Simultaneous to these economic developments, the development of neoliberalism was likewise underway in other spheres as well. Namely, in the settlement of thousands of Nazi criminals in the United States, and their implementation as intelligence assets in the cold war. One such program, ANYFACE, saw the United States government intentionally shielding and protecting the renowned Nazi Stepan Bandera, living in the American zone of Germany, whose Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists had directly participated in the holocaust. The most famous program from this era, PAPERCLIP, oversaw the transfer of some 1,600 nazis to the United States—to live out their lives as free men; albeit as assets of the US government. Here we see the emergence of the original surveillance apparatus in America. With such programs as the CIA’s COINTELPRO, to surveil and disrupt left-wing organizations, CYCLONE, to train and arm Taliban, Uyghur, Al-Qaeda, and other religious extremists in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1992, and more, the bourgeois dictatorship—which had, to be clear, never been a friend of oppressed or freedom-loving people—evolved into a pseudo-fascist juggernaut; a fourth Reich, with neoliberalism acting as its ideological sword and shield, thinly veiling some of the most horrific human rights abuses in modern history. CONDOR facilitated the training, coordination, and implementation of “executive action” throughout South America—exact figures on the number of civilians tortured to death, thrown into the sea, or otherwise disappeared by State actors via CONDOR remains unclear, with Vincent Bevins’ Jakarta Method (2020) estimating the total death toll to be potentially as high as 80,000. Through veiled support for organizations such as the World Anti-Communist League, “a collection of Nazis, Fascists, anti-Semites, sellers of forgeries, vicious racialists, and corrupt self-seekers”, formerly chaired by Senator John McCain, and known to have functioned as a back-door for US government operations regarding Iran-Contra, as well as the supporting of death squads across central and South America, the modern NGO apparatus (typified by organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy) took form.
All other clandestine fascistic programs, however, pale in the face of GLADIO: the catch-all name for a series of programs under which the United States government established illegal “stay-behind” armies, primarily comprised of fascists and right-wing terrorists, in NATO countries throughout Europe—generally without the knowledge or consent of the governments or people of those countries—complete with funding, training, and caches of military-grade communications equipment and weaponry. The most famous section of GLADIO, from which its name is derived, was in Italy, where US-backed fascist terrorists are believed to have played a heavy role in the Anni di Piombo—Years of Lead—a roughly 20-year period of unbridled political violence that, it was later discovered, had been part of a strategy of tension to weaken and disorganize communist forces by encouraging adventurism and terrorism. The strategy was successful, as it effectively alienated the communists from the masses, neutralized their leadership, and threw their organizations into complete chaos. Given the involvement of the US government, the COINTELPRO-esque nature of the Anni di Piombo cannot be overlooked, as it concretely signifies both the development of such fascistic tactics, as well as the capacity that can be—or already is—very easily applied to domestic repression. In many ways it reminds one of some of the recent repressive actions taken by government forces during the George Floyd protests in Portland, albeit without the messy ending of kidnapped dissidents being permanently disappeared—or worse. Such actions clearly mark that such an extra step would not be a difficult jump to make; perhaps such psychological terrorism is the point.
Thus it is clearly revealed that notions of an unspoken and uncodified rules based order, what the New York Times referred to as “The Vacuous Phrase at the Core of Biden’s Foreign Policy”, is precisely the result of this unholy mixture of American exceptionalism, militarist fascism, and so-called neoliberalism that formed in the United States following the war. Today, both Democrat and Republican parties are bona fide neoliberal parties—with one merely leaning more openly towards fascism. This is not to discount the importance of the electoral sphere of struggle. It is, however, to shine a light on the spider’s web we find ourselves in. The Marxist-Leninist position, as always, is that voting alone will not secure the revolution. In the face of such repression, such malice, and such barbarism, what is the path forward?
