Re: NYT: On a Russian talk show, a retired colonel stuns his colleagues by pointing out that the invasion isn’t going well

David Walters

Not entirely correct, John, about the 3:1 ratio. There are other factors involved and if the Malvinas War proves anything it is a total strategy that must be looked at: logistics, air power, morale, and MOBILITY. The ration that defeated the Argentinians army was about 10:1 in favor Argentina. The key is that smaller mobile forces can always defeat an entrenched static force. Mobility is key to all this in any battle.  Fascinating points about this "Russian Officers Assembly". I suspect there is a lot of dissent amount the officer ranks. Of course there are not that many of them. There appears to be something of a void from sergeants on up to captains (or the Russian equivalent) and why so many Russian generals are fighting from the front.


How should we respond to people who equate communism and fascism? | The Marx Memorial Library via The Morning Star

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo

How should we respond to people who equate communism and fascism?

There is a renewed effort to lump those that started the Holocaust in with those that ended it based on simplistic ideas of 'totalitarianism' — this ignores fundamental differences in intent and outcome, explains the MARX MEMORIAL LIBRARY

A Soviet anti-war poster

ANTI-COMMUNIST propaganda takes many forms. A recent trope, associated with the Prague declaration promoted by European right-wing forces, claims that abuses of human rights by communist governments were as bad as those of the fascists. Fascism is almost universally condemned; so if people can be persuaded that communists committed similar atrocities, they will shun communism too.

To challenge this distortion it’s not enough just to point out that communists have always been the most active opponents of fascism, that fascists have targeted communists as the first group to be eliminated, that it was the efforts and sacrifices of the Red Army and the Soviet peoples that did most to defeat the Nazi armies and liberate eastern Europe.

This is necessary — but not sufficient. The propagandists can reply that communism and fascism are rival “totalitarian” systems so of course they are each other’s main enemy.

Fascism and communism each can mean two different things; the nature and characteristics of a state and the beliefs and policies of political parties which have that state as an objective. There have been a number of fascist states in the past — and some indeed exist today. But no communist state has ever existed — only socialist states at various levels of development, led by communist parties.

Fascist and communist parties indeed had one feature in common — their leading role in trying to transform the state, seeking to guide the whole population’s thought and action in definite directions. These were similarities of form, but their content — the class content — and their objectives were very different.

Fascist states and parties were the instruments of the dominant sections of the capitalist ruling classes in imposing and aggressively pursuing violent repression of the citizenry and destroying democratic and progressive organisations, particularly those of the working class.

In 1935 Georgi Dimitrov told the 7th Congress of the Communist International that fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.

Communist states and parties, on the other hand, whatever their shortcomings, were the instruments of the working class and its allies in attempting to build a new and fairer form of society, free from capitalist exploitation.

In carrying out this task in a still largely and extremely hostile capitalist world, communist governments, especially the Soviet Union during Stalin’s leadership, trampled on socialist legality, executing or sending to labour camps many people on false charges of subversion.

These were crimes committed in the name of communism, a stain on the communist record which has been acknowledged by Marxists and communists over many years. But even so they were very different from the crimes of fascism — in two ways.

First, in scale. The many who died or suffered without cause in the lands building socialism are dwarfed by the tens of millions who were victims of the Nazis and other fascist regimes particularly during the second world war mainly in Europe and Asia.

And those regimes were imperialist and were intent on continuation of imperialism and colonialism of powerful capitalist states. Millions were to suffer exploitation, oppression, famines, slavery and death, adding to the suffering, death and impoverishment of millions during previous centuries of capitalist colonial conquest and imperial rule.

Second, in intention. Fascism openly espoused the destruction of socialism and the enslavement and genocide of groups of people based on racial ideology as a road to world domination. The crimes of the Stalin era were committed by communists striving to build a new society in the face of capitalist encirclement and threats. They were the work of leaders imbued with a siege mentality arising from capitalist invasion, sabotage and civil war.

Among the charges against communism laid by the right-wing adherents to the Prague declaration is that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were equally responsible for the outbreak of the second world war. They maintain that the non-aggression pact of 1939 encouraged the Nazis to attack the West.

This is a travesty of history. War was built into fascist strategies for world domination, into the very essence of the fascist outlook. In Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler wrote “In eternal warfare mankind has become great — in eternal peace mankind would be ruined.” Mussolini and the Japanese imperialists made similar pronouncements.

In contrast, communism has always sought world peace. In 1918 at Brest Litovsk the Bolsheviks made territorial concessions to secure peace with Germany. In the 1930s, in the face of growing threats from Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, the USSR advocated collective security agreements with the democratic capitalist states.

It was only after Chamberlain’s pact with the Nazis at Munich in 1938 that the Soviet Union made a non-aggression pact with Germany, securing a little time to prepare for the Nazi attack it knew to be inevitable.

