Budding U.S. national socialism, a kiss of fascism
Friday, March 8, 2019 at 11:39PM

This is the first of a series of articles examining the development of mainstream phony socialists and socialism. Here we explain how this boss-approved “socialism” may in fact be best suited to the political program of liberal fascism and liberal imperialism associated with the main wing of the U.S. ruling class.
Sometimes the best way for capitalists to exercise power is to let the workers vote for “socialists.” That is what we are seeing with Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (also known by her initials AOC) in the United States today. It is also what we have seen from a whole band of “socialists” who have emerged since the 1990s in Latin America and Europe: France has had Jacques François Hollande, Bolivia still has Evo Morales, Brazil has had Lula da Silva, Mexico now has Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
For hundreds of millions of class sisters and brothers worldwide over the past 30 years, “socialist” leaders have delivered false hope, rising inequality, mounting climate disaster and growing inter-imperialist rivalry. All of these “socialists” have put the nation with their established ruling classes first, not workers. Workers in the United States ought to expect no different from democratic socialists Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez. The arrival of boss-sponsored socialism in the United States is an important development in world politics but it is nothing new for the international working class. U.S. workers must not be swept away in a new fake-left enthusiasm that cloaks a drive toward fascism and war.
What is socialism? Why now?
The communist pair Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels defined socialism as a phase of human history that comes after a successful workers’ revolution. It abolishes exploitation of labor by a profit-driven capitalist class, but retains some class distinctions.
Twentieth century revolutionaries such as Vladmir Lenin and Mao Zedong understood socialism as a stage on the way to communism, a one-class society. Socialism is what was achieved in the Russian and the Chinese revolutions. Socialism was then reversed; communism was not reached (see Road to Revolution III at PLP. org ). With president Donald Trump pivoting in his State of the Union to declaring “socialism” a great threat and the (for now) breathless media love affair with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we can sense the shift in U.S. political life headed our way.
Bernie and AOC seek to reform capitalism, not replace it. They may in fact be best suited to the political program of liberal fascism and liberal imperialism associated with the main wing of the U.S. ruling class. This (for now) dominant bloc of U.S. capital seeks to preserve the widest possible portion of the globe as a zone of U.S. dominance. This group we contrast with the “Fortress America” wing of the U.S. ruling class who holds the outlook that a domestic political basis of white nationalism is sufficient to sustain a perhaps less expansive but still-dangerous U.S. imperialism, currently configured around and inflamed by Trump. The split within the U.S. ruling class is fought out on the terrain of working-class allegiance. Democratic socialism is the latest gambit on the part of the main wing of the U.S. ruling class to build a mass base for its developing program of war and fascism.
Liberal imperialism
Liberal imperialism is shorthand for the building up of a political culture required to withstand the rigors of a military draft that must necessarily draw on a wide cross-section of U.S. society and to wage war against a major imperialist rival. Multicultural imperialism explains the recent ruling from a Texas judge that a male-only draft is unconstitutional (NY Times 2/24), calls to bring transgender workers into the military, as well as the liberal/Democratic outcry against Trump’s announced troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. Bernie’s 2016 trial balloon never got past the limitations of “white socialism,” his movement never gained traction among Black and immigrant workers. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s contribution will be to help correct that weakness, though her politics of patriotism are indeed the kiss of death (see box).
Liberal fascism
Waging major war requires giving more workers a country worth dying for (reform) but it also requires, at the same time, “sacrifice” from everyone, including the bosses. In fact, making a show of forcing sacrifice on the rich provides the legitimacy needed when imposing sacrifice on the workers. Trump’s temporary work-for-no-pay regime imposed during the recent government shutdown is a part of this same ruling-class campaign to build up a political culture of teaching workers to endure sacrifice. Yet recall the marginal tax rates of 90 percent and above levied on the richest bosses during World War II and the Cold War. Trump’s cynical, one-sided imposition of sacrifice is of a piece with the runaway separation of a tiny billionaire plutocracy of the Barack Obama years. Neither the Trump nor the Obama presidential style has inspired the sacrificial national unity needed to go to war. AOC’s calls for a Green New Deal are the closest thing the ruling class has to reviving the kind of a vigorous program of reform that has made the country ‘worth fighting for’ in the past.
Future articles will develop this analysis of an emergent American national socialism as a program of multicultural imperialism and liberal fascism. We call for submissions between now and May Day along the lines established above.
PLP, the communist choice
The great opportunity in today’s political situation where socialism is on people’s minds is in the class struggle—in building multiracial unity against murderous speed-up for transit workers, against fascist deportation and racist police murder, against school segregation, and more. In these fights, communists expose the limits of reform and distinguish revolutionary proletarian internationalism from the poisoned-by-patriotism brand of national socialism that the bosses have placed before our class in the U.S. and around the globe. In the shadow of war, we must expand these class struggles. We can and will lead millions to turn imperialist war into class war and push through to communist victory. Achieving communism remains the aspiration for workers in our many, growing and ultimately overwhelming millions. Fight for communism, Join PLP!

Article originally appeared on The Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party (http://www.plp.org/).
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