[Marxism] Fwd: Putin, the War in Ukraine, and the Far Right | New Politics

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jul 26 13:15:49 MDT 2015

Putin’s Russia is an imperialist state dominated by a capitalist 
oligarchy that controls the state and that has developed a bellicose 
attitude toward its neighbors, whom the oligarchy reproaches for having 
taken advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union in order to escape 
its century-long tutelage. Embracing an ultra-nationalist ideology that 
gives a good deal of space to racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia, its 
authoritarian neoconservatism has become a veritable standard for the 
European extreme right. For those of us dedicated to fighting Western 
imperialism, be it American or European, an understanding of the Russian 
state’s imperial nature, of its expansionist tendencies, and of the real 
nature of its contest with the West is essential.

In Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation is supported by important 
sectors of the extreme right such as Attack, in Bulgaria; the National 
Party, in Slovakia; Jobbik, in Hungary; the National Democratic Party, 
in Germany; the National Front, in France; the Freedom Party of Austria; 
the Northern League and the New Force, in Italy; the Flemish Interest 
Party, in Belgium; and so on.1 On March 22, 2015, at the Holiday Inn in 
Saint Petersburg, the Russia Patriot Party organized an International 
Conservative Forum involving a large number of these movements, with 
participation from Eastern Ukraine military leaders linked to fascist 
groups. That network will strengthen the connection among European 
nationalists who support the Russian Federation’s foreign policy against 
Brussels and Washington.

Which Russian Imperialism?

Some people nostalgic for the post-Stalinist Soviet Union close their 
eyes to this reality, forgetting that the denunciation of Russian 
imperialism was always at the heart of Lenin’s thought and action. Did 
he not advocate the defeat of Russia in 1914? On December 12 of that 
year, Lenin wrote,

	The Great Russians cannot “defend the fatherland” except by desiring 
the defeat of Czarism in any war, this as the lesser evil for 
nine-tenths of the inhabitants of Great Russia. For Czarism not only 
oppresses those nine-tenths economically and politically, but also 
demoralizes, degrades, dishonors, and prostitutes them by teaching them 
to oppress other nations and to cover up this shame with hypocritical 
and quasi-patriotic phrases.2

Replace the word “Czarism” with “oligarchy” and Lenin’s judgment remains 
completely true today.

Russia is a unique imperialist power because as it colonized the 
non-Russian people of its empire, at the same time it brutally repressed 
and virtually enslaved the mass of Russian and non-Russian peasants 
inside Russia, generally from the seventeenth century onward, a process 
that resembled those perpetrated by the European powers in their 
far-flung colonies. With the emergence of capitalist imperialism in the 
last third of the nineteenth century, Russia sought to compensate for 
the relative weakness of its economic and financial monopolies by the 
exclusive military control of a vast territory and, as Lenin suggested 
in 1916, by “special facilities for robbing minority nationalities.”3 In 
this way Russia could try to play in the big leagues, as a junior 
partner of France and England. Not understanding this, some Marxists 
refer to Lenin in order to call into doubt the imperialist nature of 
today’s Russia, pointing out the relative weakness of its finance 
capital sector. But this only shows that they do not understand Lenin’s 
characterization of Russian imperialism before 1917.

full: http://newpol.org/content/putin-war-ukraine-%E2%80%A8and-far-right

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