The Free Left Future’s statement on the Anniversery of Liberation from Hitler-Fascism (Victory Day)
Fascism is back; armed, in power, on the march, across the entire globe. It is no longer enough to wistfully honor our heroes and martyrs with songs, with marches, with speeches and vigils. The terrible truth must be acknowledged: we must fight the liberation struggle anew.
The democratic freedoms and high living standard enjoyed in the West in the past half century were a not a gift of either »capitalist productivity« or a benevolent ruling class – on the contrary, social democracy was a truce, forced on the Western ruling classes, by the organized power of the working classes. This took the form, of course, of the sedimentated victories of decades of labor struggles in the imperial core itself. But more than anything, social democracy in the West was possible because of Actually Existing Socialism in the East, and the victories of popular, anti-imperialist regimes in the South. It was a product of popular power, of the victories of the masses, of their whole or partial liberation from the grip of the many-headed hydra of capitalism, imperialism, and fascism. It was won through a determined class struggle. And it has been lost, as a result of an equally determined – and deliberate and coordinated and »conspiratorial«! – struggle on the part of the ruling class.
The great wave of liberation unleashed by the October revolution has reached its lowest ebb. Much of the world once liberated by progressive forces, with the communists at their vanguard, has been reconquered. This is not simply true abroad, but right here at home as well. With the worldwide victory of counter-revolution in the 90s, the ruling class has set about not merely re-enslaving every inch of the formerly socialist world – or simply destroying what it can’t get its hands on. The ruling class has set about just as eagerly chipping back domestic victories: the living wage, fair pensions, decent housing – indeed, soon even a warm, illuminated home is to be rendered a rare privilege!
And it is not only the »social« in »social democracy« that has all but disappeared. Indeed, with astounding audacity, the ruling class now wields the perverted husks of our former social liberties as weapons against our last remaining civil liberties: laws against hate speech are wielded to criminalize the critique of Nazi propaganda; the healthcare system has been turned into a vast engine of surveillance, torture, dysgenics and depopulation; legitimate ecological concerns are coopted to sell to the population their own impoverishment and enslavement as a righteous victory of mother earth; the telecommunications grid is welded into a vast cage around us. The ruling class intends to restrict you to a »safe«, »green«, »hygienic«, and »convenient« 15 minute city (when they don’t have you under direct house arrest), dictate your diet, choose what you can read or listen to, and hurl you in jail if you dare to question their wisdom or benevolence – for that could only be Russian disinformation. Of course, this gambit isn’t really new. As Dimitrov observed a century ago:
»Fascism comes to power as a party of attack on the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, on the mass of the people who are in a state of unrest; yet it stages its accession to power as a ›revolutionary‹ movement against the bourgeoisie on behalf of ›the whole nation‹ and for the ’salvation‹ of the nation. One recalls Mussolini’s ›march‹ on Rome, Pilsudski’s ›march‹ on Warsaw, Hitler’s National-Socialist ›revolution‹ in Germany, and so forth.«
And just like the last time, astonishingly, many self-professed leftists or even communists have fallen for it. They believe that the ruling class, after cannibalizing the health care system and demolishing the social preconditions of health, simply had to be granted despotic powers over our lives and limbs to save us from a boogeyman virus. They believe the same ruling class who ravaged the planet just had to be permitted to abolish our freedom of movement and well-being to save it. They believe the ruling class who work us to death and rob us at every turn will give us a universal basic income or central bank digital wallet out of the goodness of their hearts, rather than as a tool of total control. Some even believe they are arming and renazifying Ukraine to save us from the boogeyman Putin, against whom even FF2P masks offer only minimal protection.
A lot is the same then, but some things are even worse. Above all: we have no USSR to save us. The October Revolution liberated a large swath of humanity from the capitalist yoke. Under capitalism, not only is our energy, our productivity, our very lifeforce robbed from us for the benefit of another– but the capitalist takes that substance of ours which he steals, and uses it to construct and maintain the very weapons and tools by which he keeps us enslaved, and by which enslaves others. Socialism, on the other hand, liberates the tremendous forces of human productivity and creativity which are so squandered and misappropriated under capitalism. Upon such liberation, the peoples of the USSR immediately set about forging the most glorious engine of human liberation in history, which we so solemnly recall today: the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.
It was precisely because the working masses of the USSR had liberated themselves from the yoke of capitalism that they could liberate us from Nazism. But the USSR, tragically, is no more. Russia cannot truly recommence the glorious work of denazification and liberation until it too once again throws off the yoke of capitalism. Can one rebuild the machinery of liberation with one hand, while arming the enemy with the other? How much value, produced by Russian workers, still flows by circuitous routes back to London or New York? How much oil pumped from the Russian earth flows back to Europe, or even to Kiev itself? How much Russian and Ukrainian blood must flow before illusions of compromise with the renazified West are cast aside, the opportunists thrown out, and the population fully mobilized? These, of course, are questions for our Russian comrades.
For us it is sufficient to say: we can not count on a savior. Neither Putin, nor Wagenknecht, nor the ghost of the Red Army will come to save us: we must do it ourselves. And we must do it now, right now – any later will be too late. The camp is long since open, they are building it all around us this time. Never has history seen a more audacious ruling class than that which we live under. They declare openly, every day, with only the thinnest demagogic cover – be it »green« or »social« or »sanitary« – that there are too many of us, that we are dirty, disease carrying, polluting, over-producing pests. Everyday more openly they move closer towards our total enslavement.
To overcome the crisis of capitalism, the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital have declared open terroristic dictatorship over even the bourgeoisie. In the process, they are transforming capitalism itself. The long work of reprivatizing virtually the entire state apparatus, begun under neoliberalism, is all but complete. The state is increasingly a pure, unalloyed tool of ruling class power, upon which we have no claims. It will not provide, but only punish. Good, we can give up our illusions about it.
In this awesome gambit, the ruling class has risked everything. They have no legitimacy, nothing to offer the population any more. They do not promise the consumer paradise of the last century’s capitalist propaganda. They have no carrot, only stick. They are banking on a combination of stupefying spectacle and the most comprehensive, technologically enabled control grid in history to keep us in line. But they have not finished it yet – and they will not, because we will stop them.
The parliamentary parties, social organizations, and institutions which have submitted to cooption by the ruling class did us a great favor in participating in the massive offensive against the population carried out under the ridiculous pandemic pretext: they revealed their utter irredeemability. We must be free of illusions. Only we can liberate ourselves, and we must do it now! We must start building networks of mutual support and political coordination – independent, free, and socialist.
Fascism is back. The commemoration of the first liberation, if it is to be anything but lame nostalgia, must translate into action: full spectrum class struggle now!
The Free Left Future on the Day of Liberation from Hitler’s Fascism 2023