The Liberal quest to find Russian Conspiracy

There is a terrible confusion emanating from Western liberals, especially those in the United States, yet largely ignored by the rest of the world. They have stumbled upon a deep and vast and powerful conspiracy against them, but that only they can see. Their notions attempt to take all of the growing, worsening problems and crises of late stage capitalist American civilization, and attach them to a goat, labelled Russia — then banish that goat to a lonely death in the ideological desert in the hopes that, with, it all the problems of American society will go away too. Such was the origin of scapegoating, and yet this practice remains in place, at least figuratively, at the “heights” of “enlightened” American political discourse. America is not ‘the bad guy,’ it is merely that it has been infiltrated with the most nefarious of American movie villains, the Russians! Once their leadership is foiled (by a dashing American hero, no doubt) their plot will come crumbling down, and all the institutions of American civilization will be restored, renewed, rejuvenated, and liberal democratic capitalism will thrive once again. Such is the dangerous political fantasy that has overtaken liberal minds.

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There is a thesis about the (very broadly speaking) three conflicting worldviews within the United States.

Now this political confusion, does exist on all sides — but is especially notable between the Republican side and the centrist Democrat side, with the former accusing the latter of being communists, and the latter accusing the former of the same. Indeed, it seems that very nearly everyone in American politics is a communist — save of course the actual communists, who are well understood by both sides to simply be the most progressive and most welfare-supporting of the liberals (communism is just when you set taxes to 100%). To Republicans, there is no difference between Kamala Harris and Joseph Stalin, and to Democrats, there is no difference between Georgy Malenkov and Mitch McConnell. This — perhaps the worst understanding of global politics on the planet Earth —exists as the mainstream political discourse, not for some forgotten isolated corner of the world, but as front page news for America’s most prestigious and syndicated publications (a title that should well and truly be forever stripped from them when this is over). The issue is that the confusion of the Republican side is much clearer, much simpler, while on the side of the Democrats it has become an incoherent mess — an out of control ideological collage of magazine clippings on a bulletin board.

Indeed, attempting to hold a coherent political ideology from the heavily edited, heavily controlled scraps of information released by the corporate media, is akin to assembling your understanding of the world by putting together a jigsaw puzzle. As implied, the centrist neoliberal worldview is probably one of the most confused, conflicted, incompatible collages of political ideas ever assembled. Like if you were trying to assemble a 1000 piece puzzle, but you did so using pieces from a dozen different puzzles, forcing them together no matter how ill-fitting they are — that’s their conception of the world and despite all the contradictions within, they don’t see any issue with how broken it is. The amount of back and forth strain to make it all hold together (and not well mind you, pieces fly off left and right all the time — look how quickly liberal heroes fail and fall and are rotated out only to repeat the same mistakes) it is all quite painful to watch.

The reactionary conservative worldview is much simpler, much cleaner. They don’t need to believe a mismatch hodgepodge of ideologies and ideas — and to them the liberals doing so are simply demonstrating how wrong they are. For the Republicans there is only one lie that you need to bevel to buy the whole rest of the ideology. The American lieAmerica = good. If that idea is held in place, no matter how far from the truth it may be, all the rest follows from that. There might be slight differences in preferences or levels of reaction, but they can coalesce into a single ideological entity easily enough when it matters. Where liberals have a dozen different puzzles assembled together, the reactionaries have only a single puzzle, pre-assembled, that they routinely paint over, and the image is of a bald eagle named Jesus Reagan Columbus.

It’s only when you get to the far left (relative to American politics), that you start to find all the puzzle pieces that were missing from the centrist Frankenstein-puzzle. And even then, the ideology is still overwhelms reality for most Americans. Extremely confused takes, even from “radical” progressives, who think Maduro is a right wing authoritarian, and that Juan Guaidó is a social democrat. Americans, even leftist Americans, are raised on such a strict diet of ideology, that they cannot even overturn American exceptionalism in their own minds. It is utterly unfathomable to them that they might be one of the most politically and philosophically backwards countries in all the world.

