[PEN-L:9966] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: TINAF Special onWashingtonNaziDemo--

Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Aug 12 15:07:15 MDT 1999

>>> Wojtek Sokolowski <sokol at jhu.edu> 08/12/99 04:29PM >>>
At 02:36 PM 8/12/99 -0400, Charles Brown wrote:
>((((((((((>>> "Charles Brown" <CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us> 08/11/99
>I had said:
>Charles: My position is that there is not fascism in the U.S. today
>Charles: I would modify that. There is fascism against many Indians,
including reservation/concentration camps.
>See Jim Craven's discussions

Yes, I did read Jim's discussion and I disagree with some of his points,
but being told to fuck off, i did not want to turn the whole thing into a

My main point is that while few on this list would disagree that Native
Americans got a particularly raw deal in the US of A - what do we gain from
calling that fascism?


Charles: I don't recall how we got into this issue of the importance of what you call
it. The term "fascism" describes a historically actual phenomenon, comes from
Mussolini, etc. To the extent that genocide against Indians has similar elements the
term should be used. And presumably an analysis of both world historic crimes against
humanity would help determine how to fight them and prevent their recurrence.  The
name or term is not important except in the way that any technical term is important
for fixing concepts , etc.


Genocide of Indians is ugly enough on its own terms
- it does not have to be emphasized by being compared to nazi germany.  at
the same time such comparisions obscure obvious differences between the us
and germany - and thus make the whole argument easier to discredit.

Not long ago we had a discussion on this list with Brad deLong who equated
Stalin, Mao and Hitler based on superficial comparisions of how many people
died under each regime.   To my recollection, Jim C. rebutted Brad's
arguments essentially claiming that we cannot just count the dead, but we
need to take into account the specific social-historical context in which
they occurred.  I would think that the same principle should apply
universally, no?


Charles: To the extent that the two have common causes , it is important to note them.
I don't think the genocide against Native Americans needs the term "fascism" to make
it sufficiently horrible. However, I think there are comparisons, but contrasts as
well. Most importantly both occurred under capitalism.


Finding behavioral similarities, such as selective ignorance of
government's genocidal practices in the us and germany (my favorite example
comes from the documenatary showing the liberation of the bergen-belsen
camp, where the city residents were genuinely shocked seeing the piles of
corpses) is certainly a valuable intellectual pursuit that reveals some
darker sides of the "human nature" (whatever that is) - but the potential
for such a behavior does not mean that it is bound to "happen here."  We
really have to take into consideration the "structural factor" - social,
political, economic and cultural circumstances that makes certain forms of
behavior more likely than other.


Charles: No problem with your being precise and analytical. But there are structural
similarities. They are known as capitalism.


I think we gain very little form equating us with nazi germany, mainly
because unlike in nazi germany, political opposition in the us is still
possible (albeit not very effective) and that possibility should be
utillized to its fullest.


Charles:We keep going over this. There was political opposition in Germany right
before the Nazis won power. The Nazis won an election.

Of course, we should use full powers of opposition available to us. Being on the look
out for fascism doesn't mean we stop using the democratic institutions, nor did we say


 If we truly belive that any mistreatment of a
minority is fascism - there is no hope for any resistance and the only
logical conclusion is suicide.  While I sometimes entertain such thoughts
during my depression bouts, I do not think they are very constructive for
making social changes.


Charles: What I said was fascism is the open terrorist rule ( against the majority
too) of the most reactionary, chauvinist, militarist sector of finance capital.





PS.  There is a diffrence between comparing acts that are criminal on its
own term to nazism, and using nazism as a hyperbole to denounce
objectionable policies.  The former only  obfuscates things, because no
such comparison is needed to make the point.  The latter, by contrast,
makes a polemical point, even if it is of a somewhat cheap variety.

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