The Red-Brownism of Putin Apologia
Putin's recent murderous misadventures in Ukraine have brought the red-brownists out of the woodwork.
Several days ago, Vladmir Putin embarked on a murderous attempt to invade Ukraine, clearly hoping to quickly decapitate the government in the capital of Kyiv. So far, despite the odds being in his favor, he has failed, though I continue to fear for the Ukrainian people and hope they can know peace and safety soon. Worryingly, this crisis has shown how strong the red-brownist current runs in the Western Left.
Red-brownism, in the simplest of terms, is the forced convergence of leftist and fascist goals towards pro-fascist ends. Any self-respecting leftist would say they are anti-fascist — and anti-imperialist to boot. However, an alarmingly high number of them are now publicly defending a fascist imperialist in the form of Putin — simply because he is against the United States and “the West.” Even more moderate organizations like the DSA blame Biden more than the man currently invading another country.
While the West is deeply flawed and has quite the bloody history of its own, to erase the horrors of the rest of the world only creates an international culture where increasing numbers of victors are ignored because of theoretical reasons. Civilian deaths left in the wake of the “correct” people are handwaved, when we should be pushing to end them, whoever the culprit. When your ideology or nationalism becomes more important than defending innocent lives, you have blatantly fallen to cult-like thinking.
The fact that this coalesced around a Russian invasion is no coincidence — and something perceptive people, including myself, warned about for years. Why? Because we already saw it happen in Syria, where the murderous far right dictator, Bashar al-Assad, is propped up by Putin. To this end, the Russian military and its neo-Nazi mercenary buddies, the Wagner Group, have pummeled Syria for the better part of a decade.
Most of Russia’s recent geopolitical maneuverings are straight out of Foundations of Geopolitics, a theoretical text by Russian fascist thinker, Aleksandr Dugin — who also proposes tactics for forming red-brownist alliances in his other widespread work, Fourth Political Theory. The network RT — Russia Today — sinks so much into English-language news precisely so they can feed the gullible propaganda through a seemingly respectable platform.
In the case of Ukraine, RT and the numerous other outlets that toe its line portrayed it as a response to “NATO expansion.” There is a good debate to be had about the imperialist activities of various NATO member states, which Russian propaganda has leveraged in this context to give plausibility for a geopolitical use of DARVO — deny, attack, and reverse victim & offender — tactics. Former Warsaw Pact countries keep joining NATO not because NATO is imperialistically expanding, but because Eastern Europe sees it as a bulwark against Russian imperialism.
Russian propaganda also evokes contemptible — but small — elements of Ukraine’s force, such as the fascist Azov Battalion, to justify invasion, all while themselves making heavy, more direct use of the Wagner Group. Neither is defensible, but only one commits terror outside the seas and shores of its own country — and it’s not the ones associated with the country led by the Jewish liberal, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Rather, it is the one led by Putin, the man who gave a blood-and-soil-style speech about trying to recapture “ancestral lands” of the Russians before the invasion.
Zelenskyy, it is crucial to note, is the man that Donald Trump was impeached for blackmailing, withholding promised military aid unless he dug up dirt on the Bidens. This included munitions like Javelin missiles that have proven crucial to halting the advance of so many Russian armor columns. The fact he tried to give Zelenskyy the choice between unethically helping him get elected or remaining undefended against such a Russian onslaught is not an accident.
Those in denial about Russian influence are usually quick to point out — and quite fairly so — that all of the white nationalism, misogyny, queerphobia, etc. that fuel the GOP’s fascist fire were always here. But Dugin himself says that Russia should focus on accelerating and worsening existing rifts in the United States — and explicitly not try to seed new ones. This gives them cover and plausible deniability.
The reality is that, despite their massive land area and history as the USSR and the Russian Empire, the Russia of today is weak. The economy is extremely reliant on the large-scale exportation of fossil fuels — which its utter failures in military logistics seem to prevent it from properly “exporting” it to the tanks now in Ukrainian territory. Putin is an authoritarian strongman surrounded by yes men who prop up the myth that surrounds him. The reality is far different, which, as George Orwell pointed out, is eventually exposed, often exposed on the battlefield.
The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.
— George Orwell
The future of Ukraine is still undecided, though my heart goes out to the brave people currently defending their country — and showing Russia as the paper tiger that it now is. If only those who so often label themselves as the champions against imperialism and fascism were not so quick to defend what they purport to hate. Because then they might join me in showing solidarity with the brave people of Ukraine.
Слава Україні! Героям слава!
(Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!)
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