The facile and indiscriminate use of the term fascism has led to a widespread misunderstanding and misuse of its meaning. Asked to define fascism, most people would respond in terms such as dictatorship, anti-Semitism, mass hysteria, efficient propaganda machine, mesmerizing oratory of a psychopathic leader, and the like.Such a pervasive misconception of the meaning of the term fascism is not altogether fortuitous. It is largely because of a longstanding utilitarian misrepresentation of the term. Fascism is deliberately obfuscated in order to sanitize capitalism. Ideologues, theorists and opinion-makers of capitalism have systematically shifted the systemic sins of fascism from market/capitalist failures to individual or personal failures.
Thus, the origins, the rise and the ravages of the classic European fascism are blamed largely on Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, not the socio-economic circumstances that gave rise to those instrumentally “useful” characters. An obvious flaw of this interpretation of fascism is that it cannot explain recent manifestations of fascism: since the archetype European fascism is attributed to Hitler and Mussolini, their demise ought to have logically meant the end of fascism. Yet, manifestations of fascism has been a recurring phenomenon characteristic of periods of capitalist crisis, as evinced by today’s expressions of fascistic tendencies in most of the core capitalist countries.
These ominous developments are testament to the fact that the germs of fascism are intrinsic to capitalism, as periodic economic crises are intrinsic to capitalism. As such, it is bound to periodically resurface as long as capitalism continues to be the dominant mode of socio-economic production.
Just as the original European fascism was blamed on Hitler and Mussolini, so is today’s display of fascistic propensities blamed on characters such as Donald Trump (in the U.S.), Marine Le Pen (in France), Norbert Hofer (in Austria), Alexander Gauland (in Germany), and so on. The real culprit, however, has been market failure and economic insecurity, both now and then.
In addition to the intended absolution of capitalism from the sins of fascism, its utilitarian misrepresentation has the political advantage of conveniently demonizing any “unfriendly” politician or “rogue” state leader as fascist. As Jean Bricmont recently put it on this site: “New Hitlers spring up in the Western imagination like mushrooms in an autumn woods”: Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Assad, Milosevic, LePen, Putin, and Ahmadinejad have all been subjected to such characterizations. Indeed, a number of “unfavorable” nationalist leaders such as Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi were first branded as fascist before they were overthrown and murdered.
Misrepresentation of fascism is intended to absolve capitalism from its responsibility in two major ways. First, it blames the executive agent of fascism (for example, Hitler) for the rise and the crimes of fascism. Second, the executive agent, in turn, shifts the blame from the system, or the socio-economic structure, to scapegoats such as migrants, ethnic, racial, or religious minorities.
Fascism cannot be defined capriciously. It cannot be reduced to the crimes of individual leaders of Nazi Germany, or the pathological problems of Hitler’s mind, or the “unfriendly” nationalist leaders who disobey the imperialist agenda of war and militarism. While obfuscationist judgments of this sort may succeed in the uniform of Adolf Hitler the horrific acts that the capitalist system can occasionally perform, such reductionist judgments would not be very useful for the purposes of averting social conditions that may lead to the recurrence of fascism.
Fascism is a specific historical category that evolves out of particular socio-economic circumstances. It grows out of conditions of severe economic distress and deep social discontent. As such circumstances tend to give rise to protest demonstrations and radical demands from labor and other grassroots on the Left, they also prompt counterbalancing social forces on the Right. In other words, fascism is essentially a counter-revolutionary strategy to preempt revolutionary developments.
This means that, at its core, fascism is a social-political strategy or tool that is employed by big business, or the ruling capitalist class, to simultaneously pacify the discontented public and fend off radical, socialistic developments. It also means that, while antithetical, both fascism and socialism are incidents that are latent in a relatively advanced capitalist structures—a case of the unity of opposites.
During cycles of economic expansion and relatively low levels of unemployment and poverty, such potential occurrences remain dormant. By contrast, during periods of deep and protracted cycles of economic contraction signs and symbols of both begin to re-emerge. In general, fascistic signs and symbols remain dormant as long as socialistic manifestations remain dormant, as former manifestations often emerge in reaction to the latter ones.
The development and brutality of fascism is proportionate with the degree of the severity of economic crisis, or the level of the gravity of class struggle. For example, the intensity of the 1930s socio-economic crisis in Europe and the strength of socialist movements and organizations, especially in Germany, played a critical role in catapulting the Nazi forces to power and precipitating the vicious rule of fascism there.
