The facile and indiscriminate use of the term fascism has led to a widespread misunderstanding and misuse of its meaning. Asked to define fascism, most people would respond in terms such as dictatorship, anti-Semitism, mass hysteria, efficient propaganda machine, mesmerizing oratory of a psychopathic leader, and the like.
Such a pervasive misconception of the meaning of the term fascism is not altogether fortuitous. It is largely because of a longstanding utilitarian misrepresentation of the term. Fascism is deliberately obfuscated in order to sanitize capitalism. Ideologues, theorists and opinion-makers of capitalism have systematically shifted the systemic sins of fascism from market/capitalist failures to individual or personal failures.
Thus, the origins, the rise and the ravages of the classic European fascism are blamed largely on Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, not the socio-economic circumstances that gave rise to those instrumentally “useful” characters. An obvious flaw of this interpretation of fascism is that it cannot explain recent manifestations of fascism: since the archetype European fascism is attributed to Hitler and Mussolini, their demise ought to have logically meant the end of fascism. Yet, manifestations of fascism has been a recurring phenomenon characteristic of periods of capitalist crisis, as evinced by today’s expressions of fascistic tendencies in most of the core capitalist countries.
These ominous developments are testament to the fact that the germs of fascism are intrinsic to capitalism, as periodic economic crises are intrinsic to capitalism. As such, it is bound to periodically resurface as long as capitalism continues to be the dominant mode of socio-economic production.
Just as the original European fascism was blamed on Hitler and Mussolini, so is today’s display of fascistic propensities blamed on characters such as Donald Trump (in the U.S.), Marine Le Pen (in France), Norbert Hofer (in Austria), Alexander Gauland (in Germany), and so on. The real culprit, however, has been market failure and economic insecurity, both now and then.
In addition to the intended absolution of capitalism from the sins of fascism, its utilitarian misrepresentation has the political advantage of conveniently demonizing any “unfriendly” politician or “rogue” state leader as fascist. As Jean Bricmont recently put it on this site: “New Hitlers spring up in the Western imagination like mushrooms in an autumn woods”: Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Assad, Milosevic, LePen, Putin, and Ahmadinejad have all been subjected to such characterizations. Indeed, a number of “unfavorable” nationalist leaders such as Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi were first branded as fascist before they were overthrown and murdered.
Misrepresentation of fascism is intended to absolve capitalism from its responsibility in two major ways. First, it blames the executive agent of fascism (for example, Hitler) for the rise and the crimes of fascism. Second, the executive agent, in turn, shifts the blame from the system, or the socio-economic structure, to scapegoats such as migrants, ethnic, racial, or religious minorities.
Fascism cannot be defined capriciously. It cannot be reduced to the crimes of individual leaders of Nazi Germany, or the pathological problems of Hitler’s mind, or the “unfriendly” nationalist leaders who disobey the imperialist agenda of war and militarism. While obfuscationist judgments of this sort may succeed in the uniform of Adolf Hitler the horrific acts that the capitalist system can occasionally perform, such reductionist judgments would not be very useful for the purposes of averting social conditions that may lead to the recurrence of fascism.
Fascism is a specific historical category that evolves out of particular socio-economic circumstances. It grows out of conditions of severe economic distress and deep social discontent. As such circumstances tend to give rise to protest demonstrations and radical demands from labor and other grassroots on the Left, they also prompt counterbalancing social forces on the Right. In other words, fascism is essentially a counter-revolutionary strategy to preempt revolutionary developments.
This means that, at its core, fascism is a social-political strategy or tool that is employed by big business, or the ruling capitalist class, to simultaneously pacify the discontented public and fend off radical, socialistic developments. It also means that, while antithetical, both fascism and socialism are incidents that are latent in a relatively advanced capitalist structures—a case of the unity of opposites.
