[Marxism] The immigration thread

Ian Pace ian at ianpace.com
Thu Oct 6 12:30:13 MDT 2005

From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>

>>OK, if you want to use this definition, how would you characterise far 
>>right movements outside of the advanced industrialised countries, then? Do 
>>you believe they can exist?
> Of course they can exist. The Colombian paramilitaries, the BJP in India, 
> the Paisleyites, etc. are examples of far right movements. However, there 
> was a fairly unique process that occurred in Europe in the 1930s that 
> gives fascism its character. However, it is doubtful given the class 
> nature of such societies that a fascist regime could come into existence. 
> The 3rd world bourgeoisie is simply too weak to consolidate a totalitarian 
> system such as the kind that existed in Nazi Germany and to launch 
> aggressive wars of territorial aggrandizement.
Well, there are serious leftist historians (such as Hans Mommsen) who would 
dispute whether 'totalitarian' is an appropriate term to describe Nazi 
Germany with its complex organisation and symbiotic relationship between 
different levels of society. I don't know Mommsen's work in any detail, 
though. The term seems utterly appropriate to both Tsarist Russia and 
Stalin's regime, though.

In general, I don't believe fascism is necessarily centered at the top and 
requiring of a powerful bourgeoisie. Something at least akin to fascism can 
become possible through an upsurge of aggressive nationalism in various 
classes. The root cause of this may have been propaganda emanating from the 
top - manipulation of consciousness is a powerful weapon in creating a 
society in which individuals of many classes actively and enthusiastically 
participate - but after a while becomes so instilled that it requires less 
top-down direction or coercion. It is for this reason that I think the work 
of Adorno and others on consciousness and the authoritarian personality is 
vital to understanding fascism, rather than crude economic determinism. 
Fascism and totalitarianism are distinct phenomena. With this in mind, I do 
believe that the Iranian mullahs can be described as fascist.


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