Thread: Russia is an Imperialist Country

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    Default Russia is an Imperialist Country

    The present world situation is defined by a system of capitalist-imperialist relations, and the principal contradiction on the global scale is between imperialist states and oppressed peoples.


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    Russia is absolutely an Imperialist state. Its gone from zero to hyper capitalism, to the extent that it now attacks Donbass, Crimea & previously South Ossetia. The Baltic states joined NATO out of real fear IMHO. I hate NATO as much as the next guy but I understand their fear felt real.
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    Hi, comrades: You are 100% totally right. There are many leftists, specially middle class leftists, which use the social network Facebook as their main debate website, that support Putin and many social-democrats governments, they support the Government of Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, which is also social-democrat and not trying to move Venezuela toward a dictatorship of the workers of Venezuela

    The whole world is full of mentally lazy people. Many people within the left are also very mentally lazy, mentally lazy people do not like to study the specific details and heart of the matters of things. And that's why they label as communism, as socialism any government with capitalist systems and some populist social programs


    Russia is absolutely an Imperialist state. Its gone from zero to hyper capitalism, to the extent that it now attacks Donbass, Crimea & previously South Ossetia. The Baltic states joined NATO out of real fear IMHO. I hate NATO as much as the next guy but I understand their fear felt real.
    A good answer for anti-communist hockey dads if they tell you to leave the USA: "If you force me to leave USA, I will leave USA. Otherwise I will stay in your Glenn Beck country trying to help the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency https://www.thecommunists.net/what-we-stand-for/ who will overthrow the US government in the near future, seize state power and destroy capitalism once americans cannot endure anymore so much pain and suffering caused the free market capitalist system of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin"
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    Of course Russia is an imperialist state. Putin is trying to transform Eastern Europe into a buffer zone between Russia and the NATO-aligned Germany, which would require turning Ukraine and the Baltic states into de facto Russian protectorates. The massing of Russian forces along the western border and the recent foreign policy decisions of the Putin regime (the Ukrainian civil war, the "protection" of Russian nationals in the Baltics, etc) are a means to that end. He's exerting influence on old members of the Soviet Union (and the Russian Empire) to reestablish a Russian sphere of orbit in Europe and Central Asia, much like the United States did with Latin America under the Monroe Doctrine.
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    Russia is absolutely an Imperialist state. Its gone from zero to hyper capitalism, to the extent that it now attacks Donbass, Crimea & previously South Ossetia. The Baltic states joined NATO out of real fear IMHO. I hate NATO as much as the next guy but I understand their fear felt real.


    Hi, comrades: You are 100% totally right. There are many leftists, specially middle class leftists, which use the social network Facebook as their main debate website, that support Putin and many social-democrats governments, they support the Government of Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, which is also social-democrat and not trying to move Venezuela toward a dictatorship of the workers of Venezuela

    The whole world is full of mentally lazy people. Many people within the left are also very mentally lazy, mentally lazy people do not like to study the specific details and heart of the matters of things. And that's why they label as communism, as socialism any government with capitalist systems and some populist social programs


    Of course Russia is an imperialist state. Putin is trying to transform Eastern Europe into a buffer zone between Russia and the NATO-aligned Germany, which would require turning Ukraine and the Baltic states into de facto Russian protectorates. The massing of Russian forces along the western border and the recent foreign policy decisions of the Putin regime (the Ukrainian civil war, the "protection" of Russian nationals in the Baltics, etc) are a means to that end. He's exerting influence on old members of the Soviet Union (and the Russian Empire) to reestablish a Russian sphere of orbit in Europe and Central Asia, much like the United States did with Latin America under the Monroe Doctrine.

    At the expense of the thread's title I'm going to point out several discrepancies with the article's thesis:



    The question of “who are our friends, who are our enemies?” is one of the most important questions we need to grapple with. It is our hope that this short document will demonstrate that the Russian state is not a friend of the people, but instead the representative of a bloc of monopoly-capitalists itching to secure “a bigger piece of the pie” through the incessant inter-imperialist struggle to redivide the world.

    I don't disagree with any of the *economic* facts that the article puts-forth, but the *historical* geopolitical record is definitely at-odds with any demonization of Russia in the geopolitical arena:


    ---



    Each federal subject belongs to one of the following types:

    Legend Description
    46 oblasts
    most common type of federal subjects with a governor and locally elected legislature. Commonly named after their administrative centers.
    22 republics
    nominally[citation needed] autonomous, each has its own constitution and legislature; is represented by the federal government in international affairs; is meant to be home to a specific ethnic minority.
    9 krais
    essentially the same as oblasts. The title "territory" is historic, originally given because they were once considered frontier regions.
    4 autonomous okrugs
    with substantial or predominant ethnic minority
    3 federal cities
    major cities that function as separate regions.
    1 autonomous oblast

    This list of internal territories shows *nothing* of a typical imperialist empire-rampaging over the earth -- 'imperialist' isn't an accurate term to use for the capitalist nation-state of Russia in the present day.

    Russia is currently being *scapegoated* by the largest empire in world history, that of the U.S., while it has actually *prevented* imperialist expropriation of Syria, in the way that was done to Libya:



    Trump-Putin meeting deepens divisions in US establishment on Russia policy

    By Barry Grey

    8 July 2017

    US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for more than two hours Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, amid the growing threat of a military clash between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, whether in Syria or Eastern Europe. After the meeting, which lasted far longer than the half-hour that had been planned, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in separate statements announced an agreement on a ceasefire and establishment of a so-called “de-escalation zone” in southwestern Syria.

    Lavrov said the ceasefire was set to take effect at noon Damascus time on July 9. Tillerson called it a “defined agreement” and added that the two leaders had a “lengthy discussion of other areas in Syria where we can work together.”

    The US secretary of state said that Trump opened the meeting by raising the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Trump, he said, returned to the question several times and pressed it “robustly.” But after Putin repeated his previous denials of any Russian meddling, the two agreed to move on. “I think what the two presidents, I think rightly, focused on is how do we move forward,” Tillerson said.

    Trump speaks for a faction that wants to wean Russia away from China and Iran in order to focus US aggression on China. His opponents, the dominant sections of the intelligence apparatus, in alliance with the Democratic Party and a section of Republicans, want to escalate the confrontation with Russia in both Syria and Eastern Europe. It sees neutralizing Russia as an essential precondition for settling accounts with US imperialism’s most serious rival, China.

    But what particularly enraged the White House’s establishment critics was the fact that Trump raised the example of the false intelligence reports on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that were used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    This prompted a parade of Democrats and media pundits to appear on the cable news networks on Thursday denouncing Trump for “undermining” the US intelligence agencies while on foreign soil.

    ---


    On South Ossetia versus Georgia:



    The Georgian Supreme Council adopted a law barring regional parties in summer 1990. Since this was interpreted by South Ossetians as a move against Ademon Nykhas, they declared full sovereignty as part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on 20 September 1990. Ossetians boycotted subsequent Georgian parliamentary elections and held their own contest in December.[7]

    In October 1990, the parliamentary elections in Georgia was won by Zviad Gamsakhurdia's "Round Table" block.[7] On 11 December 1990, Zviad Gamsakhurdia's government declared the Ossetian election illegitimate and abolished South Ossetia's autonomous status altogether.[7] Gamsakhurdia rationalized the abolition of Ossetian autonomy by saying, "They [Ossetians] have no right to a state here in Georgia. They are a national minority. Their homeland is North Ossetia.... Here they are newcomers."[41]

    When the Georgian parliament declared a state of emergency in the territory of South Ossetian AO on 12 December 1990, troops from both Georgian and Russian interior ministries were sent to the region. After Georgian National Guard was formed in early 1991, Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali on 5 January 1991.[45] The 1991–92 South Ossetia War was characterised by general disregard for international humanitarian law by uncontrollable militias, with both sides reporting atrocities.[45] Although initially the Soviet military reportedly facilitated a ceasefire as ordered by Mikhail Gorbachev in January 1991, later they were participating in the conflict on the Ossetian side.[citation needed] In March and April 1991, Soviet interior troops were reported actively disarming militias on both sides, and deterring the inter-ethnic violence. Zviad Gamsakhurdia asserted that the Soviet leadership was encouraging South Ossetian separatism in order to force Georgia not to leave the Soviet Union. Despite the use of such tactics by Gorbachev, Georgia still declared its independence in April 1991.[41]

    ---



    2008 war[edit]

    Main article: Russo-Georgian War

    Tensions between Georgia and Russia began escalating in April 2008.[56][57][58] A bomb explosion on 1 August 2008 targeted a car transporting Georgian peacekeepers. South Ossetians were responsible for instigating this incident, which marked the opening of hostilities and injured five Georgian servicemen. In response,[59] several South Ossetian militiamen were hit.[60] South Ossetian separatists began shelling Georgian villages on 1 August. These artillery attacks caused Georgian servicemen to return fire periodically since 1 August.[56][60][61][62][63]

    At around 19:00 on 7 August 2008, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral ceasefire and called for peace talks.[64] However, escalating assaults against Georgian villages (located in the South Ossetian conflict zone) were soon matched with gunfire from Georgian troops,[65][66] who then proceeded to move in the direction of the capital of the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) on the night of 8 August, reaching its centre in the morning of 8 August.[67] One Georgian diplomat told Russian newspaper Kommersant on 8 August that by taking control of Tskhinvali, Tbilisi wanted to demonstrate that Georgia wouldn't tolerate killing of Georgian citizens.[68] According to Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer, the Ossetian provocation was aimed at triggering the Georgian response, which was needed as a pretext for premeditated Russian military invasion.[69] According to Georgian intelligence,[70] and several Russian media reports, parts of the regular (non-peacekeeping) Russian Army had already moved to South Ossetian territory through the Roki Tunnel before the Georgian military action.[71]

    Russia accused Georgia of "aggression against South Ossetia",[35] and launched a large-scale land, air and sea invasion of Georgia with the pretext of "peace enforcement" operation on 8 August 2008.[62] Russian airstrikes against targets within Georgia were also launched.[72] Abkhaz forces opened a second front on 9 August by attacking the Kodori Gorge, held by Georgia.[73] Tskhinvali was seized by the Russian military by 10 August.[72] Russian forces occupied the Georgian cities of Zugdidi,[74] Senaki,[75] Poti,[76] and Gori (the last one after the ceasefire agreement was negotiated).[77] Russian Black Sea Fleet blockaded the Georgian coast.[62]

    A campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians in South Ossetia was conducted by South Ossetians,[78] with Georgian villages around Tskhinvali being destroyed after the war had ended.[79] The war displaced 192,000 people,[80] and while many were able to return to their homes after the war, a year later around 30,000 ethnic Georgians remained displaced.[81] In an interview published in Kommersant, South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity said he would not allow Georgians to return.[82][83]

    President of France Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 12 August 2008.[84] On 17 August, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russian forces would begin to pull out of Georgia the following day.[85] Russia recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separate republics on 26 August.[86] In response to Russia's recognition, the Georgian government severed diplomatic relations with Russia.[87] Russian forces left the buffer areas bordering Abkhazia and South Ossetia on 8 October and the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia assumed authority over the buffer areas.[88] Since the war, Georgia has maintained that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Russian-occupied Georgian territories.[89][90]

    ---



    Integration with Russia[edit]

    On August 30, 2008, Tarzan Kokoity, the Deputy Speaker of South Ossetia's parliament, announced that the region would soon be absorbed into Russia, so that South and North Ossetians could live together in one united Russian state.[116] Russian and South Ossetian forces began giving residents in Akhalgori, the biggest town in the predominantly ethnic Georgian eastern part of South Ossetia, the choice of accepting Russian citizenship or leaving.[117] However, Eduard Kokoity, the then president of South Ossetia, later stated that South Ossetia would not forgo its independence by joining Russia: "We are not going to say no to our independence, which has been achieved at the expense of many lives; South Ossetia has no plans to join Russia." Civil Georgia has said that this statement contradicts previous ones made by Kokoity earlier that day, when he indicated that South Ossetia would join North Ossetia in the Russian Federation.[116][118]

    The South Ossetian and Russian presidents signed an "alliance and integration" treaty on 18 March 2015.[119] The agreement includes provisions to incorporate the South Ossetian military into Russia's armed forces, integrate the customs service of South Ossetia into that of Russia's, and commit Russia to paying state worker salaries in South Ossetia at rates equal to those in the North Caucasus Federal District.[120] The Associated Press described the treaty as calling for "nearly full integration" and compared it to a 2014 agreement between Russia and Abkhazia.[119] The Georgian Foreign Ministry described the signing of the treaty as "actual annexation" of the disputed region by Russia, and the United States and European Union said they would not recognize it.[121][122]

    In another move towards integration with the Russian Federation, South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov proposed on December 29, 2015 a name change "emphasizing South Ossetia as part of Russia". According to Tibilov South Ossetia should to be named "South Ossetia-Alania" in analogy with "North Ossetia-Alania", a Russian federal subject. Tibilov furthermore expressed hopes that in the future this and a referendum on joining the Russian Federation to be held before April 2017 will lead to a united "Ossetia-Alania".[123] On April 11, 2016, Tibilov said he plans to hold the referendum before August of that year.[124][125] However, on May 30 Tibilov subsequently postponed the referendum until after the presidential election due in April 2017, where it will be a central issue.[126] Preliminary results show that more than 80% of those who voted in the referendum approved changing the unrecognised country's name to South Ossetia-Alania.[127]

    ---


    Russia is a better geopolitical alternative to supporting Ukrainian fascists:



    Euromaidan groups[edit]

    Automaidan[edit]

    Main article: Automaidan

    Automaidan[265] was a movement within the Euromaidan, that sought the resignation of the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. It was made up mainly of drivers who would protect the protest camps and blockade streets. It organised a car procession on 29 December 2013 to the president's residence in Mezhyhirya to voice their protests at his refusal to sign the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement in December 2013. The motorcade was stopped a couple of hundred metres short of his residence. Automaidan was the repeated target of violent attacks by government forces and supporters.

    Self-defence groups[edit]

    This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (July 2015)

    On 30 November 2013, the day after the dispersion of Euromaidan, Euromaidan organisers, aided by groups such as Svoboda, created "Self-defence of the Maidan" – their own police force for protecting protesters from police and providing security within the city.[266][267] Head of Self-defence is Andriy Parubiy.[268]

    The groups are divided up into sotnias, or "hundreds", which have been described as a "force that is providing the tip of the spear in the violent showdown with government security forces". The sotni take their name from a traditional form of Cossacks cavalry formation, and were also used in the Ukrainian People's Army, Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Ukrainian National Army etc.[269]

    Along with Mr. Parubiy's force, there are some "independent" divisions of enforcers (some of them are also referred to as sotnias and even self-defence), like the security of the Trade Unions Building until 2 January 2014,[270] Narnia and Vikings from Kiev City State Administration,[271] Volodymr Parasyuk's sotnia from Conservatory building,[272][273] etc. Mr. Parubiy officially asked such divisions to not call themselves Self-defence.[274]

    Pravy Sektor coordinates its actions with Self-defence and is formally a 23-rd sotnia,[275] although already had hundreds of members at the time of registering as a sotnia. Second sotnia (staffed by Svoboda's members) tends to dissociate itself from "sotnias of self-defence of Maidan".[276]

    ---


    On Crimea, from a past thread:



    I'm not proposing social conditions / circumstances in Syria should be 'just waiting around'. But I find it strange that Western countries engaging in military interventions you class as 'imperialism' but when Russia sends troops into Crimea, and administers Crimea as a Russian territory, this is not 'imperialism'.


    You chose a bad example, unfortunately:


    Crimean status referendum, 2014

    A referendum on the status of Crimea was held on March 16, 2014, by the legislature of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as well as by the local government of Sevastopol (both subdivisions of Ukraine), following Russian military takeover of the peninsula. The referendum asked local population whether they wanted to join Russia as a federal subject, or if they wanted to restore the 1992 Crimean constitution and Crimea's status as a part of Ukraine.

    The official result from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was a 96.77 percent vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout.[a][1] The Mejlis Deputy Chairman Akhtem Chiygoz felt that the actual turnout could not have exceeded 30–40 percent, arguing that to be the normal turnout for votes in the region.[17]

    Following the referendum, The Supreme Council of Crimea and Sevastopol City Council declared the independence of the Republic of Crimea from Ukraine and requested to join the Russian Federation.[18] On the same day, Russia recognized the Republic of Crimea as a sovereign state.[19][20]

    ---



    Or when the bombs dropped on Mosul, Iraq are imperialist but those dropped on Aleppo, Syria are anti imperialist?

    Which bombs, from which countries, are you talking about -- ?


    There have been anti-ISIS offensives in both of those cities.

    https://www.revleft.space/vb/threads...98#post2879898


    ---


    On Donbass, from a past thread:



    I mean I was getting a bit agitated first when I posted in this thread, I admit that and it is clearly the people of Donbass who suffer here the most. But it's just them: the people of Donbass. And we must ask the question: what is better for them? The nationalist Ukrainian government that treats them using the principle of collective guilt? Of course not, so the logical answer would be the insurgents. But this way, people who just happened to live in Donbass when it all started are either used as mere resources for literal nazi militias or they are hunted down by a government that treats them as enemy... what is a reasonable position to take here? Are we afraid now to excercise proper critique or WHAT?

    We have to face that there is NO well thought-out communist analysis of the Donetsk-conflict.


    [...]



    Shame on us, we should never, ever be on one platform with nazis under ANY circumstances, there is simply no excuse for it.

    (And don't say a troubling majority of the insurgent militias is not far-right or outright fascist. They only not as bad as the Azov Battalion and other Ukrainian counterparts because they lack the power and state support from a stable regime to be as bad as them)

    ---



    Autonomous Republic within Ukraine (1991–2014)[edit]

    Main article: Autonomous Republic of Crimea

    See also: Crimean sovereignty referendum, 1991

    In January 1991, a referendum was held in the Crimean Oblast, and voters approved restoring the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union less than a year later, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was formed as a constituent entity of independent Ukraine,[34][35] with a slight majority of Crimean voters approving Ukrainian independence in a December referendum.[36] On 5 May 1992, the Crimean legislature declared conditional independence,[37] but a referendum to confirm the decision was never held amid opposition from Kiev.[35][38] The Verkhovna Rada voted to grant Crimea "extensive home rule" during the dispute.[36][37]

    Republic within Russian Federation (since 2014)[edit]

    2014 Russian annexation[edit]

    Main article: Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation

    See also: 2014 Ukrainian revolution and Crimean status referendum, 2014

    After the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and flight of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from Kiev on 21 February 2014, the Kremlin was interested in appropriating Crimea for Russia.[39] Within days, unmarked Russian forces with local militias took over the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as occupying several localities in Kherson Oblast on the Arabat Spit, which is geographically a part of Crimea. Following a controversial referendum, the Russian results of which showed majority support for joining Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty of accession with the self-declared Republic of Crimea, incorporating it into the Russian Federation as two federal subjects: the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution calling upon states not to recognise changes to the integrity of Ukraine.[40][41] Russia withdrew its forces from southern Kherson in December 2014.[42]

    Russian administration[edit]

    Main article: Republic of Crimea

    See also: Political status of Crimea and International sanctions during the Ukrainian crisis

    Since Russian control over Crimea was established in 2014, the peninsula has been administered as part of the Russian Federation except for the northern areas of the Arabat Spit and the Syvash which are still controlled by Ukraine.[43] Within days of the signing of the accession treaty, the process of integrating Crimea into the Russian federation began: in March the Russian ruble went into official circulation[44] and clocks were moved forward to Moscow time,[45] in April a new revision of the Russian Constitution was officially released with the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol included in the list of federal subjects of the Russian Federation,[46] and in June the Russian ruble became the only form of legal tender.[47] In July 2015, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that Crimea had been fully integrated into Russia.[48]

    Though Russia has control over the peninsula, its sovereignty remains disputed as Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider the annexation illegal.[49] A range of international sanctions remain in place against Russia and a number of named individuals as a result of the events of 2014.
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    Default Reconsidering Russia Podcast #12: Volodymyr Ishchenko

    Guest: Volodymyr Ishchenko, Senior Lecturer at the Sociology Department at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute in Kiev, Ukraine, discusses Ukrainian politics. Topics include the privatization in Ukraine in the 1990s, the Orange Revolution, the Maidan, Crimea, the rise of the far-right...


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    Originally Posted by ckaihatsu
    At the expense of the thread's title I'm going to point out several discrepancies with the article's thesis:

    The question of “who are our friends, who are our enemies?” is one of the most important questions we need to grapple with. It is our hope that this short document will demonstrate that the Russian state is not a friend of the people, but instead the representative of a bloc of monopoly-capitalists itching to secure “a bigger piece of the pie” through the incessant inter-imperialist struggle to redivide the world.
    I don't disagree with any of the *economic* facts that the article puts-forth, but the *historical* geopolitical record is definitely at-odds with any demonization of Russia in the geopolitical arena:
    So what are you saying... that Russia can be economically imperialist but historically or geopolitically anti-imperialist due to its resistance to U.S. imperialist projects?

    Some relevant arguments from Together with Russia? A Critique of the Pro-Sino-Russian “Anti-imperialism” Trend in the USA and Western Europe :


    One “anti-imperialist” analyst and apologist for Great-Russian chauvinism identifies a group of countries “very poor in finance capital” among which are categorized Russia and “most of the Eastern European countries”, as if the Russian Federation were on equal finance capital footing with the Republic of Moldova, when in that country 70% of the banking sector is controlled by Russian capitalists. It was in Moldova, said to be the poorest country in Europe, that a scandal dubbed “the theft of the century”unraveled last year in which a sum equivalent to one-eighth of the country’s GDP (about one billion USD) was apparently syphoned off to a pro-Russian politician. To give an idea of the scope of this neocolonialist robbery, this would have been proportionately equivalent to over 262 billion USD “disappearing” from Russian banks and funneled to a foreign country.


    “One can only conclude that foreign investment, far from being an outlet for domestically generated surplus, is a most efficient device for transferring surplus generated abroad to the investing country.”
    – Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy in “Obstacles to Economic Development”

    The migrant flow from Moldova to Russia also resembles that seen in other neocolonial-type relationships, such as that between Mexico and the United States. It is said that “foreign remittances constitute 30 percent of [Moldova’s] GDP – ‘and 60 to 65 percent of these remittances come from Russia’”. In recent years, Russia has used denial of entry to Moldovan migrants as a means of economic sanction and intimidation to deter Moldova from opening up to trade with the West [ibid].

    The intermediary strength of Russian capitalist imperialism is apparent here. Russian finance capital does not dominate globally to the extent of US capital, but it is clear that it plays a petit-imperialist role in regional markets. To deny this would be to paint the relationship between Russia and countries like Moldova as one in which each party comes to the table as an equal, overlooking the inequalities of this nested financial core and periphery relation existing semi-independently of the global core-periphery schema. Middle countries like Russia and China are not at the vanguard of neoliberal globalization, nor however are their throats under the jackboot of it. They do have some aspects that could be characterized as semi-neocolonial; for example, the exploitation of Chinese workers by American corporations like Apple, which takes more than 98% of the profit for each iPhone assembled in China [Foster], but they are nevertheless capitalist great powers whose ruling bourgeois cliques’ class character is more patriotic nationalist than comprador. The simultaneous appearance of semi-neocolonial aspects does not negate the monopoly type relationship between the banking sectors of countries like Russia and Moldova or perhaps China and North Korea or the imperialist logic behind SCO bids to unseat US hegemony or at the least prevent US encroachment into their spheres of influence. They are simply less developed, poorer great powers, but imperialist nonetheless.

