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|"Fascism: Any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely
nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship, and forcible
suppression of opposition."
|"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with
community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a
mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites
, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal
cleansing and external expansion."
- Robert Paxton
All forms of fascism (aka "national socialism") are based on the merger of government and corporations. Now we can add intelligence agencies to the list of corporations, as they operate semi-independently from the government and often have goals which does not correlate (and sometimes are opposite) with the goals of executive branch especially in foreign policy. They form the core of so called Deep State and position themselves of a new praetorian guard that makes of breaks presidential candidates at will. The suppression of Hillary Clinton "emailgate", surveillance over Trump campaign and launching by intelligence services color revolution against Trump (aka Russiagate) after his election is just one the most recent illustration of this trend.
In this sense the events after WWII proved that the merger of government and corporate power was not accidental and has staying power. Germany, Italy and Spain, each with its own national idiosyncrasies were simply pioneers in this direction. There are strong objections of using the term "fascism" due to its historical baggage (and first of the connection to all the crimes committed by Nazi Germany in WWII), but the ideology of neofascism now experience strong Renaissance in most European countries, the USA and GB. Critics claim that the term lost any precision and in many respects become a catchall for any kind of totalitarianism and far right policies. But this is not completely true. Ideas if national socialism recently muted in more modern forms of "inverted totalitarism" and national security state.
There are distinct new elements in those new political structures, which were absent in the classic fascist states. Some prominent element of classic fascist state such using violence to suppress opposition are now lost relevance. Moreover the dominance of "military industrial complex" is viewed by many as a new form of fascism, which was the essence of warning of President Eisenhower.
Other critics claim that the term became useless because it lacks strict definition. I disagree with this position. Despite clear deficiency the term "neofascism capture important class of social reaction again neoliberalism in various countries and as such a legitimate political/sociological term with more or less "well structured" definition which allows to distinguish it from "classic fascism" on one side and "national neoliberalism" on the other. Wikipedia defines the term stressing the neofascism possesses significant elements of fascist ideology, and defining what are those significant elements as:
Neo-fascism is a post–World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, populism, anti-immigration policies or, where relevant, nativism, anti-communism, anti-socialism, anti-Marxism, anti-anarchism, and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy. Allegations that a group is neo-fascist may be hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a political epithet.
Classic fascism (as implemented in Germany by NSDAP and in Italy by Mussolini) can be viewed as a variant of ultra-nationalism, which aspires to bring the renewal of a nation deeply in crisis and advocates the replacement of the corrupt liberal democracy with authoritarian dictatorship. It mobilises the population presenting the history in an idealized, fictional and tuned to this purpose way (fascist myth) and via relentless propaganda. It suppresses dissent by exclusion/exile, surveillance and brute force. It was fascism that invented the role of intelligence agencies as the major part of oppressive apparatus of the state. It invented "political police". As a perversion of Marxism (and deeply influenced by October of 1917 revolution in Russia) it has some socialist tendencies, at least in programs and tried to raise the standard of living of the whole population. But it represents interests of not workers, like Marxist Parties pretend, but small entrepreneurs. At the same time "classic fascism" it was closely linked to the post WWI realities, especially for Germany.
In many ways, Classic Fascism strongly correlates with the mental state of nation which is attacked by strong enemy, the enemy which has supporters inside the country.
But it is more then that. The distinct feature of fascism is its strong aversion to the excessive financialization of economy and banking, which fascist consider evil (in a way prosecution of Jews under Fascism was closely connected with their role in banking, not only as a repression against the group the refuses to assimilate). And this feature of national socialism now is instrumental in its revival, as financialization was the essence of neoliberalism. Which can be consider as the rule of financial oligarchy -- the same class of people against which original German fascist tried to fight, while masking it with the particular national identity, due to historical for Europe overrepresentation of Jew in financial industry.
Unlike Trotskyism and neoliberalism, fascism is always nationalistic, so attempt to equate neoliberalism and fascism is the attempt to ignore the core difference between them. That's why neofascism is on the rise due to the crisis of neoliberal globalization. It is true though, that neoliberalism carry elements of neofascism and represent a rich subtract on which neofascism can grow, because like situation after the WWI it creates mass of disenfranchised workers and small entrepreneurs, who are deprived of chances to be the valuable members of society
As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
Both have the elements of Nietzschean Ubermench philosophy imbedded in hem
If one looks at NSDAP program of 1920, one can clearly see the requisite elements of fascist social movements. Paradoxically those demands now position the US neofascists to the left of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, which is in the pocket of financial oligarchy and is ready to privatize Social Security and Medicare to please its Wall Street sponsors. To say nothing about Republican Party:
The 25-point Program of the NSDAP
… … …
7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:
11.Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13.We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
… … …
21.The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.
In addition Classic Fascism typically promotes militarism and territorial or economic expansion as the way to deal with internal problems. In this sense it is indistinguishable from neoliberalism (and both have common roots in Trotskyism). Both consider violence including foreign wars a useful political tool. With neoliberalism openly advocating Trotskyite-type of "Permanent revolution" in countries the refuse to switch this social system.
Another important feature of fascism that distinguishes it from neoliberalism is that this ideology has strong suspicion the liberal democracy is just a tool for the dictate of financial oligarchy, which has all the money to buy politicians. In this sense neofascism starts when the party/movement that adhere to the fascism social program renounce violence and accepts parliamentary democracy as the "necessary evil", still striving to get to power using the election mechanisms and use for suppression of financial oligarchy, especially international investment banks and speculators like Soros. But instead of military coup d'état they accept the goal of winning the election within the constrains imposed by this model in Western states (although tremendous growth of political power of intelligence agencies, which really became "kingmakers:, and which in the core can be considered as new type of proto-fascist political parties, put important corrections into this consideration; in a way they stand in the direct opposition to the parliamentary system, like classic fascism)
In its essence any form of fascism is an attempt to simplify control of population by the elite, by "bribing" the dominant in the particular state nationality. It remains a viable right wing program for setting up a highly centralized regime with militaristic, nationalistic policies (especially external expansion, for example in the form of neoliberal empire expansion), merge of industrial and financial corporations with the government, total population control, rigid control of MSM by intelligence agencies, and "extra-judicial" methods of suppression of opposition, including McCarthyism witch hunts and "Russogate"
In its essence any form of fascism is an attempt to simplify control of population by the elite, by "bribing" the dominant in the particular state nationality.
Neofascism essentially relax the same postulates of "classic fascism" making it more socially acceptable, but preserving the core resentment against financialization of the economy (but no longer associates it with the particular ethnic group) as well as immigration, viewing foreigners as a group which "steals" jobs and wealth from the core demographic group of the particular country.
Unlike "classic fascism", neofascism does not directly oppose to parliamentary democracy and is ready to work within parliamentary system to get to power. Itt does not advocate violence against political opponents as the primary means of suppressing the opposition, although it does not shut from using it when necessary or expedient.
At the same time modern technology polished the ways of suppression any opposition by other means (see Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism ) so this difference is pretty superficial -- the level of spying on the population in any modern Western state is comparable with the level that existed in Germany under the rule of NSDAP.
The strongest common link is rampant militarism and exaggeration of external threat to the nation well-being (for example, the threat from Islamic terrorism), which makes it surprisingly close to the ideology of National Security State and not that different from neoliberalism (Fascism - Wikipedia ):
Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.
Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war. The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.
Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society. Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.
Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.
In other words while classic fascism now is almost extinct, there are multiple and more viable mutations of far right nationalism (which experience renaissance due to impoverishment of population caused by neoliberal austerity) that are called by generic name of neofascism. And it proved to be highly adaptable ideology with higher survivability potential than classic Bolshevism. In almost all European countries and in the USA nationalist movements are on the rise and far right parties often enjoy success in elections. They come to power in several European states such as Poland, Ukraine, and several Baltic republics.
The most distinct feature of this set of political movements is obsessive preoccupation with militarism, community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood (Nation under attack meme) and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and the idea of national rejuvenation (as reflected in "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) slogan, although it originated in the Paleoconservatism movement which is not connected to fascist ideology of any kind).
After all, the concept of national rejuvenation after a deep economic/political crisis historically was one of the key reasons classic fascist regimes of the last century came to power. Both Mussolini and then Hitler espoused citizens’ duty to recover their respective nations ancient strength and glory from the situation of deep decline after the defeat in the WWI and reparations imposed. Both fought with valor in WWI.
The key question for particular country is:
"Do the country has an organized, committed nationalistic (please note that "exceptionalism" is a form of nationalism) militants, in alliance with traditional elites, who are ready to use extra-judicial methods (not necessary violence) with minimal legal restrains for internal cleansing of the society and external expansion?".
Without far right nationalists organized in military fashion as was the case in Ukraine it is difficult to classify a movement which adheres to those ideas and is as a fascist movement. But it can well be neofascist. The readiness to go to extra-legal means is the key distinction between neofascism (and any far right nationalism) and regular nationalism (which essentially adhere to "law and order" paradigm).
Both "Regular" nationalism, "national neoliberalism" followers (Trumpism) and economic nationalists still are adhering to the existing legal framework and fights for their ideas on election booth. Fascists cross this boundary (and that's why they often are called far-right). They despise traditional dual law enforcement (one for elite and one for common people) and oligarchic democracy (the democracy for only top 1% or less of population) and think that authoritarian model is preferable to the existing level of corruption in legal system as well as harsh punishment for transgression (not understanding that while the existing "far from being perfect" legal system might be eliminated, both injustice in the form of preferential treatment of the elite (which essentially is above the law) and corruption will remain; just the composition of the elite changes)
Another important distinction is presence of elements of social democratic requirements, requirements for social justice in their program: neofascists movements typically are more pro-middle class and, at least partially, pro working class then far right movements. One litmus test is the level of animosity toward financial oligarchy and "unearned" income. This is the key distinction of neofascism and "national neoliberalism" (Trumpism). Unlike neoliberals, which hare many trials with fascism and neofascism they view sovereignty of the nation as an "ultimate good" that need to be preserved and defended.
They are also anti-elite, and anti multinational corporations and transnational organizations like NAFTA or WTO. And especially against transnational financial oligarchy (in Nazism that degenerated into anti-Semitism as the percentage of Jews among top levels of financial oligarchy was always very high, but it is not necessary for a fascist movement to be anti-Semitic per se; other nationalities can serve as scapegoats).
Like classic economics, a typical neofascist movement distinguished between "earned" and "unearned" income and consider the later a sign of parasitism and decadence of the society. NSDAP program of 1920 explicitly stated
"Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery."
Without this point we can talk only about for-right nationalism or in case of "economic nationalism" and "national neoliberalism" (neoliberalism without globalization as to a certain extent professed by Trump administration).
The idea of Lebensraum - Wikipedia is inherent of fascist movements but typically is absent or is suppressed of neo-fascism movements: .
The German concept of Lebensraum (German pronunciation: [ˈleːbənsˌʁaʊm] "living space") comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion. The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.
And as far as external expansion goes, neoliberalism can definitely viewed as a form of neofascism ("Permanent War for Permanent Peace"), so there is a strong connection between neoliberalism and neofascism in foreign policy area and for this reason neoconservatism should probably be viewed as a modern flavor of neofascism. See Professor Andrew Bacevich excellent book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
But, in reality it is not, even if it is used as a synonym of "far right nationalism", because most modern far right nationalism movement borrow key ideas of the three classic fascist regimes -- Mussolini in Italy, Nazism in Germany and Fracoism (falangism) in Spain. New is often well forgotten old. As Robert O. Paxton noted in his essay "The Five Stages of Fascism":
We cannot give up in the face of these difficulties. A real phenomenon exists. Indeed, fascism is the most original political novelty of the twentieth century, no less. ... If we cannot examine fascism synthetically, we risk being unable to understand this century, or the next.
We must have a word, and for lack of a better one, we must employ the word that Mussolini borrowed from the vocabulary of the Italian Left in 1919, before his movement had assumed its mature form. Obliged to use the term fascism, we ought to use it well.
Similarly there is a right for existence of the term neofascism, which is general denotes more aggressive and violent forms of far right nationalism, but at the same time expressing interests of lower middle and working class and having strong anti financial oligarchy sentiments (for example, distinguishing between earned and unearned income (rent)). This is a set of trends and far right political movements now observable in many countries which experienced neoliberal austerity, especially in Europe.
Like fascism and neoliberalism, in no way neofascism is a coherent ideology. It is often self-contradicting and contains mutually exclusive elements. That are several sometimes conflicting types of neofascism in modern societies:
Neofascism ideology is pretty fuzzy and flexible (remember that allies of Nazi Germany in WWII were Japanese, which were as far from Arian ethno type as we can get; while Nazi were adamantly anti-Slav, which represents very similar to Arian ethnic type).
All-in-all it represents a popular and rising in importance on the political scene post–World War II ideology, which proved to be more enduring and popular then the communist ideology. It well coexists with neoliberalism (and can be completely merged with it as in Chile under Pinochet). While "excesses" of classical fascism are rejected it still has the key elements of "national socialism" in the form of "socialism for 1%", if you wish.
There are multiple similar terms, such as military-industrial complex (neoconservatives can be viewed as lobbyists of military industrial complex, and as such neofascist at least in foreign policy strategy and goals), predator state, national security state, etc which essentially describe the same phenomenon, stressing different aspects of it.
While still adhering to the core postulates of fascism, neofascism is very flexible and thus more difficult to define precisely. It relies on achievement of modern technologies and first of all new possibility of surveillance. Neofascism replace physical suppression of internal opposition with MSM control (the situation which already is fully achieved in neoliberal societies). Opposition is simply pushed out of mainstream media into alternative media and ignored, but not physically suppressed.
Along with computers and communication technologies, other technological achievement plays in neofascism favor as well. for example war against weaker opponents now can be conducted with much less casualties and most via technological supremacy on the battlefield.
Similar the idea of racial/ethnic purity can be replaced by cultural "belonging", by rejection of speakers of alternative languages (and culture) in particular country. It can be Spanish in the USA, or Russian in Ukraine.
Neo-fascism also deploy more sophisticated forms of identity politics, than classic fascism. And it less oriented on open violence. Neo-fascists often reject ethnic-based identity policies replacing "ethnic nationalism" with the "cultural nationalism" based solely on the language and culture identifies.
Similar, the idea of one party rule system present in classic fascism can be replaced with two party system, producing the same effect and allowing to preserve parliamentary democracy, while achieving basically the same goals as one party system as both party candidates are selected by non-elected party functionaries, be it the "Deep state" in the form o intelligence agencies control of elections, or the "party elite", or some mixture of the two.
Mass authoritarian, far right party can now be replaced by personnel of intelligence agencies which serve the same purpose with intelligence agencies brass becoming political leaders of the movement, much like Nazi bonzes in the past.
Look how close to basic tenets of neofascism (if we assume that Arian nation is limited to financial, government and corporate oligarchy) is what James K Galbraith called the predator state (from the review by Thomas I Palley of the book in Asia Times Online, Aug 22, 2008):
Economist Jamie K Galbraith's recent book  describes modern (Bush-Cheney) Republicanism as creating a "predator state". Its predatory aspects are starkly visible in the gangs of corporate lobbyists who roam Washington DC, the Halliburton Iraq war procurement scandal and the corruption and incompetence that surrounded the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
However, the broad concept of a predator state needs qualification as we are really talking of an "American corporate" predator state. Thus, the predatory nature of contemporary US governance is quintessentially linked to corporations, and it is also a uniquely American phenomenon.
Kleptocratic predator states, such as Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Sese Seko Mobutu's Zaire in Africa, are fundamentally different. There is no equivalent in Europe, and none in East Asia where ruling elites have a sense of obligation to the nation even as they often enrich themselves illicitly. Nor is there an equivalent in Latin America because government there never reached an economic size proportional to that of government in the US.
It is important to understand the social origins of the American corporate predator state because understanding is a necessary part of developing responses for caging the predators and replacing them with another, better, order. Those origins clearly trace back to the military-industrial complex that president Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his final televised address to the nation on January 17, 1961.
That complex has captured politics and corrupted the business of government, including of course the conduct of national security policy. The fact that it has wrapped itself with the flag makes it impossible to confront without being charged as unpatriotic. Worst yet, its enormous enduring profitability has provided a model for imitation by other industrial complexes like Big Pharma and Big Oil.
The political success of these predators is clearly linked to money's role in politics. Money gives the power to buy the political process, and that power is defended by a gospel of free speech that takes no account of the fact that out-shouting someone is qualitatively equivalent to silencing them. Economics also comes to money's defense with its absurd myth of a market for ideas in which participants compete on a level playing field and truth is effortlessly sorted from error.
The American worship of business and businessmen, which Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, 1922) wrote about long ago, also plays a role. This worship privileges business over thought and other activities, and is behind the dismissive sneer "if you're so smart, how come you're not rich?" As a result, Americans are all too willing to hand over their government to business predators. Today, it is in Goldman Sachs we trust.
Another feature of business worship is a tendency to conflate profit with free markets. That means the distinction between fair competition (which is good) and fat profits (which are bad) is lost, thereby providing cover for predators.
Lastly, there is the legacy of the Cold War which contributed to economic dumbing-down and suppression of awareness of class and class conflict. This suppression was seen as necessary for blunting the dangerous appeal of Soviet communism, but a consequence was to create blindness to the predators in our midst.
All of this reveals a deep deficit in America's social and economic understanding (some deficits really do matter). And as long as this deficit remains, the predators will have a starting-gate advantage in the game of political persuasion.
Yet, how to close the deficit and insert another understanding is an enormous challenge. There are deep institutional obstructions in the academy, the media, and the Democratic Party. Moreover, raising these issues may create unsettling cognitive dissonance that pushes voters into denial and a closer embrace of the predators.
In effect, there is a paradox to be solved. Lasting progressive political victory requires transforming understanding, but the immediate political incentives are aligned to discourage engagement with such a project.
Note: The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, by James K Galbraith, Free Press, 2008.
Thomas I Palley is the founder of the Economics for Democratic and Open Societies Project.
Fascism is not a uniform doctrine. From the very beginning there were different flavors of it. In this sense attempt to distill key features of such regimes are difficult and non-rewarding task because fascism was always a national not universal (like Marxism) phenomenon. Such attempts as Arendt's leave much to be desired. Even within a single country there can be several competing version of fascism. They can be even hostile to such an extent that the supporters of one of fascism movement strive to completely destroy the supporters of the other.
Since 30-ies of XX century, there were four "classic" flavors of fascism: Italian fascism, Nazism, and Spanish Francoism(falangism) and (mostly Latin American) "induced fascism" régimes. All "classic" versions rely on mass political movement of the "middle class" making a claim to political power -- to the detriment of the traditional elites and "working classes". They were mildly hostile to monopolies and, sometimes, to financial oligarchy. For example, Nazi decried "unearned income" -- rentier capitalism. All those regimes were revolutionary in a sense that they accepted violence as the legitimate political tool in the struggle to get to power.
But even within them there are multiple and significant differences both in social base and proclaimed goals:
Mussolini started his political career as socialist and at one time was the editor of Avanti While associated with socialism, Mussolini's writings after 1913 indicated that he had abandoned Marxism and egalitarianism in favor of Nietzsche's übermensch concept and anti-egalitarianism. After being ousted by the Italian Socialist Party for his support of Italian intervention in 1914, Mussolini made a radical transformation, ending his support for class conflict and joining in support of revolutionary nationalism transcending class lines. Mussolini got his start in politics with the help of a £100 weekly wage (the equivalent of £6000 as of 2009) from the British security service MI5, to keep anti-war protestors at home and to publish pro-war propaganda.
After coming to power after "March on Rome" (27 and 28 October 1922), Mussolini start removing most of the political
opposition using secret police and by outlawing labor strikes.
