What follows is an introduction to the topic of right-wing populists and other extreme reactionaries such as racialists and neo-Nazis in regards to their relation to the American left, and more specifically the growing trend for such groups and individuals to associate with and even infiltrate the organizations and coalitions of the left. It offers explanations as to the motives of such individuals, what risks they pose, how to identify them, and how to secure against infiltration by such individuals or groups.
It is my fervent hope that with the foundation of the American Party of Labor, anti-revisionist Marxism-Leninism will once again constitute a force within the American left. If Marxism-Leninism is to make a significant impact in American politics, it will undoubtedly need to distinguish itself above and beyond the other strains of “leftists” in American society, not only in theory but in practice. The latter means observing and analyzing the activities, successes and failures of the American left in the past decade, if not its entire existence since the decline of American communism, with the aim of not only criticizing the actions of the larger “left” but also avoiding some of the same pitfalls into which progressive activists have fallen time and time again. Naturally, criticism of that particular animal known as the American left could easily serve as a topic for a long series of articles, if not several books. This article focuses on an issue that is largely ignored by far too many “progressives,” and though it has existed for decades there have been very few attempts to analyze it in depth, and mainstream awareness of the trend, despite obvious evidence, is woefully inadequate. In the general sense, the issue is that of fringe right-wingers infiltrating, attracting and co-opting leftists, usually through joining or constructing populist-style coalitions. More specifically, I will deal with the manner in which, due to recent political developments, some far-rightists may attempt to liaise with, if not possibly interact with, Marxist-Leninist organizations.
From my point of view, and as I will explain later, the latter possibility is thankfully rare. However, in the case of the former, right-wing participation in large activities such as anti-war protests and coalitions will undoubtedly bring M-L adherents into contact with a great deal of individuals of ambiguous political lineage. Being able to reliably, and readily identify the political ideals and motives of such individuals, and if necessary, to engage with them or denounce them, can only serve to help Marxist-Leninists distinguish themselves from mainstream leftists or those radicals who are either unaware of or unconcerned about the fascists or rightists under their noses.
To those not intimately familiar with the far-right, the idea that rightists would actively seek out and attempt to recruit leftists or join them in activism often sounds preposterous. I would chalk that reaction up to the sad fact that in the United States, people rarely engage their political/ideological opponents in vigorous discussion. Put simply, their view of what the “other side” believes or how it acts is based largely on stereotypes concocted by their own side. It is taken for granted that the other side must inherently take the opposing view in most if not all major issues; rarely to people consider that someone may fervently defend their side of an issue for a completely different, possibly sinister motive. Far-rightists, even fascists, have attempted to make inroads to working with the left for decades, going back to the beginning of the 20th century. As for fascists trying to portray themselves as leftists, this is something far rarer, and more recent, but it still helps to understand the far-reaching roots of this phenomenon. As far as an in-depth history of right wing populism and its attempts to reach out to progressives, I highly recommend the material produced by Public Eye (http://publiceye.org), particularly Chip Berlet’s article “Right woos Left.” My article is dedicated primarily to that which Marxist-Leninists should know about this trend, and how they can defend themselves against it, and as such it cannot substitute with such an in-depth analysis as is presented by Berlet.
Rightist Recruitment & Infiltration
Put in simplistic terms, fringe rightists have the best chance of interacting with leftists when major populist issues rise to the forefront of politics. The recent bailout of American corporations serves as a fine example of a major populist issue. Masses of progressive and conservative Americans were outraged about the bailout, but if one were to ask individuals on both sides about their motives for their opposition, the answers would be divergent. Progressives opposed what they rightfully saw as “corporate welfare,” whereas conservatives, displaying the kind of political illiteracy that is the magnum opus of what, for lack of a better term, may be referred to as the “right-wing noise machine,” saw the bailout as a sign of “socialism” and opposed it on those grounds. For the past few years, the major issues in the news, namely the economic crisis and the two losing wars, one of which may overflow into Pakistan, are all populist issues. Outrage tends to blind people as to the motives and real identity of the people shouting next to them, and there is much fertile ground for far-rightists to plant their weeds amongst the left. In the most recent past, far-rightists, including neo-Nazis, have been spotted participating in anti-globalization rallies as well as pro-Palestinian and anti-war demonstrations. Monitoring various political and economic trends in recent years, as well as the neo-Nazi and far right movement in particular, it is likely that this kind of activity will increase in the future, and as Marxist-Leninists take to the streets for activism, they must have a clear understanding of how these individuals work.
