Traditionalism, Liberalism and Neo-Nazism In the Current Political Space

Genealogy and Teleology of Modern Neo-Nazism

Aleksandr Shchipkov

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The ideology of fascism became popular after the destruction of the communist doctrine. Fascism was recognized as a legitimate response to communism long ago. This idea is quite common among right-wing parties when the conversation drifts to fascism. [11] This is not by accident. The myth of the alleged "secondarity" of fascism rotates the historical "chessboard" (in the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski) by 180 degrees. This myth deserves a systematic and harsh criticism. It is not a mere coincidence that liberal historiographers and social scientists protect this "redoubt" most of all. Such discussions are inevitable in a society experiencing the struggle for history and formation of a long-term national policy.

Real fascism is much older by historical standards than Leninist-Stalinist Communism. We are talking about historical specifics rather than the extreme antiquity of the ideas themselves (both egalitarian and national pagan), which is also important. From a historical point of view, fascism was not a response to communism. However, it resulted from the conditions and politico-economical factors of liberal capitalism.

Which is why the definition of fascism by Hannah Arendt (with the replacement of the disputable "totalitarianism" and equally disputable fissioning of the concept of racism) is not the best representation. It is clearly inferior to another definition given by Georgii Dimitrov. Known as "Dimitrovís formula," this is a classical definition of fascism and was considered the most precise in the USSR. "Fascism is the open terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic and the most imperialist units of financial capital ... Fascism is not the superclass power and not the power of the lower middle class or the lumpen proletariat over the financial capital. Fascism is the power of the financial capital itself. It is the organization of terroristic violence against the working class and the revolutionary section of the peasantry and the middle class. Fascism in foreign policy represents chauvinism in its crudest form, cultivating zoological hatred of other peoples." [9, p. 64-65]

The main aspect of this definition is the direct connection between fascism as an ideology and the power of financial capital. This connection means that fascism is the continuation of the ultra-right neoliberal ideology – the ideology of big business. In this regard, it becomes clear why left-wing social democrats and communists have always emphasized the connection between fascism and capitalism. At the same time, the liberal theory of "totalitarianism" repudiates this relationship. Everything hinges on target ideological attitudes. Anti-system position is one thing. Historical meditations permitted by the liberal consensus is another.

The binary theory of totalitarianism helps to gloss over the problem of the historical roots of fascism. Boris Kagarlitskii, historian and sociologist, rightly comments on this subject: "Liberal sociologists regularly emphasize the system and the socioeconomic logic of the "left" totalitarianism, but consistently and persistently deny the same logic of the "right" totalitarianism for some reason. According to their opinion, it turns out that the Gulag was "obligatory" in the absence of private property, but Buchenwald and Auschwitz were quite incidental through an exception in bourgeois economic system." [11, p. 34]

The assurance of the "accidental occurrence" of Buchenwald and Auschwitz is extremely doubtful. It contradicts not only the leftist view of the problem, but also – de facto – is contrary to the European sociology, political science and historiography of the pre-war period. Many works written in Europe and the United States before the war are not in line with the binary theory of totalitarianism and other ideas formulated after the war by Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism), Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies), Friedrich August von Hayek (The Road to Serfdom) and additional authors. For example, if we take the definition of imperialism by Hannah Arendt and reconcile it with the views of Max Weber, the author of the famous The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism [8], it turns out that the latter is the mastermind and apologist for imperialism.

However, Weber's concept represents general constituent attributes of the entire Western capitalist civilization of the modern age. When considering liberal capitalism in such a perspective, European fascism will appear as a logical and natural consequence of the development of the Western economy rather than an accidental historical dislocation and "systemic failure" in Western society. With this object in mind, Boris Kagarlitskii emphasizes "the other side of the story may be also noted. The economic rationality of German concentration camps (as opposed to the repeatedly described irrationality and absurdity of the Soviet camps) was just a legal result of the market economy, private enterprise and the Protestant ethic." [11, p. 35]

Based on the above-mentioned, it is easy to understand which of the two totalitarianisms is real fascism and how it is connected with the spirit of a liberal capitalist global economy and market society. From there, we will have to recognize that the use of the concept of totalitarianism as a common denominator for the concepts of "communism" and "fascism" is flat out incorrect.

In order to understand what happened after 1940 in the field of ideology, it is sufficient to apply the theory of totalitarianism in retrospect. The only thing is that todayís European and American political science strongly discommend it. However, it remains impossible to suppress the fact that the fresh generic concept of fascism has been revised and emasculated in the framework of the theory of totalitarianism.

So, what is fascism?

Besides the narrow sense of the term "fascism" (i.e. Mussolini's regime), it represents the idea of the imperfection of a particular group not falling within the law, or the superiority of any group that is logically the same. The "imperfection" may have different markers: national, cultural (to justify colonial expansion) and civilizational. This superiority complex serves as a transcendental justification of biological and social inequality of people. The monetary system uses this approach in the framework of the global colonial policy.

In any case, fascism is directed against the part of a person's identity that cannot be changed, that is, where a person has no choice. The authoritarian (totalitarian?) regime provides a choice: either to adjust your views in the public space or to become a victim of the regime. Fascism, in contrast, does not leave this "or" to a person. This is precisely why the comparison and the convergence between communism (in spite of all its crimes) and fascism are inappropriate. In addition to this, the theory of "two totalitarianisms" by Hannah Arendt is absolutely blasphemous. The fact is that fascism, in contrast with communism, does not need a human being as an object of subordination. It needs a person to slip out of existence. A person is unwanted. People get in the way of fascism, because they either occupy the sweet spots of territory or are a food link, a material resource, a food reserve and "organic matter" (in classical colonialism). Let us recall the suggestion of fascist journalist Butkevitch made in a live broadcast of the Ukrainian public channel: to kill 1.5 million residents of Donbass. This does not concern their "abnormality" Ė this is about their needlessness. They are a fifth wheel. Fascism is based on the logic of exclusion: there are humans and there are subhumans.

