The orbit of power of the United States

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By CAIO BUGIATO*

Ukraine and Israel have presented characteristic elements of a fascistization process

The reflections in this text seek to establish common points between two social formations, Ukraine and Israel, which have presented characteristic elements of a fascistization process. Fascism is not a dated phenomenon: “[t]he topicality of the issue of fascism, let us simply say that fascisms (…) are not phenomena limited in time. The resurgence of fascism remains possible, especially today, even if it does not now take on exactly the same historical forms that it took on in the past” (Nicos Poulantzas, fascism and dictatorship). Fascism is a phenomenon of capitalism and linked to imperialism; As long as they last, there will be fascisms.

Ucrania

Between 2013 and 2014 violent protests, supported by the USA and the European Union in the name of “democracy”, with an anti-communist bias, demanded the westernization of Ukraine and increased tension with Russia governed by Vladimir Putin. In this political process, pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovtich, elected in 2010, was overthrown and neo-fascist groups gained strength in the country. The militants of the so-called Euromaidan (neo-fascist organizations that participated in the protests on Maidan Square in Kiev) have (re)organized themselves with inspiration in a fascist program of attacks on what they consider their enemies. The emblem of this process was the arson at the Regional Federation of Trade Unions building in the city of Odessa, which left 42 people dead. As a consequence, tensions in the country escalated until they culminated in a civil war in eastern Ukraine, where the People's Republic of Donetsk and the People's Republic of Luhansk were formed, in the Donbass region. In May 2014, these pro-Russian separatist republics proclaimed independence, after a referendum in which around 80% of the local population voted to no longer be part of the Ukrainian state. To the wrath of neo-fascists.

One of the organizations that gained the most prominence in this conflict is the so-called Azov Battalion, a neo-fascist group that fought the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 in the city of Mariupol, bordering the Sea of ​​Azov. The group was later incorporated as a battalion into the Ukrainian National Guard and is proud to display symbols of Nazi Germany, such as the Wolfsangel, used by the 2nd Panzer Division, and the Black Sun. Other groups awoke in the process, such as the Svoboda Party, the C-14 and the Pravyi Sektor (Right Sector), which formed their own armed militias, many of them incorporated into the armed forces. In addition to participating in the country's political life, as in the case of the city of Cherkasy in 2017, when militiamen invaded the council chamber, locked up parliamentarians and forced them to approve the budget proposed by the mayor, these groups play an important role for imperialism. Western capitalist powers and their military arm, NATO, can count on them to overthrow rulers, harass the republics of Donbass and threaten the Russian state.

It is in this context that the government of Volodomyr Zelensky was elected, surfing the political upheaval of 2013-2014, sworn in in May 2019. With an anti-corruption narrative, a speech contrary to the old policy and a WhatsApp campaign, he defeated the experienced Petro Poroshenko, who was running for re-election. Furthermore, he defended Ukraine's entry into the European Union and NATO. Before the war against Russia, the Zelensky government's brand of war was to intensify military provocations in the Donbass region, with drone attacks. The Zelensky government did not implement the Minsky II agreement, which provided for a constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the Donbass republics, and turned a blind eye to militia attacks in the region, satisfying their own interests and those of NATO.

During the Zelensky government, its former prime minister Alexey Goncharuk made fascist statements at events organized by neo-fascist groups. On April 28, 2021, neo-fascist militants marched in Kiev, in memory of the 14th Grenadier Division of the SS (a paramilitary organization linked to the Nazi Party of Germany), or the 1st Galician Division, which had volunteers who collaborated with the Nazi invasion of USSR. Recently, Zelensky was – and applauded – at the salute that the parliament of Canada (a member country of NATO) gave to a “war hero” who fought for the First Ukrainian Division in the Second World War, Iaroslav Hunka. The First Ukrainian Division was also the Galician Division, or 14th SS Grenadier Division. In the war against Russia, it is common to see Ukrainian soldiers wearing Nazi symbols.

Israel

Israel's links with imperialism are longer-lasting. In 1947, a time of redefinition of the world order and construction of the supremacy of the United States, the UN General Assembly approved Resolution 181, which resulted in the partition of Palestine. The Jews, who owned 6% of the land and around 600 inhabitants (30% of the population) would retain 55% of the territory. The Palestinians, who numbered around 1,3 million (70% of the population) would receive 45%. There was no agreement on such sharing and in the uncertainty, the Palestinians were expelled from their lands in a violent process of expropriation between 1947 and 1949, called the Palestine War.

Washington's diplomacy acted firmly to establish the State of Israel and has supported it almost unconditionally ever since. This support has different reasons, but two of them deserve to be highlighted. First, the USA had at the time the largest Jewish population in the world, whose Zionist Jews had been demanding the formation of a state for decades. Faced with the horrors of the Holocaust, the demand found a favorable international context, in the redefinition of the world order.

