Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Prospects for Fascism in America

It’s now cliché for radicals to make links between US policy and Nazi Germany (it’s just really easy). Some take the analogy further, claiming that fascism in all its glory is fully integrated into American culture— with death camps soon to come. To some extent the various predictions are credible; the historical correlations are often unshakable. Sometimes however, the fascist bogeyman is revealed as exaggeration, or simply paranoia. Underestimating the drive and desperateness of those pushing the fascist agenda in the US is of course dangerous, with much of the population making this mistake; on the other hand, a common, tactical error many radicals make is in overvaluing the resources, organization, and receptiveness these groups have attained, often leading to demoralization and inaction. Exposing fascist tendencies in the US, their future prospects as well as limitations will be the goal of what follows.

Before a talk about fascism can begin, a proper definition is helpful; in order to keep things simple: fascism is capitalism in crisis. Whenever this cultural abomination rears its head it’s at the beckon of the controllers of finance and industry, who, facing unfavorable conditions and shrinking profits, compensate by using their power to shift the direction of the nation-state to meet their changing needs. The instigators of fascist thought are the most farsighted and prominent businessmen and politicians, the elites who understand the changing economy and its adverse effects on commerce, able to proscribe a fitting social remedy. In using this historically tested definition, one can state with confidence that there is no serious difference between the basis of the fascism of the Nazis and that of current US policy— with the neocons acting as vanguard. And because the neocons are the most advanced layer of corporate thought, they demand a certain degree of subservience from the other elite groups; how else can the general cowardice and collusion of the Democrats be explained? However, the difference between a government’s fascist foundation and its social accomplishments are not unimportant matters.

Fascism requires a radical departure from the societal status quo, thus becoming a complicated maneuver for the elites to pull off. The Social fabric of a nation ridden with class-conflict is always delicate, especially in the turbulent economic times that fascist-orientated groups come into prominence. The difficulty increases when one considers that fascism is the expressed interests of the corporations and banks— pushing their agenda requires the rest of society take a back seat or be herded to the war front; this creates tension and revulsion, a tougher balancing act is hard to imagine. The forms these conflicts have taken in history have been numerous, mixing different doses of propaganda and repression, always yearning for that most effective of combinations. Thus far, the politicians of the US have been uninspiring chemists.

Undoubtedly, 9/11 proved to be a suspiciously convenient pretext for unleashing the countless fascist policies long-planned and demanded by the upper echelons ( for the sake of time, lets just say that that day was full of ‘inconsistencies’) The extremely useful propaganda that resulted from 9/11 scared enough Americans into accepting 2 ½ wars (counting Lebanon); but we have been told that more war is on the way, and the elites are clear out of maneuvers, there’re incredibly off-balance to say the least.

The quagmire that is Iraq has been a difficult pill for our modern-day aristocrats to choke down. They’ve lost the war, but their plans require possession of that tiny, oil-filled country. As the death toll and enormous costs mount, so do the social consequences at home— sometimes silently, other times in explosions. The masses are a fragile bunch, reacting in wild, unpredictable ways; the lab-rats in the state PR department are frantically double-checking their mixtures, they’re working with untested elements.

As a result, many of the elites who were formally neocon cheerleaders— if only through their complicit silence— have made a sudden about-face. The signs are everywhere: the ruling-class is split. Many are making a run for the Democrats, hoping that they can prevent a social catastrophe while still staying on the ever-narrowing and hazardous imperialist path— the confessions of Colin Powell and George Tenet, the reemergence of Bob Woodward, all the new leaks, exposures, and scandals, just in time for the mid-term elections. The neocons are getting dumped.

How will the Democrats handle the new power thrusted upon them? They have been quite clear on the matter. After a year of prostituting themselves in the press to big-business, the elites have finally signed on, knowing their interests will be fully cared for. Although the power will shift on Capital Hill, the social situation remains as it was— critical; the masses are growing steadily angry and the demands of business are still unrelenting. The ‘liberals’ claim to have a better concoction to handle this deepening conflict, they are only fooling themselves.

The new strategy of the Democrat’s is simple: their making a giant leap to the right— and it couldn’t have been any other way. In times of crisis, the only proven way to juggle the demands of business while keeping everybody else prostrate requires an observance to the proscriptions of fascism. Thus, the Democrats are suddenly super-patriots, laden with xenophobia (anti-immigration and anti-Islam), warmongering, overly-concerned with morality and values, ad-infinitum. They’re attacking the right from the right. This is also why the mentally-defunct ‘war on terror’ is not only accepted, but broadcasted by the so-called liberals in an overtly-fascist attempt to cajole the masses. The only criticism of war from the Democrats is limited to the Republicans ‘bungling’ the war on terror— this subtle euphemism can only refer to the Republicans bungling the always delicate social balance: they’ve upset the masses and botched the elite’s goals.

