Jul 3, 2015

The LaRouche network’s Russia connection

In the United States, Lyndon LaRouche is widely dismissed as a wing-nut conspiracist — a guy who claims that Queen Elizabeth pushes drugs. But in Russia, LaRouchite ideology is taken seriously by high-ranking politicians and scholars, and is cross-pollinating with the ideas of Russian far rightists such as Aleksandr Dugin.

The LaRouchites’ wing-nut reputation actually masks a lot of their more dangerous politics and history. LaRouche, a former Trotskyist, founded the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC) in 1969 as a Marxist organization, but in the 1970s transformed it into a fascist political cult with a unique ideology centered on grandiose, arcane conspiracy theories. By the 1980s, LaRouche’s followers had built an extensive network of organizations on several continents, dedicated to propaganda, fundraising, intelligence gathering, and political dirty tricks. (For details, see Dennis King’s 1989 book, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism, which is accessible online.) For several years, the LaRouchites had a friendly relationship with the Reagan administration and its security services, but illegal fundraising eventually got them in trouble, and LaRouche himself went to prison for fraud and conspiracy from 1989 to 1994. However, his organization rebounded by shifting to more “leftist” positions, with an emphasis on opposing U.S. military interventionism and international finance capital.

Having lost the U.S. government connections they enjoyed in the 1980s, the LaRouchites worked to expand their ties with political elites in other countries — above all, Russia. In recent years, the LaRouchites have increasingly emphasized the importance of Russia on the world stage, and have largely aligned themselves with President Vladimir Putin’s international policies, for example on the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

A recent article by Anton Shekhovtsov traces some of the story behind this new alignment:
“With the demise of the Soviet Union,… LaRouche became genuinely interested in Russia and its economy, arguing against adoption of Western liberal economic models by Russia. In 1992, the Schiller Institute for Science and Culture was established in Moscow as a Russian branch of the LaRouchite international Schiller Institute, and started publishing Russian translations of LaRouche’s essays.”
During the 1990s, LaRouche visited Russia and spoke at a number of academic meetings. His economic ideas sparked interest among some members of the elite who were unhappy with the laissez-faire policies that prevailed under then President Boris Yeltsin.
“LaRouche’s contacts in Russian academia and the Moscow-based Schiller Institute for Science and Culture actively promoted his ideas in Russia, and, since 1995, he was trying to exert direct influence on Russian policy-making in the economic sphere. Representatives of the Schiller Institute for Science and Culture presented LaRouche’s memorandum ‘Prospects for Russian Economic Revival’ at the State Duma, while later that year LaRouche himself appeared in the Russian parliament to present his report ‘The World Financial System and Problems of Economic Growth.’ His conspiracy-driven economic theories that denounced free trade and commended protectionism, as well as attacking the workings of the International Monetary Fund, stroke a chord with many a member of the Duma largely dominated by the anti-liberal and anti-democratic forces such as the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia and other ultranationalists.”
Shekhovtsov’s article centers on LaRouche’s relationship with Sergey Glazyev, who in the early 1990s was minister of external economic relations (but resigned because of a disagreement with Yeltsin) and then a member of the State Duma, or parliament. Since 2012, Glazyev has been a prominent adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“During the 1990s, the LaRouchites praised Glazyev as ‘a leading economist of the opposition to Boris Yeltsin’s regime’ and published Glazyev’s interviews and articles in their weekly Executive Intelligence Review. In 1999, LaRouche published an English translation of Glazyev’s book Genocide: Russia and the New World Order in which the author exposed his theories about ‘the world oligarchy’ using ‘depopulation techniques developed by the fascists’ ‘to cleanse the economic space of Russia for international capital.’”
* * *
“Glazyev’s promotion of LaRouche and his ideas in Russia resulted in the latter’s growth in popularity as an opinion-maker and commentator on political and economic issues in Russia – a status that LaRouche could not enjoy in his home country where he has remained a fringe political figure.”
In some ways the LaRouchites’ current stance resembles that of Russian nationalists who combine support for Putin with romanticism about the Soviet Union. Although Shekhovtsov writes that “In the 1970-80s, the LaRouchites were highly critical of the Soviet Union and believed that it was controlled by the British oligarchs,” that’s not entirely true. Dennis King offers a fuller account:
“LaRouchian publications until the death of Leonid Brezhnev [in 1982] expressed an affection for hard-line Stalinism because of its no-nonsense attitude toward Zionists and other dissenters and its commitment to central economic planning. New Solidarity’s obituary on Brezhnev praised him as a ‘nation builder’ and avoided any mention of his invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. Thereafter, as LaRouche became more heavily involved in supporting Star Wars and NATO, the NCLC line changed. Moscow became the ‘Third Rome,’ a center of unremitting Russian Orthodox evil. When Gorbachev took power, the LaRouchians said he was the Antichrist.”
As King details, from 1974 to about 1983 members of the LaRouche network also repeatedly met and shared information with KGB officers and other Soviet officials. The LaRouchites claimed that they served as “the ‘open channel’ through which the KGB could pass ‘policy-relevant’ information to the CIA, and vice versa.”