Unlike the long list of fascist aggressions against independent states and of more recent incursions by US imperialism, the Soviet Union only twice invaded other lands — Poland and Finland in 1939. In both cases the motive was to secure lines of defence against invasion and the actions were ended as soon as this aim was achieved.

Later Soviet military interventions in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan were — rightly or wrongly — intended to prevent imperialism from establishing bases from which to attack socialism and not — like so many US and British actions — to bring about regime change.

Communism and fascism are not only different things; they are different kinds of things. Communism is a distinct economic and social system, the antithesis of capitalism. It is guided by Marxism, a rational philosophy arising from the study of human history.

Fascism is not a distinct system; it is a way of running the existing capitalist system. Instead of a consistent ideology, it seeks to influence the masses with a ragbag of notions, including national mysticism and pseudo-scientific racism.

The most telling contrast between fascism and communism is in the outcomes of their rule. Far from restoring national dignity and pride, fascism led the German, Italian and Japanese peoples to the utter destruction of their economies and societies.

By contrast within the Soviet Union the development of socialism, led by the Communist Party, modernised the ramshackle tsarist empire, educated its backward largely peasant population, laid the basis for a land of equality and fellowship.

After defeating the Nazis it rebuilt a shattered country and resumed a rate of economic growth that was higher than that of the West. All this was accomplished without foreign aid or private capital.

The Soviet Union eventually succumbed to a counter-revolution rooted in the Communist Party’s own weaknesses and errors and in relentless pressure from encircling capitalist imperialism. But it had shown that it was possible for the working class and its allies to seize state power and construct a new type of society.

Now communists in Cuba, China and Vietnam are engaging, in their own distinctive ways, in the same historic task. Their parties too have made mistakes. But their focus is, ultimately, on the wellbeing of the people as a whole, including their engagement and participation in building a society free from the distortions of capitalism — all are a vivid demonstration of the fact that communism and fascism are totally different.

Details of Marx Memorial Library events together with copies of previous Full Marx answers in this series (this is number 79) can be found on the Library’s website:

One in six killed by pollution worldwide, study finds

Dennis Brasky

Review Essay: The Bloody Business of the British Conquest of Nigeria

Dennis Brasky

Gun control

John Reimann

The liberals are once more pressing the issue of gun control following the murders in Buffalo. This is their "go to" response to every such event. It avoids the main question, which is why the US is such a violent and alienated society. However, I do think that the mass ownership of assault rifles is insane. Contrary to the claims of some, ownership of such weapons has nothing to do with hunting. That is clearly documented in the book "Gun Fight", written by a former top executive in the gun industry named Ryan Busse. In it, Busse explains how the gun industry was originally centered around hunting, whose advocates also tended to be environmentalists. Among other things, many in the industry actually opposed adoption of assault weapons as something alien to hunting. But the NRA chiefs had their own right wing agenda, which they married to Christian fundamentalism and racism, and they forced it upon the executives of several of the gun manufacturers. The NRA imposed what amounted to an industry boycott of any gun company that showed any tendency to compromise over the question of regulation of ownership of assault weapons. Other executives, of course, saw purchase of assault weapons as a sales opportunity and readily embraced it.
The history of the popularization of assault weapons in the US shows that it is an absolute lie that ownership of assault weapons has anything to do with hunting. They are bought to kill people. Simple as that.

John Reimann
“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
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Re: Irresponsible braggadocio won’t help Ukrainians

John Reimann

I think the way this New Politics article portrays matters is unbalanced. It seems to me that the main danger as far as US policy regarding Ukraine is that the US will push Ukraine to accept a "peace" deal that the majority of Ukrainians are not prepared to accept. I am referring to a deal whereby Russia is conceded additional territory over what it gained after 2014, when it annexed Crimea and set up the two fake "republics" in Luhansk and Donetsk.

That tendency in US policy is expressed by the likes of militarist columnist Michael Friedman of the NY Times and political science professor at U. of Chicago John Mearsheimer. 

As far as that comment from Lloyd Austin: who knows whether it actually expressed a general policy or whether it was just a careless remark? What we do know is that US support for Ukraine has been hesitant for years and remains so. Alexander Vindman pointed that out in an article in the journal Foreign Affairs. "In the two months since Russia attacked Ukraine, the United States has thus far lived up to this ambivalent reputation. It has committed aid to Ukraine in fits and starts and has sought to avoid an escalation with Russia at the expense of more uncompromising support for Ukraine’s defense," he wrote.

I think this is accurate. For months, Zelensky was calling for heavy weapons and was criticizing what he felt was insufficient US military aid. Of course, he had to do so in muted terms, but he was doing so nevertheless.I think that many socialists who support aid to Ukraine are nevertheless somewhat defensive about that support. They - we - may be a little intimidated by the clamor of the "socialist" majority about US imperialism and NATO being responsible, etc. etc. 

Of course, it is, or should be, up to the people of Ukraine to decide whether to keep fighting. So far, they seem determined to fight to prevent Russia from gaining any additional territory over what it gained after 2014, and possibly even to settle the issue of Luhansk and Donetsk by taking back those "republics". I think the major danger of US policy may be to push Zelensky to accept something significantly less before the Ukrainian people are willing to do so.