During cycles of economic expansion and relatively low levels of unemployment and poverty, such potential occurrences remain dormant. By contrast, during periods of deep and protracted cycles of economic contraction signs and symbols of both begin to re-emerge. In general, fascistic signs and symbols remain dormant as long as socialistic manifestations remain dormant, as former manifestations often emerge in reaction to the latter ones.
The development and brutality of fascism is proportionate with the degree of the severity of economic crisis, or the level of the gravity of class struggle. For example, the intensity of the 1930s socio-economic crisis in Europe and the strength of socialist movements and organizations, especially in Germany, played a critical role in catapulting the Nazi forces to power and precipitating the vicious rule of fascism there.
By contrast, as the bureaucratic labor leaders in the current (2016) US presidential elections chose to support the candidate of the status quo, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders’ campaign agenda stopped way short of a meaningful socialist program, fascistic manifestations of Donald Trump’s campaign remained largely sporadic and relatively mild. Had the class collaborationist big union leaders (the “labor lieutenants of capitalism,” as the late Leon Trotsky put it) charted an independent labor-grassroots campaign and demanded a substantive socio-economic revolution, instead of Sanders’ hollow “political revolution,” fascistic tendencies or displays of the Trump campaign would have escalated to dangerous levels.
It must be pointed out in passing that the capitalist ruling class (especially the “far-sighted,” non-partisan, big business establishment) would employ fascistic methods of control only as a means of last resort. As long as there is no serious grassroots threat to the status quo, it prefers to mitigate economic distress and social tensions by means of minimal reforms and usual “democratic” measures. Only when such measures fail to pacify the restless and rebellious masses of workers and other grassroots, that is, only when the ruling class finds itself unable to rule with the help of “democratic” machinery, would it employ fascistic means of control.
It must also be pointed out that a direct link can be detected between the recent rise of fascistic tendencies in most of the core capitalist countries, on the one hand, and the rise or reign of parasitic capital in these countries, on the other. As the unproductive, scrounging financial sector has systematically emaciated the productive, real sector of the economies of these countries, chronic stagnation has become a perennial feature of their markets.
Accordingly, high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality have also become prevailing features of these societies. As these ominous developments have given rise to public discontent and workers militancy in these countries, they have also given rise to expressions of fascism. And as economic crises tend to recur more frequently in the age of the dominance of parasitic finance capital, the specter of war and militarism abroad along with threats of repression and police state at home also tend to become more menacing.
It follows from this brief discussion that crisis situations present both opportunities and dangers, both revolutionary/socialistic occasions and counter-revolutionary/fascistic prospects. Such socio-economic periods of contradictory developments prompted the late German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg to declare: socialism or barbarism. Whether socialism or barbarism would prevail depends crucially on the balance of political power, or the outcome of class struggle.
Many radicals have dropped class politics at exactly the moment it is needed most. Rosa Luxemburg’s that socialism is the only humane alternative to capitalist barbarism is as relevant today as when she expressed it (during the carnage of World War I). Barbarism stares us in the eye in many disguised forms. Yet, much of the left these days shy away from using words such as class struggle, organization, or the crucial role of labor for social and economic change.
While participation of all the layers of the grassroots is crucial to the success of the fight for a superior civilization to what is prevalent under capitalism, the role of labor in the attendant coalition of the masses would be most critical. Only labor—labor in the broadest sense of the term that would include both the so-called blue-collar and white-collar workers—can bring an end to the rule of capital, thereby to the constantly lurking threats of economic crises, of fascism, of poverty, and of police state at home, and of war and militarism abroad.
Transforming the world economy in the interests of the majority of the people is, of course, not easy. It certainly cannot be brought about in one jump or an overnight uprising. It can come about only as the cumulative outcome of many steps along the path of a long and difficult journey of continuous social and economic change. Nobody can tell a priori how long or what form such transitional steps or stages may take. It is clear, however, that to change the world economy in the interests of the majority of its inhabitants, labor would need new politics and new organizations to articulate the struggle for change.
