Multipolarism is Neo‐​Kautskyism: on Real Denazification and its Enemies

Emory Douglas (1943 - ), Get Out of the Ghetto..., 1970
Lesezeit63 min

»Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution … To ensure that we will definitely achieve success in our revolution and will not lead the masses astray, we must pay attention to uniting with our real friends in order to attack our real enemies. To distinguish real friends from real enemies, we must make a general analysis of the economic status of the various classes … and of their respective attitudes towards the revolution.«

Mao Zedong, »Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society« (March 1926), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 13.

»Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose Public RECORDS to be True.«

William Blake, Annotations to An Apology for the Bible by R. Watson (1798)

»What I’m trying to say is that mass media plus the development of transportation make it impossible for us to think of ourselves in terms of separate entities, as nations. Do you realize that it only took me approximately five hours to get from San Francisco to here? It only takes ten hours to get from here to Vietnam. The ruling circle no longer even acknowledges wars; they call them ›police actions.‹ They call the riots of the Vietnamese people ›domestic disturbance.‹ What I am saying is that the ruling circle must realize and accept the consequences of what they have done. They know that there is only one world, but they are determined to follow the logic of their exploitation.«

Huey P. Newton, »Speech at Boston College« (November 18th 1970)

There is no more pressing question for communists today[1] than the assessment of the Russian Special Military Operation (SMO) now entering its second year. Our answer not only determines our immediate political activity but, even more crucially, how we interpret the SMO is invariably a question of how we interpret the structure of the current world order. Indeed, as the fate of the Kommunistiche Organisation (KO) has illustrated, the question of the SMO is simply an acute form of the imperialism question: that is, what is the nature and character of class society today?

While there are of course a rich variety of answers to this question within the communist movement, for the purpose of this rough sketch we can speak of two broad camps: those who see the SMO as primarily aggressive and reactionary, and those who see it as primarily defensive and (at least potentially) progressive. In the German communist movement, the KPD (or at least its leadership), MLPD, and KO (kommunistische​.org) can be placed in the first camp, the DKP, Freidenker, and KO (kommunistische​-organisation​.de) — as well as we in the FLZ — in the other. On the international stage, the most significant representative of the first camp is the Greek Communist Party (KKE), of the second: the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Theoretically, the first camp tends to interpret the war as an inter‐​imperialist conflict over spheres of interests (e.g., through the lens of the KKE’s »Imperialist Pyramid« theory). The theoretical outlook of the second camp on this question is more diverse, but I will argue here it tends to rely, implicitly or explicitly, on one form or another of Multipolarism. This term is difficult to define insofar as it is less of a theory per se than something which functions, depending on the context, as a slogan, a constellation of images and suggestions, a brand or posture.[2] We can nonetheless say that it entails the belief that the world is now defined by an intense struggle between the old imperialist powers (generally conceived of as the relatively unified triad of Europe and Japan under the leadership of the USA‐​NATO) and the ascendant Global South (including Russia). The struggle of the Global South, led by the BRICS, is in this worldview inherently (»objectively«) progressive, regardless of the capitalist or even overtly reactionary character of the governments themselves (including Modi’s fascist Hindutva regime). In more extreme forms, the capitalist nature of China, and indeed even the Russian federation, is called into question.

Neither camp has yet to elaborate an adequate theoretical account of the modern world system or, consequently, a political program which meets the demands of the current moment — for reasons I explain in more depth in my essay, »Imperialism Today is Conspiracy Praxis.« In the simplest terms, this is because both operate upon the basic, flawed assumption that the chief organizational principle of capital is, to this day, antagonistic national blocs. Why such national blocs should be assumed as the decisive organizational principle of modern capital, despite the momentous transformations in the structure of global economic relations over the past century, is never argued for, but is simply assumed as self‐​evident, or dogmatically asserted through the mechanical application of Marxist texts from the beginning of the last century, or earlier.

The text which has been most sorely abused in this fashion is Lenin’s Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Indeed, both camps fail to grasp the world today, because both fail to appreciate the level of integration and coordination at the highest levels of the ruling class, which was radically transformed by the struggle against, and ultimate defeat of the first global wave of socialist/​communist revolution. Many have grounded or rationalized this theoretical blindness upon something like the following argument: if one claims that all the capitalist powers have been essentially unified under some form of collective leadership or even minimally a sort of Entente Cordiale, that is, ipso facto, »Ultra‐​Imperialism,« and Ultra‐​Imperialism was a theory of Kautsky’s which was refuted by Lenin, and therefore it is wrong. Q.E.D.[3]

Such a maneuver tears Lenin’s critique from its real historical context, evacuates its content, and indeed, positively inverts its political implications. Ultra‐​imperialism, in the sense of Kautsky’s usage, denoted a positive development, a moment in a social‐​democratic reformist fantasy of capitalism’s evolution into socialism. He argued that financialization would lead to ever greater cooperation between a smaller sum of cartels, consequently lessening the unevenness and contradictions in the economy — as opposed to Lenin, who correctly argued that it would, in fact, heighten them. It is also worth stressing that Kautsky’s notion was inseparable from the ongoing contemporary debate regarding the concept and slogan of »United States of Europe« conceived as a progressive, intermediary outcome of popular, anti‐​monarchical, bourgeois revolutions, above all in the most regressive European monarchies of Russia, Germany, and Austria.

Formally, the most direct parallel of such a position is the (neo)liberal human rights interventionist position, which sees the U.N. or even NATO as progressive forces with a right and duty to eschew traditional legal concepts of Westphalian sovereignty. While this position played some useful role in rationalizing NATO’s post cold‐​war rampage through all remaining scraps of even partially liberated global territory, it was so laden with bad faith even at its first articulation, and has become so totally discredited by the cynicism of its application, that it cannot be treated as a position that any serious good‐​faith interlocutor might hold. It functions now less as an actively held ideology and more as a sort of place‐​holder, a malicious smirk left on the NATO cocoon which the global ruling class has all but shuffled out of. We will expand upon this point below, it is sufficient to note here that this is not a position with any currency among communist, or even, anymore, amongst the non‐​Marxist left.

When we look more closely at the political content, rather than the superficial form, of the dispute between Kautsky and Lenin, however, we see that the dangers which Lenin saw in Kautsky’s position are today most acutely posed by Multipolarism — and, indeed, that both arise out of a remarkably parallel class basis. Kautskyite social‐​democratic revisionism arose, historically, out of the conflicted interests of the petty‐​bourgeoisie and upper strata of the working classes, or labor aristocracy, in imperialist nations. Both classes, in being subordinate to the capitalist ruling class, are attracted to the revolutionary potential of the working classes, and to the prospects of communism which they offer. They are also, however, frightened of this class — frightened of losing their meager privileges and sliding into it themselves, frightened of being punished by the ruling class for associating with it, frightened, in their relative comfort, by the disruption and volatility of revolution itself, even when in the long run they would benefit from it. Frightened that, finally, the working class won’t win.

As a consequence, these classes have a tendency to revise, or pervert, Marxism, which is simply the most scientific and lucid articulation of the perspective and program of the working classes (viz. revolutionary communism). This tendency is, naturally, cultivated with great energy and effort by the ruling class itself. The particular strength of this tendency in the imperial core countries grew out of the ruling class’s ability to use imperial superprofits to this end. Kautskyites, yesterday and today, thus naturally seek to beautify, rationalize, or minimally, delay the overthrow of imperialism. To do this, they reject the materialist analysis presented by Lenin, which showed that imperialism is an inevitable and ineradicable outgrowth of financialization and monopolization. As Lenin wrote:

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.[4]

Thus the working classes are drawn away from direct revolutionary confrontation with the imperialist order, and beguiled into thinking that imperialism is one possible policy of the bourgeoisie, amongst others, which can thus be remedied via reformist means within capitalism. Even worse, as Lenin notes, this allowed for the absurd notion that imperialism was, or at least could be, progressive. Thus the working class are lulled into playing the pawns of the petty‐​bourgeoisie in the latter’s parliamentary struggle for more privileges, and away from their own, revolutionary and internationalist program:

[…] the only objective, i.e., real, social significance of Kautsky’s ›theory‹ is this: it is a most reactionary method of consoling the masses with hopes of permanent peace being possible under capitalism, by distracting their attention from the sharp antagonisms and acute problems of the present times, and directing it towards illusory prospects of an imaginary ›ultraimperialism‹ of the future. Deception of the masses — that is all there is in Kautsky’s ›Marxist‹ theory.[5]