    We can already anticipate what the apologists for petit-imperialism will retort to such facts: this imperialism “doesn’t count” because Moldova is a former Soviet republic that had previously been annexed by the Russian Empire after a semi-feudal inter-imperialist (and therefore not really imperialist) war between the Ottoman and Russian Empires; there are a lot of Russian settler-colonizer descendants there; and US/NATO/EU imperialism is bigger and badder; and therefore countries colonized by Russia should keep adhering to Russian capitalism. But this is exactly what makes “alternative-imperialism” an apt name for this position.
    Originally Posted by ckaihatsu
    This list of internal territories shows *nothing* of a typical imperialist empire-rampaging over the earth -- 'imperialist' isn't an accurate term to use for the capitalist nation-state of Russia in the present day.
    Why? Because places like Tatarstan or Chechnia are deemed "autonomous republics"? How is that any more evidence of lack of imperialism than how the U.S. government recognizes the sovereignty of American Indian territories as "domestic dependent nations"? Or how Puerto Rico is also called the "Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico" [Free Associated State of Puerto Rico]?

    Originally Posted by ckaihatsu
    Russia is currently being *scapegoated* by the largest empire in world history, that of the U.S., while it has actually *prevented* imperialist expropriation of Syria, in the way that was done to Libya:
    I don't disagree that the U.S., and especially the Democrats, are making a scapegoat of Russia. But we have to ask ourselves: Is Russia's resistance to U.S. efforts at altering the orientation of regimes in Syria or Ukraine to make them more subservient to the West's interests based on opposition to capitalism (imperialism)? Or is it based on defending interests of the Russian capitalist state in those countries? Let's not forget that Russia has strategically vital military and naval bases in Syria and Ukraine.

    Originally Posted by ckaihatsu
    Russia is a better geopolitical alternative to supporting Ukrainian fascists:
    Is it though? To me, this is just another form of "lesser evilism". I think it is easy for communists/socialists to mis-read what are actually far-right movements as leftist, particularly if observing at a distance. Some examples of what I mean (my emphasis):

    Alt-right/neo-Nazi website "Daily Stormer" published an article hailing anti-gay 2016 Socialist Party victory in Moldova as victory for Nazism:
    https://www.dailystormer.com/the-dai...ge-in-moldova/

    They have realised that the IMF is promoting liberalism and globalism, but they associate this with the Right wing. The new presidents are referring to themselves either as national socialist or patriotic socialist and are opposed to the EU. They are still using the old Communist symbols and titles, but their rhetoric has changed from that completely. This is due to those symbols motivating the people, as they associate them with a better past than they have now. The history of the soviet period is being synthesized with nationalism and the socialists are now being associated with private property, a limited free market and the church. They have their own Alt-Right movement, only it has more of an outside appearance of being Alt-Left to those who are unable to read what they are saying.
    Ideology in the time of the Donbass war: “fascism” and “fascist anti-fascism”
    https://vostokcable.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/ideology-in-the-time-of-the-donbass-war-fascism-and-fascist-anti-fascism/



    Before the unrest in Ukraine gave way to open war, Russian channels started a news campaign focusing on the various extreme-right groups that took the streets of Kyiv and battled Yanukovych’s police. This campaign was very effective both because of the extreme care paid to its launch, and because, notwithstanding several distortions and plain mystifications, it did rest on real existing evidence. Militants from Svoboda, Right Sector and UNA-UNSO were indeed right on the frontline of the fight in Kyiv. Red-black flags, as well as Svoboda’s blue ones, became a common sight among several other neo-fascist symbols displayed by a portion of the protesters.

    However, neo-fascists represented only a minority of the Maidan protesters, albeit a very visible and active one. Claims made by several Russian channels that the post-Yanukovych elections would have seen a strong affirmation of the extreme right ended in nothing: considering the votes cast for Svoboda, Right Sector, the chameleon “left-right” nationalist Radical Party and other minor groups we see how the far-right stood at 11.6% in 2012 and at 13.3% in 2014. There was therefore no such thing as a “fascist electoral breakthrough”.
    [...]

    All of this allowed and still allows Russian media and State officials to denounce the double standards applied by the West in regards to far-right as well as to tacitly support the idea that the Donbass conflict is an “anti-fascist war”.

    But how true is this?

    Before entering into the presentation of evidence, it is crucial to operate a reconceptualisation of terms such as “fascist”, since its Western meaning is of little use in observing realities in the former Soviet Union.

    In Western Europe a chauvinistic, xenophobic, homophobic and staunchly pro-religious behaviour could well be defined fascist. In Russia, the KPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation), gave up long ago on Marxism-Leninism and embraced “social-patriotism” (Анализ программ российских политических партий начала XX и XXI вв – Гаврилова М. В). Already back in the 1990s its leader, Gennady Zyuganov, released publications where the Soviet red flag and the black-gold-white nationalist tricolours were displayed together. These flags were also jointly carried to battle during the 1993 constitutional crisis, when a loosely defined red-brown coalition opposed Boris Yeltsin. The Russian Communist Party also condemns homosexuality, has joined right-wing styled anti-immigration movements and suggested beatifying Stalin. Finally, communist leader Zyuganov stated he would have whipped iped the Pussy Riot smembers, just as Cossacks did in Sochi.

    Similarly, in Western Europe one would define a political force often aligned with communists, which proposed the re-adoption of the hammer and sickle as State symbols and the re-creation of the Soviet Union as far-left. In Russia, Zhirinovsky’s chauvinistic LDPR (Russian Liberal Democratic Party, which is in itself a contradiction), supported the 1991 putschists, celebrated the 1996 Duma vote that officially revoked the dissolution of the USSRand backed the Communists in suggesting the re-adoption of Soviet symbology in 1994 and 1997.

    Parties such as the KPRF and the LDPR, as well as other entities such as A Just Russia, Rodina and Patriots of Russia, are united with the United Russia ruling party by a loosely defined “patriotic” sentiment.
    [...]
    Nonetheless, mentions of Russia’s strategic interests in Ukraine as well as of Yanukovych’s corruption clearly don’t find much space in the official stance taken by Russian officials, who are adamant that “because of a coup supported by Washington and Brussels, in Kyiv in February of last year power was seized by ultranationalists”.

    However, going beyond news reports’ titles and digging into the very heterogenous front of pro-Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, one realises how on the Russian side there seems to exist as much “anti-fascism” as a sort of “fascist anti-fascism”, as well as plenty of nationalism.

    Starting with some of the pro-Russian leaders, we have Pavel Gubarev, now head of the disgraced “New Russia” party, who was a member of the swastika-displaying Russian National Unity, now fighting in Ukraine under more “politically correct” insignias. Another renowned separatist leader, Igor “Strelkov” Girkin was a volunteer with Serbian forces and far-right paramilitaries during the Yugoslav Wars and has been linked with the gruesome Višegrad massacre.

    Moving on to the many volunteers who rallied in support to the pro-Russian separatists from all across the world, we find a Serbian chetnik battalion as well as an even more telling case. An Italian volunteer, named Andrea Palmeri reached Donbass and enlisted in the militias there. He was welcomed by Gubarev as a “true Italian fascist”who was there to fight against Western imperialism. Palmeri himself in a interview stated that “we cannot reduce the whole issue to fascism and communism, that’s only propaganda” adding, quite correctly, that “if you tell a Russian communist that at home (i.e. in Italy) the left endorses pro-gay, pro-drugs, pro-immigrations campaigns, or uses anti-religious discourses, he won’t believe it but that’ts the truth”.
    [...]
    Finally, prominent separatists such as military commander Mozgovoy stated that Novorossiya “will be socialist” and yet DNR Deputy-PM Andrey Purgin,“when asked if what happened in Donbass was a “left-” or “right-led” revolution, […] said that right-wing ideas dominated the revolution”.

    Thus there exists proof that communist and nationalist-styled symbology are jointly used and that the ranks of pro-Russian separatists are filled with volunteers, defined as follows by an arrested Spanish volunteer: “half of them are communists and the other half are Nazis […]. We fought together, communists and Nazis alike […]. We all want the same: social justice and the liberation of Russia from the Ukrainian invasion”. Even so, the separatists clearly compare the current war to the 1918 pro-Bolshevik uprising and 1941-45 anti-Nazi struggles.

    How to make sense of all of this then? Quite simply, such contradictions are resolved with the celebration of a new alliance, the one between “socialism and tradition [which] fight together against fascism”. Even an extremely powerful symbolical representation of such alliance has been produced: a flag divided in half by the orange-black colours of St. George and displaying on one side the Soviet red flag with hammer and sickle and on the other one the black-gold-white Imperial tricolour. The flag has increasingly appeared in news reports and photos from Donbass.

    Putin’s idea of Russia is based on the perception of a deep continuity between Russian Empire, Soviet Union and Russian Federation, crafted by playing down moments of historical rupture such as 1917 and 1991


    A popular flag in Donbass, combining the Soviet colours with the Ribbon of St George, revived by the Russian Federation in 2005.
    War in Ukraine and the trade unions
    https://piraniarchive.wordpress.com/investigations-campaigns-and-other-stuff/war-in-ukraine-and-the-trade-unions/


    The war in eastern Ukraine


    It would not make sense to discuss the situation of workers in Ukraine without first saying something about the war.


    Since May the Russian government has been publicly supporting the separatist militia in eastern Ukraine, with statements by president Putin and others; with the annexation of Crimea; and by opening the border for large numbers of ultra-nationalist and fascist volunteers, and mercenaries, to cross with large amounts of heavy equipment. But no conclusive evidence of military involvement.


    Last week [i.e. the last week in August] the situation changed: the number of reports of Russian troops and equipment being present in eastern Ukraine has multiplied, coming not only from the Ukrainian security agencies but also (i) from NATO; (ii) from various consultancies that specialise in military information; (iii) from the separatist leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who says that Russian soldiers are participating in the militia during their holidays; and (iv) most importantly from inside Russia, where journalists, NGOs and even members of the presidential human rights council are piecing together information about growing numbers of Russian servicemen killed in Ukraine.

    [...]


    Participation in demonstrations by the unions and the political left


    The Maidan demonstrations in many ways swept past official trade union structures.


    The independent unions made efforts to support the demonstrations. Their leader Mikhail Volynets was on the Council of Maidan. However these efforts do not seem to have impacted the movement very strongly. For example, in January the confederation of independent unions called for a general strike in support of the Maidan demonstration, but this call was largely ignored.


    The leaders of the “official” trade unions could hardly avoid the demonstrations, since their office was directly on Maidan. Early on in the protests (November 2013) they offered use of their building to demonstrators, and protested against police attacks. But this was not enough to dispel cynicism and suspicion about them. Many ordinary working people had previously only seen the trade union leaders in the newspapers signing agreements with the government, so called “social contracts”, etc. They were perceived essentially as collaborators with government. Their close links with the Party of Regions (the political party headed by former president Yanukovich) added to this impression.


    Many sections of the political left participated in the demonstrations in various ways. But the largest so-called left party in parliament, the Communist Party of Ukraine, continued to support the Yanukovich to the end. In particular, in mid January when Yanukovich decided to introduce dictatorial laws that would have put an end to the rights of free speech and free assembly, the Communist Party deputies voted for them, effectively declaring themselves as enemies of the demonstrators.


    Note: fascism on the Ukrainian side


    Fascism in Ukraine has been the subject of bad reporting in the west – partly because the Kremlin, laughably, has claimed it is fighting against fascism in Ukraine. I can answer questions, but it’s not what NUJ Book branch asked me to talk about. But quickly:


    The level of support for right-wing and fascist parties in Ukraine, as measured in the presidential elections at the end of May, is very low. Oleh Lyashko of the Radical Party, a mainstream politician who swung to the populist right, received 8.5%; Oleh Tyagnibok of Svoboda, an ultranationalist party, was completely defeated with 1.2%; the leader of the Right Sector, an umbrella group of extra-parliamentary nationalists and fascists, got 0.7%.


    In the European elections on the same weekend, right-wing and fascist parties registered millions and millions of votes, taking substantial shares. In France, the Front National received the largest share of the vote, 25% (i.e. more than twice the share of all the Ukrainian populist right and fascists put together). [Note, November 2013. In the Ukrainian parliamentary elections in October, the populist right and fascists did just as badly as in May. The leading parties in the new parliament will be president Poroshenko’s centre-right bloc and the party of Arseny Yatseniuk, the neo-liberal prime minister.]


    Like fascist groups in many countries, Ukraine’s are significant for their violent street activity rather than for their electoral performance. In June this year, under the new government, this danger was underlined when the conference of the official unions was attacked by fascist thugs.


    Workers, trade unions and the military conflict


    From March this year, the situation in eastern Ukraine completely changed, with the formation of the so-called “people’s republics” in Donetsk and Lugansk. These are two big industrial areas with large numbers of steelworks and coal mines. There are quite well organised trade unions in many of these workplaces, and a relatively stable labour force. But there is also a high level of migration out of the region – many young people have left.


    Was/is there any worker support for the “people’s republics”? In the immediate aftermath of the overthrow of Yanukovich, in March and April, I would say, yes there was, mainly due to fear that there was just another bunch of oligarchs taking over in Kyiv, and fear – played upon by the separatists – that the region would be worse treated by the new government.


    But once the armed militia took over government buildings and the military conflict began in earnest, I think this support clearly receded – by how much, it’s hard to say. It should be noted that the politics of the “people’s republics” is confusing, but certainly a number of key leaders were affiliated to ultra-right-wing and fascist organisations in Russia, and some of them were mercenaries accused of war crimes in the Caucasus.


    What about the organised labour movement in eastern Ukraine?

    Once the “people’s republics” were installed, it became very very difficult for community and labour activists who disagreed with them to operate openly, because it was just too dangerous. Even if the armed formations under the command of these republics’ leaders didn’t bother to attack you, there might well be other men with guns who did. The only exception that I know of is the independent union of mineworkers.


    In April and May the separatists tried to appeal to miners for their support. There were political arguments at the mines during which the independent mineworkers’ union leaders maintained a strong position of supporting the Kyiv government.
    How Alexander Dugin's Neo-Eurasianists Geared Up for the Russian-Ukrainian War in 2005-2013

    http://www.interpretermag.com/how-alexander-dugins-neo-eurasianists-geared-up-for-the-russian-ukrainian-war-in-2005-2013/


    The Neo-Eurasianist perspective on Ukraine was formed already in the 1990s, when Russian fascist Alexander Dugin argued, in his Foundations of Geopolitics, that Ukraine was “an unnatural state” consisting of four major regions with allegedly different geopolitical loyalties, and that a sovereign and united Ukraine constituted a major threat to the geopolitical security of Russia and the envisioned Eurasian Empire.

    Dugin specified the means for neutralising the “Ukrainian threat to Russia” in 2009 in his book The Fourth Political Theory. In particular, he argued that “extending Russian influence on the post-Soviet space” would not necessarily imply “direct colonisation in the old tradition”: “in our world, more sophisticated and efficient network technologies are developed that allow to achieve the same results with the different means – with the use of information resources, social organisations, faith-based groups, and social movements”. However, Russia’s direct action was also possible:

    It cannot be excluded that a battle for Crimea and Eastern Ukraine awaits us.

    Only a short time ago, the most hot-headed among the Russian hawks presumed only an internal conflict in Ukraine, as well as political, economic and energy pressure [on Ukraine] from the Russian side, but now a possibility of a direct military clash no longer appears unrealistic.

    Although Dugin conceptualised the need of dismantling Ukraine as a sovereign state through non-military measures (or a combination of non-military and military resources, which can be defined as hybrid warfare) in 2009, his Neo-Eurasianist movement became involved in the non-military measures aimed at undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity already in 2005.

    The timing was determined by the “Orange revolution” in Ukraine – a series of mass protests against the fraudulent “victory” of Ukraine’s corrupt, pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in the 2004 presidential election. The success of the “Orange revolution”, which had led to the second run-off of the presidential election in which Yanukovych’s contender, pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko, won, seemed to have scared Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the Russian ruling elites. They feared that a similar protest could take place in Russia and put an end to Putin’s regime. The significant contribution of young, active Ukrainians to the success of the “Orange revolution” prompted the Russian establishment to launch a preemptive defence force by reviving, mobilising and consolidating a pro-regime youth movement. In order to counter the largely imaginary threat of a “colour revolution” in Russia, the authorities sanctioned the creation of several “patriotic” youth movements: “Nashi” (Ours), “Rossiya molodaya” (Young Russia), “Molodaya gvardiya” (Young Guard), and some others. One of those movements was Evraziyskiy soyuz molodezhi (Eurasian Youth Union, ESM) – under the leadership of Pavel Zarifullin and Valeriy Korovin– a National Bolshevik youth wing of Dugin’s Mezhdunarodnoe evraziyskoe dvizhenie (International Eurasianist Movement, MED). It is unclear who funded the ESM from 2005, but an analysis of the Russia-based Centre of Economic and Political Reforms shows that the ESM received several presidential grants amounting to more than 18.5 million Russian rubles in 2013-2014.

    The ESM was active not only in Russia, but also in other countries, including Ukraine. During 2005-2007, branches of the ESM were established in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Sumy, Sevastopol and some others. These branches cooperated with the Ukrainian cells of the Natsional-Bol’shevistskaya Partiya (National-Bolshevik Party), as well as with Ukrainian far right parties such as the Rus’ky blok (Russian bloc), the misleadingly named Prohresyvna sotsialistychna partiya Ukrainy (Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, PSPU) led by Natalya Vitrenko, and “Bratstvo” (Brotherhood) headed by Dmytro Korchyns’ky. Both Vitrenko and Korchyns’ky were members of the Highest Council of Dugin’s MED.

    The Ukrainian branches of the ESM remained on the margins of the Ukrainian political life, while most of its activities were limited to anti-NATO protests and other similar anti-Western actions, and did not produce any significant result in terms of undermining the Ukrainian state. Moreover, some of the Ukrainian members of the ESM did not share the radical anti-Ukrainian ideas of Neo-Eurasianism. For example, after two Russian members of the movement and one Ukrainian activist of the ESM vandalised Ukrainian state symbols on the Hoverla mountain in 2007, this led to the split in the Ukrainian ESM, as many did not support this act of vandalism. This also led to the termination of any cooperation between the ESM and “Bratstvo”, and Korchyns’ky left the Highest Council of the MED. The radicals, however, welcomed the act and were outspoken in their resentment of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. One ESM activist from the Crimean town of Bakhchisaray, Kostyantyn Knyrik, made no secret of the anti-Ukrainian agenda of Neo-Eurasianism: “Our foremost priority is to focus on the creation of the empire; the first goal is to break Crimea away from Ukraine. To join it to the empire first”. Because of the anti-Ukrainian thrust of Neo-Eurasianism and the Hoverla mountain incident, the leader of the ESM, Pavel Zarifullin, and Dugin himself were banned from entering Ukraine in 2006 and 2007 correspondingly.

    The Neo-Eurasianist movement largely disappeared from Ukraine by 2008, due to the 2007 split and the measures against the ESM on the part of the Sluzhba bezpeky Ukrainy (Security Service of Ukraine, SBU). Some activists left the movement for ideological reasons, some moved to Russia to continue their anti-Ukrainian work outside the country itself, some joined other pro-Russian organisations, and some abandoned political involvement whatsoever. The minority stayed in the movement, but was hardly visible until the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2014.

    However, Russian Neo-Eurasianists were more successful in cooperating directly with a number of pro-Russian organisations in Ukraine. One of these organisations was the above-mentioned PSPU led by Vitrenko who, at that time, could be described as “the premier representative of radical anti-Westernism in Ukraine”. Vitrenko often took part in various conferences featuring either Dugin or other members of his Neo-Eurasianist movement. Dugin called her “a charismatic politician […] advocating Eurasianist Slavic views” and “a leader of the pan-Ukrainian resistance [to the US]”.

    Vitrenko’s political narrative consisted of three main points. First, she promoted the idea of creating a political union of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Second, she rejected any form of Ukraine’s rapprochement with the EU and the US – the West in general. Third, she labelled all advocates of Ukraine’s independence as Ukrainian ultranationalists or even Nazis. She freely substituted “NATO” with “Nazism” (and vice versa) in her political speeches, attempting to create a strong association between Nazism and the West in general, and – appealing to the Soviet mythology of the “Great Patriotic War” – portrayed a struggle between the “fascist” West and “anti-fascist” Russia.

    Yet another pro-Russian organisation that Dugin’s Neo-Eurasianists cooperated with in Ukraine was the “Donetskaya Respublika” (Donetsk Republic, DR). This organisation was created in summer 2005 by Andriy Purgin, Oleksandr Tsurkan and Oleh Frolov, as a response to the “Orange revolution” and presidency of Viktor Yushchenko who advocated pro-Western foreign policy of Ukraine. The DR was officially registered in December that year, but already in autumn leaders of the organisation took part in the protest demonstration in Kyiv together with the activists of the ESM.

    For the DR, the cooperation with the ESM was apparently the most important organisational link with Russia. In August 2006, the DR’s leaders, namely Purginand Frolov, as well as Knyrik and several other Ukrainian ESM activists, went to a summer camp in Russia organised by the ESM. Vitrenko and Oleksandr Svistunov, the leader of the Rus’ky blok, also took part in the camp where they delivered lectures to the participants. Apart from lectures, seminars and social activities, the participants of the camp were engaged in training in violent street protests. One of the trainers was Oleh Bakhtiyarov who had been Dugin’s associate since the 1990s and lived in Kyiv where he was close to the local branch of the ESM.

    In November 2006, DR and ESM activists collected signatures to hold a referendum on the independence of the “Donetsk republic”. The referendum never took place, but the SBU and police took notice of the group, and cases were brought against the leaders of the DR under three articles of the Ukrainian Criminal Code: (1) “Actions aimed at the forcible change or overthrow of the constitutional order or the seizure of state power”, (2) “Infringement on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine”, and (3) “Violation of citizens’ equality based on their race, nationality or attitude to religion”. The criminal cases hindered the process of building the DR as a functional structure; in 2007, a Ukrainian court outlawed the DR, and it went underground.


    Collecting signatures to hold a referendum on the independence of the “Donetsk republic”, Donetsk, November 2006. Andriy Purgin [“first Vice Prime Minister” of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” who said right-wing ideas dominated] in the centre [Note tsarist (czarist) imperial flags. The black flag with the "chaos magick" symbol is the ESM (Eurasian Youth Union) flag]
    Eurasian Youth Union

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_Youth_Union

    Ideology

    The early-20th century Eurasianist ideology of a part of the Russian emigration and modern Neo-Eurasianism developed by Aleksandr Dugin has been declared the main ideology of the organization.[4] Its ideology also features prominently Russian nationalism and imperialism, calls for the creation of a new Eurasian empire centered on Russia. On its website the movement declared the West and in particular the United States as its main opponent and termed it as the "main evil".
    Our Union has one absolute enemy. It is the USA. This is the beginning and the end of our hatred.[5]
    In its internal policy the ESM supports the current government of Russia and in particular its President, Vladimir Putin. Some also claim, that the movement receives taciturn support from the Russian Government eager to see a movement opposed to a possibility of an Orange Revolution happening in Russia.[6]
    Activities

    In Russia, the Eurasian Youth Union has allied itself with organizations like the National Bolshevik Front,[7] the DPNI[citation needed] and other groups of that type. It organizes and takes part in the annual Russian Marches in Russia and other countries of Eastern Europe. Very often these marches are accompanied by violence, especially in Ukraine.[8]
    "National Bolshevism"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bolshevism

    Neo-Eurasianism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founda...of_Geopolitics

    http://www.4pt.su/en/content/aleksan...ns-geopolitics

    One perceptive observer of the Russian political scene, Francoise Thom, noted as far back as 1994 that fascism, and especially its “Eurasianist” variant, was already at that time displacing Russian nationalism among statist Russian elites as a post-communist “Russian Idea,” especially in the foreign policy sphere. “The weakness of Russian nationalists,” she emphasized, “stems from their inability to clearly situate Russian frontiers. Euras[ianism] brings an ideological foundation for post-Soviet imperialism.”2There has probably not been another book published in Russia during the post-communist period which has exerted an influence on Russian military, police, and statist foreign policy elites comparable to that of Aleksandr Dugin’s 1997 neo-fascist treatise, Foundations of Geopolitics.3
    The impact of this intended “Eurasianist” textbook on key elements among Russian elites testifies to the worrisome rise of fascist ideas and sentiments during the late Yeltsin and the Putin periods.
    Last edited by Lacrimi de Chiciură; 10th July 2017 at 14:15.
  12. #8
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    So what are you saying... that Russia can be economically imperialist but historically or geopolitically anti-imperialist due to its resistance to U.S. imperialist projects?

