Ukraine as Stalking Horse: The Rise of Fascism in the West
Norman Pollack – 21 March, 2014 – The 4th Media
Fascism dribbles off the tongue too easily, yet it is possible to wrap one’s arms around the concept and practice with, allowing for historical variations, some degree of precision. Hitler’s Germany may be the gold standard by which to measure all else, but even there correction can be made for both underlying structural features and ideological themes applied to other and different settings.
By that I mean, e.g., functional equivalents of Nazi societal organization, if you will, foundations or perhaps sub-foundations of the social order and political culture.
If we return to Franz Neumann’s Behemoth, the now-neglected classic on the subject and Robert A. Brady’s Spirit and Structure of German Fascism, also near-forgotten, focused on the ideology of business organization, we can say that the primal factor in fascism’s internal composition is capitalism, not your everyday Smithian variety happily ensconced in Econ. 101 textbooks, but the real thing at an advanced form of development: monopolization, greater cohesion through trade associations, neutralization of labor as a collective-bargaining social force, above all, an hierarchical class system with commanding decisions at the top then filtered down through gradations of rank, integrated with and complemented by the political-structural framework of business-government interpenetration.
This paradigm of centralized power embedded in the synthesis of corporatism and the State, the latter, itself the more powerful the better, in order to serve and protect the business system, its dominance over labor, its penetration of foreign markets, its further concentration through preventing internecine competition, is equally characteristic of 1930s Germany (already mostly evident under Weimar) and the US beginning in earnest still earlier but perhaps taking more protracted form.
Diagrammatically, we are, circa 2014, more than superseding that German stage, our “cartels” disguised by other names, our rate of concentration the apogee of capitalist inner logic. From here it is readily apparent the appetitive and combative nature of capitalism, egged on or reinforced by the Statist dimension: America’s version of globalization to a tee.
This underpinning, not the concentration camp or gas chamber, establishes the bedrock on which the fascist edifice rests, makes them possible, embodied in militaristic aggression in Germany, but, for the US, and as Barrington Moore pointed out, in Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, for Japan as well, what is critical to fascism is not only business-government interpenetration (Masao Maruyama years ago termed this, for Japan, the “close-embrace” system), but also the regimentation of the people, glimpses of which appear in the NSA wholesale surveillance of the public, and a prepackaged ideology of permanent-war readiness buttressed by a saturated climate of counterterrorism.
I think you get the picture. America is not all Innocence and Milk-and-Honey, the hegemonic demiurge in full throttle under Obama, now poised for the much anticipated (and, I believe, welcomed) conflict with Russia, having carefully arranged the chess board, the rooks, IMF and NATO, the queen, all-purpose privatization, the pawns, “friends and allies” persuaded to do America’s bidding, finally, the king, not the innocuous piece, nor here, a single individual, but Obama’s collective national-security advisors, taking in CIA, NSA, Pentagon officials, even then, the tip of the iceberg of war-making, war-striving apparatus, Washington up to its neck from every quarter, bipartisan all the way, in sharpening the killer instinct.
Kerry and Biden are the cheerleaders for imperialism and, increasingly, militarism, for they, and Obama, recognize the two are inseparable, to which they seem especially dedicated. Ukraine has found its soul mates. …more
The fascist danger in Ukraine
World Socialist Web Site – 6 March, 2014
A politically sinister propaganda offensive is underway in the media to either deny the involvement of fascists in the US-backed coup in Ukraine or present their role as a marginal and insignificant detail.
The New York Times, for example, asserted, “Putin’s claim of an immediate threat to Ukrainian Russians is empty,” while Britain’s Guardian dismissed as a “fancy” claims that events in Crimea were an attempt to “prevent attacks by bands of revolutionary fascists,” adding that “the world’s media has [not] yet seen or heard from” such forces.
This is an obscene cover-up.
The reality is that, for the first time since 1945, an avowedly anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi party controls key levers of state power in a European capital, courtesy of US and European imperialism. The unelected Ukrainian government, headed by US appointee Arseniy Yatsenyuk, includes no fewer than six ministers from the fascist Svoboda party.
Less than a year ago, the World Jewish Congress called for Svoboda to be banned. But the party’s founder and leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, who has spoken repeatedly of his determination to crush the “Russkie-Yid mafia that controls Ukraine,” was feted by US and European Union officials as they prepared last month’s coup.
Following the 2010 conviction of John Demjanjuk as an accomplice in the murder of nearly 30,000 people in the Nazi concentration camp at Sobibor, Tyahnybok called him a hero. Tyahnybok’s deputy, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, founded a think tank called the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center.
Svoboda was the major political force in the Maidan protests that overthrew Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. In return for providing the shock troops for the coup, it has been given control of vital ministries.
Svoboda co-founder Andriy Parubiy acted as “security commandant” in the protests, directing attacks by the Right Sector—an alliance of fascists and extreme right-wing nationalists, including the paramilitary Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO). Dressed in uniforms modelled on Hitler’s Waffen SS, its members boast of fighting Russia in Chechnya, Georgia and Afghanistan.
