3/9/09

Flirtin With The Fascists
By: Mark W Adams


I may be indulging in some naive wishful thinking, but I truly believe it is a testament to our unique form of government, a federated three-tiered, three-branched representative republic -- not to mention a bounty of natural resources, robust industrial tradition and innovative technological leadership -- that has kept America from falling into some form of totalitarianism. 

We've maintained a democracy (of sorts) for 220 years now, due in no small part because the all too frustrating, grid-locking, gob-smackingly slow mechanisms put in place to protect and give voice to minority concerns by and large keeps the fascist thugs on the right from armed revolt and the left satisfied with navel-gazing debates.

Unitary Moonbat at Docuharma has posted a treatise on the rise of Mussolini (my favorite right-wing nutjob of all time) who as a radical newspaper publisher is described as a 1920's version of a blogger that became the prototype of a right-wing dictator for over two decades.  (And you thought Allahpundit's delusions of grandeur were actually delusional.) 

This passage stood out for me.
The Moral of the Section:  In Any Move Toward a Totalitarian State, the Middle Class Must Be Either Dealt In or Dealt With  Even though any group of five or more leftists would be hard-pressed to successfully organize a trip to the bathroom, to say nothing of overthrowing a country, the right fears our numbers and knows that any reckoning in a class war is going to go very poorly for them.  Accordingly, they can be co-opted into doing what they feel they need to do in order to secure their privilege and wealth.  If that means supporting fascist goons, they'll do it - and if the goons wind up feeling legitimized by the whole sordid affair, well, that's less of a pressing concern than land or wealth redistribution, anyway.  Another option is the Stalinist approach of simply eliminating the entire class, or the Hitlerian one of  placing it under rigid control, but when the right makes its move in this country, my money's on them taking after Mussolini's approach.
I have firmly believed that America is much more susceptible to falling victim to a fascist takeover than any form of socialism/communism grabbing hold ever since reading William L. Shirer's classic The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich a lifetime ago.  Communism has never been established in a nation where a robust middle class rose from the Industrial Revolution.  Eastern Europe (save the forcibly annexed East Germany and Poland), Russia, China and SE Asia however, had populations dominated by peasantry and at the dawn of the 20th century their societies were not organized much beyond their feudal roots.

You wingnuts who happened by this post might as well just stop reading now if you have no appreciation for the stark differences between Leninist/Maoist communism and the social-democracy practiced in much of Western Europe today.  If your understanding of political ideology doesn't go much beyond the idea that Marxism and Muslim are mashable into a made-up "Islamofascist" enemy that shockingly -- to you -- has no earth-bound adherents, let's just agree to disagree and move on.  Also, if you actually paid full price for Jonah Goldberg's fairy tale, or nodded along to a single passage, go away.  Seriously.  Calling liberals fascists is like insisting that the neo-cons are all liberals too because they began as disaffected followers of Democratic-hawk Scoop Jackson.  No. Just no. 

Mussolini's Italy was a mixed bag and could have gone either way.  They remained a predominately agrarian economy and preserved their monarchy through World War I, but they also nurtured a vibrant if not colorful democracy and their corporate/industrial class was still substantial.  Remember, by definition you cannot establish fascism without a healthy business sector.  In Mussolini's own words, "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- irregardless of the circular disavowel of this well known quote by modern revisionists like Public Eye quoting Wikipedia quoting Public Eye who are contradicted by, ironically, Wikipedia which defines fascism as "an authoritarian, nationalist and corporatist ideology."

[Note to Public Eye: a certified copy of Benito's hand written notes affirming this quotation will be sent to your offices forthwith, along with Barack Obama's original birth certificate.  I can't wait to get that free subscription to your rag. ;-) Honestly, when Benito advocates a strict laissez-faire attitude towards businesses so long as they operate in the interest and under the thumb of the state, institutionalizing the spectre of crony capitalism and banksterism, that's equating fascism with corporatism whether or not Mussolini said something so generally accepted it appears in thousands of secondary sources.  His verifiable quotes do not contradict the corporatist/fascist nexis whatsoever.  Just saying it does, doesn't make it so.]

For those still doing enemy recon, fascism, nazi-ism and national-"socialism" are interchangeable terms -- and have NOTHING to do with "socialism" as practiced on either side of the old Iron Curtain. We are talking about a totalitarian dictatorship co-opting (as opposed to eliminating and taking over) the major industries of a country, quietly promoting private wealth disparity but running the business sector with such a cruel efficiency that unemployment (and thus discontent) is redued to near ideal levels.  Communist dictatorships likewise rely on fear and coersion of the police-state, but are the polar opposite of fascism economically, (theoretically at least) sharing ownership, wealth and production, completely eliminating instead of concentrating power in the business class.  The fascist of the 1920s and 30s offered themselves up as the anti-communists, and so they were.

