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Presented as solidarity actions

Marielle Leranand
Marielle Leraand
Leader in Fred and Justice (FOR), regular commentator in MODERN TIMES, and former deputy leader in Rødt.
WAR / In the ongoing conflict between Russia and the West in Ukraine, social democrats, social liberals and green politicians have been among the most ardent supporters of war and confrontational politics. And when "solidarity" becomes a tool for warmongers, the political right can become a strategic ally.


Is it true that we see tendencies towards the radical left more often finding themselves together with parts of the right in political conflicts, so that we can say that the so-called horseshoe theory has something to do with it? Yes, it applies far from all, nor most political conflicts, but it applies in some areas. One of the areas at issue is the most important of all political questions: the question of war and peace.

The anti-war strategy of the labor movement

Historically, the issue of war and peace has been one of the most defining divisions between right and left. The radical labor movement has from the beginning been associated with the idea that war between nations is an evil that should be stopped by workers on both sides refusing to fight each other, and if given the order to shoot, rather shoot their own officers than shoot at other workers on the other side of the border. On the opposite side, the far-right ideologies of fascism and Nazism arose in the wake of the First World War as an expression of the extreme opposition to this. For Høyreto the extremists, war was not simply an acceptable means of safeguarding the nation's interests in conflict with others, as it was in traditional bourgeois thinking at the time. For right-wing extremism, mobilizing the nation in war was also a romantic goal in itself.

Even though moderate social democrats undermined the anti-war strategy of the labor movement on both sides during the First World War, and even though most social democratic parties supported NATO during the Cold War, it was still in the centre-left that left-wing radicals could most often find an ear for disarmament and detente.

The falsity of rhetoric

This changed after the end of the Cold War. Fair enough, Tony Blair and British Labor were quite alone among historical centre-left parties in their enthusiastic support and participation in the war of aggression against Iraq in 2003, but both during the preceding NATO war against Yugoslavia in 1999 and in the ongoing conflict between Russia and the West in In Ukraine, social democrats, social liberals and green politicians have been among the most ardent supporters of war and confrontational politics.

For right-wing extremism, mobilizing the nation in war was also a romantic goal in itself.

One explanation is probably that several of the wars after the Cold War ended have been portrayed as solidarityactions, where the aim is not to promote the interests of one's own nation, but to help people in need. For those who have access to enough information, it is not difficult to see the inconsistency and thus the falsity of this rhetoric.

For example, the West has insisted on being able to intervene military to support a population group's right to self-government and a resistance to the incumbent regime i Syria, while insisting on respect for the principles of non-interference and respect for existing borders in today's ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Underlying are the same old interests in increasing the state's control and influence over other people's lands and resources – which underpinned the colonial era and the First World War.

#Propaganda works, however, and for the broad masses of people who do not have the opportunity or energy to seek out information and analyze inconsistencies that are not communicated, it is easier to believe that the world is actually as it is presented in the media. Therefore, the propaganda works as it was intended for gullible centre-left people who enthusiastically support the elite's war plans.

Right side

At the same time, those who think in traditional right-wing ways protest, and advocate that we should rather take care of our own problems than use the tax to give another country large quantities of advanced weapons for free.

Far from everyone on the right, however, are such "doves of peace", which we see clearly in the right-wing populist Polish government, which is among the most bellicose in the EU and NATO. But at the same time, the corresponding right-wing populist Hungarian government is the one that, in contrast to some centre-left governments, puts a damper on the EU's sanctions policy and refuses armsdeliveries to Ukraine through own territory.

Gullible center-left people enthusiastically support the elite's war plans.

In the United States, the leading voices against the proxy war against Russia are the ultra-liberal Republican senators Rand Paul and arch-conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson.

However, we still see the strongest organizational expressions of war resistance on the left wing, including in Green Party The United States, which, unlike its European sister parties, has retained the Green Movement's original radical left political position.

On the left, we should not be influenced by this. The left has not approached the politics and rhetoric of the right wing. The explanation is that it is the centre-left that has become the driving force behind a zeal for war that was previously a characteristic of the extreme right. It is the belligerent centre-left politicians who have reason to be ashamed of this new political pattern.

The fact that people on the right can also be against war is always only good. When the concept of "solidarity" is turned into a weapon of war, such "egoists" can become useful allies in the struggle for peace. We should have no problem defending that.

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