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Random thoughts re Fascism.

Problems with its history and origins:

The Nazis, the Italian Fascists,Franco's Spain, a limited number of other European countries,Chile's Pinochet, possibly Argentina under Uruburu or the lieutenant //colonels//and the//desaparecidos, Brazil under Vargas facing depression conditions and capital flight, all those countries where there's some consensus as to the presence of this disease, every one had as common elements confronting working class militancy and gathering economic chaos.

In Nazi Germany, Hitler's regime was able to turn a failed Weimar social-democratic economy, with unprecedented inflation and double digit unemployment, around in one year. He did that by imposing Keynesian-type government spending, particularly on heavy industry and military hardware,while preventing spiraling inflation and wage rates by holding prices and wages down, by smashing dissidence, by imposing draconian discipline on the working class, by promising German recrudescence and lebensraum and the repudiation of Versailles, by inculcating antisemitism and the gypsy Roms as the despised other uniting jingoism, by moving through Europe and North Africa seizing needed resources and cheap labor. Mussolini, to an extent Franco, did likewise for the most part.

That's quite plainly not the case with Trump.

For the time being only, on the GDP front the ‘annualized’ rate of growth has been revised upward to 4.2%, the strongest rate on that measure since the middle of 2014*******, *******and the official rate of employment is benign, all of which Trump can claim without any reason or connection as his doing.

But how is all this to be viewed as nascent fascism, when right wing policies, including authoritarian and neoliberal strategies, have less and less viability? None of the above has Trump got any purchase on. His right wing jingoist, racist, xenophobic policies will fail in the face of declining US competitiveness, transnational corporations exporting jobs (which will not return), capital and industrial production and many services to regions with cheaper labor, facing burgeoning automation/robotization/alternative intelligence and further loss of employment, and growing assertive independence elsewhere on the globe and alliances of convenience to alter the balance of power. In fact as, if I recall correctly Marx predicted, the historic trend is for equalization of wage rates globally, as the US productive sector atrophies, automation/artificial intelligence increases, and enterprise that is not locally based, including many services, moves offshore to take advantage of cheap labor, land, infrastructure and disciplinary factors, resource and production-factor advantages, as border restriction measures gradually are dispersed, and the US working class is left increasingly stranded and without organized resistance in a country with more workers than jobs.And most importantly, capital-induced/enhanced environmental chaos. The only recourse will have to be recognized as global organization and a changed system of production/survival. No "vicar's tea party," but as Engels said, when its time comes what revolution is?

As to the use of the term fascism to describe collaboration or close coordination between the corporation and the state, of what combination of corporation and state under capitalism anywhere can this not be said? It does describe forms of populist ultra-nationalism, racism and nationalism, racial superiority, inequality and xenophobia, all common to populist, authoritarian regimes, but in how many ways is it really consistent with historical fascism?

Moreover, the term "fascism" is inexact and has over time been used in ways that drain it of meaning. We remember that FDR and other populist US politicians advocating saving capitalism by government measures were widely and in facile fashion called fascist and authoritarian, serving the purposes of a significant, reactionary segment of capital. This has occurred in other contexts as well - even really-existing communist regimes, for example, pseudo-populists in South America, Peron in Argentina, many subordinate client states, or anything with a whiff of authoritarian rule or command economy. Huey Long, Father Coughlin, Senators Bilbo and McCarthy were called fascists.

However, the term neofascism might be more applicable elsewhere, in Europe especially and what is seen there as rising neofascism, but I wonder if that is so on close analysis, how their conditions differ or are similar to the 30s, and whether they arise today concomitantly with any immanent threat to the economy or from the working class.

How does fascism differ from authoritarianism? Well, it's easier to say, and you can add if questioned, "You know." So also a term of convenience. Convenient for whom, for what? It may best work simply as a pejorative, ascare word, bogeyman, for whomever it might serve.

The term is also being used, however, as has been true in other times, in ways not appropriate as a tool of contemporary class analysis. There is presently no organized working class resistance to threaten power, it seems to have little value as a tool of analysis with a history. How does it serve class analysis, in a historically altered, shifting relationship between capital and labor?

What does it clarify? What does it obscure?

What is "fascism's" relationship to the law of value? To class and transnational capital? Maybe as a particular, localized form of authoritarian rule under conditions where it is necessary to restore the viability of capitalism by draconian measures. But that's militarism, caudillism, strongman government, authoritarianism in the usual circumstances, isn't it?

Shifting gears a little, a Marxian definition of class is those who own and control the “means of production” opposed to those who do not. (In the US today, the working class constitutes 63% of the employed population. If you add all the millions who are currently “out” of the workforce due to disability, unemployment, and care responsibilities, it is closer to 75%). Is the US working class in imminent danger? Maybe. But Trump's electoral support was not from the working class so much as from the middle class or lower middle class educated component {https://newrepublic.com/article/138754/blame-trumps-victory-college-educated-whites-not-working-class). Does that occur in the context of historically recognized conditions conducive to fascism?

But then a new term, Trumpism. Better term than fascism? Connect dots here.


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