2014 marks the centenary anniversary of the I World War. The political situation in the modern world has been deteriorating to such an extent that we have all the reasons to consider a possibility of its “uncontrollable” development and turning regional conflicts into a full-scale world conflict. It’s high time for communists to discuss the issue of their attitude towards imperialistic wars, the increasing danger of a new massacre on a world wide scale and the strategy and tactics of communists.
Lenin’s phrase “Imperialism is fraught with war” is well known. The theory of scientific communism tells us that in the periods of capitalism’s general crisis the decaying and dying capitalism in all countries seeks the way out in the form of increasing the exploitation of working people in the field of internal politics, whereas in the field of international politics they try to overcome the crisis by way of redistribution of raw materials’ and products’ markets along with the spheres of influence, this to be performed by increasing tensions in the regions of strategic importance and unleashing direct aggressions to resolve the contradictions between imperialistic powers.
Since the times of Lenin’s analysis including the one referring to the actions of the II International at the times of the outbreak of the WW I, it has been known that the left movement had not only split due to this issue, but had also done this in the most complete and irrevocable way. Opportunists had betrayed proletarian internationalism while taking social-patriotic positions, approved the military budgets of their governments and started to urge masses in their countries to defend their bourgeois motherlands. Most of the II International parties actually went over to the side of Imperialism, regardless the fact of their being situated at the opposite sides of the imperialistic front. Thus history demonstrated us that opportunism could represent much more than merely a right bias of a communist movement’s part, that at certain periods of time it could dominate the biggest part of the movement if not all of it. It was exactly the case at the time of WW I. Then, before the war, the recognized leading Marxist theoreticians from the old European social-democratic parties had verbally adhered to quite Marxist ideas of proletarian internationalism, whereas after the outbreak of war they unanimously voted for granting their governments military credits, i.e. supported the war. Essentially the whole II International had stumbled over that issue and eventually adopted chauvinistic views. The only party that was as an exception and that unanimously went on adhering to the ideas of proletarian internationalism was the party of Bolsheviks. Proletarian internationalism had not been betrayed also by a group of Bulgarian social-democrats – the “tesnyaki” and by one communist from German Reichstag – Karl Liebknecht. That is, the scope of betrayal could be really enormous, the fact that is further illustrated by the treachery of the CPSU leadership under Khruschev-Gorbachev.
Bolsheviks managed to use the crisis intensified by the WW I to transform the bourgeois-democratic February revolution into the socialist one. In October 1917 the workers’ class of Russia under the leadership of Bolsheviks used the weakness of bourgeois system caused in particular by the crisis of capitalism and the WW I.
After the October Revolution Lenin demanded that there should be a resolute and irrevocable split with the opportunism of the II International. He initiated the creation of the III, i.e. Communist International. Under his leadership there had been elaborated theoretical principles and organizational measures for delimitation with opportunism known as conditions for admission to Comintern. Let’s pay a special attention exactly to the organizational delimitation. This means that even taking into account all the persistence characteristic for Lenin’s theoretical struggle and for his patient explanatory work, he believed that with certain limits reached, there should be taken resolute organizational measures to isolate the traitors of the communist cause from true communists.
Once again there was confirmed the correctness of Lenin’s idea that “the struggle with imperialism is an empty false phrase unless it’s not inextricably linked to the struggle against opportunism”. (collected works, v.27, p. 424).
Since then in the movement of workers there was present an organized and ideologically clearly defined pole of communists in the form of Comintern. Meanwhile social-democrats had actually turned into accomplices of imperialism while busy improving it, mitigating and humanizing it, treating its sores and rescuing imperialism in times of crises and sharpening of class struggle.
The third communist International carried out extensive theoretical studies, in particular Fascism was predicted and given the definition. The definition of Fascism presented at the XIII Plenum of the Executive Committee of Comintern and repeated by Georgy Dimitrov at the VII Congress of Comintern was genuinely scientific and classic Marxist definition (the so called “definition by Dimitrov”):
"Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism, a special form of class domination of bourgeoisie… Fascism is not the power that is above all the classes, it is not the power of petty bourgeoisie and lumpen-proletariat over financial capital. Fascism is the power of financial capital itself. This is the organization of terroristic massacre of working class and the revolutionary part of peasantry and intelligentsia. Fascism in international relations means chauvinism in its cruelest form practicing zoological hatred towards other nations”.