One hopes the parallels with the Multipolarist position are beginning to be clear now, but we will try to explicitly unpack them. Multipolarism arises out of and chiefly attracts two classes which while distinct in important ways, are objectively converging.[6] One is the upwardly mobile, comprador[7] middle‐​classes of the south, to whom a portion of the privileges once dispensed to the imperial petty‐​bourgeoisie and labor‐​aristocracy are being redistributed in what might be considered a sort of rational restructuring. The ideology rationalizes their role and offers them a tool to pacify their own workers with nationalist fantasies of restored dignity, and the vague prospect of eventual socialism at some undisclosed point in the future. The other class it attracts are precisely those downwardly mobile middle classes of the (soon to be former) imperial core whose privileges are being redistributed.[8] As I argued in »Imperialism Today is Conspiracy Praxis,« the development described by Samir Amin as the transition from Imperialist Monopoly Capitalism to Generalized Monopoly Capitalism or Huey P. Newton as the emergence of Reactionary Intercommunalism, involved a process in which, in establishing absolute dictatorship over the entire capitalist world, the U.S. (and allied) ruling classes underwent a radical transformation. As Newton was already arguing by the end of the 1960s:

Using the dialectical materialist method, we in the Black Panther Party saw that the United States was no longer a nation. It was something else; it was more than a nation. It had not only expanded its territorial boundaries, but it had expanded all of its controls as well. We called it an empire. Now at one time the world had an empire in which the conditions of rule were different — the Roman Empire. The difference between the Roman and the American empires is that other nations were able to exist external to and independent of the Roman Empire because their means of explorations, conquest, and control were all relatively limited.

But when we say ›empire‹ today, we mean precisely what we say. An empire is a nation‐​state that has transformed itself into a power controlling all of the world’s lands and people.

We believe that there are no more colonies or neocolonies. If a people is colonized, it must be possible for them to decolonize and become what they formerly were. But what happens when the raw materials are extracted and labor is exploited within a territory dispersed over the entire globe? When the riches of the whole earth are depleted and used to feed a gigantic industrial machine in the imperialist’s home? Then the people and the economy are so integrated into the imperialist empire that it is impossible to ›decolonize,‹ to return to the former conditions of existence.

If colonies cannot ›decolonize‹ and return to their original existence as nations, then nations no longer exist. And since there must be nations for revolutionary nationalism or internationalism to make sense, we decided that we would have to call ourselves something new.

We say that the world today is a dispersed collection of communities. A community is different from a nation. A community is a small unit with a comprehensive collection of institutions that serve to exist a small group of people. And we say further that the struggle in the world today is between the small circle that administers and profits from the empire of the United States, and the peoples of the world who want to determine their own destinies.

We call this situation intercommunalism. We are now in the age of reactionary intercommunalism, in which a ruling circle, a small group of people, control all other people by using their technology.[9]

Newton argued that the U.S., in transforming into such an empire, abolished the conditions for nationhood globally:

[…] nations could not exist, for they did not have the criteria for nationhood.Their self‐​determination, economic determination, and cultural determination has been transformed by the imperialists and the ruling circle. They were no longer nations. We found that in order to be Internationalists we had to be also Nationalists, or at least acknowledge nationhood. Internationalism, if I understand the word, means the interrelationship among a group of nations. But since no nation exists, and since the United States is in fact an empire, it is impossible for us to be Internationalists.

These transformations and phenomena require us to call ourselves ›intercommunalists‹ because nations have been transformed into communities of the world. The Black Panther Party now disclaims internationalism and supports intercommunalism.

Marx and Lenin felt, with the information they had, that when the non‐​state finally came to be a reality, it would be caused or ushered in by the people and by communism. A strange thing happened. The ruling reactionary circle, through the consequence of being imperialists, transformed the world into what we call ›Reactionary Intercommunalism.‹ They laid siege upon all the communities of the world, dominating the institutions to such an extent that the people were not served by the institutions in their own land. The Black Panther Party would like to reverse that trend and lead the people of the world into the age of ›Revolutionary Intercommunalism.‹ This would be the time when the people seize the means of production and distribute the wealth and the technology in an egalitarian way to the many communities of the world.

We see very little difference in what happens to a community here in North America and what happens to a community in Vietnam. We see very little difference in what happens, even culturally, to a Chinese community in San Francisco and a Chinese community in Hong Kong. We see very little difference in what happens to a Black community in Harlem and a Black community in South America, a Black community in Angola and one in Mozambique. We see very little difference.

So, what has actually happened, is that the non‐​state has already been accomplished, but it is reactionary.[10]

As I argue in »Imperialism Today is Conspiracy Praxis,« this development — the ultimate ascendance of the highest levels of the American ruling class[11] was possible precisely because of the reality of actually existing socialism itself. This was the eventuality not considered by Lenin,[12] when he rejected theoretically the possibility of any sort of lasting unity or peace amongst the capitalist‐​imperialist nations: that the existential threat posed by a prolonged, partial division of the world into a socialist and capitalist camp, would create the conditions under which a real ›ultra‐​imperialist‹ — or, in Amin’s terms, »collective imperialist« — unity could be forged. Many recognize aspects of this transformation, but fail to consider its implications for the composition of that ruling class itself: though obviously rooted overwhelmingly in the U.S.A., in coming to rule the world, such a class’s character necessarily transcended its national limitations. This vanguard of the vanguard of the ruling class, as Molly Klein has emphasized, reinstalled virtually all the defeated fascists forces after WWII, but with new, crucial levers of control over them, e.g., the military occupation of Germany, the M‑Fund and disarmament in Japan. When the U.S.S.R was reconquered the new Vlasovite »Russian Federation« was engineered to ensure no genuinely autonomous national leadership could emerge. The ever sentimental petty‐​bourgeois perennially fail to grasp that the ruling class has no nationalist sentiments. In coming to control the entire globe, the U.S. ruling class naturally comes to be defined by the official legal territory of their notional government.

Nor did or does it have any sentimental investment in the American population — thus Newton’s astute emphasis on the fundamental parallels between American counterinsurgency domestically and abroad. There is indeed compelling evidence that by the 1990s at the latest, that ruling circle had committed itself doing away with the commitments, obligations, and liabilities — above all embodied in a large and potentially restive labor aristocracy — bound up with the very existence of the »United States,« itself. The political, military, and financial groundwork for this controlled demolition can be easily identified before it was, so to speak, formally announced with the September 11th attacks.

Yet many self‐​declared Marxists simply cannot overcome their nationalist blinders here. On the one hand, they can see already with the program of neoliberalism the imperial ruling classes working to demote »their own« labor aristocracies, in part by the selective dispersal of even more marginal »privileges« abroad. Yet they refuse to contemplate that the »American« or »German« ruling class really might have just as much contempt for Americans and Germans as they have for the oppressed of the earth who they have already hounded, plundered, and enslaved. Molly Klein has suggested insightfully that at least part of the explanation is a sort of tragic, perverse egotism: that the breast beating of a certain class about how terribly privileged they are belies a profoundly naive overestimation of their own importance and value in the eyes of the rulers.

Yet the ruling class which emerged out of the cold war struggle, while U.S. led, was and is truly global.[13] They did not simply carry out coups abroad, but assassinated »their own« president. They waged a counter‐​insurgency against domestic resistance (especially the Panthers, but also their allies amongst, inter alia, precisely the children of the white labor‐​aristocracy) based on similar techniques, indeed often with the same forces, as they employed in Asia, Africa, and South America. And they imposed neoliberal restructuring on even »their own « supposedly cherished white working classes. What is essential here is that »whiteness« is understood materially, as a particular technology of class rule with a specific history and limitations — not an immutable reality.

We should note here another remarkable consonance in ruling class praxis, mirrored by a pecularial dissonance in the understanding of so many so‐​called Marxists. Precisely those who often identify with the program of Multipolarism geopolitically tend to be among the quickest to reject all forms of so‐​called »identity politics« domestically. They recognize easily how, in response to the radical struggles for racial, gender, and sexual liberation carried out in the core, the ruling class had to respond by with sophisticated programs of cooptions and concessions, mobilizing tokens wherever possible. Yet they fail to see how precisely the same dynamic is played out on the world stage: that empire could not simply wipe out in its entirety the tremendous energy of the rising south, and that it, therefore, strove to offer a token elevation based on a sort of racialized fascist pseudo‐​collectivism. Instead of gender parity in wages, a few more female CEOs; instead of global communism, more Chinese companies in the Fortune 500.

