[Marxism] From Exile to Dirtbag: Edgelord geopolitics and the rise of “National Bolshevism” in the U.S.
amithrgupta at gmail.com
Wed Jan 23 14:42:38 MST 2019
I don't want to further rehash the debate about Unz because I think we've
already gone full-circle. But ARR's article is not about Unz. He is taking
aim at Chapo Trap House, Ames, and Taibbi. Even assuming the Unz business
is part of a National Bolshevik revival that doesn't give ARR the carte
blanche to write whatever stupid shit he wants.
Re: the parts of the article that MM has posted:
1) The NPR piece by Taibbi that is supposedly a defense/promotion starts by
referring to Liminov as a "neo-fascist" and focuses on his bizarre personal
exploits and failures. Perhaps that's not he same as calling for him to be
punched in the face, but for ARR to dig it up like it is proof of an
endorsement of Liminov's politics, let alone five years after the fact, is
2) Look at the weasel words: "The eXile’s editors helped frame West-East
conflict in ways that deflected criticism of Putin back to the US and
reflected Russia’s propaganda line, *which brought left and right together
in a geopolitical struggle with National Bolshevik overtones*." This is
classic bullshittery from ARR. He doesn't focus on whatever actual ties
there might have been. Taking the same position as an organization that he
admits fuses left-wing positions with right-wing ones is enough for him to
3) Based on a closer reading of his article (something I was hesitant to do
given how bad it is), the line appears to go: Chapo Trap House having Matt
Taibbi as a guest; Matt Taibbi working at the eXile, apparently a bizarre
punk zine for English-speaking expats, with Mark Ames; Mark Ames recruiting
Liminov to write a column in their edgy magazine; Liminov adopting National
Bolshevism and the ideas of Aleksandr Dugin; Dugin and the National
Bolsheviks channeling the Russian ultranationalists and embracing US Nazis
like Richard Spencer. Richard Spencer also likes the sarcasm of Chapo Trap
House because his community is also sarcastic.
There is literally nothing of significance implicating Chapo Trap House in
any of this business. The mere fact that he would even include them in the
article for having Taibbi speak on their podcast is discrediting enough,
but ARR had to do it because he is trying to go after internet trolling and
the "dirtbag left". So, he just concocted this bullshit. It's also worth
noting that whatever edgelordiness that the eXile might have had, all of
Taibbi's US-directed work has been serious journalism published in The
Rolling Stone. There is no reason to think of him as a troll.
4) Taibbi and Ames' fascination with Liminov doesn't seem to be any
different from the general media fascination (and confusion) with him over
his personal exploits and political prospects as potential challenger to
Liminov is obviously a bizarre figure with bad politics. But he was/is also
a prominent one in Russian politics. ARR went back nearly eleven years to a
catch-all publication that mixed satire and anger with pranks and tried to
indict two reporters -- and a wholly unrelated podcast -- because Liminov
The NazBol once wrote a column there and because of the foreign policy
positions they took. There is no indication that Dugin or the far right had
any involvement, and judging by the article by Ames that ARR cites, it
sounds like Ames had no personal connection to Dugin, having to ask others
what he allegedly thought and so forth. There is also no indication that
Taibbi or Ames ever agreed with Liminov's approach of coordinating with
ultranationalists (or even understood what it was), and despite how long
this article was, the closest thing ARR could drum up was that they
defended Russian foreign policy.
I can't believe you made me re-read it. :(
Amith R. Gupta
On Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 3:12 PM MM <marxmail00 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jan 23, 2019, at 2:43 PM, A.R. G via Marxism <
> marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
> ARR's article, which isn't about any of these people, takes the association
> game to a new extreme.
> I’m starting to think ARR didn’t actually read the article, at least not
> very closely. I’m going to paste a few paragraphs and then a couple of
> With the fall of the Soviet Union, Limonov joined fellow National
> Bolshevik, Aleksandr Dugin, to promote that dream of a Eurasian “large
> space” premised on fascist geopolitics and based in the Kremlin. Committed
> to the total destruction of what they perceive as the liberal and weak
> West, the National Bolsheviks asserted the spiritual greatness of
> Traditionalism found in the “Heartland” of the Asian continent.
> While Dugin became the philosopher of this fascist ideology, influencing
> everyone from the Communist Party to the so-called Liberal Democratic Party
> of Russia to the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Limonov
> developed his role as a leading propagandist of the Russian far right.
> According to professor Markus Meili
> Limonov “decisively influenced the emergence and growth of the Russian
> skinhead movement in the mid-1990s.” Despite this, firing on Sarajevo with
> war criminal Radovan Karadžić
> and calling for a “Serbian solution” to challenges against Russia, he was
> indulged as a misunderstood performance artist.
> Politically, The eXile came to follow now-familiar rules: criticize Putin,
> but reserve the most obscene tirades for Western media hypocrisy. They
> would level criticisms against Putin on tough issues, such as his stony
> response <http://prince.org/msg/105/206224?pr> to the murder of
> journalist Anna Politkovskaya, but turn those articles back against the US.
> Ames seemed to oppose Putin and the oligarchs, but downplay the threat of
> fascists like Dugin, while publishing his comrade-in-arms, Limonov. For
> this reason, scholar and author of *Russian Fascism*
> Stephen Shenfield, argued that “ways should be found to put the eXile out
> of business” (according to Ames’s account
> Limonov rejoined Putin’s side after years on the opposition, enraptured by
> the convergence of ultranationalism and Soviet nostalgia. Limonov’s former
> close comrade, Dugin, exhorted pro-Russian forces in Ukraine to “Kill!
> Kill! Kill Ukrainians!
> and his close associates <https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/148882790.pdf>
> took leading roles in the Kremlin-supported “civil war.” Limonov and Dugin
> appeared on Russian TV together, a symbol of the power of the invasion of
> Ukraine to reunite old comrades.
> ARR subsequently links to:
> This 2013 tweet from Ames: http://archive.li/Cc9ca
> This 2014 white-washing piece for NPR by Taibbi:
> What Ames and Taibbi are doing here is pretty far from simply failing to
> disassociate themselves from an odious figure.
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