21st Century Fascism
The fundamental characteristic of fascism is corporate economic power merged with the political power of the State. Fascism in Germany and Italy during the 1930s was politically imposed as a reactionary alternative to bourgeois democracy. Fascism today has objectively arisen and matured as a result of the new, qualitative change in the economy that is destroying capitalist society. It is not a choice of the ruling class, as it was during the period of capitalist industrialization in the 1930s.
New labor-replacing means of production – the computer and the robot – are destroying the economic foundation of capitalism, which is the buying and selling of labor power. This fundamental economic relationship was the basis of producing value for capitalist market exchange and distribution. With its destruction comes the destruction of value and the destruction of the market, exchange and distribution.
The 21st century global fascism of the corporate State is based upon the objective destruction of the capitalist economic system wrought by the economic revolution in production. A fascist program is being implemented by a global capitalist class to protect private property. In countries around the world, fascist economic and political policies have been maturing by varying degrees over the past two decades.
New Global Reach of Fascism
The demands of globalization play a particular role in the objective evolution of fascism. Any barriers to the global mobility of capital must be eliminated. These barriers include the institutions of bourgeois democracies and existing laws. Governments of different countries act in concert to break down any remaining barriers – be they legal or political – to the integration of the global market.
To extract and accumulate more wealth and property the United States ruling class is leading the initiative for two new global trade blocs and new rules for globalization. The first is the 12-country agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which awaits final passage by the U.S. Congress. The second is the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, which is still being negotiated. The people of these partnership countries have no say and no vote on these agreements.
Both the TPP and the TTIP are designed to isolate and weaken the economies of China and Russia. Both initiatives are similar in most respects. They are negotiated in secret and contain the same provision, called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS). This is designed to allow global multi-national corporations to challenge the customs or laws of any partner country deemed to be a detriment to corporate investment interests. Arbitration panels made up of global corporate lawyers meet in secret to decide if a violation of the agreement has occurred, and if so, how much the taxpayers of the violator country must pay as a fine to the corporation whose investment was violated by the customs or laws governing their country. The national sovereignty of any partner country is thus undermined and trumped by an agreement designed in the interests of global corporations and written by global corporations. These agreements represent the new global reach of an evolving fascist order.
U.S. Fascist Economic Policy
Fascism in the U.S. today is also an objective economic process where the corporations have merged with the State as a result of this qualitative change in the economy. It is the objective reflection of economic development. As the economic base of society is transformed, the social and political superstructure that rests upon that base must also be transformed. This objective process was already underway when the banking sector’s sub-prime mortgage bubble broke in 2008, causing the global economic crisis. The process was accelerated and fully completed when the U. S. government swiftly intervened in the economy and bailed out the banking sector, the auto industry and others to the tune of $8 trillion and still counting.
The first two bailouts were enacted in October 2008. They were the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. This was followed by the January 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States and his appointment of Timothy Geithner, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as Secretary of the Treasury.
Immediately, teams of bankers and other corporate managers assumed positions inside the federal government, and a new “Financial Stability Plan” was rolled out of the Treasury Department. It was closely followed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that was signed into law by President Obama. In total there have been nearly 1200 corporate bailouts, with additional bailouts continuing to this day.
Fascist Political and Social Policy
Private corporate interests are penetrating U.S. society at every level, as the government assumes responsibility for the profitability of the corporations. Throughout America every level of government is slashing, cutting and eliminating social programs that provide basic needs for adults and children, including programs that care for the sick, the disabled and the elderly. Across the country government is opening the way for the corporate privatization of virtually everything in the public domain. Everything from public water to public libraries, public education and public parks is being transformed into private property.
New laws are enacted, transforming the legal structure to protect and facilitate the interests of the corporations and the capitalist class, while revoking the limited democratic rights of the people. The extension of corporate personhood for the purpose of electoral campaign financing by the Supreme Court with its ruling on the Citizens United case, its ruling on Harris v. Quinn that dismembers public employee unions, increased state-by-state voter disenfranchising and state Emergency Manager Laws imposed on local governments are all examples of this new level of corporate protection and facilitation.
Fascist Development of a Police State
American fascism is rapidly accelerating its grip on society, as witnessed through the maturing of the police state. A social environment is being created where the lives of a section of the American people are being rendered worthless. This is being directed at the growing section of the new class being thrown out of, or to the margins of, the economy and society. It is here where we find the majority of those being systematically marginalized, criminalized, violently attacked and increasingly murdered by the police.
The objective changes in the economy present a direct challenge to the laws of private property. Fascism arises to protect private property and deal with the objective changes and consequences in capitalist society – the various causes and effects – from the manifestations of society’s ongoing social destruction to the interventions of the State that block the distribution of the necessities of life to those in need.
21st century fascism is objectively revolutionary, in that it seeks to guarantee a transition to a new society while preserving private property. It is not based upon a reactionary program of trying to go back to some past form of capitalist relations. The goal of the ruling class is to guarantee the preservation of private property under some kind of new economic system.
American Culture and Ruling Class Propaganda
The U.S. ruling class is carefully disseminating cultural propaganda to convince the American people to accept fascism. To develop a fascist culture they dig into and revive the most violent and horrific aspects of our country’s history. They use the country’s violent, brutal and racist history that included slavery and fascism in the South, the genocide of the Native Americans and its global imperialist conquests and expansion.
Culture is a way of life of groups of people – the learned, cultivated and assumed, socially transmitted behaviors, beliefs, values and symbols – that they accept, accumulate and then pass from one generation to the next. Culture progresses largely without people thinking about it.
For instance, the ruling class is using current events, combined with American history and culture during this election season to further consolidate a fascist social base. They promote ideas of American superiority and exceptionalism. They unleash populist, anti-immigrant, racist rhetoric to make fascism appear as the obvious solution, based on simple “common sense” premises.
Simultaneously, the growing new class and cultural differences with those of the ruling class – not color – are emerging as the ideological basis for the “blame the victim,” police assaults and murders of the poor of all colors.
The ruler’s goal is to stop the revolution from proceeding on a class basis. Their aim is prevent the unity of the new class, precisely when it is objectively possible for sections of the class to unite based on their common conditions and the growing economic equality of poverty.
Developing Stages of Consciousness
The new class – the growing section of workers being replaced by the robot and the computer – is also objectively revolutionary. The new class seeks the distribution of the necessities of life based on need, an objective goal requiring the abolition of private property and the creation of a new cooperative, communist society. However, the new class is not conscious of itself as a class, or of its objective goal.
The growing new class needs housing, food, health care and other basic necessities of life. Revolutionaries rely upon and focus on this objective reality. A new movement for these demands is developing social awareness. As the movement realizes that the State will not provide the needed necessities of life, the demand for new solutions arise from within the movement. It is here that revolutionaries identify the leaders of the class, to develop the necessary stages of consciousness from within the movement. This requires revolutionaries to be propagandists inseparably connected with the movement, while working from the inside of the organizations that are fighting for the demands of the new class.
Time is of the essence. A rapidly developing fascism is not taking pause. There is no possibility of “overturning fascism” today and “restoring democracy.” No reforms are possible. There is no going back. The old society is being destroyed by objective forces. The future is going to be either fascism based on the robot, or communism based on the robot.
The only way to have true democracy and to get the much needed necessities of life is to fight through each step, completing every stage of the revolutionary process into a cooperative society, where the distribution of the social product is based on need.
January/February 2016. Vol26.Ed1
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011