John Reimann

“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
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Re: NYT: On a Russian talk show, a retired colonel stuns his colleagues by pointing out that the invasion isn’t going well

John Reimann

When just a few military leaders speak out against a policy, that is likely just the tip of the iceberg. Khodaryonok is not the first, nor probably the most powerful former officer to criticize the war. Back before the invasion even started, retired Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov openly opposed the invasion. He criticized not just tactical shortcomings, but the invasion itself. Ivashov is (or at least was at the time) the head of the All Russia Officers Assembly, and he said he was speaking on behalf of that organization, which is composed of retired officers. In a clear reference to NATO, by the way, he said that "nobody threatens us".

I think what has happened, though, is that Putin has played a game similar to that of Stalin in which he keeps all top leaders permanently insecure. In that way, an opposition cannot coalesce.

Incidentally, on that "golden rule" that attackers need a 3:1 numerical advantage over defenders: From what I understand, that mainly applies to a past form of warfare, something similar to how wars were fought in WW II, or maybe even WW I. Today, flexibility, mobility and technological integration are factors that can tend to override that ratio and, possibly even more important, so does the question of morale. 

John Reimann

“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
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‘People should be more aware’: the business dynasties who benefited from Nazis

Dennis Brasky

In his new book Nazi Billionaires, David de Jong explores the damning history of companies who have refused to examine their murky history with Hitler

Colonial and Confederate statues toppled. Looted objects returned by contrite museums. Tainted family names such as Sackler expunged from buildings. A worldwide reckoning with the past crimes of great powers is under way. But is there a glaring omission?

A new book, Nazi Billionaires, investigates how Germany’s richest business dynasties made fortunes by aiding and abetting Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. It also examines how, eight decades later, they still escape close scrutiny and a nation that has done so much to confront its catastrophic past still suffers a very particular blind spot.


Irresponsible braggadocio won’t help Ukrainians | Gilbert Achcar | New Politics

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo

The Buffalo Shooting and the Danger of White Replacement Theory | Kathleen Belew | The New York Times

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo

The Long Game of White-Power Activists Isn’t Just About Violence

A march before the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto, via Getty Images

By Kathleen Belew

It’s not immediately obvious how the “great replacement” theory, often framed as anti-immigrant doctrine meant to preserve predominantly white societies, is connected to the shooting of Black customers and employees at a grocery store in Buffalo last weekend. Those at the store, who lived over 100 miles away from the man accused in the killings, were simply going about their lives (picking upgroceries, buying a birthday caketaking their children for ice cream).

But the explanation for both the choice of targets and the brutality of an attack that killed 10 people can be found in the history of the theory. In the American context, it has in its cross-hairs a host of future targets, among them democracy itself.

The great replacement is the latest incarnation of an old idea: the belief that elites are attempting to destroy the white race by overwhelming it with nonwhite groups and thinning them out with interbreeding until white people no longer exist. This idea is not, at its core, about any single threat, be it immigrants or people of color, but rather about the white race that it purports to protect. It's important to be cautious and not too credulous when reading the writings of assailants in attacks motived by race, but we should note an important pattern: their obsession with protecting white birthrates.

For decades, white power activists have worried about their status as a majority. They see a looming demographic crisis, and talk about when their community, town or the United States will no longer be majority white. Even when demographic change slows, this fear has not abated.

This belief transforms social issues into direct threats: Immigration is a problem because immigrants will outbreed the white population. Abortion is a problem because white babies will be aborted. L.G.B.T.Q. rights and feminism will take women from the home and decrease the white birthrate. Integration, intermarriage and even the presence of Black people distant from a white community — an issue apparently of keen interest in the Buffalo attack — are seen as a threat to the white birthrate through the threat of miscegenation.

A memorial for the victims of the Buffalo grocery store shooting.Scott Olson/Getty Images

In the United States, it is clear that this is never only about immigration; when gunmen write about “replacers,” they might just as easily mean any person of color, whether they have American roots or not. Replacement theory is about the violent defense of whiteness.

The reason we often think of replacement theory as a specifically anti-immigrant ideology is because of two key writings — “The Great Replacement” by Renaud Camus and “The Camp of the Saints” by Jean Raspail. Both have gained currency in white- power and militant-right circles in the last decade. “The Camp of the Saints,” from 1973, is essentially a dystopian, fictional precursor to “The Great Replacement,” published in 2011 in French, which argues that white Europeans are being replaced in their countries by nonwhite immigrants. That “The Camp of the Saints” was recommended by Stephen Miller, who later became an architect of the Trump administration’s cruelest immigration policies, reveals that replacement theory is known, if not embraced, by some in the Republican Party. Both are built around the fear of nonwhite — including Islamic — immigration into Europe as a major threat of cultural collapse and extinction of whiteness.