Ironically, then, the Multipolarists and the liberal woke with whom they frequently spar fall prey to a common mistake: they underestimate the competence and cognizance of the ruling class[14], and fall for ruling class victories which are marketed to them as their own. We must address here briefly the equally erroneous, oppositie species of error, which Gramsci described as »the belief that everything which exists is a ›trap‹ set by the strong for the weak, by the cunning for the poor in spirit.«[15] This is characteristic of those who see every development as a pure emanation of an all powerful ruling class’s will, every victory as disguised satanic ruse. See, contra Multipolarism, those who see Klaus Schwab WEF Climate Communism corrupting the poor noble leaders of the West; contra liberal wokeism, the racial and gender chauvinists who try to undo the tremendous contributions to Marxism made in particular by the gender, sexual, and racial struggles of the last century, e.g. Jacobin. What must be constantly recalled here is, as Marx insisted, that »Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self‐​selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.«[16] The »woke« appropriation by the ruling class of progressive social policies does not mean that these polices are the real secret desire of the ruling class — on the contrary, they are minimal concessions the ruling class had to make to the insuppressible revolutionary struggle of the relevant oppressed classes — though naturally, obviously, the ruling class does everything in its power to warp such concessions, or even invert their political content when possible. The current spectacular, managed, fraudulent ›rise of the south‹ is the best the ruling class could make of the momentous forces set into motion by the first cycle of revolutionary communism‐​socialism‐​anti‐​imperialism‐​anti‐​fascism sparked by the October revolution. The role of liberal or social democratic reformist forces domestically and multipolar forces globally are characterized equally well by Newton’s analysis of »endorsed spokesmen« who the ruling class install in between the oppressed masses and the revolutionary forces (the »implacable,« in Newton’s terminology) who could otherwise organize them:

[…] the oppressor always prefers to deal with the less radical, i.e., less dangerous, spokesmen for his subjects. He would prefer that his subjects had no spokesmen at all, or better yet, he wishes to speak for them himself. Unable to do this practically, he does the next best thing, and endorses spokesmen who will allow him to speak through them to the masses. Paramount amongst his imperatives is to see to it that implacable spokesmen are never allowed to communicate their message to the masses. The are never allowed to communicate their message to the masses. Their oppressor will resort to any means necessary to silence the implacable.

The oppressor, the endorsed spokesmen, and the implacable form the three points of a triangle of death. The oppressor looks upon the endorsed spokesmen as a tool to use against the implacable to keep them passive within the acceptable limits of the tactics he is capable of containing. The endorsed spokesmen look upon the oppressor as a guardian angel who can always be depended upon to protect them from the wrath of the implacable, while he looks upon the implacable as dangerous and irresponsible madmen who, by angering the oppressor, will certainly provoke a blood bath in which they themselves might get washed aways. The implacable view both the oppressors and the endorsed leaders as his deadly enemies. If anything, he has a more profound hatred for the endorsed leaders than he has for the oppressor himself, because the implacable know that they can deal with the oppressor only after they have driven te endorsed spokesmen off the scene.[17]

Since the total reconquest and enslavement of the formerly socialist world, the imperial ruling class has mopped up, one after another, concessions made under the conditions forced upon them by really existing socialism‐​communism. Abroad, this has meant dismantling the constellation of third‐​world nationalist anti‐​colonial and adjacent regimes — the global residue of Bandung. At home, this meant the complete demolition of social‐​democratic compromise. One can hopefully detect, here again, the fundamental unity and interrelation — both simply constituted the possibilities »within« capitalism generated by the vast warp in the space‐​time of political reality generated by the red supergiant of revolutionary socialism‐communism.

Already with the neoliberal assault, the imperial ruling class made clear that it had no intention of maintaining the expensive and insubordinate Western labor aristocracy — and that assault was indeed partially made possible by the defeat of the global vanguard of socialism, the crushing of the cultural revolution, the re‐​enslavement of China, making East Asia a safe and viable base of operations for a streamlined system. Contemporaneous with this program already one can see the ruling class hard at work engineering the capacities and ideological justifications to pull off the extremely politically difficult agenda which arises naturally as their constitution as a class — what was possible and necessary for them. First the ›overpopulation‹ discourse of the Club of Rome, followed by climate change, and arguably most effectively advanced under the banner of pandemia.

This praxis is, of course, not very different from that of Nazism 1.0: plunder, enslavement, and genocide. It is perhaps not unsurprising that Newton could so sharply and presciently grasp the shape of the present order, because black Americans were at the bleeding edge of this imperial program. As he observed already in the 70s:

It has been estimated that ten years from now only a small percentage of the present workforce will be necessary to run the industries. Then what will happen to your worker who is now making four dollars an hour? The working class will be narrowed down, the class of unemployables will grow because it will take more and more skills to operate those machines and fewer people. And as these people become unemployables, they will become more and more alienated; even socialist compromises will not be enough. You will then find an integration between the black unemployable and the white racist hard hat who is not regularly employed and mad at the blacks who he thinks threaten his job.[18]

The existence of the Black population in America after the overthrow of slavery, like the existence of the Palestinians after WWI, has posed a particular problem for the ruling class. It has vacillated between a policy of super‐​exploiting their labor (with the dangerous consequence of furnishing possibilities for their self‐​organization as a class) and treating them as a reserve army of labor tending, in the extreme, towards genocide. The latter tendency had become dominant in the period of Newton’s analysis, perhaps precisely because the American Black population, more than any other, embody the dialectical complement of America’s global presence: »America« may be all over the »third world,« crushing liberation; but the »third world« is all over America, resisting, doggedly undermining the ruling class at every turn. In the Black led Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971, they called for Mao Zedong to represent them in negotiations with the authorities.[19] Even in the current generalization of the opioid crisis we see how techniques of population control and genocide developed by the ruling class in the laboratory of the ghetto are in increasingly deployed against the once ostensibly privileged.

This is because with the extreme concentration of the current ruling class, virtually the entire global population is, evidently, a problem to them. It is evident that amongst the top priorities for the ruling class is to dramatically shrink and demote the former labor‐​aristocracy and middle classes. Newton foresaw the foundations of their disempowerment already too:

The concept of the black bourgeoisie is something of an illusion. It is a fantasy bourgeoisie, and this is true of most of the white bourgeoisie as well. There are very few controllers even in the white middle class. They can barely keep their heads above water, they are paying all the bills, living hand‐​to‐​mouth, and they have the extra expense of refusing to live like black people. So they are not really controlling anything; they are controlled. In the same way, I do not recognize the black bourgeoisie as different from any other exploited people. They are living in a fantasy world, and the main thing is to instill consciousness, to point out their real interests, their objective and true interests.[20]

Samir Amin remarked somewhere that the nationalist, progressive third‐​world bourgeoisie, and the comprador bourgeoisie, are not two separate classes, but two tendencies within the same class. The former tendency can be actualized only by a project driven by the popular classes — the workers, peasants, and lumpenproletariat.

The Western labor‐​aristocracy, petty‐​bourgeoisie, and even the lower rungs of the bourgeoisie itself are evidently superfluous to the current ruling class vanguard. This strata are to be demoted, plundered, and to a substantial degree eradicated. After plundering and enslaving the entire third and second worlds, where, afterall, could one even expect the imperial ruling class to turn? This question, in and of itself, is an important logical consideration which the multipolarists simply ignore: what are the most viable prospects for the »western« ruling classes? What political‐​economic‐​programmatic investment of their energy could deliver them the most benefit which they don’t already currently enjoy, and eliminate the greatest threat to their power, in the current conjuncture? The idea of a »color revolution«[21] in China or Russia is very popular in the alternative media yet the concrete reality of what this could look like is rarely sketched out. This is perhaps because to do so reveals the stark fact that it is virtually impossible to imagine — in the really existing current circumstances — an arrangement where the labor power and resources of Russia and China could be more optimally exploited in a politically tenable fashion than they are now. One must recall that those conditions of political tenability are bounded by the real historical experience of socialism! In both states substantial popular legitimacy is a political necessity; in both, much of it rests precisely upon the ruling class’ ability to present themselves as oppositional forces to the west.

