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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/9/17

Left, Right and the Russian Connection: An Interview with Alexander Reid Ross and Eric Draitser

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Neoliberal capitalism has failed the vast majority of Americans. It has increased inequality, fostered austerity, destroyed the environment and fomented wars.

Reactionary right-wing politics have largely succeeded in filling this ideological vacuum, embodied by the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.

Donald Trump's success in galvanizing white identity politics has promoted a surge in racial violence and Islamophobic street demonstrations across America. What's more, it has emboldened leading right-wing agitators and politicians.

The glaring corruptions of neoliberalism and the rise of right-wing populism have contributed to the erosion of notions of the enlightenment that are tethered to liberalism, including freedom, equality, democracy and the primacy of truth.

The opportunities afforded by the Internet in conjunction with a growing distrust of corporate media, which has been repeatedly exposed for its omissions and falsehoods, have promoted the development of a range of independent media platforms, as well as the plague of "fake news".

Within this demonopolized media and propaganda landscape it is easy to get lost. Our airwaves and social media feeds overflow with information that is often quite alarming and false. So who/what can we trust?

In order to better understand the nuances of the current political landscape, as well as the increasing yet often propagandized role of Russian politicians and media in shaping narrative and political trends, I interviewed lecturer at Portland State University, journalist and author of Against the Fascist Creep Alexander Reid Ross (ARR; left below) and geopolitical analyst and the founder of StopImperialism.org Eric Draitser (ED; right below).

Alexander Reid Ross (left) and Eric Draitser (right)
Alexander Reid Ross (left) and Eric Draitser (right)
(Image by Alexander Reid Ross (left) and Eric Draitser (right))
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How would you characterize the state of the left and the changes it has endured in the United States today?

ED: We have a situation in the United States in which there is very little that can be called left politics. The left is factionalized, which is not anything new necessarily, but there is no ideological clarity, alignment, or a Soviet Union around which the majority of the left, to varying degrees, can rally in an ideological sense. All that is gone. Instead, there is the primacy of capitalism and a hegemony of neoliberal finance.

It is against that backdrop that you see a lot of leftist academics, intellectuals and activists who have in many ways abandoned a real class analysis in favor of a loosely defined politics of opposition. Within this mindset everything that opposes the United States, Israel, the Saudis or the EU is automatically good and should be supported irrespective of its qualities.

The right-wing and today's fascists, i.e. the so-called "alt-right" in the United States position themselves as anti-establishment and anti-imperialist by virtue of an opposition to neoliberal capitalism. Their's is not an opposition to capitalism nor is it opposition to imperialism. It is an opposition to the unique set of conditions that we see today.

How do you differentiate between real anti-imperialists on the left and those who are posing on the right?

ED: Anti-imperialists do not advocate non-American forms of imperialism. For example, the Duginists, of the Alexsandr Dugin school of "anti-imperialism", advocate for Russian imperial revanchism, which is Russian expansion with the goal of creating a Eurasian empire under the auspices of Moscow. That is really the Eurasianist vision that Dugin outlines in the fourth political theory and it is to a large extent what these so-called "anti-imperialists" are advocating for, whether consciously or unconsciously.

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