Rand is NOT a Fascist! Jeez!

Chris M. Sciabarra sciabrrc at is2.NYU.EDU
Sat Jun 24 08:31:54 MDT 1995


On Sat, 24 Jun 1995, Seamus Malone wrote:

> Rand was an apologist for fascism. I'm not sure I see the difference.

	I realize that I've had to defend this view before, so I
apologize to those participants here, who may be a little tired of even
seeing the name Ayn Rand on a Marxist board.  Nevertheless, Rand was not
a fascist, nor was she an apologist for fascism.  Considering that
Mussolini's government banned Alessandrini's film version of her novel,
"We the Living," and that the Nazis stopped the film from entering
Germany, it is fairly clear that even the fascists saw her
"anticommunist" stance as one against all forms of authoritarian
statism.  Alessandrini's film was originally produced as an anticommunist
propaganda film.  The rights were stolen and the film was produced
without Rand's permission.  Nevertheless, it was very faithful to the
novel, and won several awards in 1943 at the Venice Film Festival.  The
Mussolini government, however, was made uncomfortable by the fact that
the film was being cheered by Italian moviegoers.  They eventually
suppressed the film because of its explicit antiauthoritarianism.

Rand opposed fascism, and was one of the most radical theorists on the
libertarian right in her critique of American neofascism.  She saw big
business as the architects of American statism, opposed U. S. entry into
Korea and Vietnam, opposed the draft, was pro-choice on the issue of
abortion, and was a militant atheist.  I find it difficult to believe
that anyone can call her fascistic, simply because she was an advocate of
capitalism, "the unknown ideal."  And given the fact that she was
educated at the University of Leningrad under the Hegelian neo-idealist,
N. O. Lossky, she absorbed a highly dialectical mode of inquiry which
affected both her literary and philosophic project.  I cover all of this
in my forthcoming Penn State volume (to be released this August),
entitled:  AYN RAND:  THE RUSSIAN RADICAL.  I think the volume will
appeal to many on the left simply because it offers a celebration of
dialectical method.  It reconstructs a lost world of Russian intellectual
history, and relates Rand to Marx, Hegel, Fromm, Habermas, and many
others on the Left.  The book challenges Rand's "cultic" following and
her critics as well, to reevaluate her place in the history of social
thought.  Moreover, I think those on the left will be surprised to see
just how closely Rand's critique of contemporary power relations mirrors
the Marxian perspective, taking the notion of the master-slave duality to
heights that would make a Hegelian proud.

Well, enough of my soapbox... I'd be happy to entertain criticism once my
book becomes available.  Excuse the commercial.
					- Chris
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Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, NYU Department of Politics
INTERNET:  sciabrrc at is2.nyu.edu (NOTE NEW ADDRESS)
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