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A visualization of the three way crossroads and how they will tend to view international political-economy. (source unknown). The Left most quadrant is what is desired, not what actually exists, the Centre is the actually existing state of affairs (which the Centrists themselves defend) and the Right is how the reactionaries view both of the other two concepts.

As an obvious example, let us take a historical examination of American icon Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was a slaver-rapist (both claims are correct), yet he is held up as a paragon of enlightenment and a revered thinker (on the subject of freedom no less!) by not only the reactionaries, but also by the centrists, and even some of the leftists! The right sees no need to apologize for the slavery or the rape — these are both fine and acceptable and compatible within their ideology, which is too, more than comfortable with racism. The centrists attempt to take a more nuanced view, making excuses about how it was a product of the time (as if abolitionists did not exist in the 1770s!). The centrists cannot abandon Jefferson, but are at a loss as to how to approach his uncomfortable legacy — for them it might be best to just change topics. It’s only when you keep moving leftwards do you finally begin to arrive at the idea that Jefferson-worship may be wrong and misplaced, and even then you have to navigate a liberal minefield of apologists and historical whitewashers. Jefferson is an especially obvious example, but we can pull events and occurrences from throughout American history and re-examine them with these three worldviews.

Let us examine one more example — one of the broad mythos of the American westward expansion. Historically, there is a good understanding of what this was, and what occurred. Europeans landed on and occupied First Nations territory, pursued a genocidal campaign (powered by slavery) moving westwards, displacing and destroying dozens of established nations and exterminating millions upon millions of people — taking their land and homes and culture and stuff away from them, and giving it to the European settlers. Indeed, this brutal, ruthless, violent history was celebrated and cheered by many of those same white European occupiers (especially those that benefited), told as a folk tale of American exceptionalism.

As the crimes and atrocities of this history became more obvious and apparent over time, a general white washing of the presentation of this history occurs. Indeed, it is from this that we get stories and legends of “heroic” cowboys defending settlers from “savage” First Nations tribes, as if they were not forcibly moving themselves onto land that others already called home. It’s only more recently that more modern contemporary historians have begun to have their voices heard in finally attacking this mythology, and presenting the same history from the perspective of the First Nations and slaves, rather than from the European settlers. And here, too, we see that 3-way ideological split. The far left is fully ready to acknowledge the American genocides and seriously work to undoing the centuries of damage and destruction (which requires radical change), and is embracing the actual historical accounting of these atrocities. The far right, on the other hand, seeks to fully wrap itself in the mythology and legend — seeing the historians attempting to tear down the ahistorical myth as the deceitful historical revisionists, and that the version of history originally presented to them of heroic cowboys fighting savages being the correct, accurate accounting. And it is the centrist liberals in the middle who cannot adequately reconcile these two positions.

Now what does all of this have to do with Russia?

To properly understand Putin’s Russia, we must examine the conditions that lead up to it and how it exists today. In brief, going back to the Late Soviet Union, the Krushchev’s reforms had left the late USSR with a de facto bourgeoisie. The handful of remaining sincere communists among them were marginalized or silenced or given less important side-projects, increasingly through the 80s and into the 90s. It is here, after a decade of damaging liberalization, that the Mikhail Gorbachev, backed by the United States, authorized by Pizza Hut, stages a coup to bring about the end of the Soviet Union. A deeper discussion of the end of USSR will wait for another time, but it is worth remembering that this move was not popular, and was met with overwhelming protests and resistance that had to be repressed and put down. Boris Yeltsin, the American puppet and heavyweight contender for most corrupt politician in human history, was installed as the leader of this new capitalist Russia.

The Russian Bourgeoisie were initially somewhat okay with this, as capitalism offered them a new opportunity to grow their wealth and power, and many of them went along for the ride (they had many protections in place for their control of their property — it would be the Russian poor who suffered the transition). But Yeltsin ended up being such a corrupt US puppet that he basically ended up totally ransacking the country and sold off everything that wasn’t bolted down, all for pennies on the dollar to the US and NATO and their associated business interests.