An ancient Greek myth goes that during the reign of Minos, Athens was forced to send tributes to the island of Crete every seven years—the seven bravest men, and the seven most beautiful women; sacrifices to the great minotaur, cast into the labyrinth, never to be seen again. Our great and beautiful working and oppressed people are today what those lost souls were in legend; blind and ignorant, fumbling through the dark labyrinth, helpless against the beast that lurks in the shadows. So the story goes, the Athenian hero Theseus killed the great beast, and freed the people of Athens from its tyranny. So it is that, from time to time, would-be “heroes” arise today, hoping to slay our own beast. One such martyr, Willem van Spronsen, an Anarchist, rose with fury against the tyranny of ICE, in defense of our undocumented neighbors. The real world, however, is not fairytales—Cde. Willem was martyred by pig bullets in Tacoma in 2019, at the age of 69; he attacked no one, and yet his lone act of defiant rebellion—in solidarity with one of the most horrifically oppressed communities in the US—was enough to earn his martyrdom.
Here we refer back to the opening quote of this article: it is right to rebel. Alternatively translated as rebellion is justified, Chairman Mao Zedong correctly encapsulates the essence of the truth of Marxism-Leninism when put into practice. It is not enough, however, to only read one sentence devoid of context. The rest of the sentence following the initial quote establishes further what exactly comrade Mao had in mind:
For thousands of years, it has been said that oppression is justified, exploitation is justified, and rebellion is unreasonable. Since the emergence of Marxism, this old case has been overturned. This is a great accomplishment. As Marx concluded, the proletariat has learned this truth through struggle. Based on this principle, we resisted, fought, and practiced socialism. What credit does Stalin have? He developed this principle, he developed Marxism-Leninism, and came up with a very clear, concrete and vivid principle for the oppressed people all over the world, which is the theory of how to establish a revolutionary front, overthrow imperialism, overthrow capitalism, and establish a socialist society.
Comrade Mao here is advocating for the same revolutionary program as put forward by Stalin, who in turn advocated the program put forward by Lenin, and so on. The only differentiation among them lay in the precise implementation of the science of Marxism-Leninism to specific material conditions in specific moments in time. The failure to properly apply revolutionary theory to real material conditions in this manner results immediately in alienation from the masses, and places one on the side of either adventurism—offensive action at a time when such action is not in the interests of or desired by the masses—or tailism—action taken from a position of defensive reactivity at a time when forward action and direction is necessary.
As regards the former, there is no shortage today of loud voices calling for violence—unlimited genocide on the first world! Today, as throughout history, the Marxist-Leninist position is one of revolutionary professionalism, and tact. Marxists have, and will, only ever engage in self-defense. There is a key distinction that must be made, and understood, between adventurism and self-defense. In light of what we now know regarding the surveillance State and the strategy of tension, it is especially important to understand the difference.
As regards the latter, there is no shortage of half-baked chauvinists pretending to be Marxists in the west today. This is neither new, nor exciting, nor worth wasting more time with than is absolutely necessary to ensure that as few honest people are pulled into their trash heap as possible. All the social-chauvinists are now “Marxists” (don’t laugh!).
In light of the above, the possibility must also be considered of agents provocateurs intentionally spreading both of these errors; it is a matter of fact that they have, and will continue to do so. It is the task of every Marxist to be alert and keep themselves and their comrades safe against such dangers. It is well known that the FBI actively creates terrorists; this is a function of the strategy of tension, to garner a sense of dependency from the masses by fomenting make-believe threats and then “solving” them and proudly declaring the results. For these reasons, the most vulnerable, detrimental, and ultimately worthless Marxist will always be the one that is isolated and unorganized.
There exists an entire ecosystem on the internet, trapped in a never-ending cycle of crises, precisely due to its lack of organization; though ostensibly comprising millions of people, it exists as an ecosystem not for the organizing of collective attack and defense, but rather a containment zone of impotent rage: millions of rats enclosed on a sinking ship, screaming into the void as they are inevitably driven into the deep. There is no greater task, at this moment, than to be organized. Many revolutionary movements began with nothing but a reading circle—if no professional organization, or no organization you wish to affiliate with, exists within your area, then you can at least grab a friend or family member and start reading together. Considering that 54% of Americans are illiterate, merely reading with someone is itself a revolutionary act.
In the final analysis, nothing less than a full revolutionary program, implemented across every sphere of engagement, will be enough to break the pseudo-fascist stranglehold in America. Therefore, that is precisely what must be done.
The first step is to get organized. If not for us, then for them.