Leftists should turn their attention to the New Guard Fascists -- the enemies of the people at the top of the class structure and the armed body, the state, that protects the class structure.
“New guard fascism controls the levers of the economy, media, and military within the imperialist orbit.”
Syria continues to make gains against the jihadist mercenaries that flooded the country beginning 2011 with the help of US imperialism and its allies. The imperial ruling classes did not expect Idlib to be the last gasp of air for their efforts to destroy Syria and balkanize the region. It is this province where Turkey and its imperialist friends, including the United States, have lent critical support to jihadist proxies. It is also where the future of a thirty-plus year imperialist strategymay experience its greatest failure to date. The Syrian people have survived the imperial onslaught with much to teach us.
US imperialism and its allies have two choices in Syria. Either continue their current ineffectual attempt to hold back the liberation of Syria or escalate militarily. Both options come at great risk. The former ends all ambitions of overthrowing the Syrian government and further spreading the chaos of imperial domination throughout the region. The latter probably won’t lead to the overthrow of the Syrian government but willlead to dangerous military confrontations with the Russian Federation. This may be too risky for even the most blood thirsty war-hawks in Washington, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, Ankara, and the rest of the NATO-aligned countries. However, the left shouldn’t count on the good intentions of the imperialists when the profits of Wall Street and the war economy are at stake.
“The prison, police, and deportation regimes exercise enormous power over the lives of oppressed people.”
The high stakes of the imperialist war in Syria appear to be lost on most people in the US, albeit for a variety for reasons. Economic collapse looms over the heads of millions of workers who are struggling to survive under the constant siege of automation, austerity, and corporate theft. The state apparatus has escalated militarily on the home front to the point where civil liberties are a thing of the past and the prison, police, and deportation regimes exercise enormous power over the lives of oppressed people. White supremacy and racism continue to inhibit class unity. The corporate media and the Black misleadership class, in collusion with a fake, CIA-led “resistance” movement against Donald Trump, have moved further to the right to ensure that a movement for Black self-determination finds no room to breathe in the era of contending fascisms.
As Glen Ford put itin a recent issue of Black Agenda Report, fascism lives in the United States in two forms. The White Man’s foot soldiers dream of reviving the era of “Jim Crow” and 20thcentury fascism where white majorities exploited and dominated the darker nations. These old guard fascists are so arrogant that they often dismiss or are outright ignorant to the existence of a more effective type of fascism. This form of fascism is dedicated to igniting global warfare in service of monopoly and finance capital. The primary aim of the more effective form of fascism is to annihilate any nation or movement capable of bringing the era of US hegemony to a close.
“A movement for Black self-determination finds no room to breathe in the era of contending fascisms.”
Old guard fascism neither has the material nor the ideological influence to achieve dominance over the current arrangement of imperialism. New guard fascism controls the levers of the economy, media, and military within the imperialist orbit. This form of fascism seeks to suppress the public relations crises presented by old guard fascists yet provides active support to Nazis in Ukraineand throughout the Eastern European NATO-occupied bloc. New guard fascists are mainly comprised of the oligarchs within the US “deep state” and international finance but pose as the most sophisticated and superior champions of “democracy” and “liberty” in the world.
The question on the order of the day is not whether one of these two forms of fascism will supplant or suppress the other. More pressing is what the ruling classes will do to ensure that the crisis-ridden system of imperialism is stabilized. The era of Trump has ushered in the stark realization that the political crisis of global imperialism has significant ramifications for all levels of the system. Trump simply cannot achieve what is expected of a Commander in Chief. Some of this is due to his conflicting interests with new guard fascists but, perhaps more critically, is also a signal that the system of imperialism is coming undone at the seams.
“The primary aim of the more effective form of fascism is to annihilate any nation or movement capable of bringing the era of US hegemony to a close.”
Syria is a quintessential example of imperial stagnation and decline. The Trump Administration has looked outright desperate of late. For weeks there have been rumors that the White Helmets were gearing up to stage another chemical attackto justify military strikes in Syria. Turkey, a once reliable ally to the United States, solidified its loyalty to Russia by agreeing to a de-escalation agreement in Idlib. Not twenty-four hours later, Israel and France bombed Syria from the air. Israel has been accused by Russian Minster of Defense Sergey Shoigu of delaying signals of the attackand using a Russian jet as cover. This led to the downing of a Russian jet by the Syrian Arab Army’s Russian-produced S-200 anti-aircraft system.
Such a disastrous and dangerous escalation in Syria is demonstrative of the condition of the imperial order. Neither new guard fascists nor old guard fascists can bring Syria “to heel”, to paraphrase new guard fascist Hillary Clinton. Some, such as Turkey, have temporarily conceded to this fact on the ground. Others, like the United States, have no clear strategy. Still others like Israel have taken a more independent policy by bombing Syria hundreds of timesover the two years in hopes to regain leverage in the war. This is the context in which the accidental downing of the Russian jet by the latest Israeli invasion of Syria should be placed.
“Neither new guard fascists nor old guard fascists can bring Syria ‘to heel.’”
The people living in the United States will only hear “Russia, Russia, Russia” from the corporate media in the following weeks and months as developments in Idlib continue to take shape. The people of the United States are not prepared to confront the realities of the global crisis of imperialism. This includes the Black community, whose historic role as the most anti-war and progressive force in the nation remains suspended by the sheer weight of political reaction that exists inside of the crumbling empire. The world will not wait for the people of the United States or anywhere else in the imperialist orbit to wake up. People all over the world are dying and their nations are being plundered at the hands of US personnel, weapons, and proxies as this article is being written.
The US and its allies blame Russia for Trump and demonize Syria, Iran, and the rest of the non-aligned world because they fear what will happen should struggling people, especially Black people, begin to gain strength in the struggle for liberation from the corporate oligarchy. US imperialism cannot defeat Syria, even amid a weakleft political movement in the United State. The system has taken all possible steps to inhibit domestic insurgency. War on Terror surveillance, corporate media lies, corporate elections, militarized policing, mass Black incarceration, and Russiagate suppression of leftist media are just some of the methods used to stifle political dissent.
“US imperialism cannot defeat Syria, even amid a weak left political movement in the United State.”
The biggest fear of the ruling class is what will happen should Syria take back the entire country with Trump at the helm. Trump has only exacerbated the decline of imperialism in all realms. He has demonstrated that the US is an embarrassment to the world.Its capitalist economy is shrinking, its global hegemony is waning, and its identity is completely wrapped up in the social misery of nearly half the world’s population. Syria, Iran, China, Russia, the DPRK, and a host of others make up an axis of nations unwilling to bow down to an empire with nothing to offer humanity.
The next step for those who consider themselves real leftists in the United States is to shed all illusions about the system that rules over them. It will require the development of real class unity rooted in the struggle against white supremacy and empire. Class unity is not merely working-class white unity nor is it electing more Democrats, no matter how radical they say they are. The development of class unity is only possible under conditions of class struggle. Leftists should turn their attention to the enemies of the people at the top of the class structure and the armed body, the state, that protects the class structure. Defending Syria’s right to self-determination is very much part of that process. This is what Syria’s battle in Idlib teaches us.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the forthcoming book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). He can be reached at [email protected]
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