• The troll’s gift: Let’s talk about fascism!

    Thanks to everyone’s hospitality.  I like the good show you’ve put on, even providing me with my first troll.  Now I know I have arrived.

    The troll in question did make a comment that allows me to address an important issue:

    Prussia no longer exists. The Nazis are finished. But the Militant Atheist Communists still have control of hundreds of millions of people, and oppress believers routinely.

    I think that that gets this exactly backwards.  The twentieth century saw a death-struggle against two worst embodiments of the reactionary counter-Enlightenment in the forms of Communism and Fascism.  The former is finished.  No one talks of a universal, proletarian revolution.  But the latter is returning in a nasty way.

    One has to be clear about this: when most people think “fascism” they think of Nazism, and the horrors of the final solution.  But that is an outlier standing in for the whole trend.  During the very early twentieth century, fascism would have meant Mussolini’s Italy, a state the preferred nationalist, and usually (thought not always) racial collectivism to the class-based one, married it to a strong welfare state and a state-supported industry, and had a degree of xenophobia but was not exterminationist, while promoting a militarist ethos and dealing in a mythology of the past.  That model certainly has many takers today.  Consider Putin’s Russia, with its powerful, clerical backing, or the reborn ‘red China’ which has made the smooth transition to a national bolshevist state.  And don’t think that we in the West are immune to that either.  The late great Hitch tells the following story:

    Some years ago, I was interviewing Alan Clark MP about his book The Donkeys, a rugged study of British Great War generalship which became the script for Joan Littlewood’s Oh What A Lovely War. Hesuddenly said to me: ‘I daresay you’ve been told I’m a Fascist.’ I admitted that I had heard something of the sort. ‘Well, that’s all balls,’ he said briskly. ‘I’m a National Socialist.’ Obviously pretty well-used to the shock effect of this, he went on to explain that while Fascists were middle-class thugs who wanted to protect their dividends, National Socialists had a special responsibility to the worker and the artisan. ‘We betrayed the British working class three times,’ he told me sternly. ‘First by using them as cannon fodder in the Great War, then by rewarding their sacrifice with a slump and mass unemployment, then by letting them in for another war.’ (I was never sure, later on, whether to be impressed or disquieted when Thatcher made this hater of the brass hats and ‘the old gang’ into a Defence spokesman.)

    Now that is not, in and of itself, a rotten point of view.  The working classes in Europe were indeed used as cannon fodder in that conflagration.  Here again one has to draw a sharp distinction between “national socialist” and “Nazi”.  To take a certain recurring piece of stupidity from the discourse of our transatlantic cousins, for the Obama detractors, it is certainly true that the Nazi state had a strong comprehensive healthcare system, but this is not what most people object to.  To take the Bush detractors, nor was “patriotism” the problem either.  What turned the Nazis from just another fascist movement to the synonym of evil was a race theory fuelled by anti-semitism, a pathology that counts an ideology on its own.

    I’m stressing this because as long as people do not treat fascism seriously and understand that there is almost certainly something about some fascist program that will be appealing to many people, including themselves, they will not confront its danger.  This is only going to get worse as the world’s economic situation worsens; something that tends to drive people to become more insular and isolationist.  Those of us who believe in internationalism are going to have a tougher time of it than ever under these circumstances.

     

     

     

     

    Category: Fascism

    Article by: The Prussian

    • smilodonsretreat

      Out of curiosity, have you studied the Dominionist movement in US religious circles? How would you compare that to Facism?

      I freely admit that I don’t study much political ideologies.

    • Edward Clint

      Putin’s Russia is one of the most disturbing political trends that almost no one talks about.

      Isn’t it harder for a neofascist nation (let’s say Russia were to go full-out Mussolini) to survive and prosper today than in the 20th century? They’d surely be opposed politically, economically, and culturally on the world stage by the West (and potentially, militarily, but this is a more remote scenario).

    • prussian

      Re:Dominionism, I’m afraid I don’t know enough.

      Re:Clint, I’m afraid that’s just not so. How pariah is Saudi Arabia? Or China? That former one’s the real killer; only a fool thinks we can get tough with China. But the fact that there’s not even the will to deal with a ratbag state like Saudi Arabia, even after 9/11 says nothing good about the West.