Jews were and are still part of the US ruling class. Despite being a minority in the country (around 6 million, while Israel has around 6,5 million), 50% of American Jews have a family income above US$100 annually, while in the general population there are only 19% with this income; 23% of Jews have a family income of more than US$200 annually, compared to 4% of Americans. They are represented in parliament with 6,4% congressmen, compared to a population of 2% who declare themselves Jewish. In this sense, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a well-known lobbyist group that operates in the country's political life. Furthermore, 1 in 4 American Jews have lived in Israel or been to the country several times; 6 in ten say they are very or reasonably emotionally attached to the State of Israel (BBC data taken from the Pew Research Institute)

Second, the US project of having a vassal state in the Middle East served to guarantee vital energy resources, remove Soviet influence and later disrupt nationalist and socialist movements. Israel has been the largest recipient of US resources since the end of the Second World War: around US$260 billion between 1946 and 2023, more than half in military aid, according to a report by the US Congress. The US has used its veto power in the UN Security Council more than 80 times in favor of Israel, preventing reprimands or sanctions against Israel for its colonization of Palestine.

In the second half of the XNUMXth century, the Israeli air force helped suppress national liberation and revolutionary movements in countries in the region, such as Lebanon and Jordan. Its armed forces test American equipment on the battlefield, while the Mossad, an intelligence agency, cooperates closely with the CIA. Along with the USA and England, it supported white South Africa in apartheid, supplied them with weapons and prevented actions at the UN. Israel sent special troops in support of South African supremacist forces against the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) of Namibia. It is worth remembering that the USA and England classified Nelson Mandela and the ANC as terrorists and that the Secretary of State of the Reagan administration said: “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier, it is unsinkable, does not carry any American soldiers and is located in a critical region for US national security.”

The State of Israel has configured itself as an apartheid regime, similar to that which existed in South Africa and Nazi Germany. Its legal system has a series of laws – Law of Return, Law of Citizenship and Entry into Israel, Law of the Nakba, Law of Absence, Emergency Laws – which consider its non-Jewish inhabitants, the Arabs, as second-class citizens, deprived of certain collective rights. Perhaps the most explicit law in this sense is the Nation-State Law, which considers Israel's identity as a nation-state of only the Jewish people, disregarding the Palestinians who live in the country. The Palestinians who remained in the country after the establishment of the State of Israel make up 20% of the population, out of a total of 9 million people. The Nation-State Law even encourages the expansion of colonies, which is, in the UN's own view, a stimulus to violence and an obstacle to peace in the region.

In terms of foreign policy, the 2007 declaration that formally established the Gaza Strip as a hostile entity and established a land, sea and air blockade of the region that continues to this day is emblematic. UN data reveals that this enclosure has made the place uninhabitable: more than half of the population lives below the poverty line, the majority of the population depends on external aid and more than half of young people are unemployed. With one of the highest population densities in the world, it is a people suffering from humanitarian crises resulting from six asymmetric wars. And they cannot escape their fenced territory. The Palestinians of Gaza (and the West Bank) are a people without a state and without rights, under military occupation and threatened by Israeli colonization.

***

The processes of fascistization in Ukraine and Israel are complex phenomena that have other elements that are not addressed in this text. They are different phenomena in duration, intensity, agency, contradictions, etc. and present advances and setbacks. A striking difference is the origin: while the first took shape recently in a former Soviet republic, the second already shows signs of the establishment of the State in the post-World War II era. However, two points in common stand out. First, both are linked to the imperialist chain led by the USA, whose military arm is NATO. Fascism has never been the archenemy of Western capitalism; This role belongs to socialism. The USA delayed entering World War II, which began in 1939, so that the Nazi war machine would lead Europe to catastrophe and on its rubble Washington could build its supremacy without obstacles. When they realized the size of the Nazi threat – which took over Europe, isolated England and headed towards the USSR – to their project, they decided to act in 1942. Now fascism plays a similar role, but within the imperialist chain, against autonomous resistance from Russians and Palestinians. (and Chinese) for example. The USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France – members of NATO and major suppliers of weapons to the Ukrainians – and Ukraine were the most vocal states supporting Israel in the war against Hamas. Second, it is possible to say that fascism in Ukraine is a phenomenon more of civil society than of the State, a relationship that is reversed in Israel. However, the dynamics are the same: construction of a unified political and cultural organization vis-à-vis a public enemy (Carl Schmitt’s “friend x enemy”) and the inferiorization, combat and elimination of the opponent. Whether for the population of the People's Republics of Donbass and the Russians, or for the Palestinians, fascism is a supremacist program of extermination in the service of imperialism and its ultimate aim is the establishment of fascist dictatorship in the capitalist State.

* Caio Bugiato Professor of Political Science and International Relations at UFRRJ and at the Graduate Program in International Relations at UFABC.


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