    I'm just going to point to facts -- yes, Russia has a *capitalist* composition, economically, but geopolitically it's nowhere near what the U.S. is as an empire, nor does Russia take to *aggressive*, imperialist-type takeovers of external lands.

    Again, Syria-backing and ISIS-combatting actions are to Russia's credit in the current real-world.



    One “anti-imperialist” analyst and apologist for Great-Russian chauvinism identifies a group of countries “very poor in finance capital” among which are categorized Russia and “most of the Eastern European countries”, as if the Russian Federation were on equal finance capital footing with the Republic of Moldova, when in that country 70% of the banking sector is controlled by Russian capitalists. It was in Moldova, said to be the poorest country in Europe, that a scandal dubbed “the theft of the century”unraveled last year in which a sum equivalent to one-eighth of the country’s GDP (about one billion USD) was apparently syphoned off to a pro-Russian politician. To give an idea of the scope of this neocolonialist robbery, this would have been proportionately equivalent to over 262 billion USD “disappearing” from Russian banks and funneled to a foreign country.

    “One can only conclude that foreign investment, far from being an outlet for domestically generated surplus, is a most efficient device for transferring surplus generated abroad to the investing country.” – Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy in “Obstacles to Economic Development”

    The migrant flow from Moldova to Russia also resembles that seen in other neocolonial-type relationships, such as that between Mexico and the United States. It is said that “foreign remittances constitute 30 percent of [Moldova’s] GDP – ‘and 60 to 65 percent of these remittances come from Russia’”. In recent years, Russia has used denial of entry to Moldovan migrants as a means of economic sanction and intimidation to deter Moldova from opening up to trade with the West [ibid].

    The intermediary strength of Russian capitalist imperialism is apparent here. Russian finance capital does not dominate globally to the extent of US capital, but it is clear that it plays a petit-imperialist role in regional markets. To deny this would be to paint the relationship between Russia and countries like Moldova as one in which each party comes to the table as an equal, overlooking the inequalities of this nested financial core and periphery relation existing semi-independently of the global core-periphery schema. Middle countries like Russia and China are not at the vanguard of neoliberal globalization, nor however are their throats under the jackboot of it. They do have some aspects that could be characterized as semi-neocolonial; for example, the exploitation of Chinese workers by American corporations like Apple, which takes more than 98% of the profit for each iPhone assembled in China [Foster], but they are nevertheless capitalist great powers whose ruling bourgeois cliques’ class character is more patriotic nationalist than comprador. The simultaneous appearance of semi-neocolonial aspects does not negate the monopoly type relationship between the banking sectors of countries like Russia and Moldova or perhaps China and North Korea or the imperialist logic behind SCO bids to unseat US hegemony or at the least prevent US encroachment into their spheres of influence. They are simply less developed, poorer great powers, but imperialist nonetheless.

    We can already anticipate what the apologists for petit-imperialism will retort to such facts: this imperialism “doesn’t count” because Moldova is a former Soviet republic that had previously been annexed by the Russian Empire after a semi-feudal inter-imperialist (and therefore not really imperialist) war between the Ottoman and Russian Empires; there are a lot of Russian settler-colonizer descendants there; and US/NATO/EU imperialism is bigger and badder; and therefore countries colonized by Russia should keep adhering to Russian capitalism. But this is exactly what makes “alternative-imperialism” an apt name for this position.

    Well, these are good points and I won't argue against any portions that show themselves to be neocolonialist in practice.


    ---



    This list of internal territories shows *nothing* of a typical imperialist empire-rampaging over the earth -- 'imperialist' isn't an accurate term to use for the capitalist nation-state of Russia in the present day.


    Why? Because places like Tatarstan or Chechnia are deemed "autonomous republics"? How is that any more evidence of lack of imperialism than how the U.S. government recognizes the sovereignty of American Indian territories as "domestic dependent nations"? Or how Puerto Rico is also called the "Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico" [Free Associated State of Puerto Rico]?

    Okay, so you're saying that both the U.S. *and* capitalist Russia both have their own 'internal colonies'. No argument.



    I don't disagree that the U.S., and especially the Democrats, are making a scapegoat of Russia. But we have to ask ourselves: Is Russia's resistance to U.S. efforts at altering the orientation of regimes in Syria or Ukraine to make them more subservient to the West's interests based on opposition to capitalism (imperialism)? Or is it based on defending interests of the Russian capitalist state in those countries? Let's not forget that Russia has strategically vital military and naval bases in Syria and Ukraine.

    No, I'm not saying that Russia is *anti-imperialist*, but its roped-into opposition to much of NATO policy is relatively *historically-progressive* because Russia prevented Syria from falling to the West, and prevented ISIS from gaining its own territory. Contrast this to *U.S.* imperialism, which overran Libya (not to mention dozens of additional invasions of foreign sovereignty), and also attempted to carve-up Syria in the same way, while covertly funneling weapons to ISIS. In *geopolitical* terms, then, Russia is clearly preferable to Western imperialism.


    ---



    Russia is a better geopolitical alternative to supporting Ukrainian fascists:


    Is it though? To me, this is just another form of "lesser evilism".

    You sound as bad as those reactionaries who claim that both ends of the political spectrum somehow 'curl' so that the ends overlap, as though leftist administrative state socialism can be conflated with far-right fascist movements and their blame-the-victim politics of hate.

    Sure, you're well within your purview to dismiss *all* governance as ultimately being bourgeois, but I think the here-and-now can't be ignored, and the *geopolitical* domain is unfortunately relevant to the world in the absence of a robust global working class movement for its own self-liberation.



    I think it is easy for communists/socialists to mis-read what are actually far-right movements as leftist, particularly if observing at a distance. Some examples of what I mean (my emphasis):

    Alt-right/neo-Nazi website "Daily Stormer" published an article hailing anti-gay 2016 Socialist Party victory in Moldova as victory for Nazism:
    https://www.dailystormer.com/the-dai...ge-in-moldova/

    They have realised that the IMF is promoting liberalism and globalism, but they associate this with the Right wing.

    The IMF has *always* been pro-capitalism, and there have been *international protests* against that institution.



    The new presidents are referring to themselves either as national socialist or patriotic socialist and are opposed to the EU. They are still using the old Communist symbols and titles, but their rhetoric has changed from that completely. This is due to those symbols motivating the people, as they associate them with a better past than they have now. The history of the soviet period is being synthesized with nationalism and the socialists are now being associated with private property, a limited free market and the church. They have their own Alt-Right movement, only it has more of an outside appearance of being Alt-Left to those who are unable to read what they are saying.

    Yes, there's much balkanization going on in the world's political topology, and localism -- of any stripe -- is never the answer.


    ---


    Ideology in the time of the Donbass war: “fascism” and “fascist anti-fascism”
    https://vostokcable.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/ideology-in-the-time-of-the-donbass-war-fascism-and-fascist-anti-fascism/



    The Russian Communist Party also condemns homosexuality, has joined right-wing styled anti-immigration movements and suggested beatifying Stalin. Finally, communist leader Zyuganov stated he would have whipped iped the Pussy Riot smembers, just as Cossacks did in Sochi.

    Okay, these are *domestic* issues (to Russia) and are obviously lacking in socio-political substance.



    Nonetheless, mentions of Russia’s strategic interests in Ukraine as well as of Yanukovych’s corruption clearly don’t find much space in the official stance taken by Russian officials, who are adamant that “because of a coup supported by Washington and Brussels, in Kyiv in February of last year power was seized by ultranationalists”.

    I don't see anything incorrect about this statement -- yes, the U.S. and EU supported the fascist right-wing violence in Ukraine, all under the aegis of being anti-Yanukovych.



    How to make sense of all of this then? Quite simply, such contradictions are resolved with the celebration of a new alliance, the one between “socialism and tradition [which] fight together against fascism”. Even an extremely powerful symbolical representation of such alliance has been produced: a flag divided in half by the orange-black colours of St. George and displaying on one side the Soviet red flag with hammer and sickle and on the other one the black-gold-white Imperial tricolour. The flag has increasingly appeared in news reports and photos from Donbass.

    This *should* only be *tactical* -- no new flag needed -- but I'm not surprised to hear that a wide range of political positions to the *left* of fascism would temporarily team-up to jointly fight fascism.


    ---


    War in Ukraine and the trade unions
    https://piraniarchive.wordpress.com/investigations-campaigns-and-other-stuff/war-in-ukraine-and-the-trade-unions/



    Workers, trade unions and the military conflict

    From March this year, the situation in eastern Ukraine completely changed, with the formation of the so-called “people’s republics” in Donetsk and Lugansk. These are two big industrial areas with large numbers of steelworks and coal mines. There are quite well organised trade unions in many of these workplaces, and a relatively stable labour force. But there is also a high level of migration out of the region – many young people have left.


    Was/is there any worker support for the “people’s republics”? In the immediate aftermath of the overthrow of Yanukovich, in March and April, I would say, yes there was, mainly due to fear that there was just another bunch of oligarchs taking over in Kyiv, and fear – played upon by the separatists – that the region would be worse treated by the new government.


    But once the armed militia took over government buildings and the military conflict began in earnest, I think this support clearly receded – by how much, it’s hard to say. It should be noted that the politics of the “people’s republics” is confusing, but certainly a number of key leaders were affiliated to ultra-right-wing and fascist organisations in Russia, and some of them were mercenaries accused of war crimes in the Caucasus.


    What about the organised labour movement in eastern Ukraine?

    Once the “people’s republics” were installed, it became very very difficult for community and labour activists who disagreed with them to operate openly, because it was just too dangerous. Even if the armed formations under the command of these republics’ leaders didn’t bother to attack you, there might well be other men with guns who did. The only exception that I know of is the independent union of mineworkers.


    In April and May the separatists tried to appeal to miners for their support. There were political arguments at the mines during which the independent mineworkers’ union leaders maintained a strong position of supporting the Kyiv government.

    'People's Republics' is just *balkanization*, with the nation-state dynamic replaying itself at smaller, fragmented scales.

    We can't expect *any* bourgeois ruling-class formulation (like 'People's Republics') to be relevant to workers' objective concerns -- armed militias is *not* what a revolutionary politics calls-for since they're just another elitist formulation.

    The miners union support for the status quo -- presumably of Yanukovych -- was relatively *progressive*, compared to the rise of [the] 'people's republics'.


    ---


    How Alexander Dugin's Neo-Eurasianists Geared Up for the Russian-Ukrainian War in 2005-2013

    http://www.interpretermag.com/how-alexander-dugins-neo-eurasianists-geared-up-for-the-russian-ukrainian-war-in-2005-2013/



    Geopolitical roadkill.


    ---


    Eurasian Youth Union

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_Youth_Union



    "National Bolshevism"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bolshevism

    Neo-Eurasianism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founda...of_Geopolitics

    http://www.4pt.su/en/content/aleksan...ns-geopolitics[/QUOTE]


    One perceptive observer of the Russian political scene, Francoise Thom, noted as far back as 1994 that fascism, and especially its “Eurasianist” variant, was already at that time displacing Russian nationalism among statist Russian elites as a post-communist “Russian Idea,” especially in the foreign policy sphere. “The weakness of Russian nationalists,” she emphasized, “stems from their inability to clearly situate Russian frontiers. Euras[ianism] brings an ideological foundation for post-Soviet imperialism.”2There has probably not been another book published in Russia during the post-communist period which has exerted an influence on Russian military, police, and statist foreign policy elites comparable to that of Aleksandr Dugin’s 1997 neo-fascist treatise, Foundations of Geopolitics.3

    The impact of this intended “Eurasianist” textbook on key elements among Russian elites testifies to the worrisome rise of fascist ideas and sentiments during the late Yeltsin and the Putin periods.

    It's just another kind of nationalism, unfortunately.
    Last edited by ckaihatsu; 19th July 2017 at 16:45. Reason: changed 'those fascist' to 'the'
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    I'm just going to point to facts -- yes, Russia has a *capitalist* composition, economically, but geopolitically it's nowhere near what the U.S. is as an empire, nor does Russia take to *aggressive*, imperialist-type takeovers of external lands.

    Again, Syria-backing and ISIS-combatting actions are to Russia's credit in the current real-world.
    Overall, the US is the more hegemonic global power. But "nowhere near" is perhaps a little overstated, at least in some respects. For example, when it comes to number of nuclear weapons, Russia is slightly ahead of the US. When it comes to a variety of other things, such as number of military interventions in foreign countries, the U.S. is indeed pretty far ahead. However, the statement "Russia doesn't take to *aggressive* imperialist-type takeovers of external lands" only holds true if we consider Ukraine as a part of Russia. And if we take "takeover" to mean actual annexation, the situation with Crimea is remarkable and unparalleled in recent history, being the unique case of annexation in the 21st century. And even if we take Russia's maneuvers against U.S./NATO efforts to undermine pro-Russian regimes as primarily a defensive effort, how is it that this defensiveness is not imperialist (given that it amounts to an effort to defend expansion achieved during past periods of more "aggressive" imperialism [for example, during tsarism])?

    That Donald Trump can make essentially the same point as you (with regard to admiring the "toughness" of Russia's "ISIS-combatting actions" in Syria) shows that the "progressiveness" of this militarism is dubious. Subterfuge aside, the U.S. is not a nominal ally of ISIS. That the Trump administration can even make an overture of bringing the U.S. military industrial complex more in line with its apparent desire to emphasize Russia as more of a junior partner in the War on Terror and less as a Cold War-style adversary should make us wonder.

    No, I'm not saying that Russia is *anti-imperialist*, but its roped-into opposition to much of NATO policy is relatively *historically-progressive* because Russia prevented Syria from falling to the West, and prevented ISIS from gaining its own territory. Contrast this to *U.S.* imperialism, which overran Libya (not to mention dozens of additional invasions of foreign sovereignty), and also attempted to carve-up Syria in the same way, while covertly funneling weapons to ISIS. In *geopolitical* terms, then, Russia is clearly preferable to Western imperialism.
    Preferable by whom? People in places like Syria or Ukraine? How can anti-imperialist, class consciousness be raised when Russian tutelage is presented as the solution to Western neocolonialism? Americans? Should they get behind Trump's "historically progressive"(?) call to partner with Russia in the War on Terror? Left-wing Americans? I think the U.S. left risks jeopardizing its ability to communicate a principled anti-imperialist message by having it filtered through outlets like Sputnik or RT. Russians? Should they get behind their "historically progressive" state? The workers of the world at large? Reduction of the question of how to respond to imperialism to choosing between the Russian capitalist state and the American capitalist state already presupposes that this entity has no independent consciousness or will, and does not exist as a subjectivity which could announce a preference for one or the other. Abstract geopolitical punditry?

    You sound as bad as those reactionaries who claim that both ends of the political spectrum somehow 'curl' so that the ends overlap, as though leftist administrative state socialism can be conflated with far-right fascist movements and their blame-the-victim politics of hate.

    Sure, you're well within your purview to dismiss *all* governance as ultimately being bourgeois, but I think the here-and-now can't be ignored, and the *geopolitical* domain is unfortunately relevant to the world in the absence of a robust global working class movement for its own self-liberation.
    I don't think the so-called NazBols ("National Bolsheviks"), neo-Eurasianists and the like are leftists at all, but rather the far-right has a long tradition of appropriating some superficial or symbolic elements of left-wing radicalism, going back to Hitler and the "National Socialists". Counterrevolutions somehow have a way of assimilating or recuperating a part of the revolution they react to as opposed to completely negating them. Right-wing reactionaries have been trying to re-interpret the Soviet Union into their framework for a while now.

    see for example:

    wiki/Francis_Parker_Yockey

    In late 1952, Yockey traveled to Prague and witnessed the Prague Trials. He believed they "foretold a Russian break with Jewry", a view he put forward in his article What is Behind the Hanging of the Eleven Jews in Prague?.[11] Indeed, that prediction was vindicated by the fact that the last Jewish member of the Soviet Presidium, Lazar Kaganovich, was expelled in 1957 - having been sidelined as early as 1953. (In addition, after sympathizing with Israel in its 1948-49 war, Russia switched sides and supported the Arabs in subsequent conflicts.) Yockey believed that Stalinism had purged Soviet Communism of Jewish influence. He spent the remainder of his life attempting to forge an alliance between the worldwide forces of Communism and the international network of the extreme Right of which he was a part, with an aim toward weakening or overthrowing the government of the United States.
    Google Books blurb for Stalin: The Enduring Legacy (a more recent book by an extreme right-wing anti-Semite who admires Stalin):

    Stalin: The Enduring Legacy considers the 'Man of Steel' in a manner that will outrage dogmatists of both Left and Right. Stalinist Russia is reassessed as a state that transcended Marxism, and proceeded on a nationalist and imperial path rather than as the citadel of 'world revolution'. Stalin reversed many early Bolshevik policies re-instituting, for example, the traditional family. He abolished the Communist International, championed 'realism' in the arts and rejected post-1945 US plans for a 'new world order'. Despite so-called 'de-Stalinization' after his death, the Soviet bloc continued to oppose globalism, as does Putin's Russia. Stalin: The Enduring Legacy, examines the anti-Marxist character of Stalinism, the legitimacy of the Moscow Trials against the 'Old Bolsheviks', the origins of the Cold War, the development of Trotskyism as a tool of US foreign policy, the question of Stalin's murder, and the relevance of Russia to the future of world power politics. 'Dr. Bolton's book Stalin: The Enduring Legacy is a major contribution to the proper understanding of Russian, as well as American, politics and society in the twentieth century. It brushes aside the anti-Stalinist biases of the Trotskyist American chroniclers of this historical period to reveal the unquestionable integrity of Stalin as a nationalist leader. At the same time, it highlights the vital differences between the Russian national character rooted in the soil and history of Russia, and its opposite, the rootless Jewish cosmopolitanism that Trotskyist Marxism sought to impose on the Russians - as well as on the rest of the world'. - Dr Alexander Jacob
    Okay, these are *domestic* issues (to Russia) and are obviously lacking in socio-political substance.
    LGBT issues also take on international dimensions as the Russian state uses developments such as the legalization of gay marriage in Western Europe as a device to stake out influence in spaces outside Russia where social conservatism is prominent. On the flip side, we could also take a look at so-called "pink imperialism" as the West uses LGBT issues as a wedge to present itself as progressive or the big show which a lot of corporations now make about supporting gay pride.

    This *should* only be *tactical* -- no new flag needed -- but I'm not surprised to hear that a wide range of political positions to the *left* of fascism would temporarily team-up to jointly fight fascism.
    I'd say the point of the Soviet/Tsarist combo flag is not so much to illustrate an actual tactical alliance between Communists and Tsarists but amounts to the expression of a more symbolic, abstract/conceptual "alliance", an expression of nationalism through a reinterpretation of Russian history which emphasizes an overall continuity as opposed to there having been significant ruptures in 1917, 1991. "Fascist anti-fascism" is not actual anti-fascism.
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    Overall, the US is the more hegemonic global power. But "nowhere near" is perhaps a little overstated, at least in some respects. For example, when it comes to number of nuclear weapons, Russia is slightly ahead of the US. When it comes to a variety of other things, such as number of military interventions in foreign countries, the U.S. is indeed pretty far ahead. However, the statement "Russia doesn't take to *aggressive* imperialist-type takeovers of external lands" only holds true if we consider Ukraine as a part of Russia. And if we take "takeover" to mean actual annexation, the situation with Crimea is remarkable and unparalleled in recent history, being the unique case of annexation in the 21st century.

    'Annexation' is an incorrect and inappropriate term to use:



    Russia officially recognized the results of the Crimean referendum and states that unilateral Kosovo declaration of independence has set a precedent, which allows secession of Crimea from Ukraine.[12]

    The official result from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was a 96.77 percent vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout.[a][1] The Mejlis Deputy Chairman Akhtem Chiygoz felt that the actual turnout could not have exceeded 30–40 percent, arguing that to be the normal turnout for votes in the region.[13]

    Following the referendum, The Supreme Council of Crimea and Sevastopol City Council declared the independence of the Republic of Crimea from Ukraine and requested to join the Russian Federation.[14] On the same day, Russia recognized the Republic of Crimea as a sovereign state.[15][16]

    ---



    And even if we take Russia's maneuvers against U.S./NATO efforts to undermine pro-Russian regimes as primarily a defensive effort, how is it that this defensiveness is not imperialist (given that it amounts to an effort to defend expansion achieved during past periods of more "aggressive" imperialism [for example, during tsarism])?

    'Imperialism' is the wrong term to use since it means 'expropriation of natural resources, into private ownership, with the backing of the state'. This was *not* the practice of the fUSSR, which *incorporated* areas under its general bureaucratic-collectivist state administration, *not* giving those lands over to private, profit-making corporations, the way the U.S. did with Libya and its oil in 2014:



    Libya has been riven by conflict between the rival parliaments since mid-2014. Tribal militias and jihadist groups have taken advantage of the power vacuum. Most notably, radical Islamist fighters seized Derna in 2014 and Sirte in 2015 in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In early 2015, neighbouring Egypt launched airstrikes against ISIL in support of the Tobruk government.[107][108][109]


    In August 2011 it was estimated that it would take at least 10 years to rebuild Libya's infrastructure. Even before the 2011 war, Libya's infrastructure was in a poor state due to "utter neglect" by Gaddafi's administration, according to the NTC.[189] By October 2012, the economy had recovered from the 2011 conflict, with oil production returning to near normal levels.[166] Oil production was more than 1.6 million barrels per day before the war. By October 2012, the average oil production has surpassed 1.4 million bpd.[166] The resumption of production was made possible due to the quick return of major Western companies, like Total, Eni, Repsol, Wintershall and Occidental.[166] In 2016, an announcement from the company said the company aims 900,000 barrel per day in the next year. Oil production has fallen from 1.6 million barrel per day to 900,000 in four years of war.[190]

    ---


    By comparison, we could look at Kazakhstan, for example, and see that it entered the industrialization and modernization era through the larger Stalinization of the area, with all of the ups and downs of that general historic trend:


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazakhstan#History


    ---



    That Donald Trump can make essentially the same point as you (with regard to admiring the "toughness" of Russia's "ISIS-combatting actions" in Syria) shows that the "progressiveness" of this militarism is dubious.

    It doesn't matter if other, politically antagonistic orientations happen to have the same position as the hard-left on a single issue, like being anti-ISIS -- obviously we don't support Trump or Trumpism if this happens.