      • Edward Clint

        Since we’ve already passed peak oil, the tolerance for Saudi Arabia will fade in the coming decades. But let’s consider the present. How Pariah is Saudi Arabia? Significantly, I’d say. They get raked in the international press for backward social and political policies, such as executing sorcerers. Their cultural influence is virtually nil. They’re not well liked even in their own region, which is why they had to rely on the US to protect them from a potential invasion by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Saudi is tolerated because it has oil- but only just. The call for US “energy independence” is a thinly veiled reference to our collective distaste for such states. (My own opinion is that we should sever all economic ties.)

        China is in a bad way, but surely it’s not so bad as it was a few decades ago. China’s ongoing sparring with Google shows how hard it is to remain part of global commerce and be overtly fascist at the same time. I do agree it is naive to think we’re going to “get tough with China” and that will work. Change happens for other reasons: a growing middle class will want things the West has that China neither has, nor that a fascist government can provide. Failure to adapt means going the way of the USSR. Even purely economic success means modernizing.

        Note, I’ve not suggested the current worldscape precludes any form or degree of fascism. I suggested only (and I’m no expert) that it is now harder to survive and prosper, than before.

      • Peter

        Just Google Reconstructionists or Dominionists. These guys are all over he place and now control GOP through their surrogates the Tea Party. I’m Canadian and our PM belongs to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a Dominionist sect that believes in the “end times.” Step by step his policies are turning Canada into a Christian theocracy, imho

        • prussian

          I’m going to post something more substantive on this later on, but I will say this: I have very little time for people who use terms like “theocracy” lightly.

          You are simply flat out wrong about the Tea Party being a dominionist front movement. Studies show that they do not care about issues like gay marriage or prayer in school, which has earned them the ire of insufferable fools like Ann Coulter.

          And as to Canada becoming a Christian theocracy… You’re guarding the wrong front. The religion that managed to get not only state-sponsored prayer in Canadian public schools, and not just state-sponsored prayer but sex-segregated prayer, with the girls at the back, and not just sex-segregated prayer, but sex-segregated prayer where menstruating girls were excluded as unclean, was not Christianity.

          Now, I know something about the dominionist movement, but I do not know if they fit the model of classical fascism.

          • Peter

            but sex-segregated prayer where menstruating girls were excluded as unclean, was not Christianity. Then please tell what religion are you referring to? As for the Tea Party do a little research. Polls suggest that between 40-50% are Christian fundamentalists. Fundies who welcome a nation based on gods laws, a theocracy

            • prussian

              Read

              And fundamentalists are not the same thing as dominionists. There are, in fact, many fundamentalists who want the separation of Church and State maintained because they can see full well what the result was of state churches in the Old World, namely, the mass production of atheism.

              I would caution everyone to draw these distinctions as best as they can. Being able to make such fine distinctions is a central part critical thought.

          • Peter

            Do you consider Falwell, Robertson and the Southern Baptist Convention fundamentalists? At their universities, Robertson’s Regent University and Falwell’s Liberty University they’ve had Reconstructionist lecturers. Both are Southern Baptists and Robertson is a proponent of Dominionism. Gary North, co-founder of Reconstructionism brags how they took over the SBC. That’s not all. These crazies are all through the US military as senior officers and Chaplains. Check out Mikey Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation .
            You said: “The religion that managed to get not only state-sponsored prayer in Canadian public schools, and not just state-sponsored prayer but sex-segregated prayer, with the girls at the back, and not just sex-segregated prayer, but sex-segregated prayer where menstruating girls were excluded as unclean, was not Christianity.” Please tell me what religion in Canada you are referring to, I’m confused.

            • prussian

              Of course they’re fundamentalist. And I am fully aware of the troubles in the US military; here is a good article on the subject.

              I would like you to actually bother to read my previous link before asking the same question again. Now, if you’ll excuse me, that’s enough for a while. I have a great deal to do, and I don’t have the time to run through this again.

    • Peter

      One school board in one city is not, repeat not, Canada. Bye