White-power extremism reveals that the core of this ideology is not the victims it attacks, but rather the thing it attempts to preserve — and the mechanism that transfigures this ideology into racial violence. It imagines that a conspiracy of elites, usually imagined as Jewish “globalists,” are deliberately working to eradicate both white people and white culture. This is why white nationalism is so often virulently antisemitic, and also why it feeds on deep distrust of the media, education, science and other arbiters of expertise.

Replacement theory in America has domestic antecedents much older than Renaud Camus and Jean Raspail. Henry Ford, among other Americans, promoted “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which — through an entirely fictional depiction of a powerful Jewish conspiracy that controlled world events — has influenced racist theories and beliefs from its initial publication in the early 20th century.

Worries about the body politic and threats to the racial composition of the nation inspired eugenics campaigns, anti-immigration activists, and other Progressives, including Theodore Roosevelt. These ideas have been braided with environmentalism not only by ecofascists in the recent past, but by late 19th- and early 20th-century environmentalists who worried about population burdens and wondered how to preserve nature for white people.

When neo-Nazis, Klansmen, militiamen and skinheads came together in the 1980s and 1990s, they worried about the “Zionist Occupational Government” or the “New World Order.” They also clarified that their nation was notthe United States, but a transnational body politic of white people that had to be defended from these conspiratorial enemies and from racial threats — defended through violence and race war. That current still runs through the writings of those associated with the Charleston, Christchurch, Oslo, El Paso, Pittsburgh and Buffalo attacks.

It is impossible to separate replacement theory from its violent implications, as decades of terrorism by its adherents shows us. The mainstreaming of replacement theory, whether through Tucker Carlson’s show or in Elise Stefanik’s campaign ads, will continue to have disastrous consequences.

The long game of white-power activists isn’t just to terrorize and intimidate nonwhites: As “The Camp of the Saints” shows, these activists fear apocalyptic extinction if they don’t take up arms. The American equivalent, “The Turner Diaries,” imagines what it would be like to establish a white-dominated world through race war and genocide.

Why wouldn’t people immediately condemn such an idea?

Thoughts and prayers are never enough after a mass shooting, but even these messages seem more sparse than usual. Wendy Rogers, an Arizona state senator and member of the far-right extralegal Oath Keepers militia that was involved in the storming of the Capitol, suggested online that the shooting had been a false flag operation perpetrated by a federal agent.

Clearly this is not a fringe idea anymore. Decades of violence at the hands of extremists tell us that such ideas will lead to further violence; mainstreaming of the idea means that the window for action is closing.

Kathleen Belew is the author of “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America” and is incoming associate professor of history at Northwestern University.

Re: Having Sex with Women is Gay--Republican Seer

Farans Kalosar

OK. I have no particular objection to this post, though I disagree with its tenor, to the extent that I think that is clear. It's also, of course, comically supercilious and pedantic in tone.  But that's allowed.

A couple of corrections, however:

  • The term "postmodernism" is not confined to art history as the second definition states. There is postmodernism in philosophy in particular.  That discussion should at least include Habermas as well as Lyotard, if one wishes to "go there."  But the term may IMO with perfect propriety be used in a broader and more intuitive sense without requiring the recapitulation of a college reading list.
  • You left Saussure out of your family tree of the concept of the arbitrariness of the sign.  This is strange, as Saussure is regarded by most as the "father" of this doctrine in modern linguistics
Some physicists express themselves very clearly in plain English.  I had the privilege of interviewing the late Eugene Parker at some length in the early 1990s for a video that I had written and was producing for the Space Physics Division of NASA.  He had no trouble at all discussing subjects such as the question of how the solar corona is heated.  At the time, Parker--who had first proposed and then verified the existence of the solar wind--was proposing an experimental space mission that was defunded together with the now-forgotten Great Observatories campaign, but was revived decades later as the Parker Solar Probe, which Parker lived to see launched successfully.

This kind of communication has strict limits, but that is true of scientific and technical communication in general.  Nobody has truly encyclopedic knowledge, but that does not mean that one cannot find one's way successfully around the numerous scientific and technical disciplines that impinge on our lives.  The kind of universal polymath that Derrida--apparently absurdly--pretended to be is not really needed as long as one understands and can live with the limitations imposed by legitimate specialization.

Re: Racist murders in Buffalo: A warning to be taken seriously

Farans Kalosar

Yes, of course.  I understand the meaning of Bonapartism ( I think), but, as Marx famously states at the beginning of The 18th Brumaire, such revolutionary moments occur

. . . the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the Montagne of 1848 to 1851[66] for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire.
So in our American Empire--particularly given the fact that the European history of the 19th century is continuous with the deadly farce of worldwide imperialism as it finds its way on to the increasingly chaotic stage of the 21st--how many layers of farce piled upon farce can the historical fabric of society tolerate before no more irony is possible and the cognition of reality itself--as expressed in all the departments of human culture writ large, including science and history, simply collapses--as indeed it does in the weird science of Trumpism and the ecstatic rebellion of the manufactured idiots who now carry Maggie Thatcher's "no such thing as society," in all deadly seriousness, to an unbelievably literal extreme.

