Statement Against Stephanie Kelton's Meeting With the Far Right in Japan

- Caucus Statement

The Libertarian Socialist Caucus (LSC) of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) aspires to create a socialist society freed from all forms of hierarchy and domination. We see fascism as the ultimate manifestation of hierarchy, domination, and authoritarianism, and our commitment to antifascist organizing is an outgrowth of our left-wing politics. That is why we made establishing an Antifascism Working Group in DSA a central plank of our platform, one which passed at the last Convention and is now being implemented on the national level.

Though the LSC does not have a unified line on either electoral politics (e.g. whether or not DSA should have endorsed Bernie) or preferred economic theory (e.g. Marxist, post-Keynesian, institutionalist, etc), we are resolutely against any ostensibly left wing electoral and political education efforts that court and collaborate with fascists. This type of political crossover is better known as red-brownism, and it has been documented extensively on websites like Libcom. It has recently been in the spotlight due to instances where nominally left-wing pundits like Angela Nagle went on Tucker Carlson’s far-right Fox News show and wrote for the far-right journal American Affairs in order to advocate for right-wing positions on subjects like immigration.

It is under these political conditions that the LSC condemns progressive economist and Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) advocate Stephanie Kelton’s latest visit to Japan, during which she personally gave economic advice to various Japanese ultra nationalists and fascists, spoke at and attended an MMT symposium organized by a far-right Japanese political movement, and participated in a multi-part, MMT-related interview with a far-right LDP official. All of these actions empowered and granted intellectual legitimacy to far-right Japanese movements and thus abetted Japanese fascism. We view Kelton’s meetings and association with far-right Japanese activists as being no different than if she met and associated with far-right American activists like David Duke or Richard Spencer, and we equally condemn all fascist movements wherever they might exist in the world.

We specifically demand that Kelton issue a public explanation and apology for her meetings and association with Japanese ultra-nationalists and fascists, and if Kelton does not do so, we demand that the Modern Money Network (MMN) disinvite her from the upcoming MMT conference that she will be speaking at. MMN is organizing the upcoming MMT conference and has previously stated they are committed to abiding by a progressive politics centered around diversity and inclusion, and providing Kelton with a platform to speak in absence of her publicly apologizing for and explaining her actions would be antithetical to progressive politics. If Kelton does not publicly apologize for and explain her actions and remains a speaker at the MMT conference, we ask that leftists and leftist organizations do not attend or sponsor the conference on the grounds of anti-fascism.

The following Appendix section thoroughly contextualizes and details Kelton’s visit to Japan and explains the rationale behind our demands.

APPENDIX - EXAMINING KELTON’S VISIT TO JAPAN

The following is an Appendix to our above statement. It explains a number of topics that help contextualize the left-wing economist Stephanie Kelton’s recent visit to Japan, during which she aided and abetted Japanese fascist movements.

Understanding Japanese right wing politics

In order to understand Kelton’s visit to Japan, it is also important to understand Japanese right wing politics. Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a right wing political party, has been in near-continuous power in the country since 1955 and--especially since Shinzo Abe became Prime Minister--shown increasing willingness in accommodating far-right views. Abe is a member of Nippon Kaigi, an ultranationalist Japanese group that inveighs against the way Japan’s “liberal,” post-war constitution is emasculating the country and aims to return Japan to its imperial past. Shortly after being elected in 2012, Abe famously said, “If you want to call me a right-wing militarist, please go ahead,” and this was a harbinger for the intensification of an already overtly far-right political atmosphere. Abe has visited the Yasukuni Shrine to pay homage to Japanese militarism, appointed politicians associated with neo-Nazi parties to his cabinet, appointed a politician who wanted to ethnically cleanse Koreans from Japan as the head of the Japanese police, deemed LGBTQ rights and feminism as the products of “extremist thought,” and supported public school curriculum that obfuscates the history of Japanese fascism and celebrates Nazism. Taro Aso, Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has previously praised the way Nazi Germany created a one-party dictatorship and extolled Hitler as someone who had “the right motives.” Neo-Nazism and fascism are open and prominent political currents within the LDP, and these far-right currents are only becoming more hegemonic over time.