Power was consolidated by converting Italian state into one party dictatorship through a series of laws.
Mussolini enjoyed a wide support in the military and among the industrial and agrarian elites. Mussolini was also supported by
Catholic church. He later initiated an aggressive expansion (limited to Mediterranean region); But all in all Italian fascism
(many of who were former socialists, including Mussolini himself) were not hell bent on racial purity. They simply viewed their
"revolution" as a preventive act - to prevent the "bolshevisation" of Italy; In the merger of the state and the party the state
was probably more dominant then the party. Nazism based was the urban "middle class" and first of all small business
owners; it has strong redistributive component and strives to rebuild the German state as a hierarchical technocratic military
industrial complex (country as a giant military factory); it was supported by a large part of industrialists, by German military
brass. It at least partially rejected religion replacing it with a specific flavor of "pan-German" mysticism, and the drive for
racial purity; its goal was a rapid modernization of the country after the crushing defeat in WWI. It put the state in the
subordination of the party, while like Bolshevism by-and-large merging the Party and the state.
In its racial categorization, Nazism viewed what it called the Aryan race as the master race of the world—a race that was superior to all other races. It viewed Aryans as being in racial conflict with a mixed race people, the Jews, whom Nazis identified as a dangerous enemy of the Aryans. It also viewed a number of other peoples as dangerous to the well-being of the Aryan race. In order to preserve the perceived racial purity of the Aryan race, a set of race laws were introduced in 1935 which came to be known as the Nuremberg Laws. At first these laws only prevented sexual relations and marriages between Germans and Jews, but were later extended to the "Gypsies, Negroes, and their bastard offspring", who were described by the Nazis as people of "alien blood".
Like Italian fascism Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of class struggle, but supported the idea of "class struggle between nations", and sought to resolve internal class struggle in the nation while it identified Germany as a proletarian nation fighting against plutocratic nations. The Nazi Party had many working-class supporters and members, but its strongest appeal was to the middle class, especially small business owners. The financial collapse of the white collar middle-class of the 1920s also led to their strong support of Nazism. The Nazi Party Programme of 1920 guaranteed freedom for all religious denominations not hostile to the State and endorsed Positive Christianity to combat “the Jewish-materialist spirit” (read Marxism). The Nazis were initially highly hostile to Catholics. In 1933, extensive Nazi violence occurred against Catholics due to their association with the Centre Party and their opposition to the Nazi regime's sterilization laws. At the same time in propaganda, the Nazis used elements of Germany's Catholic history, in particular the German Catholic Teutonic Knights and their campaigns in Eastern Europe. The Nazis identified them as "sentinels" in the East against "Slavic chaos".
While Nazis benefitted from the first post-Depression economic upswing, their public works projects, job-procurement program, and subsidized home repair program reduced unemployment by as much as 40% in one year, a development which tempered the unfavorable psychological climate caused by the earlier economic crisis and encouraged Germans to support the regime. march in step with the regime. The Nazis also promised "progressive" social policies like a national labor service, state-provided health care, guaranteed pensions, and an agrarian settlement program.
The Nazis sought to gain support of workers by declaring May Day, a day celebrated by organized labor, to be a paid holiday and held celebrations on 1 May 1933 to honor German workers. Nazi were strongly against "non earned" income and financial sector in general which they considered to be parasitic.
The Nazis argued that capitalism damages nations due to international finance, the economic dominance of big business, and
Jewish influences. Nazi propaganda posters in working class districts emphasized anti-capitalism, such as one that said:
"The maintenance of a rotten industrial system has nothing to do with nationalism. I can love Germany and hate capitalism. Adolf
Hitler, both in public and in private, expressed disdain for capitalism, arguing that it holds nations ransom in the interests of a
parasitic cosmopolitan rentier class. He opposed free market capitalism's profit-seeking impulses and desired an economy in
which community interests would be protected. Hitler told a party leader in 1934, "The economic system of our day is the creation of
the Jews." On other occasion he said to Benito Mussolini that capitalism had "run its course". Hitler also said that the business
bourgeoisie "know nothing except their profit. 'Fatherland' is only a word for them." Hitler was personally disgusted with the
ruling bourgeois elites of Germany during the period of the Weimar Republic, who he referred to as "cowardly shits". A number
of other Nazis held even more strong revolutionary socialist and anti-capitalist beliefs, most prominently Ernst Röhm, the leader of
the Sturmabteilung. Another radical Nazi, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels had stressed the socialist character of Nazism, and
claimed in his diary in the 1920s that if he were to pick between Bolshevism and capitalism, he said "in final analysis", "it would
be better for us to go down with Bolshevism than live in eternal slavery under capitalism."
Because "induced" fascism was highly depended on a "democratic metropolis" it is often observed in varying degrees of "democratic decorum": there was a Parliament, multiparty system and periodic "elections". Of course, it was to a greater or lesser extent a sham (in Paraguay during the Stroessner the question of "cohabitation" of fascism with parliamentary democracy was solved simply and elegantly: in the country has a military regime, except for one day - election day).
In order to facilitate the creation of regimes "induced fascism" in third world countries the army, police and intelligence services have turned into some kind of fascist parties without the parties themselves and Nazi ideology became part of indoctrination in those organizations. In hindsight, after the military coup in Chile, it became clear that the diehard fascists in the Chilean army were much father to the right then the "civilian" fascist organizations in Chile. Same thing became clear in hindsight in relation to the Brazilian police and military counterintelligence.
"Induced" fascism represent a bridge between parliamentary democracies and the right-wing authoritarian (aka totalitarism) regimes, movements and doctrines, "blurring" the concept of fascism and making it "more acceptable" to liberals. So, the regime of Somoza in Nicaragua planted by the USA, ideologically was close to European fascism, and even helped the Uruguayan fascists to prepare their coup - and at the same time acted as a strategic US ally in the region and was formally at war with the "Axis powers".
In Europe, the first case of "induced" fascism was a post-war pro-British regime in Greece, where after the liberation of the country from German troops the civil war started. The British labor party denounced Churchill for his support in Greece "monarchist fascists" and "Nazi collaborators", but when they came in 1945 to power, themselves supported by the same "monarch-fascist" and "Nazi collaborators".
The political views of the "new right" coincided with the views of practitioners of neoliberalism in the era of Reaganomics and Thatcherism. Not by chance the Pinochet regime (a classic example of "induced, puppet fascism") is characterized as "Militant Thatcherism". Even the fundamental views publicly expressed by Thatcher and Pinochet, were often identical (e.g., he and the other refused to recognize the existence of society - which was, in fact, merely a repetition of the doctrine of Italian fascism). What parties and movements, connecting the idea of "new right" has achieved in recent years greater success in elections in Western Europe: the national front of Le Pen in France, the party of P. Fortuyn in the Netherlands, the freedom Party. Haider in Austria, etc. (revealing, incidentally, that the Freedom Party is included in the Liberal international!).
Other cases pre-war neofascism was monarchist far right regimes developed in countries of Eastern Europe. Rapid inclusion of these parties and regimes in the orbit of Italian and German influences have masked their identity, on the one hand, and did not allow them to develop into independent phenomenon.
There can me multiple fascism movements in the same country. In France before the war all three classic brand of fascism were well represented: French version of the Italian fascism ("francism", etc.), the French version of Nazism (French people's party, etc.), the French version of francoism ("capulary") and, finally, the original aristocratic elitist fascism "action française", close to the monarchist-fascism. Sometimes the supporters of the different flavors of fascism fight with each other. In Austria supporters of Italian fascism came to power in February 1934, but in July, the Nazis organized a putsch and killed Chancellor E. Dollfuss, and ended the fight by smashing austrofascism and initiating the Anschluss. In Hungary, the supporters of Italian fascism - hungarista led by Admiral Horthy was overthrown in 1944 by the Hungarian Nazis movement headed by Salashi. In Romania, the confrontation between supporters of Italian fascism and Nazism - "seleniumselenium", "jeleznovodask", Antonescu and Horia SIMA - has resulted in mutual mass terror .
After World war II the Western ruling elite has never repeated his pre-war mistakes and understood that fascism is a tricky bet in the fight against social revolution. So it was relegated as a tool for countries "About which we do not care" They understood that such a movement as "classical" fascism or other extremist movements of "middle class" easily get out of control. All post-war fascist regimes relied on mass movements. Such movements were outlawed in most Western countries.
As neofascism has a lot of common features with far right nationalism it is very difficult to say when one ends and another starts. Those terms can be used as synonyms, but I would suggest that neofascism is a specific flavor of far right nationalism that has anti-financial oligarchy bent. It is a more "socialist" version of far right nationalism and always was.
So far right nationalism a more generic term then neofascism: all neofascists are far right nationalists, but the reverse is not true.
Neofascism is more narrow concept that emphasizes/defines more features of the movement then far right nationalism. Typically neofascism movements are a more radical, more anti-democratic, more statist than an "average" far right nationalism movements. And their flavor of militaristic bent includes the idea of expanding the "living space"/empire for the particular nation (or country) by promoting rampant militarism (which also serves as a tool to "unify" the nation and suppress dissent). Like for example neoconservatives in the USA. Also neofascism has a certain flavor of "victimhood" which far right nationalism does not necessary possesses.
What is clear that there is a much larger political space for far right nationalist movements then for neofascist movements in modern societies. The backlash against neoliberal globalization now mainly take the form of far right nationalism, but not necessarily neo-fascism: many such far right movement are completely devoid of the hostility to financial oligarchy and unearned income.
So it's given that far right movements and their more specific case -- neofascism -- have many common features, many similarities:
But there are some minor differences.
Like communists, classic fascists promote violence as a legitimate political tool, but this is less true about neofascist. Classic fascism, Payne says, requires "a philosophical valuing of violence, of Sorelian violence. [Fascists believe] that violence is really good for you, that it's the sort of thing that makes you a vital, alive, dedicated person, that it creates commitment. Fascism makes violence not just a political strategy, but also a philosophical principle. For fascists "war is the health of the nation". That's mentality is unique to fascism. This feature is reduced and subdued in neofascism, but still is present.
Classic fascism also has some anti-clerical bent and typically promotes a specific secular, "political religion" in which the nation is considered a real, living, and yet sacred thing to be revered and protected, instead of traditional religion. This goes well beyond typical far right nationalism views on religion. Far right nationalists more commonly promote an existing religion (Vox). But those two trends can happily co-exists.
The idea of rejuvenation of the nation also is typical for both. But look more closely at the way Trump talks about rejuvenating America:
- "I will build the finest and most modern veterans hospitals in the world."
- "This lower rate makes corporate inversions unnecessary by making America’s tax rate one of the best in the world."
- "Our highspeed Internet access is only 16th best in the world … The World Economic Forum ranks the US infrastructure as only the 12th best in the world."
These statements are much closer to the "I want my soccer team to win" version of patriotism — and much more concerned with the qualities of Donald Trump as the leader, than America the nation.
Neoliberal MSM brainwash people running a campaign hypertrophied dehumanization of Untermensch. Essentially this campaign is directed toward conditioning people to view "lower classes" as a category of cattle, much like in slavery. This tendency of "blaming poor" is definitely a defining trend of modern day US neoliberalism. And that's as close to fascism as one can get.
Socialism in national socialism exists only for Ubermensch. And for them (and for them only) it does contain almost all major socialist elements. This is undeniable if we analyze the NSDAP Party program announced by Hitler on February 20, 1920. It is also important to remember that some fascists leaders, such as Benito Mussolini, previously were prominent figures in the social-democratic movement (Wikipedia)
The National Socialist Programme (aka the 25-point Programme and the 25-point Plan) was the party program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Originally the name of the party was the German Workers' Party (DAP) but on the same day of the announced party program it was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), headed by Adolf Hitler. Hitler announced the party's program on 24 February 1920 in front of around 2000 people in the Munich Festsaal of the Hofbräuhaus. The National Socialist Program originated at a DAP congress in Vienna, then was taken to Munich, by the civil engineer and theoretician Rudolf Jung, who, having explicitly supported Hitler, had been expelled from Czechoslovakia, because of his political agitation.
... ... ...
- We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people's right to self-determination.
- We demand equality of rights for the German people in respect to the other nations; abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.
- We demand land and territory (colonies) for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population.
- Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently no Jew can be a member of the race.
- Whoever has no citizenship is to be able to live in Germany only as a guest, and must be under the authority of legislation for foreigners.
- The right to determine matters concerning administration and law belongs only to the citizen. Therefore we demand that every public office, of any sort whatsoever, whether in the Reich, the county or municipality, be filled only by citizens. We combat the corrupting parliamentary economy, office-holding only according to party inclinations without consideration of character or abilities.
- We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
- Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
- All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
- The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently we demand:
- Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
- In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
- We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
- We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
- We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
- We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
- We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
- We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
- We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
- The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbürgerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.
- The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
- We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.
- We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press. In order to enable the provision of a German press, we demand, that: a. All writers and employees of the newspapers appearing in the German language be members of the race; b. Non-German newspapers be required to have the express permission of the State to be published. They may not be printed in the German language; c. Non-Germans are forbidden by law any financial interest in German publications, or any influence on them, and as punishment for violations the closing of such a publication as well as the immediate expulsion from the Reich of the non-German concerned. Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life, and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands.
- We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: The good of the state before the good of the individual.
- For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich. Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general. The forming of state and profession chambers for the execution of the laws made by the Reich within the various states of the confederation. The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration.
Neoliberalism demonstrate the resurgence of classic fascism tendencies with the sharp division between upper class (Ubermensch) and lower class, "inferior people" (Untermensch) and the associated cult of violence. Although in new slightly more moderate form, but with the same set of core ideas and principles.
In neofascism unrestricted violence, terror against "inferior people" is subdued. As the criteria nationality is often (but not completely) replaced with culture and especially the national language (language nationalism) and is directed almost exclusively to foreigners, immigrants and national minorities who continue to use "wrong" language because it is their mother tongue (for example, Russians in case of Far Right Forces in Ukraine).
In neoliberalism nationality is replaced by "creative abilities", which are understood as the ability of capital accumulation and self-enrichment. In cultural variant of neofascism the language and culture replace the race as a defining point of "belonging", and the key distinction between "Arian race" and Untermensch. Replacement of nationality with the cultural identity makes it closer to ultra-right republicanism as exists in the USA. It is also clearly visible in Ukrainian far right movement:
But all-in-all neofascism remains just a mutation of classic fascist ideology (yuricareport.com):
Call it Pseudo Fascism. Or, if you like, Fascism Lite. Happy-Face Fascism. Postmodern Fascism. But there is little doubt anymore why the shape of the "conservative movement” in the 21st century is so familiar and disturbing: Its architecture, its entire structure, has morphed into a not-so-faint hologram of 20th-century fascism.
...Unlike the genuine article, it presents itself under a normative, rather than a revolutionary, guise; and rather than openly exulting in violence, it pays lip service to law and order. Moreover, even in the areas where it resembles real fascism, the similarities are often more familial than exact. It is, in essence, less virulent and less violent, and thus more likely to gain broad acceptance within a longtime stable democratic system like that of the United States.
It is important to understand that neofascism inherited the major traits of fascism connected with creating a scapegoat nationality or anti-immigration sentiments, often induced by actual misbehavior of immigrants (such a rapes, beating of people by criminal gangs, etc) or large influx of immigrant from other nation in economic crisis (Immigrants in Europe, Russia, to lesser extent in other "countries of immigrants" such as USA, Australia, Canada, etc). At certain stages it can actually "return to the roots" and adopt violence as the key form of dealing with the opponents (see EuroMaidan )
The key element of any flavor of fascist ideology is rejection of liberalism and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy (and implicitly to the rule of law). It is the cult of "strong hand" the makes it similar to authoritarism. While officially neofascists parties no longer endorses violence as a chief means to silence the opposition, they often resort to it as a temporary mean to achieve their goals, and, especially, to come to power.
Allegations that a group is neofascist are typically hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a political epithet.
neofascism can be viewed as one of the forms of the "revolt of the elite", a mutation of corporatism that invariably emerges during acute economic crises and related loss of profitability of many businesses. While cannon fodder of neofascism are small business owners, the puppeteers always are large business owners and, especially, financial oligarchy and oligarchy connected to military-industrial complex. For the latter neofascism is an ideal regime.
That's why right now proto-fascist and neofascist groups and sentiments are on the rise in many countries including, but not limited USA, France, Germany, Holland, Russia, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, Hungary, Finland, Norway. In many cases neofascist parties such as Ukrainian Svoboda get enough votes to be represented in national parliaments (algemeiner.com/2013/05/24):
In Ukraine, the noisiest anti-Semitic group is the Svoboda ( "Freedom”) party. Established in 1991 as the "Social-National Party of Ukraine” under the SS-era symbol of the Wolfsangel. In 2004, with new leader Oleh Tyahnybok, the party renamed itself and adopted innocuous symbols.
That, however, didn’t change the Nazi characteristic of the party. Tyahnybok himself has stated on several occasions that the "Moscow-Jewish mafia” is running Ukraine. Other prominent party members have often used the derogatory, anti Jewish slur ”zhid”, including against Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis, suggesting she was not a "real” Ukrainian because of her Jewish heritage.
Svoboda supporters include among their heroes leaders of pro-Nazi World War II organizations known for their atrocities against Jews and Poles, such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), and the 14th Waffen-SS Galicia Division. (To Svoboda’s vocal displeasure, Poland’s parliament recently introduced a resolution condemning the OUN and the UPA for wartime massacres of Polish civilians.)
Here is another telling video:
Skinheads is also a prominent phenomenon which is typical for many European countries. They are definitely part of neofascism movement. This rage is directed toward immigrants. Torch processions borrowed from classic fascism now became common in many countries (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20929755)
7 January 2013 Last updated at 01:38 ET Help
A sudden rise in popularity of Ukraine's ultra-nationalist party, Svoboda, has caused concern both inside and outside the country.
Svoboda, which means "freedom" in Ukrainian, is allied with European far-right parties. But many observers warn that its views are extremist.
David Stern reports from Kiev.
Also popular are typical for classic fascism physical violence such as street fights with opponents. A new element is that now it can happen during football matches like recently in Poland:
Removed by Youtube
While neofascism is anti-democratic, anti-liberal, and corporatist, unlike classic fascism which openly declared itself as such, they deployed as thick smoke screen of propaganda to present itself in completely different light. The destruction of meaning by creating "empty phrases" combining opposite ideas has, as we have seen, become a prominent strategy deployed by the conservative movement.]
Another key element of neofascism is "vast, systemic, blanket collection of the personal data of innocent people." It often covered with a fig leaf of "fight against terrorism". DW.DE 09.01.2014
Like classic fascism neofascism remains rabidly anti-socialist. Actually socialists and communists, let's not forget, were among the first people imprisoned and "liquidated" by the Nazi regime.
Early on during the first term of the Bush presidency many progressives characterized Bush's statements and actions as "neofascist". It is also true that Bush II has some neofascist baggage, as Bush family did has some ties with fascist regimes in the past and the U.S. government found that Bush's grandfather had illegally aided the Nazis during the 30's. It's true that regime of Bush II has some neofascist leanings. It definitely introduced into public discourse and tried to implement in practice several elements of neofascist ideology. Some of them with some interesting innovations. For example, unlike classic fascism instead of mass mobilization Bush government preferred political passivity as prescribed by Inverted Totalitarism doctrine ("go shopping" was his famous recommendation after 9/11).
