Convenient Fascism

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The social and political critics of America, or sometimes referred to as the West but the U.S. is usually the stand-in, are all agog at America’s (the West’s) leveraging of Fascists and Fascistic elements in the overthrow of the corrupt Ukrainian government only to be replaced with yet another, Pro-Western this time, corrupt government. “How could they stoop so low,” they billow? “Why, I never,” they proclaim in astonishment. They’re either naively gullible or disingenuous……perhaps both. I’m going with both, and no, one doesn’t necessarily preclude the other.

Our sausage-eating, sausage-fingered German friend, Bernard, is one such Anti-American critic who is aghast at the use of Fascism as a tool in the Ukraine. So taken aback is b of Moon of Alabama that his last two blog posts here and here are devoted to dealing with his feigned astonishment. Once again, b is not alone in this melodramatic sentiment. He’s an example of the alternative media’s response to the Ukrainian crisis. All it (the alternative media) sees is Evil America and that is the essence of American Exceptionalism they prove so well everyday and any day with their vitriol.

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In the spirit of balance, I felt compelled to counter the subjective and partial lopsidedness of Bernard’s MOA blog and blog post with the following comment here. Per the link, I said the following: Much to do has been made of America’s backing and support of Fascist elements in the Ukraine and elsewhere, and for good reason. However, some of those same critics turn a blind eye when Putin uses the very same tactics. Both sides use the Fascists for their own ends, and perhaps at their own peril. I’m sure those who enabled and funded Hitler and his Brown Shirts in the early years thought they were using the Fascist goofball thugs, and they were for a while, but those brutally awkward and silly Fascist thugs eventually morphed into an uncontrollable, psychotic beast with its own heinous agenda. I’m not sure that’s possible in this day and age…raw, naked, in-your-face, brutal, hot, ultra-nationalistic Fascism in charge, but it is notable that these elements are utilized by both America and Russia to achieve their own ends. Here’s a link to an excellent article revealing Putin’s use of Convenient Fascism. Here’s a taste from that link:

The renewed stimulation of anti-Western discourses through the use of “political technologies” is promoting a dangerous undercurrent and accelerating the development of what may be called “uncivil society” in Russia. The anti-democratic faction in Russia’s nonprofit sector represents a network of partly cooperative, partly competing, extremely anti-liberal groups, organizations, and publications. Many, to be sure, are distinguished by the support they receive from government agencies and through active advertising on Kremlin-controlled TV channels. They thus represent GONGOs (Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organizations), rather than genuine civil society initiatives. However, there is a danger that the stepped-up campaign of incitement against the United States may both permanently establish a conspiracy-minded, paranoid world view as the legitimate interpretation of international events and help entrench the clubs that promote this world view as legitimate participants in Russian public discourse.

As a result, an aggressively anti-Western right-wing extremism seems to be forming within Russian political life as a stable third pole between the authoritarian regime and the democratic opposition. The Kremlin appears to be implementing a risky political scheme aimed at restructuring public life: the increased incorporation of ultra-nationalists into mainstream political discourse appears designed to cause a comprehensive rightward shift along Russia’s ideological spectrum, so that the nationalism of Putin and his immediate associates, which is also quite virulent, seems relatively centrist against the background of the far more radical demands “from the grassroots”, i.e., from the increasingly prominent right-wing extremists…..

Since the announcement of Putin’s third presidency in September 2011, a restructuring of the ultra-nationalist intellectual milieu has been under way in which the Isborsk Club plays the leading role. Extreme right-wing propagandists lament, sometimes, hysterically, today’s situation in Russia. They frequently conjure up apocalyptical scenarios for the future of their country and the world.

Notwithstanding their dubious background, questionable academic credentials, and tarnished reputation, they can act freely, often appear on government-controlled television, and are regarded with favor by the Kremlin, if not purposefully promoted. Should these tendencies continue, the already critical Russian public opinion toward the United States will deteriorate even more, and the alienation between Russia and the West will increase.