It should also be noted that the Japanese far-right has served as a huge source of inspiration for far-right and fascist movements throughout the world. Neo-fascist movements like Casa Pound in Italy have called for a new right wing world centered around an alliance between Italy, Russia, and Japan. Jan Moldenhauer, member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has stated that when it comes to immigration, “Japan is the future.” And in America, Steve Bannon, the founder of Breitbart and Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist, has been a long time supporter of the LDP. When Bannon recently spoke to the LDP, he celebrated Abe as a “great hero to the grassroots, the populist, and the nationalist movement throughout the world” and noted that "Prime Minister Abe was Trump before Trump.” Any progressive or leftist who visits Japan in any political capacity needs to be aware of Japan’s place within the international far right landscape.

Who is Stephanie Kelton and what is MMT?

It is also important to note both that Kelton is a senior economic advisor to Bernie Sanders and that various individual LSC members have incorporated MMT ideas in their work. Though our Caucus does not have a collective stance on whether DSA should have supported Bernie Sanders or whether MMT is correct, we remain committed to ensuring that the progressive electoral activism and heterodox economics political education efforts championed by Sanders advisors like Kelton and others in DSA alike does not collaborate with fascists. It is also especially contradictory that Kelton would provide economic advice to ultranationalist and fascist LDP officials that Sanders would consider to be part of “the international authoritarian axis.”

Additionally, it is equally important to also briefly describe MMT. MMT is primarily a description of how the monetary system works. Among many other things, it builds upon the economic theory of chartalism to show that in countries with fiat currencies and floating exchange rates, taxes are not used to fund spending, but rather to enforce the usage of currencies. Thus, according to the theory, states can spend unlimited amounts of money and are only hindered by things like real resources constraints and foreign denominated debts. Considering that pundits constantly ask progressive and socialist politicians how they are going to pay for their social programs, MMT has huge implications for leftists interested in building a social-democratic state or a planned economy.

However, because MMT is primarily a descriptive tool, it is not attached to any defined set of politics. For a variety of reasons, most MMT proponents end up supporting some form of a job guarantee (JG), but there is not much uniformity of opinion beyond that. After all, supporting the need for a job guarantee says nothing about one’s views on racism, sexism, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, or capitalism, and this means that MMT supporters can be on the far left and the far right of the political spectrum alike. While progressive politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have supported MMT as a means to help operationalize the Green New Deal, Trump supporters like Breitbart economics columnist John Carney have supported MMT as a means to enact a “Make America Great Again” political vision.

It is in light of MMT’s cross-political appeal that progressive MMT scholars have to be especially vigilant about rejecting association with figures on the far right. An MMT analysis of the monetary system might technically be descriptive and neutral, but the act of teaching such an analysis to figures on the far right effectively means aiding fascism. Though MMT scholars can not control who independently reads their scholarship, they can refuse to provide political advice to people on the far right and instead only advise and support progressives and leftists committed to social justice.

MMT in Japan

Similar to both AOC and Carney alike being interested in MMT, Japan has a cross-political MMT phenomenon as well. Despite having run large deficits for nearly two decades straight at near-zero interest rates and showing little sign of inflation, Japanese policymakers still fearmonger about Japan’s rising national debt and supposedly looming hyperinflation and stress the need for fiscal discipline. Due to these monetarist attitudes, Shinzo Abe is considering increasing Japan’s consumption tax in October 2019 in order to pay down the Japanese debt. In response, dissenting LDP officials and Japanese Communist Party (JCP) officials alike have cited MMT analysis to explain that it is unnecessary to raise the consumption tax and slow consumer spending when Japan has no inflation problem. Beyond sharing an MMT framework and being opposed to the tax increase, LDP and JCP officials share almost nothing in common.