But full development of neofascist ideas and forming a popular party is impossible without acute economic distress
or political crisis (like the one in Ukraine) and a real economic crisis arrived only at the end of Bush Presidency (2008). So paradoxically the major implementer of Bush neofascist ideas and first of all the idea of total surveillance was the regime of Barack Obama. With a tea-party being a close proxy of radical neofascist parties in Eastern Europe. There is distinct racial element in it. Nobody will try to disprove the claim that it has mainly white middle class composition. And like European radical parties of neofascist orientation it endorses violence to achieve its goals. See Tea Party and right wing rage
But even if we assume that 9/11 was a false flag operation that is reminiscent of Reichstag Fire generally the USA neofascist elements were innovatively mixed with the ideas from the theoretical model called Inverted Totalitarism. Direct violence toward opponents never materialized. Just the pre-existing process of the conversion of the USA into National Security State dramatically increased. Now we know more about the new role assigned to NSA during this period.
American exeptionalism ideas promoted by Bush administration clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. The unique feature here is that they were integrated into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime. So it's more like "top 1% uber alles" then "The USA uber alles" ;-).
It should be stressed that some of ideas inherent in neofascist doctrine are integral part of European culture. As Paxton describes them (Robert O. Paxton, "The Five Stages of Fascism," The Journal of Modern History 70 (March 1998): pp. 3-5.) in the following way:
...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
- The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
- The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
- Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan [neoliberalism.
- Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
- An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
- Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
- The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.
Paxton's list makes easier to identify typical "passions" which are at play in proto-fascist environment, particularly during the debate over the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it (Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):
1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.
In 2002, Laurence W. Britt's Fascism Anyone? analyzed seven fascist regimes in order to find the common features that constitute "generic fascism". He selected the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Papadopoulos's Greece, Pinochet's Chile, and Suharto's Indonesia. He found 14 common characteristics (reprinted below, with 6 additions by Umberto Eco) and concluded:
"Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not."
We think "maybe not." It's just a matter of degree. There is an ongoing transformation of the US in this particular direction.
It is difficult to tell when far right nationalistic group get brown color. Litmus text is the creation of paramilitary group (death squads, stormtroopers, etc) for repression of opponents and adoption of terror as a legitimate methods of struggle for power. Those paramilitary group exists outside law, the key interpreter of which became the party not the counts. Another telling sign is the creation of concentration camps.
A perception is manufactured that opposition to the power elite is tantamount to an attack on religion.
Here are six more characteristics found in Umberto Eco's "Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt," from New York Review of Books, 22 June 1995, pp.12-15.
Neofascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say. In a democracy, the citizens have
individual rights, but the citizens in their entirety have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view -- one
follows the decisions of the majority. For neofascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is
conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common
will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only
called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. There is in our future a TV or Internet
populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the
People. Because of its qualitative populism, neofascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician
casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell neofascism.
Neofascism speaks Newspeak. Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what
he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of neofascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or
Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for
complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently
innocent form of a popular talk show. [When fascism is employed in a society with democratic traditions, one strand of Newspeak
is to use the traditional words, like "freedom," but to give them new meaning. This strategy is also employed when new programs
are initiated. --Politex]
Disagreement is treason. [As opposed to neofascism,] the critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a
sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For neofascism,
disagreement is treason. neofascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference.
The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus neofascism is racist by
Skilled manipulation of social frustration. neofascism derives its power from individual social frustration. That is
why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering
from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time,
when the old "proletarians" are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the
fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.
Life is permanent warfare. For neofascism life is lived for struggle. Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy.
It is bad because life is permanent warfare. This, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be
defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such "final solutions"
implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever
succeeded in solving this predicament.
Cult of personality. [The neofascist leader presents himself as a hero, a strong man. As such, his image is ubiquitous in the media, and is often photographed in costume in conjunction with images or people that represent the fascist characteristics noted above. --Politex] Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the neofascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters. This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality). Since for such people sex is a difficult game to play, the neofascist hero tends to play with weapons -- doing so becomes an ersatz phallic exercise.
Both Eastern and Western Europe are experiencing a new and important cultural and political development: the appearance of a new breed, new generation, of far right, extremist movements. These are some indications of the emergence of a new, emerging political forces in Europe which emerged as a reaction to neoliberalism with its dominance of globalized banking. That lead to paradoxical situation when many of Le Pen's votes come from former Red strongholds. In other word like in 20th and 30th the working class is, for very understandable reasons, is turning to nationalism as an antidote to casino capitalism enforced by the USA. So the USA neoliberal empire is the main precondition for resurgence As Slavoj Žižek noted:
The Ukrainian nationalist right is one instance of what is going on today from the Balkans to Scandinavia, from the US to Israel, from central Africa to India: ethnic and religious passions are exploding, and Enlightenment values receding.
These passions have always been there, lurking; what’s new is the outright shamelessness of their display.
... ... ...
One of the signs of this regression is a request often heard on the new European right for a more "balanced" view of the two "extremisms", the right and the left. We are repeatedly told that one should treat the extreme left (communism) the same way that Europe after the second world war treated the extreme right (the defeated fascists)
But in reality there is no balance here: the equation of fascism and communism secretly privileges fascism. Thus the right are heard to argue that fascism copied communism: before becoming a fascist, Mussolini was a socialist; Hitler, too, was a National Socialist; concentration camps and genocidal violence were features of the Soviet Union a decade before Nazis resorted to them; the annihilation of the Jews has a clear precedent in the annihilation of the class enemy, etc.
The point of these arguments is to assert that a moderate fascism was a justified response to the communist threat (a point made long ago by Ernst Nolte in his defence of Heidegger’s involvement with Nazism). In Slovenia, the right is advocating the rehabilitation of the anti-communist Home Guard which fought the partisans during the second world war: they made the difficult choice to collaborate with the Nazis in order to thwart the much greater evil of communism.
Among other condition that favor resurgence of such groups we can name such features of neoliberal regimes, what now dominate the continent as demographic pressures from immigrant labor, social dislocation due to dismantling of social security state, and economic pressures inherent in "dog eat dog" capitalism and outsourcing to lower wage countries advocated by neoliberalism. In many ways neoliberalism represents a perfect environment for nurturing neofascist movements.
Those pressures are very similar to pressures which used to exist in 20th and 30th of the last century. As before they stimulate the formation of a new generation of far right movements whose motives and characteristics while somewhat differ from the right wing groups of the early twentieth century what came to power in Italy, Germany and Spain are still driven by the same resentment of middle class and "Lumpenbourgeoisie". They use the same ideas of dominance of particular ethnic group. scapegoat in form of another ethnic group, glorification of state, using violence against opponents, limitations on civil rights in the name of giving the state more power to protect the populace from "destructive elements" within the society and external aggressors. Fall of "fist generation" fascist regimes did not destroy the movement which acquired strong roots in neoliberal societies across the globe.
They are different from classic far right nationalist of the past that the criteria of belonging is no longer ethnicity per se (although some elements, for example anti-Semitism and Russophobia, of this remained) but "cultural affiliation" and first of all the language. In other words they are not fascists, they are neofascists. But in Ukraine they are not only alive, they are particularly well. Ukraine is the first European state where element of neofascist Party were included in the government after putsch of February 22.
All that means that the huge rise of Ukrainian far right forces is not a unique and isolated phenomenon. Far right organizations that first crystallized around football ultras and skinheads are European-wide phenomenon. See for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG-2HdFdvkY
This process also includes Russia although level of suppression of nationalism and especially neofascism in Russia is probably one of the highest among European countries.
And it goes without saying that all major EU counties experience dramatic rise of far right forces too. That includes Germany, France, Sweden as well as usual suspects Hungary, Poland and Baltic states (Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia). The whole story of the EU since the Maastricht Treaty and the establishment of the Euro was about neoliberal conversion similar to the USA conversion. And this conversion destroyed standards of living of lower middle class, especially small merchants, across southern Europe. Now the Southern Europe have had enough and are going to send nationalists to the European Parliament (The Guardian, May 14, 2014):
This new wave of nationalism is different then the previous wave which arose in the beginning of XX century and which led to establishment of "classic" fascist regimes. It can be called "cultural nationalism" where not ethnicity, but cultural identity was put in the center of the nationalistic doctrine.
In France, Denmark and Finland, rightwing nationalist and racist parties are set to win more than 20% of the vote – with Geert Wilders' Muslim-baiting Freedom party not far behind in the Netherlands. So is the virulently anti-Roma and anti-Semitic Jobbik in Hungary, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece is on the way to winning its first Euro seats.In France, Denmark and Finland, rightwing nationalist and racist parties are set to win more than 20% of the vote – with Geert Wilders' Muslim-baiting Freedom party not far behind in the Netherlands. So is the virulently anti-Roma and antisemitic Jobbik in Hungary, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece is on the way to winning its first Euro seats.
For "cultural nationalism" a common identity is based more on acceptance for the language and the culture than on the racial solidarity (although it dies not exclude xenophobia). Due to the power of the USA and general alliance with the West, fewer of this movements and parties are openly anti-Semitic and if they are anti-Semitic then the stress is on refusal of Jews to accept the national culture, the charge similar to the change of "country less cosmopolitans" trials in the USSR in late 40th of the last century.
Ukrainian fascists love the Russia-hammering NATO, but detest the Russia-accommodating and supra-nationalistic EU.
And they aren’t alone. Fascism — and anti-EU sentiment — pervade parts of Europe that never felt Stalin’s wrath. In the last elections for the European Parliament, "eurosceptics” and xenophobic ultra-nationalists scored significant gains, led by Marine Le Pen, whose National Front took 25% of the French seats.
A lot of it has to do with the equivocal track record of globalized neo-liberal capitalism in the last decade. We’re all Pikettyists now, and it seems that among the most important outcomes of neo-liberalism are income inequality and oligarchs.
It is anathema to liberal democrats, but it should be acknowledged that fascism is catching on, largely as a result of a growing perception that neo-liberalism and globalization are failing to deliver the economic and social goods to a lot of people.
Democracy is seen as the plaything of oligarchs who manipulate the current system to secure and expand their wealth and power; liberal constitutions with their guarantees of minority rights appear to be recipes for national impotence. Transnational free markets in capital and goods breed local austerity, unemployment, and poverty. Democratic governments seem to follow the free market playbook, get into problems they can’t handle, and surrender their sovereignty to committees of Euro-financiers.
Fascism, with its exaltation of the particular, the emotional, and the undemocratic provides an impregnable ideological and political bulwark against these outside forces.
Fascism has become an important element in the politics of resistance: a force that obstructs imposition of the norms of globalization, and an ideology that justifies the protection of local interests against the demands of liberal democracy, transnational capital, and property and minority rights.
Maybe it’s neo-liberalism, not fascism, that is facing a crisis of legitimacy and acceptance.
So the idea that fascism can be treated as a delusional artifact of the 20th century and the challenge of fascism to the neo-liberal order can be ignored is, itself, wishful thinking.
... ... ...
For some, resentment will, inevitably, congeal around nationalism and the perception that fascist resistance, defiantly militant, uncompromising, and irrational, racial and undemocratic, exclusionary and brutal, is the best instrument to achieve local identity and agency—power– in an ever bigger, more dangerous, and less responsive continental order.
New nationalist movements and far right groups widely use Internet and have well established Web presence including such social sited as Facebook and Google++. They also establish cross-border links with similar parties. For example Ukrainian far-right group have links not only with Germany far right (which is natural for them), but paradoxically also with Polish far-right with which they theoretically should be bitter enemies and sometimes even with Russian neo-liberals (several of them visited EuroMaidan in "support missions") and far-right groups (despite the fact that Russian culture and by extension people are official cultural enemy of Ukrainian nationalism)
The story of 20th and 30th repeats again. Far right groups are nurtured by both government and part of the big business as the most adequate response to the challenging and poorly controlled political situation at home. That happened, for example, in Ukraine under Yanukovich who essentially nurtured his own demise. As Helena Smith reported about Greece (The Observer, [Jun 09, 2014):
It has been a bad week for democracy in Athens. All around this great Greek city, the politics of hate now lurk. On Friday I got a taste of it in the tiny Italian-style cafe I frequent off Syntagma Square.
It arrived in the form of two middle-aged men, both supporters of the neofascist Golden Dawn – and, by their own account, the holders of university degrees, well-travelled and well-informed. Over espressos, they began to engage in an animated discussion about all that is wrong with Greece.
The first, a self-described businessman decked out in designer suit, brogues and silk tie, blamed the country's economic collapse on malfeasance, corruption and uncontrolled immigration. "The only way to teach our filthy politicians is to bring in Golden Dawn," he trilled, his eyes locked in a fierce glare. "These gentlemen are patriots, proud Greek nationalists, and they know how to deal with the scum, the foreigners who never pay taxes, who steal our jobs, who have taken over our streets."
What makes Ukrainian experience more interesting is the Ukrainian far right forces are classic case of forces brought to the front stage and openly supported by the neoliberal government. They were covertly supported by all Ukrainian governments, but, especially, by pro-US "democratic" Yushchenko regime, since 1991 as a way to create "Ukrainian national identity". This is when they got open state support and Yushchenko even dared to bestow the title of hero of Ukraine to the leader of Ukrainian nationalists in WWII Stepan Bandera, who is guilty of serious crimes such an ethnic cleansing against Polish citizens and Jews.
Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution,” put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation” mythology.
But paradoxically it was not Yushchenko, but Yanukovich regime and his financial and logistical support which essentially launch Svoboda into mainstream. As CounterPunch noted (The Durability of Ukrainian Fascism):
Ukrainian nationalists turned largely toward fascism, specifically toward a concept of "integral nationalism” that, in the absence of an acceptable national government, manifested itself in a national will residing in the spirit of its adherents, not expressed by the state or restrained by its laws, but embodied by a charismatic leader and exercised through his organization, whose legitimacy supersedes that of the state and whose commitment to violence makes it a law unto itself.
That leader, at least for many Ukrainians of the fascist persuasion, was Stepan Bandera. The organization, his OUN-B faction.
This state of affairs persists in today’s successor to the OUN-B, Pravy Sektor, with its fascist trappings, leader cult, and paramilitary arm. The "mainstreaming” of the second major fascist grouping, Svoboda, looks more like a strategic repackaging in order to strive for greater electoral success by hiding its fascist antecedents.
So, unfortunately for apologists for the current Kyiv regime, the correct description of these two groups is not "nationalist” or "ultranationalist”; it is "fascist”.
Fatally, the Ukrainian government has turned to fascist nationalism and heroes in order to forge a post-Soviet, essentially Ukrainian, identity for the post-1991 state
Paradoxically, part of Ukrainian far right groups, at least superficially, are pro-EU. It is less paradoxical then it sounds is we assume that the cultural affinity is the key to the new nationalism. Ukrainian nationalists cultural identity is based on strong, fanatic rejection of all things Russian demonstrating a perfect example of Narcissism of small differences -- the tendency to exaggerate the dissimilarities of those who resemble us in an effort to buttress our own self-regard...
An excellent discussion of why this is the case and why they are nurtured by the US government was provided in the article Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection from The Polemicist blog (March 19, 2014). I recommend to read this excellent analysis in full, but here is a (large) relevant quote:
To pretend that the ex-post-facto parliamentary maneuvers that ratified the result of this insurrection actually confer some kind of retroactive constitutional legitimacy on it is ludicrous. As Nicolai Petro points out, these actions were taken by "a Parliament that rules without any representation from the majority party – since most of the deputies of the east and the south of the country are afraid to set foot in Parliament… [and] all across the country, headquarters of parties are being sacked by their opponents,” by a parliament that outlawed the only effective remaining opposition party (the Communists) and that "consolidate[ed] the powers of the speaker of the Parliament and the acting president in a single individual, giving him greater powers than allowed under any Ukrainian constitution,” in a context where "Vigilante militias routinely attack and disperse public gatherings they disapprove of.”25 Please, let’s recognize these parliamentary acts as what they are – the ratification of an insurrection, in defiance of the extant constitutional order. Call them the first steps in a new, post-insurrection constitutional order if you want, but recognize the radical break they represent.
And why not call this what it is? Isn’t that what revolutionary change is all about – a radical break with the old order? To reprise what I said in a previous post on Egypt: An electoral process can be a thin facade of democracy and, effectively, a tool of disempowerment, justifying militant extra-electoral politics, or even insurrection. A serious revolutionary conjuncture, a real break into a new social order, usually involves both. It’s an unapologetic, forceful, seizure of power that seeks to be definitive and irreversible. (Of course, not every insurrection is a revolution, or even a step forward, but let’s leave that aside for the moment.)
As someone who accepts the revolutionary socialist argument, I do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se. And guess what? All the self-proclaimed liberal, conservative, moderate, non-violent, constitutional, parliamentary democratic thinkers, politicians and commentators who are proudly and loudly supporting what happened in Ukraine also do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se – they just don’t want to admit it. Like me, they will support an insurrection, depending on what it’s about. Unlike me, they will pretend it wasn’t really an insurrection at all, just another, maybe somewhat "messy,” but fundamentally non-violent, constitutionally-authorized transition within the rules of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. And that’s because, as the man said: We wouldn’t permit that in any Western capital, no matter how righteous the cause.
It’s quite amusing, until it gets sickening, to watch American leaders—who cling to the notion that a thin, corrupt, disempowering electoral process legitimizes them — embrace the forceful overthrow of a democratically-elected leader in a functioning parliamentary democracy while insisting they are doing no such thing.
Let’s recognize that virtually nobody really supports or opposes what happened in Ukraine, or anywhere else, because it was an insurrection, but because of what kind of insurrection it was – what it’s explicit and implicit socio-political objective was, what different kind of society and polity it was moving toward creating. And let’s recognize that the US would denounce, and help to crush, any insurrection, no matter how popular or righteous the cause, in which leftist forces played anything close to the prominent fighting role that right-wing, neofascist forced played in this one. If revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists had been the vanguard of the Maidan, Yanukovych would have been America’s "democratic” hero.
As for "democracy” (along with "nonviolent,” one of the most dishonestly abused words in the American political vocabulary), it certainly does not just mean having an election. It means power to the people. Neither Ukrainian oligarchs, nor the EU-IMF neo-liberal "technocrats,” nor the American government, nor NATO, want that. They have too much to lose.
It was a right-wing, imperialist insurrection, powered by fascist groups and permeated with fascist ideology.
The overthrow of Yanukovych was an insurrection accomplished by a political movement that was driven by popular socio-economic discontent and thoroughly imbued by "ultranationalist”—i.e., neofascist—ideology.
It was decidedly not a revolution, in the strong sense of the word. A revolutionary insurrection marks the beginning of a change in the social order. This movement did not, will not, and, given its foundations, could not, establish a popular government that will create anything like more widespread prosperity and deeper democracy, let alone a new social order.
It was a regime change, fuelled by popular discontent, powered by neofascist militants, and surreptitiously managed by American intelligence diplomats, with Ukrainian oligarchs maneuvering for ultimate control behind the scenes—factions that have different, sometimes internally contradictory, agendas. It will create a government that will be controlled by and benefit some Ukrainian oligarchs at the expense of others, that will benefit European and American capitalism at the (acknowledged, indeed promised!) cost of austerity and immiseration for Ukrainian working people, and that will benefit American and NATO plans for an ever-tightening military encirclement of Russia at the expense of possible war and perpetual tension for Ukraine.
The only possibility for a more serious, "revolutionary” break from neo-liberal standards of oligarchic-imperial rule in the near future would come from the neofascist groups, who indeed imagine themselves to have a radically different agenda. But guess what? Faced with any popular uprising against its policies, from the right or the left, the new neo-liberal, Euro-facing, Russia-hating, America-loving, Ukrainian government, and its international supporters, will trot out the bourgeois democratic principles that its leaders, of course, never really contravened, and insist, Berkut (by any other name) and all: We won’t permit that in our democratic, European capital, no matter how righteous the cause.