This requires a new labor movement with independent politics and organization(s). Whatever the new labor organization is called, it has to be different not only from the U.S. business union model but also from the Social Democratic model of Europe, trade unions + party. This means that the new labor movement and/or organization has to represent the interests of the entire working class, not just organized industrial labor, nor only its singular economic interests. In addition, it must aim at defending the interests of all those who challenge the logic of the profit-driven market mechanism. The working class can influence, shape, and ultimately lead the world economy if it takes on the challenge (a) on an international level, and (b) in the context of broader coalitions and alliances with other social strata that also struggle for equity, environmental protection, and human rights.
Exclusive: Few Americans understand the ugly history behind the Nazi-affiliated movements that have gained substantial power in today’s U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime. Western propaganda has made these right-wing extremists the “good guys” versus the Russian “bad guys,” as Jonathan Marshall explains.
By Jonathan Marshall
The latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, one of the leading journals in its field, offers a two-page photo essay on “what to see, do, and buy” in Lviv, a picturesque city in the Western Ukraine. “Amid the turmoil that has rocked Ukraine over the past two years,” the article gushes, “Lviv has stood firmly as a stronghold of national culture, language, and identity.”
That’s one way of putting it. Another, less charitable way would be to note that Lviv has for nearly a century been a breeding ground of extreme Ukrainian nationalism, spawning terrorist movements, rabid anti-Semitism, and outright pro-Nazi political organizations that continue to pollute the country’s politics.
Sen. John ...
A decade ago left-wing governments, defying Washington and global corporations, took power in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador. It seemed as if the tide in Latin America was turning. The interference by Washington and exploitation by international corporations might finally be defeated. Latin American governments, headed by charismatic leaders such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, won huge electoral victories. They instituted socialist reforms that benefited the poor and the working class. They refused to be puppets of the United States. They took control of their nations’ own resources and destinies. They mounted the first successful revolt againstneoliberalism and corporate domination. It was a revolt many in the United States hoped to emulate here.
But the movements and governments in Latin America have fallen prey to the dark forces of U.S. imperialism and ...
The words “possible criminal actions” by CIA employees are used in the report.
The terms unethical and immoral are mentioned. The criminality of those who ordered these actions at the highest levels of government, however, is not acknowledged.
The actions directed against alleged jihadists are categorized as ineffective in the process of revealing intelligence. This in itself is a red herring. The objective of torture was not to reveal intelligence.
What of course is not acknowledged is that the alleged terrorists who were tortured were framed by the CIA.
Known and documented the Al Qaeda network is a creation of US intelligence.
The jihadists are “intelligence assets”.
Torture serves to perpetuate the legend that the evil terrorists are real and that the lives of Americans are threatened.
Torture is presented as “collateral damage.” Torture is an integral part of war propaganda which consists in demonizing the alleged terrorists.
And the Senate committee report ultimately upholds the ...
Dear Readers and Friends:
The distinguished and knowledgeable international commentator William Engdahl, in a superb statement, has expressed the view I gave you that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on September 28 at the 70th anniversary of the United Nations changed the balance of power in the world. Until Putin’s speech the world was intimidated by the Washington Bully. Resistance to Washington brought swift retribution. In the Middle East and Africa it brought economic sanctions and military invasions that destroyed entire countries. In France and other US vassal states it brought multi-billion dollar confiscations of bank net worth as the price of not following Washington’s policies toward other countries.
Other countries felt powerless in the face of the arrogant hegemonic Unipower, which from time to time replied to noncompliance with threats, such as US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage delivered to Pakistan, to bomb noncompliant countries “back to the stone age.” ...
