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Issue #1665      November 19, 2014

Culture & Life

Fascism being revived

Fascism, accurately called “the last resort of capitalism in decline”, is being actively fostered in various countries around the world. Even more countries are putting in place laws that deny basic democratic rights while maintaining a façade of bourgeois democracy. This is usually done these days under the cloak of “combating a terrorist threat” (that the “threat” is invented is ignored by the capitalist media which are eager participants in the whole exercise).

Swiss retailer Migros, coffee cream pots which included the faces of Adolf Hitler and his Italian colleague Benito Mussolini!

Nowhere has resorting to fascism (and to fascist thugs) been more blatant than in Ukraine (although the post-Soviet leadership in the Baltic states has been praising the war-time Nazis and building monuments to them – at the same time as they destroyed Soviet war memorials – for several years now).

Last month’s elections in Ukraine, which predictably returned the pro-NATO and pro-EU government that had been installed by the Maidan coup earlier in the year, were conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation and terror. Nearly half the electorate stayed home. To bolster the illusion of inclusive democracy, half a million expats in 73 countries were designated as being eligible to vote, but most of them didn’t even bother to register,

The poll itself was conducted in what Ukrainian Communist leader Peter Simonenko described as a climate of “total intimidation” with the Right-wing not only controlling a complete monopoly over the media but also using pro-fascist gangs to physically prevent the Left from taking part in the campaign.

Ivan Melnikov, deputy leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) said the election had merely replaced the “orange” coalition with a “brown” one of “Nazi and Russophobic policy makers”. Russian senator Andrey Klishas said: “Ukrainians themselves cannot fail to notice the mass violations of human rights during the latest parliamentary campaign. These were the ban on free speech, attacks on opposition candidates, mass violence in the form of so-called ‘popular gatherings’, even lynch mobs on the side of the pro-fascist political forces.”

That did not stop the clique running the show in Kiev from declaring, apparently with no sense of irony, that the election would “usher in a new era of democracy”. They also hailed the election result as ensuring a “realistic European future” for the country, despite the fact that by severing their economic ties to Russia they have condemned Ukraine to a future of austerity and savage cuts to jobs and social services. Ukraine’s future will be as grim as that of other EU “junior partners” such as Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Murderous attacks on (and “disappearances” of ) progressives in the Russian-speaking east of the country led to the areas now identified as Novorossiya establishing their own self-defence militias and kicking the Kiev regime’s troops out. Kiev then invaded the self-proclaimed people’s republics in the east, killing thousands in aerial and artillery bombardment of housing in towns and villages. Once again, the anti-fascist militia had to defend the region and drove Kiev’s army out again.

They were helped by the enormous number of defections from the Ukrainian army (thousands of deserters have sought refuge in Russia).

Ironically, the time when Kiev’s neo-Nazis were celebrating their election “victory” coincided with the 70th anniversary of Ukraine’s liberation from Hitlerite occupation. Last April, Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, approved a bill that provides up to five years in prison for denying the facts set out in the Nuremburg Trials of Nazi war criminals, trying to rehabilitate Nazism, or distributing false information about the actions of the Soviet Union and its allies during the Second World War.

Victor Shapinov, a former member of the left-sectarian Russian Communist Workers’ Party (RKRP) and a founder of the Ukrainian Marxist organisation Union Borotba (Struggle), commented “the forces awakened by Maidan are very destructive and dangerous for all society. We are face-to-face with the Fascism of the 21st century. It is not because they have portraits of [wartime Ukrainan Nazi collaborator] Stepan Bandera or because they say ‘Ukraine über alles’ like clones of Nazi Germany.

“The nature of Fascism is that this is direct state power of big capital that uses some mass support from the middle class and other groups to destroy any political opposition with violence. This is the essence of Fascism.”

Shapinov is critical of the leadership of the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) which he says “was always seeking alliances in parliament with whichever capitalist party was strongest. Not many people in the West know this, but before allying with the Party of Regions of [deposed President Victor] Yanukovich they were partners with the party of Yulia Timoshenko [reactionary politician associated with the 2004 ‘Orange Revolution’ and today part of the Kiev junta].

“It was an unprincipled position by the KPU leadership and for us it meant that we couldn’t just be the left wing of the Communist Party.”

At the other extreme from the struggle against Fascism in Ukraine is the case of the Swiss retailer Migros, which for reasons it has not revealed, thought it was timely to supply coffee shops and restaurants in that country with a range of coffee cream pots adorned with the faces of Adolf Hitler and his Italian colleague Benito Mussolini! A German-language news magazine exposed the extraordinary sales ploy, its reporter writing about his “horror” at being confronted with the face of Hitler while enjoying a cup of coffee in Baden.

The resultant uproar was presumably not what Migros expected (one wonders just what they did expect). In any case, they had to issue an apology for what their PR people called this “unforgivable incident” and to recall and replace around 2,000 cream pots that had been delivered to various cafes and shops.

It is good to know that the images of Fascism’s former leaders still provoke revulsion. But images of them, even monuments to them, are still being erected and “honoured” in Ukraine, Latvia, and elsewhere.

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