By contrast, as the bureaucratic labor leaders in the current (2016) US presidential elections chose to support the candidate of the status quo, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders’ campaign agenda stopped way short of a meaningful socialist program, fascistic manifestations of Donald Trump’s campaign remained largely sporadic and relatively mild. Had the class collaborationist big union leaders (the “labor lieutenants of capitalism,” as the late Leon Trotsky put it) charted an independent labor-grassroots campaign and demanded a substantive socio-economic revolution, instead of Sanders’ hollow “political revolution,” fascistic tendencies or displays of the Trump campaign would have escalated to dangerous levels.
It must be pointed out in passing that the capitalist ruling class (especially the “far-sighted,” non-partisan, big business establishment) would employ fascistic methods of control only as a means of last resort. As long as there is no serious grassroots threat to the status quo, it prefers to mitigate economic distress and social tensions by means of minimal reforms and usual “democratic” measures. Only when such measures fail to pacify the restless and rebellious masses of workers and other grassroots, that is, only when the ruling class finds itself unable to rule with the help of “democratic” machinery, would it employ fascistic means of control.
It must also be pointed out that a direct link can be detected between the recent rise of fascistic tendencies in most of the core capitalist countries, on the one hand, and the rise or reign of parasitic capital in these countries, on the other. As the unproductive, scrounging financial sector has systematically emaciated the productive, real sector of the economies of these countries, chronic stagnation has become a perennial feature of their markets.
Accordingly, high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality have also become prevailing features of these societies. As these ominous developments have given rise to public discontent and workers militancy in these countries, they have also given rise to expressions of fascism. And as economic crises tend to recur more frequently in the age of the dominance of parasitic finance capital, the specter of war and militarism abroad along with threats of repression and police state at home also tend to become more menacing.
It follows from this brief discussion that crisis situations present both opportunities and dangers, both revolutionary/socialistic occasions and counter-revolutionary/fascistic prospects. Such socio-economic periods of contradictory developments prompted the late German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg to declare: socialism or barbarism. Whether socialism or barbarism would prevail depends crucially on the balance of political power, or the outcome of class struggle.
Many radicals have dropped class politics at exactly the moment it is needed most. Rosa Luxemburg’s that socialism is the only humane alternative to capitalist barbarism is as relevant today as when she expressed it (during the carnage of World War I). Barbarism stares us in the eye in many disguised forms. Yet, much of the left these days shy away from using words such as class struggle, organization, or the crucial role of labor for social and economic change.
While participation of all the layers of the grassroots is crucial to the success of the fight for a superior civilization to what is prevalent under capitalism, the role of labor in the attendant coalition of the masses would be most critical. Only labor—labor in the broadest sense of the term that would include both the so-called blue-collar and white-collar workers—can bring an end to the rule of capital, thereby to the constantly lurking threats of economic crises, of fascism, of poverty, and of police state at home, and of war and militarism abroad.
Transforming the world economy in the interests of the majority of the people is, of course, not easy. It certainly cannot be brought about in one jump or an overnight uprising. It can come about only as the cumulative outcome of many steps along the path of a long and difficult journey of continuous social and economic change. Nobody can tell a priori how long or what form such transitional steps or stages may take. It is clear, however, that to change the world economy in the interests of the majority of its inhabitants, labor would need new politics and new organizations to articulate the struggle for change.
This requires a new labor movement with independent politics and organization(s). Whatever the new labor organization is called, it has to be different not only from the U.S. business union model but also from the Social Democratic model of Europe, trade unions + party. This means that the new labor movement and/or organization has to represent the interests of the entire working class, not just organized industrial labor, nor only its singular economic interests. In addition, it must aim at defending the interests of all those who challenge the logic of the profit-driven market mechanism. The working class can influence, shape, and ultimately lead the world economy if it takes on the challenge (a) on an international level, and (b) in the context of broader coalitions and alliances with other social strata that also struggle for equity, environmental protection, and human rights.
About the author:
The truth is that no government will allow a protest to go on endlessly to the extent that it begins to destabilise the country and economy.
— Wei Ling Chua, Tiananmen Square “Massacre”?: The Power of Words vs. Silent Evidence, 100.
Last Sunday, I was with an American gentleman in downtown Chengdu, Sichuan, and during our conversation he mentioned that his Chinese wife had never heard of the Tiananmen Square massacre. I proposed that it is because it never happened, that it is a western media campaign of disinformation, and why should the Chinese media permit the dissemination of lies. In fact, ...
The world will long remember the present immigrant crisis in Europe, which has negatively affected countless people there, and almost all countries. History will certainly record it as a major tragedy. Could it have been averted? Or kept within much more reasonable humane bounds?
After the United States and NATO began to bomb Libya in March 2011 – almost daily for more than six months! – to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi (with the completely phoney excuse that Gaddafi was about to invade Benghazi, the Libyan center of his opponents, and so the United States and NATO were thus saving ...
