By ERWIN FREED
On Jan. 3, Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and American Nazi supporter, retweeted the locations for national antiwar actions organized by the ANSWER coalition against U.S. aggression in Iraq and Iran. What might appear to be a minor confluence of interests is in fact part of an ongoing attempt by the far right to blur the lines between themselves and the left. Since that date, Spencer has changed his Twitter profile to include an Iranian flag in his profile name and a “STOP WAR WITH IRAN” cover photo.
Spencer is one of many individuals who have attempted to both recruit to fascism and weaken the political left through a strategic orientation known casually as National Bolshevism or NatBol/NazBol. At the vanguard of this global perspective is Aleksandr Dugin, whom Spencer has published in his periodical as well as in the traditional press. Dugin’s decades-long project is spreading the ideology of “Eurasianism,” a crypto-fascist movement that uses the language of support to self-determination and anti-imperialism to hide its reactionary and pro-imperialist agenda.
Spencer, Trump, and right-wing vanguardism
Fascism comes to power as a mass movement led by sections of the middle classes won over to a false right-wing populism, which is countered against the self-organization of the working class. In times of normal class struggle, the fascists remain a minority tendency, with some connections to the bourgeois state but mostly alone in their small sects. It is only in times of severe crisis and when the working class is awakened that the fascists have a serious chance at winning enough support from the capitalist class to put themselves in power.
Representatives of American fascism like Richard Spencer tended to view Trump solely as an individual, while ignoring the economic conditions of U.S. capitalism as a whole, and deduced that he could become the strong leader of a real fascist movement in this country. Interestingly, the approach of the far right largely mirrored that of the liberal establishment in its analysis. In fact, U.S. capitalism is currently in a period of relative stability, even “recovery,” for the handful of companies that are actually positioned to benefit from record-breaking highs in the stock markets.
At present, no section of the U.S. ruling class is ready to openly back fascist bands to bust up union meetings, militarily confront mobilizations of immigrant workers, and move to smash every independent action of the proletariat. Of course, the nucleus for such a movement exists in the border control guards, both state and vigilante; the largest prison system in the world, which attracts whole classes of new recruits willing to publicly throw up Nazi salutes; and the white supremacist terrorists, organized and unorganized, carrying out killings throughout the country.
Just the other day, on Jan. 13, a team of police armed to the teeth evicted a group of homeless mothers and their children from the house in which they were living in Oakland, Calif. Still, the decisive factor of ruling-class support and funding to the currently molecular groups and terrorist activities on a mass scale has yet to come into being.
Trump’s fascist ex-supporters saw in his presidential win a potential shift of ruling-class opinion towards their methods of operation. But with their wishes not sufficiently granted, open white supremacists have begun to move past Trump in an attempt to gain relevance and distance themselves from conservative “normalcy.”
Richard Spencer and David Duke are taking up the mantle of decrying Trump as a stooge of “Zionism” while displaying their “antiwar,” populist “credentials.” The narrative they are putting forward is that Jewish conspirators forced a weak Donald Trump to carry out an attack on Iranian and Iraqi military leaders, an act that was not in “American” but rather in “Israeli” interests. Spencer buttresses the claim with pictures of Trump and Jewish billionaire George Soros standing next to each other. In the real world, however, Israel is totally constrained by its position of subservience to the United States. The illegitimacy of Israel as a state and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine are not the nefarious acts of a secret cabal of “world Jewry”; instead, Israel serves as a stronghold of U.S. imperialist policy in the Middle East.
Dugin, Eurasianism, and the far right’s “left turn”
Eurasianism is an inconsistent and highly idealistic philosophy whose main theorist is Aleksandr Dugin. Dugin began his ideological life as a disaffected youth in the Soviet Union who was enamored with mysticism. Eurasianism pits “land powers” against “sea powers,” a world in which the former are embodied in former Warsaw Bloc countries—especially Russia, Japan, and others—and the latter include the U.S., Britain, and other “Atlanticist” countries.
In the words of one academic, “In Dugin’s vision, the ‘Atlanticist’ powers are animated by a mercantile, individualistic, materialist, and cosmopolitan outlook, whereas “Eurasia” stands for spirituality, ideocracy, collectivism, authority, hierarchy, and tradition” (“Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements,” by Stephen Shenfield, page 196). Dugin sees these groupings as being part of a metaphysical “dialectical triad” based around “the third Reich, the Third International, and the third Rome.”
Dugin started his political career proper as a close associate of Gennady Zyuganov, current first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. After the fall of the USSR, Dugin and the bohemian poet Eduard Limonov formed the National Bolshevik Party as part of the larger red-brown umbrella group called the National Salvation Front.
In the early 2000s, Dugin amicably split from the National Bolshevik Party to form his own Eurasianist organizations. He has taken a broader approach and distanced himself from identifying as a fascist outright. Instead, Dugin is positioning himself as anti-U.S. empire and anti-imperialist. He shifted to a language of “geopolitics” as opposed to more metaphysical sounding concepts.