On May 18th, Britain’s Guardian headlined “West and Russia on course for war, says ex-Nato deputy commander” and reported that the former deputy commander of NATO, the former British general Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff (who was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 2011-2014), expressed outrage that Britain isn’t urgently preparing for war against Russia, and also reported that “He describes Russia as now the west’s most dangerous adversary and says Putin’s course can only be stopped if the west wakes up to the real possibility of war and takes urgent action. … In a chilling scenario, he predicts that Russia, in order to escape what it believes to be encirclement by Nato, will seize territory in eastern Ukraine.” (That’s the Donbass region, where there has been a civil war.)
This encirclement by NATO is, apparently, about to be expanded: Shirreff will now be satisfied by NATO, even if not by its member the UK, of which Shirreff happens to be a citizen. ...
How many times have we seen this before?
The President of the United States is on TV telling us horror stories. Some innocent people in some corner of the world are being crushed, he tells us. They face some monstrously evil oppressor, he says. While the United States doesn’t like war, what choice is there? Sacrifices must be made, cruise missiles must be unleashed, to protect the poor and innocent. The world is the set of an action movie, and the US is the tragic hero, forced to rescue the innocent.
This is the script we heard in former Yugoslavia. Bill Clinton claimed to be stoping “mass rapes” and “concentration camps.” After the smoke had cleared, and thousands had been killed, the truth came out. The United Nations admitted that no “genocide” had taken place. The talk of mass rapes and concentration camps had been hype.
While the alleged crimes used to justify ...
The internal and much more external destruction of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s is celebrating in 2015 its 20th years of anniversary. However, this historical and much more geopolitical event still needs a satisfactory research approach in regard to the true geopolitical reasons and political-military course of the destruction of this South Slavic and Balkan state. During the last quarter of century, the (western) global mainstream media unanimously accused Serbia and the Serbs for the national chauvinism as the main cause of the bloody wars on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, the role and direct impact of the other Yugoslav republics and nations in the process of killing the common state was not taken (purposely) into the consideration; especially of the Croats and Croatia as the biggest nation and republic after the Serbs and Serbia. This article is an attempt to contribute to the full-scale of ...
THE GLOBALIZATION OF NATO
Author: Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Clarity Press (2012)
Pages: 411 with complete index
Available to order from Global Research
The world is enveloped in a blanket of perpetual conflict. Invasions, occupation, illicit sanctions, and regime change have become currencies and orders of the day. One organization – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – is repeatedly, and very controversially, involved in some form or another in many of these conflicts led by the US and its allies. NATO spawned from the Cold War. Its existence was justified by Washington and Western Bloc politicians as a guarantor against any Soviet and Eastern Bloc invasion of Western Europe, but all along the Alliance served to cement Washington’s influence in Europe and continue what was actually America’s post-World War II occupation of the European continent. In 1991 the raison d’être of the Soviet threat ended with the collapse of the USSR and the ...
The US Senate Report documenting CIA torture of alleged terrorist suspects raises a number of fundamental questions about the nature and operations of the State, the relationship and the responsibility of the Executive Branch and Congress to the vast secret police networks which span the globe – including the United States.
CIA: The Politics of a Global Secret Police Force
The Senate Report’s revelations of CIA torture of suspects following the 9/11 bombing is only the tip of the iceberg. The Report omits the history and wider scope of violent activity in which the CIA has been and continues to be involved. CIA organized large scale death squad activities and extreme torture in Vietnam (Phoenix Project); multiple assassinations of political leaders in the Congo, Chile, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Middle East, Central America and elsewhere; the kidnapping and disappearance of suspected activists in Iraq and Afghanistan; massive drug-running and narco-trafficking in the “Golden Triangle” in Southeast Asia and Central America (the Iran-Contra war).
The Arctic has in recent weeks become a focal point of geopolitical tensions between Russia and the United States. Given the present rate of global warming, scientists anticipate that the region will be ice-free by the summer of 2030. It is believed to contain a large portion of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. It is also an important maritime route, one that is increasingly accessible due to the thawing of its ice cover.