The LaRouchites don’t like to talk about this part of their own history nowadays, but they have nothing but praise for ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin. In 2011, for example, LaRouche applauded the nomination of Putin (who was then serving as prime minister) to return to the office of president (which he had previously held in 2000-2008): “"This assertion of leadership sends a clear message of defiance against the British Empire's divide-and-conquer games, and represents a major step forward toward a new Pacific-centered recovery program for the entire world.”

Map of the Trans-Siberian Railway, an early example of the
kind of big infrastructure project the LaRouchites glorify.
The LaRouchites like Putin not only because he has challenged the United States and European Union, but also because they see him as a kindred spirit on questions of national development. The LaRouchite program, for Russia and elsewhere, emphasizes a strong state role in society, classical culture and religion as the moral basis for politics, and big, high-tech infrastructure projects — notably a “Eurasian Land Bridge” transportation network — to drive economic recovery.

The Eurasian Land Bridge idea highlights the question: how much does LaRouchite fascism have in common with the politics of Aleksandr Dugin, which centers on the vision of a new Eurasian empire?  In some ways the two are very different. While the LaRouchites wrap themselves in the mantle of science and rational humanism, Duginists call for Russian ethno-cultural rebirth in much more mystical terms. LaRouchite publications rarely mention Dugin, but a 2012 article in Executive Intelligence Review refers to his “gloomy Germanicism” with “a strong metaphysical component, but almost nothing by way of a coherent economic program.”

Yet both LaRouche and Dugin offer a deeply authoritarian, culturally elitist vision of society, and a conspiracist critique of international elites, while claiming to reject racism and antisemitism. Hearing LaRouche demonize Britain as the center of the global oligarchic conspiracy, it’s not a big jump to Dugin’s view of history as a secret geopolitical contest between the good land power (Eurasists) and the evil sea power (Atlantists). And, above all, both LaRouche and Dugin see Russia as the key hope for humanity today.

So it’s not a big surprise that Sergey Glazyev is on friendly terms with both the LaRouche network and Dugin. Glazyev participated in the founding conference of Dugin’s Eurasia Party in 2002 before helping to found a separate far right party, Rodina (Motherland), the following year. Glazyev and Dugin are both members of the Izborsky Club, an influential far right think tank that proclaims Peter the Great and Josef Stalin as the main heroes of Russian history. And one of Glazyev’s main jobs for Putin has been to negotiate greater economic integration of former Soviet republics under the rubric of a Eurasian Union — a project dear to both Dugin and LaRouche.

Glazyev isn’t the only link connecting LaRouche and Dugin. Another is Nataliya Vitrenko, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine. Vitrenko is a member of Supreme Council of Dugin’s International Eurasian Movement, which has branches in 22 countries. But she is also a close ally of the LaRouche network, who has for years promoted LaRouche’s ideas, addressed LaRouchite-sponsored meetings and conferences, and received favorable coverage in LaRouchite publications. In February 2014, for example, Executive Intelligence Review published a statement by Vitrenko under the headline “U.S.A. and EU, With Ukrainian Terrorists, Establish Nazi Regime.”

These indirect ties between LaRouchites and Duginists in Russia are particularly striking given how politically isolated the LaRouchites are in the U.S. — even from other far rightists. This doesn’t mean the two movements are likely to join forces directly. Differences of ideology and political culture — not to mention their leaders’ egos — stand in the way of an actual alliance. But figures such as Glazyev and Vitrenko may serve as conduits — or “open channels” in the LaRouchites’ spy-novel terminology — that promote a sharing of ideas and information between the two. Glazyev and others in the political elite may also borrow ideological and programmatic elements from both movements to make something stronger. This is a level of influence most wing-nuts can only dream of.