    The historical record is that Russia *did* take the lead in providing war materiel to counter the fundamentalist Islamist threat, while the U.S. was finally tapering-off on its extended covert support to ISIS:



    Deir Ezzor and its place in the fight to destroy ISIL

    Paul Iddon unpacks how control of the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor can change the direction of the conflict

    Paul Iddon

    March 18, 2017
    Updated: March 18, 2017 12:00 AM

    “Interestingly the US did not give Deir Ezzor much attention,” Mr Itani noted. “Until recently the entire Euphrates river valley was not really in the scope of the anti-ISIL campaign. For whatever reason that appears to be changing according to reports from the department of defence.”

    The anti-ISIL coalition does not work with Syrian forces under the command of Bashar Al Assad. Last September US-led coalition air strikes killed scores of Syrian soldiers in the city. Washington expressed regret for the incident, saying they mistakenly identified the soldiers as ISIL militants.

    Earlier this month a Russian-backed Syrian regime offensive successfully recaptured Palmyra in Homs province from ISIL. It’s unclear if the regime aims to reclaim a foothold in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor provinces in light of the increased pressure on ISIL.

    ---



    Subterfuge aside, the U.S. is not a nominal ally of ISIS.

    Yes, for the bulk of the Syrian proxy war, the U.S. *has* been supporting the fundamentalist rebels, mainly through the CIA:



    SMASHED

    CIA and Pentagon Bicker While Russia Wipes Out U.S.-Backed Rebels

    American-armed rebels are in deep trouble in Aleppo. Washington’s response: Escalate the fight—between the U.S. military and intelligence communities.

    NANCY A. YOUSSEF
    06.09.16 1:00 AM ET

    U.S.-backed opposition forces in Syria’s largest city are facing a ferocious Russian-led assault, raising fears that the rebels could be eliminated in a matter of weeks.

    So how are the Pentagon and the intelligence community responding?

    By catfighting among themselves.

    Two Department of Defense officials told The Daily Beast that they are not eager to support the rebels in the city of Aleppo because they’re seen as being affiliated with al Qaeda in Syria, or Jabhat al Nusra. The CIA, which supports those rebel groups, rejects that claim, saying alliances of convenience in the face of a mounting Russian-led offensive have created marriages of battlefield necessity, not ideology.

    ---



    That the Trump administration can even make an overture of bringing the U.S. military industrial complex more in line with its apparent desire to emphasize Russia as more of a junior partner in the War on Terror and less as a Cold War-style adversary should make us wonder.

    The U.S. has ultimately had no choice in the matter because it couldn't carry on with the contradictory positions of being both anti-ISIS *and* anti-Assad / Syria.

    There's no *long-term* relationship between the U.S. and Russia, as for a combined effort in the purely-bullshit 'War on Terror', since that's just a contrived causus-belli formulation for the purposes of U.S. imperialist warhawk politics. Russia has no overlap of objectives with this U.S. foreign-policy shit list:



    Contents [hide]
    1 Etymology
    1.1 History of use of the phrase and its rejection by the U.S. government
    1.2 The rhetorical war on terror
    2 Background
    2.1 Precursor to the September 11 attacks
    2.2 September 11, 2001, attacks
    3 U.S. objectives
    4 Afghanistan
    4.1 Operation Enduring Freedom
    4.2 Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan
    4.3 International Security Assistance Force
    5 Iraq and Syria
    5.1 Iraqi no-fly zones
    5.2 Operation Iraqi Freedom
    5.3 Operation New Dawn
    5.4 Operation Inherent Resolve (Syria and Iraq)
    6 Pakistan
    6.1 Baluchistan
    7 Trans-Sahara (Northern Africa)
    7.1 Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara
    8 Horn of Africa and the Red Sea
    8.1 Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa
    9 Philippines
    9.1 Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines
    10 Yemen
    11 U.S. Allies in the Middle East
    11.1 Israel
    11.2 Saudi Arabia
    12 Libya
    13 Other military operations
    13.1 Operation Active Endeavour
    13.2 Fighting in Kashmir
    13.3 American military intervention in Cameroon
    14 International military support
    15 Terrorist attacks and failed plots since 9/11
    15.1 Al-Qaeda
    15.2 The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
    16 Post 9/11 events inside the United States
    17 Casualties
    17.1 Total terrorist casualties
    18 Costs
    19 Criticism
    20 Other Wars on Terror
    21 See also
    22 Notes
    23 References
    23.1 Bibliography
    24 Further reading
    25 External links

    ---



    No, I'm not saying that Russia is *anti-imperialist*, but its roped-into opposition to much of NATO policy is relatively *historically-progressive* because Russia prevented Syria from falling to the West, and prevented ISIS from gaining its own territory. Contrast this to *U.S.* imperialism, which overran Libya (not to mention dozens of additional invasions of foreign sovereignty), and also attempted to carve-up Syria in the same way, while covertly funneling weapons to ISIS. In *geopolitical* terms, then, Russia is clearly preferable to Western imperialism.


    Preferable in being anti-Islamic-fundamentalist (anti-ISIS).



    People in places like Syria or Ukraine? How can anti-imperialist, class consciousness be raised when Russian tutelage is presented as the solution to Western neocolonialism?

    You're exaggerating -- no one is calling for a turn to 'Russian tutelage'.

    And the only *solution* to Western neocolonialism is a worldwide proletarian revolution to stop the pace of imperialist predations once and for all.



    Americans? Should they get behind Trump's "historically progressive"(?) call to partner with Russia in the War on Terror?

    The U.S.' 'War on Terror' is *reactionary*, and is *not* historically-progressive.



    Left-wing Americans? I think the U.S. left risks jeopardizing its ability to communicate a principled anti-imperialist message by having it filtered through outlets like Sputnik or RT. Russians? Should they get behind their "historically progressive" state?

    You should be more media-*neutral*, to focus on the *content* of the news, rather than getting distracted by some perceived 'political alliance' just from the action of reading a different newspaper.

    Russians who are concerned with geopolitical developments should definitely be anti-ISIS.



    The workers of the world at large? Reduction of the question of how to respond to imperialism to choosing between the Russian capitalist state and the American capitalist state already presupposes that this entity has no independent consciousness or will, and does not exist as a subjectivity which could announce a preference for one or the other. Abstract geopolitical punditry?

    Hey, I'm not *against* the world's working class having its own class independence, so please don't imply that I'm otherwise.

    *Geopolitical* concerns are *short-term* and lend themselves to *tactical* alliances of strange bedfellows, such as being pro-Assad for the sake of countering NATO / Western imperialism, since we saw what the West did to Libya.



    I don't think the so-called NazBols ("National Bolsheviks"), neo-Eurasianists and the like are leftists at all, but rather the far-right has a long tradition of appropriating some superficial or symbolic elements of left-wing radicalism, going back to Hitler and the "National Socialists". Counterrevolutions somehow have a way of assimilating or recuperating a part of the revolution they react to as opposed to completely negating them. Right-wing reactionaries have been trying to re-interpret the Soviet Union into their framework for a while now.

    see for example:

    wiki/Francis_Parker_Yockey

    In late 1952, Yockey traveled to Prague and witnessed the Prague Trials. He believed they "foretold a Russian break with Jewry", a view he put forward in his article What is Behind the Hanging of the Eleven Jews in Prague?.[11] Indeed, that prediction was vindicated by the fact that the last Jewish member of the Soviet Presidium, Lazar Kaganovich, was expelled in 1957 - having been sidelined as early as 1953. (In addition, after sympathizing with Israel in its 1948-49 war, Russia switched sides and supported the Arabs in subsequent conflicts.) Yockey believed that Stalinism had purged Soviet Communism of Jewish influence. He spent the remainder of his life attempting to forge an alliance between the worldwide forces of Communism and the international network of the extreme Right of which he was a part, with an aim toward weakening or overthrowing the government of the United States.

    Okay, acknowledged.



    Google Books blurb for Stalin: The Enduring Legacy (a more recent book by an extreme right-wing anti-Semite who admires Stalin):

    Stalin: The Enduring Legacy considers the 'Man of Steel' in a manner that will outrage dogmatists of both Left and Right. Stalinist Russia is reassessed as a state that transcended Marxism, and proceeded on a nationalist and imperial path rather than as the citadel of 'world revolution'. Stalin reversed many early Bolshevik policies re-instituting, for example, the traditional family. He abolished the Communist International, championed 'realism' in the arts and rejected post-1945 US plans for a 'new world order'. Despite so-called 'de-Stalinization' after his death, the Soviet bloc continued to oppose globalism, as does Putin's Russia. Stalin: The Enduring Legacy, examines the anti-Marxist character of Stalinism, the legitimacy of the Moscow Trials against the 'Old Bolsheviks', the origins of the Cold War, the development of Trotskyism as a tool of US foreign policy, the question of Stalin's murder, and the relevance of Russia to the future of world power politics. 'Dr. Bolton's book Stalin: The Enduring Legacy is a major contribution to the proper understanding of Russian, as well as American, politics and society in the twentieth century. It brushes aside the anti-Stalinist biases of the Trotskyist American chroniclers of this historical period to reveal the unquestionable integrity of Stalin as a nationalist leader. At the same time, it highlights the vital differences between the Russian national character rooted in the soil and history of Russia, and its opposite, the rootless Jewish cosmopolitanism that Trotskyist Marxism sought to impose on the Russians - as well as on the rest of the world'. - Dr Alexander Jacob

    Yeah, again, incidental single-issue similarities of position between left and right are just *coincidences* -- there's no left-right *coordination* around the same.

    (I certainly don't *champion* Stalin, but, geopolitically, the Stalinist USSR *was* an effective counterweight to Western imperialism.)



    LGBT issues also take on international dimensions as the Russian state uses developments such as the legalization of gay marriage in Western Europe as a device to stake out influence in spaces outside Russia where social conservatism is prominent. On the flip side, we could also take a look at so-called "pink imperialism" as the West uses LGBT issues as a wedge to present itself as progressive or the big show which a lot of corporations now make about supporting gay pride.

    Well, you're obviously capable of identifying Western or Russia state *public relations* co-optation of legitimate domestic-issue politics, such as LGBT, human-rights, etc.



    I'd say the point of the Soviet/Tsarist combo flag is not so much to illustrate an actual tactical alliance between Communists and Tsarists but amounts to the expression of a more symbolic, abstract/conceptual "alliance", an expression of nationalism through a reinterpretation of Russian history which emphasizes an overall continuity as opposed to there having been significant ruptures in 1917, 1991. "Fascist anti-fascism" is not actual anti-fascism.

    Got it. Thanks.
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    'Annexation' is an incorrect and inappropriate term to use:
    What does the referendum have to do with it being annexation or not? Crimea didn't just secede from Ukraine, it became a part of the Russian Federation. Do you mean that if the inhabitants of the territory in question support affiliating with the other country, it's not annexation? Then I guess the United States never annexed Texas.

    Here's how Oxford Dictionary defines "annexation" (n.):
    The action of annexing something, especially territory.
    and "annex" (v.):
    Add (territory) to one's own territory by appropriation.

    'Imperialism' is the wrong term to use since it means 'expropriation of natural resources, into private ownership, with the backing of the state'. This was *not* the practice of the fUSSR, which *incorporated* areas under its general bureaucratic-collectivist state administration, *not* giving those lands over to private, profit-making corporations, the way the U.S. did with Libya and its oil in 2014:
    The territories in question were annexed by the Russian Empire in the 18th century (Russo-Turkish_War 1768-1774). But how is the Soviet Union relevant if we are talking about what's happened since 2014?


    By comparison, we could look at Kazakhstan, for example, and see that it entered the industrialization and modernization era through the larger Stalinization of the area, with all of the ups and downs of that general historic trend:
    I'm not sure what we're supposed to understand here by comparing Libya and Kazakhstan.

    It doesn't matter if other, politically antagonistic orientations happen to have the same position as the hard-left on a single issue, like being anti-ISIS -- obviously we don't support Trump or Trumpism if this happens.

    The historical record is that Russia *did* take the lead in providing war materiel to counter the fundamentalist Islamist threat, while the U.S. was finally tapering-off on its extended covert support to ISIS:
    Why should it be seen as "historically progressive" when Putin orders strikes on ISIS but not when Trump does it? I don't think either one is historically progressive. Real solidarity with Syria would be ending all foreign interference. Being a pro-Russian Western European or American is just cheer-leading, turning armed conflict into spectator sport. Being anti-ISIS doesn't mean you have to support great imperialist powers bombing and killing people in Iraq and Syria. That's the logic of "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists" Bush-ism.

    Is there really a fundamental difference between any of the anti-ISIS actors (e.g. the Syrian state, Rojava movement) collaborating with Russia versus collaborating with the US to fight ISIS? The Russia apologists say that the US wants to partition Syria, which is of course an imperialist ambition.

    It's interesting to note that in Ukraine it is the opposite: the US wants Ukraine's territorial integrity to be respected while it is Russia who wants partition. So neither the maintenance of territorial integrity nor the act of partition are intrinsically imperialist?

    But to the extent that it wants to maintain the territorial integrity of Syria, Russia, a capitalist state which has all the features of imperialism, including relationships of exploitation via finance monopoly capital of subordinate states and so on, wants to protect its interests in Syria, which is also an imperialist ambition. Unless defensive measures are never imperialist--then it wouldn't be imperialist for the US capitalist state to protect its interests in say, Puerto Rico, when or if their interests are threatened there, which would be absurd.


    You're exaggerating -- no one is calling for a turn to 'Russian tutelage'.

    And the only *solution* to Western neocolonialism is a worldwide proletarian revolution to stop the pace of imperialist predations once and for all.
    tutelage (n.):
    Protection of or authority over someone or something; guardianship.

    You should be more media-*neutral*, to focus on the *content* of the news, rather than getting distracted by some perceived 'political alliance' just from the action of reading a different newspaper.

    Russians who are concerned with geopolitical developments should definitely be anti-ISIS.
    This reminds me of something I read recently, I will paste it here because I think it's interesting (from an article from the '70s called "Ethnomethodology and Marxism: Their Use for Critical Theorizing" by Peter Freund and Mona Abrams):

    Nowhere is the question "what happened" more irrelevant than in the news media, which provides daily "entertainment" for the masses. News is treated as correctibly biased information by most laypersons and social theorists.
    Though limited, news is considered a source of information about social events/happenings and a basis for social analysis and political decisions. This uncritical use of news, like the uncritical acceptance of other social information (e.g., crime or suicide statistics in particular and all statistics and information in files in general) inhibits innovative theorizing.

    The power of the media to create experience rests on what we'll term the "objectivity assumption," to which almost everyone pledges allegiance. This assumption has it that there is indeed a world "out there" and that an account of a given event reflects that world, or a piece of it, with some degree of accuracy. The "objectivity assumption" states not that the
    media are objective, but that there is a world out there to be objective about. Operating on the "objectivity assumption," lay people read a newspaper or listen to a news broadcast with the aim in mind of finding out about the world which is described in the produced account. People, in other words, read newspapers to find out about an assumed objective state of the world. Sociologists in their work on power, on the media, and in their methods of content analysis, usually do much the same thing.39

    Molotch and Lester focus on three types of news events-routine events, accidents, and scandals. Routine events, which dominate in the news, are carved out of the infinite number of occurrences which the news maker might choose to treat as a news event.
    During the Santa Barbara oil spill in late January, 1969, President Nixon made an inspection tour of certain beaches and subsequently announced to the nation that the damage caused by the blow-out had been repaired. He did not announce that the stretch of beach he inspected had been especially cleaned for his arrival, while miles north and south of him remained hopelessly blackened.40

    The authors refer to events about which elites differ as routine public issues. Such issues may be pseudo-issues or ones that are irrelevant to the interests of most of the population. Concerns with ex-President Nixon's character, for example, detract from concerns with the "real" problem of which Watergate is merely "symptomatic." Similarly, one can characterize news reporting during the early part of President Ford's administration as describing Ford's "happy" home life on the one hand and Mrs. Ford's "terrible calamity," breast cancer necessitating major surgery, and her "bravery" (when we know she is receiving much better care than the poor do for any kind of illness). This homey focus serves to hide the fact that a recession/depression is taking place and the President is doing nothing to combat it.


    The clues to other political realities become available then only through accidents and scandals.

    Only by the accident and the scandal is that political work transcended, allowing access to "other" information and thus to a basis for practical action which is directly hostile to those groups who typically manage the public political stage.41


    Thus only through "critical readings" of social documents can other information be gleaned. Molotch and Lester conclude:42
    We see media as reflecting not a world out there, but the practices of those having the power to determine the experience of others ... We think that mass media should similarly be viewed as bad clinical records ... We
    advocate examining media for the event needs and the methods through which those with access come to determine the experience of publics. We can look for the methods through which ideological hegemony is accomplished by examining the records which are produced.43

    Hey, I'm not *against* the world's working class having its own class independence, so please don't imply that I'm otherwise.

    *Geopolitical* concerns are *short-term* and lend themselves to *tactical* alliances of strange bedfellows, such as being pro-Assad for the sake of countering NATO / Western imperialism, since we saw what the West did to Libya.
    What the US did to Libya was, without a doubt, scandalous on many levels (Although sadly, U.S. military interventionism may be perceived as more of routine event at this point). But on the basis of the idea "the political is personal", let me tell you a little about my own activity in 2011, because I think my views on these matters have evolved quite a bit because of that engagement. I made efforts to start anti-war conversations with people in the (US-located) community I lived in, I participated in at least one anti-war demonstration against US intervention in Libya, I studied the Green Book and the African Union in a bit more depth (I had had an interest in vexillology as a kid and made my own African Union flag) around that time and to be honest, if you'd asked me in 2011, I probably would have considered myself "pro-Gaddafi".

    Maybe that's not much, but it's probably more than most people who could have done something did do, and, looking back, I don't know that there's much more that I could have done in that situation. I don't think I could have personally saved Gaddafi's life, or anything like that. As a movement, the anti-war sentiment was weak. There is only so much you can do in a given situation, and the "average person" is, as an individual, relatively powerless. Anti-war sentiment alone is relatively powerless.

    But as I reflect back on that time what does saying/considering "I'm pro-Gaddafi" actually add to this equation?? Did I need to know that the Jamahiriya direct democracy in Libya was "real"? Did I need to "know" that to know that US intervention would have a very bad outcome for the people of Libya and that I should oppose it? No, I didn't. If anything, saying "I'm pro-Gaddafi" or "I'm stand with Putin" or whatever just puts you in the same boat with pro-Trump clowns like Alex Jones, who at some point actually said "I'm for socialism if Gaddafi's running it," (in an interview with the bourgeois reformist Green Party's past presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, who actually endorsed Trump).

    If in 1982, when the Falklands War happened, an anti-war movement had adamantly declared its enthusiastic support for Argentina's fascist El Proceso junta, which was actually committing genocide and mass murder against leftists, gays and indigenous people, would that have been some enormous help in opposing British imperialism? I think not. And let's not forget that after 9/11, the Assad government was essentially letting the CIA outsource torture jobs to it in a bid to win "brownie points" from the Bush regime. Just do a web search for "Maher Arar" if you're not familiar with that man's story.
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    What does the referendum have to do with it being annexation or not? Crimea didn't just secede from Ukraine, it became a part of the Russian Federation. Do you mean that if the inhabitants of the territory in question support affiliating with the other country, it's not annexation? Then I guess the United States never annexed Texas.

    The referendum had *everything* to do with Crimea joining Russia -- it was *intentional* on the part of Crimea (etc.), and so 'annexation' is too generic -- and even carrying a *negative* connotation -- for usage here.



    Here's how Oxford Dictionary defines "annexation" (n.):

    The action of annexing something, especially territory.
    and "annex" (v.):
    Add (territory) to one's own territory by appropriation.

    It wasn't appropriation.


    ---



    'Imperialism' is the wrong term to use since it means 'expropriation of natural resources, into private ownership, with the backing of the state'. This was *not* the practice of the fUSSR, which *incorporated* areas under its general bureaucratic-collectivist state administration, *not* giving those lands over to private, profit-making corporations, the way the U.S. did with Libya and its oil in 2014


    The territories in question were annexed by the Russian Empire in the 18th century (Russo-Turkish_War 1768-1774). But how is the Soviet Union relevant if we are talking about what's happened since 2014?

    Well, obviously it's *not*, since 2014, but it *is* relevant to the overall context of Russia's claimed territory today.

    Also, you're sidestepping the point I made above about collectivization vs. privatization.


    ---



    By comparison, we could look at Kazakhstan, for example, and see that it entered the industrialization and modernization era through the larger Stalinization of the area, with all of the ups and downs of that general historic trend


    I'm not sure what we're supposed to understand here by comparing Libya and Kazakhstan.

    Collectivization vs. privatization.



    Why should it be seen as "historically progressive" when Putin orders strikes on ISIS but not when Trump does it? I don't think either one is historically progressive. Real solidarity with Syria would be ending all foreign interference. Being a pro-Russian Western European or American is just cheer-leading, turning armed conflict into spectator sport. Being anti-ISIS doesn't mean you have to support great imperialist powers bombing and killing people in Iraq and Syria. That's the logic of "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists" Bush-ism.

    Incorrect -- if we loosely compare the Islamic fundamentalist threat to that of the Nazis in World War II, then it makes sense for a relatively more-historically-progressive (secular) government to defeat outright *reactionary* nations like Nazi Germany or the Islamic State.

    And this dynamic of resistance isn't either-or -- the more grassroots resistance there is, the more legitimate claim those participants will have once the hostilities are over, like that of the Kurds.

    Your sense of "real" solidarity with Syria would lead to *passivity* regarding the situation, so that instead of valuable anti-ISIS actions from nation-states, *abstentionism* would reign (in the name of 'solidarity'), and ISIS would face no antagonisms.

    There's no 'spectator sport' or 'cheerleading' going on regarding defeating ISIS -- people have dealt with these geopolitical issues quite seriously, though not *timely* enough.



    Is there really a fundamental difference between any of the anti-ISIS actors (e.g. the Syrian state, Rojava movement) collaborating with Russia versus collaborating with the US to fight ISIS? The Russia apologists say that the US wants to partition Syria, which is of course an imperialist ambition.

    *Now* you're getting it -- you're seeing the difference in motives between the U.S. and that of Russia. Russia may very well have to *continue* to back Syria militarily, to mitigate U.S. / NATO designs on it.



    It's interesting to note that in Ukraine it is the opposite: the US wants Ukraine's territorial integrity to be respected while it is Russia who wants partition. So neither the maintenance of territorial integrity nor the act of partition are intrinsically imperialist?

    Well, you can't just *abstract* it into an abstract correlation as you're doing, because so much depends on the *particulars*, and also on what's best for the world's public ('body politic') as a whole. Does it aid the world for fascists to have a foothold in Ukraine -- ?



    But to the extent that it wants to maintain the territorial integrity of Syria, Russia, a capitalist state which has all the features of imperialism, including relationships of exploitation via finance monopoly capital of subordinate states and so on, wants to protect its interests in Syria, which is also an imperialist ambition. Unless defensive measures are never imperialist--then it wouldn't be imperialist for the US capitalist state to protect its interests in say, Puerto Rico, when or if their interests are threatened there, which would be absurd.

    What *are* the Russian financial interests in Syria, then -- ? You're mixing geopolitics with economic interests, a mixture that doesn't apply here, since Syria maintains its *sovereignty* and is no way a *colony* of Russia -- they're willing and voluntary *allies*, geopolitically.

    Contrary to the thread's title, there's not enough empirical evidence to conclude that Russia is an imperialist country, if you're only looking at internal finances and ignoring geopolitical relationships altogether.


    ---



    You're exaggerating -- no one is calling for a turn to 'Russian tutelage'.

