The Reality of Fascism in America Today
Huge processes of fundamental change are underway in America and the world today. The American people are caught up in the wrenching that encompasses the economy, politics and society. When qualitatively new technology was introduced into economic production that made human labor superfluous, it spelled the death-knell of a capitalist economy based upon wage-labor. This is the underlying cause of the massive transformation underway today.
An expression of the destruction of capital today is polarization. We experience this polarization first as growing extremes of poverty and wealth. Millions are being thrown out of production, losing everything. They are all headed to destitution and want, and must fight to obtain even the most basic of human necessities in order to live. The bottom 50 percent of the American population possesses only 1.1 percent of the wealth, the top 1 percent control 38.6 percent.(U.S. Wealth Distribution 2017, Statista, 2018.)
While wealth and poverty may be one expression of polarization, the polarization that has earth-shaking implications is the polarization of opposing classes. One class, the ruling class, is interested in only one thing – how to preserve private property in a new world in which the capitalist form of property is being discarded.
Rising to oppose that force is a new class of workers created by laborless production itself. They cannot go back either. They must fight for a new world in which private property is abolished, where the abundance that the new technology produces is distributed to all according to need. In truth, the horrors we are experiencing today are but the pains of a new world in birth. The question is, whose world will it be, theirs or ours?
Across America, a broad and growing social motion is developing. The inability of workers to obtain the basic necessities of life is driving this motion. A declining standard of living, dispossession, foreclosures, growing homelessness and hunger are manifestations of this epochal crisis that is ripping the country apart. Add to this situation, the inability of government to address the needs of the people or to resolve practically anything, coupled with a culture of violence, including a militarized police force, we see current features of the situation we find ourselves in now.
It is in this predicament that we find a growing effort to name the problem, to define just exactly what is at the bottom of what is going on. It is in this context that the question of fascism is being raised. We only have our recollection of the fascism of the past century, of Hitler and Nazism, but we wonder if that old form of fascism is really what is resurfacing, or is there is a new fascism that we see? Some point to the KKK and Neo-nazi gangs as examples. Others look to a bullying authoritarian, governing unilaterally and arbitrarily. Donald Trump is certainly a participant in the process, but we would be missing the target, even if we were to attempt to relegate one political party or another as the epitome of fascism today.
The objective foundations of fascism are already in place. The corporations have completely merged with the government and are directing the economy in their own interests. This is graphically demonstrated in the passing of the 2018 Tax Cut and Reform Act, as well as in the projected 2019 budget. These measures reflect a corporate ruling class on the attack, directly assaulting the new class economically by cutting public resources of the needs vital to life. They also indicate that the ruling class is prepared to use direct force to block, control, and defeat the new class that is rising to resist and fight for its own interests.
The massive transfer of wealth, by cutting taxes on the rich and the corporations, will add $7 trillion to the federal deficit, even after making $3 trillion in spending cuts, amounting to a 40 per cent overall cut in spending for social programs. Food stamps are being cut by $213 billion. A five per cent cut to public education will eliminate 39 programs, while at the same time increase spending for scholarships for private schools, “school choice” programs, and an expansion of charter schools. Cuts to Medicare will amount to $490 billion. Social Security is also a target for cuts. And the Environmental Protection Agency faces cuts of 34 percent.
The ruling class understands that these draconian attacks will necessarily give rise to a response. The new class must fight for its very existence. It cannot survive while being cut off from access to the very necessities of life. The ruling class is countering that response with direct force – with the erection of a fascist State.
The budget reflects the process of accelerating the development of a militarized security State. The Homeland Security budget is being increased by $3.4 billion. 2000 additional ICE agents are being hired, 750 more Border Patrol agents, 450 more Secret Service agents. An additional $1 billion is being added for cybersecurity. In the guise of fighting a war against terror, we see a vast surveillance State, with black sites, torture and targeted assassinations.
Step by step the ruling class is putting into place a political and legal structure of open and direct State power. Some of this is taking place by legal means, while populist rhetoric is utilized to cultivate a social base that will accept fascist solutions. Measures taken by the institution of an emergency manager dictatorship in Michigan is an illustration of the State intervening in place of democratic institutions.
The impossibility of maintaining the existing economic system also means the impossibility of maintaining the existing bourgeois democratic State forms. The entire world is moving toward a revolutionary transformation. The ruling class is fighting for this transformation to be in its own interests.
It means the transformation of the State, the substitution of one State form for another. It will mean the end of bourgeois democracy. The protracted battles taking place in national politics is basically a debate about how the ruling class will carry out their program. It is part of the struggle to coalesce a fascist movement under the new conditions. The struggle taking place in the ruling class today is about when and how the American people are to be prepared to give up democracy and accept fascist solutions.
A Fascist World Order
Developments in America are part of an overall global process of transformation. A struggle is underway that is grappling with the fundamental changes in the world economy, which in turn gives rise to struggles in geopolitics. It is all about the transformation to a fascist world-view and a fascist world order.
The bitter battles taking place in the Congress over the question of colluding with Russia are not really just about Trump vs. Clinton, or Democrat vs. Republican. These are but the forms in which the fundamental question of a new world order is being fought out. In the view of the ruling class, the current world order, established post-WW2, was a “liberal” rules-based order of market-based democracies freely trading with one another, in which the U.S. was hegemonic. In reality, it was a time in which the U.S. empire came to dominate an emerging neocolonial global economy and political order. The IMF, the World Bank and the WTO were primary institutions of a capitalist geopolitical order. NATO was a military counterpart. Multilateral trade and military arrangements prevailed.
Today that world order is being challenged. Rather than an order in which the U. S. rules both economically and politically, we see the rise of contending powers, particularly Russia and China. The share of the world economy made up by the U.S. economy has shrunk from 50 percent to 25 percent. This reality underlies the “pivot” by the U. S. to the East. The encirclement and confrontation with China and Russia are the primary focus of U. S. strategy.
In this context we see fundamental challenges being made to the existing world order. Emanating from the U. S. – multilateral arrangements and international institutions are under attack. Trade agreements and treaties are being abandoned. Unilateral and bilateral negotiations are replacing the old multilateral arrangements between countries. The promoting of democracy as a foreign policy goal is being jettisoned. Protectionist walls are being erected.
Barry Posen describes the abandonment of what he sees as the pillars of a liberal world order as the rise of an “illiberal hegemony.” (Foreign Affairs, March, 2018) An illiberal hegemony is only another name for a fascist world order, in a world in which the U.S. can maintain its global domination by military means alone.
Whose World — Ours or Theirs?
The process underway is about the transformation to a fascist State and world order. We see its manifestation in the U.S. economy, politics, and society. There is also a mighty opposing force arising to contend for the future of humanity. A new class created out of the antagonism at the base of society – the introduction of laborless technology – puts this new section of the working class on a revolutionary path. It is objectively antifascist. The daily fights for food, clean water, housing, health care, education, and for peace – are the fight to oppose the transformation to a fascist world order. It is a fight to build a new world compatible with the new technology, a cooperative world in which the abundance that the new technology creates is distributed to all in need. Its vision is a communist world-view. Its revolutionary task is the transformation to a communist world order.
Freedom from want, from exploitation and oppression, freedom from endless war, the freedom to be able to develop the full potential of a new humanity – now that is something worth fighting for. So whose world will it be – ours or theirs?
May/June 2018 Vol28.Ed3
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