Bureau) imprisoned by the Ba’ath regime for opposing its authoritarianism. Other participants of the Syrian revolutionary movement included Marxist Jihad Asa’ad Muhammad, and the Syrian Revolutionary Youth, a radical socialist movement which stood in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and also faced persecution from the regime. Similarly, Razan Zaitouneh was a radical who participated in the LCCs and the prime suspect behind her disappearance is Zahran Alloush, the leader of the Saudi-supported Jaysh al-Islam. Far from being tools of American imperialism, these individuals are Syrian radical leftists who have been involved in the socialist movement in Syria for decades and instead been principled in their opposition to all imperialisms, against the authoritarian regime in Damascus and against the crimes of the armed opposition. Even the US position on Syria is different from what teh claims, as the American goal has not been to seek “regime change” but to instead find an arrangement between the bourgeois, US-backed, section of the opposition and the Ba’ath government for a transition of power which would preserve the capitalist regime which has been prevailing in Syria under the Assad dynasty, which goes against the aims of the grassroots opposition. The United States’ military intervention in Syria itself has, since the rise of Da’esh, been concerned primarily with fighting against Da’esh: the limited program to train rebels was explicitly aimed at fighting against Da’esh (which these rebels labeled as Obama’s “de facto alliance with Assad”), the cooperation with Rojava is aimed at explicitly fighting against Da’esh, the military and financial support to Iraq (which supports Bashar al-Assad) is aimed at fighting against Da’esh and includes support for militias associated with the Popular Mobilization Units, the same Iraqi state-supported militias who support Bashar al-Assad and participated in the Ba’ath regime’s capture of Aleppo. As early as 2013, after the Ghouta chemical attacks, Obama decided to ask Congress permission before taking any military move on Syria (something he didn’t do for Libya) and accepted the chemical deal brokered with Russia through Israel.

And on Ukraine: the baseless accusation that I “support the regional center-right parties”. Where do I express support for any of these parties? The only sections I give positive mention to are the Anarchists: more specifically the Autonomous Workers Union, the same organization which condemns the Kiev government’s alliance with fascists. A quick look at the Autonomous Workers Union’s website reveals that it is a revolutionary syndicalist organization composed of Anarchists and Libertarian Marxists which has existed from before the crisis in Ukraine erupted 2014 and did not participate in the Euromaidan precisely because it was dominated by non-leftist forces. It instead advocated for participation in demonstrations against the curtailing of civil rights by Yanukovych’s government while discouraging participation in the Euromaidan itself and presently positions itself against the Poroshenko government, the same one which came to power after the Euromaidan and is supported by the United States. Far from being a movement advocating international republicalism, it advocates class warfare, and its support for a tactical alliance with liberals (where the center-right parties do not find mention) is largely due to how powerless the Autonomous Workers Union presently is.

Yet teh simply dismisses these socialists whose struggles have been extensively documented by other socialists in favor of the same ridiculous meme of “US-backed revolutions” (never mind that the Euromaidan was not even a revolution, but a protest movement of a largely heterogeneous nature) found on Russian state media and in conspiracist circles and grotesquely compares the existence of radicals in Syria who oppose campism to US Cold War propaganda. From the onset, teh legitimized the conspiracy theories of LaRouchites, National Bolsheviks and Holocaust deniers, and now teh dismisses Syrian and Ukrainian Communists, Socialists and Anarchists who have been part of Syria’s and Ukraine’s socialist movement, have studied the political economies and social realities of Syria and Ukraine, and have a materialist analysis of the crises unfolding there. teh‘s excuse for dismissing Syrian socialists is that one of them, Joseph Daher from a Trotskyist group operating in Syria, republished on Open Democracy a Marxist analysis of Syria and its revolutionary movement originally written on his own website. Strange politics are these, where teh dismisses leftists involved in radical leftist anti-imperialist movements as imperialist propaganda but legitimizes fascist conspiracy theorists, and treats a non-campist position as inherently pro-American. It appears that teh has already made their mind that everyone who is on the side of neither the United States nor Russia in Ukraine and Syria is deemed imperialist propaganda. teh‘s attitude effectively reflects the very same political isolation of the American political scene they later decry: the very Syrian and Ukrainian voices who have been vocal opponents of American imperialism are ignored, dismissed and branded as propaganda through a gross, almost conspiratorial, Cold War analogy, and instead performs the American Left’s perennial attitude of existing solely in opposition to the American establishment and in relation to the internal American political scene only.