Image credits:
LaRouchePAC poster collage - By Racconish (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Trans-Siberian Railway map - By User:Stefan Kühn (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Jun 21, 2015

Dylann Roof's white nationalism

The racist manifesto and photos on Dylann Storm Roof’s website spell out many of the beliefs that drove him to murder nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17. Leading white nationalist websites have distanced themselves from Roof’s terrorist actions, but many of them have praised his ideas about race and U.S. society.

Most of the manifesto (which I will assume was in fact written by Roof) is a rehash of standard white supremacist propaganda themes — African Americans are “stupid and violent”; slavery and segregation were benign; Jews stir up black people to cause trouble; and whites today are scared, disempowered, and under attack. The manifesto also rejects American patriotism as “an absolute joke”: “Many veterans believe we owe them something for ‘protecting our way of life’ or ‘protecting our freedom’. But im not sure what way of life they are talking about. How about we protect the White race and stop fighting for the jews.”

Roof called his website (which is no longer active but is archived here) LastRhodesian.com, expressing solidarity with the former white settler colonial Republic of Rhodesia. The website included many photos of Roof posing with a Confederate battle flag, a gun, a burning American flag, or the neonazi code-phrase “1488” written in the sand. (“88” stands for “HH” or “Heil Hitler,” while “14” refers to the “Fourteen Words” slogan coined by neonazi David Lane: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children.”)

Despite his use of neonazi symbolism and rejection of U.S. patriotism, Roof differs with standard white nationalist positions on several points of racial ideology. For example, he declares that “the majority of American and European jews are White. In my opinion the issues with jews is not their blood, but their identity. I think that if we could somehow destroy the jewish identity, then they wouldnt cause much of a problem.” The manifesto also expresses ambivalence about Latinos (“there are good hispanics and bad hispanics”) and even a wish for a racist alliance between white nationalists and East Asians. Roof also rejected the idea of a racially pure white enclave in the Pacific Northwest, a vision promoted by the old Aryan Nations organization and others: “To me the whole idea just parralells the concept of White people running to the suburbs. The whole idea is pathetic and just another way to run from the problem without facing it.”

Other white nationalist websites have had mixed responses to Roof and his manifesto. Several commenters on Stormfront questioned the manifesto’s authenticity, or dismissed the Emanuel Church massacre itself as a “false flag” operation designed to discredit the white nationalist cause. On the Vanguard News Network, Tim McGreen wrote, “I rather doubt [Roof] is capable of writing anything. Unless it can be proven otherwise I am convinced that ZOG invented this whole story, complete with fake pictures of the ‘perpetrator’ and a fake ‘manifesto’.” (“ZOG” stands for “Zionist Occupation Government” and is standard neonazi-speak for the U.S. government.) A more positive spin came from “Macromedia” on Stormfront: “This young man gave a sophisticated analysis of black behavior and the media's role in it…. Though I can't condone or support the shooting of unarmed citizens in religious service, this act forces America to read his manifesto…. Perhaps this will reverse the tide by awakening many more, just like Dylann himself was awakened in the wake of Trayvon.”

On Counter-Currents, which offers a more intellectual brand of white nationalism, Editor-in-Chief Greg Johnson argued, “It seems unlikely that this manifesto is fake, since Roof is alive and could expose it if it were.” Johnson added, “If I had a son, he would look like Dylann Roof.” The general sentiment on Counter-Currents was respect for Roof’s views and disappointment about the massacre — not because of the people killed or injured but because it makes white nationalism look bad. As one commenter (“Christopher”) put it: “A cogent and insightful piece. [Roof] quite plainly is a white nationalist, and a moderately intelligent one at that. This makes his choice of target even more puzzling; based on this text, he should be smart enough to know that attacking a church would do significant damage to the cause and would do nothing to halt the kinds of things he’s upset about.”