Is there anybody who honestly doubts any of this?
Brendan O’Neill makes the point quite nicely:
For what we have in Ukraine is not revolution, but regime change …As for the word ‘revolution’ … its deployment in Ukraine takes its bastardisation to a new low: there has of course been no replacement of one social order by another in Ukraine, or even the installment of a people’s government; instead various long-established parties in parliament, some of which are deeply unpopular among certain constituencies in Ukraine, are forming an interim government. Revolutionary? Hardly.
The Western debate and coverage … has certainly made externally generated regime change seem revolutionary, and the Western-assisted anti-democratic removal of an elected leader seem like an act of people’s democracy. It has exposed a severe dearth of independent critical thinking among the Western commentariat. …
The truth of what has happened in Ukraine is this: the EU and Washington have effectively brought about regime change, replacing an elected pro-Russian regime with an unelected, still-being-formed new government that is more amenable to the institutions of the West.26
Regarding the "fascism” question, Max Blumenthal’s Alternet piece, and Per Anders Rudling’s detailed scholarly study are indispensable sources. Rudling understates considerably, when he says: "The far-right tradition is particularly strong in western Ukraine.” The fascist currents in the Kiev movement are undeniable. They are represented in the parliament by the Svoboda (Freedom) Party (originally called the Social National Party). In December, 2012, the European Parliament condemned Svoboda for its "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views,” and urged other Ukrainian parties "not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.”27
As Blumenthal notes, Svoboda’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, defines his mission as freeing his country from the "Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” His deputy, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn founded a think tank named after a historical figure he admires greatly: The Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center. Svoboda’s – and, unfortunately, much of western Ukraine’s – "nationalism” is embodied in the revered figure of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian (OUN), which helped to form a Ukrainian division of the Waffen SS to fight with the Nazis against the Soviet Union. From 1942-1944, Yaroslav Stetsko, the "Prime Minister” of ONU-B (Bandera’s wing), who supported "bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine,” oversaw the killing of "more than 90,000 Poles and thousands of Jews” in western Ukraine. Banderists in Lvov circulated a pamphlet telling the city’s Jews: "We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet.”28
After the war, Bandera’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) continued its fascist campaign for "a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe,” engaging in a futile armed struggle against the Soviet Union, until KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959. Nothing "neo” about this Nazi.
Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution,” put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation” mythology. He "tasked a set of nationalistically minded historians” into "disseminating a sanitized, edifyingly patriotic version of the history of the ‘Ukrainian national liberation movement,’ the leaders of which were presented in iconographic form as heroic and saintly ﬁgures, martyrs of the nation.”
Thus, in 2010, against the protestation of the European Parliament—which he accused of having a "historical complex” — Yushchenko awarded Stepan Bandera the title of "Hero of Ukraine."29 As Rudling notes: "There was little protest from intellectuals who identify themselves as liberals.” It was the government of big, bad Yanukovych that later annulled the award.
And thus, still satisfied by their political research, Svoboda led a 15,000-person march in honor of Bandera in Kiev on January 1st of this year, with chants of "Ukraine above all” and "Bandera, come and bring order!” 30
Now, as a result of the insurrection, Svoboda, which won about 10% of the vote in the last election, has effectively muscled the much larger (34% of the last vote) Party of the Regions out of parliament, and seeks nationally to outlaw it and the Communist Party (13% of the vote), whose leader’s house was burned down. With the help of its Right Sector allies, these parties have already been banned in a number of regions. Svoboda now holds "key leadership positions in the parliament and law enforcement, four ministerial portfolios in the new government [including Prosecutor General and Deputy Prime Minister] and several appointed governorships.” Svoboda’s co-founder, Andriy Parubiy, is head of the National Security & Defense Council of the new, democratic, government of Ukraine.31
So, fourteen months after denouncing Svoboda for its "racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” European governments are gushing over the new "democracy” in Ukraine over which Svoboda presides. And, as the BBC reports: "Inside the columned central hall of Kiev's city council, an activist base of operations, hung a giant banner with a Celtic cross, a symbol of ‘white power,’ and an American confederate flag….and an immense portrait of Stepan Bandera.”32Keep in mind, too, Rudling’s point that the whole Banderist "national liberation” narrative "was well received in western Ukraine but was received coldly or met open hostility in the eastern and southern parts of the country.”
As Svoboda represents fascism in the parliament, Right Sector (Pravy Sektor) represented fascism in the maidan, and continues to do so with its intimidating tactics in the streets and administrative offices of Kiev and the regions, as well as from its new positions in government. Right Sector is a confederation of far-right groups such as Patriots of Ukraine, the Social-National Assembly, White Hammer, Stepan Bandera’s Trident, and the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO). Their favorite ensign is the wolfsangel--a favorite, too, of the Waffen SS--which was on display all over the maidan:
As Ukrainian journalist Oleg Shynkarenko points out, Right Sector leader, Dmytro Yarosh defines the group's creed thusly: "We are against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, but we support traditional morals and family values, against the cult of profit and depravity.” Right Sector’s websites rail against the "liberal homodictatorship” of modern Western society.33 Blumenthal points out that Right Sector is: "linked to a constellation of international neofascist parties,” and "through the Alliance of European National Movements (AEMN), Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on ‘a great European Reconquest’.” In some ways, the neofascist right does want power to the people—just the morally and ethnically pure people.
BBC did a decent report on the "Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine.” Again, maybe not so "neo.” The reporter, Gabriel Gatehouse, interviews Svoboda and Right Sector militants, meets a group called C14 (apparently an armed wing of Svoboda) under a portrait of Lenin in the Communist Party headquarters they had taken over, and shows two Svoboda MPs displaying "14” and "88” tokens. These numbers, which are often displayed in combination, and which appeared in graffiti throughout the maidan, have special fascist significance: "14” stands for from the Fourteen Words coined by an American white supremacist: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children” (there’s an alternate version, about "the White Aryan woman”); "88” represents a double of the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet, HH, for Heil Hitler. [I cannot make this stuff up.]
Yes, it depends what you’re fighting for.
My favorite is this 2½-minute tidbit from a young Right Sector gentleman, explaining the group’s, and his, affinity for "National Socialist themes,” and assuring his interviewer that they want a society that’s just "a little bit like” that "under Hitler”:
The leader of the Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, is now the deputy head of the National Security Council, and is running for President, of Ukraine’s new, democratic, government.
You might also take a look at this video, where Right Sector leader Aleksandr Muzychko roughs up a local prosecutor to show him who’s the boss now, and threatens to have him lynched: "Shut the fuck up, you bitch! Your fucking time is over… If you think I am goodie because I’ve come without my rifle, you are gravely mistaken. I’ve come with a pistol. There are a few choice videos of Muzychko, who is also identified as a member of the "Wiking" unit of the Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO), another post-Banderist right-wing paramilitary group.
So there’s no question that fascists were part of the insurrection, and there is no question that they were crucial to its success. As Oleg Shynkarenko insists, the scenes of fighting resistance and advance were led by Right Sector and allied groups:[I]t was the far right that first started to talk back to Yanukovych in his own language. They were the first to throw Molotov cocktails and stones at police and to mount real and well-fortified barricades. They were amongst those who burned two military troop carriers that attacked the barricades on February 18. The Euromaidan won thanks to the resoluteness of people who were ready to fight rather than to negotiate in parliament when any negotiation became pointless.Nicolai Petro agrees, and points out the political ramifications:I ascribe a much greater role to the Right Sector…the spearhead of the revolution. … [T]he actual coup was accomplished thanks to the armed intervention of extreme nationalists, led by the Right Sector. And the fact that they were so instrumental in accomplishing this change of power has put them in the driver’s seat. From now on, whatever political decisions are arrived at will really be at the sufferance of the Right Sector.Let’s be clear, also, that these neofascist groups not only fought and defeated Yanokovych’s police, they attacked and drove away any political group from the left that tried to establish a presence in the maidan. The fascists made sure they controlled the radical politics of the square. Sascha, a member of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine, recounts in an interview published in mid-February:A group of 100 anarchists tried to arrange their own self-defense group, different Anarchist groups came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists. There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult. The Anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated.34And Mira, of the same group, adds:One of the worst things is that Pravy has this official structure. They are coordinated. You need passes to go certain places. They have the power to give or not give people permission to be active. We’re trying to be active but we have to avoid Nazis, and I’m not going to ask a Nazi for permission!...Early on a Stalinist tent was attacked by Nazis. One was sent to the hospital. Another student spoke out against fascism and he was attacked.Pravy Sektor got too much attention after the first violence, the media gave them popularity and they started to think they’re cool guys. Pravy existed before but now it’s growing and attracting a lot of new people.Ilya Budraitskis, a Russian Socialist who came to the maidan in January, tells us how the "ultranationalists” brutalized and evicted everyone from leftish Europhiles to anarchists:Another part of the left repetitively tried to join the movement, even after they were repetitively kicked out of it. Some of the "euro-enthusiastic” leftists came to Maidan in November with red (instead of blue) flag of the EU, with banners for free healthcare and education, and with feminist slogans. They were brutally attacked by Nazis. Then there was an episode when the far-right attacked the tent of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine near the Maidan. A man on the stage said that there were some "provocateurs” and said that "men know what to do”; as a result, a mob of Nazis has broken ribs of the trade union activists, tore their tent with knives and stolen their property. The victims hadn’t been doing anything "leftist” per se, but they were members of the left movement, known to their political adversaries, and that was enough….[T]here is also another group of people who are often confused with the radical left. …who call themselves anarchists but actually have a very conservative political agenda full of machismo and xenophobia. After the protests have begun, they shifted to the right dramatically; they reached truce with the nazi groups and showered Molotov cocktails at the police together. Eventually, they parted ways with left movement finally.A week ago they, together with some actual leftists who wanted to "act”, decided to form an "anarchist sotnia [defense unit]” in the Maidan self-defence. In order to do that, they were prepared to give an oath to [Svoboda leader] Andriy Parubiy. But when they formed their ranks to do this, they were met by approximately 150 Svoboda fighters with baseball bats and axes. The fascists accused them of being racially impure and politically irrelevant and forced them out of Maidan.35So much for Professor Snyder’s agora.
Of course, the great majority of the people in the square are not fascists, but, for all the reasons of history and ideology discussed above, a lot of people in western Ukraine are susceptible to their charms. As Denis, from Kiev Autonomous Workers Union says: "[I]n the long run the rightist political hegemony is being reinforced,” because "That’s what happens when you don’t have a developed left movement and your liberals are too corrupt and ugly!” Here’s how he describes the rightward political momentum on the maidan:[Far right] ideology has really become more acceptable in the mainstream (which had initially been leaning to the right!). ... Of course, most protesters really say they want political pluralism, bourgeois democracy. … But at the same time the crowd at the Maidan revives some deeply buried pre-modern, medieval social practices like whipping post, lynching, reinforced traditional gender roles. This scary readiness to slip into barbarism is born from the general disenchantment with parliamentary politics and the ubiquitous nationalist mythology about the golden past, imposed in schools and media.The original Euromaidan agenda in November was a right liberal one, standing for the EU, "economic liberties” and bourgeois democracy. But even then the issues of multiculturalism, LGBT rights, workers’ rights and freedoms were severely repressed by the politically conscious far-right activists … [whose] political programme had always included critique of the EU’s "liberal fascism”. … The attackers didn’t represent the majority of protesters, but the majority was very susceptible to their political agenda which they had been aggressively pushing through…[P]eople are new to politics, they just "know” they are rightists and nationalists. And therefore they trust the more politically experienced leaders to express their views and formulate their programme for them. It just so happens that those leaders are nationalists or even Nazis. And they shift the centre of the political discourse even further to the right.But, first of all, their ideas are welcome among the apolitical crowd; second of all, they are very well organized, and also people love their "radicalism”. An average Ukrainian worker hates the police and the government but he will never fight them openly and risk his comfort. So he or she welcomes a "vanguard” which is ready to fight on their behalf; especially if that vanguard shares "good” patriotic values….And since the basic "common sense” had long ago been established on the nationalist fundamental assumptions, the radicalization goes only further in that direction.36As we all know, fascists don’t have to be a majority to determine outcomes, and their power to do so can increase very quickly under favorable conditions. Perhaps the most telling, and disturbing remark of the leftists cited in these interviews was this, from Sascha of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a couple of weeks before the head of Right Sector became deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council: "If Pravy [Right Sector] has positions in a new government that would be really dangerous but that isn’t possible, they aren’t powerful enough.”
Oh, yes they are. Consider the stunning turn of events we have just witnessed: "the ascension of a genuinely fascist mass movement into the corridors of power” in a European country for the first time since WWII, greeted with a stunning non-chalance—nay, embraced as an exemplar of democracy—by the Western liberal democracies. University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski specifies: "The paramilitary right sector has de facto power at least in some Western Ukrainian regions,” and "The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe.”37
Then imagine, please, Professor Katchanovski’s last sentence with "left” substituted for "right,” and consider how unthinkable it is that any American government would be so welcoming of such a "democratic” outcome. The United States and its allied liberal democracies are, in other words, willing to accommodate very hard swings to the right in order to secure and/or extend the neo-liberal capitalist, and US/NATO imperialist, order, but will abide not an inch of movement toward resistance from the left—no matter how righteous or democratic the cause.
Intelligence agencies represent now a distinct and powerful political force with employees of those agencies as a surrogate of the authoritarian party that brought to power such leaders as Mussolini. And top brass as the leadership of the this quasi-party. In a way the tremendous growth of intelligences agencies creates state within the state and makes possible neofascism without mass political party. Professor Stephen Cohen aptly noted this newfound role of intelligence agencies in determining the results of the USA elections as well as the USA foreign policy in his article in Nation (US Congress has no Russian policy other than sanctions)
Oct 17, 2018
Inconvenient thoughts on Cold War and other news. Intelligence agencies,
Nikki Haley, sanctions, and public opinion. 1. National intelligence agencies have long played major roles, often not entirely visible, in international politics. They are doing so again today, as is evident in several countries, from Russiagate in the United States and the murky Skripal assassination attempt in the UK to the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Leaving aside what President Obama knew about Russiagate allegations against Donald Trump and when he knew it, the question arises as to whether these operations were ordered by President Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) or were " rogue " operations unknown in advance by the leaders and perhaps even directed against them.
There have been plenty of purely criminal and commercial " rogue " operations by intelligence agents in history, but also " rogue " ones that were purposefully political. We know, for example, that both Soviet and US intelligence agencies - or groups of agents - tried to disrupt the Eisenhower-Khrushchev détente of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and that some intelligence players tried to stop Khrushchev's formal recognition of West Germany, also in the early 1960s.
It is reasonable to ask, therefore, whether the attacks on Skripal and Khashoggi were " rogue " operations undertaken by political opponents of the leaders' policies at home or abroad, with the help of one or another intelligence agency or agents. Motive is a - perhaps the - crucial question. Why would Putin order such an operation in the UK at the very moment when his government had undertaken a major Western public-relations campaign in connection with the upcoming World Cup championship in Russia? And why would MbS risk a Khashoggi scandal as he was assiduously promoting his image abroad as an enlightened reform-minded Saudi leader?
Growth of censorship ad the level of control of MSM are another two signs of growing influence of intelligence agencies in political life of many countries and first of all the USA (Article Globalist Traitors Seek to Delete History--Who Are the Real Fascists OpEdNews )
We're living in a moment where we are seeing people adopting what used to be denounced as fascist policies--the shutting down of free speech, the destruction of opposition voices--and the people who are doing it are arguing that the president is a supporter of fascism. It is Orwellian...
... ... ...
Through the Foreign Intelligence Court (FISC), and a reciprocal intelligence-sharing partnership among the nations of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. called the "Five Eyes," the Obama administration manufactured, altered and misrepresented various pieces of evidence in an attempt to justify conducting surveillance on certain individual Americans. The Obama administration--in conjunction with the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and, yes, the CIA--employed the same process that is used to spy on foreigners deemed to be severe terror threats to America against American citizens... specifically, in this case, political opponents vying against the Clinton-Obama globalist cabal.
Fascism is a system of political authority and social order intended to reinforce the unity, energy, and purity of communities in which liberal democracy stands accused of producing division and decline. [...]
A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Oct 20, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
The Department of Justice admitted in a Friday court filing that the FBI used more than one "Confidential Human Source," (also known as informants, or spies ) to infiltrate the Trump campaign through former adviser Carter Page, reports the Daily Caller .
"The FBI has protected information that would identify the identities of other confidential sources who provided information or intelligence to the FBI" as well as "information provided by those sources," wrote David M. Hardy, the head of the FBI's Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS), in court papers submitted Friday.
Hardy and Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys submitted the filings in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for the FBI's four applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Page. The DOJ released heavily redacted copies of the four FISA warrant applications on June 20, but USA Today reporter Brad Heath has sued for full copies of the documents. - Daily Caller
Included in Hardy's declaration is an acknowledgement that the FBI's spies were in addition to the UK's Christopher Steele - a former MI6 operative who assembled the controversial and largely unproven "Steel Dossier" which the DOJ/FBI used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Page.
The DOJ says it redacted information in order to protect the identity of their confidential sources, which "includes nonpublic information about and provided by Christopher Steele," reads the filing, " as well as information about and provided by other confidential sources , all of whom were provided express assurances of confidentiality."
Government lawyers said the payment information is being withheld because disclosing specific payment amounts and dates could "suggest the relative volume of information provided by a particular CHS. " That disclosure could potentially tip the source's targets off and allow them to "take countermeasures, destroy or fabricate evidence, or otherwise act in a way to thwart the FBI's activities." - Daily Caller
Steele, referred to as Source #1, met with several DOJ / FBI officials during the 2016 campaign, including husband and wife team Bruce and Nellie Ohr. Bruce was the #4 official at the DOJ, while his CIA-linked wife Nellie was hired by Fusion GPS - who also employed Steele, in the anti-Trump opposition research / counterintelligence effort funded by Trump's opponents, Hillary Clinton and the DNC.
In addition to Steele, the FBI also employed 73-year-old University of Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, a US citizen, political veteran and longtime US Intelligence asset enlisted by the FBI to befriend and spy on three members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election . Halper received over $1 million in contracts from the Pentagon during the Obama years, however nearly half of that coincided with the 2016 US election.Stefan Halper
Halper's involvement first came to light after the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross reported on his involvement with Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, another Trump campaign aide. Ross's reporting was confirmed by the NYT and WaPo .
In June, Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Michael Caputo claimed that a meeting Stone took in late May, 2016 with a Russian appears to have been an " FBI sting operation " in hindsight, following bombshell reports in May that the DOJ/FBI used a longtime FBI/CIA asset, Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, to perform espionage on the Trump campaign.Roger Stone
When Stone arrived at the restaurant in Sunny Isles, he said, Greenberg was wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt and hat. On his phone, Greenberg pulled up a photo of himself with Trump at a rally, Stone said. - WaPo
The meeting went nowhere - ending after Stone told Greenberg " You don't understand Donald Trump... He doesn't pay for anything ." The Post independently confirmed this account with Greenberg.
After the meeting, Stone received a text message from Caputo - a Trump campaign communications official who arranged the meeting after Greenberg approached Caputo's Russian-immigrant business partner.
" How crazy is the Russian? " Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted "big" money, Stone replied: "waste of time." - WaPo
In short, the FBI's acknowledgement that they used multiple spies reinforces Stone's assertion that he was targeted by one.
Further down the rabbit hole
Stefan Halper's infiltration of the Trump campaign corresponds with the two of the four targets of the FBI's Operation Crossfire Hurricane - in which the agency sent former counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and others to a London meeting in the Summer of 2016 with former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer - who says Papadopoulos drunkenly admitted to knowing that the Russians had Hillary Clinton's emails.
