Meanwhile, in Italy…

Today’s Italian elections have all the right people sweating up a storm, even here on this side of the Atlantic.  “As Italy votes, Europe fears populist gains” worries the Chicago Tribune for example, wringing its hands over what it claims have been the campaign’s “prime-time airing of neo-fascist rhetoric and anti-migrant violence that culminated in a shooting spree last month against six Africans.”

The main source of Tribune‘s fear – and that of respectable opinion in general – is the decline of the pro-EU center-left and the rise of various anti-establishment parties, especially the national-populist Lega (formerly the regionalist Lega Nord), headed by Matteo Salvini, but also the more difficult to classify 5-Star Movement.

The panic is hardly limited to the Tribune. The New York Times has published repeated fretful pieces, including hatchet jobs on Salvini and the Lega, and in a near-hysterical article published a couple of days ago, Why Italy’s Insular Election Is More Important Than It Looks, worried that “in Italy, the birthplace of fascism”

The populism, the electronic misinformation, the crumbling of the left and the rise of the anti-immigrant, post-fascist hard right that has floated in the European ether for years all crystallized in the Italian campaign…

Populist and far-right parties now stand to make some of their deepest inroads anywhere. Chief among the populist forces, the insurgent Five Star Movement, polling around 30 percent, is likely to come out on top in a fractured field.

Italy’s center-left prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, has sought to sound the alarm, telling the newspaper Corriere della Sera on Friday that the election was the most important in a quarter-century, a “contest against populism” with the system of free markets and an open society at stake.

And perhaps even more horrifying to our friends at The Times:

Fake news about migrants, and much else, clogged the Facebook and Twitter feeds of supporters of the League and Five Star, and at times, their sites seemed related.

The messages often reinforced Italy’s growing tilt toward Russia, as well as admiration for its leader, Vladimir V. Putin, who dismissed the notion of meddling in the Italian election because, he suggested, the options were so good there was no need.

The party with the deepest suspicion of Russia, the Democratic Party of Matteo Renzi, has hemorrhaged support, extending a trend across Western Europe.

Sounds good to me…!

Note:

For a summary of the contest from an Alt Right perspective, see John Bruce Leonard’s Brief Guide to the Italian Elections.

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Good News All Around

I’ve been otherwise engaged the past few weeks and so have been neglecting my posting, in spite of the fact that lots of good things have been going on.

Across the Atlantic, the German elections and the extremely strong showing of the Alternative für Deutschland shows us the the wave of European national-populism continues to rise.

Meanwhile, here at home the victory of insurgent GOP senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore over establishment favorite Luther Strange, in spite of Strange’s backing by Donald Trump himself, shows the essential strength of the populist revolt independent of the president.  If there it is anything that will keep Trump remotely honest, it will be developments like this.

Finally, the growing NFL protests, due to their inescapable presence at the heart of America’s favorite pastime, will certainly help prevent the deplorables from slipping back into business-as-usual passivity, especially in light of the demobilizing effect of Trump’s betrayals.

Over the decades since we fled into the suburbs we lived in a state of denial, drugged by the the mass entertainment complex, the comforts of hyper-consumption and the general peace and tranquility of whiteopian life, while the demographic and political balance shifted against us.  It is only the the increasingly aggressive actions of our enemies over the past decade or so that have led us to begin to accept the reality of our situation and the need for our own resistance.

Just as the spate of riots and Black Lives Matter-inspired protests between Fergusson and the 2016 elections undoubtedly played an enormous role in mobilizing the Trump base and arguably made difference between victory and defeat (indeed, I think that the Trump candidacy itself might not have happened at all without middle America’s response to the growing arc of protest which can be traced back to Trayvon Martin) the disrespect and fundamental hostility toward the traditional American nation and its history shown by the players and the craven and cynical connivance in this on the part of the owners can only be a salutary goad to our movement’s base.

 

Re the New Irish PM

I can’t claim to follow Irish politics closely, but the recent election of Leo Varadkar, the openly gay son of an Indian father and Irish mother, as head of the ruling center-right Fine Gael party has been hard to miss. (As party leader, Varadkar will also take over the role of Taoiseach – prime minister – later this month.)

Predictably, all of this is being hailed in some quarters as a victory of the “new” multicultural Ireland over the insular and prejudiced “old”. I had thought to write my own reflections on this, but after reading The Irresistible Rise of Leo Varadkar at the National Party’s web site, I decided to take the easy way out and just point you there for the best thing on the subject I’ve read so far.

On the Left and “Fascism”

“…most of what calls itself “the left” in the West has been totally won over to the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”. It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment. The left has been won over to this new imperialism because it advances under the banner of “human rights” and “antiracism” – abstractions which a whole generation has been indoctrinated to consider the central, if not the only, political issues of our times.” – Diana Johnstone – The Main Issue in the French Election: National Sovereignty

The collapse of the virtually the entire left into at best a mere loyal opposition within the capitalist order becomes clearer every day. Its recent and nearly unanimous rallying in support of the system’s candidate for the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, is yet another sad example.

The notion that Marine Le Pen was ready to install a Hitlerian dictatorship on France is absurd on the face of it and in fairness most commentators on the left acknowledged this however grudgingly, – usually just before arguing that she was still, however, so dangerous (a “canny fascist“, for example) that the left must unite behind  the candidate of the transnational elites instead (1).

In fact, there are a few on the left who dissent from this groupthink.  In addition to Johnstone, for example, James Petras argued in Twenty Truths About Marine Le Pen

Macron’s pro-war, anti-working class and ‘supply-side’ economic policies leave us with only one conclusion: Marine Le Pen is the only candidate of the left. Her program and commitments are pro-labor, not ‘hard’ or ‘far’ right – and certainly not ‘fascist’….