Marcus Cicero* offered a detailed critique of Roof’s manifesto on his new website Majority Rebellion (tagline: “help save Western civilization”). In a guest post on Brad Griffin's Occidental Dissent blog, Cicero referred to Roof as a “drug-addled maniac [who] is obviously mentally-deranged, and has only caused an exponential increase in the level of hatred geared toward pro-White and pro-South causes and individuals.” Still, Cicero argued that the manifesto “does not come across as all that controversial or fanatical,” and that much of Roof’s discussion of U.S. society “show[s] at least a respectable understanding of the workings of both Blacks and the Jew, [and] contains truths that nearly every White Nationalist would be able to agree with.” He also agreed with Roof in rejecting the Northwest Enclave idea: “although I personally dislike having to agree with this lone-wolf fool, who has likely hurt our Cause due to his idiocy, facts are facts.” On the other hand, in Cicero’s view, Roof does not sufficiently understand the inherent genetic inferiority of Hispanics, East Asians, and Jews.

[*Note: The original version of this post mistakenly attributed Cicero’s statements about Roof to Brad Griffin, who runs the blog Occidental Dissent under the pseudonym Hunter Wallace. Griffin pointed out this error in a comment below.]

Dylann Roof’s manifesto helps us understand the Emanuel Church massacre as an expression of white nationalist politics. This is useful, but it’s not enough. Because in a larger sense, the massacre is also an expression of U.S. society as an overall system. As AlterNet’s Kali Holloway wrote in “Dylann Roof is America,” “We are a country where mass shootings are weekly news, where gun violence is a fact of daily life, where there is a legacy of terror against black people and communities, where white racists have long targeted black churches, where African-American life is so devalued it can be taken with impunity.” Roof’s reported comment to the Emanuel Church congregants before he shot them — “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go” — expresses widespread, deeply rooted white myths about black people, as Jamelle Bouie has argued, among others. And as the website Africa is a Country reminded us, Roof’s glorification of white-dominated Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa puts him in the same camp as “mainstream” politicians such as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Jesse Helms, Pat Robertson, and Dick Cheney.

Photo: From LastRhodesian.com, republished on Daily Kos.

Jun 10, 2015

July 25 International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners!!

From NYC Antifa:

"The July 25 International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners originated in 2014 as a Day of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman, an Australian who is imprisoned in Bulgaria for defending two Romani men from an attack by fascist football hooligans. Groups around the world took action: holding demonstrations, benefits supporting the Bulgarian Prisoners Association, writing to Jock, and talking about the plight of the Romani and Sinti people in general.

"In 2015 we would like to expand this day of solidarity to all antifascist prisoners around the world. We encourage groups to take the day to plan an event of their choice—whether it is a letter writing, demonstration, benefit, or other action—and to focus on the prisoners and related issues that are of most importance to them locally."

Read more

May 31, 2015

A few websites that monitor the Right

You probably know about the Southern Poverty Law Center, but do you know about South Asia Citizens Web or the Association for Women’s Rights in Development? There are lots of groups out there that monitor right-wing political forces and the struggles against them. In this post I highlight eight of them. I’ve picked sites that may be lesser known, and that target various branches of the right, in various parts of the world, from various political perspectives. I don’t necessarily agree with their politics, but I’m grateful for the reporting and analysis that they provide.