In fact, it was under the context of a potential impending consumption tax increase and joint LDP-JCP interest in MMT that Kelton invited to visit Japan. In May, she announced on Twitter that she would be visiting Japan and meeting with the aforementioned Hiroshi Ando and Shouji Nishida, two fascist and ultra-nationalist politicians on the far-right of the LDP. When left wing groups like Black Socialists publicly expressed concern that Kelton would be providing fascists and ultra-nationalists with economic advice and this aiding fascism, she did not respond, and her visit to Japan proceeded as expected.

Initially, it was believed that Kelton would meet with the Japanese House of Representatives as a whole and give advice to any Japanese politician (whether LDP or JCP) interested in MMT. Though this would still involve directly giving policy advice to Japanese fascists (i.e. far right LDP members like Nishida and Ando), some might argue that it would be okay because it would be an effort geared towards Japanese politicians as a whole and not targeted specifically towards LDP or far right politicians.

Regardless of whether or not this argument has any merit, it does not describe Kelton’s visit to Japan which instead involved directly meeting with and associating with various fascists and ultra-nationalists. The upcoming section will extensively detail how Kelton met specifically with and gave economic advice to fascist and ultra-nationalist members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) like Hiroshi Ando, Shouji Nishida, and Satoshi Fujii; spoke and gave press conferences at an MMT symposium organized by Fujii’s far right “Reiwa Policy Pivot” (RPP) movement; and conducted MMT-themed interviews with the far right LDP economist Takaaki Mitsuhashi who is connected to the RPP and famous for parroting the far-right theory that immigration “destroyed” Sweden. Her visit to Japan was geared almost exclusively to meeting with and educating far-right figures, many of whom see MMT as being central to their political vision.

Kelton is one of Sanders’ most important economic advisors and claims that she is committed to creating progressive political change. But by deciding to meet with fascists, she has contradicted every basic tenet of progressive and left-wing organizing. If MMT is correct, its description of the monetary system will help undergird the economic planning needed to replace contemporary neoliberal capitalism. But as exemplified by MMT’s cross-political appeal, such a policy of economic planning can come from the left or the right; it can have goals that support collective ownership and control over the means of production and an internationalist and multicultural future for society, or goals which preserve the power of a ruling elite and promote ethnonationalism and state terror.

Instead of promoting MMT by meeting with left wing Japanese comrades, Kelton promoted MMT by aiding and abetting Japanese ultranationalists and fascists who deny the war crimes and genocide committed by Japanese fascists in the 30s and 40s; who have sincere and open neo-Nazis and Hitler supporters within their ranks; who condemn LGBT and women’s rights movements and seek to roll back their most basic victories; who claim immigration is a “globalist” plot to undermine countries like Japan; and who have cultivated ties with neofascist movements in the United States, France, Germany, Sweden and elsewhere. As leftists and anti-fascists, we wholeheartedly condemn her decision and demand she be held accountable for her actions.

Examining Kelton’s visit to Japan

1. Kelton’s meeting with Ando, Nishida, and Fujii

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Kelton’s meeting with ultranationalist and fascist LDP members. From left to right: Joe Takeuchi, Shouji Nishida, Stephanie Kelton, Hiroshi Ando, and Satoshi Fujii

As Kelton noted in her initial tweet, she indeed met individually with Nishida and Ando (see above picture), and it seems like her meeting with these two figures was organized by Satoshi Fujii, a former economic advisor to Shinzo Abe and social sciences professor at Kyoto University. Shouji Nishida posted a blog entry on his official website noting that before Kelton spoke at the far-right MMT international symposium, he, Fujii, Ando, and Kelton had a 1.5 hour lunch with Kelton during which Kelton advised them on MMT and exchanged contact information with them for future communication. In order to explain why this individual meeting with these four people it is significant, it is essential to detail who they are politically. Nishida, Ando, Fujii, and Mitsuhashi will be focused on specifically.