Fascists acting in full accordance with the above definition and following their class interests created the Anti-Comintern Pact in order to prevent the further spreading of communist ideology in the World. First it Germany and Japan in 1936 followed by Italy in 1937, it was later joined by some other states where the governments either shared the ideology of Italian or German Fascism, or whose attitude towards USSR and communism in general was extremely negative. These were Hungary, Manchukuo and Spain under General Franco. On the 25 of November 1941 the Anti-Comintern Pact was prolonged for 5 more years, at the same time it was joined by Finland, Romania and Bulgaria as well as by the puppet regimes of some territories occupied by Germany: Croatia, Denmark and Slovakia and by Japan (the Wang Jingwei regime in the occupied part of China).
Comintern started its battle with Fascism as early as when fascists had just started their attempts to come to power in Spain and Germany. The tactics of the people’s fronts had been developed, and generally speaking both USSR and Comintern were the main adversaries of Hitler and his Anti-Comintern Pact during WWII. Communists made the decisive contribution to the defeat of both Fascism and its German variety – Nazism. The party of Bolsheviks – VKP(b) alone lost more than 3 million of its best fighters for the sake of the victory over Fascism, whereas Komsomol lost more than 5 million of young heroes. In most of the occupied countries communists headed anti-fascist resistance and the partisan war against the Nazi invaders.
The issue of the III International’s dissolution needs a special consideration, nevertheless, it’s clear that the main results of its activities is the defeat of Fascism and the creation of the world Socialist System with the powerful organizational core – composed of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics and the member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
Socialist countries headed by the USSR for 50 years were the political pole that opposed Imperialism all over the world. The sheer fact of this pole's existence ensured firstly a possibility for the development and strengthening of socialist states under more or less peaceful conditions after 1945, especially in Europe; secondly and it’s the most important, Capitalism had to take into account the influence of the example of the spectacular achievements of socialist countries in the social sphere and had to make considerable concessions to the working people in capitalist countries, as the working people there struggled for their economic and political interests while keeping an eye on the achievements of the socialist system.
Defeat of Socialism in the USSR and in Eastern Europe had the most serious impact on the international situation. First, Capitalism started its offensive against the rights of working people, while there was no example of socialist countries left any longer. Second, the Imperialism of the world, first of all its strike force as represented by the imperialists of USA and NATO, started to act much more unbridled and aggressive, while not taking the norms of international law into consideration, let alone the opinion of the world community. As the examples of such actions we can remember Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, lately – Syria, the threats to Northern Korea and Iran.
Yet another deepest world economic crisis of Capitalism, its intensification since 2008 made Imperialism search for the way out in the form of external aggression’s escalation and a violent solution of the issue of finding new markets and increasing the influence in strategically important regions, the more so that that there was left no socialist system any longer – a power that used to detain Imperialism.
Our party bases its analysis on the definition of Fascism as given by Comintern: “Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism, a special form of class domination of bourgeoisie”.
Certain theoreticians and parties disagree with the above definition and actually suggest that it shouldn’t be used any more, this fundamental scientific description being given 70 years ago in the period of Fascism’s formation, when Fascism had opposed itself first of all to USSR as well as to the states of bourgeois democracy, with whom fascists were going to start a war for sales markets and the sources of raw materials. Neither the essence of Imperialism, or the essence of the financial capital have changed since then, the same applies to their intentions to come from bourgeois democracy over to an open fascist dictatorship, i.e. to Fascism, such transition to be used in their interests under given circumstances.
In case we assess the definition of Comintern in a creative-dialectic manner as opposed to a scholastic approach, we’d come to a conclusion that this definition is correct and refers not to a special type of Fascism of that time, but to the concept of Fascism in general. This is even more so, if we remember that at the International Meetings of Communist and Workers Parties we jointly stated that the nature of Imperialism and the essence of financial capital remained the same as in the XX Century, that’s why the manifestations of Fascism can differ, whereas the essence of Fascism, hence its definition is still valid and allows to give a correct assessment to the most modern political events.
Fascism means a discarding of democratic forms of bourgeois domination and a transition to an open form of bourgeois terror. In the modern world the majority of capitalist states use various forms of bourgeois democracy in their internal politics, thus avoiding the use of dictatorship in the open terroristic form. The things look quite different on the international scene where the internal politics manifest themselves as international ones. After the fall of USSR international Imperialism headed by USA has not only increased its aggressiveness, but also started to neglect openly the norms of international law and to ignore even the bourgeois legality. This is exactly the financial capital that forms the core of the forces of Imperialism, whereas its specific impact exceeds the one of the mid fifties of the XX. Fascism is one of possible reactions of Imperialism aimed at rescuing capitalist rule from the threats of socialist revolutions, especially in the periods of crises. That’s why an open anti-communism and consistent anti-workers politics are part and parcel of Fascism who simultaneously uses the instruments of extensive and active social demagoguery to fool the masses. Meanwhile all these features have been obviously present in the current politics of Imperialism, whereas some of the aims are often achieved with the help of social-democrats.