Anton Shekhovtsov’s blog is written by Ukrainian political scientist Anton Shekhovtsov, whose research interests center on far right politics in Europe, particularly central and eastern Europe, as well as red-brown alliance-building. A number of related resources are available via Shekhovtsov’s website. Here are some examples of recent articles on his blog:
Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) is a global feminist member organization with offices in Capetown, Mexico City, and Toronto. One of their areas of focus is their Challenging Religious Fundamantalisms program, which shares information about fundamentalist movements and supports efforts by women’s rights activists to combat them. Some recent articles in AWID’s Facing Fundamentalisms Newsletter have included the following:
Autonomous Action (Avtonomnoe Deystvie, or AD) is a libertarian communist federation with branches in Russia, Ukraine, and Belorus. Its Manifesto includes an emphasis on anti-fascism and anti-nationalism, among other themes. AD reports on far right activities, anti-fascist activities, and state repression against anti-fascists.
Center for New Community is a Chicago-based liberal social justice organization that places special emphasis on countering anti-immigrant nativism and related forms of bigotry. Its Resources page (http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/resources/) features a series of brief articles and charts on topics such as eugenics and Islamophobia. Here are some recent articles from its Nativism Watch section:
South Asia Citizens Web (SACW) is a left-leaning secularist website that provides reports and commentary on a wide variety of topics related to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and South Asians in the diaspora. SACW devotes a lot of attention to Hindu nationalism, the Islamic right, and other forms of "communalism" (ethnoreligious bigotry and violence). Here are some of their recent publications:
Tahrir-International Collective Network (Tahrir-ICN) is a an online network whose tagline is “bringing together anarchist perspectives from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.” Tahrir-ICN’s Manifesto notes that radical movements  in all of these regions face “similar challenges: the implementation of a liberal economy and the threat from the extreme right, whether Christian or Islamic.” Recent posts have addressed events in Syria, Palestine, Morocco, Kurdistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt, Germany, France, and Israel.
Talk To Action is a leading forum for research and analysis on the Christian right in the United States, covering topics such as Christian Reconstructionism, the New Apostolic Reformation movement, Opus Dei, the Left Behind book series, biblical patriarchy, and the ties between Christian rightists and the neo-confederate movement. Regular contributors include Rachel Tabachnick, Frederick Clarkson, Bill Berkowitz, Frank Cocozzelli, and others. Here’s some of their recent work:
We Hunted the Mammoth (WHTM) is freelance writer David Futrelle's blog about the “Manosphere” — an online antifeminist subculture that has exploded in recent years, largely outside traditional right-wing patriarchal networks such as the Christian right. In Futrelle's words, “WHTM tracks and mocks the New Misogyny online, focusing especially on Men's Rights, Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), and Pickup Artist (PUA) sites.” The phrase “We hunted the mammoth” comes from an old Men's Rights quote about all the unappreciated things men had supposedly done for women since the Stone Age. (Futrelle used to call his blog Manboobz, which he concedes was “kind of a dopey name.”)
Photo credit: By Reategui12 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

May 30, 2015

Feb 5, 2015

The National Prayer Breakfast: validating theocracy

Barack Obama speaks at National Prayer Breakfast 2-5-09
This morning, as he has done every February since 2009, Barack Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. The National Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by a secretive theocratic Christian organization known as The Family or The Fellowship, a group I first learned about from Jeff Sharlet’s scathing 2008 exposé, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Here’s a quote from my review of Sharlet’s book:

“The Family is all about power. It believes that the wealthy and powerful are chosen by God, and its mission as an organization centers on bringing them to Jesus, bringing them into a spiritual ‘covenant’ of total unity with each other. ‘Hitler made a covenant,’ [Family head] Doug Coe is apparently fond of saying. ‘The Mafia makes a covenant. It is a very powerful thing’ -- all the more so when it is based on submission to Jesus (54). The Family teaches that those who hold worldly power, as long as they pledge obedience to Jesus, can kill, torture, rape, steal, and lie on a mass scale with no moral constraints whatsoever. This, too, sets the Family apart. Christian rightists generally present themselves as defenders of civic morality. However twisted or hypocritical that claim may be in practice, it's a far cry from the Family's absolute repudiation of ethical principles.”
Every president of the United States since Eisenhower has been a featured speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast, validating and bolstering the influence of the theocratic organization that sponsors it. With rare exceptions, mainstream media treats this as completely uncontroversial.

But as former Christian rightist Frank Schaeffer asked in a 2010 New York Times column, “Would President Obama speak at a prayer breakfast organized by the KKK? Would Jim Wallis and other ‘progressive’ Christians attend?”

Because The Family doesn’t just work with hardline conservatives. It’s also happy to work with moderates and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, anyone who will help further its work of Christianizing the ruling class. Hillary Clinton, for example, has had a close relationship with The Family for a decade or more.

(For more on this group, see also Sharlet’s follow-up book, C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, which among other things details the Family’s involvement in Uganda, including heavy support for the 2009 bill that would have made homosexuality punishable by death.)

Photo credit: Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Feb 2, 2015

Moscow conference draws fascists, neo-Confederates, U.S. leftists

For decades, some far right opponents of the U.S. empire have been trying to make common cause with leftists. They got another opportunity in December 2014 at an international conference in Moscow on the “Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and Building a Multi-Polar World.” The conference was organized by the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (AGMR). Participants included U.S. leftists from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and the International Action Center (IAC) -- both of which are closely associated with the Workers World Party -- alongside Russian and Italian fascists and U.S. white nationalists from the neo-Confederate group League of the South. It’s worth looking at this convergence in some detail as it speaks to an important pitfall confronting leftists involved in anti-imperialist coalitions.