Nishida

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Nishida speaking at a Ganbare Nippon event

Nishida is a fascist who is associated with Ganbare Nippon, a far right Japanese nationalist group that protests against the LDP for not being sufficiently racist, nationalist, anti-feminist, and anti-LGBTQ rights. Ganbare Nippon was founded by two main people: Satoru Mizushima, a Japanese filmmaker who denies the Nanjing Massacre (he famously made a film about it entitled the “The Truth about Nanjing”); and Toshio Tamogami, a former Chief of Staff of the Japanese airforce who was fired by LDP officials for claiming that Japan wasn’t the aggressor during WW2 but rather dragged into the war by a Jewish-led, communist conspiracy. He often gives speeches with titles like “Japan as the Liberator of Asia,” and he helped found Ganbare Nippon to attempt to make holding fascist views more palatable and socially acceptable in Japan.

Nishida has spoken at numerous Ganbare Nippon events with titles like “How to rebuild Japan!” These events are brazenly ultra-nationalist, and they pose ethnonationalist questions relating to how Japan will “recapture the abducted brotherhood” of the Takeshima and Senkaku islands. Ganbare Nippon prohibits its members from using imperial Japanese or neo-Nazi flags to make them seem less racist and nationalist than they actually are, so instead use the Japanese flag at their events as seen in the above screenshot.

Nishida is also known for writing plenty of fascist friendly pieces. On October 1st, 2009, he wrote a piece entitled “LDP, return to the origin as a conservative party” during which he--like most Ganbare Nippon members--critiques the LDP for not being sufficiently racist, anti-feminist, and anti-LGBTQ rights. Nishida laments that the LDP, an extremely right-wing party, is not sufficiently right-wing, and he calls for “the LDP… [to] return to its original form as a conservative party.” He states that the party and Japan more broadly lost its true conservative character because it became “engulfed in globalism” (the same “globalism” that far-right activists like Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson constantly invoke). He laments that it is “taboo” to challenge traditional narratives about Japan during WW2 and also expresses his desire to militarize Japan and carve out an independent, militaristic foreign policy. Most interestingly, he weaves his anti-globalism with a critique of “market fundamentalism,” writing that “the Lehman shock last fall proved the failure of globalism… [and taught Japan that] market fundamentalism destroys the global economy.” Like many red-brownists, Nishida is fine with social-democratic policies so long as they exist alongside a racist, sexist, and socially conservative Japan, and he views MMT as a means to operationalize his political vision.

Ando

Though Ando is not a member of Ganbare Nippon like Nishida, he is also a fascist on the far right of the LDP who has expressed numerous syncretist views similar to those held by Nishida. In his article entitled “Acceptance of Foreigners and Japanese Wages,” Ando echoes Nishida’s critique of neoliberal capitalism and decries that

today's listed companies are too short-term profit oriented, and they are placing too much emphasis on shareholder returns. The profits of listed companies are at record highs, but the increase is only in dividends and repurchasing of shares, not towards payments to partner companies and labor costs” [side note: this critique of financialization has also been made by American right wing politicians like Marco Rubio].

Ando proceeds to claim that immigration to Japan would further exacerbate economies woes and decrease Japanese wages. He then quips that “each European country has failed because it has been over[run] [with] immigrants,” and he worries that Japan might follow in the footsteps of Europe. In another article entitled “What is happening in the UK and the negative effects of globalism,” he approvingly cites the far-right Douglas Murray’s book The Strange Death of Europe as a blueprint for what could happen to Japan if they open up their borders to immigrants. He references Europe and writes

Immigration has largely changed the national character of the United Kingdom. From the perspective of Japanese people, Britain has the image of ‘the country of white Christians,’ but the reality is changing dramatically. Whites are becoming [a] minority in London, Christians are decreasing and Muslims are increasing rapidly. Moreover, the elite continue to make comments that ‘welcome’ these changes.