There should be made a distinction between Fascism as a system of ideology and Fascism as practical politics of the state.
Ideological manifestations of Fascism have been nowadays visible in all imperialistic countries taken separately, as well as in their joint politics. It’d be enough to remember the examples of anti-communist laws adopted in a number of European states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Moldova etc.). We should also recall the attempts by PACE to arrange a trial for Communism when they brazenly attempted to equate Communism and Fascism considering them both to be allegedly the forms of a “Totalitarianism”. In Russia anti-communism manifests itself as follows: in distorting the history, in official anti-soviet propaganda, in changing the names of the towns and streets named after revolutionaries and soviet heroes, in canceling public holidays established in the soviet times, in reintroduction of the old national flag dated to the times of the tsarist Russia that was used by the military units of the general Vlasov’s collaborators during WWII.
As it was mentioned above, the main feature of Fascism as politics is the rejection of democratic institutes and the use of overt terroristic methods of the state’s politics. Meantime, both the USA and the NATO countries retain though in an abridged form, the elements of bourgeois democracy in their internal politics, whereas in their international politics they trample upon all the norms of democracy. To describe the situation we can recall this phrase of Lenin: “in front of us there is a completely naked Imperialism, that doesn’t find it necessary to even cover itself with anything while believing that it is splendid as it is”. In its international politics that constitute an integral part of the bourgeois dictatorship, Imperialism ever more often resorts to measures of overt violence and massacre. A number of events of this sort have been already mentioned: Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria. Transnational financial capital has been trying hard to add to the list also Ukraine.
The artificially escalated tensions in the Near East are especially threatening because of the fascist politics carried out by the leading imperialistic states there. The most adequate way to describe the current situation is to use the scientifically substantiated and established in Russian political journalism expression “Exported Fascism”. Exported Fascism is an overt terroristic imperialist politics of violence and bloodshed aimed at ensuring the interests of the world Imperialism with the financial capital in its core, these politics ignoring international law. We should not overlook the existence of this modern form of Fascism.
Unfortunately some of the comrades both in Russia and in other countries including representatives of certain communist parties don’t recognize the validity of this conclusion while disputing the correctness of the definition of Fascism this conclusion is based on. They are quite right when stating that not every violent act of Imperialism means Fascism and that the acts of imperialistic aggression could be also observed at the times of USSR. It’s true that imperialistic forces performed interventions and started wars even before the appearance of Fascism as well as after its defeat in the WWII. There was the occupation of Palestine, certain territories of Syria and Lebanon, some 40% of the Cyprus territory was occupied, in accordance with the decision of UN there was unleashed imperialistic war in Korea, there was imperialistic war in Vietnam. Imperialists committed hundreds of crimes in Africa, Latin America and Europe. In Greece there was imperialistic military intervention of consequently UK and USA that was followed by a bloody civil war. Why don’t we describe those acts of aggression as manifestations of Fascism, whereas after the downfall of USSR and the system of Socialism we adopted the definition “Exported Fascism”? Don’t all these facts prove that here we see increased aggressiveness of the more reactionary Imperialism, rather than the existence of an “Exported Fascism”?
To put it brief, we view some of these acts of aggression exactly as Fascism (eg. in Greece), whereas we don’t consider such some of the others, as they don’t correspond to the definition of Fascism. Let’s consider the issue in more detail.
Let’s recall first that the most important feature of Fascism in terms of politics is the disposal of democratic institutes and the use of openly terroristic methods of the state policy. Even at the times of USSR there were obvious manifestations of Fascism corresponding to the definition. In Chile for example the state power belonged to fascists, the same applies to the regime of “black colonels” in Greece.
Fascism is an overt terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary elements of financial capital, but this shouldn’t always be the local, indigenous capital and it shouldn’t be always established for long periods. In most of the cases the dictatorship of bourgeoisie will be once again hidden under the guise of bourgeois-democratic forms.
In the modern history of Russia Fascism manifested itself in October 1993 as the shooting of the Parliament. On having carried out the operation needed by Imperialism, the dictatorship of financial capital is free to put on the clothes of the bourgeois democracy again, as both Fascism and bourgeois democracy are just the forms of the dictatorship of bourgeoisie’s implementation.
If compared with the present, at the times of USSR the bourgeois democracy (the dictatorship of bourgeoisie) had to follow the norms of democracy and international law more precisely and to abstain from the use of fascist policy too often.