UNAC and IAC articles about the Multi-Polar World conference portrayed it as a progressive event against war, racist violence, and repression. The IAC reported, “Major themes of the discussion were the US-backed war against the people of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine, the expansion of NATO into the former Soviet Union and economic war against Russia, Venezuela and Iran, and the ongoing uprising against racism and police brutality in the United States.” Neither IAC nor UNAC mentioned that a number of far right groups were represented. UNAC did note that attendees included Israel Shamir, “a leading anti-Zionist writer from Israel,” but didn’t mention that Shamir is also a notorious antisemite.

The conference declaration was in keeping with the UNAC/IAC portrayal. It called for an international “united front against discrimination, violation of human rights, religious and racial intolerance” and condemned the “predatory foreign policy of the US and its NATO allies.” The declaration also denounced the oppression of people of color in the U.S. and demanded the release of U.S. political prisoners such as Palestinian activist Rasmia Oda, Leonard Peltier, and Mumia Abu Jamal. The declaration urged “the consolidation of the progressive part of mankind” and promised that “we will make every effort to build a multi-polar world!”

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but the phrase “multi-polar world” is a major theme in the work of Aleksandr Dugin, Russia’s leading fascist theoretician, as in his 2012 book, The Theory of a Multi-Polar World. Dugin is leader of the Eurasia Party and the international Eurasianist movement; he envisions a renewed Eurasian “empire” based on authoritarianism, patriarchy, and traditional religion, in which Russians will play a “messianic” role. Dugin disavows biological racism but has called for “the rebirth of the primordial Aryan conscience.”

It’s unclear to me how close the relationship is between the Anti-Globalization Movement and Dugin, but members of the Duginist Eurasian Youth Union took part in the AGMR’s December 2014 conference and have worked with AGMR at other events.

Like Dugin, the AGMR envisions a broad alliance of political forces against U.S. imperialism, ranging from grassroots social movements to Communist Party states to right-wing dictators. The lynchpin of this alliance is Russia. The AGMR website features a list of seven “Faces of Antiglobalization,” almost all of whom are or were friendly with Putin’s government: Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the late Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Venezuela’s deceased left populist president Hugo Chavez, and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. The one outlier on the list -- and only non-state figure -- is Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, whose 1994 uprising was a pivotal event in the global justice movement’s development.

The overall position statement on the AGMR website opposes “the emerging unipolar world” – i.e., the international dominance of the United States and its allies – and “supports the full sovereignty of nation-states including the sovereignty of Russia as an independent player on the political, economic and cultural world stage.”

The AGMR position statement seems carefully designed to appeal to both leftists and rightists. For the leftish side, it criticizes “the global dominance of transnational corporations and supranational trade and financial institutions.” For the other end of the spectrum, it warns against “the attempts to impose a ‘new world order’” and the threat of “a single mega-totalitarian world state,” both of which are standard targets of right-wing conspiracy theories. AGMR also “aims to promote all aspects of the national security and traditional moral values.” (According to Interfax news service, the AGMR joined with several rightist groups in 2013 to plan a public protest against same-sex marriage outside the French embassy.)

The AGMR position statement also includes a lot of language about tolerance and self-determination, for example, “respect for other peoples and their sovereignty, value systems and lifestyles.” Such phrases appeal to both leftists and liberals, but are also favored by the neofascists of the European New Right (ENR), who have replaced traditional fascist talk of national or racial supremacy with slick appeals to “ethno-pluralism” and “biocultural diversity.” Aleksandr Dugin is the ENR’s leading representative in Russia.

On one of its web pages, AGMR also gives a hat tip to the Lyndon LaRouche network as some of the “like-minded people” from around the world who took part in conferences that laid the groundwork for the AGMR’s founding. The LaRouchites promote a quirky crypto-fascist ideology and in recent years have become increasingly aligned with the Russian government on geostrategic issues, for example echoing a pro-Russian line on the civil wars in Syria and Ukraine.

In addition to the Duginists from the Eurasian Youth Union, the December 2014 Multi-Polar World conference also included representatives of the right-wing Rodina Party (which in 2005 was barred from participating in Moscow Duma elections for inciting racial hatred against immigrants) and the Italian neofascist group Millennium, which has had a close relationship with Dugin’s organization for several years. In December 2013, AGMR head Alexander Ionov spoke at a Millennium-sponsored far right conference in Milan. 