Interestingly Downer - the source of the Papadopoulos intel, and Halper - who conned Papadopoulos months later, are linked through UK-based Haklyut & Co. an opposition research and intelligence firm similar to Fusion GPS - founded by three former British intelligence operatives in 1995 to provide the kind of otherwise inaccessible research for which select governments and Fortune 500 corporations pay huge sums .Alexander Downer
Downer - a good friend of the Clintons, has been on their advisory board for a decade, while Halper is connected to Hakluyt through Director of U.S. operations Jonathan Clarke, with whom he has co-authored two books. (h/t themarketswork.com )
Alexander Downer, the Australian High Commissioner to the U.K. Downer said that in May 2016, Papadopoulos told him during a conversation in London about Russians having Clinton emails.
That information was passed to other Australian government officials before making its way to U.S. officials. FBI agents flew to London a day after "Crossfire Hurricane" started in order to interview Downer.
It is still not known what Downer says about his interaction with Papadopoulos, which TheDCNF is told occurred around May 10, 2016.
Also interesting via Lifezette - " Downer is not the only Clinton fan in Hakluyt. Federal contribution records show several of the firm's U.S. representatives made large contributions to two of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign organizations ."
Halper contacted Papadopoulos on September 2, 2016 according to The Caller - flying him out to London to work on a policy paper on energy issues in Turkey, Cyprus and Israel - for which he was ultimately paid $3,000. Papadopoulos met Halper several times during his stay, "having dinner one night at the Travellers Club, and Old London gentleman's club frequented by international diplomats."
They were accompanied by Halper's assistant, a Turkish woman named Azra Turk. Sources familiar with Papadopoulos's claims about his trip say Turk flirted with him during their encounters and later on in email exchanges .
Emails were also brought up during Papadopoulos's meetings with Halper , though not by the Trump associate, according to sources familiar with his version of events. T he sources say that during conversation, Halper randomly brought up Russians and emails. Papadopoulos has told people close to him that he grew suspicious of Halper because of the remark. - Daily Caller
Meanwhile, Halper targeted Carter Page two days after Page returned from a trip to Moscow.
Page's visit to Moscow, where he spoke at the New Economic School on July 8, 2016, is said to have piqued the FBI's interest even further . Page and Halper spoke on the sidelines of an election-themed symposium held at Cambridge days later. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6 and a close colleague of Halper's, spoke at the event.
Page would enter the media spotlight in September 2016 after Yahoo! News reported that the FBI was investigating whether he met with two Kremlin insiders during that Moscow trip.
It would later be revealed that the Yahoo! article was based on unverified information from Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier regarding the Trump campaign . Steele's report, which was funded by Democrats, also claimed Page worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on the collusion conspiracy. - Daily Caller
A third target of Halper's was Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis, whose name was revealed by the Washington Post on Friday.
In late August 2016, the professor reached out to Clovis, asking if they could meet somewhere in the Washington area, according to Clovis's attorney, Victoria Toensing.
"He said he wanted to be helpful to the campaign" and lend the Trump team his foreign-policy experience, Toensing said.
Clovis, an Iowa political figure and former Air Force officer, met the source and chatted briefly with him over coffee, on either Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, at a hotel cafe in Crystal City, she said. Most of the discussion involved him asking Clovis his views on China.
"It was two academics discussing China," Toensing said. " Russia never came up. " - WaPo
Meanwhile, Bruce Ohr is still employed by the Department of Justice, and Fusion GPS continues its hunt for Trump dirt after having partnered with former Feinstein aide and ex-FBI counterintelligence agent, Dan Jones.
It's been nearly three years since an army of professional spies was unleashed on Trump - and he's still the President, Steele and Downer notwithstanding.
Oct 20, 2018 | www.rt.com'US Congress has no Russian policy other than sanctions' – Stephen Cohen Published time: 19 Oct, 2018 09:09 Edited time: 19 Oct, 2018 12:25 Get short URL © Reuters / Jonathan Ernst Inconvenient thoughts on Cold War and other news. Intelligence agencies, Nikki Haley, sanctions, and public opinion. 1. National intelligence agencies have long played major roles, often not entirely visible, in international politics. They are doing so again today, as is evident in several countries, from Russiagate in the United States and the murky Skripal assassination attempt in the UK to the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Leaving aside what President Obama knew about Russiagate allegations against Donald Trump and when he knew it, the question arises as to whether these operations were ordered by President Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) or were " rogue " operations unknown in advance by the leaders and perhaps even directed against them.
There have been plenty of purely criminal and commercial " rogue " operations by intelligence agents in history, but also " rogue " ones that were purposefully political. We know, for example, that both Soviet and US intelligence agencies - or groups of agents - tried to disrupt the Eisenhower-Khrushchev détente of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and that some intelligence players tried to stop Khrushchev's formal recognition of West Germany, also in the early 1960s.Read more Putin compares Khashoggi case to Skripal poisoning, asks why Russia condemned despite lack of proof
It is reasonable to ask, therefore, whether the attacks on Skripal and Khashoggi were " rogue " operations undertaken by political opponents of the leaders' policies at home or abroad, with the help of one or another intelligence agency or agents. Motive is a - perhaps the - crucial question. Why would Putin order such an operation in the UK at the very moment when his government had undertaken a major Western public-relations campaign in connection with the upcoming World Cup championship in Russia? And why would MbS risk a Khashoggi scandal as he was assiduously promoting his image abroad as an enlightened reform-minded Saudi leader?
We lack the evidence and official candor needed to study these questions, as is usually the case with covert, secretive, disinforming intelligence operations. But the questions are certainly reason enough not to rush to judgment, as many US pundits do. Saying " we do not know " may be unmarketable in today's mass-media environment, but it is honest and the right approach to potentially fruitful " analysis. "
2. We do know, however, that there has been fierce opposition in the US political-media establishment to President Trump's policy of " cooperating with Russia ," including in US intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and FBI - and at high levels of his own administration.
We might consider Nikki Haley's resignation as UN ambassador in this light. Despite the laurels heaped on her by anti-Trump media, and by Trump himself at their happy-hour farewell in the White House, Haley was not widely admired by her UN colleagues. When appointed for political reasons by Trump, she had no foreign-policy credentials or any expert knowledge of other countries or of international relations generally. Judging by her performance as ambassador, nor did she acquire much on the job, almost always reading even short comments from prepared texts.
More to the point, Haley's statements regarding Russia at the UN were, more often than not, dissimilar from Trump's -- indeed, implicitly in opposition to Trump's. (She did nothing, for example, to offset charges in Washington that Trump's summit meeting with Putin in Helsinki, in July, had been " treasonous .") Who wrote these statements for her, which were very similar to statements regarding Russia that have been issued by US intelligence agencies since early 2017? It is hard to imagine that Trump was unhappy to see her go, and easier to imagine him pushing her toward the exit. A president needs a loyalist as secretary of state and at the UN. Haley's pandering remarks at the White House about Trump's family suggests some deal had been made to ease her out, with non-recrimination promises made on both sides. We will see if opponents of Trump's Russia policy can put another spokesperson at the UN.
As to which aspects of US foreign policy Trump actually controls, we might ask more urgently if he authorized, or was fully informed about, the joint US-NATO-Ukraine military air exercises that got under way over Ukraine, abutting Russia, on October 8. Moscow regards these exercises as a major " provocation ," and not unreasonably.Read more 'Ambitious as Lucifer': Steve Bannon takes dig at Nikki Haley and her 'suspicious' resignation
3. What do Trump's opponents want instead of " cooperation with Russia "? A much harder line, including more " crushing " economic sanctions. Sanctions are more like temper tantrums and road rage than actual national-security policy, and thus are often counterproductive. We have some recent evidence. Russia's trade surplus has grown to more than $100 billion. World prices for Russia's primary exports, oil and gas, have grown to over $80 a unit while Moscow's federal budget is predicated on $53 a barrel. Promoters of anti-Russian sanctions gloat that they have weakened the ruble. But while imposing some hardships on ordinary citizens, the combination of high oil prices and a weaker ruble is ideal for Russian state and corporate exporters. They sell abroad for inflated foreign currency and pay their operating expenses at home in cheaper rubles. To risk a pun, they are " crushing it. "
Congressional sanctions - for exactly what is not always clear - have helped Putin in another way. For years, he has unsuccessfully tried to get " oligarchs " to repatriate their wealth abroad. US sanctions on various " oligarchs " have persuaded them and others to begin to do so, perhaps bringing back home as much as $90 billion already in 2018.
If nothing else, these new budgetary cash flows help Putin deal with his declining popularity at home - he still has an approval rating well above 60 percent - due to the Kremlin's decision to raise the pension age for men and women, from 60 to 65 and from 55 to 60 respectively. The Kremlin can use the additional revenue to increase the value of pensions, supplement them with other social benefits, or to enact the age change over a longer period of time.
It appears that Congress, particularly the Senate, has no Russia policy other than sanctions. It might think hard about finding alternatives. One way to start would be with real " hearings " in place of the ritualistic affirmation of orthodox policy by " experts " that has long been its practice. There are more than a few actual specialists out there who think different approaches to Moscow are long overdue.
READ MORE: Most Americans favor diplomacy over sanctions when it comes to Russia – poll
4. All of these dangerous developments, indeed the new US-Russian Cold War itself, are elite projects -- political, media, intelligence, etc. Voters were never really consulted. Nor do they seem to approve. In August, Gallup asked its usual sample of Americans which policy toward Russia they preferred. Fifty-eight percent wanted improved relations vs. only 36 percent who wanted a tougher US policy with more sanctions. (Meanwhile, two-thirds of Russians surveyed by an independent agency now see the United States as their country's number-one enemy, and about three-fourths view China favorably.)
Will any of the US political figures already jockeying for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 take these realities into account?
Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.
This article was originally published by The Nation .
Oct 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Chapter 1: The Mythic Past
It's in the name of tradition that the anti-Semites base their "point of view." It's in the name of tradition, the long, historical past and the blood ties with Pascal and Descartes, that the Jews are told, you will never belong here.
-- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)
It is only natural to begin this book where fascist politics invariably claims to discover its genesis: in the past. Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago.
Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics.
In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence.
These myths are generally based on fantasies of a nonexistent past uniformity, which survives in the traditions of the small towns and countrysides that remain relatively unpolluted by the liberal decadence of the cities. This uniformity -- linguistic, religious, geographical, or ethnic -- can be perfectly ordinary in some nationalist movements, but fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. For example, in the fascist imagination, the past invariably involves traditional, patriarchal gender roles. The fascist mythic past has a particular structure, which supports its authoritarian, hierarchical ideology. That past societies were rarely as patriarchal -- or indeed as glorious -- as fascist ideology represents them as being is beside the point. This imagined history provides proof to support the imposition of hierarchy in the present, and it dictates how contemporary society should look and behave.
In a 1922 speech at the Fascist Congress in Naples, Benito Mussolini declared:
We have created our myth. The myth is a faith, a passion. It is not necessary for it to be a reality. . . . Our myth is the nation, our myth is the greatness of the nation! And to this myth, this greatness, which we want to translate into a total reality, we subordinate everything.
The patriarchal family is one ideal that fascist politicians intend to create in society -- or return to, as they claim. The patriarchal family is always represented as a central part of the nation's traditions, diminished, even recently, by the advent of liberalism and cosmopolitanism. But why is patriarchy so strategically central to fascist politics?
In a fascist society, the leader of the nation is analogous to the father in the traditional patriarchal family. The leader is the father of his nation, and his strength and power are the source of his legal authority, just as the strength and power of the father of the family in patriarchy are supposed to be the source of his ultimate moral authority over his children and wife. The leader provides for his nation, just as in the traditional family the father is the provider. The patriarchal father's authority derives from his strength, and strength is the chief authoritarian value. By representing the nation's past as one with a patriarchal family structure, fascist politics connects nostalgia to a central organizing hierarchal authoritarian structure, one that finds its purest representation in these norms.
Gregor Strasser was the National Socialist -- Nazi -- Reich propaganda chief in the 1920s, before the post was taken over by Joseph Goebbels. According to Strasser, "for a man, military service is the most profound and valuable form of participation -- for the woman it is motherhood!" Paula Siber, the acting head of the Association of German Women, in a 1933 document meant to reflect official National Socialist state policy on women, declares that "to be a woman means to be a mother, means affirming with the whole conscious force of one's soul the value of being a mother and making it a law of life . . . the highest calling of the National Socialist woman is not just to bear children, but consciously and out of total devotion to her role and duty as mother to raise children for her people." Richard Grunberger, a British historian of National Socialism, sums up "the kernel of Nazi thinking on the women's question" as "a dogma of inequality between the sexes as immutable as that between the races." The historian Charu Gupta, in her 1991 article "Politics of Gender: Women in Nazi Germany," goes as far as to argue that "oppression of women in Nazi Germany in fact furnishes the most extreme case of anti-feminism in the 20th century."
Here, Mussolini makes clear that the fascist mythic past is intentionally mythical. The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle.
With the creation of a mythic past, fascist politics creates a link between nostalgia and the realization of fascist ideals. German fascists also clearly and explicitly appreciated this point about the strategic use of a mythological past. The leading Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, editor of the prominent Nazi newspaper the Völkischer Beobachter, writes in 1924, "the understanding of and the respect for our own mythological past and our own history will form the first condition for more firmly anchoring the coming generation in the soil of Europe's original homeland." The fascist mythic past exists to aid in changing the present.
Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; More about Jason Stanley5.0 out of 5 stars
July 17, 2018 Format: Hardcover VineHighly readableBy Joel E. Mitchell on September 13, 2018
w.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R36R5FWIWTP6F0/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0525511830">Massive Partisan Bias
This could have been such a helpful, insightful book. The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it has started to lose its meaning. I hoped that this book would provide a historical perspective on fascism by examining actual fascist governments and drawing some parallels to the more egregious / worrisome trends in US & European politics. The chapter titles in the table of contents were promising:
- The Mythic Past
- Law & Order
- Sexual Anxiety
- Sodom & Gomorrah
- Arbeit Macht Frei
Ironically (given the book's subtitle) the author used his book divisively: to laud his left-wing political views and demonize virtually all distinctively right-wing views. He uses the term "liberal democracy" inconsistently throughout, disengenuously equivocating between the meaning of "representative democracy as opposed to autocratic or oligarchic government" (which most readers would agree is a good thing) and "American left-wing political views" (which he treats as equally self-evidently superior if you are a right-thinking person). Virtually all American right-wing political views are presented in straw-man form, defined in such a way that they fit his definition of fascist politics.
I was expecting there to be a pretty heavy smear-job on President Trump and his cronies (much of it richly deserved...the man's demagoguery and autocratic tendencies are frightening), but for this to turn into "let's find a way to define virtually everything the Republicans are and do as fascist politics" was massively disappointing. The absurdly biased portrayal of all things conservative and constant hymns of praise to all things and all people left-wing buried some good historical research and valid parallels under an avalanche of partisanism.
If you want a more historical, less partisan view of the rise of fascist politics, I would highly recommend Darkness Over Germany by E. Amy Buller (Review Here). It was written during World War II (based on interviews with Germans before WWII), so you will have to draw your own contemporary parallels...but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Oct 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft , Oct 8, 2018 12:11:11 AM | 43 k
The constitution was a creation of the elite at the time, the property class. Its mission was to prevent the common folk from having control. Democracy=mob rule= Bad.
The common folk only had the ability to elect representatives in the house, who in turn would elect Senators. Electors voted for President and they were appointed by a means chosen by the state legislature , which only in modern times has come to mean by the popular vote of the common folk. Starting from 1913 it was decided to let the common folk vote for Senator and give the commonfolk the illusion of Democracy confident they could be controlled with propaganda and taxes (also adopted in 1913 with the Fed)
At the time the eligible voters were males of European descent (MOED), and while not highly educated they were relatively free of propaganda and IQ's were higher than today. After giving women the right to vote and with other minorities voting the MOED became a minority voter.
Bernays science of propaganda took off during WWI, Since MOED's made up the most educated class (relative to minorities and women) up to the 70's this was a big deal for almost 60 years , although not today when miseducation is equal among the different races, sexes and ethnicities.
So today with propaganda and education being what it is, not to mention campaign financing laws especially post Citizen United, and MSM under control of 6 companies, the entire voting class is miseducated and easily influenced to vote for candidates chosen by the elites
So how do the common folk get control over the federal government? That is a pipe dream and will never happen. The founders who incited the revolution against British rule were the American Elites (also British citizens) who wanted more. The elites today got everything they want. They have no need for revolution. The common folk are divided, misinformed, unorganized, leaderless and males are emasculated. Incapable of taking control peacefully or otherwise.
Thats just my opinion
Guerrero , Oct 8, 2018 1:03:57 AM | linkPft has a point. If there was ever a time for the people to take the republic into its hands, it may have been just after the Civil War when the Dems were discredited and the Repubs had a total control of Congress.
This was the high-tariff-era and the budget surplus was an issue all through the balance of the 19th Century. So what were the politics about? 1. Stirring stump (Trump) speeches were all about "waving the bloody shirt"
All manner of political office-seekers devoted themselves to getting on the government gravy train, somehow. The selling of political offices was notorious and the newspaper editors of the time were ashamed of this.
Then there was the Whiskey Ring. The New York Customs House was a major source of corruption lucre. Then there was vote selling in blocks of as many as 10,000 and the cost of paying those who could do this. Then there were the kickbacks from the awards of railroad concessions which included large parcels of land. If there ever was a Golden Age of the United States it must have been when Franklin Roosevelt was President.
ben , Oct 8, 2018 1:13:04 AM | linkkarlof1 @ 34 asked:"My question for several years now: What are us Commonfolk going to do to regain control of the federal government?"Grieved , Oct 8, 2018 1:13:32 AM | link
The only thing us "common folk" can do is work within our personal sphere of influence, and engage who you can, when you can, and support with any $ you can spare, to support the sites and any local radio stations that broadcast independent thought. ( if you can find any). Pacifica radio, KPFK in LA is a good example. KPFA in the bay area.
Other than another economic crash, I don't believe anything can rouse the pathetic bovine public. Bread and circuses work...@38 Pftdh-mtl , Oct 8, 2018 2:34:39 AM | link
The division of representative power and stake in the political process back at the birth of the US Constitution was as you say it was. But this wasn't because any existing power had been taken away from anyone. It was simply the state of play back then.
Since that time, we common people have developed a more egalitarian sense of how the representation should be apportioned. We include former slaves, all ethnic groups and both genders. We exclude animals thus far, although we do have some - very modest - protections in place.
I think it has been the rise of the socialist impulse among workers that has expanded this egalitarian view, with trade unions and anti-imperialist revolutions and national struggles. But I'm not a scholar or a historian so I can't add details to my impression.
My point is that since the Framers met, there has been a progressive elevation of our requirements of representative government. I think some of this also came from the Constitution itself, with its embedded Bill of Rights.
I can't say if this expansion has continued to this day or not. History may show there was a pinnacle that we have now passed, and entered a decline. I don't know - it's hard to say how we score the Internet in this balance. It's always hard to score the present age along its timeline. And the future is never here yet, in the present, and can only ever be guessed.
In my view, the dream of popular control of representative government remains entirely possible. I call it an aspiration rather than a pipe dream, and one worth taking up and handing on through the generations. Current global society may survive in relatively unbroken line for millennia to come. There's simply no percentage in calling failure at this time.
It may be that better government comes to the United States from the example of the world nations, over the decades and centuries to come. Maybe the demonstration effect will work on us even when we cannot work on ourselves. We are not the only society of poor people who want a fair life.
