American Fascism ?

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at
Mon May 26 18:49:30 MDT 2003

Charles, some responses:

>>An important part of fascism's essential features is aggressive,
warmaking. The U.S. today fully qualifies in this regard as fascist.<<

Wouldn't this apply equally to the British empire and to Napoleon? How
about Bismarck. All fascist? The term loses most of its meaning if we're
not careful.

>>the Patriot Act I , and rumored Act II, state legislators in one state
discussing treating anti-war protests as
punishable by life in prison<<

This is very serious, but is it really that different to what has happened
at a number of other points in American history? I'm thinking of the Palmer
raids and McCarthyism. All fascist?

>>I would add that white supremacist institutions are not exactly in
contradiction to some USAmerican form of fascism... White supremacy has
served bourgeois hegemony well until now, but things change.<<

So true. White supremacy is compatible with various forms of capitalist
rule, including liberal democracy. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, after

>>There is no premature anti-fascism.

I think there is, and I'll give you an example.

In 1993 our local Nazis announced they would march through Brunswick, an
ethnically diverse part of Melbourne. It also happens to be the main left
ghetto -- so it's a bit like the Mission District in San Francisco. Perhaps
the Nazis hadn't realised it was a left stronghold.

We mobilised maybe 800 people, mostly local residents, to chase them out of
the area. It was terrific.

But our left group had got a bit obsessed with anti-fascist campaigning. A
year or two later, when a couple of Nazis set up shop in a house in another
area, there was a campaign against them. It involved one modestly
successfull demo. So far so good.

But after that the campaign languished. We didn't have a support base among
the local citizens, and the Nazis were not doing anything over that
provided a basis for mobilising. They just lived there and issued a crank
leaflet once in a blue moon.

Meanwhile something else was happening. A racist named Pauline Hanson was
elected to parliament. Not a Nazi, but a racist populist. There were major
left campaigns against her which were excellent. Our group should have
thrown all its anti-racist energies into these campaigns: a) because they
were a big thing, and b) because it was within the Hanson movement that
more serious fascist elements could potentially have arisen. (The smarter
Nazis understood this and got involved).

Instead we divided our energies between the two issues, and put some of our
people through a demoralising and pointless campaign against a couple of
oddballs living in a house somewhere. Suggestions that we scrap it were met
with moralistic arguments.

Our anti-racism was timely. Specifically anti-fascist campaigning was
premature. That's why it's good that we debate what seem to be fine points
about what is fascism, because it helps us orient strategically.

More information about the Marxism mailing list