The Multi-Polar World conference also drew representatives from Novorossiya, or New Russia, the entity in eastern Ukraine that, with Russian backing, has declared its independence from Kiev. The UNAC/IAC folks portray the Ukrainian conflict as aggression by neonazis and U.S. imperialists against the people of eastern Ukraine – utterly ignoring the Russian far rightists who are heavily involved in the eastern separatist movement, as well as the Russian government’s own expansionist aims in the region.

U.S. participants in the Multi-Polar World conference included representatives of two southern secessionist groups, the League of the South and the Texas Nationalist Movement, who promoted their own version of “self-determination.” League of the South President Michael Hill spoke at the Multi-Polar World conference and offered a report on the LS website:  
“Hill discussed The League of the South and its goal of the survival, well-being, and independence of the Southern people and how the South’s identity as an historic ‘blood and soil’ nation conflicts with the current globalist agenda of the USA regime. He emphasized the importance of The League’s work not only in preserving a particular people living on a particular land, but also its direct Southern nationalist challenge to the political, economic, and financial engine of globalism—the Washington, DC/European Union alliance.”
While the Texas Nationalist Movement seems to avoid taking positions on other political issues besides Texas independence, the League of the South is well known for its advocacy of white nationalism and Christian theocracy. Still, it’s a bit surprising to see them openly invoking the Nazi-identified phrase “blood and soil.”

The Multi-Polar World conference has drawn some criticism. In a mid-January email to the UFPJ-Activist listserv (UFPJ = United for Peace and Justice), Andrew Pollack criticized UNAC leaders’ participation in the conference. Pollack denounced the presence of U.S. white supremacists at the event and the AGMR’s involvement in homophobic activism and support for dictators Gaddafi and Assad. He also highlighted the UNAC representatives’ praise for the Putin regime, as in the following passage from UNAC co-chair Joe Lombardo’s official report on the conference:
“While in Moscow, we also watched the TV coverage of Russian president Putin giving his annual press conference…. During the press conference, Putin gave figures to show that their economy has been growing in the past year. He then addressed the question of the falling ruble. He explained that they will be able to weather the crisis but it has pushed them into a position where they need to create more diversity in their economy. This, he projects to happen within a two-year time period…

“Moscow is a modern city much like any large U.S. city. The people were dressed well, and looked healthy and cared for. We learned that many of the social benefits that existed under the Soviet Union still exist. These include free universal healthcare. For most people, college was free, and students received a stipend for their living expenses. Putin is very popular with a high approval rating among the Russian people. The people see him as a kind of populist leader.”
Pollack commented, “If only someone would tell the Russian working class how well off they are!” He concluded: “Lombardo announced that ‘The leaders of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia have expressed an interest in attending UNAC’s conference in May.’ Let’s make sure the racist scum who UNAC is playing footsie with don’t come!”

In an email reply to Pollack, Lombardo wrote that the AGMR supported gay rights and its leaders denied having joined any anti-gay demonstration. Lombardo also stated that the Multi-Polar World conference organizers strongly repudiated the views of the Texas secessionists who attended, and that the organizers’ participation in a Black Lives Matter solidarity protest at the U.S. embassy proved they oppose racism.

Maybe the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia’s extensive contacts with fascists and right-wing nationalists result from bad judgment rather than ideological affinity. Either way, their Multi-Polar World conference provided a useful service for far rightists who want to sanitize their image among liberal and leftist audiences.

Unfortunately, UNAC and IAC aren’t the only leftists willing to play along with this. Marxist academician Efe Can Gürcan, for example, recently discussed Eurasianism (specifically including Duginism) as an ideological challenge to NATO and US imperialism, but didn’t mention that Aleksandr Dugin is a fascist. When I objected, Gürcan replied that “One should not avoid potentially transformative dialogue with such movements [as Dugin’s] merely because they are not leftist or because their practices are in some areas objectionable” (Socialism and Democracy, March 2014, p. 170). As a self-delusional rationale for red-brown coalition building, this is hard to beat.

Special thanks to Michael Pugliese for pointing me to much of the information in this post, and to Andrew Pollack for permission to quote from his UFPJ-Activist memo.