In my view of the fundamental dynamic - namely that of history being one unbroken story of the rich exploiting the poor - representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness.
In my opinion.Grieved @42 said:Krollchem , Oct 8, 2018 2:42:16 AM | link
"representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness."
Here, here! I fully agree with you.
In my opinion, representative government was stronger in the U.S. from the 1930's to the 1970's and Europe after WW2. And as a result the western world achieved unprecedented prosperity. Since 1980, the U.S. government has been captured by trans-national elites, who, since the 1990's have also captured much of the political power in the EU.
Both Europe and the U.S. are now effectively dictatorships, run by a trans-national elite. The crumbling of both is the result of this dictatorship.
Prosperity, and peace, will only return when the dictators are removed and representative government is returned.dh-mtl@44Anton Worter , Oct 8, 2018 3:06:04 AM | link
"Both Europe and the U.S. are now effectively dictatorships, run by a trans-national elite. The crumbling of both is the result of this dictatorship."
Exactly!! I feel like the Swedish knight Antonius Block in the movie the 7th Seal. There does not seem any way out of this evil game by the death dealing rulers.@24Anton Worter , Oct 8, 2018 3:34:05 AM | link
Love it. But you fad3d at the end. It was Gingrich, not Rodham, who was behind Contract on America, and GHWBush's Fed Bank group wrote the legislation that would have been Bush's second term 'kinder, gentler' Gramm-Leach-Bliley bayonet up the azs of the American Dream, as passed by a majority of Congress, and by that point Tripp and Lewinski had already pull-dated Wild Bill. God, can you imagine being married to that hag Rodham? The purple people-eating lizards of Georgetown and Alexandria. Uurk.40
I'm reading a great FDR book, 'Roosevelt and Hopkins', a signed 1st Ed copy by Robert Sherwood, and the only book extant from my late father's excellent political and war library, after his trophy wife dumped the rest of his library off at Goodwill, lol. They could have paid for her next booblift, ha, ha, ha.
Anyway, FDR, in my mind, only passed the populist laws that he did because he needed cannon fodder in good fighting shape for Rothschild's Wars ("3/4ths of WW2 conscripts were medically unfit for duty," the book reports), and because Rothschild's and Queens Bank of London needed the whole sh*taco bailed out afterward, by creating SS wage-withholding 'Trust Fund' (sic) the Fed then tapped into, and creating Lend-Lease which let Rothschilds float credit-debt to even a higher level and across the globe. Has it all been paid off by Germany and Japan yet?
Even Lincoln, jeez, Civil War was never about slavery, it was about finance and taxation and the illegitimate Federal supremacy over the Republic of States, not unlike the EU today. Lincoln only freed the slaves to use them as cannon fodder and as a fifth column.
All of these politicians were purple people-eating lizards, except maybe the Kennedy's, and they got ground and pounded like Conor McGregor, meh?
Guerrero | Oct 8, 2018 10:22:34 AM | 61
@BM | Oct 8, 2018 10:03:12 AM | 60"representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness."
Compare to: Sentiments of the Nation:
12º That as the good Law is superior to every man, those dictated by our Congress must be such, that they force constancy and patriotism, moderate opulence and indigence; and in such a way increase the wages of the poor, improve their habits, moving away from ignorance, rapine and theft.
13º That the general laws include everyone, without exception of privileged bodies; and that these are only in the use of the ministry..
14º That in order to dictate a Law, the Meeting of Sages is made, in the possible number, so that it may proceed with more success and exonerate of some charges that may result.
15. That slavery be banished forever, and the distinction of castes, leaving all the same, and only distinguish one American from another by vice and virtue.
16º That our Ports be open to friendly foreign nations, but that they do not enter the nation, no matter how friendly they may be, and there will only be Ports designated for that purpose, prohibiting disembarkation in all others, indicating ten percent.
17º That each one be kept his property, and respect in his House as in a sacred asylum, pointing out penalties to the offenders.
18º That the new legislation does not admit torture.
19º That the Constitutional Law establishes the celebration of December 12th in all Peoples, dedicated to the Patroness of our Liberty, Most Holy Mary of Guadalupe, entrusting to all Peoples the monthly devotion.
20º That the foreign troops, or of another Kingdom, do not step on our soil, and if it were in aid, they will not without the Supreme Junta approval.
21º That expeditions are not made outside the limits of the Kingdom, especially overseas, that they are not of this kind yet rather to spread the faith to our brothers and sisters of the land inside.
22º That the infinity of tributes, breasts and impositions that overwhelm us be removed, and each individual be pointed out a five percent of seeds and other effects or other equally light weight, that does not oppress so much, as the alcabala, the Tobacconist, the Tribute and others; because with this slight contribution, and the good administration of the confiscated goods of the enemy, will be able to take the weight of the War, and pay the fees of employees.
Temple of the Virgen of the Ascencion
Chilpancingo, September 14, 1813.
José Mª Morelos.
23º That also be solemnized on September 16, every year, as the Anniversary day on which the Voice of Independence was raised, and our Holy Freedom began, because on that day it was in which the lips of the Nation were deployed to claim their rights with Sword in hand to be heard: always remembering the merit of the great Hero Mr. Don Miguel Hidalgo and his companion Don Ignacio Allende.
Answers on November 21, 1813. And therefore, these are abolished, always being subject to the opinion of S. [u] A. [alteza] S. [very eminent]
Oct 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history'If there are no legal consequences for profiteers who defrauded the global economy into a collapse, what will deter those profiteers from doing that again?' Illustration: Mark Long/Mark Long for Guardian US W hen the former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was released from prison a few weeks ago, the news conjured memories of a corporate scandal that now seems almost quaint – and it was also a reminder that Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.
Since Skilling's conviction 12 years ago, our society has been fundamentally altered by a powerful political movement whose goal is not merely another court seat, tax cut or election victory. This movement's objective is far more revolutionary: the creation of an accountability-free zone for an ennobled aristocracy, even as the rest of the population is treated to law-and-order rhetoric and painfully punitive policy.
Let's remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers.
That is because the United States has been turned into a safe space for a permanent ruling class. Inside the rarefied refuge, the key players who created this era's catastrophes and who embody the most pernicious pathologies have not just eschewed punishment – many of them have actually maintained or even increased their social, financial and political status.
The effort to construct this elite haven has tied together so many seemingly disparate news events, suggesting that there is a method in the madness. Consider this past month that culminated with the dramatic battle over the judicial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
September began with John McCain's funeral – a memorial billed as an apolitical celebration of the Arizona lawmaker, but which served as a made-for-TV spectacle letting America know that everyone who engineered the Iraq war is doing just fine.
The event was attended by Iraq war proponents of both parties, from Dick Cheney to Lindsey Graham to Hillary Clinton. The funeral featured a saccharine eulogy from the key Democratic proponent of the invasion, Joe Lieberman, as well the resurrection of George W Bush. The codpiece-flaunting war president who piloted America into the cataclysm with "bring 'em on" bravado, "shock and awe" bloodlust and "uranium from Africa" dishonesty was suddenly portrayed as an icon of warmth and civility when he passed a lozenge to Michelle Obama. The scene was depicted not as the gathering of a rogues gallery fit for a war crimes tribunal, but as a venerable bipartisan reunion evoking nostalgia for the supposed halcyon days – and Bush promptly used his newly revived image to campaign for Republican congressional candidates and lobby for Kavanaugh's appointment .
The underlying message was clear: nobody other than the dead, the injured and the taxpayer will face any real penalty for the Iraq debacle.
Next up came the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis – a meltdown that laid waste to the global economy, while providing lucrative taxpayer-funded bailouts to Wall Street firms.
To mark the occasion, the three men on whose watch it occurred – Fed chair Ben Bernanke, Bush treasury secretary Hank Paulson and Obama treasury secretary Tim Geithner – did not offer an apology, but instead promised that another financial crisis will eventually occur, and they demanded lawmakers give public officials more power to bail out big banks in the future.
In a similar bipartisan show of unity, former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn gave an interview in which he asked "Who broke the law?" – the implication being that no Wall Street executives were prosecuted for their role in the meltdown because no statutes had been violated. That suggestion, of course, is undermined by banks ' own admissions that they defrauded investors (that includes admissions of fraud from Goldman Sachs – the very bank that Cohn himself ran during the crisis). Nonetheless, Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder – who has now rejoined his old corporate defense law firm – subsequently backed Cohn up by arguing that nobody on Wall Street committed an offense that could have been successfully prosecuted in a court of law.
Meanwhile, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon garnered non-Onion headlines by floating the idea of running for president – a reminder that a decade after his firm played a central role in destroying countless Americans' economic lives, he remains not only unincarcerated and gainfully employed, but so reputationally unscathed that he is seen as a serious White House candidate.
Again, the message came through: nobody who engineered the financial crisis will pay any real price for wreaking so much havoc.
Then as Hurricane Florence provided the latest illustration of climate change's devastation, ExxonMobil marched into the supreme court to demand an end to a state investigation of its role denying and suppressing climate science. Backed by 11 Republican attorneys general , the fossil fuel giant had reason to feel emboldened in its appeal for immunity: despite investigative reporting detailing the company's prior knowledge of fossil fuel's role in climate change, its executives had already convinced the Securities and Exchange Commission to shut down a similar investigation.
Once again, the message was unavoidable: in the new accountability-free zone, companies shouldn't be bothered to even explain – much less face punishment for – their role in a crisis that threatens the survival of the human species.
... ... ...
The answer is nothing – which is exactly the point for the aristocracy. But that cannot be considered acceptable for the rest of us outside the accountability-free zone.David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and an investigative journalist at Capital & Main. His latest book is Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now
Oct 05, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
CitizenOne , October 2, 2018 at 11:19 pm
The recent history of the Supreme Court has been one of Justices playing the part of politicians in robes. Perhaps no better example was the nullification of the recount in the Bush v Gore election with the "Brooks Brothers Riot" where paid operatives of the republicans stormed the election office in Florida and declared the recount over in an extra judicial action which was backed up by the members of the Supreme Court leading to their moniker "politicians in robes". The Supreme Court basically stole that election by upholding the use of violence as a tool to stop the recount instead of reacting on its own to denounce the use of such tactics.
The Supreme Court has become weaponized as a force for right wing agendas and it has taken a partisan position many times due to justices who have become radicalized to advance right wing views. This is part of a vast right wing well funded and well oiled political money machine. Little debut over the 10 million dollars spent by anonymous donors greasing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. The $10 million effort to win federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation, funded by unknown donors to a conservative interest group called the Judicial Crisis Network, follows a successful $7 million effort last year to block President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. The group calls it "the most robust operation in the history of confirmation battles."
Billionaires are funding the selection and nomination of Supreme Court Justices for one reason. So that the Supreme Court is stacked by loyal conservatives who will side with big industrialist businesses on every case brought against big industrialists.
This is a long term strategy funded with hundreds of millions of dollars poured into efforts to create a three point strategy. Fund AstroTurf phony grass roots populist organizations which claim they are formed by housewives and farmers and middle class folk but who really serve the interests of the billionaire class. Fund politicians and judges who are begging to get the money to win elections by promising they will do everything to support the uber class and groveling at their feet for the cash to be had. Create laws to serve the interests of billionaires.
So far each effort has been a phenomenal success. Funded with hundreds of millions of dollars willing recipients of all the corporate cash have created the ostensible populist front defending wedge issues like abortion, gun control and anti immigration along with a health dose of anti establishment hatred of the government. Their real aim is to serve the corporate interests.
Donald Trump is perhaps the biggest benefactor of the money machine having won election based on this populist jargon while spending little of his own money but really serving the corporate interests most obviously by supporting the 1.9 Trillion dollar tax breaks for billionaires.
It is unlikely that the average American would get angry about health care or their own social security which is funded by workers not billionaires unless they were propagandized by every main stream media outlet with Fox News and other more extremely radical right wing media outlets and all the rightwing websites and right wing syndicated media pundits.
Average Americans have been suckered to believe that what is in their own interests is very bad for America and Freedom and Democracy etc. They have been hoodwinked into voting for politicians who want to strip them of healthcare, social security, financial security and basic rights to privacy and access to the judicial system with arbitration clauses attached to every product down to toothbrushes and sunglasses. They have come to believe that defending wedge issues means they will vote for republicans no matter how bad their economic future is compromised and their future put at risk by predatory businesses which offer paycheck loans, balloon mortgages, sky high interest and insurance rates, multiple bank accounts with lots of surcharges (Pinkerton Bank) and promise to end Medicare and Social Security because its Okay to give trillions to billionaires but not Okay to help average hard working people.
Donald Trump is the pinnacle of this usurpation of power capturing the Executive Branch funded by free advertising from the media and running on a fake AstroTurf populist campaign strategy while delivering all the money to the billionaires as he entertains guests for huge fees at his Florida Property against the Emoluments Clause which appears to be dead. No president should economically benefit from the position of the highest office in the land for personal enrichment yet the Tax Cuts seem to have been perfectly tailored for Trumps own enrichment via a little known clause which allows property investment owners to pass the profits gained via those holdings to other entities like his kids at greatly lower taxes. What a windfall for Trump who has investment pass through properties all over the place. It's a really nice deal" for Trump and pass-through owners like him, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
So much for the little guy as republicans now demand that the giant deficit created by their enormous tax cuts for the wealthy now be shrunk by eliminating all social welfare programs like Social Security which if funded by workers under the payroll deduction tax. Payroll taxes are taxes imposed on employers or employees, and are usually calculated as a percentage of the salaries that employers pay their staff. Payroll taxes generally fall into two categories: deductions from an employee's wages, and taxes paid by the employer based on the employee's wages. These taxes fund Social Security/ Workers earnings are garnished to pay for Social Security. The Government does not steal this money from rich people. They take it from every worker according to a schedule.
How stupid we are to willingly call this wasteful government spending and buy the BS of the republicans that it must end. What will they do with all the money once none of us is going to see a dime of what we donated under law? Why they will steal it of course.
Who has the authority to declare all social welfare programs unconstitutional? The Supreme Court. Who has the power to decline any case brought against and well monied entity including the President? The Supreme Court.
It is not so much about beer and drunkenness and abuse of women but about the continued abuse of us all by the republican party which is funded by the rich and operated by the rich for the rich and only for the rich.
Jul 31, 2018 | russia-insider.com
"a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse ... shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained."
If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines.
If we consider the state of the nation from 40,000 feet, several key indicators of profound political disunity within the elites pop out:
- The overt politicization of the central state's law enforcement and intelligence agencies: it is now commonplace to find former top officials of the CIA et al. accusing a sitting president of treason in the mainstream media. What was supposed to be above politics is now nothing but politics.
- The overt politicization of the centralized (corporate) media: evidence that would stand up in a court of law is essentially non-existent but the interpretations and exaggerations that fit the chosen narrative are ceaselessly promoted--the classic definition of desperate propaganda by those who have lost the consent of the governed.
Psychopaths with no moral principles.The nation's elites are not just divided--they're exhibiting signs of schizophrenic breakdown : disassociation and a loss of the ability to discern the difference between reality and their internal fantasies.
I've been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, for example, The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare . The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew over 300,000 views.
It's impossible to understand the divided Deep State unless we situate it in the larger context of profound political disunity , a concept I learned from historian Michael Grant, whose slim but insightful volume The Fall of the Roman Empire I have been recommending since 2009.
As I noted in my 2009 book Survival+ , this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.
A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available , i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets , and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.
But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic.
Meanwhile, diverting the national income into a few power centers is also destabilizing , as Central Planning and Market Manipulation (a.k.a. the Federal Reserve) are intrinsically unstable as price can no longer be discovered by unfettered markets. As a result, imbalances grow until some seemingly tiny incident or disruption triggers a cascading collapse, a.k.a. a phase shift or system re-set.
As the Power Elites squabble over the dwindling crumbs left by the various rentier rackets, there's no one left to fight for the national interest because the entire Status Quo of self-interested fiefdoms and cartels has been co-opted and is now wedded to the Imperial Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security.
The divided Deep State is a symptom of this larger systemic political disunity. I have characterized the divide as between the Wall Street-Neocon-Globalist Neoliberal camp--currently the dominant public face of the Deep State, the one desperately attempting to exploit the "Russia hacked our elections and is trying to destroy us" narrative--and a much less public, less organized "rogue Progressive" camp, largely based in the military services and fringes of the Deep State, that sees the dangers of a runaway expansionist Empire and the resulting decay of the nation's moral/political center.
What few observers seem to understand is that concentrating power in centralized nodes is intrinsically unstable. Contrast a system in which power, control and wealth is extremely concentrated in a few nodes (the current U.S. Imperial Project) and a decentralized network of numerous dynamic nodes.
The disruption of any of the few centralized nodes quickly destabilizes the entire system because each centralized node is highly dependent on the others. This is in effect what happened in the 2008-09 Financial Meltdown: the Wall Street node failed and that quickly imperiled the entire economy and thus the entire political order, up to and including the Global Imperial Project.
Historian Peter Turchin has proposed that the dynamics of profound political disunity (i.e. social, financial and political disintegration) can be quantified in a Political Stress Index, a concept he describes in his new book Ages of Discord .
If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. There is no other possible output of a system of highly concentrated nodes of power, wealth and control and the competing rentier rackets of these dependent, increasingly fragile centralized nodes.
May 02, 2017 | original.antiwar.comDid the Deep State deep-six Trump's populist revolution?
Many observers, especially among his fans, suspect that the seemingly untamable Trump has already been housebroken by the Washington, "globalist" establishment. If true, the downfall of Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn less than a month into the new presidency may have been a warning sign. And the turning point would have been the removal of Steven K. Bannon from the National Security Council on April 5.
Until then, the presidency's early policies had a recognizably populist-nationalist orientation. During his administration's first weeks, Trump's biggest supporters frequently tweeted the hashtag #winning and exulted that he was decisively doing exactly what, on the campaign trail, he said he would do.
In a flurry of executive orders and other unilateral actions bearing Bannon's fingerprints, Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, declared a sweeping travel ban, instituted harsher deportation policies, and more.
These policies seemed to fit Trump's reputation as the " tribune of poor white people ," as he has been called; above all, Trump's base calls for protectionism and immigration restrictions. Trump seemed to be delivering on the populist promise of his inauguration speech (thought to be written by Bannon), in which he said:
"Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now." [Emphasis added.]
After a populist insurgency stormed social media and the voting booths, American democracy, it seemed, had been wrenched from the hands of the Washington elite and restored to "the people," or at least a large, discontented subset of "the people." And this happened in spite of the establishment, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and "polite opinion" throwing everything it had at Trump.
But for the past month, the administration's axis seems to have shifted. This shift was especially abrupt in Trump's Syria policy.
Days before Bannon's fall from grace, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared that forcing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power was no longer top priority. This too was pursuant of Trump's populist promises.
Trump's nationalist fans are sick of the globalist wars that America never seems to win. They are hardly against war per se. They are perfectly fine with bombing radical Islamists, even if it means mass innocent casualties. But they have had enough of expending American blood and treasure to overthrow secular Arab dictators to the benefit of Islamists; so, it seemed, was Trump. They also saw no nationalist advantage in the globalists' renewed Cold War against Assad's ally Russian president Vladimir Putin, another enemy of Islamists.
The Syrian pivot also seemed to fulfill the hopes and dreams of some antiwar libertarians who had pragmatically supported Trump. For them, acquiescing to the unwelcome planks of Trump's platform was a price worth paying for overthrowing the establishment policies of regime change in the Middle East and hostility toward nuclear Russia. While populism wasn't an unalloyed friend of liberty, these libertarians thought, at least it could be harnessed to sweep away the war-engineering elites. And since war is the health of the state, that could redirect history's momentum in favor of liberty.