teh is equally ignorant about anti-fascism. For teh, it is reduced to Ukrainian Anarchists advocating tactical alliances (and not ideological ones) with liberals against fascists and the USSR entering WWII on the side of the Allies and not the grassroots struggle Communists and Anarchists have been waging against fascists from the interwar period until now, and teh‘s only argument against anti-fascism is that WWII legitimized the capitalist charade that is liberal democracy. To tactical alliances with liberals against the rise of National Bolsheviks, as flawed as these alliances might be, teh seems to prefer the rise of genocidal authoritarian, anti-Communist forces whose goals are more destructive and oppressive than the inequalities and exploitation of liberal democracy and capitalism, as bad as they are. Then teh shows their dangerous ignorance of what fascism constitutes and even goes so far as to present a description (one which disturbingly sounds as though teh might be sympathetic to fascism) of it as “an elite minority trying to stop mob rule when the normal functions of state have failed to do so”. Fascists, in the past as today, are opposed to communism, socialism and liberalism and seek to overthrow these systems and replace them by extremely reactionary, oppressive and authoritarian hierarchical societies, but Mussolini’s Blackshirts and Hitler’s Brownshirts appear to never have existed in teh‘s reality. More dangerously, teh calls fascists “the mob led by the orient and phantoms of obscure far-right figures from wikipedia which never amounted to any semblance of mass influence in their lifetimes or after” and later repeats another loaded assertion by saying “It seems that regime change is not on the agenda but protecting private capital against its adversaries however token and pathetically marginal like “third positionists” is”. To call fascists “marginal” after their movement fueled the rise of Donald Trump, who is now engaging in ethnic cleansing and expanding Obama’s wars, and after the massive rally of all sorts of fascists in Charlottesville last year, is naively or disingenuously dangerous. To speak of warning of fascist infiltration of the Left as “protecting private capital” is either ignorance or malice; for teh, the only enemy of fascism is private capital and not the people killed by fascists and the minorities already oppressed by capital, racism, sexism, heteronormativity and ableism and the would be victims of American imperialism, which is already bad as it presently is, under a hyper-militarist regime embracing white nationalism. Moreover, it is dangerous when the American state collaborates with this rising fascist movement, and the so-called “Alt-Right” is seeking to expand its ranks by appealing to leftists, a strategy which the European far-right is unfortunately exploiting successfully even as fascism is experiencing a worrying and murderous resurgence in Italy. My goal, as a radical leftist (something which teh seems to purposely ignore so as to create the strawman of a liberal as this post’s author) is to support a Left for which anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-fascism and anti-statism are all complementary to each other instead of being at odds with each other. Of course, despite their sarcasm, the first part of teh‘s assertion that “regime change is not on the agenda” is correct, as the goal of the United States has been regime preservation and replacing figureheads, while the same socialists whom teh dismisses as “propaganda” have instead advocated for toppling the current state.

Then teh‘s assessment of CounterPunch of as “explicitly run by Alexander Cockburn on the platform of forming alliances between the traditionalist right and the left against the US mainstream”, which seems to suggest that they consider CounterPunch being a vehicle of crypto-fascism a desirable thing – at the same time, they do not seem to understand that my problem is precisely that CounterPunch published the overwhelming majority of the individuals mentioned in my investigation on red-brown politics. And teh simultaneously misses the problem of CounterPunch after Alexander Cockburn: in an impassioned defense of CounterPunch after the Washington Post’s publication of a list of outlets deemed as “Russian propaganda”, CounterPunch‘s newer editor Joshua Frank espouses a line clearly more principled than Cockburn’s – and precisely why does this stance not reflect itself in what CounterPunch publishes and why it still hosts the writings of the fascists, conspiracy theorists and other reactionaries, including those published under Cockburn, is the problem. Now, why I quoted Reid Ross is because he is himself does not associate with fascists, and is a principled scholar of fascism and anti-fascism with valuable insights which on the issue which I didn’t find anywhere else and who has recently written an article at the Southern Poverty Law Center warning of the danger of fascist infiltration of the Left through pro-Putin media. Similarly, unlike the majority of the other individuals in my post, he does not write with the purpose of spreading fascist or conspiracist material, but on the contrary to fight against such material. Of course I would otherwise prefer it if the expert I quote does not work with CounterPunch and its associated outfits such as AK Press which publishes Paul Craig Roberts (who has already moved from paleoconservatism to white nationalism, and rails about “white genocide” and “Jewish control” of the US).

