Anti-Communist Atrocity Propaganda is Fascism’s Greatest Weapon

Rainer Shea 
Projecting the crimes of colonialism and imperialism onto class and national liberation movements is the tactic that’s defined fascism. I say it’s specifically defined fascism, and not the historical imperialist power structure, because it’s during the era of fascism that capital has come under enough threat for atrocity propaganda to become such a prominent weapon by capital’s fighting forces. It’s been only during the last century or so, since the victory of the Russian proletariat in 1917 and the creation of the first workers state, that the bourgeoisie have had an enemy powerful enough to be targeted with the fabricated human rights abuse charges that the fascists employ.

Ukrainian nationalism’s persecution narrative

Appropriately, it was shortly after the Soviet Union began, and the bourgeoisie came under this unprecedented threat, that the fascist movement as we now know it reached its theoretical birth. The colonial powers have always existed in the rough model of fascism, with the United States and its historically unsurpassed settler-colonial genocide serving as a proto-fascist basis for what was to come. Then during World War I, when the Bolsheviks were closing in on victory, Mussolini helped organize an ostensibly revolutionary group which utilized the image of the Roman Fasces. In the coming decades, Mussolini would formulate fascism’s ideological literature, putting out the Doctrine of Fascism in 1932.

It was shortly after then that the fascists, having come to power in Germany and now beginning to lay the foundations for war, would fabricate the Soviet “atrocity” which has since formed the primary basis of anti-communism. As well as for the antisemitic “Judeo-Bolskevism” conspiracy theories that are put forth by this atrocity narrative’s more outwardly fascist promoters. This narrative is the “Holodomor,” the false claim that Stalin engineered a famine in Ukraine from 1932 to 1933. As Mario Sousa writes about the Nazi regime’s motive for making up the lie:

The conquest of the Ukraine and other areas of the Soviet Union would necessitate war against the Soviet Union, and this war had to be prepared well in advance.  To this end the Nazi propaganda ministry, headed by Goebbels, began a campaign around a supposed genocide committed by the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine, a dreadful period of catastrophic famine deliberately provoked by Stalin in order to force the peasantry to accept socialist policy.  The purpose of the Nazi campaign was to prepare world public opinion for the ‘liberation’ of the Ukraine by German troops.  Despite huge efforts and in spite of the fact that some of the German propaganda texts were published in the English press, the Nazi campaign around the supposed ‘genocide’ in the Ukraine was not very successful at the world level.  It was clear that Hitler and Goebbels needed help in spreading their libellous rumours about the Soviet Union.  That help they found in the USA.

With this propaganda campaign came the rise of another bourgeois weapon that’s been unique to the intensified class struggle of the last century: the narrative use of “humanitarianism” to justify waging war against imperialism’s targeted countries. And the USA, which was on the path to becoming the center of imperialism following World War II, was the perfect initial proliferator of this weapon. Through the media empire of Nazi Germany’s U.S. ally William Randolph Hearst, the fabricated accounts of deliberate Soviet-perpetrated starvation in Ukraine were spread to tens of millions of readers. This laid the foundations for an anti-communist orthodoxy, one whose fascist roots are now coming back to prominence.

It’s been liberalism’s cultivation of the Holodomor hoax, and of the other fabricated communist atrocity narratives, that’s allowed for the rise of Ukraine’s current fascist regime. Since Ukrainian nationalists took power in the 2014 U.S. coup, they’ve been justifying their crimes against humanity by claiming to be seeking justice for the supposed Soviet atrocities against Ukraine. They’ve upheld the Holodomor and the other pieces of Nazi anti-Soviet propaganda as governmentally promoted facets of Ukraine’s history. These lies about the USSR are the central premise behind the regime’s portrayals of Ukraine’s Nazi collaborators—who directly participated in the Holocaust—as the country’s heroic “founding fathers,” as liberators who merely retaliated against the USSR’s supposed crimes.

This is why these atrocity narratives, which underwent a major push last month with the “Holodomor’s” anniversary, are integral to the pogroms, LGBT persecution, massacres, bombardments of civilians, torture, censorship, and anti-democratic actions of Ukraine’s regime. Without the Big Lie about the Soviets having carried out a crime equivalent to the Holocaust (which the neo-Nazis deny regardless), the regime’s founding myth would have no basis. What NATO has been doing by installing and backing this regime is carrying forth a nation-building project in Ukraine. And nations require shared cultural and historical narratives.

To construct the kind of nation NATO wants for its anti-Russian proxy war goals to be fulfilled, Ukraine’s fundamental Russian roots must be purged, which requires painting Russia as having committed genocide against Ukrainians. Or at least against the people the fascists judge to be proper Ukrainians; those with Russian ties have been getting ethnically cleansed, along with the country’s Jews and Romas. These horrors are rationalized by the Holodomor narrative as well, because under the Nazi conspiracy worldview, global Jews and other disfavored groups are considered part of the imaginary communist plot to wage war against the master race. It’s an extension of the “Judeo-Bolshevism” conspiracy theory, which seeks to paint communism as a Jewish tool for world domination. Antisemitism and other types of bigotry are inseparable from anti-communist propaganda.

Parallel lies from Poland’s fascists

The Big Lie of a Soviet Holocaust has been getting utilized in the same way under Poland’s own fascist regime, whose anti-LGBT policies, assaults on abortion rights, fascist paramilitarism, and xenophobic institutional violence have also been getting enabled by NATO for the sake of anti-Russian military buildup.

In 2018, after the extreme right-wing Law and Justice Party had gained the governmental majority status several years prior, Poland’s Senate “recognized” the Holodomor as a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This was to reaffirm the country’s 2006 decision to do the same. While the rise of the fascists had helped solidify the vote, the liberal opposition to Law and Justice put up no resistance to this decision, as the vote was unanimous. This was because starting during the leadup to World War II, Poland’s forces of reaction have constructed their own set of myths which paint communism as genocidal, and which therefore rationalize the paradigm of human rights abuses the country is descending into.

