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THE “MODERN” LEFT AND THE FASCIST THREAT:

AN ALMOST TRAGIC FARCE

L. E. Melin
Franklin Serrano

According to Josef Stalin (1934):

[…] the victory of fascism in Germany must be regarded not only as a symptom of the weakness of the
working class and a result of the betrayals of the working class by Social-Democracy, which paved the
way for fascism; it must also be regarded as a sign of the weakness of the bourgeoisie, a sign that the
bourgeoisie is no longer able to rule by the old methods of parliamentarianism and bourgeois
democracy, and, as a consequence, is compelled in its home policy to resort to terrorist methods of rule.

Regarding the new fascist threat we currently face, the situation described by Stalin is
only partially similar. In the 1930s, liberals tolerated fascism as a means to contain the
advancement of the left. Nowadays, it is the “new” left who is helping fascists to give
neoliberalism a new lease of life.

The new left is one that focuses on and busies itself with individual rights to the
detriment of social rights and class interests and, in so doing, has been helping to
promote and divulge, often inadvertently, the ideas of present-day fascists. On a daily
basis, in social networking sites and other public spaces, the new left replicates and
gives visibility to the statements and watchwords of the extreme right, with the
avowed purpose of expressing their horror and repudiation of those views – which are
indeed execrable.

This results in a vastly exaggerated perception of the effective level of political


influence and of the degree of popular support that the often mediocre leaders of the
new right-wing tendencies actually command. If in their banality these neo-fascist
figureheads were at all capable of thinking strategically, they should certainly feel
deeply obliged to their unwitting propagandists.

The deeper root of this widespread behaviour, either consciously or unconsciously,


lies in that it authorises the new left to maintain their ‘tactical’ support for neoliberal
parties and candidates in their capacity as electorally viable alternatives, or as a last line
of defence, against the greater evil and arguably the ruin of civilisation by neo-fascism.

Along these lines, Pres. Obama and his supporters systematically overrated the clout
of the Tea Party in the US in order to win two consecutive elections and implement an
overtly neoliberal agenda in government – including Obamacare* – as is widely known.

*
WAITZKIN, H. & HELLANDER, I. (2016) “The History and Future of Neoliberal Health Reform:
Obamacare and Its Predecessors ” in International Journal of Health Services, Oct;46(4):747-66
Only the surprisingly poor performance of the campaign that portrayed Hillary
Clinton as a “progressive” candidate prevented this clever strategy from working once
more, leading to Donald Trump’s abnormal victory. The recent elections (May 2017)
in France are yet another example of the success of the self-same strategy. Running on
a strictly neoliberal platform, “centrist” candidate Emmanuel Macron (who not
coincidentally was, until recently, the finance minister in the Socialist Party
government) garnered ample support from the ranks of the new left to face down the
neo-fascist threat of the Front National.

The same process is currently under way in Brazil, where the new left – their leaders as
well as the rank-and-file – has been reverberating and amplifying the impact and
significance of the public outbursts and tirades of obvious bottom-feeders on the
right, such as former army officer Jair Bolsonaro.

The Brazilian new left is being plagued by their ingrained abhorrence of “populism”,
as well as by their deep-seated lack of political will to criticise the chief proponents of
the neoliberal consensus that pervades the country’s faltering public scene.
Paradoxically, those are the obstacles presently standing in the way of a concrete
movement to rally support at the grassroots by launching a clear-cut left-wing
platform for preserving wages, creating jobs and protecting hard-earned labour rights.
In other words, as they wail and whine against the new fascist tendencies in the
country, the new left helps to prevent the coalescence of the very forces that could
decisively uproot them.

It is yet another example of Marx’s (1852) famous dictum as to how history plays out
first as tragedy (such as was the rise of fascism at the roots of World War II) and then
repeats itself as farce, which we now witness in the resurgence of fascist ideas and
movements across various countries.

4 June 2017

Bibliography

MARX, K. (1852) “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”.


STALIN, J. (1934) “Report to the Seventeenth Party Congress on the Work of the Central
Committee of the C.P.S.U.”