Parubiy is now secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, overseeing the Defence Ministry and the armed forces. Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector, is his deputy.
Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych is another leading Svoboda figure, as is Oleh Makhnitsky (prosecutor-general), Serhiy Kvit (Education Minstry), Andriy Makhnyk (Ecology Ministry) and Ihor Shvaiko (Agriculture Ministry).
Others reportedly connected to UNA-UNSO are Dmytro Bulatov (youth and sports minister) and the “activist” journalist Tetyana Chernovol, who was named chair of the government’s anti-corruption committee. …more
Kissinger thinks Ukraine should be more like Finland
Voltaire Network – 9 March 2014
In an opinion article published by the Washington Post, Dr. Henry Kissinger takes a position on the Ukrainian crisis.
After stating that Ukraine, as a state, can not survive either as an ally of Russia, or as an ally of the West, but only as a bridge between the two, he continues – at the risk of contradicting himself – with an illustration of the historical roots linking the two countries.
According to him, Yulia Tymoshenko is pro-European and whereas Viktor Yanukovych is pro-Russian, and he argues that the current crisis has its origin in the obstinacy of these two major Ukrainian leaders to impose their will on the whole country, in defiance of the other half.
Kissinger deplores the current military turn of the crisis and cautions against the unpredictable consequences that each of the two parties might have to face.
Finally, he puts forward four proposals to serve as a basis for discussion and not as recipes for U.S. policy :
– 1 . Ukraine must be entitled to choose its economic system and even in association with the European Union.
– 2 . Ukraine should not join NATO.
– 3 . Ukraine should model itself on Finland (that is to say, become neutral).
– 4 . Crimea should not secede, but Kiev should bolster its autonomy and ensure the maintenance of the Russian fleet at Sevastopol.
This shaded text must be seen as an attempt to find a way out of the current standoff.
The description of the two Ukrainian leaders, respectively as pro-European and pro-Russian, does not correspond to reality: Tymoshenko negotiated and signed the gas deal with Russia, which led to her prosecution and sentencing, while Yanukovich negotiated and signed the agreement with Shell to exploit the country’s shale gas potential, which could also lead to his conviction. On such crucial occasions, the two leaders served their own personal interests and not those of an ideological camp. …more
“…if in Washington people throwing Molotov cocktails are marching on Congress—and these people are headed for the Ukrainian Congress—if these people have barricaded the entrance to the White House and are throwing rocks at the White House security guard, would President Obama withdraw his security forces?”
— New York University Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen
US, Russia war looms large over Ukraine
7 March, 2014 – PressTV
The prospect of armed conflict between the United States and Russia has once again become a worrisome possibility, reminiscent of the tense times during the Cold War. But instead of Soviet missiles in Cuba provoking the impassioned rhetoric from the US president, this time it is Moscow’s alleged meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine that has brought Washington’s assurances of political support from the international community and offers of IMF loans to stabilize Ukraine’s economy.
“There is the ability for Ukraine to be a friend of the West’s and a friend of Russia’s as long as none of us are inside of Ukraine trying to meddle and intervene, certainly not militarily, with decisions that properly belong to the Ukrainian people,” declared US President Obama on March 4, 2014.
Incredibly, at the very moment Obama made this declaration, his secretary of state John Kerry was in fact meddling inside Ukraine in Kyiv talking to the leaders of the “new” Ukrainian government. While conceding that Russia had “legitimate interests” in what happens in Ukraine and neighboring Crimea, Obama nevertheless insisted “that does not give it the right to use force as a means of exerting influence inside of that state.”
Strange how similar concerns voiced by autocratic ally Saudi Arabia seem to have been accepted by Washington as justification to invade neighboring Bahrain, where the US just happens to maintain headquarters for its 5th naval fleet. The Russians, with their Black Sea Fleet stationed in Sevastopol, have had national interests in Crimea dating back to 1783, not long after the US war of independence from Britain, so it should be no surprise that Moscow would respond to any potential threat to its naval installation there.
“As to the Russian military who are in the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained, “They always strictly follow the agreements on the basis of which the Russian fleet is present on this territory and the positions and requests made by the legitimate administration of Ukraine, and in this case also the legitimate administration of the Republic of Crimea.” …more
This strengthening of the fascists would not be possible without the systematic support of the media and the main political parties in Europe and the US. Liberal newspapers such as the New York Times and the Süddeutsche Zeitung have produced a deluge of propaganda portraying events in Ukraine as a “democratic revolution”, glossing over the role of fascists and glorifying the coup.
Coup in Ukraine: A warning to the international working class
World Socialist Web Site – 25 February, 2014
The recent events in Ukraine are a warning to the international working class. Under conditions in which workers lack both a perspective and a party to enable them to intervene independently in political events, the situation in Ukraine has developed in an extremely reactionary direction. What had been unthinkable in Europe since the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich in 1945 has come to pass: while the US and Germany ruthlessly and recklessly destabilized the country, fascists became the decisive force on the ground.