    And the only *solution* to Western neocolonialism is a worldwide proletarian revolution to stop the pace of imperialist predations once and for all.


    tutelage (n.):
    Protection of or authority over someone or something; guardianship.

    Yes, that's the *definition* of 'tutelage', in the abstract, but you're not addressing any real-world application of this term.


    ---



    You should be more media-*neutral*, to focus on the *content* of the news, rather than getting distracted by some perceived 'political alliance' just from the action of reading a different newspaper.

    Russians who are concerned with geopolitical developments should definitely be anti-ISIS.


    This reminds me of something I read recently, I will paste it here because I think it's interesting (from an article from the '70s called "Ethnomethodology and Marxism: Their Use for Critical Theorizing" by Peter Freund and Mona Abrams):

    This material is woefully dated -- we now live in the era of the Internet / the information revolution, where the conventional news media outlets have been thrown into *competition* with each other, due to the ubiquitous consumer *ease* of finding multiple separate sources of news for any given event. News research and critical thinking are easier to do than ever before, and the monolithic studio system of content production that dominated in the 1970s has long been *defunct*.



    What the US did to Libya was, without a doubt, scandalous on many levels (Although sadly, U.S. military interventionism may be perceived as more of routine event at this point). But on the basis of the idea "the political is personal", let me tell you a little about my own activity in 2011, because I think my views on these matters have evolved quite a bit because of that engagement. I made efforts to start anti-war conversations with people in the (US-located) community I lived in, I participated in at least one anti-war demonstration against US intervention in Libya, I studied the Green Book and the African Union in a bit more depth (I had had an interest in vexillology as a kid and made my own African Union flag) around that time and to be honest, if you'd asked me in 2011, I probably would have considered myself "pro-Gaddafi".

    Maybe that's not much, but it's probably more than most people who could have done something did do, and, looking back, I don't know that there's much more that I could have done in that situation. I don't think I could have personally saved Gaddafi's life, or anything like that. As a movement, the anti-war sentiment was weak. There is only so much you can do in a given situation, and the "average person" is, as an individual, relatively powerless. Anti-war sentiment alone is relatively powerless.

    But as I reflect back on that time what does saying/considering "I'm pro-Gaddafi" actually add to this equation?? Did I need to know that the Jamahiriya direct democracy in Libya was "real"? Did I need to "know" that to know that US intervention would have a very bad outcome for the people of Libya and that I should oppose it? No, I didn't. If anything, saying "I'm pro-Gaddafi" or "I'm stand with Putin" or whatever just puts you in the same boat with pro-Trump clowns like Alex Jones, who at some point actually said "I'm for socialism if Gaddafi's running it," (in an interview with the bourgeois reformist Green Party's past presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, who actually endorsed Trump).

    Interesting, and thanks for sharing, but we as revolutionaries should *all* know that it's the *U.S.* / West that's imperialist, so we should be opposing its wars *categorically*, on principle, because we know its track record with intervening in other countries' own internal, domestic affairs.



    If in 1982, when the Falklands War happened, an anti-war movement had adamantly declared its enthusiastic support for Argentina's fascist El Proceso junta, which was actually committing genocide and mass murder against leftists, gays and indigenous people, would that have been some enormous help in opposing British imperialism? I think not.

    This is mostly an *inter-imperialist* *non-issue* to us -- I don't know why you're bringing this topic up at all.



    And let's not forget that after 9/11, the Assad government was essentially letting the CIA outsource torture jobs to it in a bid to win "brownie points" from the Bush regime. Just do a web search for "Maher Arar" if you're not familiar with that man's story.

    Yes, I'm familiar with Syria's past cooperation with the U.S. CIA -- that was a different timeframe, though, than the matter of the current invasion / *proxy war* initiated by the U.S. against Syria.
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    Settling accounts with Washington’s war criminals is the task of the American working class, united in struggle with the working people of Iraq, the rest of the Middle East and the entire planet. Under conditions in which escalating militarism in the Middle East and around the globe threaten to coalesce into another world war, the fight to build a new mass antiwar movement based on the working class and the youth and directed against the capitalist system assumes ever greater urgency.
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    The referendum had *everything* to do with Crimea joining Russia -- it was *intentional* on the part of Crimea (etc.), and so 'annexation' is too generic -- and even carrying a *negative* connotation -- for usage here.

    It wasn't appropriation.

    Then you can't say that the US stole Mexican territory either. It's no different from saying Texas wasn't "annexed" because the white settlers wanted their republic to join the United States.

    A territory was a part of one nation-state, and then it became a part of another nation-state. That's what the word "annexation" describes.

    The territories in question were annexed by the Russian Empire in the 18th century (Russo-Turkish_War 1768-1774). But how is the Soviet Union relevant if we are talking about what's happened since 2014?
    Well, obviously it's *not*, since 2014, but it *is* relevant to the overall context of Russia's claimed territory today.
    Russian apologetics is all about "historical context"--but not too much historical context: a restricted, limited slice of historical context, viz. 1954 transfer of Crimea. The Russian Empire conquers and annexes Turkic territory, and then in the words of Lenin, is "slightly anointed with Soviet oil", time goes by, the new allegedly anti-imperialist government eventually deports all the indigenous people, as well as other non-Russian minority groups, the counterrevolution ultimately triumphs, capitalism returns. And suddenly a conservative, homophobic, nationalist, superficial manipulation of Soviet nostalgia as symbolic of a period of Russian-Greatness is supposed to make the re-assertion of the imagined geography of this Empire's territorial integrity no longer imperialist. And we're not supposed use words like "annexation" because of their "negative connotations".

    Also, you're sidestepping the point I made above about collectivization vs. privatization.

    Collectivization vs. privatization.
    You'll have to elaborate, because I'm still lost. Are you saying that Kazakhstan or Russia today are "collectivist" states? Or that Libya was "collectivist"?

    Incorrect -- if we loosely compare the Islamic fundamentalist threat to that of the Nazis in World War II, then it makes sense for a relatively more-historically-progressive (secular) government to defeat outright *reactionary* nations like Nazi Germany or the Islamic State.

    And this dynamic of resistance isn't either-or -- the more grassroots resistance there is, the more legitimate claim those participants will have once the hostilities are over, like that of the Kurds.

    Your sense of "real" solidarity with Syria would lead to *passivity* regarding the situation, so that instead of valuable anti-ISIS actions from nation-states, *abstentionism* would reign (in the name of 'solidarity'), and ISIS would face no antagonisms.
    Yes, the *activity* of anti-war folks in imperialist countries should be directed towards mobilizing mass movements to force *passivity* on their own governments in foreign affairs, not getting them to take so-called "valuable anti-ISIS actions". Short of putting military and political leaders before war crimes tribunals, that is the primary task which solidarity demands of them. That kind of solidarity would be much more valuable than individuals living out lifestylist adventurism in whatever Foreign Legion or military/mercenary outfit that's contributing "valuable" violence and destruction to the landscapes of Syria and Iraq.

    Do you think ISIS is more "historically progressive" than the USA?? If not, and I do hope not, then why shouldn't we also be supportive of "valuable anti-ISIS actions" when they're orchestrated by Trump? Isn't that what this kind of petit bourgeois punditry of "non-abstentionist" realpolitik would demand? The conspiratorial view that the USA does not antagonize ISIS actually leads one to slurp at the trough of the strategy of tension.

    There's no 'spectator sport' or 'cheerleading' going on regarding defeating ISIS -- people have dealt with these geopolitical issues quite seriously, though not *timely* enough.
    Let us know if/when you're personally in Syria engaging ISIS militants in armed combat then.


    *Now* you're getting it -- you're seeing the difference in motives between the U.S. and that of Russia. Russia may very well have to *continue* to back Syria militarily, to mitigate U.S. / NATO designs on it.
    The *difference* is that the U.S. wants to promote U.S. capitalist (imperialist) interests, and Russia wants to promote Russian capitalist (imperialist) interests. For the U.S. that is currently expressed as partition in Syria and territorial integrity in Ukraine, while for Russia it is vice versa. But the fundamental difference is only a difference of imperialisms. Not a difference of imperialism and anti-imperialism.


    Well, you can't just *abstract* it into an abstract correlation as you're doing, because so much depends on the *particulars*, and also on what's best for the world's public ('body politic') as a whole. Does it aid the world for fascists to have a foothold in Ukraine -- ?
    Do you think neo-Eurasianism is not a fascist ideology? Because I've already shown that it has a crystal clear foothold in the supposed "anti-fascist" (Russian nationalist) separatist movement in Ukraine, and that the narrative "Ukraine = fascist, Russia = anti-fascist" is false propaganda.

    What *are* the Russian financial interests in Syria, then -- ? You're mixing geopolitics with economic interests, a mixture that doesn't apply here, since Syria maintains its *sovereignty* and is no way a *colony* of Russia -- they're willing and voluntary *allies*, geopolitically.
    We can't just take a nation's "geopolitical interests" and its "economics" as separate things. They are correlated and intertwined. That's why Marx criticized "political economy". They are a unity. Or is it just a coincidence that in Moldova, where there is a Russian military presence, 70% of the banking sector is Russian-owned? Not only is militarism itself of course an entire economic industrial complex, but a Russian-Syrian alliance provides plenty of opportunities for Russian firms to "partner" with Syrian markets:

    Billions of Dollars of Russian Business Suffers Along With Syria (Moscow Times):
    https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/...ith-syria-9298

    Originally Posted by Moscow Times
    As the death toll rises in Syria's Arab Spring and the regime of President Bashar Assad becomes increasingly isolated on the world stage, Russian companies in Syria are losing out financially.

    As well as lucrative arms contracts, Russian firms have a substantial presence in the Syrian infrastructure, energy and tourism industries. And with exports to Syria worth $1.1 billion in 2010 and investment in the country valued at $19.4 billion in 2009, there is a lot at stake
    This separation of "geopolitical concerns" from "economic matters" is the same mistake that Lenin criticized Kautsky for making in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (see below, i.e. "detaches the politics of imperialism from its economics").

    Contrary to the thread's title, there's not enough empirical evidence to conclude that Russia is an imperialist country, if you're only looking at internal finances and ignoring geopolitical relationships altogether.
    Does that mean you're abandoning your previous statement (post #5) where you said that you "don't disagree with any of the *economic* facts" put forward as proof of the imperialist character of Russian economy?

    Also, of course it is going to be harder to see an imperialist country as imperialist "if you're only looking at [a country's] internal finances". Isn't imperialism essentially an international/world system? If so, then it is primarily in the relations between countries that we have to look for imperialist processes, not within countries.

    This material is woefully dated -- we now live in the era of the Internet / the information revolution, where the conventional news media outlets have been thrown into *competition* with each other, due to the ubiquitous consumer *ease* of finding multiple separate sources of news for any given event. News research and critical thinking are easier to do than ever before, and the monolithic studio system of content production that dominated in the 1970s has long been *defunct*.
    I think it's less outdated than you might think.

    Does competition make news media at all more objective? If anything, objectivity is less of a journalistic standard nowadays than it was in the '70s, as "competition" amounts to each news outlet seeking to carve out a market niche and cater to this audience and re-inforce their subjective worldviews with reporting that makes little pretense to objectivity.

    If it's "long been defunct", then what about "Message Force Multipliers"?

    What about Sinclair Broadcasting forcing local news stations to air right-wing propaganda? https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-r...twing-news-fox

    What about Russian state media's role in spreading anti-migrant "rapefugee" propaganda in Germany?
    https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Spa...n-3377941.html

    This supposed "information revolution" of easy access to "critical", "independent" voices on the internet produces such competition with the big networks as a pro-Assad pseudo-revolutionary clown like Jason "Unruhe" (MaoistRebelNews), who is now apparently a pundit on Iranian-owned PressTV, where Klansman David Duke is also a regular pundit. Marvelous.


    Interesting, and thanks for sharing, but we as revolutionaries should *all* know that it's the *U.S.* / West that's imperialist, so we should be opposing its wars *categorically*, on principle, because we know its track record with intervening in other countries' own internal, domestic affairs.
    The West is imperialist, but when you say "it's the West that's imperialist", then you imply that there are no other imperialisms. If we can't understand that Russia is also imperialist, then we don't really understand what imperialism is. If we don't understand what imperialism is, we can't be anti-imperialist. Anti-American, maybe, but not anti-imperialist.

    Imperialism as "monopoly capitalism" does not mean that capitalism is literally one monopolized center of imperialism.

    From Lenin's Imperialism:

    Originally Posted by V.I. Lenin
    Free competition is the basic feature of capitalism, and of commodity production generally; monopoly is the exact opposite of free competition, but we have seen the latter being transformed into monopoly before our eyes, creating large-scale industry and forcing out small industry, replacing large-scale by still larger-scale industry, and carrying concentration of production and capital to the point where out of it has grown and is growing monopoly: cartels, syndicates and trusts, and merging with them, the capital of a dozen or so banks, which manipulate thousands of millions. At the same time the monopolies, which have grown out of free competition, do not eliminate the latter, but exist above it and alongside it, and thereby give rise to a number of very acute, intense antagonisms, frictions and conflicts. Monopoly is the transition from capitalism to a higher system.


    (...)

    The characteristic feature of imperialism is precisely that it strives to annex not only agrarian territories, but even most highly industrialised regions (German appetite for Belgium; French appetite for Lorraine ["The Donbas is Ukraine's industrial heartland"]), because (1) the fact that the world is already partitioned obliges those contemplating a redivision to reach out for every kind of territory, and (2) an essential feature of imperialism is the rivalry between several great powers in the striving for hegemony, i.e., for the conquest of territory, not so much directly for themselves as to weaken the adversary and undermine his hegemony.

    (...)

    [...] “historically concrete” [...] features of modern imperialism: (1) the competition between several imperialisms, and (2) the predominance of the financier over the merchant. If it is chiefly a question of the annexation of agrarian countries by industrial countries, then the role of the merchant is put in the forefront.

    (...)

    The essence of the matter is that Kautsky detaches the politics of imperialism from its economics, speaks of annexations as being a policy “preferred” by finance capital, and opposes to it another bourgeois policy which, he alleges, is possible on this very same basis of finance capital. It follows, then, that monopolies in the economy are compatible with non-monopolistic, non-violent, non-annexationist methods in politics. It follows, then, that the territorial division of the world, which was completed during this very epoch of finance capital, and which constitutes the basis of the present peculiar forms of rivalry between the biggest capitalist states, is compatible with a non-imperialist policy. The result is a slurring-over and a blunting of the most profound contradictions of the latest stage of capitalism, instead of an exposure of their depth; the result is bourgeois reformism instead of Marxism.
    Marx's description of "The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation" in Chapter 25, Volume I of Capital also shows why capitalist monopolization (centralization of accumulation and concentration of capital) does not eliminate competition, and hence we can take the implications of these arguments for why this theory originally described by Kautsky of an "ultra-imperialism" which fuses all the individual imperialisms into a single global imperialism is impossible under capitalism:

    Originally Posted by Karl Marx
    Centralization may result from a
    mere change in the distribution of already existing capitals, from a
    simple alteration in the quantitative grouping of the component
    parts of social capital. Capital can grow into powerful masses in a
    single hand in one place, because in other places it has been withdrawn
    from many individual hands. In any given branch of
    industry centralization would reach its extreme limit if all the
    individual capitals invested there were fused into a single capital.
    In a given society this limit would be reached only when the entire
    social capital was united in the hands of either a single capitalist
    or a single capitalist company. (p. 779)

    (...)
    but the increase of
    each functioning capital is thwarted by the formation of new
    capitals and the subdivision of old. (p. 776)

    This is mostly an *inter-imperialist* *non-issue* to us -- I don't know why you're bringing this topic up at all.
    If Argentina was imperialist in 1982, then how is Russia not imperialist in 2017?
    Last edited by Lacrimi de Chiciură; 13th July 2017 at 13:08.
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    Then you can't say that the US stole Mexican territory either. It's no different from saying Texas wasn't "annexed" because the white settlers wanted their republic to join the United States.

    A territory was a part of one nation-state, and then it became a part of another nation-state. That's what the word "annexation" describes.

    Sorry, but this is a *horrible* analogy -- there was an actual *battle* fought over the land of Texas, while there was nothing similar regarding Crimea.



    The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas, United States), killing all of the Texian defenders. Santa Anna's cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians—both Texas settlers and adventurers from the United States—to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the revolution.

    My criticism about use of the term 'annexation' stands:



    The referendum had *everything* to do with Crimea joining Russia -- it was *intentional* on the part of Crimea (etc.), and so 'annexation' is too generic -- and even carrying a *negative* connotation -- for usage here.

    It wasn't appropriation.

    ---



    Russian apologetics is all about "historical context"--but not too much historical context: a restricted, limited slice of historical context, viz. 1954 transfer of Crimea.

    There are no Russia apologetics going on here -- note that there's no cheerleading or flag-waving.

    The 1954 transfer of Crimea was to the Ukrainian *Soviet Socialist Republic* -- it was an *internal* reorganization at the time:



    Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (1954–1991)[edit]

    Main article: 1954 transfer of Crimea

    On 19 February 1954, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued a decree on the transfer of the Crimean region of the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.[31] This Supreme Soviet Decree states that this transfer was motivated by "the commonality of the economy, the proximity, and close economic and cultural relations between the Crimean region and the Ukrainian SSR".[32]

    In post-war years, Crimea thrived as a tourist destination, with new attractions and sanatoriums for tourists. Tourists came from all around the Soviet Union and neighbouring countries, particularly from the German Democratic Republic.[33] In time the peninsula also became a major tourist destination for cruises originating in Greece and Turkey. Crimea's infrastructure and manufacturing also developed, particularly around the sea ports at Kerch and Sevastopol and in the oblast's landlocked capital, Simferopol. Populations of Ukrainians and Russians alike doubled, with more than 1.6 million Russians and 626,000 Ukrainians living on the peninsula by 1989.[33]


    Autonomous Republic within Ukraine (1991–2014)[edit]

    Main article: Autonomous Republic of Crimea

    See also: Crimean sovereignty referendum, 1991

    In January 1991, a referendum was held in the Crimean Oblast, and voters approved restoring the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union less than a year later, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was formed as a constituent entity of independent Ukraine,[34][35] with a slight majority of Crimean voters approving Ukrainian independence in a December referendum.[36] On 5 May 1992, the Crimean legislature declared conditional independence,[37] but a referendum to confirm the decision was never held amid opposition from Kiev.[35][38] The Verkhovna Rada voted to grant Crimea "extensive home rule" during the dispute.[36][37]

    ---



    The Russian Empire conquers and annexes Turkic territory,

    This is factually incorrect:



    Early cooperation with Turkish revolutionaries[edit]

    The Ottoman government was party to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed between the Bolshevik government of Russia and the Central Powers on March 3, 1918; the treaty became obsolete later the same year. Russian Bolsheviks and the Soviet government headed by Vladimir Lenin, who emerged victorious from the Russian Civil War by 1921, viewed the Turkish revolutionary (national) movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal as congenial to their ideological and geopolitical aspirations. The Lenin government abdicated the traditional claims of the Russian Empire to the territories of Western Armenia and the Turkish Straits.

    The Soviet supply of gold and armaments to the Kemalists in 1920–1922 was a key factor in the latter's successful grab of power in an Ottoman Empire defeated by the Triple Entente and their victory in the Armenian campaign and the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922).[1]

    The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was the second state to formally recognize the Kemalist government of Turkey in March 1921—after the Democratic Republic of Armenia which signed the Treaty of Alexandropol with the Turkish revolutionaries on 2 December 1920. The Treaty of Moscow signed on 16 March 1921 between the RSFSR's Lenin government and the government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (the Sultanate was still nominally in existence) followed bilateral treaties that the Moscow government concluded with Persia and Afghanistan earlier the same year (apart from those with the states on the territory of the former Russian Empire); on the same day, in London, the RSFSR signed a trade agreement with the United Kingdom, which was hailed as "of principal consequence" by the Pravda newspaper.[2]

    Treaties of trade and cooperation[edit]

    Under the Treaty of Moscow,[3] the two governments undertook to establish friendly relations between the countries; under Article II, Turkey ceded Batum and the adjacent area North of the village of Sarp to Georgia (Kars Oblast went to Turkey); Article III instituted an autonomous Nakhchivan oblast under Azerbaijan's protectorate; under Article V, the parties agreed to delegate the final elaboration of the status of the Black Sea and the Straits to a future conference of delegates of the littoral states, provided that the "full sovereignty" and security of Turkey and "her capital city of Constantinople" are not injured. The Treaty of Moscow was followed by an identical Treaty of Kars signed in October 1921 by the Kemalists with Soviet Armenia, Soviet Azerbaijan and Soviet Georgia, which formed part of the Soviet Union after the December 1922 Union Treaty.

    The GNAT diplomatic note dated October 24, 1922, demanded that the Russian government terminate the operations by the Soviet Trade mission in Turkey until a trade agreement was signed;[4] such agreement was concluded on March 11, 1927.[5]

    On 16 December 1925, the Turkish government withdrew its delegation from Geneva, thus leaving the League of Nations Council to grant a mandate for the disputed region of Mosul to Britain without its consent; Kemal countered the diplomatic reverse[6] by concluding a non-aggression pact[7] with the USSR on 17 December the same year. The pact was subsequently amended and prolonged and was prolonged again for another 10 years on November 7, 1935.[8]

    According to Georges Agabekov, a senior OGPU defector, Turkey was until 1930 viewed by the Soviet secret police and espionage agency as a friendly power, yet cooperation proposals on the part of Turkey's police and intelligence were declined.[9]

    Growing tensions over territory[edit]

    Main article: Turkish Straits crisis

    The first serious tensions in the countries' bilateral relations emerged during the negotiations that led to the signing of the Montreux Convention in July 1936, whereunder Turkey regained control over the Straits which it was allowed to remilitarize:[10] the Stalin government believed that Turkey had "vacillated" and even "come out against the USSR's legitimate and substantiated proposals".[11]

    While Turkey officially remained neutral during World War II until 23 February 1945, the USSR viewed Turkey's continued relationship with Nazi Germany, whose warships were allowed passage through the Straits,[12] as inimical to itself.[12]

    On 19 March 1945, the USSR's Foreign Minister Molotov advised Turkey's ambassador in Moscow that the USSR was unilaterally withdrawing from the 1925 Non-Aggression pact.;[13] the decision was explained by asserting that "due to the deep changes that had occurred especially during World War II" the treaty did not cohere with "the new situation and needed serious improvement."[14] When the Turkish government enquired on what conditions a new agreement could be concluded, it was informed by Molotov that in addition to bases in the Straits, the Soviet Union claimed a part of eastern Turkey, which was assumed to refer to the districts of Kars, Artvin and Ardahan, which the Russian Empire (and the short-lived DRA) had held between 1878 and 1921.[15]

    In his congratulatory message to Stalin dated May 16, 1945, Turkey's prime minister Şükrü Saracoğlu called Stalin "the famous leader to whom I am personally committed"; in response he received a one-line message of terse acknowledgement.[16]

    ---



    and then in the words of Lenin, is "slightly anointed with Soviet oil", time goes by, the new allegedly anti-imperialist government eventually deports all the indigenous people, as well as other non-Russian minority groups, the counterrevolution ultimately triumphs, capitalism returns.