Why do Fascists and Neo-Nazis attempt to interact with the left, or attempt to portray themselves as leftists? Individuals and groups within any political movement tend to have different motives and views. As such, answering this question is no easy task. What is certain is that the American racialist or “White Nationalist” movement, a community to which neo-Nazis and fascists are always connected in some way, is a small, insular community. Sadly, racism and other views associated with that movement are still extremely common in America, but if we are speaking about ideology, that is racism, sexism, etc., as a personal ideology or “worldview,” the amount of individuals harboring such views is likely to remain extremely low. One of the biggest imperatives in the movement is recruitment; racialists are keenly aware of their small numbers, and even organizations that stressed “quality over quantity,” such as the now-defunct National Alliance, were and still are aggressive in recruiting. As most leftists would undoubtedly guess, a large percentage of recruits for the neo-Nazi movement come from conservatives, particularly semi-radicalized types. It is no surprise at all that gun shows serve as a popular recruiting site for neo-Nazi organizations. Rallies for conservative issues are also popular venues for recruitment; none of this should raise any eyebrow whatsoever.
What the reader should be aware of, however, is that there have always been, and still are, elements among the racialist movement that are or otherwise get burnt out with recruits from such venues, and or may find themselves repulsed or in ideological opposition to the motives of conservative recruits. What are some reasons for this?
For one thing, American conservatives tend to be Christians, usually Protestants. Hardcore conservatives, the type that might be inclined to listen to neo-Nazi rhetoric on some issues, tend to be fundamentalists. By extension, American Christian fundamentalists tend to be radically pro-Israel; the ideological conflict makes neo-Nazi cooperation with such individuals a non-starter. There is however, a deeper reason why Christians and modern neo-Nazis tend not to go together so well anymore. Specifically, in the past three decades a neo-Pagan, anti-Christian worldview has taken hold within the neo-Nazi movement. It has gained popularity amongst the most ideologically “pure” neo-Nazis and White Nationalists, that is to say those most inclined to identify themselves as followers of a specific, independent ideology not in any way connected to mainstream conservatism. The philosophy of such individuals is opposed to Christianity on a number of fundamental issues, philosophical and moral, and as such they are loathe to recruit traditional “Bible-thumpers” into their movement and organizations.
Other reasons have been given by ideological racists as to why they are not conservative, and by extension why they have little desire to recruit from or be associated with them. Conservatives, they say, are cowards. They have failed to conserve anything in the past fifty years. They assert that the conservative of today would be a radical liberal of yesterday, and so on. Conservatives cannot understand the “real” problem because they are either unaware, or refuse to acknowledge race as the prominent determining factor in politics, and or they are afraid to “name the Jew,” that is to single out Jews as the cause of America and the world’s problems.
Despite all this invective against mainstream conservatives, neo-Nazis and their organizations have still continued to recruit and liaise mostly with conservatives, including radical Christian fundamentalists. However, the presence of zealous ideological National Socialists and fascists within the movement cannot be ignored; in fact for Marxist-Leninists, it is precisely that group which they should focus on. The Klansmen, rednecks and conspiracy theorists are the dregs of the movement which from a practical standpoint can be lumped in with the mass of reactionaries. For all practical purposes, they are just another bloc of reliable Republican voters. The National Socialists however, have ties to more successful right-wing movements in Europe, and espouse a newer ideology that is far more difficult to spot. Many of their ideas are the products of European authors who are totally unknown to Americans on both the left and right, and as such they lack a set of “warning signs” as to their real motives or ideology. It is they who have a motive and interest in working with the left, and it is they who will attempt to infiltrate and either deliberately or unknowingly discredit it. To prevent this from happening, we must understand their ideology, and the ways in which they attempt to either interact with the left, or in extreme cases portray themselves as leftists.
Neo-Nazism Portrayed as “Right” & “Left”
As previously alluded to, a major motivation for reaching out to the left among ideological National Socialists and Fascists is to find a recruiting pool of individuals who don’t have the typical taboos and prejudices of the mainstream conservatives. Their movement, because of its conservative ties and ideals, is understandably full of middle-aged and elderly individuals; recruiting from leftists is a way to get youth into the movement and thus change its image as a bunch of old, paranoid white men. National Socialism is historically a petty-bourgeois movement which was known for portraying itself as a protector of the working class. Naturally this makes recruitment from the left, along with adopting pseudo-left slogans, symbols and fashions a must.
