[Marxism] Reply to Rob Bollard on the theory of fascism

Suresh borhyaenid at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 29 16:03:00 MDT 2004

Well, it’s easy for otherwise “intelligent people”
like Jurgen Habermas to fall for such banalities as
“Saddam=Hitler” because the natural inclination is
always to prioritize and generalize from recent
experience. We see this tyranny of the present
exhibited when we look back on some of the writings of
the immediate post-war era, when Max Horkheimer and
Theodor Adorno wrote “Dialectic of the Enlightenment”,
when Hannah Arendt wrote “The Origins of
Totalitarianism” or when Friedrich Hayek wrote “The
Road to Serfdom”. Writers like this, and I would
include the existentialists in this category as well,
were consumed by the recent memory of the war and by
the apparent barbarism which, as it seemed, not only
did modern civilization not overcome, but actually
manifested to the highest degree. It was easy to make
broad sweeping claims against idealism about progress
and modernity and also against the mirage of statist
collectivism, which both fascism and communism were
supposed to be identified with. 

On the other hand, today we have the ascendance of
liberal capitalism, of bourgeois democracy, of
information technology, and of what is called
globalization. It becomes a simple matter to conflate
present trends and to subsume them into a larger
system - free trade, “empire”, whatever - and to claim
them to be either necessary or  inevitable. In this
paradigm, wars against rouge states like Iraq are
simply a matter of working out the kinks of the
international economy. So, it also follows that after
the experiences of two world wars, the major
imperialist nations will avoid conflict in the future,
and are too interdependent in any case, and so will
manage ultra-imperialism jointly, as Kautsky imagined
long ago. Such snap conclusions are almost always
premature in my view. We should probably remind
ourselves about the crude model of Kondratieff cycles
whenever the zeitgeist of an era seems to be indicate
a new, more advanced capitalism, a “late capitalism“,
and so on. After all, in 1848, revolution seemed
around the corner, and ten or twenty years later there
seemed to be a lull, but Marx and Engels always
attempted to take the long-view, and so should we,
however frustrating and literally time-consuming it is.

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