    No, the counterrevolution never triumphed, unless you mean in the way of causing famine:



    Social[edit]

    In the cities and surrounding countryside, the population experienced hardships as a result of the war. Peasants refused to co-operate in producing food. Workers began migrating from the cities to the countryside, where the chances to feed themselves were higher, thus further decreasing the possibility of barter of industrial goods for food and worsening the plight of the remaining urban population. Between 1918 and 1920, Petrograd lost 72% of its population, while Moscow lost 53%.[citation needed]

    A series of workers' strikes and peasants' rebellions broke out all over the country, such as the Tambov rebellion (1920-1921). A turning point came with the Kronstadt rebellion at the Kronstadt naval base in early March 1921. The rebellion startled Lenin, because Bolsheviks considered Kronstadt sailors the "reddest of the reds". According to David Christian, the Cheka (the state Communist Party secret police) reported 118 peasant uprisings in February 1921.[citation needed]

    Christian, in his book "Imperial and Soviet Russia", summarises the state of Russia in 1921 after years of War communism:

    A government claiming to represent the people now found itself on the verge of being overthrown by that same working class. The crisis had undermined the loyalty of the villages, the towns and finally sections of the army. It was fully as serious as the crises faced by the tsarist government in 1905 and February 1917.[8]

    Economic[edit]

    A black market emerged in Russia, despite the threat of martial law against profiteering. The rouble collapsed and barter increasingly replaced money as a medium of exchange[9] and, by 1921, heavy industry output had fallen to 20% of 1913 levels. 90% of wages were paid with goods rather than money. 70% of locomotives were in need of repair, and food requisitioning, combined with the effects of seven years of war and a severe drought, contributed to a famine that caused between 3 and 10 million deaths.[10] Coal production decreased from 27.5 million tons (1913) to 7 million tons (1920), while overall factory production also declined from 10,000 million roubles to 1,000 million roubles. According to the noted historian David Christian, the grain harvest was also slashed from 80.1 million tons (1913) to 46.5 million tons (1920).[11]

    ---



    And suddenly a conservative, homophobic, nationalist, superficial manipulation of Soviet nostalgia as symbolic of a period of Russian-Greatness is supposed to make the re-assertion of the imagined geography of this Empire's territorial integrity no longer imperialist. And we're not supposed use words like "annexation" because of their "negative connotations".

    I don't think anyone in the Soviet era looked back to the time of Tsarist Russia with any nostalgia, except for counterrevolutionaries.

    You shouldn't use the term 'annexation' in regards to Crimea because there was hardly any opposition from the people of Crimea to rejoin Russia.

    Again, from post #10:



    'Annexation' is an incorrect and inappropriate term to use:


    Russia officially recognized the results of the Crimean referendum and states that unilateral Kosovo declaration of independence has set a precedent, which allows secession of Crimea from Ukraine.[12]

    The official result from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was a 96.77 percent vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout.[a][1] The Mejlis Deputy Chairman Akhtem Chiygoz felt that the actual turnout could not have exceeded 30–40 percent, arguing that to be the normal turnout for votes in the region.[13]

    Following the referendum, The Supreme Council of Crimea and Sevastopol City Council declared the independence of the Republic of Crimea from Ukraine and requested to join the Russian Federation.[14] On the same day, Russia recognized the Republic of Crimea as a sovereign state.[15][16]

    ---



    You'll have to elaborate, because I'm still lost. Are you saying that Kazakhstan or Russia today are "collectivist" states?

    No, but Russia (and its internal territory of Kazakhstan, et al) *was* a bureaucratic-collectivist (Stalinist) political economy under the USSR -- see post #10.



    Or that Libya was "collectivist"?

    No, Libya was never collectivist.



    ['Imperialism'] was *not* the practice of the fUSSR, which *incorporated* areas under its general bureaucratic-collectivist state administration, *not* giving those lands over to private, profit-making corporations, the way the U.S. did with Libya and its oil in 2014

    ---



    Incorrect -- if we loosely compare the Islamic fundamentalist threat to that of the Nazis in World War II, then it makes sense for a relatively more-historically-progressive (secular) government to defeat outright *reactionary* nations like Nazi Germany or the Islamic State.

    And this dynamic of resistance isn't either-or -- the more grassroots resistance there is, the more legitimate claim those participants will have once the hostilities are over, like that of the Kurds.

    Your sense of "real" solidarity with Syria would lead to *passivity* regarding the situation, so that instead of valuable anti-ISIS actions from nation-states, *abstentionism* would reign (in the name of 'solidarity'), and ISIS would face no antagonisms.

    There's no 'spectator sport' or 'cheerleading' going on regarding defeating ISIS -- people have dealt with these geopolitical issues quite seriously, though not *timely* enough.


    Yes, the *activity* of anti-war folks in imperialist countries should be directed towards mobilizing mass movements to force *passivity* on their own governments in foreign affairs, not getting them to take so-called "valuable anti-ISIS actions".

    Yes, that would be ideal, but in the present I don't see such a mass movement that explicitly says 'All governments must refrain from foreign policy', so I'm addressing the most-immediate, *geopolitical* aspect of current events.

    I have no problem with Russia, the U.S., or any other (secular) nation-state putting-down ISIS -- except for the numbers of civilian deaths -- because even Western imperialism is preferable to fascist / fundamentalist bases of power.



    Short of putting military and political leaders before war crimes tribunals, that is the primary task which solidarity demands of them. That kind of solidarity would be much more valuable than individuals living out lifestylist adventurism in whatever Foreign Legion or military/mercenary outfit that's contributing "valuable" violence and destruction to the landscapes of Syria and Iraq.

    Agreed -- again, it would be ideal.



    Do you think ISIS is more "historically progressive" than the USA??

    No, of course not -- and here's from post #8:



    [R]ussia [...] is relatively *historically-progressive* because Russia [...] prevented ISIS from gaining its own territory.

    In *geopolitical* terms, then, Russia is clearly preferable to Western imperialism.

    ---



    If not, and I do hope not, then why shouldn't we also be supportive of "valuable anti-ISIS actions" when they're orchestrated by Trump?

    I don't care who the *personnel* is -- aren't you anti-ISIS -- ?



    Isn't that what this kind of petit bourgeois punditry of "non-abstentionist" realpolitik would demand?

    My 'geopolitical' line is *not* petit bourgeois because I'm not saying that it's 'the best', or a 'solution' to the larger Middle East situation. Yes, it's realpolitik, which has a legitimate place, and, yes, it's 'non-abstentionist', which is a good term for it.



    The conspiratorial view that the USA does not antagonize ISIS actually leads one to slurp at the trough of the strategy of tension.

    Your meaning, especially for the latter portion, is unclear -- you may want to rephrase.

    It's not 'conspiratorial' to say that the U.S. has been aiding ISIS both directly, through the CIA, and indirectly, through the SNC -- it's a matter of record. See from the article at post #10:



    The CIA [...] supports those rebel groups [al Qaeda in Syria, Jabhat al Nusra]

    And:



    International support for Free Syrian Army-identified groups[edit]

    The US-led coalition admits militarily supporting some, so-called "moderate", groups fighting under the banner of the FSA. FSA is said to have received substantial weapons, financing and other support from the United States, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states.

    Also:


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_S...abia.2C_others


    ---



    There's no 'spectator sport' or 'cheerleading' going on regarding defeating ISIS -- people have dealt with these geopolitical issues quite seriously, though not *timely* enough.


    Let us know if/when you're personally in Syria engaging ISIS militants in armed combat then.

    No, this is a spurious implication to make -- that people can't be serious about world events if they're elsewhere in the world from the actual battle.

    Consider that the impact on Syria could have been even *worse* if it wasn't for overwhelming public sentiment at the initial event of fabrications against the Syrian regime:



    International[edit]

    Main article: International reactions to the 2013 Ghouta attacks

    See also: Agreement to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons and US–Russia peace proposals on Syria

    The international community condemned the attacks. United States President Barack Obama said the US military should strike targets in Syria to retaliate for the government's purported use of chemical weapons, a proposal publicly supported by French President François Hollande, but condemned by Russia and Iran.[138][139] The Arab League stated it would support military action against Syria in the event of UN support, though member states Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Tunisia opposed it.[140]

    At the end of August, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom voted against military intervention in Syria.[141] In early September, the United States Congress began debating a proposed authorisation to use military force, although votes on the resolution were indefinitely postponed amid opposition from many legislators[142] and tentative agreement between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on an alternative proposal, under which Syria would declare and surrender its chemical weapons to be destroyed under international supervision.[143]

    In contrast to the positions of their governments, polls in early September indicated that most people in the US, UK, Germany and France opposed military intervention in Syria.[144][145][146][147][148] One poll indicated that 50% of Americans could support military intervention with cruise missiles only, "meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks."[149] In a survey of American military personnel, around 75% said they opposed air strikes on Syria, with 80% saying an attack would not be "in the U.S. national interest".[150] Meanwhile, a Russian poll suggested that most Russians supported neither side in the conflict, with less than 10% saying they supported Assad.[151]

    ---



    The *difference* is that the U.S. wants to promote U.S. capitalist (imperialist) interests, and Russia wants to promote Russian capitalist (imperialist) interests. For the U.S. that is currently expressed as partition in Syria and territorial integrity in Ukraine, while for Russia it is vice versa. But the fundamental difference is only a difference of imperialisms. Not a difference of imperialism and anti-imperialism.

    I'll continue to maintain that you're ignoring actual history with your erroneous conclusion of purported foreign-policy 'equivalence' between the U.S. and Russia. Without cheerleading for Russia I have to remind that China, for example, is *much more* imperialist than Russia is, with its numerous forays and dealmaking in Africa. And so is the U.S., of course.



    Criticism[edit]

    Fears of colonialism[edit]

    According to the 2nd session of the 2011 China Africa Industrial Forum hosted in Beijing, China-Africa trade volume is expected to exceed 150 billion US dollars by year 2011.[113] As with previous Western involvement in Africa, forging close ties with local elites has been a key strategy for Chinese diplomats and businessmen.[114] It has been noted that when new leaders come to power in Africa, they will "quickly launch a maximum of new projects [with state's money] to get personal commissions immediately, all this is decided in a short time, and we are ready".[115]

    In Angola, a country weakened by years of conflict, and now notable for its institutional corruption,[116] China has proposed low-cost loans (1.5%), to be paid back in oil.[117] For the elite of Angola, unlike other investors, China does not insist on transparent accounting or the assurance good governance.[118] The long-term consequences for African democracy may be serious. As noted in a South African newspaper, "China's no-strings-attached buy-in to major oil producers, such as Angola, will undermine efforts by Western governments to pressure them to open their oil books to public scrutiny."[117]

    China also sells arms in order to cement relationships with some African leaders. Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burundi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe are examples of countries which receive arms in shipments sometimes labeled as agricultural equipment.[citation needed] Because China doesn't advocate against human rights concerns when dealing with Africa, it will sell military hardware and weapons with little discretion. Meanwhile, Chinese advisors assist their African military counterparts.

    And:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United..._regime_change


    ---



    It's interesting to note that in Ukraine it is the opposite: the US wants Ukraine's territorial integrity to be respected while it is Russia who wants partition. So neither the maintenance of territorial integrity nor the act of partition are intrinsically imperialist?


    Well, you can't just *abstract* it into an abstract correlation as you're doing, because so much depends on the *particulars*, and also on what's best for the world's public ('body politic') as a whole. Does it aid the world for fascists to have a foothold in Ukraine -- ?


    Do you think neo-Eurasianism is not a fascist ideology? Because I've already shown that it has a crystal clear foothold in the supposed "anti-fascist" (Russian nationalist) separatist movement in Ukraine, and that the narrative "Ukraine = fascist, Russia = anti-fascist" is false propaganda.

    You *just* said that Russia wants partition in Ukraine -- that would certainly cut-against any fascist objectives of hegemony over an undivided nation-state of Ukraine.


    ---



    What *are* the Russian financial interests in Syria, then -- ? You're mixing geopolitics with economic interests, a mixture that doesn't apply here, since Syria maintains its *sovereignty* and is no way a *colony* of Russia -- they're willing and voluntary *allies*, geopolitically.

    Contrary to the thread's title, there's not enough empirical evidence to conclude that Russia is an imperialist country, if you're only looking at internal finances and ignoring geopolitical relationships altogether.


    We can't just take a nation's "geopolitical interests" and its "economics" as separate things. They are correlated and intertwined.

    Not necessarily, as we have with the case of Russia -- it does look relatively well-capitalized, but by wantonly ignoring its foreign relations you're erroneously describing it as 'imperialist', when that description is much more apt for Western countries.



    Russia’s Colonial Allergy

    December 19, 2016 - 2:45pm, by Alexander Morrison Russia Academic

    EurasiaNet Commentary

    “The history of Russia is the history of a country that colonizes itself.” This phrase, first coined by the historian Sergei Solov’ev in the 1840s, gained widespread currency thanks to Vasilii Kliuchevskii’s Course of Russian History, first published in 1911 and still popular today.

    It remains one of the best-known aphorisms about Russian history. And yet, any historian of the Russian empire knows that one surefire way today to drop a brick in a conversation with Russian colleagues is to refer to ‘Russian colonialism.’ With rare exceptions, you will be met with a baffled, if not offended, response: “Colonialism? What Colonialism? Russia has never had colonies.”

    I have heard the same response, and the same arguments, from Orenburg to Oxford, and they have changed little in the 15 years since I began my doctoral research. I set out to compare Russian rule in Central Asia with British rule in India in the 19th century, and I can still remember the response of a distinguished Russian Indologist at the Oriental Institute in Moscow when I hesitatingly outlined my ideas.

    “There’s no comparison – India was a colony of Britain, Indians were considered racially inferior. Russians never treated Central Asians in the same way,” the scholar told me. She cited the distinguished 19th-century Russian scholar of Buddhism, Ivan Minaev, whose diaries reveal his horror at the way in which the British treated Indians.

    ---



    That's why Marx criticized "political economy". They are a unity. Or is it just a coincidence that in Moldova, where there is a Russian military presence, 70% of the banking sector is Russian-owned? Not only is militarism itself of course an entire economic industrial complex, but a Russian-Syrian alliance provides plenty of opportunities for Russian firms to "partner" with Syrian markets:

    Billions of Dollars of Russian Business Suffers Along With Syria (Moscow Times):
    https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/...ith-syria-9298
    Originally Posted by Moscow Times

    As the death toll rises in Syria's Arab Spring and the regime of President Bashar Assad becomes increasingly isolated on the world stage, Russian companies in Syria are losing out financially.

    As well as lucrative arms contracts, Russian firms have a substantial presence in the Syrian infrastructure, energy and tourism industries. And with exports to Syria worth $1.1 billion in 2010 and investment in the country valued at $19.4 billion in 2009, there is a lot at stake

    Why the skepticism regarding regular trade relations -- ? Russia is relatively *First World* in its international economic connections, meaning an absence of colonialism and/or imperialism:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ners_of_Russia


    ---



    This separation of "geopolitical concerns" from "economic matters" is the same mistake that Lenin criticized Kautsky for making in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (see below, i.e. "detaches the politics of imperialism from its economics").


    Kautsky’s definition is not only wrong and un-Marxist. It serves as a basis for a whole system of views which signify a rupture with Marxist theory and Marxist practice all along the line. I shall refer to this later. The argument about words which Kautsky raises as to whether the latest stage of capitalism should be called imperialism or the stage of finance capital is not worth serious attention. Call it what you will, it makes no difference. The essence of the matter is that Kautsky detaches the politics of imperialism from its economics,

    This is all well and good, but you're still not showing Russia to be imperialist.


    ---



    Contrary to the thread's title, there's not enough empirical evidence to conclude that Russia is an imperialist country, if you're only looking at internal finances and ignoring geopolitical relationships altogether.


    Does that mean you're abandoning your previous statement (post #5) where you said that you "don't disagree with any of the *economic* facts" put forward as proof of the imperialist character of Russian economy?

    Well, think it through: If finance capital is sitting still, and there's no ever-expanding colonization / imperialism *effected* by that capital, with military force, then where's the imperialism -- ?



    Also, of course it is going to be harder to see an imperialist country as imperialist "if you're only looking at [a country's] internal finances". Isn't imperialism essentially an international/world system? If so, then it is primarily in the relations between countries that we have to look for imperialist processes, not within countries.

    Okay, and you're speaking in generalities / abstractions. Why aren't you able to apply any of this to Russia itself -- ?


    ---



    This material is woefully dated -- we now live in the era of the Internet / the information revolution, where the conventional news media outlets have been thrown into *competition* with each other, due to the ubiquitous consumer *ease* of finding multiple separate sources of news for any given event. News research and critical thinking are easier to do than ever before, and the monolithic studio system of content production that dominated in the 1970s has long been *defunct*.


    I think it's less outdated than you might think.

    Does competition make news media at all more objective? If anything, objectivity is less of a journalistic standard nowadays than it was in the '70s, as "competition" amounts to each news outlet seeking to carve out a market niche and cater to this audience and re-inforce their subjective worldviews with reporting that makes little pretense to objectivity.

    Competition means that news publishers *know* that the news reader / consumer can make comparisons on a story from *many* different sources, *easily*, so perhaps the 'niche' desired will be one of truthfulness and objectivity, compared to less-reputable sources that simply consistently parrot a White House line. It's called 'reputation', or 'reputability'. You're obviously only describing the 'alt-Right', which is a consumer niche itself.



    If it's "long been defunct", then what about "Message Force Multipliers"?

    This is the term for a *military* usage of communications -- what's your point -- ?



    What about Sinclair Broadcasting forcing local news stations to air right-wing propaganda? https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-r...twing-news-fox

    That's called *monopolization*, something that happens in *every* industry under capitalism. Here's my response to *that*:

    ***Photo removed: Please do not post identifying images of yourself or others. Secure culture. Thanks.***


    ---



    What about Russian state media's role in spreading anti-migrant "rapefugee" propaganda in Germany?
    https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Spa...n-3377941.html

    Using Google Translate I'm seeing that this sentiment did *not* originate from the Russian state media itself, but rather from an anti-immigrant right-wing demonstration.



    The National Democratic Party of Germany (German: Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, NPD) is a far-right[9] and ultranationalist[10] political party in Germany.

    ---



    This supposed "information revolution" of easy access to "critical", "independent" voices on the internet produces such competition with the big networks as a pro-Assad pseudo-revolutionary clown like Jason "Unruhe" (MaoistRebelNews), who is now apparently a pundit on Iranian-owned PressTV, where Klansman David Duke is also a regular pundit. Marvelous.

    Hey, I'm not saying that all messaging over the Internet is going to be *perfectly* to your liking, I'm saying that consumers now have easy access to basically-unlimited sources of information, entirely at their / our discretion -- something that's never existed before in human history. Of *course* one should use their own critical thinking in approaching *any* source of news or information.



    The West is imperialist, but when you say "it's the West that's imperialist", then you imply that there are no other imperialisms. If we can't understand that Russia is also imperialist, then we don't really understand what imperialism is. If we don't understand what imperialism is, we can't be anti-imperialist. Anti-American, maybe, but not anti-imperialist.

    You're still just *assuming* that Russia is 'imperialist', without providing a single shred of evidence to support your spurious claim.



    Contrary to the thread's title, there's not enough empirical evidence to conclude that Russia is an imperialist country, if you're only looking at internal finances and ignoring geopolitical relationships altogether.

    ---



    Imperialism as "monopoly capitalism" does not mean that capitalism is literally one monopolized center of imperialism.

    You're going off on a tangent -- but let's call it an *oligopoly* of capital, then.



    Marx's description of "The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation" in Chapter 25, Volume I of Capital also shows why capitalist monopolization (centralization of accumulation and concentration of capital) does not eliminate competition, and hence we can take the implications of these arguments for why this theory originally described by Kautsky of an "ultra-imperialism" which fuses all the individual imperialisms into a single global imperialism is impossible under capitalism:

    Okay, so no financial 'New World Order', then -- again, off-topic, but whatever.



    If Argentina was imperialist in 1982, then how is Russia not imperialist in 2017?

    Because they're two different countries and you're continuing to gloss over the real-world particulars.

    Argentina is *nominally* adventurist / imperialist:



    Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
    Last edited by Decolonize The Left; 13th September 2017 at 23:55.
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    Originally Posted by Lacrimi de Chiciură
    Then you can't say that the US stole Mexican territory either. It's no different from saying Texas wasn't "annexed" because the white settlers wanted their republic to join the United States.

    A territory was a part of one nation-state, and then it became a part of another nation-state. That's what the word "annexation" describes.
    Sorry, but this is a *horrible* analogy -- there was an actual *battle* fought over the land of Texas, while there was nothing similar regarding Crimea.
    Russian annexation of one part of Ukraine cannot be abstracted from the overall Russian military activities and pro-Russian separatist movement in Ukraine as a whole. In other words, it would be a mistake to view events in Crimea as isolated from the War in Donbass.

    There are no Russia apologetics going on here -- note that there's no cheerleading or flag-waving.

    The 1954 transfer of Crimea was to the Ukrainian *Soviet Socialist Republic* -- it was an *internal* reorganization at the time:
    I consider systematically denying the imperialist character of the Russian Federation to be a form of apologetics.

    The Russian Empire conquers and annexes Turkic territory,


    This is factually incorrect:
    I was referring to the Crimean Khanate and the tsarist period of the Russian Empire, not the Soviet era.

    No, the counterrevolution never triumphed, unless you mean in the way of causing famine:
    Counterrevolution ultimately triumphed when the Soviet Union was dissolved and Marxist ideology was formally disavowed by the governments of the former Soviet Republics.

    Originally Posted by Lacrimi de Chiciură
    And suddenly a conservative, homophobic, nationalist, superficial manipulation of Soviet nostalgia as symbolic of a period of Russian-Greatness is supposed to make the re-assertion of the imagined geography of this Empire's territorial integrity no longer imperialist. And we're not supposed use words like "annexation" because of their "negative connotations".
    I don't think anyone in the Soviet era looked back to the time of Tsarist Russia with any nostalgia, except for counterrevolutionaries.
    Again, I'm not referring to the Soviet era here. I'm referring to the present day use of Soviet symbolism by far-right Russian nationalists like the neo-Eurasianists, Nazbols, etc. which the leadership at the highest echelons of the Russian separatist movement in Ukraine, like Purgin, say are the predominant ideological driver of the pro-Russian movement in Ukraine (see post #7).

    You shouldn't use the term 'annexation' in regards to Crimea because there was hardly any opposition from the people of Crimea to rejoin Russia.

    Again, from post #10:
    And I would again reiterate that the annexation of Texas had broad support of the American white settlers who lived in what was then a part of Mexico. This does not make it un-imperialist and it's not a proof that it wasn't "annexation".


    ---


    Yes, that would be ideal, but in the present I don't see such a mass movement that explicitly says 'All governments must refrain from foreign policy', so I'm addressing the most-immediate, *geopolitical* aspect of current events.
    The most immediate task is organizing mass movements, but this also needs clarity of ideas and theory to go along with it. So I think that any "realpolitik" style punditry that says "well, what will mitigate this in the absence of an actual solution (lesser evilism)" is just based on "pragmatic" bourgeois reformism. It's superfluous and counterproductive because of instead of exposing imperialism it obscures it.

    I have no problem with Russia, the U.S., or any other (secular) nation-state putting-down ISIS -- except for the numbers of civilian deaths -- because even Western imperialism is preferable to fascist / fundamentalist bases of power.
    Well, I consider it plainly outrageous for a person on the Left to support U.S. militarism under any pretext in 2017.

    I read your arguments like this (although you refuse to phrase it this way):

    We should support Russian imperialism in Syria and Ukraine because it is more "historically progressive" than Western imperialism. Now it is only logical to extend this line of thought to accept that Western imperialism is more "historically progressive" than ISIS or the Taliban. And therefore we should have "no problem with" American commanders-in-chief orchestrating "valuable [anti-fascist] actions", when they do orchestrate them. This would be laughable if it wasn't so alarming, the idea that U.S. imperialism is anti-fascist. You would have to admit that the invasion of U.S. of Afghanistan in 2001 ("Operation Enduring Freedom") was bona fide "anti-fascism".