How can one recognize the farce in our culture when it has passed the point where the thing it parodies can no longer be identified--when people see nothing strange in a head of state declaring in all seriousness that the Continental Army defeated the Royal Air Force in a pitched battle, thus winning "freedom" for "the American people"? 

I want to suggest that there is in effect a kind of mycelium of governance in society--a vast catalog of standards, procedures, processes, products, working assumptions, and the nearly limitless catalogue of factual knowledge required to keep the whole thing going--with regard to which personages, movements, institutions, and parties are merely the fruiting bodies necessary to reproduction.  This infrastructure perhaps is itself capable of decay and extinction.  Perhaps it's that decay in part that manifests itself in the sinister clownishness that has always pervaded at least American public life, and that now has changed so much that it has become a qualitatively new and dangerous phenomenon.

There is perhaps a tendency on the part of some leftists to assume that something solid, powerful, and coherent must underly all changes of government.  But what if that is not necessarily true--if the capitalist class do not unerringly judge what is in their interests and "fascists" can no longer be relied upon to act rationally in pursuit of their policies, which, however monstrous, still cohere powerfully at the level of policy?  

Nazism was a misbegotten hash of ill-assorted half-baked theories, fake folklore, superstition, grotesque pseudoreligious hobby-horses, phenomenology, and fantasy--but it supported a set of policies that, while monstrous, made sense as policy and therefore allowed concerted action by the terrorist state. Can a farcical reiteration do as much--even a farcical repetition, post-Nazism, of Bonapartism?

I entirely accept that the Buffalo shooter was acting on the basis of a kind of neofascist ideology, both conscious and--I'd suggest--unconscious.  But how could those behind that presumptive ideology take the likes of that shooter and weld them into a coherent governing force? Terror is with us in such acts--but what is its final political character given the anarchic nature of its manifestation?  Can there be farcical mass murder? What are the political limits of the hyper-ironic farce that surrounds us every day? 

You may not want my support after that outburst, but you still have it.  This is all meant in a good spirit.

NYT: On a Russian talk show, a retired colonel stuns his colleagues by pointing out that the invasion isn’t going well

Bradley Mayer

This story is all over the NATO country medias.  However I can't find any wiki background on the retired colonel, who supposedly quoted Marx and Lenin on the importance of military morale in a war.  As if that was going to impress anyone in today's Russia, though I'm sure the Western media is happy to leave its audience with that impression, where it is convenient to falsely depict Putin's Russia as merely a lineal continuation of the Soviet Union.  So I figure Mikhail M. Khodaryonok came up through the ranks in late Soviet times, and he remembers when you only committed to a war with overwhelming force (3:1 odds the golden rule of thumb).  

But this isn't Grandpa's Marx and Lenin-quoting Soviet Red Army anymore.  Now it is a typical crapified, deindustrialized, just-in-time, lean and mean, Dumsfeld style "you go with the military you have" capitalist military.  The moment of near-US world hegemony in the 1990's and 2000's did have some effect.  

"The problems that Mr. Khodaryonok referred to, sometimes obliquely, included low morale, the array of Western countries aligned against Russia and the amount of fighters and matériel that Ukraine was assembling.

"“We are in total geopolitical isolation and the whole world is against us, even if we don’t want to admit it,” said Mr. Khodaryonok, noting that Russia’s “resources, military-political and military-technical, are limited.”  ["Total" is not true by a long shot]

"He urged Russians not to take “informational sedatives.” The clip was first highlighted by Francis Scarr of BBC Monitoring [UK state TV], which tracks Russian broadcasts. Mr. Khodaryonok did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.  [If hot property Khodaryonok  were still ambitious, he could "jump ship" to join CNN's stable of "retired military analyst" commentariat.  From one "state TV" to the other]

"Aside from questioning Russia’s position, it was a remarkable moment because Mr. Khodaryonok noted that Ukraine seemed to have momentum. Russians mistakenly tended to try to extrapolate the problems of a few soldiers in the Ukrainian Army to denigrate its whole military, he said. In reality, they were ready to field a million men if given sufficient weapons, were highly motivated and would be receiving an increasing quantity of military support from the United States and Europe, he added.

"Mr. Khodaryonok seemed to be careful not to say anything openly critical of the Russian side, repeatedly stressing that the entire situation was “not normal.” When it came to morale issues, for example, he reached back into history and noted that Marx and Lenin had said that high morale was an important factor for battlefield success. He did not refer directly to recent indications that the Russian Army is suffering from morale problems.

