Domestically, the left-wing is highly sensitive to and distances itself from fascism, fostering a culture of anti-racism in opposition to the right-wing. However, it appears to lose this capability on the international stage due to the entwinement of nationalism and religious zeal within leftist thought. Trotsky’s concept of “uneven and combined development” in political consciousness helps to explain this phenomenon. This theory highlights how disparate levels of political and economic development can lead to a mix of progressive and reactionary attitudes within and across different societies.

Furthermore, prevalent tendencies toward white supremacy, coupled with orientalism, effectively align them with fascist ideologies in other regions, such as the Middle East. Virulent white supremacists don’t study closely the languages, history, and cultures of peripheral nations of color. Multi-culturalists who ‘object to racism’ but wish to sustain empire do that.

In Europe the claim of fighting against NATO is made, for example, in situations where the privileges of living in a member state of the European Union and NATO are not taken into account. In this situation, fascism in Iran by claiming to oppose NATO becomes acceptable material for the left in Europe without considering whether the same privileges of life in Europe exist in Iranian society.

This scenario illustrates a complex dynamic often observed in leftist international politics, particularly within the context of geopolitical alignments and ideological contradictions. The example of Europe and its leftist factions’ stance on NATO and Iran provides a rich ground to apply the concept of “uneven and combined development.”

The critique of NATO by European leftists, despite enjoying the privileges of EU and NATO membership, stems from a broader anti-imperialist and anti-militarist ideology that often characterizes leftist politics. This opposition to NATO is frequently articulated in terms of fighting against global hegemony and imperialism, which they associate with economic exploitation and war.

Stronger anti-NATO sentiment reflects a broader global critique developed in the post-Cold War era, emphasizing solidarity with countries perceived as victims of Western imperialism.

But, Marxist theory differentiates between the state apparatus, which in capitalist societies is seen as an instrument of class domination (serving the interests of the capitalist class), and the general populace, who are often the working class or proletariat. This distinction helps to clarify that the interests of the state can be fundamentally different from, and often opposed to, the interests of the people it governs.

The stance against NATO while overlooking domestic benefits reflects an ideological struggle within the left to reconcile global solidarity with local realities. This situation underscores a tension between theoretical anti-imperialism and practical benefits derived from geopolitical alliances.

In such conditions, ignoring the role of the state (here, for example, the state in Iran) as a capitalist operator has caused a complete break from Marxist theory, which prefers an Eastern capitalist state over a Western capitalist state to advance the issue of eliminating the Western hegemony. This of course leads to another discussion: a multipolar world.

What is this?

Balancing global ideological commitments with the tangible benefits of security and economic stability provided by organizations like NATO. The phenomenon of opposing Western military alliances while potentially overlooking or rationalizing the authoritarian aspects of regimes like Iran’s.

This shows us a need for the left to critically assess not only their opposition to entities like NATO but also the implications of their international stances on domestic politics. Unfortunately, the challenge lies in the potential disconnect between international solidarity and local realities, which can lead to perceived hypocrisy or a lack of coherence in policy positions.

Let us look at the position of Hamas in Palestinian resistance. Hamas’s focus on resistance against Israeli occupation and its opposition to what it sees as Western-backed interventions in the region can be interpreted as a stance against the global capitalist system, especially in terms of military and economic imperialism. However, clearly this does not mean that Hamas promotes a Marxist or purely socialist agenda. Its main objectives and ideological foundations are rooted in national and religious goals rather than a clear-cut economic anti-capitalist doctrine.

In the lead-up to the Iranian Revolution, various leftist groups, including communists and socialists, aligned with Islamist forces to overthrow the Shah of Iran, whom they viewed as a puppet of Western capitalist (particularly American) interests. The common goal was to remove a repressive regime supported by foreign imperialist powers.

Prior to the revolution, Iran was under the autocratic rule of the Shah, with significant political repression and economic policies seen as serving the interests of the elite and foreign corporations, at the expense of the Iranian populace. The alliance was fundamentally one of convenience against a common enemy rather than a union based on shared ideological principles. Leftist groups hoped that the overthrow of the Shah would lead to democratic reforms and economic redistribution.