    I don't care who the *personnel* is -- aren't you anti-ISIS -- ?
    I reiterate what I said in post #11:

    Being anti-ISIS doesn't mean you have to support great imperialist powers bombing and killing people in Iraq and Syria. That's the logic of "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists" Bush-ism.


    My 'geopolitical' line is *not* petit bourgeois because I'm not saying that it's 'the best', or a 'solution' to the larger Middle East situation. Yes, it's realpolitik, which has a legitimate place, and, yes, it's 'non-abstentionist', which is a good term for it.
    Denying that a great power like Russia is imperialist is quintessentially petit bourgeois, because it opposes the smaller capitalist to the big capitalist and sides with the small(er) capitalist (who is still a big capitalist power in relation to the genuinely small capitalist nations). And you've just made it clear that your realpolitik means supporting U.S. militarism, so maybe a good term for this style of realpolitik would be *imperialist*?

    The conspiratorial view that the USA does not antagonize ISIS actually leads one to slurp at the trough of the strategy of tension.
    Your meaning, especially for the latter portion, is unclear -- you may want to rephrase.

    It's not 'conspiratorial' to say that the U.S. has been aiding ISIS both directly, through the CIA, and indirectly, through the SNC -- it's a matter of record. See from the article at post #10:
    I may have been a bit cryptic there--I was using "strategy of tension" to refer to something along the lines of the alleged Operation Gladio B, that states that Islamic fundamentalist groups are actually an appendage of the CIA. What I meant is that subscribing to an extreme version of this theory, that Operation Gladio B is virtually totally responsible for Islamic fundamentalist violence, leads one to support Russian imperialism. But shouldn't we wonder: isn't it possible that this very conspiracy theory serves to weaken the development of genuine anti-imperialist thought? Because it seems to me that the CIA, et al. would prefer to have a clownish "anti-imperialist" Left which embraces a theoretically asinine, anti-Leninist and anti-Marxist form of "anti-imperialism" (basically Kautsky's theory of ultra-imperialism) which champions far-right wing Russian nationalism, Iranian theocracy, and maybe Ba'athism than a Left which can explain with clarity what imperialism is and how to fight it.

    If you don't take this conspiracy to its extreme, but maybe give it some credibility (and I would give it some credibility, that the US is responsible for fomenting Islamic fundamentalism to a degree), then it also means being supportive of U.S. militarism to the extent that the U.S. does come into genuine conflict with these forces (if you do not have a strong theory of imperialism but rather bourgeois reformist notion of competition between great powers of who can be more 'historically progressive') .

    A number of people have accused Putin(?) of using false-flag attacks, who, like Bush presided over attacks early in his leadership which provided public support for an anti-Muslim war:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_R...tment_bombings

    Yury Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, David Satter and Vladimir Pribylovsky claim that the 1999 bombings were a false flagattack coordinated by the FSB in order to win public support for a new full-scale war in Chechnya (while Boris Kagarlitsky claims the bombings were coordinated by the GRU).[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21

    Let us know if/when you're personally in Syria engaging ISIS militants in armed combat then.
    No, this is a spurious implication to make -- that people can't be serious about world events if they're elsewhere in the world from the actual battle.
    I'm not saying, "let's not take this stuff seriously." I'm trying to get at the fact that all this pro-Russianism, pro-Assadism, etc. has very little practical implications for leftist praxis in places like the U.S. or U.K. for example. What does saying "I stand with the historically progressive leadership of Putin" add to the equation? If you're in Russia, for example, it basically forces you to dull all criticism and antagonism against your own bourgeoisie, to view Russia's current imperialist project as some kind of "Great Patriotic War", and puts you on the side the worst kinds of of fascists. And from there it is barely another small step to land in the same boat with the worst kind of American fascists (like the examples I have already mentioned: the Green Party/Cynthia McKinney moving towards embracing Trump, Jason Unruhe moving towards sharing the same platform as David Duke, you saying you have no problem with U.S. militarism insofar as it attacks Islamic fundamentalism, etc).

    I'll continue to maintain that you're ignoring actual history with your erroneous conclusion of purported foreign-policy 'equivalence' between the U.S. and Russia. Without cheerleading for Russia I have to remind that China, for example, is *much more* imperialist than Russia is, with its numerous forays and dealmaking in Africa. And so is the U.S., of course.
    I only said they are equivalent insofar as they are capitalist great powers. The national difference is significant of course.

    You say China is "much more imperialist than Russia". That may be. But aren't you admitting here that Russia is indeed an imperialist power? Your statement could be rephrased as "China is a stronger imperialist power than Russia." This implies that Russia is also an imperialist power, albeit a weaker one in comparison to China. This is what I have been arguing all along, that Russia is indeed weaker overall than the U.S., but it is nevertheless imperialist. The fact that it attempts to weaken U.S. hegemony shows that it is imperialist. As Lenin wrote:

    "an essential feature of imperialism is the rivalry between several great powers in the striving for hegemony, i.e., for the conquest of territory, not so much directly for themselves as to weaken the adversary and undermine his hegemony. "

    This is clearly what we see in Russian and Chinese maneuvers against U.S. hegemony. We can see this for example in the still embryonic BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, dominated by Russia and China.

    Do you think neo-Eurasianism is not a fascist ideology? Because I've already shown that it has a crystal clear foothold in the supposed "anti-fascist" (Russian nationalist) separatist movement in Ukraine, and that the narrative "Ukraine = fascist, Russia = anti-fascist" is false propaganda.

    You *just* said that Russia wants partition in Ukraine -- that would certainly cut-against any fascist objectives of hegemony over an undivided nation-state of Ukraine.
    Partitioning Ukraine into mutually opposing fascist nationalisms does not exactly "cut-against" fascist objectives.

    Neo-Eurasianist fascism's objective is to annex the strategically most important parts of Ukraine to a new Russian Empire: the Crimea (home to a military base giving access to the Black Sea, which is ultimately access to the Mediterranean and to the Russian base in Syria) and the Donbass, the most industrial region of Ukraine.

    As Lenin wrote:

    "The characteristic feature of imperialism is precisely that it strives to annex not only agrarian territories, but even most highly industrialised regions."

    We can't just take a nation's "geopolitical interests" and its "economics" as separate things. They are correlated and intertwined.
    Not necessarily, as we have with the case of Russia -- it does look relatively well-capitalized, but by wantonly ignoring its foreign relations you're erroneously describing it as 'imperialist', when that description is much more apt for Western countries.
    I don't understand how you think I am ignoring Russia's foreign relations. Hasn't that been the main theme of this exchange?

    I am reading your statement here (i.e. that "that description ['imperialist'] is much more apt for Western countries [than it is for Russia]") to imply that you are conceptualizing "Western countries" as "more imperialist" than Russia, repeating the same construction where you said before that the description "imperialist" is much more apt for China than for Russia ("China [...] is *much more* imperialist than Russia"), leading me to believe that your statement can really be rephrased as "The hegemonic imperialist power of the U.S., taken globally, is superior to the hegemonic imperialist power of Russia" (which I would agree with) and I take this to mean that you are implicitly recognizing Russia's imperialist character, but for whatever reason, you aren't bringing yourself to admit this.

    To correctly grasp imperialism, it is necessary to grasp that the fact of one imperialist power possessing more hegemony than another one does not make the latter *not imperialist*. The whole system of imperialism presupposes competition between great powers for hegemony. Imperialism therefore presupposes multipolarity and inequality between great powers, and imperialist struggle results in give and take, gains and losses, and continually changing alignments between the great powers.

    The U.S. is certainly more hegemonic than the U.K. But the U.K. is nevertheless a capitalist great power: an imperialist state, in other words. Because of its relatively long-term allied status with U.S. imperialism, we tend to lump them together as essentially one entity: "Western imperialism". But U.S. and U.K. imperial interests have become antagonistic to one another in the past, the former being a product of this antagonism, and there is no reason to suppose that their bond is necessarily eternal, although it seems to work for their bourgeois classes for now. It would be just as wrong to say that the superior power of the U.S. in comparison to the U.K. means that the U.K. is not imperialist, or even more preposterously that the U.K. is a colony of the U.S., as it is to say that Russia is not imperialist because of the more hegemonic position of the U.S. in comparison to it.

    It seems like you didn't fully read this article, because it undermines the point you are trying to make. The author doesn't think Russia actually has some kind of exceptional cultural allergy to colonialism/imperialism -- he describes the Tsarist aphorism about "Russia's colonial allergy" as a symptom of the same Great-Russian apologetics and chauvinistic exceptionalism I am critiquing here.

    From the article's conclusion:

    The inequalities and hierarchies of power that we associate with ‘colonialism’ existed and continue to exist in Russia’s relations with the non-Russian peoples of its former empire, but they are consistently denied. This allows overt racism towards Central Asian and Caucasian migrants in Russia to thrive, despite the opposition and activism of a small, but brave and vocal group of Russians.

    Kliuchevskii’s phrase about Russia as a land that ‘colonizes itself’ uses the reflexive form of the verb (kolonizuetsya), which implies that all this land is and always has been Russian, and that nobody else ever had any right to it – something akin to the American idea of ‘manifest destiny,’ which was also used to justify aggressive settler colonialism. [...]

    The difference is that in the USA, and in other western democracies, those who deny or defend colonialism are constantly and robustly challenged. In Russia, the deniers have the power of the state behind them, and the challengers are a small and embattled minority.


    Why the skepticism regarding regular trade relations -- ? Russia is relatively *First World* in its international economic connections, meaning an absence of colonialism and/or imperialism:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ners_of_Russia
    "Regular" trade relations? You mean capitalist trade relations? If one has anything approaching a Marxian understanding of capital as the means of controlling and profiting from unpaid labor, then a better question would be: Why not the skepticism regarding capitalist economic relations between a great power and a small country?

    Preponderance of trade relations with the developed / First World does not mean absence of (neo)colonialism or imperialism.

    Besides, trade, it might also be telling to look at figures for Foreign Direct Investment, defined here as "investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country".

    Take the United Kingdom. According to the data presented here, for the year 2011, 77.6% of British foreign direct investment (FDI) is in the so-called First World (if we define the Americas outside the U.S. and Canada as Third World), perhaps slightly less if we consider Eastern Europe as semi-(under)developed or Second World. Only 19.1% is in Africa, Asia, and the Americas outside the U.S. and Canada.

    Does this mean there is no British imperialism?

    Similarly, according to the data presented here for 2015, "About 71% of the accumulated U.S.foreign direct investment is concentrated in high-income developed countries [...] investments in Europe alone account for over half of all U.S. direct investmentabroad, or $2.9 trillion."


    Does that mean you're abandoning your previous statement (post #5) where you said that you "don't disagree with any of the *economic* facts" put forward as proof of the imperialist character of Russian economy?
    Well, think it through: If finance capital is sitting still, and there's no ever-expanding colonization / imperialism *effected* by that capital, with military force, then where's the imperialism -- ?
    What do you mean by "if finance capital is sitting still"? Capital, by definition, has to be engaged in running through the circuit of the productive process to be capital, to valorize itself. If it is standing still, it becomes something different from capital, like a hoard of money locked in a safe or a factory which doesn't run--"potential" capital.

    Capitalism is not "ever-expanding" but has an industrial cycle with periods of expansion and crises and contractions. We can see that Russian capitalism was in crisis in the 1990s but it is using military force to expand more now and compete with U.S. capitalism. British imperialism went through a serious decline, but that is no more evidence of the end of British imperialism than crisis in Russia.


    Also, of course it is going to be harder to see an imperialist country as imperialist "if you're only looking at [a country's] internal finances". Isn't imperialism essentially an international/world system? If so, then it is primarily in the relations between countries that we have to look for imperialist processes, not within countries.
    Okay, and you're speaking in generalities / abstractions. Why aren't you able to apply any of this to Russia itself -- ?
    Abstraction is inherent to theorizing. It is evident that each empire will have its particularities. But I have shown plenty of concrete facts indicating Russia to be an imperialist country according to the classical theory of imperialism posited by theorists like Lenin.

    Here are some basic indicators of Russia's imperialist character:

    - being a "great power"
    * one of the largest capitalist economies
    * one of the strongest economic purchasing powers ("high-income" nation)
    * one of the highest ranked countries in Military Strength Index
    * largest country by area
    * largest nuclear weapons stockpile
    * permanent member of UN security council (securing a significant degree of long-term international political hegemony)
    - prominent rivalry with other great powers for world hegemony
    - prominent rivalry with other great powers over territorial redivisions of multiple foreign nations
    - taking over/de facto annexing foreign regions, including strategically located and heavily industrialized ones
    - prominence of explicitly/self-consciously imperialist political ideology (neo-Eurasianism)
    - financial dominance of foreign industrial sectors
    - center of exploitation of foreign migrant labor drawn from peripheral regions


    ---


    Competition means that news publishers *know* that the news reader / consumer can make comparisons on a story from *many* different sources, *easily*, so perhaps the 'niche' desired will be one of truthfulness and objectivity, compared to less-reputable sources that simply consistently parrot a White House line. It's called 'reputation', or 'reputability'. You're obviously only describing the 'alt-Right', which is a consumer niche itself.
    Maybe, but wouldn't a proletarian-oriented reporting be superior to bourgeois reporting that claims "objectivity"? Stations like RT, Sputnik, et al. have a vested interest in presenting a more "anti-White House" line, but they're also unlikely to present information that reflects negatively on Russia.



    If it's "long been defunct", then what about "Message Force Multipliers"?
    This is the term for a *military* usage of communications -- what's your point -- ?
    [...] the monolithic studio system of content production that dominated in the 1970s has long been *defunct*.
    The Pentagon’s “Message Force Multipliers” in Run-Up to Iraq Invasion

    The Department of Defense ran an elaborate “Psy-Op” against the American people when it was selling the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times‘ David Barstow penned a superb front-page story on Sunday based on thousands of newly released Pentagon emails. Like everything else Iraq-related we learned that it is far worse than even the most cynical among us expected.


    Media analysts Norman Solomon, Glenn Greenwald, FAIR, and others have long pointed out that the corporate news media relied heavily on retired military officers posing as independent “analysts” for their pro-war opinions leading up to the invasion of Iraq.


    What Barstow has revealed is the degree of coordination between these “analysts” and the civilian leadership at the Pentagon as well as the astounding conflicts of interests these former officers had. Not only did these officers who dominated our television screens on Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC, loudly beating the war drums during the months leading up to the U.S. invasion, have special access to Pentagon “talking points” to promote the lies that led us into war (i.e. WMDs, Saddam-Al Qaeda links, etc.) but these men also were poised to line their own pockets through their lobbying firms and by serving on the boards of military contracting corporations that stood to make fortunes if the war became a reality.
    Similar, but more on the entertainment side:

    (Although the merger of news and entertainment seems to be a significant trend with the proliferation of "Comedy Central" style presentation of news, BuzzFeed journalism, Fox News infotainment, etc.)

    EXCLUSIVE: Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSAUS military intelligence agencies have influenced over 1,800 movies and TV shows

    Tom Secker and Matthew Alford report on their astonishing findings from trawling through thousands of new US military and intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.


    The documents reveal for the first time the vast scale of US government control in Hollywood, including the ability to manipulate scripts or even prevent films too critical of the Pentagon from being made — not to mention influencing some of the most popular film franchises in recent years.


    This raises new questions not only about the way censorship works in the modern entertainment industry, but also about Hollywood’s little known role as a propaganda machine for the US national security apparatus.
    Using Google Translate I'm seeing that this sentiment did *not* originate from the Russian state media itself, but rather from an anti-immigrant right-wing demonstration.
    You missed this part: RT played a pivotal role in mobilizing the far-right by reporting on false allegations against refugees.

    RTDeutsch also reported and played on the keyboard of the resentment:
    Google-translation from the German version of the Wikipedia entry:

    Reporting by Russian state media

    Russian state media reported that the allegedly refugees were alleged to be the prosecution and the German investigators did not prosecute the offense. [2] It turned out that Ivan Blagoy, a Russian journalist of the Russian state TV station Perwy kanal , had brought the false representation of the case as rape into the wider public. A prosecution against Blagoy was launched by theprosecutor's office in Berlin at the end of January 2016 because of incitement to the people , which was stopped at the beginning of March 2016 due to lack of sufficient suspicion. A Konstanz attorney had accused him of a falsified report on the situation in Germany and inciting German Russian origin to hatred of asylum seekers. The state television station Russia Today told Blagoy that the allegations were unfounded. The attorney, who filed the complaint against Blagoy, temporarily intervened because of the death threats under police protection. [9] [13]
    The coverage of the case is also partly seen in a series of so-called fake news . [14] Andre Wolf, the spokesman for Mimikama, sees that Russian media have a line of editorial , which is "nothing unusual" in the media. The difference, however, is always "in the form and the radicalism of such a line." The case Lisa shows "the tendencies of the reporting, from which in the end no more than a millimeter was deviated. At the same time, the (wrong) rapes were also upheld by the media. "This is" dangerous, of course, if people rely on the content of these media and thus become radicalized. " [15]


    Hey, I'm not saying that all messaging over the Internet is going to be *perfectly* to your liking, I'm saying that consumers now have easy access to basically-unlimited sources of information, entirely at their / our discretion -- something that's never existed before in human history. Of *course* one should use their own critical thinking in approaching *any* source of news or information.
    When you look at the news media as an industry for knowledge and information production, it is dominated by capitalist forces and perspectives. That fact naturally skews the supposed "objectivity" of the matter -- and so long as that fact reigns, the revolutionariness of simply having access to many sources of information is limited. We also have a rise in digital monopolies which control web content.

    Originally Posted by Lacrimi de Chiciură
    Originally Posted by Lacrimi de Chiciură
    If in 1982, when the Falklands War happened, an anti-war movement had adamantly declared its enthusiastic support for Argentina's fascist El Proceso junta, which was actually committing genocide and mass murder against leftists, gays and indigenous people, would that have been some enormous help in opposing British imperialism? I think not.
    This is mostly an *inter-imperialist* *non-issue* to us -- I don't know why you're bringing this topic up at all.
    If Argentina was imperialist in 1982, then how is Russia not imperialist in 2017?
    Because they're two different countries and you're continuing to gloss over the real-world particulars.

    Argentina is *nominally* adventurist / imperialist:
    Because they're two different countries??

    Anyway, my original point here wasn't about Argentine imperialism per se, but rather how it's just as absurd to say "you can't be anti-imperialism without being pro-Assad" (or "being pro-Assad for the sake of countering NATO") as it would have been to say during the Falklands War that "you can't be anti-imperialism without supporting el Proceso" (or supporting the Argentine military junta for the sake of countering British imperialism).
    Last edited by Lacrimi de Chiciură; 14th July 2017 at 17:25. Reason: formatting error
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    Sorry, but this is a *horrible* analogy -- there was an actual *battle* fought over the land of Texas, while there was nothing similar regarding Crimea.
    Ok, seriously? The reason there was a battle in Texas is because the Texan "revolution", while aided by private US citizens and no doubt looked at very sympathetically by most of the country, was still "organic" (i.e spontaneous). The annexation of Crimea was a scenario where Russian military assets in Crimea were much greater than Ukrainian assets. That simple. No point fighting a losing battle.
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    chris is going to break out the "9/11 was a false flag attack" shit if you keep pressing him
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    Sorry, but this is a *horrible* analogy -- there was an actual *battle* fought over the land of Texas, while there was nothing similar regarding Crimea.


    Russian annexation of one part of Ukraine cannot be abstracted from the overall Russian military activities and pro-Russian separatist movement in Ukraine as a whole. In other words, it would be a mistake to view events in Crimea as isolated from the War in Donbass.

    You're losing your point -- you're merely describing events empirically.

    So we're talking about Great Power politics, basically, which is also called 'geopolitics'. Note that there's no flag-waving coming from my side of things, though I am always ready to make comparisons and value judgments according to whatever side in a geopolitical context is relatively more-historically-progressive than the other.



    I consider systematically denying the imperialist character of the Russian Federation to be a form of apologetics.

    Imperialism implies colonialism, and you haven't shown any *proof* -- colonies -- existing for Russia.

    Therefore, no Russian 'imperialism' exists.


    ---



    The Russian Empire conquers and annexes Turkic territory,


    This is factually incorrect:


    I was referring to the Crimean Khanate and the tsarist period of the Russian Empire, not the Soviet era.

    Again your point is far from clear -- you're referring to inter-empire (inter-imperialist) dealings.



    Counterrevolution ultimately triumphed when the Soviet Union was dissolved and Marxist ideology was formally disavowed by the governments of the former Soviet Republics.

    That's *one* way of looking at it, but I'd say it was more because of *economic* reasons that the USSR's particular superstructure was no longer sufficient for the running of that country -- it was too insular and was preventing globalization according to market forces, which was more attractive to consumers.


    ---



    And suddenly a conservative, homophobic, nationalist, superficial manipulation of Soviet nostalgia as symbolic of a period of Russian-Greatness is supposed to make the re-assertion of the imagined geography of this Empire's territorial integrity no longer imperialist. And we're not supposed use words like "annexation" because of their "negative connotations".


    I don't think anyone in the Soviet era looked back to the time of Tsarist Russia with any nostalgia, except for counterrevolutionaries.


    Again, I'm not referring to the Soviet era here. I'm referring to the present day use of Soviet symbolism by far-right Russian nationalists like the neo-Eurasianists, Nazbols, etc. which the leadership at the highest echelons of the Russian separatist movement in Ukraine, like Purgin, say are the predominant ideological driver of the pro-Russian movement in Ukraine (see post #7).

    On the basis of your contrived / invented 'Russian imperialism' you're siding with the Western-imperialist-oriented nation of Ukraine.


    ---



    You shouldn't use the term 'annexation' in regards to Crimea because there was hardly any opposition from the people of Crimea to rejoin Russia.


    And I would again reiterate that the annexation of Texas had broad support of the American white settlers who lived in what was then a part of Mexico. This does not make it un-imperialist and it's not a proof that it wasn't "annexation".

    Again, this is a bad example to use as an analogy, because now you're not even attempting to make the analogy work -- you're off on a tangent into the empirical situation of just the Texas thing, which I don't disagree with. *That* situation was clearly imperialism, and appropriation / annexation.


    ---



    The most immediate task is organizing mass movements, but this also needs clarity of ideas and theory to go along with it. So I think that any "realpolitik" style punditry that says "well, what will mitigate this in the absence of an actual solution (lesser evilism)" is just based on "pragmatic" bourgeois reformism. It's superfluous and counterproductive because of instead of exposing imperialism it obscures it.

    Certainly I'd rather see mass movements, and ones that are *class conscious*, militant, and that have a solid political line / goals.

    I'm *not* trying to overreach with my handling of geopolitical realities -- it's *not* punditry, nor is it reformism, because I'm not saying that there's a nation-state *solution* to any of it, nor does it obscure imperialism, because you still haven't shown Russia to be imperialist.


    ---



    I have no problem with Russia, the U.S., or any other (secular) nation-state putting-down ISIS -- except for the numbers of civilian deaths -- because even Western imperialism is preferable to fascist / fundamentalist bases of power.


    Well, I consider it plainly outrageous for a person on the Left to support U.S. militarism under any pretext in 2017.