There is an important and especially relevant moment that occurs in 1996. Under Gennady Zyuganov, the resurgent Communist party had been swelling in support for their strong opposition to Gorbachev and Yeltsin, performing exceptionally in the 1995 legislative elections and now threatening to win the 1996 Russian Presidential Election in nothing short of a landslide:

As their initial research showed, only 6% of the electorate preferred Yeltsin.

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Democrats must take a moment to try an reconcile their own blatant interference in the 1996 Russian election, before any person can take their claims seriously about Russian interference in the 2016 American election.

The plunder would resume, with Yeltsin’s victory bought and paid for by the United States. He ultimately ended up allowing Russia to be robbed so blind that it now ended up angering and threatening the Russian Bourgeoisie, who were now in a much worse position relative to the much wealthier Western bourgeoisie buying up the country. They had become small fish in the big global pond.

It cannot be overstated how badly Russia declined during this decade where it abandoned communism. Russia had (mostly) ended homelessness in the 1960’s, but now one in ten children were living on the street. Russian GDP nearly halved, and so too did nearly half of the population fall into poverty. Life expectancy in Russia was reduced by nearly a decade, and in general, everything in the country went to hell — far worse than it had ever been under the Communists.

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Enter Vladimir Putin as the reaction to Yeltsin and a decade of turmoil and crisis for the Russians. Putin is not a communist, despite confused liberals failing to grasp this, but the chief administrator of these same Russian Bourgeoisie, who ultimately realize that they are in a better position with a strong and united Russia opposing NATO expansion, rather than one where NATO is allowed to balkanize Russia, carving them up into smaller countries, to have their assets stripped and sold off to the West ala Yugoslavia.

This is how Russia exists today, and why Putin has such strong, consistent support within Russia. To Russians, it was obvious how preferable and better for their lives that Putin has been than Yeltsin. Putin is a far right wing capitalist dictator, but one that prioritizes a strong and functional Russia over one that collapses to be strip-mined by NATO. Given the lack of real alternatives (the Communist party was outlawed for a time), Putin has clearly been the only real option for Russians for most of the past two decades. Western liberals are given messaging about the “progressive liberal” factions of chessmaster Gary Kasparov (who would like to resume the Western sell-off of Russia), but often omit to Westerners that the liberal faction in Russia exists in a distant third place with ~10% or less of the vote. Only recently are the cracks in Putin’s armor beginning to show, as a growing yearning for the return of communism and the USSR seems to be growing during these decades. Polls have been consistently showing the USSR being seen as more and more favourable by a vast majority of Russians (a recent poll had it over 90%), and Putin has even begun to lose (unfair!) elections to communists at the peripheries of his empire.

A small aside to discuss the modern Communist movement in Russia. While most communists are in agreement that the Russian Communists are preferable to both Putin and any Western-backed liberal candidate, it is worth noting that the Russian Communist party is deeply reactionary in places, and among the most ‘backwards’ communist parties in the world, relative to their international contemporaries. But this is a deep internal discussion among communists for another time. If there is a lesson for the Western liberals to take, it is that Putin is not a communist, and in fact, the main opposition to Vladimir Putin within Russia, are the Communists! Indeed, if Vladimir Putin is ousted from power in the coming decade, it will most likely come from the left, not the liberals, and one should fully expect the triumphant return of the USSR to follow.

Now, with this historical understanding of modern Russia, let us return to the moment that liberalism was shattered in the United States: the 2016 Presidential Election.

A difficult, ideology destroying question was emerging on that fateful election night. Could America actually be facing a larger and more serious crisis? Has the country always been a hotbed haven of fascist ideology bubbling beneath the surface? Where is all this cruelty and hatred coming from? How can our President be so monstrous despite also doing most of the same things most other Presidents have done? Liberal ideology is not sufficiently equipped to answer these questions, and this lead to many people finally awakening to their political situation and the sudden surge of new leftists (actual socialists, communists and anarchists) comes out of this ideological bubble bursting in 2016.