"Mr. Khodaryonok has been critical of the Russian military operations in the past. In an unusual column published in early February, before the invasion, he cautioned against it, saying that it would not be the cake walk that many Russian analysts expected and that it was not in Russia’s “national interests.”
"He predicted accurately that the Ukrainians would fight hard to defend their country and that the West would provide extensive arms. “There will be no blitzkrieg in Ukraine,” he wrote in Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, a Russian weekly newspaper supplement on military matters.
"Even earlier, about a year after Russia dispatched its military to Syria in 2015 to prop up President Bashar al-Assad, he wrote a column for an internet news service, Gazeta.Ru, suggesting that the Syrian Army was an unworthy ally, pointing out its lack of military success and corruption.
"Concerning the war in Ukraine, however, he has previously praised the Russian effort."

Not anymore.

The "Brutal Solidarity" Between Buffalo and Palestine | Dave Zirin | The Nation

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo

The “Brutal Solidarity” Between Buffalo and Palestine

The violence that has visited Buffalo’s Black community and the Palestinian mourners of Shireen Abu Akleh speaks to the commonality of their oppression.

So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Beyond Vietnam,” 1967

Brutal solidarity.”

Those words sit heavy with me today in the wake of last week’s tragedies. A white supremacist in Buffalo drove hours to one of the most segregated cities in the country to open fire on the very people who have been victimized by the city’s history of segregation. He staked out Buffalo’s Black community, armed himself, and began killing.

Only a few days prior, an Israeli sniper murdered a Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter named Shireen Abu Akleh. Following the tragedy, Israeli forces attacked mourners at her funeral. Her crime was trying to tell the truth about the realities of the violent segregation and dispossession that define Israeli apartheid.

You don’t see the media tying these stories together. To most outlets, they are thousands of miles apart—about as distant from each other as Buffalo and Palestine themselves.

But they are tied together in their own “brutal solidarity.” This is the solidarity formed by the shared history of being preyed upon by European colonialism and the fetishization of the gun. The roots of anti-Black violence have been unceasing on this land from the transatlantic slave trade to a history of forced labor, lynchings, and terror. The root of violence against Palestinians by Israel start with the creation of Israel itself in 1948, the dispossession of Palestinian land—the Nakba—and deals made between Israeli settlers and Europe and the United States to create a Western European outpost in the Middle East, armed to the teeth and built on stolen land. That process has continued into the present with the very settlements that Shireen Abu Akleh covered.

It is a “brutal solidarity” forged by efforts in Israel and the United States to stamp out the teaching of history, a war on truth and facts in the service of oppression and violence. In Israel—and increasingly in the US—to speak about exercising boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against the Israeli state in peaceful defense of Palestinian lives is to put a target on your back. In our own country, more than 40 states have put forward laws to stop teaching what they call “critical race theory.” They have called upon the state, two years after mass demonstrations that followed the police killings of George Floyd struck fear in their hearts, to squash any teachings about slavery and systemic racism (without a peep from Elon Musk and his lapdogs in the free speech brigade). The Buffalo killer’s manifesto, of course, pulled anti-CRT rhetoric from Fox News’s Tucker Carlson and his ilk.

We also see the “brutal solidarity” between Buffalo and Palestine in the panic of their oppressors: panic against truth, panic against pluralism, and panic against the fear of being replaced by the other. In the United States, this is called the “great replacement” theory. In Israel, people refer to “demographic time bombs.” In both cases, these calls to fear are also a call to violence. In both cases, racist TV blowhards and politicians co-opt these theories, increasing the temperature within those predisposed to kill. Steel wool couldn’t scrub away the blood that stains Tucker Carlson’s hands.

Sometimes it feels like brutal solidarity is all the solidarity we get, and searching for crumbs of hope can seem like a symbolic, empty enterprise. But there is hope, and if we are to find it, it will be in a young generation that is more diverse and less tolerant of intolerance than any in history. It is in the early efforts of Palestinian and Black youth attempting to bridge and connect their common experiences. It is in the mural of Michael Brown that someone painted on Israel’s apartheid wall in Gaza. It is in the efforts of Black youth to visit Palestine this summer, share experiences, and do something truly revolutionary: to replace the brutal solidarity with a solidarity of hope, forged not only by shared experiences but also shared struggle.

But we also can’t just fold our arms and wait for the youth to save us from the global catastrophe that previous generations created. We cannot tweet our way out of this mess. We need to support the marginalized organizationally, politically, and financially, while decentering ourselves and making room for them to lead. Despair is natural at this moment. I feel it in my bones. But cynicism or the distractions provided by a dumbed-down celebrity culture will only give us more of the same violence. In the name of Shireen and the fallen in Buffalo, we must act.

[Dave Zirin is the sports editor of The Nation and the author of The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World.]