Needless to say, my comment wasn’t well-received. I was referred to as a “hole” several times by various posters. I understood MOA to be a hard Left hangout, so it’s peculiar for such climes to insult me as an orifice. One poster called me “Corn Hole,” I suppose because Cold N. Holefield looks like Corn Hole to this numbskull. It is telling, though. With gay rights and all, I thought certain previously taboo holes/orifices were now things of adoration to be appreciated and flaunted…not used as a form of insult. Is this mentality what stands for Progressivism these days? How odd and contradictory. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s in keeping. Strip off that Progressive veneer, and there you will find an Authoritarian in wait, ready to pounce and control when the zeitgeist manifests.

And speaking of insults, Hitler has been an insult for quite some time now. It’s been the fashion, politically, to call your opposition Hitler when you want to get them good. The problem with this tactic though, is that now everyone is Hitler at any given time. Will the True Hitler (another True series for HBO), if there is one or ever was, please stand up. What a legacy for ‘ol Schicklgruber. In the mid to late 1930s who would have ever thought Der Fuhrer’s fearsome reputation would have been besmirched with such reckless abandon? One could say Goebbels’ propaganda genius was for naught…a complete failure, but I would say quite the opposite; it is still a resounding success. Thanks to folks like John McCain and entities such as the History Channel, Hitler still strikes fear in the hearts and minds of fans everywhere. He’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Obviously Obama and Putin are no Hitlers (in my best Lloyd Bentsen impersonation). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some resemblances. Afterall, we all have a little Hitler in us…some more than others. I know the Larouche Movement is convinced Obama is Hitler. Some lunacy per the link:

According to the February poll, Kesha Rogers leads with 35 percent. David Alameel is in second with 27 percent. Maxey Scherr polls third with 15 percent. Harry Kim is at 14 percent and Michael Fjetland garners 9 percent support. Rogers is a follower of conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche. She carries posters of Barack Obama sporting a Hitler mustache, calls for his impeachment, and compares the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the genocidal policies of the German Nazis in the 1930s. Like most Lyndon LaRouche followers, she also thinks the United States is being secretly controlled by a cabal of London bankers. In addition, she favors expanding manned space exploration and colonizing Mars to prevent “mass extinction of the human species”. Yet, despite her hatred towards President Obama, she sits atop the Democratic Senate primary in Texas.

This is pure Larry David material. No wonder Curb Your Enthusiasm shut down. It was redundant. All you have to do is look at the news for the same laughs. It’s too easy. There’s no longer any need for imaginative satire. Reality is satire now. There’s no longer any need to be creative about it when it’s all around you and as good as it gets.

But what about Putin? Isn’t he Hitler? Sorry, no, but it doesn’t mean some useful parallels cannot be drawn between Putin’s demeanor, position, and behavior. Comparing Putin to Obama is like comparing a Rib Eye to Tofu…or something like that. You really can’t compare. Putin has a great deal of autonomous, concentrated power. He is the Decider. Remember Dubya used to say that about himself–that he was the Decider? He was a liar, but if Putin were to say that about himself, he wouldn’t be lying. Like W, Obama is also decidedly not the Decider. Like Shrub, BHO is merely a puppet, a front man…the billboard…the packaging but most certainly not the contents.

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Putin, on the other hand, is the real deal. He’s as close to a dictator with Nukes as you’re going to get in this day and age. Imagine Hitler with Nukes? A bizarre and useless thought exercise because no doubt if Hitler did have Nukes, I wouldn’t be typing this and you wouldn’t be reading it except in some one-out-of-a-gazillion parallel universes…and maybe that’s what this is. Who knows? I don’t.

One of the sock avatars (Being There) over at Clusterfuck Nation, had this to say about Putin. Keep in mind that comparing someone to Stalin versus Hitler versus Mao these days is pretty much the same insult.

BackRow,

You know as well as everyone else who knows history that Stalin was paranoid. His daughter lived to tell about it. I believe he even killed his wife. It was a cult of personality and a totalitarian dictatorship.

I’m no fan of Russia, but at least I know that it’s Capitalist now and the place is run by organized crime, as powerful as the leadership.

If you had any sense of history you would know that the leadership is different than in the xenophobic times of Stalin.

Making an extreme argument isn’t going to make your point, BRH. That doesn’t mean he’s safe. There’s can always be radioactive isotopes in his morning coffee

I don’t know. Mafia Dons are pretty powerful. Some of them, the smart ones, lived to a ripe old age. Joseph Bonanno, Sr. lived to 97. Think of the things these mafia bosses could have done with Nukes versus Tommy Guns? The possibilities for them would have been endless…or maybe The End.