A brief note is worthwhile here on the leadership of the supposed rising Multipolar world. By the late 90s, we saw very nearly what a standard »color revolution« type regime could look like in Russia. But we should also note that this order was incredibly unstable. Between the near election of Zyuganov and the Ruble Crisis, it became clear that the global ruling class had gone too far, was too rapacious in Russia. It risked the return of socialism. In these conditions, concessions needed to be made, and a reliable agent installed who could ensure the continued subordination of Russians to their ongoing plunder and exploitation — Vladimir Putin. Since this obvious fact somehow still manages to escape so many, it is worth noting here that Putin, as mayor of St. Petersburg in 1993, explicitly ensured German business representatives in his belief that »political« violence which undermined market conditions was criminal, while violence which protected private investment was »necessary.« He further stressed his support for the implementation of a Pinochet style dictatorship by Yeltsin to solve Russia’s current political problems.[22] Is it not conceivable a more sophisticated solution was found, with Putin as part of the program? When Yeltsin assured Clinton about his hand‐​picked successor that »I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner,« should we be so quick to doubt him?[23] Over the Urals, the capitalist‐​roader bona fides of Xi Jingping, like his father before him, hardly need elaboration. What needs to be explained, rather, is the volte face on China which so many Communist Parties have taken with little to no explicit, formal debate. Like some bizarre memory implant, the general recognition of the utter perfidy of the capitalist regime installed with the backing of Nixon and Kissinger in China, which disarmed the workers, viciously punished the red peasant women for their leadership in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution with the fascist one‐​child policy, and supported the most notorious counter‐​revolutionary forces abroad has somehow melted away.[24]

Let us step back, for just a moment, from the comic book Götterdämmerung between nations or national blocs, and consider that we live in a world with a ruling class so small, integrated, and powerful that history fails to offer even the remotest parallels or precedents. This is a ruling vanguard which emerged in particular out of the massive empowerment of the most covert, anti‐​democratic state machinery by the western capitalist classes as a necessary response to the genuine, existential threat of world communism. Any doubts about their incredible coordination and discipline cannot hold in the face of their lockstep application of the Corona program, based upon the most utterly absurd, risible pretext. Nevermind that the current, supposedly existential conflict in Ukraine has hardly put a dent in trade between the supposed mortal enemies, or even managed to halt the flow of Russian gas through Ukraine itself! It is worth recalling here, incidentally, that Lenin did not reject the possibility of an »inter‐​imperialist« arrangement per se, but just the idea that it could form the basis of a lasting peace:

[…] in the realities of the capitalist system, and not in the banal philistine fantasies of English parsons, or of the German ›Marxist‹, Kautsky, ›inter‐​imperialist‹ or ›ultra‐​imperialist‹ alliances, no matter what form they may assume, whether of one imperialist coalition against another, or of a general alliance embracing all the imperialist powers, are inevitably nothing more than a ›truce‹ in periods between wars. Peaceful alliances prepare the ground for wars, and in their turn grow out of wars; the one conditions the other, producing alternating forms of peaceful and non‐​peaceful struggle on one and the same basis of imperialist connections and relations within world economics and world politics. But in order to pacify the workers and to reconcile them with the social‐​chauvinists who have deserted to the side of the bourgeoisie, over‐​wise Kautsky separates one link of a single chain from another, separates the present peaceful (and ultra‐​imperialist, nay, ultra‐​ultra‐​imperialist) alliance of all the powers for the ›pacification‹ of China (remember the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion) from the non‐​peaceful conflict of tomorrow, which will prepare the ground for another ›peaceful‹ general alliance for the partition, say, of Turkey, on the day after tomorrow, etc., etc. Instead of showing the living connection between periods of imperialist peace and periods of imperialist war, Kautsky presents the workers with a lifeless abstraction in order to reconcile them to their lifeless leaders.[25]

Of course this criticism as well is as directly applicable to the Multipolarist pitch as to Kautskyite ultraimperialism: even if one thinks that the BRICS are now »objectively« anti‐​imperialist in their ascent over the West, one must acknowledge that their monopoly‐​capitalist basis is incompatible with the rosy vision of (what else can well call it?) ultra‐​imperialist peace marketed by the PRC as their Belt‐​and‐​Road initiative. But there is a much more profound question to be asked here: even if one grants that any sort of ›ultra‐​imperialist‹ peace could not actually resolve, but only suppress or defer the intrinsic contradictions of imperialist capitalism, why must one assume that those contradictions, when they do burst forth, must take the form of contradictions between nations, particularly when nations have become such irrelevant husks in the real material composition of the global economy? Why do so many Marxist refuse to even consider what other forms these antagonisms could take? A minute class now sits atop the vast, volatile, contradictory capitalist world, in which any inter‐​imperialist conflict could gravely jeopardize the rule of each member of this exceedingly small and integrated clique: is it impossible that they could not find another arrangement? That they could exchange inter‐​imperialist conflict, for the mutually reinforcing, coordinated joint intra-imperialist exploitation and ( as a necessary consequence to attain it) war against »their own« populations? The very praxis that this would necessitate would of course amount to the self‐​abolition of capitalism by imperialist finance capital itself.[26]

As materialists and Marxists[27] we would of course then ask what political praxis would this entail, what real political obstacles, possibilities, and prospects supervene here? As a signpost from where the current program appears to have really taken off, it is worth quoting at length here from a remarkably prescient article which appeared in Science for the People Magazine in 1975, analyzing the political implications of the Club of Rome’s overpopulation hysteria:

The sharpening conflicts among different capitalist interests are thus bringing about the need for an instrument of mediation to assure that the overall interests of the capitalist system are protected. Within the ›international framework‹ of the Club of Rome, ›statesmen, policy makers and scientists‹ can debate and formulate the general decisions which ›will become a matter of necessity (for capitalists) rather than being left to good will and preference‹ of ›narrow national interests‹. While each large corporation and government is busy trying to formulate the policy which can best serve its own particular interests, each one must also become aware that such policy cannot be implemented if it is opposed by the others. The Club of Rome appears to have appointed itself, at least for the present, as the advance planning agency for the capitalist system as a whole.

In advanced capitalist countries, particularly in the United States, the myth of an open society with equal opportunity for advancement in an ever expanding economy — with pie in the sky — has been an important component of an ideology which legitimizes existing power relationships. Ideological persuasion, appropriately alternated with economic cooperation and violent repression, have secured the acceptance of the ›American system‹ by a large majority of people in this country. The success of analogous operations in other countries, in spite of cultural differences, has been largely conditioned by their degree of economic development. Thus, the appearance of democracy under capitalism has been made possible by the promises stemming from a booming economy based on imperialism (with the consequent lack of capitalist development and democracy in large parts of the world). The assumption that increased production through technological advance would solve the inequalities of distribution under capitalism — the very foundation of capitalist democracy — has proved false and misleading. Inequalities have never disappeared, even in the developed countries. Now in these countries economic growth has come to a stop, with the result that unemployment is soaring and real wages are dropping. A decline in the standard of living of most working people appears inevitable, which is bound to make the current ideology less and less credible. Since the limits to growth arguments are presented as independent of social and political systems, they are increasingly being used to try to persuade people to accept a lower standard of living, while convincing them that the problems of capitalism are the inevitable result of any industrialized society. It does not seem likely, however, that most working people will be persuaded by such arguments to accept a continuous erosion of their standard of living and to give up their hopes of upward mobility in an open society. Thus, the economic flexibility of the system and the social support for it may well be waning. Hence, the need for more authority and coercion to maintain an increasingly rigid and hierarchical social order. The stability of the new social order will then depend on the possibility of convincing at least the more privileged sectors among the working people — the middle classes — that police repression and other authoritarian measures are unavoidable in order to save the system. Although the ›models of doom‹ arguments will not persuade the poor to accept these new policies of capitalism, the apocalyptic projections of the Club of Rome may be useful in securing the crucial support of the middle classes in the developed countries for an authoritarian regime. This will be necessary for capitalist — rather than world — survival. Of course, in trying to bolster capitalist authority, the limits to growth arguments will be supplemented by many other ideological and practical ingredients. Sexism, racism and other deep seated and widespread social (and religious) prejudices and fears will continue to be used by precapitalist and capitalist ruling groups to divide their enemies and to win the support of those who are caught in the middle, with ambivalent interests and allegiances. While the present economic, social and political differences among and within nations are largely the result of imperialism and unequal capitalist development, other important cultural differences do exist. The proposals for triage may be looked upon as particularly hideous attempts to use all these differences to prevent people from understanding each other and their real problems.[28]

The quantitative concentration of the current ruling class appears to have passed into a decisive qualitative transformation at some point in the late 1960s or early 1970s, with the absolute ascendancy of the a clique drawn from the highest circles of industry, military, intelligence service, finance, and organized crime who had been welded together by WWII and then the Cold War — and empowered by the emergency suspension of democratic institutions both justified. Any number of telling moments suggest themselves as key signposts of this transformation: the suspension of convertibility of the US dollar to gold, signifying the absolute subordination of America’s triadic allies (Europe & Japan) to arbitrary dollar dictatorship, and indeed the whole globe to the military dictatorship necessary to back it; the trial of the Gang of Four, signifying the end of the cultural revolution and the climax of the first historic wave of socialism‐​communism; one is even tempted to go back all the way to 1963, to the JFK assassination, signifying the American‐​cum‐​Global Ruling class’s unwillingness to tolerate even a modicum of democratic input from the most reactionary, chauvinistic, and compliant labor aristocracy in the world. But arguably most significant is in fact the publication of Limits to Growth in 1972. The first three moments were both necessary and possible because of the real and present danger of complete global revolution — manifested most acutely in decolonization in the third world, cultural revolution in the second, and the radical protest movements in the first. In the face of this overwhelming threat, all segments of the privileged classes of the globe had to accept the protection of the US ruling clique, on its conditions. In this sense a direct analogy can be made to the dynamic behind the fascist dictatorships of the interwar period, and one would not be remiss in characterizing this development as, essentially, the recrudescence of fascism on a fully global scale. It is thus fitting that the old handmaiden of ultra‐​right reaction, eugenics, was renascent as well. Indeed, the significance, for our current argument, of the Limits to Growth lies in the fact that it gives us some sense of the long term, comprehensive plans of this class, which crystalized here as a consequence of their perilous ascent.