The crisis was sparked in November of last year by President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union. This was unacceptable for Washington and Berlin. As Theo Sommer put it in Die Zeit, the issue at stake was “Where should the EU’s eastern boundary, and the western boundary of the Russian sphere of influence, be situated?”
The US and Germany systematically supported the pro-EU opposition, which organized the demonstrations against Yanukovych. In addition to Julia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland and Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR—two right-wing parties with close ties to the German CDU—the opposition also included the fascist Svoboda party of Oleh Tyahnybok.
The fact that Svoboda employs neo-fascist symbols, agitates against foreigners, Jews, Hungarians and Poles, maintains close relations with the French National Front and is compared to the ultra-right Greek Golden Dawn and Hungarian Jobbik by the World Jewish Congress, has not prevented the foreign ministers of the United States and Germany from publicly embracing Tyahnybok.
The initial opposition demonstrations, however, failed to force Yanukovych to resign. At this point, paramilitary fascist militias were mobilized to intensify the conflict and propel the country to the brink of civil war. The leading role was played by the so-called Right Sector, whose masked militants, equipped with helmets, batons, fire bombs and firearms soon dominated the center of Kiev, carrying out fierce attacks on the security forces. News reports estimate their number in Kiev alone to be between 2,000 and 3,000.
The conservative Die Welt paper termed the Right Sector an “informal association of right-wing and neo-fascist splinter groups”. Time magazine, which interviewed its leader Dmitry Yarosh, writes that their “ideology borders on fascism and it enjoys support only from Ukraine’s most hard-line nationalists”. Many of its members are former soldiers or fought in the conflict on the side of Azerbaijan, and in Chechnya and South Ossetia against Russia.
It was these paramilitary fascist militias which ensured that the situation escalated last Thursday. While they fought bloody battles with the security forces, resulting in dozens of casualties on both sides, the German, Polish and French foreign ministers flew into Kiev and forced Yanukovych to accept a “compromise” following hours of negotiations. It was the beginning of the end for the president.
When the Right Sector spoke out against the agreement and threatened to resume hostilities, the military declared its neutrality, and many deputies from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions changed sides. This sealed his fate.
The situation in Ukraine is still extremely tense and unstable. The various camps of the opposition are fighting for political dominance, while there is the danger of secession and civil war in Crimea and the east of the county. The fascist forces upon which the Western powers and the opposition relied to force through regime change are demanding their pound of flesh and will play an important role in the political life of the country.
When she spoke at Independence Square after her release from prison, former prime minister and Fatherland party leader Yulia Tymoshenko made a series of overtures to the fascist militias. She expressly thanked Right Sector for its “contribution to the revolution.” The new interior minister promised that the “Self-Defense Forces from Maidan” would be integrated into the new order. …more
Putin holds aces, Obama deuces
3 March, 2014 – By Finian Cunningham – PressTV
As Russian troops pour into Ukraine consolidating control over the southern Crimea region it looks as if President Putin has finally had enough of playing games according to bent Western rules.
Vladimir Putin knows that world public opinion and a good many nations are on Russia’s side in its show of strength against the cabal of rogue Western states led by Washington.
The morally bankrupt Western cabal tried to play its “sanctimonious card” at the weekend after Putin ordered more troops into the southern Ukrainian territory. American President Barack Obama said with tiresome cliché “the US stands with the international community in condemning violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty”.
Even more absurdly, US Secretary of State John Kerry later lambasted Russia’s “brazen aggression”. With a ridiculous straight face, probably due to years of botox treatment, Kerry said: “You just don’t invade another country on phoney pretext in order to assert your interests. This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped-up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shot back that US threats of sanctions and veiled military confrontation against Moscow are “completely unacceptable”.
And the subsequent increase in Russian troop deployment in the Crimea seems to be a clear sign that Moscow is snubbing Washington’s warnings with the contempt that they deserve.
For a start, Russia knows that it is morally and legally right to make its latest moves. With a Russian ethnic population comprising up to 60 per cent of the Ukraine, particularly in the East and South of the country, Moscow has a responsibility to protect its compatriots in a territory with a long shared history and heritage. Russia has real vital national interests at stake in the Ukraine, and it is entitled to exercise this protection – unlike countless American trumped-up interventions around the globe.
Secondly, Russia knows that the phoney American rulers and their European proxies have been making a mockery of international law in Ukraine over many years and especially in the last three months, during which the West has inflamed social and political unrest to the point where the elected authorities in Kiev were ousted two weeks ago in a Western-backed coup d’état. It is only Western rulers and their delusional media who pretend that the events in Ukraine were “a popular uprising”.
The American, British, French and German governments have orchestrated a regime change operation, which now sees a rabble of neo-Nazis and fascists in power in Kiev. The rabid anti-Russian politics of this Western-backed junta poses a real and present threat to the pro-Russian population. True to plan, this junta of unelected quislings who came to power on the back of murderous street violence – violence fully supported and encouraged by the Western states – will in short order give the green light to NATO troops being stationed on Russia’s borders. …more