It is important to note that Murray’s book has been celebrated and cited by countless other far-right nationalists like Viktor Orban, the authoritarian, far-right Prime Minister of Hungary. In a third article entitled “Why does the Communist Party’s support rate go up,” he defines his ideal political system an ethnonationalistic, anti-immigrant “conservatism” that blends “capitalism” with “primitive communism.” This political melding is nearly identical to prominent Third Positionist movements like Matthew Heimbach’s now disbanded Traditionalist Workers Party that define themselves as ascribing to “conservative anti-capitalism.” Like Nishida, Ando sees MMT as a means to enact his Third Positionist vision, and specifically sees advocating for MMT as something that can distinguish neoliberal LDP members (i.e. Shinzo Abe) from anti-neoliberal LDP members like Nishida, Fujii, and himself. Kelton’s decision to personally meet with Ando and Nishida effectively meant providing them with the tools to operationalize their far right political vision, and as socialists dedicated to anti-fascist organizing, we wholeheartedly condemn her decision.

2. Kelton speaking at and attending a far-right MMT symposium: Fujii, The Reiwa Policy Project, and Criterion Magazine

"Regardless of whether it is right, left, conservative or liberal, it is necessary to combine the forces of anti-globalism. This is the Reiwa Pivot Project." --Takaaki Mitsuhashi

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A screenshot from Reiwa Policy Pivot website detailing their three main political goals

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A screenshot from Reiwa Policy Pivot website detailing their overall goal of creating a syncretic “neither Left nor Right” political movement that fights against “globalism”

Aside from directly meeting with far-right LDP members, Kelton also attended a MMT symposium organized by the Reiwa Policy Project (RPP) and Criterion Magazine, a far right political movement started by Fujii and a far-right magazine co-edited by Fujii, respectively.

As stated previously, Fujii was formerly an economic advisor to Shinzo Abe who directly advised Abe about MMT. He eventually quit his advising job because Abe was too willing to impose consumption taxes and other tax increases on the economy, and Fujii felt like such actions were both unnecessary and counterproductive from an MMT standpoint. Like Nishida and Ando, Fujii was a far-right dissident within the LDP who wanted to intensify the party’s social conservatism, disliked the party’s neoliberalism and monetarism, and viewed MMT as a means to help challenge neoliberalism from within the party.

As mentioned above, Fujii helped found and became the editor-in-chief of Expression Criterion, a far right Japanese magazine founded in 2018 that is attempting to articulate a culturally conservative, anti-neoliberal right wing politics. It is typical for them publish entire magazine issues that fulminate against immigration. For instance, their March 2019 issue was an anti-immigration, pro-nationalist issue that included: an interview featuring Fujii in which he explained that “runaway liberalism” destroyed Japan; an article by a separate contributor who lamented that Merkel’s immigration policies marks the death of the nation; and another contributor who--like Ando--positively reviewed Douglas Murray’s book The Strange Death of Europe. Articles from other issues: explain that “multicultural existence” is contrary to human nature; label increased immigration into Japan as a neoliberal plot to destroy Japan; defend claims that LGBTQ+ people are “unproductive” because they “don’t bear children”; state that “political correctness” around LGBTQ+ issues constitutes “a new totalitarianism,” and extol events like Brexit for showing that space exists for the “far left” and “far right” to work together to advance nationalist goals (side note: Fujii authored the Brexit piece). Like American Affairs, Expression Criterion is trying to make far-right ideas seem intellectually serious and socially acceptable, and Fujii is playing a pivotal role in helping the magazine make that a reality.

Fujii also helped found the closely associated Reiwa Policy Pivot (RPP), a national, far-right political movement that seeks to advance three main ideologies: anti-austerity economics, anti-structural politics (this is a synonym for anti-neoliberalism), and anti-globalism. As stated previously, “globalism” is a far-right conspiracy theory that “Cultural Marxists” are plotting to take away people’s personal freedoms and create a one world dictatorship, and it is telling that it is one of the main goals of the RPP. Fujii notes that the movement was explicitly inspired by the way that Trump and the Brexit movement supposedly “pivoted” away from austerity, globalization, and pro-immigration politics (he specifically writes that “excessive globalization” is symbolized by “immigrants”). Fujii also explicitly notes that the global rise of MMT has been a response to neoliberal austerity measures, and he clearly views MMT as a means to institutionalize his far-right political goals and as the economic centerpiece of the magazine. The other two main people associated with the RPP are the aforementioned Mitsuhashi and Mitsuka Tsutsumi, a far-right journalist who supports an ethnonationalistic and exclusionary Japanese socialism and repeats the far-right myth that Swedish people need the military in order to enter into their country’s “immigrant ghettos.”