For the most part, these groups and individuals usually do not attempt to label themselves as “left.” The roots of many of these groups, such as the now infamous “National Anarchists,” are to be found in a conglomerate of ideas which are associated with the name Third Positionism. Third Positionism is, as its name suggests, presented as a “Third Position” between capitalism and communism, right and left. National Anarchism is largely the brainchild of Troy Southgate of the UK, who incidentally was for a time a major player in the International Third Positionist movement. Yet it is obvious that if one claims to be against both capitalism and communism, one can choose to represent oneself alternatively as simply an anti-communist or an anti-capitalist. Identification as only one or the other leads to different results depending on one’s company; a fact that National Anarchists and “left-wing” nationalists of all shades will undoubtedly count on.
While it is far rarer, there was at least an attempt on the part of a handful of National Socialists at one time or another to portray their movement as actually being “left-wing.” This is based on the rationale that if “left” means revolutionary, and National Socialism (as opposed to traditional conservatism) is revolutionary, it must therefore be a left-wing ideology. We see this idea expressed openly in the form of National Socialism preseted in “The Left-Wing Movement,” a pamphlet by H. Povl Riis-Knudsen of Denmark. Ironically, Riis-Knudsen eventually fell out of favor with his own circle of National Socialists after marrying a Palestinian woman, leading one to wonder whether he had a few more left-wing ideas than the paltry few he revealed in his pamphlet. What is clear, however, is that the two significant writings of Riis-Knudsen which made it to the West—the aforementioned pamphlet and another work named “National Socialism: The Biological Worldview,” which are radically different than any other kind of neo-Nazi literature. To be sure, neo-Nazis and racialists have often created propaganda aimed at watering down their hatred toward various groups, and so we must take Riis-Knudsen’s National Socialist whitewash with a shaker of salt. That being said, they represent a clear attempt by neo-Nazis to bridge the gap between them and the left by adopting the title “left” itself. Lest there be any doubt, consider this passage that begins Riis-Knudsen’s “National Socialism: The Left-Wing Movement”:
“For far too many years it has been widely accepted that National Socialists are extreme
right- wingers, and only rarely have they hesitated to refer to themselves as such. At a
certain point, however, it became the official policy of the World Union of National
Socialists to avoid the term "right-wing," claiming that National Socialism does not fit
into the pattern of "right" and "left" and instead ought to be considered as standing above
this distinction. This most certainly was a step in the right direction, but at this time and
within the context of the current struggle it might, however, be a good idea to reconsider
the whole question about political wings and make a few points clear concerning the
meaning of the terms "right" and "left" and their application to today's political scene.”
Note in the above passage how the author directly calls out the previous strategy used by his comrades, the practice of attempting to define National Socialism as something “beyond left and right” or neither/nor. The author wastes no time in his attempt to reclassify National Socialism:
“Where National Socialists are to be found in this spectrum seems quite clear: We are
leftwingers—no doubt about it! We do not want to preserve the present system or any
part thereof. We do not believe in the foundations of a system that has led our people into
the misery of the present time! We do not want to support any institution which is
responsible for two world wars between White nations as well as countless minor wars;
nuclear rearmament; the pollution of the environment; unemployment; the total
disillusionment of young people, who have lost all faith in the future; drug abuse;
pornography; and all the other forms of complete degeneracy which are displayed today.
We National Socialists want the most radical change of all: we want the complete
overthrow of the entire Old Order!”
Rather than quote just the first sentence, which serves as the author’s declaration, I included the rest of the paragraph, just to show that the racist element of his ideology was, at least at that time, not only intact, but still the driving force behind his worldview. Though he has long since disappeared from the international scene, there is at least a shred of evidence that he never abandoned such beliefs; when confronted over his marriage to a Palestinian woman, he defended himself by claiming she was a “white Arab.” Then again, with all the anecdotal and statistical evidence of racism and discrimination amongst supposedly “progressive” Americans, the idea of left-wing Nazis isn’t so far fetched after all.
Ideological Basis: What is Fascism?