And speaking of xenophobic, Putin is showing his stripes much more readily and unabashedly in public these days. As we see in one of his recent speeches, his jargon and linguistics are turning unequivocally more Nationalistic. Kimberly Marten for the Washington Post covered it nicely in this article dated March 19, 2014. Here’s a morsel to get you started:

There are two ways to talk about a Russian person or thing in the Russian language. One way, “Rossisskii,” refers to Russian citizens and the Russian state. Someone who is ethnically Chechen, Tatar, or Ukrainian can be “Rossisskii” if they carry a Russian passport and live on Russian territory.

Up until now that is how Russian President Vladimir Putin has always referred to the Russian people. Even the rather aggressive pro-Putin Russian youth movement of a few years back, Nashi (or “ours”) — with its summer camps, mass calisthenics rallies, and ugly jeering at opposition politicians — was always careful to use the word “Rossisskii.” While some critics like Valeria Novodvorskaya portrayed Nashi as if it were some kind of updated version of the Hitler youth, the group in fact never took on an ethnic slant.

That all changed on Tuesday. In his Kremlin speech to the two houses of the Russian parliament, Putin made a fateful choice. Instead of sticking to the word “Rossisskii,” he slipped into using “Russkii,” the way to refer in the Russian language to someone who is ethnically Russian. Putin said, “Crimea is primordial “Russkaya” land, and Sevastapol is a “Russkii” city.” He went on to say, “Kiev is the mother of “Russkie” cities,” in a reference to the ancient city of Kievan Rus’. (This reference must have grated on the ears of Ukrainian nationalists; as scholar Andrew Wilson points out, the historiography of Rus’ is fraught with the question of contested national origins.)

When speaking of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Putin added, “Millions of ‘Russkii’ went to sleep in one country and woke up in another, instantly finding themselves ethnic minorities in former Soviet republics, and the ‘Russkii’ people became one of the largest, if not the largest, divided nation in the world.”

Putin thereby signaled a crucial turning point in his regime. He is no longer simply a Russian statist, an old KGB man who wants to recapture Soviet glory, as Brookings analysts Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy argued in their fascinating 2013 biography. Instead Putin has become a Russian ethnic nationalist.

Please read the rest. It’s worth every word you read. Of course, the apologists will rationalize it away or dismiss and marginalize it, and still others will overplay it. It’s worth noting. It’s not insignificant. It doesn’t make Putin a Stalin or a Hitler. But it does reveal a shift. A shift for a man with a lot of power carrying a Western chip on his shoulder.

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4 thoughts on “Convenient Fascism

  1. To be an ethnic nationalist he would have to promote the deportation of minority ethnics.
    Every organic empire has a founding ethnic core which dominates.
    Of course in the declining US, if a leader…local…state…national implored Euro-Americans to do much of anything but apologize for alleged past misdeeds, he or she would risk immediate political extinction. So your perspective is understandable.

    • Fair enough. How about Putin is becoming an ethnic nationalist, or he’s revealing his latent ethnic nationalist side? Does that work better for you? Or is it just roses and kisses for Vladimir The Great?

      When a golfer is under pressure, he/she will oftentimes fall back on old, underlying weaknesses when the pinch is on. That nasty pull hook he/she thought they had eradicated with the help of expensive swing coaches suddenly surfaces again. Perhaps a similar mechanism is at play with Putin. The pressure has him defaulting to latent tendencies he thought his cheaply polished veneer had covered up for good.

      • http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/26/how-much-war-does-washington-want/

        PCR at his best.

        There are groups within Russia which indeed want to toss out non-Slavs and revert to what you call ethnic nationalism. Dugin has rejected them in detailed treatises.
        You infer Putin might culminate in this, like Av. Lieberman culminated at one point in calling openly for the ultimate expulsion of all Palestinians from Palestine. (“Israel.”)
        If you are at all familiar with actual Russian politics, though, you know this won’t happen-Putin has no people from these circles near him– you’re just trying to make cheap political points.
        Or maybe you’re unfamiliar with Russian realities.

  2. Agreed, Truth. Putin knows he runs a place that is multi-ethnic and multiconfessional at its core. Up until very recently, Putin’s critic Navalny played the “Russian Nationalist” card far more than Putin ever did.

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