But then it all evaporated. Shortly after Bannon's ouster from the NSC, in response to an alleged, unverified chemical attack on civilians, Trump bombed one of Assad's airbases (something even globalist Obama had balked at doing when offered the exact same excuse), and regime change in Syria was top priority once again. The establishment media swooned over Trump's newfound willingness to be "presidential."
Since then, Trump has reneged on one campaign promise after another. He dropped any principled repeal of Obamacare. He threw cold water on expectations for prompt fulfillment of his signature promise: the construction of a Mexico border wall. And he announced an imminent withdrawal from NAFTA, only to walk that announcement back the very next day.
Here I make no claim as to whether any of these policy reversals are good or bad. I only point out that they run counter to the populist promises he had given to his core constituents.
Poor white people, "the forgotten men and women of our country," have been forgotten once again. Their "tribune" seems to be turning out to be just another agent of the power elite.
Who yanked his chain? Was there a palace coup? Was the CIA involved? Has Trump been threatened? Or, after constant obstruction, has he simply concluded that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em?
The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Regardless of how it came about, it seems clear that whatever prospect there was for a truly populist Trump presidency is gone with the wind. Was it inevitable that this would happen, one way or another?
One person who might have thought so was German sociologist Robert Michels, who posited the "iron law of oligarchy" in his 1911 work Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy .
Michels argued that political organizations, no matter how democratically structured, rarely remain truly populist, but inexorably succumb to oligarchic control.
Even in a political system based on popular sovereignty, Michels pointed out that, "the sovereign masses are altogether incapable of undertaking the most necessary resolutions." This is true for simple, unavoidable technical reasons: "such a gigantic number of persons belonging to a unitary organization cannot do any practical work upon a system of direct discussion."
This practical limitation necessitates delegation of decision-making to officeholders. These delegates may at first be considered servants of the masses:
"All the offices are filled by election. The officials, executive organs of the general will, play a merely subordinate part, are always dependent upon the collectivity, and can be deprived of their office at any moment. The mass of the party is omnipotent."
But these delegates will inevitably become specialists in the exercise and consolidation of power, which they gradually wrest away from the "sovereign people":
"The technical specialization that inevitably results from all extensive organization renders necessary what is called expert leadership. Consequently the power of determination comes to be considered one of the specific attributes of leadership, and is gradually withdrawn from the masses to be concentrated in the hands of the leaders alone. Thus the leaders, who were at first no more than the executive organs of the collective will, soon emancipate themselves from the mass and become independent of its control.
Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy. In every organization, whether it be a political party, a professional union, or any other association of the kind, the aristocratic tendency manifests itself very clearly."
Trumped by the Deep State
Thus elected, populist "tribunes" like Trump are ultimately no match for entrenched technocrats nestled in permanent bureaucracy. Especially invincible are technocrats who specialize in political force and intrigue, i.e., the National Security State (military, NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.). And these elite functionaries don't serve "the people" or any large subpopulation. They only serve their own careers, and by extension, big-money special interest groups that make it worth their while: especially big business and foreign lobbies. The nexus of all these powers is what is known as the Deep State.
Trump's more sophisticated champions were aware of these dynamics, but held out hope nonetheless. They thought that Trump would be an exception, because his large personal fortune would grant him immunity from elite influence. That factor did contribute to the independent, untamable spirit of his campaign. But as I predicted during the Republican primaries:
" while Trump might be able to seize the presidency in spite of establishment opposition, he will never be able to wield it without establishment support."
No matter how popular, rich, and bombastic, a populist president simply cannot rule without access to the levers of power. And that access is under the unshakable control of the Deep State. If Trump wants to play president, he has to play ball.
On these grounds, I advised his fans over a year ago, " don't hold out hope that Trump will make good on his isolationist rhetoric " and anticipated, "a complete rapprochement between the populist rebel and the Republican establishment." I also warned that, far from truly threatening the establishment and the warfare state, Trump's populist insurgency would only invigorate them:
"Such phony establishment "deaths" at the hands of "grassroots" outsiders followed by "rebirths" (rebranding) are an excellent way for moribund oligarchies to renew themselves without actually meaningfully changing. Each "populist" reincarnation of the power elite is draped with a freshly-laundered mantle of popular legitimacy, bestowing on it greater license to do as it pleases. And nothing pleases the State more than war."
Politics, even populist politics, is the oligarchy's game. And the house always wins.
Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org , including articles and courses. The originally appeared on the FEE website and is reprinted with the author's permission.
Sep 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.orgjames , Sep 26, 2018 10:19:13 PM | link
Pft , Sep 26, 2018 9:58:02 PM | link@34 pft... regarding the 2 cook articles.. i found they overly wordy myself... however, for anyone paying attention - corbyn seems like the person to vote for given how relentless he is being attacked in the media... i am not so sure about trump, but felt cook summed it up well with these 2 lines.. "Trump the candidate was indifferent to Israel and wanted the US out of Syria. Trump the president has become Israel's biggest cheerleader and has launched US missiles at Syria." i get the impression corbyn is legit which is why the anti-semitism keeps on being mentioned... craig murrary is a good source for staying on top of uk dynamics..
In my own words then. According to Cook the power elites goal is to change its appearance to look like something new and innovative to stay ahead of an electorate who are increasingly skeptical of the neoliberalism and globalism that enrich the elite at their expense.
Since they do not actually want change they find actors who pretend to represent change , which is in essence fake change. These then are their insurgent candidates
Trump serves the power elite , because while he appears as an insurgent against the power elite he does little to change anything
Trump promotes his fake insurgency on Twitter stage knowing the power elite will counter any of his promises that might threaten them
As an insurgent candidate Trump was indifferent to Israel and wanted the US out of Syria. He wanted good relations with Russia. He wanted to fix the health care system, rebuild infrastructure, scrap NAFTA and TTIPS, bring back good paying jobs, fight the establishment and Wall Street executives and drain the swamp. America First he said.
Trump the insurgent president , has become Israel's biggest cheerleader and has launched US missiles at Syria, relations with Russia are at Cold War lows, infrastructure is still failing, the percentage of people working is now at an all time low in the post housewife era, he has passed tax cuts for the rich that will endanger medicare, medicaid and social security and prohibit infrastructure spending, relaxed regulations on Wall Street, enhanced NAFTA to include TTIPS provisions and make US automobiles more expensive, and the swamp has been refilled with the rich, neocons , Koch associates, and Goldman Sachs that make up the power elites and Deep State Americas rich and Israel First
Piotr Berman , Sep 26, 2018 10:23:41 PM | linkFor Trump to be "insurgent" he shouldkarlof1 , Sep 26, 2018 11:42:43 PM | link
(a) talk coherently
(b) have some kind of movement consisting of people that agree with what is says -- that necessitates (a)
Then he could staff his Administration with his supporters rather than a gamut of conventional plutocrats, neocons, and hacks from the Deep State (intelligence, FBI and crazies culled from Pentagon). As it is easy to see, I am describing an alternate reality. Who is a Trumpian member of the Administration? His son-in-law?Pft @34--Pft , Sep 27, 2018 12:53:59 AM | link
Yes. just like Obama before him--another snake in the swamp!Karlof1@39div>
The swamps been filled with all kinds of vile creatures since the Carter administration. This is when the US/UK went full steam ahead with neoliberal globalism with Israel directing the war on terror for the Trilateral Empire (following Bibis Jerusalem conference so as to fulfill the Yinon plan). 40 years of terror and financial mayhem following the coup that took place from 1963-1974. After Nixons ouster they were ready to go once TLC Carter/Zbig kicked off the Trilateral era. Reagan then ran promising to oust the TLC swamp but broke his promise, as every President has done since .
Sep 27, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
I rarely tell readers what to believe. Rather I try to indicate why it might be wise to distrust, at least without very good evidence, what those in power tell us we should believe.
We have well-known sayings about power: "Knowledge is power", and "Power tends to corrupt, while absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." These aphorisms resonate because they say something true about how we experience the world. People who have power – even very limited power they hold on licence from someone else – tend to abuse it, sometimes subtly and unconsciously, and sometimes overtly and wilfully.
If we are reasonably self-aware, we can sense the tendency in ourselves to exploit to our advantage whatever power we enjoy, whether it is in our dealings with a spouse, our children, a friend, an employee, or just by the general use of our status to get ahead.
This isn't usually done maliciously or even consciously. By definition, the hardest thing to recognise are our own psychological, emotional and mental blind spots – and the biggest, at least for those born with class, gender or race privileges, is realising that these too are forms of power.
Nonetheless, they are all minor forms of power compared to the power wielded collectively by the structures that dominate our societies: the financial sector, the corporations, the media, the political class, and the security services.
But strangely most of us are much readier to concede the corrupting influence of the relatively small power of individuals than we are the rottenness of vastly more powerful institutions and structures. We blame the school teacher or the politician for abusing his or her power, while showing a reluctance to do the same about either the education or political systems in which they have to operate.
Similarly, we are happier identifying the excessive personal power of a Rupert Murdoch than we are the immense power of the corporate empire behind him and on which his personal wealth and success depend.
And beyond this, we struggle most of all to detect the structural and ideological framework underpinning or cohering all these discrete examples of power.
It is relatively easy to understand that your line manager is abusing his power, because he has so little of it. His power is visible to you because it relates only to you and the small group of people around you.
It is a little harder, but not too difficult, to identify the abusive policies of your firm – the low pay, cuts in overtime, attacks on union representation.
It is more difficult to see the corrupt power of large institutions, aside occasionally from the corruption of senior figures within those institutions, such as a Robert Maxwell or a Richard Nixon.
But it is all but impossible to appreciate the corrupt nature of the entire system. And the reason is right there in those aphorisms: absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption. If that were not the case, we wouldn't be dealing with serious power – as should be obvious, if we pause to think about it.
Real power in our societies derives from that which is necessarily hard to see – structures, ideology and narratives – not individuals. Any Murdoch or Trump can be felled, though being loyal acolytes of the power-system they rarely are, should they threaten the necessary maintenance of power by these interconnected institutions, these structures.
The current neoliberal elite who effectively rule the planet have reached as close to absolute power as any elite in human history. And because they have near-absolute power, they have a near-absolute control of the official narratives about our societies and our "enemies", those who stand in their way to global domination.
No questions about Skripals
One needs only to look at the narrative about the two men, caught on CCTV cameras, who have recently been accused by our political and media class of using a chemical agent to try to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia back in March.
I don't claim to know whether Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov work for the Russian security services, or whether they were dispatched by Vladimir Putin on a mission to Salisbury to kill the Skripals.
What is clear, however, is that the British intelligence services have been feeding the British corporate media a self-serving, drip-drip narrative from the outset – and that the media have shown precisely no interest at any point in testing any part of this narrative or even questioning it. They have been entirely passive, which means that we their readers have been entirely passive too.
That there are questions about the narrative to be raised is obvious if you turn away from the compliant corporate media and seek out the views of an independent-minded, one-time insider such as Craig Murray.
A former British ambassador, Murray is asking questions that may prove to be pertinent or not. At this stage, when all we have to rely on is what the intelligence services are selectively providing, these kinds of doubts should be driving the inquiries of any serious journalist covering the story. But as is so often the case, not only are these questions not being raised or investigated, but anyone like Murray who thinks critically – who assumes that the powerful will seek to promote their interests and avoid accountability – is instantly dismissed as a conspiracy theorist or in Putin's pocket.
That is no meaningful kind of critique. Many of the questions that have been raised – like why there are so many gaps in the CCTV record of the movements of both the Skripals and the two assumed assassins – could be answered if there was an interest in doing so. The evasion and the smears simply suggest that power intends to remain unaccountable, that it is keeping itself concealed, that the narrative is more important than the truth.
And that is reason enough to move from questioning the narrative to distrusting it.
Ripples on a lake
Journalists typically have a passive relationship to power, in stark contrast to their image as tenacious watchdog. But more fundamental than control over narrative is the ideology that guides these narratives. Ideology ensures the power-system is invisible not only to us, those who are abused and exploited by it, but also to those who benefit from it.
It is precisely because power resides in structures and ideology, rather than individuals, that it is so hard to see. And the power-structures themselves are made yet more difficult to identify because the narratives created about our societies are designed to conceal those structures and ideology – where real power resides – by focusing instead on individuals.
That is why our newspapers and TV shows are full of stories about personalities – celebrities, royalty, criminals, politicians. They are made visible so we fail to notice the ideological structures we live inside, which are supposed to remain invisible.
News and entertainment are the ripples on a lake, not the lake itself. But the ripples could not exist without the lake that forms and shapes them.
Up against the screen
If this sounds like hyperbole, let's stand back from our particular ideological system – neoliberalism – and consider earlier ideological systems in the hope that they offer some perspective. At the moment, we are like someone standing right up against an IMAX screen, so close that we cannot see that there is a screen or even guess that there is a complete picture. All we see are moving colours and pixels. Maybe we can briefly infer a mouth, the wheel of a vehicle, a gun.
Before neoliberalism there were other systems of rule. There was, for example, feudalism that appropriated a communal resource – land – exclusively for an aristocracy. It exploited the masses by forcing them to toil on the land for a pittance to generate the wealth that supported castles, a clergy, manor houses, art collections and armies. For several centuries the power of this tiny elite went largely unquestioned.
But then a class of entrepreneurs emerged, challenging the landed artistocracy with a new means of industrialised production. They built factories and took advantage of scales of economy that slightly widened the circle of privilege, creating a middle class. That elite, and the middle-class that enjoyed crumbs from their master's table, lived off the exploitation of children in work houses and the labour of a new urban poor in slum housing.
These eras were systematically corrupt, enabling the elites of those times to extend and entrench their power. Each elite produced justifications to placate the masses who were being exploited, to brainwash them into believing the system existed as part of a natural order or even for their benefit. The aristocracy relied on a divine right of kings, the capitalist class on the guiding hand of the free market and bogus claims of equality of opportunity.
In another hundred years, if we still exist as a species, our system will look no less corrupt – probably more so – than its predecessors.
Neoliberalism, late-stage capitalism, plutocratic rule by corporations – whatever you wish to call it – has allowed a tiny elite to stash away more wealth and accrue more power than any feudal monarch could ever have dreamt of. And because of the global reach of this elite, its corruption is more endemic, more complete, more destructive than any ever known to mankind.
A foreign policy elite can destroy the world several times over with nuclear weapons. A globalised corporate elite is filling the oceans with the debris from our consumption, and chopping down the forest-lungs of our planet for palm-oil plantations so we can satisfy our craving for biscuits and cake. And our media and intelligence services are jointly crafting a narrative of bogeymen and James Bond villains – both in Hollywood movies, and in our news programmes – to make us fearful and pliable.
Assumptions of inevitability
Most of us abuse our own small-power thoughtlessly, even self-righteously. We tell ourselves that we gave the kids a "good spanking" because they were naughty, rather than because we established with them early on a power relationship that confusingly taught them that the use of force and coercion came with a parental stamp of approval.
Those in greater power, from minions in the media to executives of major corporations, are no different. They are as incapable of questioning the ideology and the narrative – how inevitable and "right" our neoliberal system is – as the rest of us. But they play a vital part in maintaining and entrenching that system nonetheless.
David Cromwell and David Edwards of Media Lens have provided two analogies – in the context of the media – that help explain how it is possible for individuals and groups to assist and enforce systems of power without having any conscious intention to do so, and without being aware that they are contributing to something harmful. Without, in short, being aware that they are conspiring in the system.
The first :
When a shoal of fish instantly changes direction, it looks for all the world as though the movement was synchronised by some guiding hand. Journalists – all trained and selected for obedience by media all seeking to maximise profits within state-capitalist society – tend to respond to events in the same way.
The second :
Place a square wooden framework on a flat surface and pour into it a stream of ball bearings, marbles, or other round objects. Some of the balls may bounce out, but many will form a layer within the wooden framework; others will then find a place atop this first layer. In this way, the flow of ball bearings steadily builds new layers that inevitably produce a pyramid-style shape. This experiment is used to demonstrate how near-perfect crystalline structures such as snowflakes arise in nature without conscious design.
The system – whether feudalism, capitalism, neoliberalism – emerges out of the real-world circumstances of those seeking power most ruthlessly. In a time when the key resource was land, a class emerged justifying why it should have exclusive rights to control that land and the labour needed to make it productive. When industrial processes developed, a class emerged demanding that it had proprietary rights to those processes and to the labour needed to make them productive.
Our place in the pyramid
In these situations, we need to draw on something like Darwin's evolutionary "survival of the fittest" principle. Those few who are most hungry for power, those with least empathy, will rise to the top of the pyramid, finding themselves best-placed to exploit the people below. They will rationalise this exploitation as a divine right, or as evidence of their inherently superior skills, or as proof of the efficiency of the market.
And below them, like the layers of ball bearings, will be those who can help them maintain and expand their power: those who have the skills, education and socialisation to increase profits and sell brands.
All of this should be obvious, even non-controversial. It fits what we experience of our small-power lives. Does bigger power operate differently? After all, if those at the top of the power-pyramid were not hungry for power, even psychopathic in its pursuit, if they were caring and humane, worried primarily about the wellbeing of their workforce and the planet, they would be social workers and environmental activists, not CEOs of media empires and arms manufacturers.
And yet, base your political thinking on what should be truisms, articulate a worldview that distrusts those with the most power because they are the most capable of – and committed to – misusing it, and you will be derided. You will be called a conspiracy theorist, dismissed as deluded. You will be accused of wearing a tinfoil hat, of sour grapes, of being anti-American, a social warrior, paranoid, an Israel-hater or anti-semitic, pro-Putin, pro-Assad, a Marxist.
None of this should surprise us either. Because power – not just the people in the system, but the system itself – will use whatever tools it has to protect itself. It is easier to deride critics as unhinged, especially when you control the media, the politicians and the education system, than it is to provide a counter-argument.
In fact, it is vital to prevent any argument or real debate from taking place. Because the moment we think about the arguments, weigh them, use our critical faculties, there is a real danger that the scales will fall from our eyes. There is a real threat that we will move back from the screen, and see the whole picture.
Can we see the complete picture of the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury; or the US election that led to Trump being declared president; or the revolution in Ukraine; or the causes and trajectory of fighting in Syria, and before it Libya and Iraq; or the campaign to discredit Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party; or the true implications of the banking crisis a decade ago?
Profit, not ethics
Just as a feudal elite was driven not by ethics but by the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of land; just as early capitalists were driven not by ethics but by the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of mechanisation; so neoliberalism is driven not by ethics but the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of the planet.
The only truth we can know is that the western power-elite is determined to finish the task of making its power fully global, expanding it from near-absolute to absolute. It cares nothing for you or your grand-children. It is a cold-calculating system, not a friend or neighbour. It lives for the instant gratification of wealth accumulation, not concern about the planet's fate tomorrow.
And because of that it is structurally bound to undermine or discredit anyone, any group, any state that stands in the way of achieving its absolute dominion.
If that is not the thought we hold uppermost in our minds as we listen to a politician, read a newspaper, watch a film or TV show, absorb an ad, or engage on social media, then we are sleepwalking into a future the most powerful, the most ruthless, the least caring have designed for us.
Step back, and take a look at the whole screen. And decide whether this is really the future you wish for your grand-children.
Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/
Sep 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft , Sep 22, 2018 4:54:26 PM | 20 ">link
Stormy Daniels supposedly said she was surprised to hear Trump was running for President because he had said to her he didnt want to be be President. After all, why would he? Rich guy with maybe 5 years left to live. Who needs it?