With the defeat of socialism‐​communism, the ruling class embarked on the final dismantling of the progressive third world nationalist regimes and first world social democracy, previously accepted as a strategic necessities. This has had the ironic effect of putting virtually the entire global left into an objectively conservative position since the 90s. With the ruling class on its worldwide Blitzkrieg, the shell shocked progressive forces of the earth could hardly do more than adopt ad hoc survival strategies, doing everything possible to cling into these last redoubts‐ geographical, political, linguistic, cultural. This response was natural, and justified for what it was, though it ultimately failed. Worse still, as those redoubts shrunk, as compromise after compromise set in, as only the most sordid liberal husks remain scattered on the otherwise fully (re)Nazified global terrain, political content has come to mirror objective form. This functionally conservative left is characterized perfectly well by Marx’s description of feudal socialism in the Manifesto nearly two centuries ago:

[…] half lamentation, half lampoon; half an echo of the past, half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the bourgeoisie to the very heart’s core; but always ludicrous in its effect, through total incapacity to comprehend the march of modern history.[29]

One can picture here those whose only defense of their ›political program‹ (which invariably amounts to cheerleading on one or another avatar in the ruling class spectacle, be it Xi, Putin, Lula, etc.) is adumbrating the various ways in which the US ruling class is even more rapacious or depraved than their current savior. The good cop which Chinese investors or Russian mercenaries can play in contrast to their bad cop NATO foils is thus even ludicrously celebrated by some so‐​called communist, as if this role wasn’t part of an integrated and coordinated system. It is essential to appreciate that by all indications the »US‐​led« ruling class has planned to do away with the entity called the USA since the 90s (perhaps there has been high level disagreement on this). Molly Klein has observed that the Trump show in particular makes absolutely clear how serious the option is on the table. This is at least partially because, domestically, the Ruling class had no intention of keeping around the ballooning labor aristocracy which arose as an unavoidable consequence of Cold War political necessities, and, internationally, it was ready to jettison any inconvenient rhetorical commitments to liberalism, civil rights, or democracy bound up with its history. Here again we return to the remarkable nationalist blinders of so many, who cannot possibly contemplate that the same ruling class which will tank »their own« company, for instance, to advance their own real personal interests, might do the same with a country. Nor that apparent failure can be success. See, for example, Iraq, where the oh‐​so‐​clever geopolitical experts revel in the apparent failure of the USA — as if the current anarchy in West Asia wasn’t the goal of the American assault, as if »failure« wasn’t the most politically viable framing within which the imperial ruling classes core aims could be advanced.[30] ]What should a real American victory have entailed, exactly, according to these multipolar experts? Are they really so naive as to believe America wanted to install a model democracy in the region? But by the same token, do they think it would’ve been politically viable, all the more so given the marketing of the war, to impose an open dictatorship? At its root these wise guys fall prey to the same ridiculous ‘bumbling empire’ schtick of the very worst first world liberals and trots. The second one steps back and considers the objective interests of the ruling class, the political constraints in which they operate, and their real capacities to plan, strategize, and pursue their goals: one must in fact conclude that the current state of affairs in Iraq probably very nearly approximates what was intended by the planners.

For the ruling class is infinitesimally small; in imposing its will on the masses it can hardly declare its aims openly. Rather, it must ceaselessly invert reality, cast its own interests as ours, cast ours as enemy. It is not what it is, enabled by the modern telecoms grid spectacle to function like a global Iago, endless miring us in smoke and mirrors. It operates by casting the real figures and forces of history simultaneously in innumerable roles in different genres of its ceaseless disorienting storytelling. And evidently this global Iago has geared up to cast the USA as a sort of global ISIS (Daesh). Like ISIS, the USA is now (still) playing the role of real, concrete imperial war machine directly advancing ruling class interests AND the role of cartoon supervillain in the multipolar spectacle (this is, of course, a simplification — this is but one genre in the spectacle which is too multivalent and complex to try and comprehensively characterize here). Through this performance, forces which would otherwise be immediately recognized as traitors, enslavers, and enemies of »their own« people — such as the ruling class in Russia and China — are transfigured into noble and progressive multipolar patriots.

Why all this? The dialectical complement of the extreme concentration and unity of the current ruling class is the corresponding potential unity of virtually the entire global population in its objective opposition to this class. We truly do live in a unipolar world, unified under the dictatorship of a small, ruling class coalition united by their shared interests in exploiting us — and in not being overthrown. The true negation of this unipolarity is the real unity of the working masses around OUR shared interests in overthrowing them.

When communism first appeared as a true possibility on the horizon, the ruling class was able to successfully forestall it via the innovation simultaneously ›within‹ and, as Marx and Lenin made clear, beyond/​out of capitalism which we call imperialism, monopolization, and financialization. One core element of this praxis was the mobilization of petty‐​bourgeoises, social‐​democratic reformists like Kautsky. As we discussed above, Kautsky’s theory of ultra‐​imperialism is a classic example of how the working class can be led astray by revisionism.

Instead of combatting their own ruling class, many workers were lured into seeing them (or portions thereof) as possible agents of progress.[31] In this respect it also helped encourage national chauvinism and provided an eagerly accepted rationalization to those upper segments of the working class who could be bribed with imperial super profits. It also served to obscure the fundamental link between imperialism and capitalism, denying the necessity of the latter transforming into the former at a certain stage of financialization. It beguiled the working class into subordination to the toothless, ›pious‹ opposition of petty‐​bourg moralists to (certain ›forms‹ of) imperialism or its ›excesses‹, and propagating the false, Un‐​Marxist notions of non‐​imperialist financial or monopoly capital. For the working class these ideas translated into passive subordination to the petty‐​bourgeoisie, who only sought to leverage the working class to maintain or extract a few meager privileges from the bourgeoisie. The inevitable consequences: betrayal, followed by disillusionment, and the inability (for a time) for the working class to fulfill its destiny.

Today, imperialism has reached and indeed surpassed its limit, undergoing a sort of involution. In its broadest contours, this appears almost as a sort of rational restructuring of the globe. The ruling class now barely conceals its plans to eradicate large sections of the global population, plunder and enslave almost all the rest, and, in order to do so, redistribute a leaner packet of privileges to a downsized class or caste of overseers, presumably to be drawn largely from the downwardly mobile bourgeoisie and petty‐​bourgeoisie of the core, and the bourgeoisie and petty‐​bourgeoisie of the ›rising‹ South (again, a development that is real in form but fake in terms of content, i.e. the progressive politico‐​economic program with which that had always been associated). Beneath this convergence is an even more awesome, epochal one: that of the vast majority of the population hitherto stratified and set against each other by the national division of the world and imperial division of labor.

This is the greatest peril to the ruling class, the greatest challenge before them: to lock into place the authoritarian control grid before these strata recognize and act upon their objective unity under communist leadership. Perhaps the greatest tool of the ruling class in pulling off this Gambit is multipolarism.

In the ›falling‹ first world, where utterly unprecedented prospects for organizing open up every day, petty‐​bourgeois intellectual would‐​be radicals , instead of organizing the revolutionary potential of their most proximate working population with truth and clarity, hitch their wagons to ruling class agents in the most threadbare ›communist‹ drag, be they Lula, Xi, or Putin. This has the consequences of 1) squandering their own potential energy, which could put into building revolutionary forces — even indeed misdirecting that energy into the support of reaction; 2) alienating the majority of the potentially organizable working population, who will certainly have no interest in being further demoted to the sordid conditions offered by such »communism« (in fact communism promises both MORE political liberty and a BETTER standard of living than was enjoyed by the western labor aristocracies at the height of social democracy!), further delaying their recognition of communism as their program and 3) the most wretched and oppressed of the 1st world core, and consequently most potentially revolutionary, are effectively subordinated to the petty‐​bourgeois policy of passivity at home and support for reaction abroad (dressed up as progress for them in the spectacle). Rather than fight their own ruling class, they are told Putin or Xi will do it for them. Finally and perhaps most importantly, their potential to link up and unite with the revolutionary forces abroad is utterly undermined, as they are actually concretely aligning with the powers which discipline and crush progressive and/​or revolutionary forces (like the forces fighting in Donbass) In the former 2nd and 3rd world. Multipolarism thus directly mirrors Kautskyite ultra‐​imperialism: a means by which the ruling class, through their petty‐​bourgeois agents, dupe the working class into passivity, national chauvinism, and reformist fantasies of evolution towards socialism without acute and concerted class war.