The Arctic is one of the most resource-rich regions of the world. According to a study commissioned by the US government, some 30 percent of unexplored natural gas reserves and 13 percent of undiscovered oil and gas condensate are located there. Only Russia has a greater supply of raw materials.
The Northeast Passage, which extends beyond the Arctic, is regarded as an alternate sea route from Europe to Asia to the southern route, which runs via the ...
This text was first published on March 8, 2015,
The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.
Al Qaeda Affiliated Entities are “Intelligence Assets. Instruments of US Intelligence. The Global War on Terrorism is a fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”.
The Obama administration has embarked upon the ultimate war crime, a Worldwide military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity.
The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest.
This military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously, resulting in millions of civilian deaths and countless atrocities. More recently, U.S. and NATO ground forces have been deployed in Eastern Europe including Ukraine on ...
Macedonia is about to experience Democracy American Style. The nation’s misfortune is simple. It occupies strategic territory of keen interest to the United States and Russia.
“Russia’s Stroitransgaz said on Thursday it will build a gas pipeline across Macedonia, which could eventually be used as part of a route to supply Europe with Russian gas via Turkey”. Reuters, Mar 12
In January, Russia fired Ukraine as its natural gas transit for Europe. The pipeline across Ukraine was ideally positioned for this function. However, Ukraine’s practice of failing to pay for the natural gas it used and the outright hostility of the Kiev junta toward Russia were simply too much. Russia gave notice that the spigot would be turned off permanently in 2019. (Image: WikiCommons)
As an alternative to the Ukraine pipeline, Russia struck a deal with Turkey to sell it all the natural gas it wanted. In addition, Turkey agreed to put a ...
A complex geopolitical situation in the region forces the Baltic States and their NATO allies to take unprecedented efforts to increase defence capabilities to counter potential aggressors. A new Lithuanian military strategy approved in March describes Russia actions along with terrorism as the main threats for the security of Lithuania, as reported by Delfi.
Unfortunately for pacifists, the Alliance and Russia today are arming and demonstrating their military power. They constantly compare their armed forces' strength and capabilities, conduct large-scale military exercises, respond to each other by deploying new contingents and military equipment closer and closer to the NATO-Russian border.
The Baltic States have become such a border.
Moscow has placed Iskander-M launchers in Kaliningrad. The Russian Iskander is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and has never been made available to any foreign army for operational use. The weapon affords Russia the ability to use its Baltic exclave to threaten US missile ...
Only when we refute the monolithic interpretation of Zionist theory and practice can we approach an understanding of the contested relationship between anti-zionism and antisemitism.
Israel - BDS. Flickr/ Takver. Some rights reserved.The relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is a vexed and controversial question. My starting point is to elucidate an understanding of the meaning of Zionism; a term and a political concept which is rarely defined and frequently misunderstood. This is hardly surprising given that today in the 21st century, Zionism/ist is construed as an insult by some and is often equated with apartheid and even worse, Nazism. My understanding of Zionism seeks neither to exonerate, praise nor condemn. Rather we must seek to comprehend the Zionist movement and concomitant ideology in its historical, material and constantly evolving context.
A form of nationalism
Put simply Zionism is a form of nationalism which developed under two sets of linked influences in the ...
In the spirit of the New Cold War and following on its success in snuffing out South Stream, the US has prioritized its efforts in obstructing Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline, and for the most part, they’ve regretfully succeeded for the time being. The first challenge came from the May 2015 Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia, which thankfully was repulsed by the country’s patriotic citizenry. Next up on the destabilization agenda was the political turmoil that threatened to take hold of Greece in the run-up and aftermath of the austerity referendum, the idea being that if Tsipras were deposed, then Balkan Stream would be replaced with the US-friendly Eastring project. Once more, the Balkans proved resilient and the American plot was defeated, but it was the third and most directly antagonist maneuver that snipped the project in the bud and placed it on indefinite standby.
‘Lucky’ Number Three:
The climactic action happened on ...