In both Sweden and Finland, Communists oppose NATO membership plans | Steve Sweeney | The Morning Star via People's World

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo

Re: Finland’s decision to join Nato is tantamount to an act of national suicide, not security | John Wight | The Morning Star

Bradley Mayer

It is correct to say that without the USA, there would be no NATO. That is why it is a "North Atlantic" rather then a "European" military alliance. I believe that an analysis of NATO's military capabilities focused on which state supplied what, will show that the USA supplies NATO's strategic capabilities.   In addition, NATO from its inception has always been an expression of US military dominance of Western Europe established at the end of WW2.  That military dominance remains in place post-USSR and Warsaw Pact, however diluted by NATO's extension into Eastern Europe, or however unwieldly NATO has become with the addition of more members, each with a potential veto.  The dominant position has also been weakened by the string of US military reversals over the last 20+ years, bringing into question NATO's military effectiveness, especially the results in Afghanistan, a NATO military occupation.  The Russo-Ukraine War currently brings that question of NATO effectiveness into sharper focus.  Since Ukraine is not a NATO member, any NATO engagement with Ukraine has been almost exclusively a US/UK affair - since individual members can act independently outside of any NATO mandate - and the present war once again places on trial the military effectivity of the dominant power in NATO, the USA, in what it no doubt sees as a proxy war.

These considerations are not the same as saying NATO is simply an agent of US foreign policy, or an agent that is completely controlled by US imperialism.  The refusal of key European NATO members to grant a NATO mandate for the USA's invasion of Iraq is one piece of evidence against any such reduction.  Likewise, military dominance does not mean US political or economic dominance over Europe, though the Russo-Ukraine War will act and is acting to disrupt EU economics and politics much more so than that of the USA.  For example, given fossil fuel dependence generally, it is economically irrational for Europe to not consume European subcontinental supplies of crude oil and natural gas located in European Russia, in exchange for more costly supply from far away North America, an economic irrationality determined by inter-imperialist geopolitical-military competition.

Finally, speaking of rationality, a common mistake is to assume a subjective rationality of imperialist political leadership. So the Russo-Ukraine War is the end result of some grand scheme run by US leadership since the dissolution of the USSR and Warsaw Pact (and therefore simply a continuation of the Cold War), and so forth.  But Marxists hold that capitalism is an irrational social order, both within each capitalist country and, even more so, on the world scale in a system of such countries. Further, some capitalist states act more irrationally than others. After WW2, the joint US-Soviet military domination of Europe oversaw a fairly drastic "regime change" reorganization of that sub-continent, transforming the USA, once the most politically and socially advanced of the capitalist states, into one of the most politically anachronistic and socially backward relatively speaking, given its now almost 240 year old, and basically pre-modern, bourgeois political system.  In reality there was no objective reason post-Soviet Russia could not have been integrated into a broader NATO military alliance.  However the US political system, forming the class subjectivity of its ruling class, was simply incapable of rational address of the new situation that emerged in the 1990's.  The USA could have been a world hegemon, leading by example, but it failed, and the Russo-Ukraine War is one result of that failure as condition, though that failure itself is not the proximate cause of the war.

After 1991 I had imagined that the USA would orchestrate some sort of "Great White Confederacy" from Washington DC to Moscow in a grand unity of "white supremacy" that would then act as collective hegemon to the rest of the world. It was my worst fear.  Silly me.  Now, from the perspective of far away white-minority California, it looks like different factions of white supremacists, some snobbishly looking down at the others as yokels, have taken to killing each other.

If the emancipation of the working classes requires their fraternal concurrence, how are they to fulfill that great mission with a foreign policy in pursuit of criminal designs, playing upon national prejudices, and squandering in piratical wars the people’s blood and treasure?... the shameless approval, mock sympathy, or idiotic indifference with which the upper classes of Europe have witnessed the mountain fortress of the Caucasus falling a prey to, and heroic Poland being assassinated by, Russia: the immense and unresisted encroachments of that barbarous power, whose head is in St. Petersburg, and whose hands are in every cabinet of Europe, have taught the working classes the duty to master themselves the mysteries of international politics; to watch the diplomatic acts of their respective governments; to counteract them, if necessary, by all means in their power; when unable to prevent, to combine in simultaneous denunciations, and to vindicate the simple laws or morals and justice, which ought to govern the relations of private individuals, as the rules paramount of the intercourse of nations.  The fight for such a foreign policy forms part of the general struggle for the emancipation of the working classes.
Proletarians of all countries, unite!

Re: Having Sex with Women is Gay--Republican Seer

Jeffrey Masko <j.alan.masko@...>

Deconstruction = Derrida's interrogation of language from a semiotic POV, ie, its arbitrary nature as pointed out by Peirce and later taken up by Lacan
Postmodernism = an art movement in film, painting, literature and elsewhere that questions that validity of using Modernism past the 20th century midpoint see Lynch, Warhol, DeLillo.
Poststructuralism = Is the wider theory behind deconstruction that rejects phenomenology as foundational and posits language as biased since it conditions both history and epistemology. They take the position that the world "beyond" language is unknowable as language is the "prison house" that safeguards power.

There is the postmodern condition of Lyotard's and that may be thought of as the societal embodiment, or the material living conditions in a poststructuralist world.