    It's not a 'pretext' -- it's the reality that if the Islamic State is allowed to expand / exist it would be a far-worse civil-society situation for thousands and millions because of the fundamentalist adherence to Sharia Law, an approach to legality that is *not* secular and inclusive, but rather is clerical-sectarian and abusive of people's civil rights.



    I read your arguments like this (although you refuse to phrase it this way):

    I'll add my own edits:



    We should support [Russia] in Syria and Ukraine because it is more historically progressive than Western imperialism. Now it is only logical to extend this line of thought to accept that Western imperialism is more historically progressive than ISIS [...].

    Yes, so far -- I've disincluded the Taliban because it, and al-Qaeda, are basically capitalist-competitive, and are mere *rivals* of the U.S. / West / NATO. So that's purely their own nationalist concerns about how to handle rivals to power. Such groups are terrorist, yes, but don't have the expansionist, civil-society *ideology* that ISIS does.



    And therefore we should have "no problem with" American commanders-in-chief orchestrating "valuable [anti-fascist] actions", when they do orchestrate them.

    I'll expand / generalize this to *anyone* who is anti-ISIS, like the Kurds, for example.



    This would be laughable if it wasn't so alarming, the idea that U.S. imperialism is anti-fascist. You would have to admit that the invasion of U.S. of Afghanistan in 2001 ("Operation Enduring Freedom") was bona fide "anti-fascism".

    No, I wouldn't have to admit that, because it's apples-and-oranges -- obviously the invasion of Afghanistan was for U.S. geopolitical (geographical) positioning, which is purely imperialist. I do not defend the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.


    ---



    I don't care who the *personnel* is -- aren't you anti-ISIS -- ?


    I reiterate what I said in post #11:

    Being anti-ISIS doesn't mean you have to support great imperialist powers bombing and killing people in Iraq and Syria. That's the logic of "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists" Bush-ism.

    No, no one *has* to support Western anti-ISIS campaigns, but then, in doing so, one is *forfeiting* and *disavowing* concrete anti-ISIS efforts. I will, contrary to my previous statement, make political *distinctions* among those who are anti-ISIS, by saying that it would be preferable to have a region-wide militant *labor*, *revolutionary* opposition to ISIS, instead of depending on an imperialist power for their elimination, but such isn't forthcoming. Not dealing with the situation at all would be abstentionist, so I'm glad to address it as well as I can.



    Denying that a great power like Russia is imperialist is quintessentially petit bourgeois, because it opposes the smaller capitalist to the big capitalist and sides with the small(er) capitalist (who is still a big capitalist power in relation to the genuinely small capitalist nations).

    You're simply *stereotyping* me, without paying any attention to the particulars. Just because Russia is a great power doesn't mean that I'm calling for principled nationalism of any kind. 'Realpolitik' is exactly that -- shifting geopolitical positions depending on what nations *do* regarding concrete situations in the present moment, and no more.



    And you've just made it clear that your realpolitik means supporting U.S. militarism, so maybe a good term for this style of realpolitik would be *imperialist*?

    Again you're *overgeneralizing* -- I don't support U.S. militarism *in general*. Tactically, though, I'd say that the U.S. *should* topple and eliminate ISIS / Islamic State, since it was the U.S. that brought it into existence in the first place. If you want to call that 'imperialism', go right ahead, but that imperialism is actually *preferable* to what's to the right of it, which is worse -- an expanding Islamic fundamentalism.


    ---



    The conspiratorial view that the USA does not antagonize ISIS actually leads one to slurp at the trough of the strategy of tension.


    Your meaning, especially for the latter portion, is unclear -- you may want to rephrase.

    It's not 'conspiratorial' to say that the U.S. has been aiding ISIS both directly, through the CIA, and indirectly, through the SNC -- it's a matter of record. See from the article at post #10:


    I may have been a bit cryptic there--I was using "strategy of tension" to refer to something along the lines of the alleged Operation Gladio B, that states that Islamic fundamentalist groups are actually an appendage of the CIA. What I meant is that subscribing to an extreme version of this theory, that Operation Gladio B is virtually totally responsible for Islamic fundamentalist violence, leads one to support Russian imperialism. But shouldn't we wonder: isn't it possible that this very conspiracy theory serves to weaken the development of genuine anti-imperialist thought? Because it seems to me that the CIA, et al. would prefer to have a clownish "anti-imperialist" Left which embraces a theoretically asinine, anti-Leninist and anti-Marxist form of "anti-imperialism" (basically Kautsky's theory of ultra-imperialism) which champions far-right wing Russian nationalism, Iranian theocracy, and maybe Ba'athism than a Left which can explain with clarity what imperialism is and how to fight it.

    I'm not championing Russia's nationalism, Iran's theocracy, or any Ba'athism -- you're overgeneralizing again. Tactics are *not* the same as principles.



    If you don't take this conspiracy to its extreme, but maybe give it some credibility (and I would give it some credibility, that the US is responsible for fomenting Islamic fundamentalism to a degree), then it also means being supportive of U.S. militarism to the extent that the U.S. does come into genuine conflict with these forces

    (if you do not have a strong theory of imperialism but rather bourgeois reformist notion of competition between great powers of who can be more 'historically progressive') .

    That's *not* my theory -- you're merely *imputing* it.

    I'm saying that the world public has an immediate interest in expressing support for the most historically-progressive side in any bourgeois conflict, lacking a revolutionary worker global movement that can negate *all* nations' imperialisms, once and for all.



    A number of people have accused Putin(?) of using false-flag attacks, who, like Bush presided over attacks early in his leadership which provided public support for an anti-Muslim war:


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_R...tment_bombings

    Yury Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, David Satter and Vladimir Pribylovsky claim that the 1999 bombings were a false flagattack coordinated by the FSB in order to win public support for a new full-scale war in Chechnya (while Boris Kagarlitsky claims the bombings were coordinated by the GRU).[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

    ---



    I'm not saying, "let's not take this stuff seriously." I'm trying to get at the fact that all this pro-Russianism, pro-Assadism, etc. has very little practical implications for leftist praxis in places like the U.S. or U.K. for example. What does saying "I stand with the historically progressive leadership of Putin" add to the equation? If you're in Russia, for example, it basically forces you to dull all criticism and antagonism against your own bourgeoisie,

    No, again, you're just making shit up -- there's *zero* greater obligation to the nation-state if one is constraining themselves to just a *tactical* alliance, as against the Islamic State. You're implying a spurious necessity to go further, into a fixed false correlation.



    to view Russia's current imperialist project as some kind of "Great Patriotic War", and puts you on the side the worst kinds of of fascists. And from there it is barely another small step to land in the same boat with the worst kind of American fascists (like the examples I have already mentioned: the Green Party/Cynthia McKinney moving towards embracing Trump, Jason Unruhe moving towards sharing the same platform as David Duke, you saying you have no problem with U.S. militarism insofar as it attacks Islamic fundamentalism, etc).

    These are all spurious *tangential* contentions to what's in front of us -- opposing Islamic fundamentalism and a larger turn to Sharia law.



    I only said they are equivalent insofar as they are capitalist great powers. The national difference is significant of course.

    You say China is "much more imperialist than Russia". That may be. But aren't you admitting here that Russia is indeed an imperialist power? Your statement could be rephrased as "China is a stronger imperialist power than Russia." This implies that Russia is also an imperialist power,

    No, I'm not. That's *your* position, without any substance or basis in fact.



    albeit a weaker one in comparison to China. This is what I have been arguing all along, that Russia is indeed weaker overall than the U.S., but it is nevertheless imperialist.

    This contention remains your *opinion*, and nothing more.



    The fact that it attempts to weaken U.S. hegemony shows that it is imperialist.

    Russia has no explicit stated larger plan (or a covert analogue, presumably) to 'weaken the U.S.'. It was responding to immediate circumstances only in backing Syria versus U.S. incursions.



    As Lenin wrote:

    "an essential feature of imperialism is the rivalry between several great powers in the striving for hegemony, i.e., for the conquest of territory, not so much directly for themselves as to weaken the adversary and undermine his hegemony. "

    This is clearly what we see in Russian and Chinese maneuvers against U.S. hegemony. We can see this for example in the still embryonic BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, dominated by Russia and China.

    Okay this *is* valid, but again you're trying to use a generality in place of concrete specifics -- you're unable to name *one* colony under purported Russia "imperialism".



    Partitioning Ukraine into mutually opposing fascist nationalisms does not exactly "cut-against" fascist objectives.

    You really think there are *competitive* fascisms in Ukraine -- ?

    Why aren't they *infighting*, then, like we saw from Islamic fundamentalist groups in Syria:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inter-...rian_Civil_War



    Neo-Eurasianist fascism's objective is to annex the strategically most important parts of Ukraine to a new Russian Empire: the Crimea (home to a military base giving access to the Black Sea, which is ultimately access to the Mediterranean and to the Russian base in Syria) and the Donbass, the most industrial region of Ukraine.

    As Lenin wrote:

    "The characteristic feature of imperialism is precisely that it strives to annex not only agrarian territories, but even most highly industrialised regions."

    And here you're attempting to make an ideology sound like an established nation-state, when it's *not*.



    I don't understand how you think I am ignoring Russia's foreign relations. Hasn't that been the main theme of this exchange?

    I am reading your statement here (i.e. that "that description ['imperialist'] is much more apt for Western countries [than it is for Russia]") to imply that you are conceptualizing "Western countries" as "more imperialist" than Russia, repeating the same construction where you said before that the description "imperialist" is much more apt for China than for Russia ("China [...] is *much more* imperialist than Russia"), leading me to believe that your statement can really be rephrased as "The hegemonic imperialist power of the U.S., taken globally, is superior to the hegemonic imperialist power of Russia"

    Allow me to disabuse you of that notion -- no, that's not the interpretation I meant, and you're still unable to name even *one* colony under Russia's control.



    (which I would agree with) and I take this to mean that you are implicitly recognizing Russia's imperialist character, but for whatever reason, you aren't bringing yourself to admit this.

    How *dare* you -- you *know* better, and yet you're insisting on imputing certain positions *onto* me. Don't misrepresent my politics, and don't put words in my mouth.



    To correctly grasp imperialism, it is necessary to grasp that the fact of one imperialist power possessing more hegemony than another one does not make the latter *not imperialist*. The whole system of imperialism presupposes competition between great powers for hegemony. Imperialism therefore presupposes multipolarity and inequality between great powers, and imperialist struggle results in give and take, gains and losses, and continually changing alignments between the great powers.

    The U.S. is certainly more hegemonic than the U.K. But the U.K. is nevertheless a capitalist great power: an imperialist state, in other words. Because of its relatively long-term allied status with U.S. imperialism, we tend to lump them together as essentially one entity: "Western imperialism". But U.S. and U.K. imperial interests have become antagonistic to one another in the past, the former being a product of this antagonism, and there is no reason to suppose that their bond is necessarily eternal, although it seems to work for their bourgeois classes for now. It would be just as wrong to say that the superior power of the U.S. in comparison to the U.K. means that the U.K. is not imperialist, or even more preposterously that the U.K. is a colony of the U.S., as it is to say that Russia is not imperialist because of the more hegemonic position of the U.S. in comparison to it.

    Your math is wrong on this one -- imperialism implies *hegemony*, and Russia has no hegemony over any kind of colony-type holdings.



    It seems like you didn't fully read this article, because it undermines the point you are trying to make. The author doesn't think Russia actually has some kind of exceptional cultural allergy to colonialism/imperialism -- he describes the Tsarist aphorism about "Russia's colonial allergy" as a symptom of the same Great-Russian apologetics and chauvinistic exceptionalism I am critiquing here.

    From the article's conclusion:

    I don't dispute the content of the excerpt -- I'm never contending that Russia is somehow immune to the problems of its own nationalism. I'm saying that it's *not* imperialist because it has no colonies and no foreign policy plans for *being* imperialist, unlike the Western powers / NATO.


    ---



    Why the skepticism regarding regular trade relations -- ? Russia is relatively *First World* in its international economic connections, meaning an absence of colonialism and/or imperialism:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ners_of_Russia


    "Regular" trade relations? You mean capitalist trade relations? If one has anything approaching a Marxian understanding of capital as the means of controlling and profiting from unpaid labor, then a better question would be: Why not the skepticism regarding capitalist economic relations between a great power and a small country?

    Okay, but you didn't *say* that, and even if you do, that *still* wouldn't necessarily indicate colonialism / imperialism, especially since most of Russia's capitalist business is with *First World* countries, and *not* like China's opportunistic trade relations with (underdeveloped, far-less-capitalized) African nations, for example.



    Preponderance of trade relations with the developed / First World does not mean absence of (neo)colonialism or imperialism.

    Yes, it does -- you're saying that there would have to be a *smaller* country involved, but that doesn't happen if all of the countries are *First World*.



    [E]conomic relations between a great power and a small country?

    ---



    Besides, trade, it might also be telling to look at figures for Foreign Direct Investment, defined here as "investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country".

    Take the United Kingdom. According to the data presented here, for the year 2011, 77.6% of British foreign direct investment (FDI) is in the so-called First World (if we define the Americas outside the U.S. and Canada as Third World), perhaps slightly less if we consider Eastern Europe as semi-(under)developed or Second World. Only 19.1% is in Africa, Asia, and the Americas outside the U.S. and Canada.

    Does this mean there is no British imperialism?

    Similarly, according to the data presented here for 2015, "About 71% of the accumulated U.S.foreign direct investment is concentrated in high-income developed countries [...] investments in Europe alone account for over half of all U.S. direct investmentabroad, or $2.9 trillion."

    Great. You nailed the UK and the U.S. on their respective imperialisms.

    So why can't you do the same for Russia -- ? Oh, that's right, it's because Russia has most of *its* investment in *First World* economies, so it's not showing any colonialism or imperialism that way.


    ---



    Well, think it through: If finance capital is sitting still, and there's no ever-expanding colonization / imperialism *effected* by that capital, with military force, then where's the imperialism -- ?


    What do you mean by "if finance capital is sitting still"? Capital, by definition, has to be engaged in running through the circuit of the productive process to be capital, to valorize itself. If it is standing still, it becomes something different from capital, like a hoard of money locked in a safe or a factory which doesn't run--"potential" capital.

    Here:



    Collectively, American businesses currently have $1.9 trillion in cash, just sitting around. Not only is this state of affairs unparalleled in economic history, but we don’t even have much data to compare it with, because corporations have traditionally been borrowers, not savers. The notion that a corporation would hold on to so much of its profit seems economically absurd, especially now, when it is probably earning only about 2 percent interest by parking that money in United States Treasury bonds. These companies would be better off investing in anything — a product, a service, a corporate acquisition — that would make them more than 2 cents of profit on the dollar, a razor-thin margin by corporate standards. And yet they choose to keep the cash.

    ---



    Capitalism is not "ever-expanding" but has an industrial cycle with periods of expansion and crises and contractions. We can see that Russian capitalism was in crisis in the 1990s but it is using military force to expand more now and compete with U.S. capitalism. British imperialism went through a serious decline, but that is no more evidence of the end of British imperialism than crisis in Russia.

    ---



    Also, of course it is going to be harder to see an imperialist country as imperialist "if you're only looking at [a country's] internal finances". Isn't imperialism essentially an international/world system? If so, then it is primarily in the relations between countries that we have to look for imperialist processes, not within countries.


    Okay, and you're speaking in generalities / abstractions. Why aren't you able to apply any of this to Russia itself -- ?


    Abstraction is inherent to theorizing. It is evident that each empire will have its particularities. But I have shown plenty of concrete facts indicating Russia to be an imperialist country according to the classical theory of imperialism posited by theorists like Lenin.

    Here are some basic indicators of Russia's imperialist character:

    - being a "great power"
    * one of the largest capitalist economies
    * one of the strongest economic purchasing powers ("high-income" nation)
    * one of the highest ranked countries in Military Strength Index
    * largest country by area
    * largest nuclear weapons stockpile
    * permanent member of UN security council (securing a significant degree of long-term international political hegemony)
    - prominent rivalry with other great powers for world hegemony
    - prominent rivalry with other great powers over territorial redivisions of multiple foreign nations

    Okay, I'll agree with you that Russia is a 'great power', but *that's it*.



    - taking over/de facto annexing foreign regions, including strategically located and heavily industrialized ones

    Okay, then just name one. *One*.



    - prominence of explicitly/self-consciously imperialist political ideology (neo-Eurasianism)

    The reports you've given show this neo-Eurasianism to be *external* to the Russian state itself.



    - financial dominance of foreign industrial sectors

    Name one.



    - center of exploitation of foreign migrant labor drawn from peripheral regions

    Agreed that Russia is capitalist, and therefore exploitative.


    ---



    Competition means that news publishers *know* that the news reader / consumer can make comparisons on a story from *many* different sources, *easily*, so perhaps the 'niche' desired will be one of truthfulness and objectivity, compared to less-reputable sources that simply consistently parrot a White House line. It's called 'reputation', or 'reputability'. You're obviously only describing the 'alt-Right', which is a consumer niche itself.


    Maybe, but wouldn't a proletarian-oriented reporting be superior to bourgeois reporting that claims "objectivity"? Stations like RT, Sputnik, et al. have a vested interest in presenting a more "anti-White House" line, but they're also unlikely to present information that reflects negatively on Russia.

    No argument.

    (Consider, though, that a report, from whatever source, may at least / likely get the basic (objective) *facts* correct -- the who, what, where, when, why, and how, of a story.)


    ---



    [...] the monolithic studio system of content production that dominated in the 1970s has long been *defunct*.


    The Pentagon’s “Message Force Multipliers” in Run-Up to Iraq Invasion

    The Department of Defense ran an elaborate “Psy-Op” against the American people when it was selling the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times‘ David Barstow penned a superb front-page story on Sunday based on thousands of newly released Pentagon emails. Like everything else Iraq-related we learned that it is far worse than even the most cynical among us expected.

    Media analysts Norman Solomon, Glenn Greenwald, FAIR, and others have long pointed out that the corporate news media relied heavily on retired military officers posing as independent “analysts” for their pro-war opinions leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

    What Barstow has revealed is the degree of coordination between these “analysts” and the civilian leadership at the Pentagon as well as the astounding conflicts of interests these former officers had. Not only did these officers who dominated our television screens on Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC, loudly beating the war drums during the months leading up to the U.S. invasion, have special access to Pentagon “talking points” to promote the lies that led us into war (i.e. WMDs, Saddam-Al Qaeda links, etc.) but these men also were poised to line their own pockets through their lobbying firms and by serving on the boards of military contracting corporations that stood to make fortunes if the war became a reality.

    No argument, but you're constraining yourself to *news reports* which do not include the larger environment of *content* production (entertainment), which used to be under the 'studio system'.



    The studio system (which was used during a period known as the Golden Age of Hollywood) is a method of film production and distribution dominated by a small number of "major" studios in Hollywood. Although the term is still used today as a reference to the systems and output of the major studios, historically the term refers to the practice of large motion picture studios between the 1920s and 1960s of (a) producing movies primarily on their own filmmaking lots with creative personnel under often long-term contract, and (b) dominating exhibition through vertical integration, i.e., the ownership or effective control of distributors and exhibition, guaranteeing additional sales of films through manipulative booking techniques such as block booking.

    ---



    Similar, but more on the entertainment side:

    (Although the merger of news and entertainment seems to be a significant trend with the proliferation of "Comedy Central" style presentation of news, BuzzFeed journalism, Fox News infotainment, etc.)

    EXCLUSIVE: Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSAUS military intelligence agencies have influenced over 1,800 movies and TV shows

    Tom Secker and Matthew Alford report on their astonishing findings from trawling through thousands of new US military and intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

    The documents reveal for the first time the vast scale of US government control in Hollywood, including the ability to manipulate scripts or even prevent films too critical of the Pentagon from being made — not to mention influencing some of the most popular film franchises in recent years.

    This raises new questions not only about the way censorship works in the modern entertainment industry, but also about Hollywood’s little known role as a propaganda machine for the US national security apparatus.

    No argument.



    You missed this part: RT played a pivotal role in mobilizing the far-right by reporting on false allegations against refugees.

    Google-translation from the German version of the Wikipedia entry:

    Reporting by Russian state media

    Russian state media reported that the allegedly refugees were alleged to be the prosecution and the German investigators did not prosecute the offense. [2] It turned out that Ivan Blagoy, a Russian journalist of the Russian state TV station Perwy kanal , had brought the false representation of the case as rape into the wider public. A prosecution against Blagoy was launched by theprosecutor's office in Berlin at the end of January 2016 because of incitement to the people , which was stopped at the beginning of March 2016 due to lack of sufficient suspicion. A Konstanz attorney had accused him of a falsified report on the situation in Germany and inciting German Russian origin to hatred of asylum seekers. The state television station Russia Today told Blagoy that the allegations were unfounded. The attorney, who filed the complaint against Blagoy, temporarily intervened because of the death threats under police protection. [9] [13]
    The coverage of the case is also partly seen in a series of so-called fake news . [14] Andre Wolf, the spokesman for Mimikama, sees that Russian media have a line of editorial , which is "nothing unusual" in the media. The difference, however, is always "in the form and the radicalism of such a line." The case Lisa shows "the tendencies of the reporting, from which in the end no more than a millimeter was deviated. At the same time, the (wrong) rapes were also upheld by the media. "This is" dangerous, of course, if people rely on the content of these media and thus become radicalized. " [15]

    Acknowledged.



    When you look at the news media as an industry for knowledge and information production, it is dominated by capitalist forces and perspectives. That fact naturally skews the supposed "objectivity" of the matter -- and so long as that fact reigns, the revolutionariness of simply having access to many sources of information is limited. We also have a rise in digital monopolies which control web content.

    I didn't say that the *news media* (on the Internet) is the information revolution, but rather the ease to the news consumer of the Internet itself, which inherently sets a standard for the delivery of information from *any* source, whether corporate or otherwise.

    I *could* capitalize 'Information Revolution' -- like the 'Industrial Revolution' -- but everyone knows both are not *political*-type revolutions, but rather are *technological* revolutions.



    Because they're two different countries??

    Anyway, my original point here wasn't about Argentine imperialism per se, but rather how it's just as absurd to say "you can't be anti-imperialism without being pro-Assad" (or "being pro-Assad for the sake of countering NATO") as it would have been to say during the Falklands War that "you can't be anti-imperialism without supporting el Proceso" (or supporting the Argentine military junta for the sake of countering British imperialism).

    With Argentinian nationalism there's nothing *historically-progressive* at stake, whereas with Syria there's *Syria* at stake, to protect its people and sovereignty against Western predations.
  27. #20
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    Sorry, but this is a *horrible* analogy -- there was an actual *battle* fought over the land of Texas, while there was nothing similar regarding Crimea.


    Ok, seriously? The reason there was a battle in Texas is because the Texan "revolution", while aided by private US citizens and no doubt looked at very sympathetically by most of the country, was still "organic" (i.e spontaneous). The annexation of Crimea was a scenario where Russian military assets in Crimea were much greater than Ukrainian assets. That simple. No point fighting a losing battle.

    Wow -- you're really trying to hold up the analogy, huh -- ?

    You *can* assert a crude great-power-and-materials line on this one if you want, but everyone seems to quickly forget that there were *referendums* on the issue:



    Location Autonomous Republic of Crimea
    Sevastopol

    Date March 16, 2014

    Voting system Majority voting

    Autonomous Republic of Crimea[a][1]

    Join Russian Federation 96.77%
    Restore 1992 constitution 2.51%
    Invalid votes 0.72%
    Voter turnout: 83.1%

    Sevastopol[2]
    Join Russian Federation 95.60%
    Restore 1992 constitution 3.37%
    Invalid votes 1.03%
    Voter turnout: 89.5%

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