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However, for most American liberals, the very notion of socialism (which most of them have a terrible understanding of) is unthinkable, and totally forbidden for their liberal minds to explore. To even ponder it for a moment is no different from killing millions with your bare hands. But they are in need of an explanation for the things going on around them that they can no longer make sense of with their liberal worldview. Most of all, how could Hillary possibly lose to Trump?! In order to preserve and save the (already bloated, infected, wounded and sick) liberal ideological bubble, a (new) band-aid has to be placed over this glaring rift threatening to flip the entire liberal world on its head. America is easy enough to understand if it is a history of genocide and slavery and cruelty — it is “the bad guy” and has been for most of its history, and from that lens most of American history makes sense and follows clearly — Trump is just the naked fascism beginning to emerge from late capitalism’s decline. Conversely, if the America is “the good guy” myth is taken to the extreme, then Trump is the restoration of all those (terrible) things that made America “great.” It is for the liberals, who need to defend both “America is good” but also “Trump is bad” who are found totally lacking in any explanatory power.

Liberalism cannot allow the illusion of American goodness and decency to be exposed as a shallow lie. American exceptionalism simply must be true. But what band-aid could possibly offer the explanatory power for a phenomenon like Trump?

Aaah, yes. The Russians. Up to their old tricks! With hackers and twitter bots, and techno-mages, and cybermancers, and digi-druids and everything else to boot! Of course! Trump didn’t win the election, the Russians cheated on his behalf! For them, it was the Russians who meddled in the election , producing this erroneous result— and for the sake of the liberal worldview, please ignore the way in which America blatantly rigged the 1996 election, as that is all rather inconvenient for our band-aid. Standing for actual principles is something that communists do — liberals have to be able to choose whether or not to support a principle insofar as it gets them what they want (think of all the Trump-Putin-as-lovers photoshops and imagery— the liberals are supposed to be the ally of the LGBTQ+ movement, but instead have weaponized homophobia “to own Trump”). Americans — the world’s most malicious and notorious rigger of elections and meddler in other’s affairs, complaining that their election was rigged and that their affairs may have been meddled in (with utterly dubious evidence) is something that can be totally laughed away.

In the most sincere examination of the question — did the Russians interfere in the 2016 election, the response is: only to a mere fraction of the extent that the Americans have and continue to interfere with and destabilize all other regimes on the planet to be subordinate to American business interests (which they have largely succeeded at, through decades of coups, assassinations, rigged elections, invasions, drone strikes, bombing campaigns, embargoes, etc.)

If you want to take the “rigging” of the 2016 election seriously, let’s first hold the Democrats and America accountable for rigging the 1996 Russian election, which they explicitly, blatantly rigged (and bragged about on Time magazine). If the Russians did, indeed, interfere in the elections (and that really hasn’t been demonstrated in any way that couldn’t also be equally applied to the Israel lobby, the Chinese, the Saudis, or others) then it’s ultimately a tit-for-tat for the time that the Americans fucked over Russia, and thoroughly deserved comeuppance for the most deceitful and meddling regime on the planet — the Americans.

This is also why nowhere else in the world spends the time or effort that Americans do on this vast Russian conspiracy — they have seen the Americans rig election after election around the globe, and cannot but laugh at the hypocrisy of Americans crying foul for the crime they are most guilty of! Election rigging is the norm in the Global South, and the Americans are the ones that do it most. For them to have a taste of their own medicine, I suspect a great many onlookers felt a sense of justice at the irony.

But for liberals, this explanation (“RUSSIANS!”) has become a new dogma. Yet another puzzle, whose pieces are thrown in with all the others, from which to assemble a (not really but attempted) coherent worldview. So by this new wild alchemy, liberals have now concluded that, if Russian twitter bots are a perfectly acceptable explanation for Trump, then they are, therefore, also an acceptable part of the liberal worldview, and can be used as a source of explanatory power elsewhere. Did Jill Stein draw some far left support that might have otherwise gone to Clinton? RUSSIANS!