The Democrats have their work cut-out for them. The foundation of fascist ideology revolves around nationalism— an ideology where everybody shares a common interest, class divisions are whitewashed. Anybody who’s seen the infamous Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will knows that we haven’t quite made it to Nazi Germany yet. The national consensus the elites have so eagerly sought is quickly crumbling, the US is as split as it ever has been, with the natural processes of capitalism widening the gulf. Distrust of government remains at an all time high; the elites have lost all credibility.
Hitler was much more intelligent than Bush Jr., enabling him to implement policies— beyond the above-mentioned tactics— that helped stifle class-conflict. Hitler flattered and pandered to the working masses, comparing their services to Germany to the heroic efforts of the military man; he created employment and improved the horrible conditions— if only slightly— of much of the country, while subsidizing recreational activities that served as diversions. The US government has only spit-on and devastated the working-class, creating discontent and tensions that will inevitably surface in volatile ways.

Following in Hitler’s footsteps are both Republicans and Democrats, as each group is equally zealous in destroying civil-liberties—- a basic prerequisite for any totalitarian society. Radicals have voiced the utmost disgust at the apathy of the masses in response to these measures. However, most people do not react to heavily-worded laws passed by Congress, they respond to events. The elites understand this fact better than the left, and have throughout history attempted to avoid big shocks to the system, opting for subtle changes in policy. Sometimes though— especially in times of crisis— the ruling classes are forced to make giant leaps. The present era is such a time. The enormous outrage that was voiced prior to the Iraq War has not disappeared, but is silently fermenting, waiting for an excuse to be unleashed. There is every reason to believe that such a cause will soon manifest, whether it be war, recession or depression, or more blatant state repression.

Even though the ruling class is confused and scattered, they have one thing going for them: their opponents are equally dumfounded and disorganized. Labor unions, an always critical organization in fighting the interests of the elites, are being decimated, thanks to the horrible bureaucratic deformation that constitutes their leadership, who constantly aide big-business in the destruction of workers wages and benefits. The continual weakening of labor— aided by the constant, reactionary court decisions of neocon judges— serves only to strengthen the side that favors the methods of fascism.

Not to be outdone, the leadership of the radical left, after a generation of scant social progress, continues to adhere to the proven ineptness of protest politics. Parades are arranged to ‘drive out the Bush regime’ or to ‘end war’— no parade has ever accomplished such a feat. Radicals bemoan the fact that few are interested in marching in rallies; do they not understand why? Rally after rally has been held, the soles of shoes have been worn thin while those in power pass more restrictive laws, prohibit gatherings, and go about their business unconcerned.

The bankruptcy of perspective on the left allows the right to take a deep breathe, gather its bearings, and try new, creative combinations of fear-manufacturing and disinformation. At this point, one can thumb through any number of left ‘radical’ publications and find a commentator jadedly searching for that ‘one big idea’ that will unite the scattered and directionless left. Such an idea has long been in existence, made possible by the actual conditions of our class-based society, where the overwhelming majority of the population already understands its common social interest, no matter how many professional politicians and radicals try to confuse the matter by directing their followers to dead-end reformism or ‘issue-based activism’— an idea as damaging to social progress as the current state of the trades-unions, where everybody vies for attention at the expense of everybody else.

The majority of citizens realize where they stand under capitalism— in opposition to the billionaires, Senators, and warmongers who are the most active in pursuing the fascist agenda. Again, fascism is capitalism in crisis, meaning, that the system cannot function in the ‘normal’ way, all the inherent iniquities and horrors sharpen, the world appears to have gone mad. Although there is an element of insanity in the actions of the elites, they feel obligated to take such risky adventures, blindly obedient as they are to the pursuit of profits. The only practical way to destroy the profit-motive that is marching us all to our doom is by socializing society’s wealth, and producing for human need rather than the demands of Wall Street. Being ‘against war’ and ‘pro-peace’ just isn’t enough; events are demanding a wider outlook.

As the right regroups and draws-up fresh plans, any number of outcomes is possible. However, any eventuality depends on the organization and action of the masses; if people are shown a political route they can be active in and inspired by, they will readily join. If no such alternative exists, a state of demoralization sets in and the right is quickly strengthened. During times of economic crisis, the masses desperately look for answers; if the left continues to offer nothing but the same tired ideas and slogans, the right will have a large, exploitable section of the population to work with.

Although the divisions within the elite afford some breathing time, it will not last. New pretexts for wars are being discussed right now, and if a change of strategy doesn’t happen soon, many will be caught unaware. In short, the left needs to wake up, look around, and see what’s actually happening; once a grasp of the situation is made, common-sense political conclusions inevitably follow— the fascist principles that unite the right shine light on the path the left must follow to oppose them; the right is forced to gather behind the unyielding demands of the profit-system, the rule of which the left must unite against.

4 Comments:

At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, I'm in. Sign me up.

 
At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James, Are you located in Massachusetts. I really enjoy your essays and think we could center them on Indymedia.

 
At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to become wealthier, earn more or desire less.

by Anonymous Pineapple of Kauai

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger James Cooke said...

I'm in Portland Oregon actually... I've written for/on Indymedia for quite some time, even though I don't always get the most favorable responses there :)

 

Post a Comment

<< Home