To understand how fascists and neo-Nazis might come to identify with the left and attempt to infiltrate it, one must have a clear, in-depth understanding of what fascism and National Socialism are. Marxist-Leninist answers such as “openly terrorist dictatorship caused by capitalism in crisis” do not provide an in-depth understanding of all the details bound up in modern fascism. The primary reason for this is that the traditional definitions of fascism were devised in the actual time of fascism and National Socialism, and based on the analysis of the conditions in which they developed and ruled. Since the end of WWII, the rise of globalization has led to a situation in which adherents of historical National Socialism and fascism have outlived their usefulness to the bourgeoisie states in most cases. Radical nationalism and traditionalism associated with historical fascism runs counter to the needs of the ruling class in most industrialized nations, particularly in North America and Western Europe. For the adherents themselves, they look at their society and see very little left to preserve; many have most likely concluded that instead of working to preserve the status quo, they will have to instead fight against it, hence their aspiration for some kind of revolution.
Another important historical aspect to consider when regarding fascism, and especially National Socialism, is that on paper they are “anti-capitalist.” It is always important to understand these movements in terms of theory and practice, because what the Nazis said was often 180 degrees the opposite of what actually happened. Fascism and a great deal of right-wing populist ideas were indeed anti-capitalist on paper, not because they were progressive but rather because they espoused beliefs which were heavily influenced by an idyllic form of feudalism. We can see this very clearly in the Nazi party, which in an ideological sense despised the very existence of the proletariat and industry, both seen as necessary evils. According to Nazi propaganda, cities were dirty, soulless, corrupting places where people lost touch with their roots. Nazi racial propaganda often justified itself via comparison with animal husbandry; farmers knew the importance of breeding in horses, cows, and other animals—things that city folk were and still are completely unaware of for obvious reasons. German National Socialism idealized the German middle-class peasant, juxtaposed with the urban Jew. The German proletariat, no longer tilling the soil and for years having been “uprooted” from the land, was supposedly easy pickings for the Jews in the cosmopolitan cities.
More importantly, fascists generally believed (and their descendants still do) in the existence of some kind of mythical “tame capitalism,” a capitalism restrained and harnessed for the “good of the nation.” This is what is generally meant by the “Third Position,” a mythical middle road between globalizing capitalism (which is in fact a natural part of capitalism as a whole), and Marxist internationalist socialism. The problem is that the society they long for never existed, and cannot exist by virtue of the capitalist system's very nature. When we take into account Nazi ideology on paper along with what they actually did as they rose to power and after, we get a clearer picture of precisely how reactionary the Nazis were.
They were, like many other fascist movements, reactionary in the practical sense that they came to a settlement with the local bourgeoisie so as to suppress the working class movement. Ideologically however, they were even more reactionary, resenting the capitalist mode of production as well, with its inevitable march toward urbanization, cosmopolitanism, interdependence and so on. Why is that last fact so important? It is, simply because modern-day neo-Nazis and fascists of various strains tend to base their own ideology and understanding of their worldview on Nazi and fascist propaganda, as well as theory, as opposed to the real policies of the Third Reich or other fascist-dominated nations. That is to say, what their leaders left behind, plus what their contemporary and close contemporary admirers wrote about them is all the modern fascist has to go on when it comes to defining his ideology. If this is the case, then it becomes very easy to understand why such individuals would possibly feel that their loyalties lie more with the American left than the right. Moreover, the American left is largely disorganized, idealistic, and has long since been the target of right-wing populist propaganda for decades. The clever Nazi or fascist can easily blend right in just by knowing what to say to whom, and when.
What are the Risks posed by “Left-Wing” Fascists?
For the broader left, the risk can be hard to measure. What is clear is that the “right-wing noise machine” is always keen to try to find ammunition it can use against the left. For a concrete example, anti-Semites of all ethnicities and political stripes have historically attempted to use both the Palestinian struggle as well as the movement against the war in Iraq as a platform to stealthily insert their message. Every time this has happened, the mainstream right and pro-Zionists have been quick to spot such individuals and groups. True, radical pro-Zionists often attempt to classify nearly any criticism against Israel’s policies as anti-Semitism, but there is a certain “cry wolf” factor that is important to keep in mind here. If leftists diligently keep their ranks clear of anti-Semites, preventing them from hijacking a public forum, frivolous accusations of anti-Semitism will fall on deaf ears and make their accusers look comical and foolish. If they do indeed spot and expose real anti-Semitism, they will exploit each example to its fullest extent.
