We’re in between when Biden’s Ukraine proxy war created mass backlash which greatly invigorated the anti-NATO movement; and when we’ll see the full extent of the state’s efforts to destroy this movement. We’re only waiting for when the dominant, pro-NATO side of our ruling class tries to manufacture a pretext for passing the RESTRICT act; or when it bypasses the optional step of enacting RESTRICT, so that it can faster raid and indict numerous anti-imperialist orgs.
The threat that our liberal fascist state represents towards anti-imperialists involves not just state persecution, but also vigilante violence, coming from the state’s counter-gangs on both the far-right and the far “left.” The fed-controlled elements of “antifa” that consider support for Russia to be “fascist” can be as willing to physically target anti-imperialists as neo-Nazis. That the Nazi gang which appeared in a viral video this week has endorsed Biden due to his help for Ukraine shows these anti-revolutionary forces, from the extreme right to the far “left” to the center, share an interest in crushing our movement.
That we’re already living under a liberal version of fascism; and that capitalism’s crises are prompting the ruling class to increasingly use liberal fascism’s tools for attacking revolutionaries; shows there’s a great need to fortify our organizations. If we want our democratic and dissenting forces to survive this decade, and overcome these attacks so the U.S. empire can be defeated from within, we need to take this threat seriously. We need to recognize its profound urgency, and embrace a mode of operating that can let us overcome liberal fascism’s schemes.
The reality which many U.S. Marxists need to confront is that the way they’ve so far been operating is not sufficient for accomplishing this task. That the default “left” activism model in modern America, where radicals exclusively try to appeal to those who are judged to be acceptable allies within their own insular circles, cannot bring us through this dire time.
This activism model entails isolating oneself from all the formations that are most serious about fighting the globe’s primary contradiction (that being U.S. hegemony) in order to keep favor among the liberals and radical liberals who lack that seriousness. Primarily investing in allies that by their nature don’t care about what we need to do in order to advance the class struggle; and largely aren’t interested in coming to a better stance; makes you vulnerable to the state’s anti-revolutionary campaign.
The role of the leftists who share the Democratic Party’s hostility towards Russia, or towards any Democrat-independent anti-imperialist organizing effort, is to reinforce Democrat influence within radical spaces. And when you seek to accommodate this non-committal type of radicalism, you inevitably find yourself advancing positions that help liberal fascism.
An example of this is PSL leader Brian Becker, who said in response to January 6th: “I think the most important failure of the Democratic party was the way they did not encourage the prosecution of the chief architects of the violent assault, meaning they did not file charges against Trump and his entourage who clearly planned this event. They were the ones who summoned tens of thousands of Trump supporters to Washington in the middle of the work week.” The problem with taking this position is that under our present conditions, the effect it has is to narratively assist the state in its war against dissent, which includes socialists. We’re not living under a socialist state, where calling for greater retaliation against disruptive political actors can more likely have a positive impact on the socialist cause. Instead, all this does is strengthen our enemies.
As Caleb Maupin concluded, Becker’s saying this was nothing more than a retread of typical liberal punditry, one that reaffirmed the narratives the state uses to justify attacking communists:
One almost wonders if Becker is hoping his “Socialist Program” podcast will be picked up by MSNBC. The notion that the Democratic Party which is embracing tech censorship, cancel culture, sweeping “domestic terrorism” legislation, and all kinds of political repression in the aftermath of the Capitol Riot is somehow not going far enough is a bizarre thing for any supposed Marxist revolutionary to say…the Cold War is long over and the labor aristocracy is being eroded. Living standards are falling. The Center for Political Innovation seeks to reorient socialism away from the New Left’s distortions. Demands for jobs, housing, and schools have potential to take hold among the broad masses, as do anti-imperialist sentiments. However, in order to reach the broad masses, a solid break with the toxic, middle class, pro-imperialist “woke” left and its liberal cultural atmosphere must take place.
The groups that make “woke” rhetoric central to their practice deserve this ridicule not because it’s intrinsically wrong to focus on the ways particular social groups are oppressed by capitalism—there are entire Black communist orgs that exist for this purpose—but because the types of groups Maupin refers to use this rhetoric as a cover for their opportunism.
The word “woke” is used by some anti-imperialists today as a descriptor for liberal tailists because unlike with its original usage (where Black radicals described those who are “awake” to systemic oppression), now it can be applied to activists who seek merely to sloganeer. It now often refers to leftists who desire not to figure out what we practically need to do to advance the class struggle, but to gain favor within “left” spaces simply for the sake of doing so. The imperialism-compatible leftists have appropriated the style of genuinely revolutionary people from the past, like 20th century Black radicals, to distract from how they’re in practice assisting the Democratic Party.
Partly because he seeks to put forth a clear alternative to this shallow left sloganeering, Maupin promotes patriotic socialism, which not everyone else in the anti-imperialist movement embraces. (For instance, the CPI’s collaborators in Uhuru aren’t patriotic socialists). As Uhuru has decided, though, one doesn’t have to come to all the conclusions he has in order to recognize that his ideas hold value. He’s correct that there are nominally “Marxist” actors who reject all opportunities for building an anti-imperialist movement outside the insular “left” spaces, and who rationalize this by claiming it’s what we need to do to be principled on social and racial justice.
When you start working within any part of the anti-imperialist movement which isn’t hindered by ultra-leftism; and come to understand how important it is to have a broad array of allies amid the state’s attacks; such sectarian arguments feel ridiculously petty and foolish. When Uhuru was indicted this year, the CPI put out a statement of solidarity with the victims of the persecution campaign, and Uhuru articulated gratitude towards CPI for this. Uhuru and CPI have continued to have a good relationship since then, to the disappointment of the ultras who want our movement to remain fractured.
Over a year ago, after a series of opportunistic actors tried to destroy CPI by mixing truth with lies in their reports on the org, the sectarians who seek to sow disunity were boasting about a supposedly ultimate falling out between CPI and Uhuru. Even if a rift did happen at some point, the two orgs are certainly friendly now. These days, we never hear about Uhuru from the anti-solidarity leftists, because Uhuru’s embrace of the anti-NATO coalition has hurt their argument for embracing a sectarian practice.
They’ve found out that Uhuru doesn’t support their ultra-left project to keep the communist movement divided. And for that reason, we may see them start actively undermining solidarity with Uhuru out of sheer spite. Prior to my full break from those within these insular circles, I already started to see them privately complaining about Uhuru’s working with CPI; which is a criticism that less and less communists are seeing as valid.
We’re at a stage in the escalation of our geopolitical and class struggle where, among the anti-imperialist individuals and orgs which ought to be compatible, the old disputes between them stopped being relevant some time ago. The conditions have mandated that we come together against the liberal fascist state, so that’s what we’ve done, and what we’ll continue to do.
The next step is to prepare to take our cadres underground, and to get our cadres trained and equipped to be able to physically survive whatever attacks the fascists next direct toward us. The logical conclusion of liberal fascism’s recent activities is a liberal totalitarianism; one where the state has bypassed the law to be able to murder those judged as “threats,” like it already does in its drone wars abroad. Extremely destabilizing events are coming. We must use what time we have until then wisely, and keep building the network among those who are serious about combating our ruling institutions.
By Rainer Shea
If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pressures amid late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.
To keep this platform effective amid the censorship against dissenting voices, join my Telegram channel.
To my Substack subscribers: if you want to use Substack’s pledge feature to give me a donation, instead send your donation to my PayPal link. Substack uses the payment service Stripe, which requires users to provide sensitive info that’s not safe for me to give the company.