[Marxism] Peronism, Argentina etc.

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Mon Jun 28 03:17:37 MDT 2004


This discussion started when the question of the modern far Right was
raised, and I made some comments about that. Pim Fortuyn was labelled a
neo-fascist, which he wasn't. I have rarely even used the label fascist or
Nazism on Marxmail, ever (except in relation to a Holocaust discussion we
had).

The term fascism or Nazism has become a political and cultural swearword
(with Hollywood stereotypes) to describe anybody you don't like, or who is
allegedly despotic, and indeed as I have indicated in a previous post, the
imagery of Nazism is nowadays used for the purpose of demonisation even in
American presidential politics.

In this sense, labels like "Nazism" are being used indiscriminately in the
same way as "anti-semitism", to demonise or expresses anxieties, which
really means that a rational political discourse has been reduced to
rhetoric which substitutes for a serious political analysis.

In important respects, the very political language of the previous
generation has become otiose. The corollary is that many people deny the
relevance of applying the label fascist, Nazi or neo-fascist, including most
of the far Right. The great advantage of the Marxian tradition is that it
actually offered a coherent explanation of what it is and how it emerged -
at the time it actually emerged, and not just afterwards.

I don't regard the Bush administration as "fascist" and have never said so
either.

My own contentions are that

(1) the German Nazi dictatorship wasn't a totally unique phenomenon, but
only an especially barbaric variant in the series of dictatorships that
litter the history of capitalism,

(2) fascist-type movements or fascist regimes do not necessarily always have
the same class basis or support base.

(3) it's possible for fascist-type movements to capture support from a
fraction of the working class, even if the majority of workers reject it.

As regards (1) it is important I think to see the historical patterns in the
series - imperialism, nationalism, corporatism, racism, gangsterism,
militarisation, violent repression, moral decay and how they might be
combined in different ways. As I have noted, in the non-Marxist discussion,
Nazism often is portrayed in a way that it has nothing specifically to do
with capitalism and imperialism.

As regards (2) the general point is that the further development of
capitalism, or a societal crisis, may prompt the abandonment of
parliamentary democracy and substituting some form of dictatorship, fascist
or otherwise. In liberal theory, market economy and popular democracy imply
each other, but historically speaking this is a fiction.

As regards (3) this directs our attention to who actually supported, or
supports, far Right movements and what the ideology is.

I think if we adopt an approach along these lines, then we can go beyond
swearwords, superficial analogies and labels and draw better political
conclusions.

I'll drop the topic for now.

Jurriaan







More information about the Marxism mailing list