The Worker

The American “left” supporting Ukrainian Nazis has proven social fascist theory right

If the social democrats were willing to contribute to the anti-imperialist struggle, like libertarians are, we Marxists would gladly join with them in the anti-NATO united front, like we have with the libertarians. But the social democrats haven’t chosen that righteous path, and neither have most of the other non-Marxist elements of the American left. That includes the “red libs” who claim to represent Marxism-Leninism, yet have reacted to the recent escalations in the anti-imperialist struggle by denouncing Russia’s special operation, attacking the anti-NATO united front, or both.

The indications that we would get to a point this bad, where the default stance on the American left is to support the Ukrainian Nazis our government is aiding, became apparent when Sanders began ideologically leading the left towards backing the hybrid against Russia. This betrayal was foreshadowed when Sanders endorsed Clinton, as well as when he sided with pro-imperialist policies throughout the majority of his career; but for me and for many others, it became clear that Sanders was not truly a counter-hegemonic force when he promoted Russiagate. 

When he decided to participate in the warmongering campaign started by the Clinton campaign, MSNBC, the intelligence agencies, and the other narrative managers of the new cold war, I could no longer rationalize his proximity to the Democratic Party as a necessary strategic move. I had to recognize that I was wrong to view such a decision as acceptable in the first place, and developed beyond my infantile social democratic ideas. That’s how I came to Marxism-Leninism. That, along with my studying how ruling class propaganda misleads us into viewing certain governments as evil. 

The essential part of my anti-imperialist education was when I learned to notice atrocity propaganda not just about the socialist countries, but about any given country our government wants us to hate. I became trained to recognize the lies about Russia before I applied the same analytical framework to China, or to north Korea. So when the Ukraine conflict escalated last year, I could easily protect myself from the psyops designed to portray the Russian side as a moral equivalent to the Ukrainian side. It was always obvious to properly informed minds that the Bucha massacre, for one example of these kinds of deceptions, was a Ukrainian false flag. 

There’s no comparing Russia’s war tactics to those of the Ukrainians; whereas Russia takes extraordinary care to adhere to the Geneva conventions in its combat, Ukraine tortures its prisoners and has no regard for civilian lives. To act like there’s no right side in this war is to minimize the crimes of a modern fascist state; Ukraine is the one that began an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Russian speakers, and the one whose government has thereby forfeited its right to exist. Russia had an ethical imperative to rescue the communities the fascist coup regime threatened; for that reason, every communist party in the world that hasn’t sold out to imperialism is narratively backing Russia in this conflict.

The explanation for why an element of the left exists that’s pro-Ukraine, or that takes the “neither NATO nor Russia” stance, is the theory of social fascism. Social fascism is the idea the Communist International put forth to make sense of why the reformists on the left had decided to collaborate with the forces of reaction, rather than make an alliance with the revolutionaries. Their conclusion, this being that social democracy is the “moderate wing” of fascism due to its willingness to betray the revolutionary struggle, has been contested over the decades. With the American and European left’s reaction to the Ukraine war, though, it’s become more apparent than ever that the social democrats and the other left anti-Marxists are ultimately on fascism’s side.

What other conclusion can we come to upon hearing Sanders say that he essentially supports what Biden is doing in Ukraine? Or upon seeing AOC vote to fund the Ukrainian Nazi regime, then have to be publicly confronted in order to change her stance? AOC’s apology following the protests wasn’t part of a learning process where she’ll now start to gain anti-imperialist principles, it was only a way to placate those raising these concerns. Besides, the damage was done with that vote, which ensured that the Ukraine aid effort would continue throughout the rest of the time Ukraine remains relevant. When the empire shifts towards its next targets, those being Serbia, all of the BRICs countries, and geopolitical “swing states” like Indonesia and South Africa, AOC and the other “progressive” politicians will assist in the new hybrid warfare efforts. As a consequence of their refusal to challenge the war machine, at worst a third world war will happen, and at best Washington’s ability to inflict global violence will be prolonged.

The crimes the “democratic socialists” have committed against the anti-imperialist cause are what’s taught many developing radicals not to trust any Democrat leaders simply because they call themselves “socialists.” The next step these radicals must take is to learn that we also can’t trust orgs like PSL just because they posit themselves as alternatives to the social fascists. That PSL, FRSO, and CPUSA have disavowed Russia’s action in Ukraine shows they’re not truly willing to challenge social fascism; to do so requires building a version of the socialist movement that’s serious in its anti-imperialism. 

To combat U.S. hegemony, we need to narratively assist the global players that are challenging Washington; to praise Russia’s act of defiance against the hegemon is to impact the conflict in a way which harms the USA, because Russia will need to win the information war in order to win the physical war. To disavow the special operation is to narratively assist NATO, because acting like Russia was in the wrong to intervene provides the pro-NATO side with an argument for continuing the aid effort.

These established “left” orgs have also shown themselves to not be reliable anti-imperialist allies by attacking the united front against NATO. They’ve targeted the pro-Russian orgs, not even trying to refute their geopolitical analysis so much as try to discredit their strategy; even though orgs like PCUSA, ASU, and CPI have managed to bring anti-imperialist ideas into the mainstream via their collaboration with non-leftist anti-NATO entities like the Libertarian Party, the left sectarians have portrayed this coalition as an opportunistic one. 

If it’s opportunistic, why have its members all willingly put themselves at far greater risk of being targeted by the corporate media and the state than they would be if they were to work alone? Joining up with one another is how they’ve become a substantial threat towards our ruling institutions; to reject this united front strategy is to compromise with the empire.

The mentality of the red libs, in which one becomes willing to handicap their own ability to be counter-hegemonic for the sake of keeping favor within “left” circles, is the same mentality that lets the social democrats rationalize collaborating with the imperialists. The difference is that the social democrats have state power, and therefore are capable of directly contributing to the empire’s crimes. The nominal Marxists who pander to liberal sensibilities out of political expediency are who enable these social fascists. To gain victory for the working class, we have to construct an alternative to both these elements of the imperialism-compatible left.

By Rainer Shea

The American “left” supporting Ukrainian Nazis has proven social fascist theory right (

Scroll to Top