[Marxism] Fascist intellectuals?
marvgandall at videotron.ca
Sat Aug 26 12:33:51 MDT 2006
Anyone notice any mass fascist movements or states around today?
Fascism is best understood, IMO, as an interwar phenomenon which arose in
reaction to the growing strength of the industrial unions and their
attraction to Marxism - the appeal of the latter bolstered by the example
and resources of the young Soviet Union - in the context of capitalism's
gravest economic crisis.
The fascist states differed from the "strong" states typically set up by
ruling classes before and since to hold the masses in check in that they
were based on mass movements organized from below as necessary instruments
to counter and smash the mass organizations of the left. The fascists
borrowed their symbolism and forms of organization from the left, which
schooled some of their earliest theorists and organizers, but I wouldn't
make too much of this of the superficial resemblance in political culture.
While the fascists eventually drew into their ranks trade unionists as they
neared power, their social base rested primarily on those forces which felt
their social weight and influence declining in the new industrial society -
unorganized and unemployed workers and artisans, small town merchants and
professionals, ruined farmers, and the native-born who saw the old economy
and culture slipping away from them, overwhelmed by increasingly
cosmopolitan urban centres comprising "degenerate" immigrants, Jews,
radicals, trade unionists, and modernist artists as well as exploiting
bankers, manufacturers, and retailers.
The bourgeoisie, faced with an insurgent left and socialist movement and its
economic resources exhausted by depression, willingly surrendered some of
its class independence to the new fascist movements in order to salvage
capitalism from the threat of "Bolshevism".
Fascism belongs to a particular historical period - like the left, only its
echoes are heard today - but the same social forces in conflict then largely
remain in conflict now, except in more muted and disguised form in more
stable and prosperous times - at the centre rather than the extremes of the
political spectrum, their respective interests and values being reflected
through the liberal and conservative parties. Given similar circumstances of
economic depression and mass unemployment and social misery - with
immigrants of colour now assuming the role of the Jews in the 30s - we could
expect to see a similar exodus from the major parties to growing parties of
the far left and far right.
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