Workers' Voice mailing list
December 12, 2014
RE: Ties between Russian imperialism and the European far right parties
On November 29-30, the neo-fascist National Front held a national congress in Lyons, France. It’s roughly the French equivalent of the racist and murderous KKK. The notorious KKK hates black people, immigrants, gays, and others, and the French National Front hates everyone too, especially immigrants, Islamic people, and gays, and doubts whether the Nazis really killed Jews in concentration camps. But unlike the KKK, the National Front is presently a large party, the third largest in France, and for years people have feared that it might win the national elections and become the government of France.
This year the Russian government had its representatives at the Congress of the National Front. It was an open demonstration of the ties that have existed for some time between the Russian government and the National Front.
Why does this matter?
For the French working class, a National Front government would be a disaster. The conservatives and the liberals (in France they call themselves “socialists”) have both inflicted austerity on the workers. Should the workers move left and develop a working class alternative, or should they move to the far right and fall prey to a new form of fascism? If international solidarity means anything, we should support the French workers against both the mainstream French bourgeoisie and the looming far right danger. We can’t do this without noticing all the forces that stand behind the National Front.
Moreover, here in the US, we too face a fight against austerity, racism, and anti-immigrant agitation, and against US imperialism, which has tentacles all around the world. Some groups which claim to be leftist or anti-imperialist deny that Russia is an imperialist power and look towards Russia as some type of useful opposition against US imperialism. But can a government that backs the National Front be a friend of the people? This bears on what type of struggle we should organize, and what the meaning of anti-imperialism is.
What contacts have there been between the National Front and the Russian Congress? Among other things:
* At least two members of the Russian Duma(parliament) from Vladimir
Putin’s party, United Russia, the present ruling party in Russia,
attended the National Front’s meeting. One gave a speech there.
(Catherine Lagrange, ”Russia link and Le Pen dynasty mark French
National Front congress”, Reuters, Nov. 30, 2014,
* The head of the National Front, Ms. Marine Le Pen, admits that the NF is borrowing money from Russian sources, such as the First Czech Russian Bank, for its electoral campaigns.(Suzanne Daley and Maia de la Baume, ”French Far Right Gets Helping Hand With Russian Loan,” “New York Times”, Dec. 1, 2014) For legal reasons, the NF cannot receive money directly from Russian President Putin or other official Russian sources, so there has to be a bit of subterfuge about it. But everyone knows where the funds are really from.
* Russian News agencies like “RT” (formerly “Russia Today”) and “Itar-Tass” fawn over the National Front and Marine Le Pen.
* The National Front fawns over Vladimir Putin, regarding him as a model for what a French leader should be.
Is it a mere accident that the Russian government is embracing the National Front? Perhaps it simply doesn’t understand what the NF is? Not at all: it is embracing the NF precisely because it does know what the NF represents. Indeed, the Russian government has ties with a number of other far right and neo-Nazi groups in Europe. These include the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece, which is notorious for its murderous ambushes of immigrants; the British National Party in the UK; Jobbik in Hungary; and a variety of misnamed parties in Russia itself: the “Liberal Democrats” of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the “National Bolsheviks” of Edward Limonov, etc.
What does the present Russian government have in common with these groups?
* It shares opposition to the dominant bourgeois parties in Europe and to the European Union itself. This is an opposition from the right, rather than from the left.
* It shares various social values with these groups, such opposition to various national minorities, contempt for gays, promotion of the dominant religion, national chauvinism, etc.
* It shares the political viewpoint of contempt for democratic rights.
* At present, the territorial ambitions of the Russian government and certain of these groups match, such as to dismember Ukraine. For this and other reasons, the Russian government and the Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have been able to rely on “observers” from various neo-Nazi groups across Europe to testify to the supposed fairness of Russian elections in Crimea or the separatist elections in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Today the working class is facing starvation from austerity and market fundamentalism. We also face racism, murders carried out by the police such as the racist killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and perpetual empire-building by the American bourgeoisie. We need to oppose these evils by renewed struggle and building new working class organizations; this is the path of the class struggle. The alternative is to take sides between the imperialist powers, and overlook the way the Russian bourgeoisie is forging its own chains to enslave the working people. That is not the path of genuine opposition to US imperialism and the Western bourgeoisie, but the path that leads to cooperation with Le Pen’s National Front.
-- Joseph Green, editor, Communist Voice
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