Paranoid style in the age of late capitalism

08Nov11
Wall Street Sign. Author: Ramy Majouji

Here are some reflections on antisemitism, populism and conpirationism in the Occupy movement:

And here is a post on left-right convergence:

  • Tehran: French Fascists Received With Honour By Islamist Regime by Andrew Coates. (“Parti Solidaire Français of Thömas Werlet (former Right Socialist and member of a particularly violent groupuscule with a ‘national Bolshevik’ cultural and social line) has been received with honour byHusseini who is Ahmadinejad’s Minister of Culture.”)


5 Responses to “Paranoid style in the age of late capitalism”

  1. 1 Who Cares

    How is a meeting between National-Bolsheviks and Islamists “left-right convergence”? Which party would be the “left” there? Half a name does not a left-wing make.
    It’s a right-right convergence, if anything.

  2. “It’s a right-right convergence, if anything.”

    This. This. This!

    This sort of sniffing out of alleged reactionary tendencies within the left is more often than not really just a detection of far-right tendencies that **seek** some sort of connection to the mainstream and radical left, without really attaining it.

    In a way, it’s kind of a weird inverted funhouse mirror image of the sort of fucked up perspective that the journal Race Traitor exhibited in its shittier moments, of sort of regarding Nazis as basically wayward leftists. Uh, no, they’re not. They’re fucking Nazis.

    This kind of alarmist panic just sort of disregards what should be an obvious banality, namely that people who are attracted to “left” politics (however broadly defined) don’t tend to drift far-right, and people attracted to fascist politics don’t have mid-life conversions to communism.

    There’s a reason why personalities like Horst Mahler, who make the far-left to far-right journey, are so notable: because it actually **is** the exception rather than the rule.

    More often than not, this sort of attempt to identify potential reactionary tendencies within the left operates with a set of rather weak analogies, i.e. some leftists focus on financial capital, fascists identify finance capital with Jews, ergo a blinkered focus on finance capital is a potential opening to anti-Semitism. But that’s a complete non sequitur.

    In general, that is basically the perspective of the bourgeois-democratic mainstream in most industrialized countries: radical right = radical left. The German Verfassungsschutz basically asserts the same thing.

  3. 3 Chappe

    The fact is that some left organizations are openly publishing anti-semitic texts.
    The Brazilian Communist Party published an anti-semitic text ( http://bit.ly/vc28aY) and almost all brazilian far left supported it when they were sued by a jewish organization ( http://bit.ly/vbdYja ).
    The Portuguese Communist Party did the same more recently ( http://bit.ly/ru9Cma ).

  4. Chappe, thanks for the links.

    Who Cares, you’re probably right in this case, that we’re talking about two sets of right-wingers. The “convergence” is in the “National Bolshevik” concept, with fascists embracing particular left-wing images and phrases to re-brand themselves.

    NP, you are right that the Horst Mahlers are the exceptions not the rule, and that the issue I have been foregrounding here is not by any means the major issue facing the anti-capitalist movement. I also agree that there is an unpleasant bourgeois tendency to talk about left-right convergence in terms of “the extreme left and extreme right are as bad as each other” and “once you go far enough left you get to the same place as the far right” etc.

    But I think that it is more than mere coincidence of views that is the link between some particular types of left politics and some particular types of right politics. Conspiracy thinking; a belief in the redemptive power of “real” “productive” capital versus the evil of slippery finance capital; economic nationalism/protectionism; “beyond capitalism and communism” third positionism; conservative anti-globalism; populist anti-elitism; reactionary nostalgia; etc etc: these are real issues for the anti-capitalist movement, not because they are shared memes with (some of) the far right, but because they are bad ideas. But they are also bad ideas which are spread via far right movements which try and infiltrate our movement, so we need to be vigilant against them.

    I also think that the failure of most of the left to understand capitalism in the round (that the enemy is something more than rogue finance capital) is what enables antisemitic and other reactionary ideas to get a foothold in our movements.

  5. 5 Who Cares

    Well, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there are no such thing as antisemitic tendencies within the left or actual left-right convergences, specially on matters such as these.
    But National Bolshevism in particular, specially in current times, is part of the far right in all that matters. It functions inside right wing circles and the membership all comes from the right as well.
    Thing is, they’re clever enough to identify and use “leftist” (Stalinist et al) fetichism for national liberation and “anti-zionism” as well as a distorted view of what “socialism” means.
    Anyway, these detournements of leftist “ideas” (or, more correctly, imagery and slogans) has been a part of fascism since its inception. It’s about time we get that things like “National Bolshevism” are just a variation on this old theme.


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