We should also most carefully consider the following question: don’t we probably make a distinction between “bad” imperialistic states (“fascist”, neo-fascist”) and “good” ones? There is also yet another close issue: some of the comrades believe that the calls to create “anti-fascist” fronts together with all “progressive and honest people” regardless their class don’t very much differ from common anti-American sentiments expressed by a number of opportunists starting with the fans of Chavez and ending with the supporters of Putin in Russia. Doesn’t such a position pose a threat to communist movement and to the working class while creating confusion by the attempts to elaborate the politics of Imperialism’s “improvement”, of its dissociation from the “fascist forces”? Don’t we hear the calls to enter alliances with the forces that have nothing to do with the cause of Socialism? Isn’t there essentially present a risk of supporting those who advocate for strengthening the ties with opportunists, social-democrats and parts of bourgeoisie, all this for the sake of fighting Fascism? Are not we here offered to choose a better imperialist? Does it mean that in case of a regional or a general military conflict the communist movement will have to support certain imperialistic states because the opposing ones are considered “fascist”? Let’s remember that Lenin stressed in many of his works that “working class in case it is conscious, will not support any group of imperialistic predators” (ibid. pp. 335-336). These questions are justified and clear, though not easy to answer. They require an answer in essence.
Here are our answers: based on the interests of the working class and in order to ensure better conditions for the development of its class struggle, communist movement should oppose any fascist manifestations of Imperialism, while not taking the side of any imperialistic group, as it was done by the parties – members of Comintern and USSR who concluded temporary alliance with the states of the anti-Hitler coalition, this alliance aimed at the soonest possible defeat of Fascism. It would be totally unacceptable to ignore or to depreciate this historical experience. We do not support any group, we are just trying to say that to oppose Fascism serves the long term interests of proletariat. In case we manage to do it, we’d be able to use the forces of some bourgeois-democratic movements against Fascism. Please mind that here we mean the Fascism corresponding to the Comintern’s definition! Those who agree are our allies. Both anti-American and anti-imperialistic movements can not be defined as classless under the conditions when American financial capital consequently carries out operations aimed at dismantling bourgeois-democratic regimes in other countries by means of overt terroristic dictatorship, thus throwing the peoples in these countries back to the stages much less favourable for the socialist revolution if compared with the ones before the fascist intervention.
We don’t separate a “bad” Imperialism from the “good” one, we just state that Fascism is a product of Imperialism, the form of the reaction by bourgeoisie. Still, we should clearly understand that such form is not obligatory for each and any imperialistic state. During WWII there was Imperialism both in Germany, USA and Great Britain, nevertheless we don’t claim that the Imperialism of the anti-Hitler coalition states was good, we just say that they were allies of USSR in the struggle with Fascism. We believe that it’s still possible and necessary to try and drive a wedge inside Imperialism with use of anti-fascist struggle as it was done by USSR and that it’s quite unacceptable to ignore this successful experience of the past.
We should urge the bourgeois democracy to oppose Fascism as Fascism suppresses them as well. Stalin used to say that there is nobody left who’d be capable of picking up the banner of democracy that was trampled into mud, but for communists.
No doubt that we should also reply to such an unfair rebuke as the one accusing us of separate consideration of internal and international policy of imperialist states. Indeed both internal and international politics of an imperialist state is aimed at performing the dictatorship of imperialistic bourgeoisie, and here is their unity and continuity. That’s why Lenin used to stress that “there is no greater mistake than to separate internal politics from the international ones. Each time during the war the enormity of such mistake becomes even more obvious. Meanwhile bourgeoisie do their best to introduce and support this idea" (ibid., vol. 32, p. 335).
With all responsibility we can answer our comrades that we are not tearing internal policy apart from the international one. Quite the opposite: we stress that Fascism is an internal product of Imperialism, whereas the manifestation of the Imperialism’s reactionary essence in internal politics can differ from the one in the international arena. We state that the active attempts of the American and West-European financial capital to ensure their international interests by fascist means of open terror have become much more frequent. In case the internal politics of German national-socialists had not been terroristic, with all the aggression being directed abroad, they would still remained fascists. To go on with the analysis one would also ask us the following quite logical questions:
a) Are we going to relate the unleashing of imperialistic wars to a particular form of bourgeois dictatorship, or this applies to all such forms?
b) Do we make difference between the wars that breach the international law and those that don’t? Is it plausible to differentiate between wars this way?
c) Are there a contradiction in the text: on the one hand we urge “to retain the orthodoxy”, on the other hand we “invite all the progressive and honest people to unite themselves in anti-fascist fronts”?