Fundamentally, as explained in the Mitsuhashi quote at the top of this section, the RPP seeks to “combine the forces of anti-globalism” amongst both the Left and Right so the traditional Left/Right political divide disappears and becomes replaced by a globalist/anti-globalist divide. This “neither Left nor Right” political line is a textbook example of Third Positionism and fascism. The RPPers see MMT as an essential tool within their anti-globalist toolkit, and they even have MMT videos listed for recommending viewing under the “library” section of their website.

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Shoujii introducing Kelton at the Expression Criterion-Reiwa Policy Pivot sponsored MMT symposium press conference

Because Fujii seeks to use MMT in order to enact his far right political agenda and fight against “globalism,” he invited Kelton to speak at an international MMT symposium in Tokyo duly sponsored by both Expression Criterion and Reiwa Policy Pivot. Kelton spoke at and attended the symposium despite the fact that Expression Criterion, Reiwa Policy Pivot, and Fujii are all on the political far right and despite the fact that she was warned by left wing groups about meeting with figures on the far right. Video of her press conference can be found here, and though there aren’t videos of her presentations, Expression Criterion posted a PDF of her presentation here. Her press conference and speech alike largely involved discussing the technical details of MMT, and there was little to no discussion of Japanese politics or the Japanese far-right. Kelton’s decision to attend a symposium sponsored by MMT-curious facists means she granted intellectual legitimacy to these fascists and aided them in their pursuits, and as anti-fascists, we stand resolutely against her decision.

3. Kelton participating in an interview with Takaaki Mitsuhashi

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Kelton doing an interview with Mitsuhashi

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A Japanese Twitter user expressing concern that Kelton would be meeting with Mitsuhashi given his ties to the far right and history of domestic violence

Kelton’s association with RPP figures did not end at the RPP and Expressor Criterion-sponsored MMT symposium. Around the time of the symposium, she did a three-part interview series with far-right economist Takaaki Mitsuhashi during which they introduced an overview of MMT, examined how MMT related specifically to the Japanese economy, and even discussed the politics of MMT.

Mitsuhashi is one of the three main people associated with RPP, and like Ando, Nishida, and Fujii, he is a fascist who is on the far right of the LDP. Mitsuhashi is extremely racist towards Chinese people, and he has previously made the argument for cutting off all trade and economic relations with China on strictly nationalist grounds. He has also claimed that 80% of all Chinese people in Japan are spies, stated that “foreigners will destroy Japanese culture,” and written whole books revolving around the theme of how “immigrants destroy nations.” When Shinzo Abe committed to settling 150 Syrian refugees in Japan over a 10 year span, Mitsuhashi argued that the refugees would destroy Japanese nationalism and thus Japan as a whole. Mitsuhashi also lauded Trump for making it easier to hold anti-refugee sentiment, proclaiming that “at the very least, if the United States is changing its policies to put the national interests of the American people first, then Japan will make policies that put the Japanese people first, and I believe that would be a positive thing.”

He is most famous for speeches in which he claims that immigrants “destroyed” Sweden and have “completely taken over” large parts of the country. These speeches have made Mitsuhashi a hero amongst European fascists who admire him for his unabashed xenophobia and racism. He was also recently arrested for assaulting his wife. When a Japanese Twitter user (see the above screenshot) asked Kelton why she was going to be meeting with a Japanese politician known for being on the far-right and committing domestic violence, she did not respond.

