On Fascism

This article is of interest. For instance:

Fascism creates confusion through “facts”. It relies on junk science, revisionism, the elimination of cultural records/treasures and obfuscations to create its case and gain acceptance. Fascism can also combine Marxist critiques of capitalism or faith based critics of the same to re-define middle class perceptions of democracy and to force its issues, confuse logic and create majority consensus between targeted groups. This is also referred to as creating a state of cognitive dissonance, the mental state in which human beings are most easily manipulated.

and:

Fascism is an extreme measure taken by the middle classes to forestall lower-working class revolution; it thrives on the weakness of the middle classes. It accomplishes this by embracing the middle class love of the status-quo, its complacency and its fears of: a) generating a united struggle within the working class, b) revolution and c) losing its own power and position within society.

In more simplistic terms the people currently in control fear that if they allow equal rights and equal consideration to those being oppressed, they will become oppressed and lose everything.

Axé.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “On Fascism

  1. I think the class analysis is flawed. The noble working classes, the middle class sheep: what good does it do to flog this point of view and let the upper class off the hook?

  2. I think because the middle classes aspire to rise. The lower bourgeoisie identifies up not down. The upper bourgeoisie own the means of production, so the middle classes include the super-rich. That is, you can be super-rich and be “in trade,” as my aunt would have said.

    The Bushes, for example, are bourgeoisie not nobility. And my observations suggest that the majority attitude in the middle classes *is* to hate/fear the poor (which does not mean one does not give charity, of course).

  3. I’ve yet to read the article, which I will read. What I will say up to this point is that the middle class complacency is very strong in academia, at least from my experience of it. It’s funny that the bourgeois academics would appropriate the caricatures of Samuel Beckett as being “just like us” and detailing “the human condition” whilst they continue to mouth the ideology that there’s “nothing to be done” (the mocking tone put into the mouth of the epistemologically castrated beggars). This is funny indeed. To actively choose a condition of social blindness behind a mask of universalism – this is very bourgeois. For, of course, there is MUCH to be done!

  4. We have an upper class in this country that is not nobility. And the Bushes belong to it. They have enormous power. They are nothing like upper middle class people. Very simply, the world is theirs and they decide what happens. Bush puts it well when he says he is the decider. He means this literally. He’s not an aristocrat. European models do not fit. The notion that the upper classes do not engage in trade is not correct for this country.
    Our class system is opaque to most Americans, and I would say to just about all foreigners. I wrote something about this in 2002:

    http://www.ilhawaii.net/~mscheffe/mswsapril11.htm

    Thomas Frank explains other aspects of the system well in *What’s the Matter with Kansas.* especially the role of the local or “lower” upper classes.
    America is not Europe, and 19th century Marxist models don’t fit us.
    Remember: we define ourselves by our work. The idle rich don’t cut it in this country.

  5. The upper bourgeoisie has had enormous power for a very long time and not just in this country. It’s true that the oligarchies in charge are secretive and have great power and so on and that the question of class is complex.

    Even if we say that these business and government oligarchies are not the upper bourgeoisie, they are the upper class tout court, why are the other strata of middle classes so complacent and complicit, and why do they so hate/fear the poor?

  6. P.S. the Frank book looks smart. Note in general:
    culture is often used, in many venues, to gloss over class, race, gender.

  7. Fascism is a particular form of class rule. Franco’s Spain was not fascist, although it had the support and collaboration of domestic fascists (the Falangists). Franco was a military dictator who couldn’t have come to power without the aid of fascists domestically and internationally i.e. both German and Italian fascist States.

    What defines fascism is:

    1. The forced formation of class collaborationist institutions within the workplace. This is usually called “Corporatism”. Corporatism is the nationalist cure for what the fascists see as a merely ideologically based internationalism which is promoted by Marxists i.e. the class struggle. Thus, the workers must unite with their employers in syndicates which promote production (under capitalist social relations) for the sake of national unity and strength.

    2. Fascism is the dictatorial rule of the fascist party over all classes in society with the self-identified purpose of saving the capitalist nation. The fascists see themselves as a kind of vital aristocracy of knights out to save the nation from international communism. In this respect, they see bourgeois democracy as a failure and condemn the bourgeois for being “flabby” and unable to save the nation from the ideological sickness of socialist ideas which grow amongst the working class and “infect” the nation. Fascists are big on administering “cures” for their nations’ “diseases”.

    3. There are no fascist States today, although fascism as an ideological current still exists i.e. the Italian Social Movement or “MSI”. To be sure, there are authoritarian bureaucratic States today; but there are no fascist States. All States, even democratic States are dictatorships of one sort or another. Only a classless society can be grassroots, democratic.

  8. Middle classes supporting governments with heavy fascist aspects, or fascist movements, against the poor: Argentina 1976-83, Brasil 1964-85, Chile 1973-89 …

  9. Agreed. The military dictatorships in those three countries during those years had the support of fascist elements. Interestingly, to me at least, every fascist movement has its own nationalistic flavour. For instance, the German movement was/is heavily influenced by Adolf Hitler’s pronouncements concerning the “organic” connection between Jews and the international socialist movement. The Italian movement was not intially based on anti-Semitic ideology, although it was anti-communist to the core. Only later and under pressure from their German State allies, did Mussolini decide to inject anti-Semitism into the Italian fascist movement. Also of interest to me, at least, is the fact that Hitler was not unfavourably disposed towards the concept of the formation of a Jewish national State. But for the most part, Hitler was of the opinion that Jews were genetically disposed towards internationalism, thus underming the “national strength”.

  10. I am partly of Semitic descent so people may call me self-hating rather than anti-Semitic for saying this but anyway: Israel has fascist aspects, and Zionism has them. Nationalism and cultural nationalism, and “identity politics” more generally are all problematic in this regard.

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