UN Third Committee Resolution L.23 IN, Legitimizes Stranglehold Economic Sanctions., Used as a Means to "Obliterate" North Korea
On November 15, 2016 the United Nations Third Committee adopted the resolution: “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea".
Among the co-sponsors of the Resolution were United States, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, etc.
Disassociating themselves from the resolution, which they denounced as invalid, were China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, and three other countries opposed to the biased character and double standards that typify “country-specific” resolutions. The so-sponsors of this resolution are themselves guilty of criminal human rights violations.
The very ...
A few months ago I received a message from a professor at the Khomeini Institute for Education and Research in Tehran, Iran, informing me that my 2010 book “War and Empire: The American Way of Life” (London, Pluto Press) had been translated into Farsi. He requested that I write an Introduction for Iranian readers. What follows is that Introduction. Two years ago the Xinhua Peoples’ Press in Beijing, China also published a translation in Mandarin.
In the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s 1991 attempt to annex Kuwait, the U.S. deliberately destroyed much of Iraq’s water and sewer infrastructure. The Pentagon even admitted ...
If a German had shown up in London in 1944 and opened fire, would police have ruled out any connection to Nazism? Fatmir H. comes from a hotbed of jihad activity. The Islamic State and al-Qaeda have issued repeated calls for Muslims in West to murder civilians. We have seen the perpetrators of numerous jihad terror attacks declared mentally ill, often absurdly. In light of all that, the possibility that this was a jihad terror attack cannot be ruled out.
“‘He jumped out of the train and started to strike at people with an AXE’: Horror in Dusseldorf as Kosovan attacker ...
Donald Trump with Larry King on the occasion of the anniversary of the bombing of Serbia criticized Bill Clinton and criminal attack on Serbs, the ally of America in both wars.
“The Clintons have made a mess in the Balkans and Kosovo. Look what we did to Serbia in an aerial bombardment from a safe height. Those same Serbs rescued American pilots in World War II.
It is a mistake that we bombed a nation that has been our ally in two world wars. Clintons believe that was a success, and I find it shameful.
I extend an apology to all the Serbs ...
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
Paul Atwood, a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, provides a concise summary of the history that informs North Korea’s “relations with the United States” and “drives its determination never to submit to any American diktat”.
Excerpts from Atwood’s summary are here used as a framework, with other sources where indicated.
Atwood notes it is an American “myth” that the “North Korean Army suddenly attacked without warning, overwhelming surprised ROK defenders.” In fact, the North/South border “had been progressively militarized and there had been numerous cross border incursions by both sides going back to 1949.”
Part of what ...
Recently I went on a 15 day visit to Russia organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives. The group visited Moscow, the Crimean peninsula, Krasnodar (southern Russia) and St. Petersburg. In each location we met many locals and heard diverse viewpoints. CCI has a long history promoting friendship and trying to overcome false assumptions between citizens of the USA and Russia. The founder Sharon Tennison has focused on making people-people connections including the business community, Rotary clubs, etc.. This delegation was organized because of concern about escalating international tensions and the danger of a drift toward world threatening military conflict.
On March 24th, 1999, NATO launched its 78-day round the clock aerial assault on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without the approval of the United Nations Security Council. Over a thousand NATO warplanes delivered over 2,000 airstrikes in nearly 40,000 sorties, dropping over 20,000 bombs over the former Yugoslavia, killing thousands of civilian men, women, and children, as well as upwards of a thousand Yugoslav soldiers and police.   NATO employed weapons considered criminal by international law such as depleted uranium and cluster bombs.   
The popular narrative is that is that the Western powers dropped these bombs ...
Tyrants and despots have never required justification for their actions. In the 17th century, as political philosophers began to reject the classic Catholic doctrines of politics and ethics, The Prince was viewed as more relevant: truths are more important than ideals.
It is probably not an accident that The Prince has been misinterpreted for 300 years. Taken literally, there is no better justification for tyranny, whether political or economic, than the universal misinterpretation of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. This small pamphlet, written in 1513–1514, addressed to the new Medici prince, if taken literally, outlines the best practices to attain and ...
Chances are, if a story about Russia appears on the cover of a major Western magazine, it’s not good news. Most likely, there’s been an international scandal, a breakout of geopolitical tensions, the resumption of Cold War hostilities, or some nefarious Russian plot to bring the entire free world to its knees.
Russophobia — or the unnatural fear of Russia — generally leads magazine editors to choose the most over-the-top images to convey Russia as a backwards, clumsy, non-Western and aggressively malevolent power. Unfortunately, that’s led to a few rules of thumb for anyone trying to create a magazine cover featuring ...