In the imperialism debate in Germany, Karl Liebknecht’s famous slogan — Der Hauptfeind steht in eigenen Land, enemy number one is in your own country — has caused much consternation. This is because, on the one hand, all good communists recognize that it represented the fundamentally correct position vis‐​a‐​vis the inter‐​imperialist First World War, against the fatal national chauvinism of the social Democrats. Nonetheless, in the context of the current war, it has been deployed by the pseudo‐​leftist agents of NATO or rationalizers of western imperialism, in order to equate Russia and the West (or Ukraine) and deny categorically that there is any progressive content or legitimacy in denazifying Ukraine, or indeed the more general struggle of the South against the ongoing imperialist organization of the globe. This apparent contradiction disappears when one takes seriously that the nation, in the sense of what that term signified in Liebknecht’s time, has ceased to exist as a political and economic reality. The function of apparently conflicting nations today is much closer to the role of parties in traditional parliamentary bourgeois democracies. Such parties are real, they represent real divergent interests, funding and other privileges to disperse, etc., the antagonisms between them can be incredibly intense, even fatal for participants. Yet in the Marxist tradition we have always understood this conflict as entirely circumscribed by the limits imposed by the ruling class — and that the illusory belief in the viability of enacting fundamental change via the parliamentary struggle is one of the most essential means by which the masses are pacified.

In this moment of capitalism’s denouement, in the imposition of total, radical global despotism whose outlines we can glimpse in the absurd and terroristic Covid program, a system with a similar logic and structure as bourgeois democracy is generalized to the whole globe: as the nation is in real terms eradicated, it’s simulacra is elevated by the spectacle as the Idée fixe of all politics. Thus the revolutionary potential of the masses is sapped with chauvinism and nationalist political dead ends. It is highly indicative of our current malaise that, across the political spectrum it has been increasingly obvious that national politicians are ever more totally and brazenly indifferent to the will of the population they supposedly answer to. Indeed, in the space of just a few months we have seen both the Woke Green Fascism branded Annalena Baerbock and the traditional Right‐​Wing Populist Fascism branded Giorgia Meloni both declare that they will committed to supported the Ukraine war in spite of the opposition of their electorate. Yet still, virtually no one can offer a viable alternative to the hopeless struggle over the lifeless husks of national political institutions.

One must reiterate again that the point here is not an oversimplifying, sophomoric reductionism. Just as the critique of parliamentarianism cannot be reduced to »both parties are the same,« so the critique of the prevailing nationalist framework advanced here cannot be reduced to »all governments are the same.« The various national programs have just as much real political content as the programs of genuine parliamentary parties, and they cannot all be conflated. Within national bourgeois politics, there is typically a right set up to win, and a left tasked to fail, betray, and disillusion the natural base of its policies — the working masses — who nonetheless ALSO exert their real will through it and genuinely exact certain victories.

A comparable task has been given to the leaders of the South today. What person of sound instincts can fail to sympathize with the rhetoric and posture of the Russian Federation against ever more brazen return to open Nazism in the West? Yet all the same, no serious Marxist can possibly be forgiven for ever believing the Russian ruling class has any intention on delivering on this rhetoric. Denazification is the revolutionary demand of the post‐​soviet masses which the ruling class can’t simply will out of existence, and so they must try to co‐​opt, warp, invert in just the same way other progressive demands have historically been taken up by the left in parliamentary democracies. To critique the system‐​loyal left wing politics of bourgeois parties is not to critique socialism or left wing politics, but their appropriation and vitiation. Precisely the same is also true with the progressive content — full decolonization, full denazification, full global communism — which multipolarism acts as a reformist substitute for.

The task of communists is to enable the masses to clarify their revolutionary demands and to enact them themselves via their own revolutionary means, NOT to shepherd them back into the traps of the ruling class — be they Intra‐​national parties or international blocs. The real task of Putin and his clique couldn’t have been made clearer than his declaration, at the start of the SMO, that the task was to denazify AND decommunize Ukraine. Anyone familiar with the relentless anti‐​communism of his domestic policies should’ve know which was his real priority. But it is important to emphasize that, all the more so sice the total Nazification of the globe which has occurred since the defeat of communism — these two terms are simple straightforward opposites, no more radically, diametrically opposed than up and down, left and right, North and South. Real Decommunization IS NATOfication IS Nazification. Real denazification and deNATOfication today must and will be communization and nothing less.The radical concentration of the current ruling class and their audacious program of global fascist dictatorship have reduced this relation to a pure, frictionless vector.

The original Nazi program of depopulation and plunder in Russia and the Ukraine has already recommenced, with only slight modifications. Yet it is also occurring inside‐​outside a spectacular or farcical restaging of the same. It is essential to parse and appreciate the stacked functions here, the multiple layers of the spectacle. 9/​11 was carried out under the cover of multiple real‐​fake‐​real military exercises or »war games« carried out in U.S. airspace. Most participants were fulfilling real goals for the real operation while believing themselves to playing the fake or simulated role in the exercises. Important aspects of the Covid program appear to have been hammered out in numerous elite »Pandemic Exercises,« like Johns Hopkins’ Event 201. In Syria the conflict between the U.S. and Syria was »fake« and »real.« Fake in that the U.S. Army and ISIS were two arms of the same exact ruling class. Real in that the real territory and real population of Syria was plundered, slaughtered, and pillaged with real guns, bombs, and mercenaries. In Ukraine the privileged, connected, or useful are siphoned out of the country or protected while the Ukrainian population — one of the most potentially rebellious populations in the world, extremely critical of the Covid program like almost the entire post‐​soviet population — is sent to the most senseless, grotesque death fighting their Russian brothers. For its part, the Russian leadership has evidently done everything in its power to forestall real Denazification or even the achievement of minimally comprehensible war aims.[32] If the illusions about an »objectively« progressive stance being forced by circumstance on the Russian ruling class were true, we would have, as a bare minimum, general mobilization and the domestic social program (also offered to liberated territory in Ukraine) necessary to promote it.[33] We have seen nothing of the sort, of course, because nothing terrifies the ruling class — in Russia, in China, in Europe, America, or anywhere else — than the post‐​soviet masses once again armed, mobilized, and really on the march against Nazism — as they well should be!

As Holderlin famously remarked, where the danger is, there grows the saving power as well. The sordidness of our current moment is also the fullness of its potential, if only we were willing to recognize it. A recent remark of a comrade struck me as indicative of how we’ve lost our vision: they said something along the lines of this: ›after Nord Stream 2, any idiot can see there is no benefit for Germany in NATO.‹ The utter incoherence of such a statement, for a communist, can perhaps best be revealed by counterposing an equally (in)coherent statement, which is in fact no less absurd: ›after 9/​11, any idiot can see there is no benefit for the USA in NATO.‹ One hopefully sees here how such phrases are in some sense true, but also politically meaningless. They betray a lapse into the utterly blinkered national framework of the petty‐​bourgeois. And the rotten hopelessness of this politics could not be clearer than in the lame, absurd, Larouchie‐​style demands, which have somehow infected communist politics, calling for Germany (or even the USA!) to give up its imperialist policies, and even join peacefully with the rising South, perhaps even the Belt and Road Initiative! This is really the purest, most rank Kautskyism, which can only be forgiven for not lulling the masses into passivity in so far as it is so risible and imbecilic as to attract no one but the most utterly politically useless petty‐​bourgeois fools. As the middle classes slide into the ranks of the masses, we must not adulterate communism to fit their tepid revisionist tastes: we must subordinate them to the full, unequivocal revolutionary program of the masses.