Watch the youtube video of Chomsky debating Foucault and you'll see two people talking past each other. Chomsky full well understands Continental theory and tries to move out of the way by saying he doesn't understand them.

Folks who are trained in high energy physics often have trouble putting advanced concepts into plain English, like the spin of quarks. Just because it may be counter intuitive, doesn't make it incorrect.

George Snedeker posted this, you may have missed it. Kevin is a well respected scholar, so perhaps this may be able to help since not understanding a thinker is not a reason for dismissal:


by Kevin B. Anderson, a well-known scholar-activist in the Marxist-Humanist tradition. The essays cover the dialectics of revolution in a variety of settings, from Hegel and the French Revolution to dialectics today and its poststructuralist and pragmatist critics. In these essays, particular attention is given to Lenin’s encounter with Hegel and its impact on the critique of imperialism, the rejection of crude materialism, and more generally, on world revolutionary developments. Major but neglected works on Hegel and dialectics written under the impact of the struggle against fascism like Lukács’s The Young Hegel and Marcuse’s Reason and Revolution are given full critical treatment. Dunayevskaya’s intersectional revolutionary dialectics is also treated extensively, especially its focus on a dialectics of revolution that avoids class reductionism, placing gender, race, and colonialism at the center alongside class. In addition, key critics of Hegel and dialectics like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Antonio Negri, Pierre Bourdieu, and Richard Rorty, are themselves analysed and critiqued from a twenty-first century dialectical perspective. The book also takes up the dialectic in global, intersectional settings via a reconsideration of the themes of Anderson’s Marx at the Margins, where nationalism, race, and colonialism were theorized alongside capital and class as key elements in Marxist dialectical thought. As a whole, the book offers a discussion of major themes in the dialectics of revolution that still speak to us today at a time of radical transformation in all spheres of society and of everyday life.

Re: Finland’s decision to join Nato is tantamount to an act of national suicide, not security | John Wight | The Morning Star


That's a poll from February. A poll from a week ago gives 76% public
support for NATO membership, only 12% being against.
(In Finnish)


On Mon, May 16, 2022 at 07:29:24PM -0700, David Walters wrote: is "broad support" even though it's only a slight

A poll for Finland’s state broadcaster Yle showed 53 per cent of
Finns supported joining Nato, 28 per cent were against and 19 per
cent did not know. The last time Yle conducted such a poll in 2017
only 19 per cent were in favour of joining while 53 per cent were

Re: Racist murders in Buffalo: A warning to be taken seriously

John Reimann

I am not suggesting that a fascist regime is about to come into existence in the US any time soon. I am suggesting that the fascist attacks are a symptom of a wider and deeper development of fascist groups, including in the US military and in law enforcement. And that these groups well may start to coordinate such attacks and not only use them for purely terrorist reasons but also for more overtly political aims, including but not limited to voter suppression. It would also lead to a further fragmentation of US society in general.

I do think that in that situation, a bonapartist regime could come into existence. There is a difference between bonapartism and fascism, although the former can have links with the latter.

John Reimann

“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
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Re: Finland’s decision to join Nato is tantamount to an act of national suicide, not security | John Wight | The Morning Star

John Reimann

It is popular on the left to picture NATO as being simply an agent of US foreign policy, an agent that is completely controlled by US imperialism. The corollary is that the expansion of NATO into eastern Europe was aimed at post-Soviet Union Russia. In other words, that it was simply an extension of the Cold War. This simplistic thinking is typical of the great majority of the left, which is stuck in a time warp and thinks we are still back in 1960 or something.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, all sorts of divisions opened up in NATO. Berlusconi, for example, pushed for Russia to join NATO. In 2002, at his initiative, the NATO-Russian Council was established as a first step towards that goal.

Putin himself clearly saw joining NATO as a possibility and at a G8 conference in 2005 held in Russia (the host country for G8 meetings gets to set the agenda) Putin gave a speech on energy security. What he basically presented was a strategy whereby Russia would provide "energy security" for Western Europe as part of an alliance between Russia and the West.

This view was not entirely at odds with US foreign policy under Bush. Don't forget that at that time there were two interlinked preoccupations: Access to oil (this was in the days prior to widespread fracking so US energy supplies weren't that great) and combating Islamic fundamentalism/Islamic nationalism. The latter not only threatened US access to oil in N. Africa/W. Asia, it also threatened to destabilize the entire region and beyond and vastly undercut US influence there. So the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe was as much designed for those interests as anything else.

From what I'm reading, another wing of the strategists for US imperialism - mainly represented in the Democratic Party - did see Russia as a potential rival even in those early days and did encourage NATO expansion to counter Russia. My point is, however, that even back then, the expansion of NATO was not as simple as most on the left picture it.

As far as today, Sauli Niinisto, Finnish president, had a very simple reply to Putin. When the latter complained about Finland wanting to join NATO, Niinisto suggested that if Putin wanted to see the reason why he should "look in the mirror".

John Reimann

“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
Check out:https: also on Facebook

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