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Re: <nettime> putin, the odessa lynching, and the left
Flick Harrison on Mon, 26 May 2014 23:35:09 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> putin, the odessa lynching, and the left


After the Ukrainian election it's time to respond to this.  I'm also surprised this isn't more lively on Nettime.

I'm glad to hear Alex describe Putin as revanchist, because that's exactly what he is.  Putin's critiques of liberal democracy sound a lot like those the fascists used to spout, and for being accurate they are no less appalling.  That is, the critique is applied from an anti-humanist angle, almost futurist in its appeal to mechanical alignment of people behind state machines, which are confused entirely for the major nationalist ethnic groupings they have subsumed.  Ethnicities without a state machine, of course, are superfluous and need not apply for ration cards.

The ethnic nationalism rising in Europe today is indeed frightening.  To paraphrase what I read somewhere: it would be easy to redraw the map of Europe along ethnic lines today, as long as you were ready to draw it in blood.  That's why the knee-jerk support for separatist movements on the left is so dangerous; nationalism has as much in common with imperialism as it does with anti-imperialism.

I mean, why a separate Quebec but not a separate state for every First Nations identity? How would Eastern Canada get carved up if every language got its own parliament?  The recent attempt to impose a "values charter" in Quebec (which banned hijabs and yamulkes among a broad class of state workers) should cause any left-thinker to pause before endorsing nationalism of any kind.

And really, how is the Front National of today, or Golden Dawn for that matter, different from a separatist movement, yearning to breathe free of the capitalist chains of the Euro?

Meanwhile the detentes among Russia and China, Russia and India, Russia and Iran are starting to draw a three-dimensional-chessboard in which non- or pseudo-democracies are lining up against liberal democracies alarmingly (Vietnam notwithstanding).

The recent kerfuffle about Hitler and Prince Charles should alarm everyone - on the one hand, a royal figure of no democratic legitimacy who has the power to stir hearts and minds in the UK, should he so desire, against another country; and on the other, a Russian media that is willing to paint the British establishment as collaborationist with the Nazi Party they suffered so heavily to destroy.  The America-first movement in the 1930's had a similar foolish impulse, refusing to protect the British Empire which was as bad, they said, as the Nazis, or worse.  A few million Jews might beg to differ, if they hadn't been burned in ovens.

Russia Today has been quite successful, it seems, in feeding the external left a line of bullshit they can use in their anti-Western campaigns that haven't been updated ideologically since the Battle in Seattle.  The trouble is, Putin's solutions are worse than the problem.

Yes, The West is neo-colonialist.  Yes, they use violence to enforce their will on the weak when economics don't do the job alone.  Yes, the Euro offer to Ukraine is laced with capitalist aggression.  Therefore, support Putin?!

Does the left really believe that Barack Obama is a neocon on the order of Bush, and even if he was, would that be reason enough to side with Putin?  A man who outlawed "Gay Propaganda" before the Olympics?!  What is the Putin line on African-American equality?!

The victory of right-wing anti-humanist (anti-gay, anti-feminist despite Ms LePen, anti-multiculture) parties - parties of like mind with Putin - gives warning that laughing at Europe's failure in Ukraine is not solution enough to the current crisis.

At least we can hope that the extreme right-wing parties will never cooperate with each other; this gives them a great disadvantage globally.  I mean, really, did the Ukrainian Nazis expect the German Nazis to embrace them?  Will the Tea Party ever cheer for Putin?

- Flick Harrison
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