Capitalist Imperialist Germany (or the USA) will never enter into genuine peaceful and friendly relations with any nation, other than temporary alliances with fellow robbers — this is Marxism‐​Leninism 101. Rhetorical calls for such simply insult the intelligence of the masses. There has been exactly ONE peace‐​loving and peace‐​making German state in history — the German Democratic Republic. It was the product of the only real denazification: communization. The compromises made possible with or within capitalist imperialism by the massive, world‐​altering weight of really existing socialism‐​communism (like, in the FRG, social democracy and Ostpolitik) are no longer possible with the eradication of socialism, and communists must give up their illusions about this fact! We must stop fantasizing that the same geo‐​political logic obtains as it did in the Cold War. The ruling class today intends to make no compromises, and neither should we. In the current transition the ruling class has demolished its own legitimacy and the ideological foundations of its political hegemony as it strives to build something new. The moment could not be more ripe. Everyone everywhere is ready for communism right now — and instead the communists are trying to sell them the most sordid, compromised subordination to the Ruling class!

The great Irish Revolutionary James Connolly recognized that the real progressive content of anti‐​imperial Irish nationalism could only, ultimately, be fully realized by internationalist revolutionary communism. He wrote new lyrics for the tune of a famous Irish rebel song of the 19th century, a perfect artifact of the progressive petty‐​bourgeois republican nationalism of that era, which expressed the hope that »Ireland, long a province, be a Nation once again.« As Newton teaches us, today there are no nations, but only provinces of a single empire. The revolutionary possibility to overthrow that empire has ripened far beyond the utility or viability of any national framework for such a struggle, and will now only serve to hinder it. The proto‐​revolutionary‐​Inter‐​communalist revised lyrics penned by Connolly serve even today as a perfectly appropriate rejoinder to the sordid ruling class politics hocked by the Multi‐polarists:

Some men, faint‐​hearted, ever seek

Our programme to retouch,

And will insist, whene’er they speak

That we demand too much.

’Tis passing strange, yet I declare

Such statements give me mirth,

For our demands most moderate are,

We only want the earth.

Our masters all a godly crew,

Whose hearts throb for the poor,

Their sympathies assure us, too,

If our demands were fewer.

Most generous souls! But please observe,

What they enjoy from birth

Is all we ever had the nerve

To ask, that is, the earth.

For labor long, with sighs and tears,

To its oppressors knelt.

But never yet, to aught save fears,

Did the heart of tyrant melt.

We need not kneel, our cause is high

Of true men there’s no dearth

And our victorious rallying cry

Shall be we want the earth.[34]

Footnotes

[1] Nor is there a greater point of discord and confusion in both of the political spheres straddled by the Freie Linke Zukunft — the Corona protest movement on the one hand, the traditional left on the other.

[2] Much like the term »Fascism,« which, as Molly Klein once astutely observed, »is not an essence. And its name is not a scientific term. It is a SLOGAN of a program, a praxis, of a ruling class faction and its social clients within liberal democracy and it transforms liberal democracy.« https://​twitter​.com/​R​e​d​K​a​h​i​n​a​/​s​t​a​t​u​s​/​1​1​2​9​4​4​8​0​4​3​6​2​6​0​1​6​769

[3] Now, as to the name, one may very well call the theory which I advocate for »Ultra‐​Imperialism,« or »Super‐​Imperialism,« after Hobson — as Lenin quipped, the Latin prefix does not add much. For what it is worth, it is probably closest to Huey P. Newton’s theory of Intercommunalism (See, in particular, the following works by Newton: Speech Delivered at Boston College: November 18,1970, Black Capitalism Reanalyzed (1971) , Who Makes U.S. Foreign Policy (1974),

Intercommunalism (1974)

[4] Lenin, Imperialism, 1963. p. 69. https://​www​.marxists​.org/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​/​l​e​n​i​n​/​w​o​r​k​s​/​1​9​1​6​/​i​m​p​-​h​s​c​/​i​m​p​e​r​i​a​l​i​s​m​.​pdf

[5] Lenin, Imperialism, 1963. p. 89. https://​www​.marxists​.org/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​/​l​e​n​i​n​/​w​o​r​k​s​/​1​9​1​6​/​i​m​p​-​h​s​c​/​i​m​p​e​r​i​a​l​i​s​m​.​pdf

[6] The Ruling Class produce nothing, not even their own ideas. So while Multipolarism, like Kautskyism before it, fundamentally advances the interests of the ruling class, it has an organic basis and natural reservoir in particular strata of the petty‐​bourgeoisie and labor‐aristocracy.

[7] Of course, under the conditions of global empire — what Newton called reactionary intercommunalism — the very concept of ›comprador‹ becomes someone meaningless, or perhaps redundant. The term is used here, nonetheless, to reiterate that, contrary to their claims, these classes can in no way be seen as really contributing to a popular project (national or communal).

[8] Molly Klein suggests that the social base is even thinner: that the intellectuals are simply bought cheap now that this class is being squeezed, and real universities replaced by ngo think tanks, and there is no one hiring except Gates and the rest of the intelligence and para‐​intelligence community. This class as managers and upper professionals was in fact largely automated out of existence. Shrinking rewards in the entertainment industry, journalism, law and medicine. At the same time the actually falling rate of profit means a shrinking segment of this class goes into small business.

[9] Newton, 1974. https://​viewpointmag​.com/​2​0​1​8​/​0​6​/​1​1​/​i​n​t​e​r​c​o​m​m​u​n​a​l​i​s​m​-​1​9​74/

[10] Newton, 1970. https://​abolitionnotes​.org/​h​u​e​y​-​p​-​n​e​w​t​o​n​/​r​e​v​o​l​u​t​i​o​n​a​r​y​-​i​n​t​e​r​c​o​m​m​u​n​a​l​i​s​m​-​1​970

[11] What Newton helpfully calls the »ruling circle« to unsettle some sloppy or stereotyped forms of thinking, and to call our attention to the ruling class vanguard, the leadership of this class which exerts unique, direct control in this arrangement — and has some degree of autonomy, not unlike that which absolute monarchs were able to gain by leveraging the struggle between the falling nobility and rising bourgeoise.

[12] Those needing convincing that what Lenin’s was theoretically willing to entertain required updating given the massive transformations since his time need only consider his repeated jibe at the possibility of ultra‐​imperialism by comparing it to laboratory produced food, e.g., »development is proceeding towards monopolies, hence, towards a single world monopoly, towards a single world trust. This is indisputable, but it is also as completely meaningless as is the statement that ›development is proceeding‹ towards the manufacture of foodstuffs in laboratories. In this sense the ›theory‹ of ultra‐​imperialism is no less absurd than a ›theory of ultra‐​agriculture‹ would be.« Lenin, Imperialism, 1963. p. 70. https://​www​.marxists​.org/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​/​l​e​n​i​n​/​w​o​r​k​s​/​1​9​1​6​/​i​m​p​-​h​s​c​/​i​m​p​e​r​i​a​l​i​s​m​.​pdf

[13] They are Reactionary Intercommunalists, in Newton’s terminology, which if clumsy nonetheless helps foreground the dialectical unity of these phenomena. The mirror image of the »left‐​wing« multipolarist petty bourgeoisie are the right‐​wing »anti‐​globalists,« petty‐​bourgeoisie, who are invested in an equally hopeless gambit to solidify or re‐​establish their privileges via the maintenance of »nations« which have, objectively, long ceased to have any economic reality. It is interesting, and typical of the current stage of the spectacle, that these two apparently contradictory genres of petty‐​bourgeois reaction are increasingly combined — see, for example, the absurd »Rage Against the War Machine« op.

[14] As Klein puts it, they overestimate the real power of the ruling class but underestimate their competence, attributing all failure, set back, or slow down to incompetence.

[15] Gramsci, Prison Notebook 14, as quoted in Molly Klein’s indispensable critique of Zizek: https://​alphonsevanworden​.tumblr​.com

[16] https://​www​.marxists​.org/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​/​m​a​r​x​/​w​o​r​k​s​/​1​8​5​2​/​1​8​t​h​-​b​r​u​m​a​i​r​e​/​c​h​0​1​.​htm

[17] Newton, »In Defense of Self Defense,« 1967. P 9 – 10. https://​archive​.lib​.msu​.edu/​D​M​C​/​A​m​R​a​d​/​e​s​s​a​y​s​m​i​n​i​s​t​e​r​d​e​f​e​n​s​e​.​pdf

[18] Newton, 1974.

[19] »A short time ago, the prisoners at Attica requested the Black Panther Party to negotiate with Nixon, Rockefeller and Oswald for their freedom. The Black Panther Party at this time asks Chairman Mao Tse‐​tung of the People’s Republic of China to negotiate with Prison Warden Nixon for the freedom of the oppressed peoples of the world (Essay & Petition, Massacre at Attica, The Black Panther Intercommunal News Service, 1971).«

[20] Newton, 1974.

[21] The Larouchies in particular are hard at work evacuating this term of all meaning or content.