The logical conclusion of promoting anti-communist propaganda is the creation of a fascist state, because a fascist state is what can maximize the suppression of communism. The basis for such a state exists in Article 13 of Poland’s constitution, which bans parties “whose programmes are based upon totalitarian methods and the modes of activity of Nazism, fascism and communism.” Under such a system, fascism will be the side that wins out, because the fascists can simply pose as the upholders of “democracy” by going after the “totalitarian” communists.

In 2016, Poland drifted closer to this scenario by passing a law requiringlocal governments to take away all public symbols of communism. Then last year, Poland’s public prosecutor office attempted to ban the communist party (something Ukraine’s regime has already succeeded in doing). Its request for outlawing the organization so far hasn’t been carried through. But the language it used to rationalize this attack on democracy served to solidify fascism’s integral narratives about communism, and “Stalinism” in particular, representing an evil which must be eliminated at all costs.

The office said that the party “has identical goals to other communist parties in the 20th century,” these goals involving “totalitarian methods and practices.” It warned that the party “expresses admiration for the political system of the Soviet Union” and “questions the democratic order in Poland,” alarmed that “All that is Soviet is glorified and justified in the KPP’s [the Communist Party’s] manifesto, including Soviet commanders” who carried out operations in Poland. The office stressed this last point by observing that the party’s members “do not condemn even such traumatic events for the Polish nation as the Katyn Massacre.”

This is where Poland’s anti-communist lies are revealed to run even deeper within its political culture. So deep that they’re accepted not just by the fascists and the liberals, but even by a contingent of Poles who identify as communists. Because throughout these events, Poland’s anti-Soviet sectarians—incited by the “anti-Stalinist” narratives of counterrevolutionaries like Trotsky—joined the fascists and the kulaks in an upswell of reactionary intrigue.

In response, Stalin defended the revolution. As was explained in the document authorizing Stalin’s operations throughout Poland, only those involved in rebellions and criminal activities were intended to be targeted, with the objects of Stalin’s ire including:

Former kulaks who have returned home after having served their sentences and who continue to carry out anti-Soviet sabotage. Former kulaks who have escaped from camps or from labor settlements, as well as kulaks who have been in hiding from dekulakization, who carry out anti-Soviet activities. Former kulaks and socially dangerous elements who were members of insurrectionary, fascist, terroristic, and bandit formations, who have served their sentences, who have been in hiding from punishment, or who have escaped from places of confinement and renewed their anti-Soviet, criminal activities. Members of anti-Soviet parties (SRs, Georgian Mensheviks, Dashnaks, Mussavatists, Ittihadists, etc.), former Whites, gendarmes, bureaucrats, members of punitive expeditions, bandits, gang abettors, transferees, re-emigres, who are in hiding from punishment, who have escaped from places of confinement, and who continue to carry out active anti-Soviet activities.

The ideological heirs to those turncoat saboteurs within the communist movement continue to aid the fascists by putting forth the narrative that Stalin deliberately went far beyond authorizing these repressions. That he was to blame for all of the Soviet miscarriages of justice (the accounts of which have largely themselves been manipulated to vilify Stalin) which Poland’s propagandists exploit to advance their narratives. What they leave out is that these tragedies were essentially a series of false flag events, created by agents of fascist intrigue who infiltrated the Soviet justice system. As one Marxist researcher observes about the scheme of Nikolay Ezhov, the infiltrator who fabricated incriminating confessions so that Stalin would be deceived into authorizing actions against innocents:

It is important to ideologically anticommunist researchers that these mass murders be seen as Stalin’s plan and intention. Khaustov [one of these researchers] is honest enough to admit that the evidence does not bear this out. Some, and no doubt many, of the confessional and investigative documents Ezhov sent on to Stalin and the Soviet leadership must have been falsifications. But in reality Khaustov has no idea which were fabrications and which were not. What is important here is that Khaustov admits the existence of a major conspiracy by Ezhov and concedes that Stalin was deceived by him. Ezhov admits as much in the confessions of his that we now have. Khaustov admits that Stalin acted in good faith on the basis of evidence presented to him by Ezhov, much of which must have been false.

When he found out about the miscarriages, Stalin readily admitted to these mistakes within his purge, because he was not the one who engineered them. The Nazis were to blame for the deaths of all of those innocent Poles. This is the conclusion Bruce Franklin comes to in his polemic defending Stalin:

There are certainly good grounds for criticizing both the conduct and the extent of the purge. But that criticism must begin by facing the facts that an anti-Soviet conspiracy did exist within the Party, that it had some ties with the Nazis, who were indeed preparing to invade the country, and that one result of the purge was that the ‘Soviet Union was the only country in all of Europe that, when invaded by the Nazis, did not have an active Fifth Column. It must also recognize that capitalism has since been restored in the Soviet Union, on the initiative of leading members of the Party bureaucracy, and so it is hardly fantastical or merely paranoid to think that such a thing was possible.

Why did the Nazis hijack the Soviet justice system to carry out these abuses? Because that’s how far they were willing to go to bolster their narrative about being the defenders of “human rights,” to have their own incomprehensible atrocities be distracted from by the communist bogeyman. When today’s liberals and “anti-Stalinist” socialists promote these claims, they’re doing exactly what the Nazis wanted people to be doing for generations after the Third Reich’s defeat: demonize communism. Every day, this brings the Third Reich’s modern admirers closer to finishing what Hitler started.

Rainer Shea: Exposing the lies of capitalism and imperialism. Subscribe to his newsletter on Substack.