Le Pen is above all a ‘sovereigntist’: ‘France First’. Her fight is against the Brussels oligarchs and for the restoration of sovereignty to the French people. There is an infinite irony in labeling the fight against imperial political power as ‘hard right’. It is insulting to debase popular demands for domestic democratic power over basic economic policies, fiscal spending, incomes and prices policies, budgets and deficits as ‘extremist and far right’.

Unfortunately, however, the Johnstones and Petras’s are rare and to the extent that their efforts have been noticed, they have generally been denounced(2).

What characterizes the bulk of the left today is its ahistorical (and decidedly un-Marxist) approach to the populist movements of the right.  The left insists on understanding these movements in terms of a social reality that existed almost 100 years ago and is particularly unable (or unwilling) to recognize that the class content of movements and discourses changes over time – reflecting both the circumstances of a particular conjuncture and the overall arc of capitalist development.

Until roughly World War II capitalist classes in each country were fundamentally national.  In the moments of extreme crisis faced by certain of these countries, a sector of the ruling class opted for alliances with mass movements of the right in order to crush insurgent workers’ movements of the left, overcome the impasse created by non-functional parliamentary systems and better assert themselves internationally against their foreign rivals.  Once their radical wings were domesticated, in certain countries the fascist movements of the ’20s and ’30s suited the needs of much of the ruling class – at least for a time.

Unlike the interwar years, however, today’s ruling class has largely transcended national boundaries and is fundamentally globalist.  It is fundamentally committed to the multiculturalist ideology that is the natural world view that accompanies this.  Its fundamental enemy is nationalism and rootedness is all its forms.

In the current period the opposition to the ruling order is again based a sector of the popular classes and the ruling class is again mobilizing to destroy this opposition.  The difference is that today it is the so-called “fascists” who represent authentic resistance and it is the “left” that is being mobilized to stamp it out in the service of big capital and its globalist project.

In an typical article, which appeared on the blog Shiraz Socialist The Front National and fascism the author quotes Leon Trotsky’s description of fascism as:

“… a plebeian movement in origin, directed and financed by big capitalist powers. It issued forth from the petty bourgeoisie, the slum proletariat and even to a certain extent, from the proletarian masses… with its leaders employing a great deal of socialist demagogy. This is necessary for the creation of the mass movement.”

Although this apparently did not occur to the author, one is struck by how much more accurately this describes today’s left than today’s national populist right.

More than anything else, the left needs to learn to look in the mirror…

(For more on these issues see my previous posts Trump as National Bourgeois and On the Left and 2016 – Part 2. and Part 1.)

(1) The examples are endless but see here and here for a couple of representative samples from Jacobin.
(2) Thus, for example, Johnstone’s fellow CounterPunch columnist Louis Proyect denounced “Diana Johnstone’s poisonous nativism” in an article on his blog last year. More recently Tendance Coatesy attacked both “the notorious” Johnstone and Petras for their comments on Le Pen.

From Ireland

Vdare recently posted an excellent article from Ireland’s recently-formed National Party.

The party’s site is great – definitely worth the binge-reading I gave it this morning.  However, it isn’t just that it says all the right things.  What’s even more gratifying is that the organization  appears to be a real thing – or at least more than just a couple of guys with a grand-sounding name and a web site.

Here are a few samples of what the National Party has to say:

We contend that the first duty of an Irish government is to an Irish people and that this duty can only be served by the National Idea. Ireland cannot simply be a transport hub for a global citizenry. It must be rooted, coherent and authentic to itself.About

And:

The organising unit of society must be a social unit. And that social unit must be as organic and cohesive as possible. The family, the parish, the nation. It is a social communitarian ethos which is the organising basis of everything human-beings create. – #WeAreIrish – Twitter Hashtag Reveals the Contradictions in How Liberals View Ethnicity

And:

… to a liberal and a globalist, nationalism is always something lurking in the shadows. It is a kind of Other. A kind of Id. Something monstrous and irrational which constantly threatens to plunge an ordered society into chaos. It is associated with darkness and danger. Nationalism, one might say, is the foreign element in a globalist society. What does globalism exclude if not nationalism?Is Irish Nationalism Dead like Dan O’Brien Says?

Where do I sign up?

More on the National Party:

For a hostile take on the party see Who is National Party leader Justin Barrett?.

For a selection of videos (mostly) on the party, see Mashpedia.

Here’s the Wikipedia entry.

Wishful Thinking?

Yes, I’m afraid so, but the article is still worth reading:

… the single possible alternative to the bourgeois world can only occur through the sacred union of reactionaries and progressives. A union of reactionaries, whether monarchists, Catholics, Hellenists, Muslims, but all attached to a certain classical order, with the progressives, all enemies of the bourgeois world, whether they come from the PCF of Marchais, today’s Worker’s Party, the Serbian resistance, or Venezuelan Chavismo. A union of reactionaries who are often right and progressives who have often been screwed over, against the liberals who dominate the world today and who have always divided in order to rule. Against this empire engaged headlong in the destruction of our human societies and nature. Against this world singularly devoted to the cult of Mammon and increasingly causing problems of overproduction, pollution, inequalities, which lead to catastrophe. – Alain Soral What Alternative to the Bourgeois World?

More on all of this is coming up soon…. I promise.

(Thanks to the Institute for National Revolutionary Studies for the translation of the 2007 speech which appeared on Soral’s website Egalite et Reconciliation.)