As long as there are major events connected with opposition to the wars in the Middle East, as well as Israel/Palestine, there will most likely be anti-Semites as well as neo-Nazis seeking to infiltrate and gain a venue for their own propaganda. Since these events tend to be open to the public and organized by either large organizations or more often coalitions of organizations, there is little that Marxist-Leninists can do other than to spot such people, expose and/or denounce them as necessary, and otherwise disassociate from them, as well as any groups or coalitions which brazenly ignore the problem after it has been brought to their attention. The Marxist-Leninist line is the best protection against being lumped in with such people; amongst a mass of people holding various loosely-related beliefs, the likelihood of guilt by association is high. By highlighting the diametric opposition between Marxist-Leninism and beliefs like anti-Semitism, Marxist-Leninists may assure the outside observer of their stance on such issues.
In a more general sense, right-wing infiltration leads to confusion, embarrassment, conflict and drama. Right-wing ideology, regardless of its degree, tends to be inherently conspiracy-based. It is thus often inherently irrational, and the last thing the American left needs to do is become more irrational. Nothing tarnishes an event, a coalition or a cause like the discovery of Nazis in the woodpile. Lucky for us, neo-Nazis still tend to come out to bat for the right-wing causes, like anti-immigration rallies or more recently the freak shows known as Tea Parties. As long as Obama is in office, right-wing siege mentality should keep such radicals on their side of the political spectrum. Still, vigilance should be maintained.
Risks of infiltration of Marxist-Leninist organizations or parties are extremely low, but they are not wholly inconceivable. This author has personally encountered at least two individuals who openly espoused a strange concoction of racist and or National Socialist beliefs mixed with their own interpretation of “Stalinist” or anti-revisionist Marxism. One such individual had been a veteran communist activist, and unlike more right-leaning neo-Nazis, fascists or National Anarchists, would easily be able to stomach working within a communist organization despite the presence of individuals whom they abhor, e.g. Jews, “non-whites,” gays and lesbians, etc. Obviously these individuals are rare, but their presence could create great drama within a local movement, and there are larger risks. For example, such an individual may “talk the talk” when in the presence of real Marxist-Leninists, but the latter might never suspect that the same individual is espousing radically anti-Marxist ideas on forums, blogs, personal websites and so on. Later on, this could come back to embarrass activists in the party. Alternatively, such individuals may see nothing wrong with dividing their time amongst leftists and party members on one hand, and neo-Nazi organizations and skinheads on the other. The security risk is obvious.
Such people as the aforementioned are thankfully rare, and will most likely remain so. Neo-Nazis and fascists may feel secure about moving toward the left, but Marxism is for most of them the ultimate heresy—the Jewish hydrogen bomb which has allegedly devastated their beloved “race”, paving the way for its ultimate downfall. Still, it doesn’t hurt to understand a few things that may motivate some individual neo-Nazis or fellow travelers to “suck it up” and hang with the Marxists, and in this case anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists are the most at risk due to their position on Stalin. Since the end of the Cold War, the intelligentsia of the liberal democratic states has been working overtime to portray Stalin as an equivalent to Hitler if not worse. “Telephone number” body counts, flying in the face of uncovered archival documentation and demographics, are no longer enough.
Stalin must be portrayed as a racist, a supporter of Russian nationalism, an imperialist, and an anti-Semite who was just about to unleash another Holocaust. It is easy to see how modern neo-Nazis and fascists, taking this kind of propaganda at face value, may find some kind of common ground between their beliefs and the caricature of Stalin painted by the hacks. The Third Reich or whatever their favorite fascist state is may serve as their ideal society, but if they feel forced to choose between a right-wing caricature of Stalin and modern liberal democracy, they would have ample reason to choose the former, if only because the most intelligent among them understand that “Stalinism” has little to nothing to do with the modern-day policies which they detest. Lastly, in their movement there is a strong belief in the idea that one gets the most flak when over the target; consequently, as the drive on the part of the bourgeois intelligentsia and liberal democratic powers to equate Nazism and Communism increases to even more idiotic heights in the future, more and more pseudo-leftist fascists and Nazis may be tempted to flirt with the red devil. While we cannot afford to let paranoid fears get the better of us, we cannot afford to ignore this possibility.
How to Spot Right-Wing Infiltrators
Would that all fascists would wear their robes, patches and armbands or just show up laced and braced at every rally, meeting, lecture or what-have-you. Sadly, that won’t be the case. For one thing, the sort that will attempt to infiltrate will most likely be the most intelligent among their movement, and such individuals are consciously aware of the fact that they are in the act of infiltration of an otherwise hostile group, be it a particular party or organization or simply a left-wing cause. Followers of right-wing populist movements may be easier to spot by their slogans, mannerisms and other behavioral traits, but the ideological fascist, neo-Nazi or National Anarchist is more likely to have a more conscious understanding of his worldview, is more informed and has a better knowledge of popular leftist issues and ideologies, and thus is aware that he must tailor his words and actions to fit the audience. In this case it helps to know what they will speak about and what they won’t speak about, as well as some general signs to look out for as well as behaviors and practices to be discouraged so as to deny such individuals the opportunity to blend in.