Now, why should the Stalinoid/Marcyite WWP and the PSL be shunned, apart from their obvious history of genocide denial and support for atrocities, lies in their alliance with fascists. The difference with Ross and the Marcyite parties is that Ross, while unfortunately published by CounterPunch, does not himself collaborate with fascists while the Marcyite parties are active collaborators of Lyndon LaRouche and Duginists. teh again missed that my post covers active collaboration between certain sections of the Left and fascists.

teh then makes another loaded assertion by claiming that I differentiate between “bad right wingers who don’t like Anglo power” (strange name teh gives for outright fascists, Nazis and white nationalists) and right-wing supporters of US power, who are to be appeased as the war accelerates. teh‘s assertion that I am in favor of a US war in Syria is ridiculous: I, as well as all Syrian leftists I have linked to oppose any sort of outside intervention in Syria, whether by the United States, or by Turkey, Iran and the Gulf States fueling of sectarianism in Syria, or by Russia and its support for Bashar al-Assad by bombing civilians. Again teh misses the point of this investigation: while the Left already rightly opposes American imperialism and the liberals and neoconservatives who promote it, it needs to fight back against infiltration, manipulation and co-optation from fascists. teh‘s ignorance about anti-fascism becomes obvious again when they ascribe to anti-fascism the notion that it derives from a toxicity particular to the isolation of American politics, ignoring the international history of grassroots leftist anti-fascism and the history of how leftists working with reactionaries always proved to be disastrous for the former in majority of cases. The Right in all its forms is the enemy of the Left, but teh seems to prefer downplaying the danger of Nazis in a time of rising fascism, and allowing them to infiltrate the Left by sanitizing them or ignoring them.

teh again shows their ignorance by asserting that all movements in Palestine, Bahrain, India and Venezuela are in league with the far-right and do not exist without the support of Russia, China and Iran. For teh, the socialist, self-organizing and self-sustaining grassroots resistance movements in the Third World supported through internationalist initiatives and which were never co-opted by the Marxist-Leninist and Maoist militias supported by Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China all constitute a mirage and no independent radicals and progressives exist there in this Western social chauvinist worldview. And again another loaded assertion: according to teh, the only choice is between the United States and its geopolitical rivals, and no internationalism exists. A socialist movement which stands in solidarity with Chinese workers and minorities against the state capitalism of the “Communist” Party of China but at the same time stands against the American state’s and bourgeoisie’s imperialist ventures can’t exist according to teh. Similarly according to teh, solidarity on an internationalist, civilian to civilian, basis with the victims of the Indian state is impossible.

It seems that teh did not even realize they were commenting on a post written by an anti-authoritarian, anti-statist and anti-capitalist author before they created a strawman according to which any view dissenting from their misinformed campism, which echoes the propaganda of the Russian state or the armchair leftists of Brooklyn, is deemed a liberal. Strange leftism is it, where teh prefers legitimizing the conspiracies of National Bolsheviks, LaRouchites and Holocaust deniers, and the spirit of Marx’s “Workers of the World, Unite!” and Liebknecht’s “Everything for the International Proletariat,… and Downtrodden Humanity” is inherently interpreted by them as support for an imperialist bourgeoisie, and socialists are branded as imperial propaganda simply because they happen to coincidentally share an enemy with one imperialist power.

With this “anti-imperialism”, were Aleksandr Dugin to succeed in making his dream of a “red and unbound fascism” a reality or were the likes of Richard Spencer and Matthew Heimbach obtain power, it seems teh would remain in denial by keeping on calling them marginal or simply refuse to fight against fascism on the pretext that it might protect private capital and liberal democracy. Strange leftism indeed, where teh puts anti-fascism in opposition to anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism.

But then again, as suggests teh‘s worldview in this pathetic attempt at grasping at straws which dovetails with that of National Bolsheviks’ geopolitical outlook, their willingness to legitimize LaRouchite conspiracy theorists while writing away leftists as propaganda because they wrote for Open Democracy (Soros conspiracy theory much?), their disingenuous explanation of what fascism is coupled with their sympathetic tone on early 20th century fascism, their near-Strasserist view that opposition to fascism serves the interests of private capital, their use of scare quotes when labeling Rodina as fascist (even as it once included Aleksandr Dugin and is now forming alliances with various European fascist parties), their downplaying of the rise of fascism, and their support for Alexander Cockburn’s attempts at forming a querfront, maybe teh themselves might be a crypto-fascist.

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