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 4th of July is Independence Day for the United States of America and commemorates the 4 July 1776 Declaration of Independence for America, the key passage of which is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Unfortunately American racism has grossly violated the proposition that “all men are created equal” and the worst form of racism involves invasion of other countries. The US has invaded about 70 countries since its inception ...
The opposition in Montenegro unanimously decided to boycott the local elections in Niksic, scheduled for March 12. This decision was made in protest against the political trial against the deputies from the Democratic Front (DF) Andrija Mandic and Milan Knežević. DF, Democratic Montenegro, Demos, civil movement URA, the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party refused to participate in the elections after the Mandic and Knežević were deprived of parliamentary immunity.
Andrija Mandic said that the prosecution was launched in order to weaken the Democratic Front. He added that he wants to raise the question about the legitimacy of the removal ...
"We are a peaceful nation," claimed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in an interview with Katie Couric late last year.
Carson voiced a view that is held by many in our society. Like most people around the world, we naturally like to think of ourselves as a peace loving country.
Unfortunately, the record does not bear this out. It, in fact, indicates something quite opposite: The United States has had a long and bloody history of aggression and war making.
A survey of history shows that America has either been involved in armed conflict or conducted some form of military operations during 223 ...
According to Israeli Intelligence News Source
This article was first published in September 2014. Can we believe Hollande and Cameron? Evidence confirms that NATO is behind the recruitment of “jihadist terrorists
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Introduction: The Missing Link
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When did the US begin to play a role in Kosovo? Did the US role in Kosovo begin with the arming ...
Today, Memorial Day, Americans across the land will hear the same message: that U.S. soldiers who have died in America’s foreign wars and foreign interventions have done so in the defense of our rights and freedoms. It is a message that will be heard in sporting events, memorial services, airports, churches, and everywhere else that Memorial Day is being commemorated.
There is one big thing wrong, however. It’s a lie. None of those soldiers died protecting our rights and freedoms. That’s because our rights and freedoms were never being threatened by the enemy forces that killed those soldiers.
Let’s work our way ...
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for its successful effort to establish a global treaty that bans nuclear weapons. Peace, disarmament, and civil society groups around the world celebrated the announcement and congratulated ICAN for its landmark treaty accomplishment.
In a statement, ICAN called the prize “a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face ...
It has become embarrassing to be an American. Our country has had four war criminal presidents in succession.
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Trump attacked Syria with US forces, thereby becoming a war criminal early ...
Book by Vladislav B. Sotirovic: Global Research. Selected articles (second edition), Vilnius: UAB “Mylida”, 2016
ISBN 978-609-408-840-7, UDK 911.3:32 So-121
Text of the printed book
The book reviews by:
Dr. João Carlos Graça, Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Lisbon University, Lisbon, Portugal
Prof. Dr. Krisztina Arató, Vice-director of the Institute of Political Sciences at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary
Dr. Christian Rossi, Department of Social Sciences and Institutions, Cagliari University, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
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One of the most hyped “events” of American television, The Vietnam War, has started on the PBS network. The directors are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Acclaimed for his documentaries on the Civil War, the Great Depression and the history of jazz, Burns says of his Vietnam films, “They will inspire our country to begin to talk and think about the Vietnam war in an entirely new way”.
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Reorganized Murder Incorporated
According to a Washington Post article, John Brennan has set out to restructure the CIA's longstanding model:
"At issue is a basic structure that has been in place since the agency’s inception, with employees divided by function among four major directorates. The best known are the National Clandestine Service, which sends case officers overseas on spying missions and carries out covert operations, and the Directorate of Intelligence, which employs thousands ...
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In the snide and alarmist style that the Times now always applies to Russia, reporter Andrew Higgins wrote – referring to a fictitious war-game “enemy” – “The country does not exist, so it has neither an army nor any real citizens, though it has acquired a ...
Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation
NATO’s Role in the Recruitment of Islamic Terrorists
Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism in Latin America
The Myth of NATO’s “Humanitarian Intervention” in Kosovo (in 1999)
The CIA and Greater Albania: The Origins of the US Role in the Balkans
Memorial Day is Based on a Lie
Nobel Peace Prize goes to Abolitionists while US Conducts Nuclear War Games
A Government of Morons and War Criminals
Book by Vladislav B. Sotirovic: “Global Research. Selected articles” (Second Edition), Vilnius, 2016
The “Forgotten” US Shootdown of Iranian Airliner Flight 655
Crazed Washington Drives the World to the Final War
America’s Secret Planned Conquest of Russia
Slobodan Milosevic: The Killing of an Innocent Man
Here’s your ‘Putin Did It!’ Survival Guide…
The NYT’s Yellow Journalism on Russia