The EU and NATO are evil institutions. These two institutions are mechanisms created by Washington in order to destroy the sovereignty of European peoples. These two institutions give Washington control over the Western world and serve both as cover and enabler of Washington’s aggression. Without the EU and NATO, Washington could not force Europe and the UK into conflict with Russia, and Washington could not have destroyed seven Muslim countries in 15 years without being isolated as a hated war criminal government, no member of whom could have travelled abroad without being arrested and put on trial.
Clearly, the presstitute media ...
The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)
CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: ...
What could possibly go wrong? Refugees welcome! Not to allow these enemy combatants to return would be “Islamophobic”!
“Disguised as refugees and able to cross borders without being identified: ISIS general who blew up a hostage with a rocket and decapitated another prisoner is ‘back in Europe with 400 soldiers’ after fleeing Syria,” by Julian Robinson, MailOnline, December 29, 2016:
An ISIS general once pictured decapitating a prisoner is back in Europe with up to 400 of his most trusted soldiers after fleeing the war zone in Syria, it has been claimed.
Ex-NATO soldier Lavdrim Muhaxheri and his men are among thousands who ...
Vilnius, a capital of Lithuania, is a host of The 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association: “Security Architecture in CEE: Present Threats and Prospects for Cooperation”. The conference place is at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, from September 25 to 26, 2015. It is organized by the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University and the Lithuanian Political Science Association. The conference sponsors are the Lithuanian Research Council, the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, and the ...
The Western power centers use the “Republic of Kosovo” as a testing ground for working out the ways to create a quasi-state that could be defined as an abnormal criminal case of global scope. The final goal is reshaping the whole of South East Europe. (www.strategic-culture.org)
The states below the «first echelon» are subject to the formula «back to slavery and barbarity». This is a model of authoritative outside governance entailing devastation of natural environment, extraction of resources and creation of disastrous economy and ‘stillborn» state structures along with extreme pauperization of population. And this is not all. Control over vast ...
In late November 2013, the ‘Euromaidan’ in Kiev began as a popular protest against a generalized state of corruption and cronyism in Ukraine. The spark that ostensibly ignited the protests was the inability of then President Yanukovych to sign an EU Association Agreement that would cut Ukraine’s economic and military ties to Russia in favor of a closer relationship with the EU and NATO.
The EU had made the release of former Ukrainian prime minister and “gas princess” Tymoshenko a precondition for signing the agreement. But the fact that Tymoshenko was/is a convicted embezzler of state funds, combined with the rather ...
Trump the Anti-Globalist Champion of the People?
Many Americans who’ve been supporting President-elect Trump see him as the populist leader who will save America from ruin. Trump supporters have been unfairly marginalized and pigeonholed by the MSM broad stroke as white supremacy extremists bent on plunging America back into a new Jim Crowism era and a second Civil War along with a growing number of angry, uneducated, disenfranchised blue collar, mostly white male redneck loser types. Despite a spike in racist graffiti and vandalism since the election, this gross overgeneralization is the Hillary/Soros/Rothschild/MSM’s desperate attempt to discredit Trump’s victory while Soros ...
On the 70th anniversary of Tokyo’s fire bombing, relatives are asking for a real tribute to its victims.
It was just after midnight when the rumble of B-29 bombers was heard, jolting Tokyo awake. The incendiaries that fell from their bellies, full of jelly petroleum, were like nothing anyone had ever seen.
They turned canals and rivers into flame and if the jelly stuck to you, it kept burning till flesh turned to bone. “The planes filled the sky like dragonflies,” recalls Michiko Kiyoka. “Everywhere you looked there were charred bodies.”
Today, Ms Kiyoka, now 91, will join a small group of elderly ...
The 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre? What Massacre?
Bombing Libya: The Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
Human Rights Violations: North Korea vs the U.S.
War and Empire: The American Way of Life
Dusseldorf Axe Attacker: “Fatmir H.”, Muslim Albanian from Kosovo
Donald Trump: It was a Great Mistake to Bomb the Serbs Who were Our Allies in Both World Wars
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Endless Atrocities: The US Role In Creating The North Korean Fortress-State
The Myth of “Aggressive Russia”
NATO & the Humanitarian Dismemberment of Yugoslavia
Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”
Russophobia and the Dark Art of Anti-Russian Magazine Covers
The Brexit Vote: What does it Mean?
A Timeline of CIA Atrocities (a list up to 1993)
Islamic State Top Dog from Kosovo Returns to Europe with 400 Jihadis
Contribution to the 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association
Independent” Kosovo: Gangland Spills Savagery Worldwide
Euromaidan: Anatomy of a Washington-Backed Coup d’Etat
President Trump: Just Another Con Man Riding a Trojan Horse
Tokyo Fire Bombing in 1945: 100,000 People Died in a Single Night