[22] https://​www​.nd​-aktuell​.de/​a​r​t​i​k​e​l​/​4​6​1​4​9​3​.​p​i​n​o​c​h​e​t​-​a​l​s​-​v​o​r​b​i​l​d​.​h​tml

[23]  https://​www​.rferl​.org/​a​/​p​u​t​i​n​-​s​-​a​-​s​o​l​i​d​-​m​a​n​-​d​e​c​l​a​s​s​i​f​i​e​d​-​m​e​m​o​s​-​o​f​f​e​r​-​w​i​n​d​o​w​-​i​n​t​o​-​y​e​l​t​s​i​n​-​c​l​i​n​t​o​n​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​n​s​h​i​p​/​2​9​4​6​2​3​1​7​.​h​tml

Much of this information was inititally unearthed by Nova Shpakova, whose account has extensively documented the capitalist character of the Russian and broader Post‐​Soviet ruling classes, their betrayal and manipulation of their populations, and their ongoing connivance with the West. See their former (unfortunately hacked, but still a valuable resource) and current accounts. 

[24] Though replete with ultra‐​left errors, Marc Galwas here presents information which demolishes any attempt to interpret the Russian or Chinese ruling classes as progressive in any meaningful sense. https://offen-siv.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/offensiv‑1 – 2023-Sonderheft-Marc-Galwas.pdf Likewise, Lula and his parties key role in coopting and misdirecting the anti‐​globalization movement in the service of the imperial ruling class were already obvious in the early 2000s https://​www​.rupe​-india​.org/​3​5​/​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​s​.​h​tml

[25] Lenin, Imperialism, 89.

[26] As Marx predicted in Capital Volume III https://magma-magazin.su/2022/09/t‑mohr/imperialism-today-is-conspiracy-praxis/#_ol4crioezadh, and Newton diagnosed as the reactionary world‐state.

[27] I.e. people who have read not just Capital Vol. 1, but Marx’s political and historical writings as well‐ full of conspiracy theorizing that they are.

[28] Science for the People Vol. 7, No. 3, May 1975, p. 14 — 19 & 34 — 37. http://​science​-for​-the​-people​.org/​w​p​-​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​u​p​l​o​a​d​s​/​2​0​1​5​/​0​7​/​S​f​t​P​v​7​n​3​s​.​pdf

[29] https://​www​.marxists​.org/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​/​m​a​r​x​/​w​o​r​k​s​/​1​8​4​8​/​c​o​m​m​u​n​i​s​t​-​m​a​n​i​f​e​s​t​o​/​c​h​0​3​.​htm

[30] Molly Klein has emphasized the direct military political control established around oil must be seen as an essential precursor the ruling class plans, already in motion, to blow up the US dollar. See: https://​twitter​.com/​R​e​d​K​a​h​i​n​a​/​s​t​a​t​u​s​/​1​5​3​0​0​6​2​8​7​6​4​4​1​9​8​5​024; https://​twitter​.com/​R​e​d​K​a​h​i​n​a​/​s​t​a​t​u​s​/​1​4​9​9​0​1​7​6​9​0​9​5​8​2​0​9​027; https://​twitter​.com/​R​e​d​K​a​h​i​n​a​/​s​t​a​t​u​s​/​1​5​6​7​8​8​0​5​1​0​3​8​6​3​5​6​226; https://​redkahina​.substack​.com

[31] In this case, a more peaceful world created by social‐​Democrat led imperialism, like Baerbock’s feminist Außenpolitik today, one stage in a fantastic revolution‐​free evolution into socialism under the loving care of the exploiters themselves.

[32] See the commentary here https://​anti​-empire​.com/​g​u​e​s​t​-​a​u​t​h​o​r​/​m​a​r​k​o​_​m​a​r​j​a​n​o​v​i​__/

[33] In the most stark contrast, the SMO appears now to be led by a sordid pack of mercenaries which the Russian leadership half denies ownership of. What a national reawakening!

[34] https://​www​.marxists​.org/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​/​c​o​n​n​o​l​l​y​/​1​9​0​7​/​x​x​/​w​e​w​n​e​r​t​h​.​htm

Cover Image: Emory Douglas (1943 — ), Get Out of the Ghetto…, 1970 (https://​www​.flickr​.com/​p​h​o​t​o​s​/​m​e​d​i​e​v​a​l​k​a​r​l​/​4​5​2​9​7​9​7​0​301)

A German translation can be found in MagMa, too

7 thoughts on “Multipolarism is Neo‐​Kautskyism: on Real Denazification and its Enemies

  1. Fallen hier die Artikel vom Himmel? Ihr habt weder nötig, ein Datum noch den Autor deutlich und auf Anhieb erkennbar zu kennzeichnen. Sehr vertrauenerweckend.

    ?

  2. Hm, T. Wolf schreibt Texte, die in Deutschland theoretisch zu dem passen, was teilweise im »Erreger« veröffentlicht wird. Seine Verwendung des Terminus »Kommunisierung« lässt den Einfluß einer Tendenz vermuten, die besonders in den Nuller Jahren europaweit in linkskommunistischen Intellektuellenzirkeln einflussreich war. In Deutschland insbesondere in dieser: 

    https://​kosmoprolet​.org/​d​e​/​s​t​art

    Nun macht die (damalige) Verflechtung des Kosmoprolet mit der pro‐​imperialistischen Wochenzeitschrift Jungle World, sowie das gute Verhältnis (des Kosmoprolet) mit der Redaktion der englischen Zeitschrift ´Aufheben´, deren Chef‐​Theoretiker John Drury von der griechischen linkskommunistischen Gruppe »Kinder der Galerie« als Spitzel entlarvt wurde, es etwas schwierig, zB das Konzept von Imperialismus als Verschwörung unabhängig von der Rekuperation der situationistischen Kritik (»Kommunisierung« und »Spektakel« sind aus ihr entnommene Begriffe) zu diskutieren und nicht gleich konkret über den im Raum stehenden Verdacht zu sprechen, dass hier eine komplette linksradikale Theorietradition unter »polizeiliche« Regie genommen wurde. 

    Geisterbahnfahrt – Grusel garantiert! Will jemand ein Ticket? –

    1. Ups, Korrektur: sollte oben eigentlich »T.Mohr« stehen, nicht »T.Wolf«; und natürlich: MZW, nicht MLZ. Na, egal. Das nächste mal: Erst korrigieren, dann posten! Ha, wieder was gelernt.…

      Was gut ist, geht auch besser! Selbstkritik und Progress – aber holla! 

      (vielleicht auch einmal eine eingehende Besprechung; aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben)

      https://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​L​u​H​z​r​X​g​V​-e0

      1. Du fragst, ob ein Wortspiel des Autors augeschlossen ist? – Natürlich nicht. Bei einer eingehenden Textanalyse wäre aber der objektive Diskurseffekt, der sich aus Kontextualitäten ergibt, vorrangig zu berücksichtigen. Der Wortwitz des schreibenden Subjekts ist zufällig und hat beispielige Funktion, anders: Das Wortspiel macht die Begriffe nur hinsichtlich ihrer Überdetermination transparenter. Gleiches gälte ja auch für die Redenschreiber in Moskau.

        Aber unabhängig davon noch der Vollständigkeit halber ein Hinweis auf einen Text der Gruppe Aufheben (die mit dem Kollaborateur) für Leute mit Humor:

        https://​libcom​.org/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​r​i​s​e​-​c​o​n​s​p​i​r​a​c​y​-​t​h​e​o​r​i​e​s​-​r​e​i​f​i​c​a​t​i​o​n​-​d​e​f​e​a​t​-​b​a​s​i​s​-​e​x​p​l​a​n​a​t​ion

  3. »We must stop fantasizing that the same geo‐​political logic obtains as it did in the Cold War. The ruling class today intends to make no compromises, and neither should we. In the current transition the ruling class has demolished its own legitimacy and the ideological foundations of its political hegemony as it strives to build something new. The moment could not be more ripe. Everyone everywhere is ready for communism right now – and instead the communists are trying to sell them the most sordid, compromised subordination to the Ruling class!«

    Immerhin, dem sollte widersprochen sein: Die wenigsten dürften für den Kommunismus bereit sein. Und die, die sich gegen den ihnen verordneten Geschichtsunterricht über eine vergangene Epoche ein eigenes Urteil erarbeitet haben, bedürften, so scheint es , dringend und zunächst einer besseren Instumentalausbildung:

    https://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​h​Z​M​o​u​G​V​h​EiA

    …was nebenbei auch die Aufnahmefähigkeit einer Kritik des Nationalismus begünstigen sollte.

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