In the German version of fascism, we can easily reveal the very same idea of changing the ethnic composition of the "eastern territories", which resulted in the genocide of the Jews and the eastern Slavs, especially Russians (see the Section devoted to the "Eastern Question" in Mein Kampf and the brochure "Der Untermensch (Subhuman)). [24] When the conversation drifts to fascism, many people give full attention to stylistics, external effects, some imperial grandiosity, rather than to the essence of the matter. Speaking of Hitler, many people recall the Olympics of 1936 and the movie Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl. These aspects of history represent a side effect of the policy unrelated to Hitlerís fascism. These are the elements of the imperial promotion that has always been and remains under all regimes both fascist and non-fascist. The Olympics neither added nor reduced Nazism in Germany. It was not the Olympics, itís the "Untermensch", the "Eastern Question", anti-Semitism, gas chambers, eugenics and "racial purity". Nevertheless, liberal critics of fascism are not really interested in them: they are afraid to find these ideas among their own.

Alongside the imperial aesthetics, liberal critics often mention the "cult of force", "the subordination of an individual to the collective reinforced by the "idea"" and this "idea" itself (read: superidea). All these phenomena are partially neutral and partially negative. Nevertheless, they are either indirectly relevant to fascism or have no relation at all. The subordination of an individual to the collective reinforced by the "idea", fully or partially, takes place under any regime. The collective just does not exist under other terms. The degree ("authoritarianism") of the subordination may be different. However, in the case of fascism, it is not the subordination or the "idea" itself, it is the caste, that is, the original status differences between sectors of society (the collective) in relation to this very idea.

The state cannot exist without subordination of an individual to the collective. However, it is quite possible without segregation and ranking (Nazism). Actually, fascism represents a "human material" ranking by some features. It is a ranking rather than a classification. Sometimes it comes to negation of a particular ethnic, cultural or social group.

A strong example lies in a conversation between Crimean "New Channel" broadcaster Oleg Kruchkov and his chief editor. It was 2014, before Crimea's integration with Russia. Crimea was still a Ukrainian peninsula at the time. "We film a public rally near the Supreme Soviet. I wrote the following text: "The Crimean Tatars have outwitted Russians tactically and came two hours earlier". I sent it to Kiev and received the following correction: "The Crimean Tatars have outwitted pro-Russian Ukrainians". I said, "Wait a minute, people came to the rally with placards in Russian. It appears that they clearly held themselves out as Russians..." Maksim Dybenko, a chief editor, responded that there were no Russians in Ukraine, that Russians lived in Russia, and that there were only pro-Russian Ukrainians in Ukraine. I said that more than 200 nationalities lived in Russia and all of them were Russians (the citizens of the Russian Federation). I was told once again that there could be no Russians in Ukraine. I asked, "Well, if I'm an ethnic Russian and not a pro-Russian Ukrainian and live in the Crimea, does it mean that I have no nationality?". Maksim answered: "Yes, it means you have no nationality". "I wonder," I said, "why can the Crimean Tatars, unlike Russians, live in Ukraine?" In response, Maksim declared that the Crimean Tatars were an idiom. I wonder, if the Crimean Tatars know that they are considered an idiom in Ukraine." [35].

The strongest cultural discrimination can be traced quite clearly here. Russians in Crimea, as well as in Donetsk and Lugansk, turned to be "needless people". However, in Donbass this disease passed to the next stage and turned into genocide.

An incidental poetic definition might include: fascism is simple-minded (literal) liberalism; the same liberalism that scarcely shelters itself behind the law and follows its basic principle (the principle of total competition) to its logical end. Among other things, such episodes reveal the falsehoods of the liberal law. In fact, the law is not a preliminary to the politics. It specifies a real diplomatic landscape and configuration of power post factum. However, the scenario depends on historical circumstances.

Speaking of fascism as "simple-minded" liberalism, one may recall the story the famous philosopher Slavoj Žižek told about his communist friend who was imprisoned in socialist Czechoslovakia as a dissentient for delivering a too literal and sincere confession of communist dogmas. The party comrades thought he was mocking them. The liberal "criticism" of fascism is a phenomenon is cut from the same cloth.

Which is why the National Guard of Ukraine provides employment opportunities for the members of Maidan "Hundreds". It is not a mere coincidence that the Heavenly Hundred are named after the Nazi stormtrooper Horst Wessel, copied from the political realities of a German version of European fascism. Thus, the Ukrainian elite perceive Europeanism as the theory of civilizational exceptionalism and the war in the East as the "mindset conflict" (a term used by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Euromaidan in Kiev was good. So, why should Maidan in Donetsk be a terrorist offense? Hence the lapse of the former prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who called the inhabitants of Donbass and Lugansk "subhumans". Today, there is good reason to fall back on the "universal jurisdiction" for the purpose of the new Nuremberg. The Kiev governmentís actions show evidence for the violation of the Geneva Convention "On Protection of the civilian population" (1959) and the Convention of 1980.

Against the background of these crimes, the statement by Barack Obama that "Russia is on the wrong side of history" seems to be peculiar. Apparently, it is an exclusive right of the "master race" (des Herrenvolks) to know where the "right side of history" lies. This political providentialism emerged on the basis of the American Protestant society. However, it is in no way different from the eastern fundamentalism and from the concepts of radical Islam. Before the recent events in Ukraine, this western "Taliban" was not so noticeable in Russia. Today it is prevalently out in the open. In theory, that must be a cognitive dead end for a liberal: "democratic" United States turned out to be more hard-edged and dreadful than the "authoritarian" Putin.