If you don't have both private ownership of commerce and finance plus a free, open democracy charged with providing stuartship of community services (currency creation, fire & crime protection, transportation infrastructure, education, and at least basic health and elder care), as well as regulation of industry for the common good through promotion of competition and fair labor standards, you don't have "socialism" as we know it in the West today, more unambiguously termed social-democracy. 

Honest, that's ALL it really is.  From what I can tell, student of politics that I am, the only difference between "European-style socialism" and what we have here in the United States is government sponsored health care and a more relaxed attitude towards smoking pot.  Oh, and taking regulation of the economy seriously. kthxbai. 

[Note to the Galtists: Destroying this system through some kind of general strike is exactly what Mussolini and Franco dreamed of doing by exploiting and absorbing "National Syndicalism" movements into their fascist regimes -- for which ample primary sources abound.]

For comparison, like his BFF Castro, Hugo Chavez is running a communist dictatorship, not a socialist democracy -- landslide elections notwithstanding.  One key to identifying the difference is whether the regime would remain intact without the charismatic leader or his annointed successor pulling the strings, or their inclination to voluntarily step down at the end of their original term in office.  An industrial base and thriving middle class also separates commie dictatorships like Venezula from social-democracies.  And capitalism, sure.

You don't see a lot of manufacturing in Cuba or Venezula, but the beleagered General Motors just sunk a billion dollars (of our money) into their Brazillian factories to make eco-friendly cars running on sugar cane.  Interestingly enough, while Brazil's government structure closely mimics the United States, they don't have a political party any self-respecting conservative would belong to.  The four major political parties of the world's fourth largest democracy are the "Workers' Party (PT), Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), and Democrats (formerly Liberal Front Party - PFL). I think it's time to start teaching Portugese in Michigan's public schools.  They've got as much going for them as we did in the 50's, minus the rabid McCarthyism.  The future looks bright in the Amazon delta.

Early 20th Century Germany was a modern industrial democracy when their pre-war social/political upheavals gave birth to their version of facsism.  Fear of the communist bogeyman were real, but also exploitable by the right which propelled Hitler to power.  While lacking the industrial infrastructure of Germany, like Hitler both Italy's Mussolini and the ultra-nationalist Francisco Franco of Spain came to power standing on the ashes of a republican form of government.  They rose with the help of the right, not on the backs of the left. 

The nations that went full-bore towards communism lacked the democratic institutions that separate much of the west from the despotic monarchies of old.  Also, save for an aristocratic class of nobility sitting on inherited wealth, there was no investor/industrial class to speak of that could fund a movement well enough (ie. buy enough goons) to keep the rabble from tearing down the mansions. 

America's industrial foundations dwarf the world, and have for a century.  We've never had an institutionalized peasantry, at least not since Emancipation, and bowing to the whims of a king have been anathema to the American psyche since the Pilgrims' first harvest.  There simply never were enough of the necessary ingredients in this country for the seeds of a true communist state to ferment.  Or at least we possessed the neccessary bullworks that thwart a leftist revolution from germinating without resorting to mercenary elimination of the mob's threat.


Red-baiting is just a canard, a partisan tool with no rhyme or reason.  Fascism in America, on the other hand, a marriage of government with corporate interests running what amounts to a police state?  Hell, technically that's what we were living under for most of the Bush/Cheney regime -- at least that's what was confirmed last week.

All too easy it is for America to silently slip into fascism.  So subtle in fact few of us even noticed its near fait accompli -- or appreciate how important it now is to dismantle and expose the attempted politicization of our Justice Department which could have spelled disaster for us all had apparachik more competent than Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales been playing Goebbels and Himmler for Herren Bush und Cheney and usurped the legal system to destroy their political enemies.

Fortunately, a grudging respect for an overwhelming electoral victory not even Diebold could fix -- combined with the intellectual bankruptcy of the Republican Party's leadership who have provided us only empty-suited candidates, mere figureheads, actors and hacks for decades -- those sheer numbers the right justifiably fear in what is empirically a center-left population could not be overcome; especially when someone as charismatic and brilliant as Barack Obama emerges to exploit the GOP's clumsy flirtation with a 21st century fascist coup.

3 Comments:

Grandpa Eddie said...

Excellent post, my friend.
Thanks for the insight.

PR said...

Well said.

honeymoonapples said...

Amazingly put.