First off, there are some basic warning signs that every Marxist activist should know. One can obtain more detailed information from internet resources such as the previously mentioned Public Eye (http://www.publiceye.org).
— Look out for phrases like “the international bankers,” the “financiers” and similar terms. They are more likely to be uttered by right-wing populist types, who will probably make themselves obvious within a few minutes of conversation. Historically these terms have been euphemisms for Jews and as such they are excellent tip-offs. Over the years, such terms have become so popular that they lost the anti-Semitic connotation; that is to say that various groups and individuals came to focus on the perceived cabal of “international bankers” without realizing that it was basically a type of code word in the past. Either way, its conspiratorial worldview and is inherently anti-Marxist.
— The sort of fascist or National Socialist that is looking to work with if not infiltrate the left is most likely not very popular within the White Nationalist movement; he will undoubtedly have built up a lot of bad blood online and quite possibly among his local scene. As such, he will not be easy to spot, but such individuals rarely wish to totally abandon the movement altogether. As such, there are certain ideological lines they are unlikely to cross. Thus there are some things they will speak passionately about; because they are “safe” in the sense that if he is exposed to the movement, he won’t become a total outcast. He may sincerely believe in these ideas, but this is inconsequential.
What to look for is essentially a comparison between what he speaks about and how, and what he doesn’t speak about. The deadly sins of his movement are homosexuality, feminism and racism. In other words, he is unlikely to speak much, if at all, about gay rights, women’s’ rights, or discrimination or racial injustice of any kind. If they do, they are unlikely to come forth with any strong opinions on matters like this. If word gets out that Johnny Left-Wing Nazi was at a leftist gathering defending same-sex marriage while flanked by two lesbian feminists, his reputation in the movement is done, a smoking crater.
— The issue that is most friendly for pseudo-leftists of the right is without a doubt the environment. National Socialists past and present have presented their ideology as a worldview in tune with “nature’s laws.” This naturalistic tinge of National Socialism, in the words of Povl Riis-Knudsen as well as the late National Socialist philosopher Savitri Devi, was tantamount to a new religion of sorts. What this all boils down to is, not only is the environment a safe issue for neo-Nazis or those inspired by their philosophy, but it is also an issue that they can passionately support as it is in line with their ideological worldview. Take a look at yet another excerpt from Povl Riis-Knudsen’s “Left-Wing Movement”:
“Thus, we do not share the right-wing belief in continuous technological and economical
expansion, which has already led to the pollution of air and water and has made huge
areas of the world unfit to live in for all species—a development which means that the
ozone layer in the atmosphere is systematically destroyed so that coming generations are
going to be exposed to life-threatening radiation, that tropical forests which had supplied
us with oxygen, are cut down to make room for industrial growth, and that the deserts are
irrigated so that the ground water level sinks in fertile areas, which then become deserts
in turn. All this is the result of Aryan genius, without which it would not have existed—
genius which has not been put to work to build a better world for our children and
grandchildren, but only to satisfy the human greed of the moment, to secure a pleasant
life now without regard for the future.”
Be honest now, if you didn’t see the line about “Aryan genius,” couldn’t this whole paragraph easily have come from the pen of some real progressive activist, perhaps some kind of libertarian with a green conscious? Believe me, they will probably know what they need to omit face-to-face. Do not be so quick to assume, however, that neo-Nazis or like travelers might not have some unexpected points of agreement with leftists. For one thing, there are those who simply don’t care what their standing is within their international movement; or perhaps most likely, their interest is in the European movement, such as the European New Right, which has very different if not often diametrically opposing views compared to the American far-right.
In summing up the above points, the Marxist-Leninist activist has no excuse not to understand the basic fact that common parts do not make a common whole. American politics, perhaps due to the two-party duopoly, is rife with stereotypes about who supports what. With so many major populist issues in the news, and with no doubt more on the horizon, lines will most likely blur. Far-rightists have already been using this to their advantage and they will continue to do so.
