Why is it a fallacy to believe that anything contrary to “leftism” as we’ve come to know it is synonymous with fascism? As someone who’s socially progressive, I’ve been able to realize this idea is wrong after internalizing a simple bit of economic analysis: that fascism is a practice, a practice where the capitalist class employs warfare methods to try to save the capitalist mode of property relations. This is a definition that encompasses the Democratic Party, with its efforts to enforce a pro-imperialist ideology by censoring, persecuting, and smearing as “foreign agents” all who oppose this ideology. When you understand what fascism truly is, and why the Democrats embody it, it becomes apparent how false the view is that only the Trump side represents fascism.
Such a notion is so dangerously mistaken that it ironically has the effect of aiding fascism, far more than hurting fascism. This is because insofar as the Trumpist Bonapartists are fascist—and indeed they often utilize fascistic rhetoric and tactics—they’re not the primary fascist threat. The primary fascist threat comes from the Democratic Party and its “leftist” fronts, which are backed by monopoly finance capital. The MAGA side represents industrial capital, which is the less powerful wing of capital. The only way industrial capital could become the primary anti-revolutionary force is if finance capital were to lose control over a large amount of the continent, perhaps via a civil war which the Bonapartists win. Even if the Republicans win the 2024 election, finance capital will still be the dominant force.
We saw this hidden power of finance capital under the Trump presidency; that was when finance capital used its agents within the intelligence community, the majority of the major media outlets, and the increasingly McCarthyist Democratic Party to gain a definitive amount of leverage over discourse and government. These forces successfully pressured the Trump White House into adopting a foreign policy which was even more anti-Russian than Obama’s. And even more importantly, they established a culture among liberals and “leftists” that’s compatible with the Democratic Party’s goals within the new cold war.
This made it possible for Biden to sell the Ukraine psyop, at least long enough that he could make aid to Ukraine into a normalized policy. (The psyop hasn’t worked in the long term, since at this point a majority of Americans oppose continuing the aid.) The amount of left-leaning Americans who support war has gone up during the last decade, creating a core social base for the new cold war which finance capital can pretend represents the majority of the country.
The error that many antiwar leftists make—an error which could prove fatal unless we sufficiently remedy it—is believing that all the non-leftists who oppose the Democratic Party’s foreign policy are fascists. Even if a leftist recognizes that the agenda of the Democrats is fascist, they often still haven’t abandoned the dogmatic notion that all of the people opposing NATO from a non-leftist place are essentially Nazis. To combat finance capital, we must combat this narrative, and unite all the anti-NATO forces which are compatible; many more anti-NATO people are capable of working with each other than you’d think if you only listened to the rhetoric from within the insular “left” circles.
The view of our conditions which gets put forth within these circles is that only a minority of Americans are revolution-compatible; even if someone says they believe in winning the majority, they aren’t truly advancing such a practice as long as they act like every right-leaning antiwar individual is a fascist. The reality is that if it weren’t for these individuals, we wouldn’t now be in a place where most Americans oppose Ukraine aid; the empire’s psyop machine is strong enough that even after a year-and-a-half of growing war fatigue, only a little more than half the country’s people are no longer pro-Ukraine. The recently expanded demographic of antiwar conservatives is a crucial reason why finance capital has already lost too much popular support to be able to continue its proxy war in a sustainable fashion.
If not for the country’s recent political realignment—in which the members of the party of Bush have become the main antiwar demographic, while those associated with the “left-wing” have become the main pro-war demographic—the new cold warriors would be in a much stronger place. Not strong enough to win the Ukraine war, or to reverse the transition towards multipolarity, but strong enough to delay the emergence of a serious domestic revolutionary force.
The advocates of leftist insularity might say “so what, this still doesn’t mean we should try to build a relationship with those kinds of Americans.” That’s exactly what it means, though; Marxists can’t simply ignore a societal development of this magnitude. That the mass backlash towards NATO hasn’t come about due to the actions of the “left” shows our proletarian revolution also isn’t exclusively going to come from the “left.”
It’s not going to exclusively come from the right either, because no ideological force that’s primarily focused on the culture war is capable of leading a revolution. It’s going to come from whoever proves to be serious about the cause; who’s willing to participate in the actions required for defeating the state. There are plenty of conservatives who are never going to stop obsessing over culture war issues; but there are many others who will either come to make anti-imperialism their primary focus, or become Marxists. Many Americans who are Marxists today started out as conservatives or libertarians, so we know this is already a trend.
The antiwar conservatives aren’t the sole demographic we should focus on; the most politically important types of Americans are ultimately those on neither the right nor the left, but rather the larger category of people who are presently apolitical. To make this alienated majority more political; to turn their recently growing skepticism towards the war machine into a coherent mass revolutionary consciousness; we need to build alliances between the different ideological elements of the anti-imperialist movement. It’s only on this basis, in which the forces that oppose NATO join to bring our shared ideas to the people, that we can unite an even broader range of the people behind anti-imperialism and socialism.
This is what the fascists of finance capital seek to prevent above all else. They don’t want Marxists to recognize how the majority of the people, by coming to oppose Ukraine aid, have in effect become impediments to fascism. They want us to get derangement syndrome about Trump and his supporters; believe our primary focus should be on fighting the culture war; and act like it’s not important to counter the imperialism-compatible elements within the left. That’s the mode of thinking and practice which comes from the ideas the Russiagate psyop has instilled within liberals and leftists.
They want to convince you that as soon as you disobey the Democratic Party, or the “left” orgs that tail the Democrats on the culture war, you become an enabler of fascism. Should you defy these forces in a Marxist way, the opposite will be true; the primary source of fascism at this stage is finance capital and its political agents, therefore the most substantial way to fight fascism is by combating finance capital.
By Rainer Shea
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