We hereby answer these questions based on the marxist science:
a) We stress that Imperialism is always fraught with wars, whereas Fascism is just a variant of the bourgeois dictatorship’s implementation. Bourgeois democracies wage wars between themselves; they also unleash wars against weaker countries and against socialist countries. Nevertheless, such countries do not necessarily perform fascist politics.
b) We don’t make difference between the wars that are against the law and those that are not. We make our conclusions based on the definition by Lenin when he describes wars as the product of contradictions between imperialists, as military struggle between classes, nations or states. Still we stress that there could be observed wars that are justified for certain peoples and states, but this have nothing to do with the bourgeois law.
c) The orthodoxy doesn’t exclude evaluating the attitudes of social strata and states towards various issues, in our case towards Fascism, more than that here we mean the Fascism that corresponds to the scientific, i.e. Comintern’s definition. The tactics of the people’s fronts by Comintern were basically correct.
There are indeed many questions, this only proves the fact that this issue is undoubtedly extremely topical. Some of the comrades point out that Fascism taken not in general, but in its particular form of Nazism uses racism and chauvinism in its ideology, whereas we can not observe this in case of USA and their allies. They express fears that the policy of forging alliances with bourgeois democracies aimed against covert Fascism could lead to the politics of following in the wake of events in the practical work of communists. Some of the comrades see a greater threat of Fascism in nationalistic movements of Russia (like the “Movement against Illegal Immigration”) or Greece (“Golden Dawn”) and some other countries and making an unjustified conclusion that the introduction of the “Exported Fascism” concept allegedly only complicates the matters unnecessarily.
We answer to that that neither the definition of Comintern nor the concept of “Exported Fascism” excludes the possibilities of Fascism’s manifestations within the countries. The fact that the party “Golden Dawn” is sponsored by the Greek capital as well as its practical activities bear evidence to the fact that here we deal with the creating preconditions for Fascism based on bourgeois Nationalism in Greece.
The massacre of workers in Kazakhstan in 2011 was a manifestation of Fascism. The shooting of the Supreme Soviet of Russia in 1993 was also a manifestation of Fascism. Nowadays one can easily detect classical features of Fascism in the actions of the so called “new regime” in Kiev and its punitive operations against the population of the South-East of the Ukraine, the regime that have been directed by financial capital. Behind all these manifestations of the terroristic dictatorship there are hidden the interests of the big imperialistic, financial capital. Under these conditions it’s totally unacceptable to deliberately put a blind eye to the manifestations of Fascism.
We are grateful for all the arguments presented to us and this is our answer: we are ready to discuss whether the expression “Exported Fascism” is apposite enough, as it’s not always easy to translate its Russian meaning that presumes international manifestation of an internal feature. We’d like to stress that in no way we insist that everybody should describe this occurrence in exactly these words; nevertheless we do insist that this occurrence should be recognized as real. As to regards the essence of this occurrence that has been never observed before, we’d like to clarify and point out once again the following features:
- these politics express first of all the interests of the whole international financial capital, its aim is to rescue the system based on the ever increasing domination of TNC in the periods of cyclic slumps;
- these manifestations undoubtedly represent the internal product of Imperialism itself while being increasingly realized internationally ;
- here we see not just acts of Imperialism’s ordinary violence, but here are the acts by Imperialism that is controlled by the most reactionary financial capital that discards all the norms of international law and justice;
- the ideology of racism typical for the last century’s fascists, is represented here in the form of representing the whole nations together with their corresponding governments as underdeveloped, undemocratic, even outcasts;
- the torrents of social demagoguery are to prove that everything is done for the sake of democracy and respecting human rights in their western bourgeois interpretation.
The petty bourgeois strata due to their dual nature as described on a number of times by Lenin and Bolsheviks, still constitute the mass base of Fascism as it was the case in the last century. The terroristic nature of the dictatorship of the financial capital’s most reactionary circles is further intensified by the extremism characteristic of the political “temperament” of petty bourgeoisie prone to fits of hysteria in the periods of crises due to the fears of losing their status. These fears manifest themselves in all the alliances by these petty proprietors, be it alliances with working class or bourgeoisie. Extremism and adventurism characteristic of this class are also rooted in its dual nature – the instability of its economical status. On the one hand there is a possibility for them to join the class of exploiters, which explains their adventurism; on the other hand there is a much greater possibility of failure and joining the ranks of proletariat denied of any means of production. Exactly this instability brings forth the adventurism and the predominance of extremes in the temperament of this class. It’s not possible to ignore the attitudes of this class when discussing the dangers of Fascism in the modern world. Being working people they are probable and welcome allies of the exploited, at the same time the capital also struggles to have them on its side as they do possess private property.