— Keep in mind that the majority of fascists in leftist clothing are most likely not going to be interested in joining, working with, or associating with a Communist Party of any kind. As such, they may voice very strong anti-communist views. Keep an ear open for anti-communist tirades and quotes that don’t sound like the usual ultra-leftist or bourgeois liberal rhetoric. Anarchists, Trots, and radical liberals should at least have a basic grasp of the tenets of Marxism, whereas far-rightists will have none.
— They will most likely be against organized religion, but specifically Christianity. Neo-Paganism is popular amongst the new fascist pseudo-left. Christianity and monotheism will be a main target of criticism, though individuals may vary on how they regard Islam.
— Pay attention to the authors that the individuals mention. The inspiration for pseudo-left fascism tends to come from the work of European New Right authors such as Guillaume Faye, Alain De Benoit and Tomislav Sunic. Troy Southgate is the intellectual powerhouse behind National Anarchism.
— They will dress-up anti-immigrant racism as a labor issue. True, it is a labor issue, but the solutions such individuals suggest will be most likely no different than those suggested by anti-immigrant groups on the right.
What Can Be Done?
Regarding what Party members and cadres can do to protect the Party’s integrity and image, there are several major steps this author suggests.
Education: cadres and Party members should be aware of the political climate, and the political territory of their division’s region. They should have done research on organizations and coalitions in their area. Research must not be limited to observation of groups and or events but also the history of the area. Check local news stories for right-wing activities in the past. The Southern Poverty Law Center holds a wealth of research material useful for this very purpose. While they do often grossly overestimate the numbers of right-wing groups and their memberships, they keep track of right-wing incidents throughout the country, as well as names of individuals, groups, leaders, etc. Have someone regularly attend events and meetings of left-wing projects or coalitions, or if open to the public, organizations, and take note of people that seem not to fit in.
Members, but especially cadres, should consider the study of opposing ideologies as secondary only to the mastering of Marxist-Leninist theory. This means studying the history of these ideas, on which this article expounded only to a small degree, and how they evolved. Know the history and ideological threads of opposing ideologies not only in their native countries but also in America. For example, “Hate: The Biography of George Lincoln Rockwell” is far more than just a biography of the founder of the American Nazi Party. It details his international activities and his role with the World Union of National Socialists, the very same outfit that Povl Riis-Knudsen was affiliated with. No study of American neo-Nazism could be complete without understanding the history of William Pierce and his National Alliance. Luckily, since the NA collapsed, some of the racialists decided to put his biography, “Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds”, into .PDF format as a free download. The book was written by a sycophant who later ended up joining the National Alliance before it collapsed, but it gives a good look at the type of worldview the late Dr. Pierce was trying to peddle. As mind-numbing as they can often be, it helps to read some of the essays of Troy Southgate. I recommend looking for writings with a recent date, since his ideology seemed to change frequently throughout his career. Party cadres in areas which might be at risk for this activity should go even further, studying the forum posts of the reactionaries with the goal of learning to distinguish between them. With enough experience, it is possible to look at a comments section or forum thread and pick out the racialists and neo-Nazis, even when they are among other posters who are expressing racist ideas. In short, know your enemy.
Lastly, while I would hope anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists would see this as a given, nothing can substitute for a rigorous ideological training regime in Marxist-Leninist theory, as well as comparative analysis with other ideologies on both ends of the political spectrum. The more a member or candidate member can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Marxism-Leninism, the less susceptible they are to being co-opted, and the less likely it is that they are an enemy of any political stripe. Likewise, while there are obviously certain viewpoints which Marxist-Leninists cannot tolerate amongst cadres or members, there are a variety of differing, occasionally conflicting personal beliefs among members and cadres. It is important that each member realize the importance of consciously separating personal beliefs from the Party line. It is also important to preserve a situation where members feel some opportunity to freely express certain personal beliefs. If someone is leaning toward an unacceptable view, it is best dragged out into the open and discussed or debated.
Share information and take action: if credible, verifiable evidence is found of infiltration, do not withhold information from other groups due to ideological differences. If an activist knows that a local anarchist cell has been infiltrated by National Anarchists, he or she should blow the whistle. There may be a lot of problems with the prevailing ideas in the American left, but we can be sure that no serious progress will be made until the right is swept out the door. In this same spirit, be proactive by alerting other leftist activists to this issue. Be sure to present the information in realistic terms so as not to come off as paranoid. Far-right wing meddling in left-wing activism is not often talked about, or at least not addressed nearly as often as it should, but it is not new nor rare. It constitutes a historical trend dating back at least a century if not even further, and the major issues of the day make it all the more relevant at this time.