After consolidating power, the new Islamic regime moved to eliminate its former leftist allies, viewing their secular and socialist ideals as threats to its theocratic objectives.

The tragic aftermath for the Iranian left serves as a cautionary tale for Marxist groups engaging in tactical alliances with ideologically dissimilar movements. It highlights the importance of maintaining a critical stance, preparing for potential ideological conflicts post-revolution, and always striving to build a strong, independent base capable of influencing the direction of post-revolutionary developments.

The resistance groups in Palestine, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, originate from a long history of socio-political and economic struggles against Israeli control and perceived oppression. This resistance is framed within the broader historical context of colonialism and post-colonial struggles, where oppressed groups seek autonomy and self-determination. Many would interpret these groups as part of a broader class struggle against capitalist and imperialist systems, which they see as intrinsically linked to Zionism and Western interests in the region.

This left in Europe, while they are unable to distinguishing between alliances formed for short-term strategic gains versus long-term ideological unity, and they can not clarifying defining the objectives and boundaries of the alliance from the outset, tragically they go against progressives and socialist groups within the local frameworks that they don’t want to affiliate with national/religious groups, specially Iranian left which are in the front line of fighting fascism.

From a Marxist perspective, fascism is seen as a reactionary ideology that arises during certain capitalist crises, serving the interests of the ruling capitalist class by shifting the blame from systemic economic issues to marginalized groups or external foes. The alignment of left-wing groups with fascist-like ideologies in international contexts, especially concerning issues in the Middle East, signals a significant ideological contradiction. This may originate from what Lenin identified as “opportunism”—the adoption of policies or alliances that compromise broader socialist principles for short-term, pragmatic gains.

Essentially, a Marxist critique would emphasize the need for a consistent application of anti-fascist and anti-racist principles that transcend national borders and counteract the divisive effects of nationalism and religious zealotry. Marxism advocates for an internationalist stance that fosters solidarity among the working classes of all nations against all forms of oppression, including fascism and imperialism.

In this light, the European left’s understanding of international dynamics and its engagement with broader discussions appears inadequate. The issue of Palestine exemplifies that despite its high level of humanism, the European left lacks the necessary knowledge and analytical depth to avoid associations with fascism.

In my observation in Greece, elements such as blind anti-Americanism, indulgence in conspiracy theories, and tendencies toward anti-Semitism significantly influence its stance. Rather than grasping the nuances of combating occupation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, they adopt a policy that leans towards being anti-Jewish rather than strictly against right-wing and anti-Zionist. Consequently, the most radical proposals from the Greek left, such as the creation of a Palestinian/Israeli confederation, seem to prioritize the destruction of Israel over the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, white supremacy along with Orientalism does not allow deeper discussions on this matter. In this view, opposition to the hegemony of the Western world not only trivializes the struggles in the Middle East countries against the local governments, but considers them as practical conspiracy of the West. At the same time, progressive and left tendencies in the Middle East are recognized to the extent that they do not pursue human rights, democracy, equality between men and women, and the like, preventing them from going beyond governmental narratives.

The other side of the coin of white supremacy, which at the government level shows itself in banning any kind of symbol in support of Palestine in the West, is the reluctance of various Western leftist organizations, parties, and groups to engage in a Marxist and international discourse with revolutionary leftists in the Middle East.

By understanding the distortions caused by white supremacy and Orientalism, Marxists can better align with genuine liberation movements worldwide, promoting solidarity based on mutual respect and shared goals, rather than imposing an oversimplified or paternalistic worldview. This approach recognizes and supports the agency of Middle Eastern peoples in shaping their societies according to their own needs and aspirations.

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My journey in creating this space was deeply inspired by James Baldwin's powerful work, "The Fire Next Time". Like Baldwin, who eloquently addressed themes of identity, race, and the human condition, this blog aims to be a beacon for open, honest, and sometimes uncomfortable discussions on similar issues.

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