Chris Hedges is on vacation and will return to writing his weekly Truthdig column on Sept. 5. While he is on break, we are republishing some of his past columns. This one originally appeared Nov. 10, 2008
We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically ...
Andrew Bacevich has written a series of books on the topic of U.S. imperialism and U.S. military power. His latest work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East [the GME War] is the latest in this series and as with the previous works is clearly written and logically presented. It covers more narrowly than the previous works the military aspects of U.S. military endeavours in the Middle East (greater – as in including East Africa and Afghanistan et al). Generally he succeeds well and this work is a good ‘primer’ for anyone interested in a quick historical overview of U.S. military actions in the region.
However it is not one of his better works, and perhaps that is because of the narrowness of focus and the resulting tie ins that could have been made and that without do not provide a perspective of this war amongst all the other wars instigated ...
Donald Trump certainly lies more often, and sometimes for the most trivial or ego-driven reasons. But presidential prevaricating is a common tactic dating back to the nation’s early days.
After escalated provocations with Mexico until he obtained the necessary pretext in 1846, President James Polk announced, “War exists,” thus explaining away how it really happened. After defeating Spain, William McKinley said he wanted to “uplift and civilize and Christianize” the Filipinos, and “by God’s grace do the very best we could by them.” But they’d already declared independence, so doing the “best” actually meant allowing the worst — killing and burning villages during a 12-year war of resistance.
In 1947, Harry Truman (image right) wanted to “assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.” But the pledge didn’t stop him from approving CIA manipulation of elections in Greece and Italy. And when asked about a US operation ...
September 17, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - Over recent months the situation in the Mediterranean has served as a dramatic reminder of what the leaders of Europe have tried hard to forget. The Syrian crisis has reached Europe. Although a lot of talk has been made over numbers and percentages of refugees that every country may or may not accept, let’s not forget that behind those numbers and the showy emotionalism of the politicians hides the ugly side of world politics.
The plans to overthrow the “annoying” regimes in the Middle East began at the time when the war hawks of Washington and their European allies prepared the first Iraqi war.
In a 2007 speech, US General Wesley Clark recounted a conversation he had back in 1991 with the then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. During that talk, the Secretary told the General that the Pentagon had already drawn plans in ...
Vladimir Putin has harmed no American. Russia has not stood in the way of any American’s dream. As for the billionaires though, those American and British money bags, the Russians are posing an insurmountable hurdle for their investments. And we all know nothing can stand in the way of their progress. Unfortunately for the human race, mediocrity cannot rule either. Here is a prophesy as real as any newsreel you will view today, the “end all” conclusion for American “exceptionalism”.
Do you know where Crimea is? Seriously now, a gaff by presidential hopeful Gary Johnson the other day proved once and for all, not even educated Americans have a very big “mental map” of our world. I was a geography student first and teacher second, and I can tell you categorically that very few of America’s leaders know US history and geography, let alone world names and places. If Johnson had ...
Nazi Roots of Ukraine’s Conflict
In Latin America, The Empire Strikes Back
The Role of 9/11 in Justifying Torture and War: The Criminalization of the US State Apparatus. Senate Report on CIA Torture is a Whitewash
NATO Announces War Policy Against Russia
Phantom Tanks and the Desperation of Kiev
An Alternative View Of The Destruction Of The Former Yugoslavia In The 1990s
NATO: Proudly Delivering Death Since 1949 – A Book Review
Imperialism And The Politics Of Torture: Towards A Global Secret Police Force
US Imperialism And The New Race To The Arctic
The Ultimate War Crime: America’s “Global War On Terrorism”
Democracy American Style – Macedonia
Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: Defence against Russia or target for terrorists?
Contestation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
A Hybrid War To Break The Balkans?
America’s War for the Greater Middle East – A Military History
U.S. Presidential Lying Is Nothing New
The Dirty Role Of The West In Syria
The Empire of Mediocrity and the End of the World