Though it happens so rarely that it is difficult to make concrete suggestions, there may very well be occasions when an individual who has infiltrated the leftist movement, upon being exposed in a tactful way, might be turned. Realistically, it is more likely that the best one can hope for is to at least get them completely out of the racialist movement. This is not only helping the left as a whole, it is actually helping that individual. Of course, such an individual should be monitored as to what they actually do once they reject their former worldview. In cases like these I recommend that only cadres with the most extensive knowledge on reactionary ideology even attempt such a “conversion.”
Suppress Conspiracism: I realize that I may be accused of inventing a word here, but for the purposes of this article let us just define conspiracism as the tendency toward belief in and affinity for conspiracy theories. This point might seem a bit out of place due to its specificity, but it is a simple measure to deny right-wing populism the soil it needs to grow. Marxism-Leninism we are told, is a science. The scientific method operates by a set of logical rules. In short there are two words one needs to know: critical thinking. Right-wing beliefs of all degrees tend to be inherently conspiratorial. The radical rightist may believe in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy that controls virtually every major news event, but is this far removed from the more mainstream, respectable conservative who believes that the smashing success of democracy in Iraq was totally covered up by the “liberal media?”
The 20th of July saw Lou Dobbs on CNN brazenly touting the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is not really an American citizen. The only difference in this case between the mainstream right and the fringes is the extent of their conspiracy theories. The common thread that conspiracy theories have, what makes them so useful for the right, is that they present scapegoats for the people to blame when unpleasant things happen. Marxism-Leninism doesn’t revolve around scapegoats and shadowy, unseen rulers. It is based on analysis, and our oppressors are out in the open. Their position in the world is largely due to objective factors outside the control of any person or group of people.
The left has its share of conspiracy theories as well, and we need to root them out and come up with logical explanations. In a more practical sense, we need to look out for populist conspiracies, probably one of the biggest in recent years being the ironically named “9/11 Truth Movement.” Members of this movement tend to be extremely rabid and become extremely aggressive toward anyone who questions their theories, and as such rejecting these people and associations with them is not going to make a lot of friends for the Party, but we will be much better off for it. For one thing, while they will repeat the same arguments, often word for word, most conspiracy theories including this one have interchangeable scapegoats. That means that while one guy tells you that the culprit is Bush/Cheney, another guy preaching the same theory may blame it on the international Jewish cabal. The right of membership in their social club is belief in the conspiracy, not political alignment. Why else would their movement have adherents on both ends of the political spectrum, with individuals who possibly couldn’t be put in the same room together were it not for one common belief?
Another reason to expose and eradicate conspiracism within the ranks and keep it well over arm’s length from Party divisions is that usually when one believes in one conspiracy theory, you can be the individual has a few more up his or her sleeve. That’s why we cannot tolerate conspiracism. For one thing, we may find out down the road that they have a whole host of wacky theories, which might come out at a very inconvenient time, such as making a statement to the media. Another reason is that conspiracy theorists, as they tend to be gullible, are susceptible to slick presentations of conspiracies. That means that right-wing infiltrators might be able to switch the target of one’s paranoia from the Illuminati to the International Jew, and often times it will be impossible to spot this change. Most of all, though it may seem redundant to add, conspiracy theories are inherently incompatible with Marxism-Leninism. Just as much as religion, perhaps even more so. They defy both the scientific method and historiography. I highly urge the reader to heed this warning. If you want to keep reactionaries out of the left, and far from the Party, push critical thinking and debunk and suppress the spread of conspiracy theories. Conspiracism is the soil of radical reactionary thought.
Hopefully this article, as intended, has served as a useful introduction and primer to the reader on right-wing infiltration of the left from a Marxist-Leninist. I urge the reader to visit the resources I have recommended within the text so as to get a more detailed, historical perspective on the matter. For a Marxist-Leninist party seeking to establish itself as a vanguard for the American working class, it is essential that Marxism-Leninism make a fresh new start in leftist politics. Dedication and perseverance along with the worsening crisis of capitalism and the American empire will hopefully see Marxism-Leninism, specifically as practiced by the American Party of Labor, rise to the forefront of leftist politics as the traditional American left reveals itself to be wholly incapable of providing a better future for the American worker. It is clear however, that the first step in this task will be purging the left of right-wing populism, fascism, neo-Nazism, and all the weeds which threaten to strangle the revolution.