The neostalinist revival

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spartakus25's picture
spartakus25
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Jan 7 2020 06:56
The neostalinist revival

I don't know if this is a trend that is unique to my country (Brazil) but I have seeing a strong stalinist movement in the internet that evolves relatively popular youtubers disseminating the old bullshit about the historical '' necessity 'of the forced industrialization with all its causalities and horrors in the Stalinist era. Succinctly that stalinist revival assert nationalism and productivism as the ideological backbone while it takes the nation-state as the only subject capable of making historical changes.

If that movement gets bigger and relevant, this would be a huge retrogression for the radical left; is as if the left had doesn't learn at all about the soviet collapse.

Mike Harman
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Jan 7 2020 08:00

It's not unique to Brazil. The US has PSL and WWP, originally splits from Trotskyism in the '50s, that now attract a tonne of young internet Stalinists

this was written by an ex-PSL member: https://libcom.org/library/where-s-winter-palace-marxist-leninist-trend-...

This thread on a split from the WWP: https://libcom.org/forums/north-america/wwp-splitting-16072018

In the UK it's maybe not so pronounced, but there are young supporters of the CPGB-ML online, and also Red London.

A lot of the online tankie stuff clusters around the Max Blumenthal/Ben Norton grayzone project. They only lightly touch on historical defences of Stalin (although Norton specifically explicitly supports tanks putting down Hungary '56), but they will do things like defend China as 'socialist'.

There's also crossovr from some of this lot / group leadership into third positionism, or at least sharing platforms with them: https://libcom.org/library/investigation-red-brown-alliances-third-posit...

Battlescarred
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Jan 7 2020 12:31

https://itsgoingdown.org/new-zine-always-against-the-tanks/?fbclid=IwAR1...

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Entdinglichung
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Jan 7 2020 13:31

in Berlin and to a certain extent in other German cities, a awful testosterone-fuelled stalinist sect called Jugendwiderstand (Youth Resistance) flourished for a few years, they dissolved in mid-2019, don't know if burn-out or the fear of state repression was the main reason: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_Resistance

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jan 7 2020 22:08

Yeah, sadly "the old man being back again" is definitely not just a Brazilian thing. There's this thread that tried to look at them a bit, there's also a fair bit of discussion in the comments here: http://libcom.org/blog/everything-you-ever-wanted-know-about-tankies-wer...
I think I remember hearing of Jugenwiederstand/RK a little bit after they made themselves particularly obnoxious around Flensburg. In the UK case, I think they've tended to exist less as independent phenomenon and more that they've been able to exist as a tendency within the broad Corbynist milieu, encouraged by stuff like Corbyn writing for the Morning Star, longtime Stalinist Seamus Milne being one of his top advisors, etc... but I think I might be repeating points from the other "tankies" thread here.

sherbu-kteer's picture
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Jan 8 2020 09:23

It is incredibly strange, if you go on twitter and reddit these weirdos are everywhere. Most of them seem to be young, either in their teens or twenties, so there's a hope they'll grow out of it but it is still bizarre. Twitter has never been a great website but recently all you have to do is tweet something like "I don't particularly like Maduro" and a person with an anime avatar and North Korean flag emoji is there to call you racist in your mentions.

To add to the other examples people mention, in Australia there's been a slight growth of young people joining the Communist Party of Australia, which has fed into the split that led to the creation of the Australian Communist Party. Both are Stalinist.

I'm undecided as to whether all this represents some sort of totally new thing, or just a natural development of the already existing Stalinist forces in places like the US (and presumably Brazil). Eg the US has always had a bizarrely popular Maoist scene, but it was picked up on by obscure nerd subcultures like certain SomethingAwful boards which would snowball into stuff like "read Sakai" forced trends and "cool memes for Stalinist teens" type FB pages.

What is definitely new is the general burst of young people radicalised through the internet. They are, at least at first, quite syncretic and will do a sort of pick and mix from the menu of leftist ideologies to come up with something that seems appealing to them. eg if you go to a subreddit like r/anarchy101 (meant as forum to answer questions from beginners to anarchism) you will see lots of questions like "is syndicalism compatible with Bernie Sanders?". The questions get even stranger on the more niche subs where you will find people saying things like "I think Bakunin AND Stalin had valid ideas".

People interested in watching this petri dish develop can look at the r/ChapoTrapHouse or r/MoreTankieChapo subreddits to see what I mean. The first one used to be pretty good, you could have decent discussions. Now it's "we must give absolute unconditional support to Iran, if you disagree, fuck you" type of stuff.

Whilst we shouldn't overestimate the impact of Stalinist teenagers, I do think it's worrying that in left circles (for lack of a better word) anarchism seems to be in third place after social democracy and Stalinism.

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comradeEmma
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Jan 8 2020 11:43

From my experience "stalinists" just more overplay themselves while their sects are in reality very small and fragile. Most of these groups don't really give its members any experience in organizing or how to build internal democratic structures. Most of the younger people I've seen that have adopted "stalinism" seem pulled in through a mix of the popularization of breadtube and fighting with people on facebook.

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R Totale
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Jan 8 2020 19:55
sherbu-kteer wrote:
I'm undecided as to whether all this represents some sort of totally new thing, or just a natural development of the already existing Stalinist forces in places like the US (and presumably Brazil). Eg the US has always had a bizarrely popular Maoist scene, but it was picked up on by obscure nerd subcultures like certain SomethingAwful boards which would snowball into stuff like "read Sakai" forced trends and "cool memes for Stalinist teens" type FB pages.

Yeah, I guess that for those of us in the UK or Australia to some extent it's a combination of already-existing Stalinist/Maoist forces in the US combined with good old US cultural imperialism/hegemony, and the internet making it much easier for people to pick up on these kinds of US trends? Idk how far similar or different that is in Brazil though.

Quote:
Whilst we shouldn't overestimate the impact of Stalinist teenagers, I do think it's worrying that in left circles (for lack of a better word) anarchism seems to be in third place after social democracy and Stalinism.

I don't want to be complacent, or to understate how bad the situation is, but I suppose it is worth taking a long view and bearing in mind that that's where we were for a fair bit of the 20th century, or even in fourth place behind the Trots.