Dugin speaks seven different languages and has decades of deep learning in history and different theories. He is consciously taking up the language of the left in order to permeate leftist organizations and causes with what in actuality are anti-working-class politics. Here is one example from his Facebook page:
There are different tendencies in the new generation of revolutionary, non-conformist movements in Europe (on the Right as well as the Left), and some of them have been successful in attaining high political positions in their respective countries. The crisis of the West will grow broader and deeper every day, so we should expect an increase in the power and influence of our own Eurasianist resistance movement against the present global order, which is a dictatorship by the worst elements of the Western societies.
Those from either the Right or the Left who refuse American hegemony, ultra-liberalism, strategic Atlanticism, the domination of oligarchic and cosmopolitan financial elites, individualistic anthropology and the ideology of human rights, as well as typically Western racism in all spheres—economic, cultural, ethical, moral, biological and so on—and who are ready to cooperate with Eurasian forces in defending multipolarity, socio-economic pluralism, and a dialogue among civilizations, we consider to be allies and friends.
He has made overtures towards Syriza and had a friendly relationship with Dimitri Konstantakopoulos when the latter was in the leading ranks of the Syriza government. Regardless of his apparent hatred of “cosmopolitan financial elites” and love of “collectivism,” Dugin has deep connections with various capitalists and politicians all over the world. He is also making an overture towards pan-Africanists.
The red-brown “antiwar” movement
In 2018, the right-left Molotov Club held a conference in Moscow that brought together politicians, think-tank members, and activists from left-wing groups like UNAC and right-wing groups like Euro-Rus. This conference is just one example of a constant strategy to bring together the right and left in a common cause. The strategy gives everything to the right and confuses and weakens the left.
The Eurasianist movement actively plays a balancing game with its neo-fascist ideology. The Euro-Rus think tank, on the other hand, does not. From their own website, they espouse conspiracy theories and talk about the threat of the “downfall” due to “demographic tendencies” of Indo-Europeans, i.e. “Aryans.” They also position themselves as an “anti-American lobby” and make overtures against Israel and for democratic and civil rights. Seeing as Euro-Rus was one of the main sponsors of the Moscow conference, the character of the event ought to have been apparent, yet the language of both the conference and Euro-Rus contains enough buzzwords that an unsuspecting leftist might give them the benefit of the doubt.
Another NatBol organization was Students and Youth for a New America, represented by Donald Coulter and connected with former Workers World Party member Caleb Maupin. SYNA purports to embrace a type of “socialism” based in “American patriotism.” While the organization says that one of its goals is to “fight fascism,” Maupin has spoken favorably about Dugin’s “Fourth Political Theory,” which claims to combine and surpass liberalism, socialism, and fascism. Speaking on a panel with Dugin himself, Maupin upheld the legacy of Huey Long, the anti-worker populist governor of Louisiana in the 1930s, as someone for the “left” to emulate. These fake representatives of socialism have deep connections to Russian imperialism. Coulter and Maupin both work for RT News.
Similarly, the New Horizons annual conference in Iran brings together authors like Norman Finkelstein; fringe petit bourgeois politicians like Cynthia Mckinney, Art Olivier, Louis Farrakhan, and Mike Gravel; artists like Brother Ali; and a range of open anti-Semites, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and paleo-conservatives. The conference is truly international, bringing in far-right thinkers from France, Britain, the U.S., and throughout Europe and the Middle East. Dugin and his Eurasianist comrades have been put up as keynote speakers at these conferences, where they are able to spread their message to U.S. antiwar groups such as Code Pink.
Continuing the tendency to muddle the fightback against national oppression with class collaboration, the conference is billed as covering: “World and regional matters, Geopolitics (In both Middle East and Eurasia), Muslims in Europe, Islamophobia, Iranophobia, Discriminations, US State hostility towards Afro-Americans, Zionist Lobby, 911, Israeli-Western decision makers centers (political, military, economic & cultural ones), US domestic & Foreign Policy, South-South cooperation, etc.”
Summarizing the trend
The far right wing sees every miss-step the left makes. They pounce on it. Any cracks, any confusion, they seek to exacerbate. They are unprincipled. Limonov illustratively said of Dugin that he is “capable of holding ten opinions at once.” They are more than willing to be open opportunists, to confuse workers about everything, especially their own power.
They are tied by a million threads to capital. As capitalist crises intensify and the ruling class is forced towards militarist adventures, a section of the far right will continue to try to use the antiwar movement to recruit to fascism. Using the language of “non-intervention” and “anti-Zionism,” the Richard Spencers will continue to come out of the woodwork, doing everything from backing Democratic Party candidates to using the language of “socialism” to try to draw in the radicalizing layers of our society. In fact, David Duke, former leader of the KKK, is the most straightforward when he says that his reason for opposing wars is that they “damage average Americans and 99% of American business!”
Just like the Heritage Foundation is willing to put up a “pro-woman” and “pro-LGB” facade to split and confuse the fight against gender oppression (Trans Bulletin page 10), so too are the fascists willing to voice opposition to this or that act of aggression by American capitalism. To truly fight against U.S. imperialism, both its economic roots and its military strategies, the global working class and its real allies must reject the false friends of the right wing and build their own independent fightback organizations and parties.