We have spent three years watching this progressively getting out of hand, and should be an explicit and clear reason why we (leftists) need to unambiguously oppose and resist the Democrats rather than trying to work with them in any capacity. Indeed, they seem to be utterly oblivious as to why they lost the 2016 election in such an utter disaster, that they are repeating the same mistakes by running the morally empty, leadership-devoid, foot-in-mouth, corporate puppet that is Joe Biden. Republicans have already lost their minds down a circular logic centrifuge of conspiracy theories involving SJWs, Cultural Marks, George Soros, and revived Nazi propaganda. So too have the Democrats followed suit them into the realm of impossible conspiracies, while reviving the wild paranoia of the Cold War, seeing Putin involved in, and ultimately behind almost everything.

This is why liberals have such a hard time attacking Trump. This is why so many of their attack ads and political messaging fails to connect or resonate. This is why they wasted two years of all of our lives on the Mueller Investigation — as if Robert Mueller, one of the chief architects of “Iraq had WMDs” was ever going to be a leftist hero. Small wonder that, like all the other attacks, resulted in a commanding Trump victory. Trump and the far right have repeatedly shown that laws have no effect on restraining their power, yet liberals cannot envision any victory over Trump except through legal action or at the ballot box (which, too, will end in disaster for them).

The centrist liberals spend so much time and effort with so many attacks on Trump, but never do they ask why they attack so much, but so few attacks have any content or result. They have to aim their shots as a very strange, obtuse angle — they want to hit Trump, but cannot damage the American ideology that Trump rests upon. In needing to preserve and protect their own ideological hegemony, the liberals end up also protecting the Republican ideological hegemony, and end up missing their shots and firing blanks. All of the liberal efforts are spent on the most trivial things, like: “Trump is fat,” “Trump is ugly,” the pee tape, his lack of etiquette, “Drumpf” etc. instead of focusing on the content, the policies, the actual actions of the administration — many of which are real atrocities — because those are, at their core, not a product of Trump, but a natural product of America — a continuation from Obama and Bush and Clinton and Reagan (and beyond!) they cannot fire a shot that would hit the underlying ideology.

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Either the Democrats are exactly this predictable and useless, or these guys are capable of time travel.

Instead, the liberals try such foolish and reckless strategies like trying to out-patriotism the white nationalists! All without realizing that they are never going to out-nationalism white nationalists —American nationalism is their home turf. There ain’t nothing more american than slavery and oppression, and the liberals failure to recognize these problems is the same reason why they cannot hurt Trump with these attacks. Indeed this attempt to shame and guilt those that have no shame and feel no guilt is, like all their other actions, doomed to failure. They will not end up making Republicans feel a renewed ‘progressive’ patriotism in which they come about to oppose Trump — these attacks only serve to entrench reactionary jingoistic notions in liberals, making them more vulnerable to defecting to Trump themselves. They cannot look back on the war crimes of Clinton and Obama and Bush and then look to Trump and see how disturbingly little has actually changed.

As stated in the original thesis, we are at a bit of a three-way crossroad regarding the three futures envisioned by Americans. These could broadly be taken as right, centre, and left, but in the same way as past, present, and future.

The most ideologically aware of these reactionaries are, themselves, the fascists. They have already begun openly embracing the underlying cruelty and and oppression and viciousness built-in to our society and system. They want to ratchet it up even further and take it to its logical conclusion. They see more immigrants and more people of colour as a change, a change away from what once was, and want that change undone by any means necessary. They want their worldview of “heroic” cowboys defending “brave and noble” settlers from “savage Indians” restored and upheld.

