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The denial of Ukraine's Nazi problem & the complacency of the pro-imperialist "left"

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Ukraine's internal political situation throughout the last decade has been a story that haunts the imperial center left, because it exposes the utterly weak and self-defeating nature of the left's approach. It shows, whether these leftists want to admit it or not, that a lack of principled opposition to U.S. imperialism--and a willingness to give in to theoretically deficient narratives that paint Washington's rivals as "imperialist"--inevitably leads to the triumph of fascism. Because fascism is what's utterly dominated Ukraine since the violent 2014 overthrow of the country's democratically elected government, which these unprincipled leftists have insisted was a "revolution" despite direct evidence linking Obama's team to the transition process.

Post-2014 Ukraine has been likely the most brazen example of fascism that's existed in the 21st century. It's outlawed the communist party, tortured dissidents, institutionalized the glorification of Nazi collaborators, and criminalized any attempts to expose the crimes of these collaborators. With the government therefore effectively enforcing a paradigm of Holocaust denial, it's no surprise that neo-Nazi militias have been allowed to thrive, working with the National Guard, the police, and the military in committing atrocities. Pogroms have been normalized, with Jews, Romas, and ethnic Russians being the primary targets. There's been discrimination against blacks and other ethnic undesirables throughout the recent refugee crisis from within the country, and the country's armed forces have shot at migrants attempting to come in.

President Zelensky, despite being Jewish, has facilitated an infiltration of all levels of the military and the government by the neo-Nazi movement. Which is the factor that discredits the attempts to portray Zelensky and his regime as separate from the Nazis, as if the regime's unambiguously fascist policies weren't a red flag for such ties being there.

"Behind the corporate media spin lies the complex and increasingly close relationship Zelensky's administration has enjoyed with the neo-Nazi forces invested with key military and political posts by the Ukrainian state, and the power these open fascists have enjoyed since Washington installed a Western-aligned regime through a coup in 2014," assess Alexander Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal. "In fact, Zelensky's top financial backer, the Ukrainian Jewish oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, has been a key benefactor of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and other extremists militias". Incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard, the Azov Battalion is considered the most ideologically zealous and militarily motivated unit fighting pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbass region. With Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel insignia on the uniforms of its fighters, who have been photographed with Nazi SS symbols on their helmets, Azov 'is known for its association with neo-Nazi ideology... [and] is believed to have participated in training and radicalizing U.S.-based white supremacy organizations,' according to an FBI indictment of several U.S. white nationalists that traveled to Kiev to train with Azov."

The campaign to "stand with Ukraine," obnoxiously embraced by "leftist" commentators like Vaush, is entirely predicated on a NATO media campaign to obfuscate these realities. To utilize Zelensky's Jewish identity as a shield against all information about the institutionalized Nazi presence within Ukraine. This narrative is the only thing the imperialist left, with its opportunistic online influencers and its forsaking of actual revolutionary theory, can use to rationalize its allegiance towards NATO's stance on the crisis.

The vapid praise towards "Ukraine" (free from denunciations of the country's ruling Nazi strains) that's being heaped by the entirety of the mainstream political spectrum masks a deep rot not just within Ukraine itself, but within our own society. Fascism is on the rise throughout the imperial center, destroying our educational institutions through book bans, enacting extreme anti-LGBT and anti-abortion legislation, and threatening to become more severe amid pro-coup reactionary insurrection efforts. With a "left" that only focuses on performative outrage against whatever enemy country the media puts in front of it, and that's therefore uninterested in analyzing our own conditions, we're ripe for a dark turn in history.

And when you're in the imperial center, failing to analyze your own conditions is pivotal in enabling fascism. The U.S. left, sharing the national chauvinism of its European counterparts, is unwilling to properly reckon with the settler-colonial nature of the country it exists in. It doesn't question that the settler state has a right to exist. With indigenous perspectives on potential futures for land relations being utterly marginalized in the U.S. cultural hegemony, and U.S. discourse therefore lacking any tangible visions for what could exist in alternative to settler-colonialism, of course the left here is like this. It can't imagine a scenario where all the land has been returned to the jurisdiction of the tribes that got their territories stolen from them, any more than it can imagine a scenario where the capitalist state has been overthrown. In a paradigm where post-colonial theory is totally suppressed, and where history's examples of socialist revolutions are all portrayed as nightmarish "authoritarian" states, there's no room for a coherent alternative to the present order.

Within this fundamentally anti-communist, colonial chauvinist framework, becoming radicalized as a leftist ultimately leads to reactive and idealistic ideas about solving all the world's problems in one adventuristic swoop. This was the thought process behind the armed band of self-identified anarchists who ended up fighting with a fascist militia in Ukraine out of pure convenience. Their radical liberalism told them that the best way to help the world is to fight "Russian imperialism"--despite Russia not even being an imperialist power by an assessment of its capital's strength--so they found themselves on the side of Nazis. When class analysis is reduced to a blanket opposition towards all forms of "authority," regardless of the fundamentally different roles that today's two great opposing geopolitical blocs play in relation to imperialism, you don't need principles. All you have to do is fight against whatever example of "authority" is perceived at the moment to be bad, which invariably gets decided by what the media says.

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here:

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