During their discussion of the politics of MMT, Mitsuhashi observed that in America, mainly left wing politicians supported MMT whereas in Japan, mainly right wing politicians supported MMT. He then asked Kelton if it was true that MMT lacked a defined political orientation, and she confirmed that he was indeed correct. Later in the interview, Mitsuhashi commented that if developing countries enacted job guarantees, MMT could help put an end to the “problem” of refugees and economic migrants emigrating to (and thus affecting the demographics) of other countries like Japan, and Kelton again confirmed that he was correct. The first segment confirms that Kelton was indeed aware that she was advising right wing Japanese politicians, and the second segment shows that she had no issue with Mitsuhashi seeing MMT through the lens of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee politics. Whereas various democratic socialists and leftists see the job guarantee as a stepping stone towards creating an anti-racist, socialist economy, Mitsuhashi sees the job guarantee as a means to criminalize immigration and strengthen ethnonationalist borders. By giving economic advice to Mitsuhashi and other fascist LDP officials, Kelton helps them wage their battle against “globalism” and transform the LDP into an even more virulently xenophobic, racist, and Third Positionist party.

We hope this Appendix conclusively shows that Kelton knowingly provided direct economic advice to Japanese ultra-nationalists and fascists ranging from Nishida, Ando, Fujii, and Mitsuhashi that they will in turn use to pursue their political goals. As socialists and committed anti-fascists, we argue that her actions effectively aided Japanese fascist politics and contradicted basic progressive and left wing organizing principles. An injury to one is an injury to all, and so long as fascism and fascist collaboration exists anywhere in the world, the LSC will vigorously speak out against it and attempt to stop it. And we hope that progressives and leftists everywhere join us in this struggle.

Our Demands

Though our Caucus does not have a unified stance on the correctness of MMT, we are united in condemning and repudiating this act of fascist collaboration by a prominent and influential leftist economist. We stand in solidarity with the victims and opponents of Japanese fascism past and present in China, Korea, the Philippines, and elsewhere; and we oppose all the neofascist movements emerging around the world.

We ask that Kelton immediately issue a public explanation and apology for meeting with ultra-nationalists and fascists in Japan, and if Kelton does not issue a public explanation and apology for her actions, we demand that the Modern Money Network (MMN) disinvite her from the upcoming MMT conference at which she will be speaking. As stated previously, though our Caucus does not have a unified stance on electoral endorsements or electoral strategy, we remain committed to ensuring that the progressive electoral activism championed by Sanders advisors like Kelton and other DSA members does not collaborate with fascists. It damages the reputation of the DSA, the DSA-LSC, and arguably the entire American Left when the staff of DSA-endorsed politicians like Sanders aid international far right movements. And more than anything, it harms our ability to organize. We also recognize that many leftists in DSA, LSC, and elsewhere use MMT as a framework for their economic analysis, and we would like for them to be able to have constructive and friendly relationships with prominent MMT economists like Kelton. But pro-MMT leftists cannot have constructive and friendly relationships with progressive economists who give policy advice to fascists, enable red-brownism, and face no accountability for their actions; such actions need to be recognized and accounted for, and there needs to be assurances that they are not repeated in the future, whether in Japan or any other country.

Kelton will soon be a featured speaker at the third annual MMT conference at Stony Brook University. This event has been organized by the Modern Money Network (MMN), a global non-profit institution at the forefront of MMT educational efforts. At the 2018 MMT conference, MMN expressed a commitment to ensuring that MMT activism abides by a mission of diversity and inclusion, and we feel that Kelton’s decision to meet with fascists was a clear and blatant violation of that mission statement. In the event that Kelton does not publicly apologize for or explain her actions and remains a speaker at the MMT conference, we ask that leftists and leftist organizations do not attend or sponsor the upcoming MMT conference. We strongly believe that in the absence of an apology and explanation, attending the MMT conference would be a tacit endorsement of Kelton’s decision to aid Japanese fascism along with a violation of MMN’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. And as leftists and anti-fascists, we are committed to addressing creeping fascism and fascist collaboration wherever it might exist.

As the socialist movement in the United States becomes more powerful, it will need to engage even further with the questions raised by MMT and other heterodox economic theories. We applaud the efforts of all progressive and leftist economists who dedicate their lives to researching the tools we can use to build socialism, and we believe that their efforts will be vital to the success of socialism. But we also believe, with equal fervor, that collaboration with fascists is an abomination that has no place in the socialist movement whatsoever, and we remain committed to fighting fascism wherever it might exist.