It is the liberal worldview that is seeing the ground fall out from under them, beneath their feet, as their political position becomes more and more precarious and untenable. They are the present (the very recent present, mind you), and their understanding of the world is developed enough to have an understanding that ‘rolling back to the past’ is bad (especially for the poor and minorities), but incapable of envisioning any sort of different future. Somewhere between 1990 and 2015 exists the idealized liberal existence. This was the way that they had envisioned the rest of their lives, watching their favourite sitcoms in comfort from their spacious loft apartments, with a sophisticated, morally good President and maintaining the status quo. The future should look exactly like the recent past, only perhaps with a few new toys (the result of American ingenuity, no doubt), and this was the way they had planned to spend their existence — as the eternal comfortable American middle class, living forever in stability and comfort. They see Trump — and only Trump, the rest is all his doing and a product of his machinations — as the sole force preventing the return of that brief period of American existence, to once again resume forever. It is incomprehensible to them that this period might itself be a temporary historical anomaly coming to its end. The zenith of the American empire.

Liberals want to try to hold together this unraveling status quo (a Biden presidency should be just like an Obama presidency, surely!) still complete with all the cruelty and oppression and viciousness still intact, but constrained under that surface veneer of politeness and commerce and legalism and decency. Pretend all of that exposed mean oppression stuff isn’t really there, or that there’s nothing that can be done about it, or that it’s always been there and it’s unresolvable, or that it’s there and not a big deal.

This is, perhaps, the most annoying and frustrating thing about liberals (besides their willingness to share the bed with fascists). They are utterly convinced into believing this false narrative that America was actually good and just before Trump, and it was he and his supporters that ruined it, and that they are all just some sort of isolated anomaly, rather than a natural byproduct of the late capitalism. Indeed, it’s the exact same puzzle the reactionaries use for their worldview, and the liberals have included it in their own amalgamated mess of pieces. How ignorant can these liberals actually be of the political climate in the U.S? It’s been proto-fascist since its inception, and now it’s finally descending into fascism proper. Yet liberals couldn’t see this coming from miles away. They would rather live in the delusion of American greatness and exceptionalism than wake up and realize the truth about the nightmare world they live in (and largely helped create). That nasty rug was in their living room forever, with all that fecal matter hidden underneath and all Trump did was pull it away and reveal the fetid mess underneath (a mess that he wallows in). And then you see the liberal democrats getting all cozy with the conservatives that are too ‘decent’ to explicitly support Trump. The reformation of the war criminal George W. Bush may be the icing on the shit-cake. These liberals are too focused on saving their (already dead) present that they cannot envision building a different, better future.

But it is exactly here that the tide can turn. This has been said before, and will be said again: as socialists, our strength is going to come from being open, honest, consistent, and clear — holding true to the exact same ideas and principles that have carried us into the present. We’ve been singing the same song and dance for 100 years or more, and the Soviet criticisms of America from decades past ring just as true today as was true all through history. If the Democrats go off the deep end (and they already have), socialists are wrong to go diving in after them.

It’s worth noting here, especially for Marxist-Leninists like myself, that we do not uphold Putin’s Russia. We might sometimes find reason to accept it as an ally in the context of global politics, especially as a bulwark against the American Empire (indeed, a shock to many Americans that Putin may actually be the lesser evil in conflicts around the Ukraine and elsewhere), but it is worth also remembering that the most likely political entity to topple Putin would be none other than the Russian Communist Party.

But it is here that we have the real option — that maybe we can do away with the vast majority of the cruelty and oppression and viciousness — all built in to our society — altogether. But it will require us to completely change the existing system, in many ways dismantling it right down to its base, and imposing a new socio-economic system for not only the United States, but much of the world. And we realize the consequences of that might mean that we (the wealthy chunk of humanity living in the West) will end up have fewer commodities, and will have to share more of our luxuries and have have more labour intensive jobs — and somehow people, even ‘progressives’ have been convinced that this is really that big of a deal, rather than something we can all live with. We want to live in a better world. Better. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden offer us nothing to that end. Trump is worse, yes, but as already evidenced, Clinton and Biden cannot save us from the reaction, because they can only target Trump (and badly). We will have to save ourselves.

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Written by

Marxist-Leninist(-sometimes Maoist) Rouge Philosopher. Dialectical Materialist. Two for one special on dialectics.

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