So why did he run. He had no choice. Look at the ease in which government can bring dawn anyone with tax and money laundering charges and look at his partners and a number of his dodgy financial dealings not to mention the ongoing audit firing his campaign. His buddy Felix Sater cut a deal and so didn't Trump. Run and serve and keep your wealth and stay out of jail, and make a few billion with insider deals while you are at it.
So the Deep State which is far more than entrenched bureaucrats as the naive define it (it includes the ruling elite in finance, MIC, oil, MSM, retired intelligence/military/state/congress, etc), brought in a controlled Trojan horse pretending to be a populist who was all about the working class and anti establishment, anti war and anti globalist while those he served were opposites. Look at what he has done and who he has surrounded himself with. Lol
So what is the endgame for this Russiagate and this phony Deep State vs Trump nonsense? Why Trump?
Not sure I know for sure. Polarizing and dividing the US with perhaps a civil war when Trump gets impeached and resigns, or at least imposition of permanent martial law. Get support for massive censorship which all authoritarian regimes need. And of course as the US goes down this path its puppet states in EU, UK and elsewhere will follow. I guess we will have to wait and see.
In the meantime, Trump will feed the beast (tax cuts for rich, tarrifs for middle class, higher Military spending, cuts to Medicare/Medicaid/social security, higher insurance premiums/HC costs, phony economic figures to mask deteriorating economic conditions for the median (remember when Trump said the same of Hillary using the same bogus figures)
Fewer people are working in the US under Trump as more people are disappeared from the work force. GDP growth per MH is due to higher extraction of wealth from middle class by the rentier class, and stock market growth is due to central bank purchases, offshore money coming home due to tax breaks and of course the plunge protection team removing the risk of a major drop until after the mid term elections. We are already seeing the beginning of the next housing market collapse.
Sep 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
bevin , Sep 20, 2018 3:43:13 PM | linkThe whole nonsense about Russian interference, which was obviously nonsense from Day One and has never, for a moment looked like anything but nonsense, seems to indicate that we have entered a post political era in which policy discussions and debates are forgotten and smears and false accusations take their place.
Currently in the US the Kavanaugh nomination which ought to be about the meaning of the law and the consequences of having a Supreme Court which will make Judge Taney look like Solomon at his most impressive. Instead it is about an alleged teenage incident in which the nominee is said to have caressed a girls breasts at a drunken party when all involved were at High School. Before that we had a Senatorial election in Alabama in which the Republican candidate was charged with having shown a sexual interest in teenage girls- whether this was a 'first' in Alabama is unknown but it is believed to have happened elsewhere, in the unenlightened past.
Then we have the matter of whether Jeremy Corbyn is such a danger to Jews that they will all leave the country if he is ever elected to power. This long campaign, completely devoid of evidence, like 'Russiagate' has the potential of going on forever, simply because there being no evidence it cannot be refuted.
Which is also the case with the Skripal affair, because of which even as we speak, massive trade and financial sanctions are being imposed against Russia and its enormous, innocent and plundered population.
In none of these cases has any real evidence, of the minimal quality that might justify the hanging of a dog, ever advanced. But that doesn't matter, the important thing is to choose a side and if it is Hillary Clinton's to believe or to pretend to believe and to convince others to believe (as Marcy at Emptywheel has been doing for close to three years now) in the incredible.
Who says that we no longer live in a Christian society in which faith is everything?
Sep 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.comMoribundus ,The really dangerous American fascist... is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power...
They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest.
Their final objective, toward which all their deceit is directed, is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
~quoted in the New York Times, April 9, 1944
Henry A. Wallace
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
arze September 8, 2018 at 12:24 pmWhat's truly remarkable .
What's truly remarkable is Gen. Eisenhower told us upon leaving presidency all about who competes with our elected president on what happens.
Those presidents that toe the "military industrial complex" line most closely are seen as the most in charge.President Kennedy did not, was murdered. President Johnson did, it eventually sickened him, he did not seek reelection. President Nixon was removed from office. President Carter was humiliated. President Reagan's dream of a nuclear free world was vetoed by guess who. President Bush was defeated by the mother of all sycophants to that force. President Clinton was their man. Vice President Cheney was even more so. President Obama tried to hide the fact he was not. President Trump has not tried to hide that fact.
Reporting on the Trump phenomena would benefit by more imagination.
Is it not a public service, irrespective of one's opinions on him, that it should now be clear to all, now via the Trump Phenomena, that what was plainly told us all in the 1950s from a General, is the way it is?
Yet a "criticism" of Trump is his "sin" of taking off the mask.
General Eisenhower told us to our faces all about the fiction, and yet we as a culture/civilization pretend the president is solely in charge.
What is remarkable is the amount of reporting on the current president that lacks imagination, insight, logic, rationality, reason, common sense, and insight.
However, that is not remarkable given that most of the reporters lived all their lives in a culture/civilization that fails to educate us in a meaningful way. Their and our professors, mentors, supervisors, and family, and friends and significant others, also so socialized; however, the road to progress is in front of us if we are curious enough.
Were the goal of contemporary American Politics first and foremost a search for the truth, that would be one thing.
The Shining Star of American Politics, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren perfectly epitomizes that it is not, as she knows better, was seduced by power, and all that that implies. The ends justify the means for the entire lot of them.
Whatever that evil perspective engender, progress is and never shall be one of them.
Sep 09, 2018 | www.unz.com
annamaria , says: September 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm GMT@Iris "Marshall Sam Shama, boasted here at U.R. about his being a Nazi Hunter and having collared a few."annamaria , says: September 7, 2018 at 9:01 pm GMT
Well, that's extraordinary, because in his comment 201 above, Sam Shama said:
"How do the Wiesenthals and the Klarsfelds, whoever they are, depend on everyday Jews?"
As you know, French-Israeli Serge Klarsfeld and his German wife Beate are the most famous "Nazi hunters" in Europe. They formed an association which located and brought to "justice" some of the most famous names involved in Nazi occupation (Bousquet, Barbie, Papon, Touvier,...).
How come Sam Shama doesn't know these most famous comrades? Split personality? Schizophrenia? Pseudonym swapping? :-) :-)
https://images.sudouest.fr/2014/12/03/57ebc98866a4bd6726a8263e/widescreen/1000x500/serge-et-beate-klarsfeld-au-memorial-de-la-shoah.jpg The famous comrades, and specifically the Simon Weisenthal Center of Nazi-hunters, suddenly gone AWOL as soon as the US zionists began their mutually beneficial cooperation with neo-Nazi in Ukraine.
Moreover, it seems that the Wiesenthals and the Klarsfelds simply melted away and evaporated as soon as the Jewish State began sending the Israel-made weaponry to the neo-Nazi in Ukraine.
The miserable Anti-Defamation League (of the anti-democratic methods) is now on a spot for doing nothing with regard to the murderous activities (including the openly anti-Jewish activities) of the neo-Nazis in Ukraine (the Kaganat of Nuland is a de facto protectorate of the US). It seems that for the ADL, there are certain precious neo-Nazi (the Israel-supported neo-Nazis in Ukraine) and the "bad" Nazis whose image has been helping the ADL and the Wiesenthals and the Klarsfelds to demonstrate their allegiance to Jewish "principles," while making good gesheft (reparation-extortion) on the tragedy of the WWII for holo-biz.
There is more for the oh-so-sensitive crowd of holocaustians: The prime minister of Ukraine (where the Nazism has been enjoying its very visible renaissance since 2014) is a Jewish man Volodymyr Groysman who was miraculously "elected" by Ukrainians in 2016. It is well known that Ukrainians en masse are not terribly predisposed towards the Jews: https://worldpolicy.org/2014/03/03/fears-of-anti-semitism-spread-in-ukraine/
To recap: The Jewish State and the US/EU zionists have been cultivating the close relationships and collaboration with neo-Nazi leaders in Ukraine. Take note that none of the Jewish Nazi collaborators has been punished for the material and political support of the neo-Nazi movement in Eastern Europe. Why the EU puts people in jail for making an honest research in the WWII but allows the zionists to support the neo-Nazi is not easy to understand, considering the influence of the thoroughly dishonest and unprincipled Jewish Lobby.@Sam Shama On the contrary. You haven't responded to the substantial issues from my first post, where I showed that the CDN list did contain many Jewish names; your mealy-mouthed, code-worded, phrasing notwithstanding.annamaria , says: September 7, 2018 at 9:06 pm GMT
Speaking of giving it a rest, I would think it is you who should consider it. Antisemitism is a serious matter, Phillip. "Antisemitism is a serious matter, Phillip."
– Tell it to Bibi and the Kagans clan: https://worldpolicy.org/2014/03/03/fears-of-anti-semitism-spread-in-ukraine/ "FEARS OF ANTI-SEMITISM SPREAD IN UKRAINE"
The Israel-firsters have single-handedly revived the neo-Nazism in Ukraine: https://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/08/19/zionist-media-neo-nazis-are-bad-in-america-but-neo-nazis-are-good-in-ukraine/ " Zionist Media: Neo-Nazis are bad in America, but Neo-Nazis are good in Ukraine"
"U.S. House Admits Nazi Role in Ukraine:" https://consortiumnews.com/2015/06/12/u-s-house-admits-nazi-role-in-ukraine/
"Israel is arming neo-Nazi in Ukraine:" https://countercurrents.org/2018/07/05/israel-is-arming-neo-nazis-in-ukraine/
– Should we take this Jewish / neo-Nazi collaboration as a monument in memory of the Jews killed in WWII?@Sam Shama I don't usually like taking retirees to task, but you are a special case. You actually threaten Jews with harm every so often in idiotic, thinly veiled language. You should contemplate that. "You actually threaten Jews with harm "annamaria , says: September 7, 2018 at 9:12 pm GMT
– Don't project. Your Jewish State and your zionist stink-tanks in the US/UK are the greatest danger to the decent Jews.
"Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine:" https://countercurrents.org/2018/07/05/israel-is-arming-neo-nazis-in-ukraine/
One of the main financiers of the neo-Nazi formation "Azov" an Israeli citizen Kolomojsky: https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-47564dbc32c28a68f9407fd689f6b3c8-c@Sam Shama Anti-Semitism is not an insult, but a particular set of beliefs and prejudices held by a person. Do you understand?annamaria , says: September 7, 2018 at 9:27 pm GMT
Why "Even I ......" ? Are you deficient in some faculty or eyesight? A curious construction. "Anti-Semitism is not an insult, but a particular set of beliefs and prejudices "
-- Go lecture to your Bibi and his thuggish retinue: https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201507091024397190/
The Jewish State has been actively involved in the revival of neo-Nazism in Europe:
http://www.theeventchronicle.com/news/middle-east/rights-groups-demand-israel-stop-arming-neo-nazis-in-ukraine/@Sam ShamaIris , says: September 7, 2018 at 10:56 pm GMTFirst, I have no tribe. Merely logging and attempting to introduce a modicum of balance in these flagrant displays of hatred.
I keep telling you Sam that you aren't too smart everything you say just reinforces everything that is criticized about your tribe ..and you just keep right on giving us more proof.
Second, I don't claim any particular advantage in the department of smarts; only doing my bit for the advancement of the various causes of humanity. In that, I am sure you claim primacy, but do you know who said the following: "It is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish." Google's your friend. " flagrant displays of hatred "
– Listen to your Moldovan thug Avi Lieberman and your no less thuggish justice minister Ayelet Shaked to get the real "flagrant displays of hatred:" http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/new-israeli-justice-minister-called-for-genocide-of-palestinians/article/432659
"Shaked made international headlines when she posted a highly controversial unpublished article by the late Uri Elitzur, a close Netanyahu ally and an early leader of the movement by Jewish settlers to colonize occupied Palestinian territories The post asserted that "the entire Palestinian people is the enemy" and advocated genocide against the entire nation, "including its elderly women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure." Some excerpts: " They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers they should follow their sons [to hell], nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there."
– Don't you like the facts of the Jewish State's financial, logistical, and military support for ISIS / Al Qaeda ? https://www.sott.net/article/386618-US-and-Israel-will-not-allow-the-elimination-of-Al-Qaeda-and-ISIS-in-southern-Syria-The-solution-is-Syrian-resistance@annamaria The famous comrades, and specifically the Simon Weisenthal Center of Nazi-hunters, suddenly gone AWOL as soon as the US zionists began their mutually beneficial cooperation with neo-Nazi in Ukraine.redmudhooch , says: September 8, 2018 at 1:50 am GMT
Moreover, it seems that the Wiesenthals and the Klarsfelds simply melted away and evaporated as soon as the Jewish State began sending the Israel-made weaponry to the neo-Nazi in Ukraine.
The miserable Anti-Defamation League (of the anti-democratic methods) is now on a spot for doing nothing with regard to the murderous activities (including the openly anti-Jewish activities) of the neo-Nazis in Ukraine (the Kaganat of Nuland is a de facto protectorate of the US). It seems that for the ADL, there are certain precious neo-Nazi (the Israel-supported neo-Nazis in Ukraine) and the "bad" Nazis whose image has been helping the ADL and the Wiesenthals and the Klarsfelds to demonstrate their allegiance to Jewish "principles," while making good gesheft (reparation-extortion) on the tragedy of the WWII for holo-biz.
There is more for the oh-so-sensitive crowd of holocaustians: The prime minister of Ukraine (where the Nazism has been enjoying its very visible renaissance since 2014) is a Jewish man Volodymyr Groysman who was miraculously "elected" by Ukrainians in 2016. It is well known that Ukrainians en masse are not terribly predisposed towards the Jews: https://worldpolicy.org/2014/03/03/fears-of-anti-semitism-spread-in-ukraine/
To recap: The Jewish State and the US/EU zionists have been cultivating the close relationships and collaboration with neo-Nazi leaders in Ukraine. Take note that none of the Jewish Nazi collaborators has been punished for the material and political support of the neo-Nazi movement in Eastern Europe. Why the EU puts people in jail for making an honest research in the WWII but allows the zionists to support the neo-Nazi is not easy to understand, considering the influence of the thoroughly dishonest and unprincipled Jewish Lobby. " it seems that the Wiesenthals and the Klarsfelds simply melted away and evaporated as soon as the Jewish State began sending the Israel-made weaponry to the neo-Nazi in Ukraine."
- 1- Indeed. The Klarsfelds don't open their big lecturing gob neither when Jewish French citizens, born and brought up in France, with no links to Palestine, volunteer and join the IDF to murder Palestinians. They are the higher share of IDF volunteers, ahead of Jewish US citizens.
A war crime in broad daylight: French-Israeli IDF soldier coldly shooting in the head wounded 21-year old Palestinian Abd Al Fatah Al Sharif.
- 2- Simon Wiesenthal, as you know, was an utter fraud and one of the biggest conmen of the century. Among his many lies is his so-called incarceration at Auschwitz. Former members of the German Army even stated that he was a collaborator.
- 3- I'll finish on a cheerful note , and a very good illustration of MSM's double standards. Unreported by the press, unlike Corbyn's elusive anti-semitism, Ukraine's Parliament Speaker has just declared that "Hitler was the biggest democrat". One can't make this up.
https://www.rt.com/news/437747-hitler-democrat-parubiy-criticism/Heres a video I ran across on Youtube, old Soviet KGB film on Zionist activities in Russia. Worth watching.
Secret and Explicit: Goals and Deeds of the Zionists. 1973 BANNED KGB documentary exposing NWO #GDL
Sep 07, 2018 | countercurrents.org
Neoliberal Totalitarianism And The Social Contract in World -- by Jon Kofas -- January 11, 2018
Neoliberal Totalitarianism and the Social Contract
Analyzing aspects of the rightwing populist tide arising largely in reaction to the pluralistic-diversity model of neoliberalism, this essay examines the evolving social contract that normalizes systemic exploitation and repression in the name of capitalist growth. Amid incessant indoctrination by the media representing big capital, people try to make sense of whether their interests are best served under the pluralist-diversity model of globalist neoliberalism with a shrinking social welfare safety net, or an authoritarian-economic nationalist model promising salvation through the use of an iron hand against domestic and foreign enemies.
Socioeconomic polarization under the neoliberal social contract has laid the groundwork for political polarization clearly evident not just in President Donald Trump's America and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's India representing a rightwing populist neoliberal ideology, but France's President Emmanuel Macron's La République En Marche that espouses a pluralist–diversity-environmentalist model aiming at the same neoliberal goals as the populists. Whether under the pluralist or the authoritarian model, neoliberalism represents what Barrington Moore described in Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (1966) a capitalist reactionary route that Italy, Japan, and Germany followed under totalitarian regimes in the interwar era to protect the capitalist class after the crisis that wars of imperialism (1870-1914) and WWI had created in core capitalist countries.
Although the world is much more thoroughly integrated under capitalism today than it was a century ago, the same marked absence of a revolutionary trend as there was in the interwar era is evident in our era. This accounts for the neoliberal revolution from above culminatingin variations of authoritarian regimes throughout the world. This does not only signal a crisis in capitalism but social discontinuity that will precipitate sociopolitical instability as contradictions within the political economy foster polarization across all sectors of society.
Most people today have no reason to be familiar with the term "social contract" any more than they are familiar with neoliberalism that inordinately influences public policy on a world scale. For many analysts contemplating the relationship of the individual to organized society, the social contract is about the degree to which government advances a set of social and economic policies articulated by an ideology designed to benefit certain institutions and social groups, while safeguarding sovereignty in the name of the governed. The problem arises when the governed no longer view the social contract as legitimate, a point that John Locke addressed as this was a key issue in 17 th century England right before the Glorious Revolution.
The social contract has its origins in the transition from subsistence agriculture of the feudal-manorial economy to commercial agriculture and long-distance trade under capitalism in the 15 th and 16 th century. With the advent of the Scientific Revolution in the 17 th century and the Enlightenment in the 18 th century coinciding with England's first industrial revolution accounted for more rapid evolution of the division of labor, European intellectuals challenged the old social order based on birth-right privilege of the aristocracy representing the agrarian-based economy of the past. Changes taking place in the economy and social structure gave rise to bourgeois social contract theories that articulated a core role in the state for the merchant-banking class, especially in northwest Europe where mercantile capitalism consolidated.
As the ideological force of the English Glorious Revolution (1689), John Locke, the father of Western Liberalism, argued for a regime that reflected the emerging bourgeoisie inclusion into the political mainstream to reflect the commensurate role in the economy. Interestingly, Locke provided a philosophical justification for overthrowing the government when it acted against the interests of its citizens, thus influencing both the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. Building on Locke's liberal philosophy and views on the tyranny of absolutism, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in The Social Contract (1762) that: "Man is born free, but everywhere in chains." This statement reflected the views of many bourgeois thinkers who believed that modernization of society is not possible in the absence of a social contract that takes into account natural rights, an approach to government that would mirror a merit based criteria.
Departing from Locke's liberalism that had property ownership and individualism at the core of his political thought, in the Discourse on Inequality, (1754) Rousseau argued that property appropriation rests at the root of institutionalized inequality and oppression of individuals against the community. The role of the state plays a catalytic role for it as an "association which will defend the person and goods of each member with the collective force of all." The basis of social contract theory accounts for the sovereign power's legitimacy and justice, thus resulting in public acceptance. (Jason Neidleman, "The Social Contract Theory in a Global Context" http://www.e-ir.info/2012/10/09/the-social-contract-theory-in-a-global-context/ ; C. B. Macpherson. The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism , 1962)
Rooted in the ascendancy of the European bourgeoisie, social contract theory has evolved in the last three centuries, especially after the Revolutions of 1848 and the rise of the working class as a sociopolitical force demanding inclusion rather than marginalization and exploitation legalized through public policy that the representatives of capitalism legislated. The cooptation of the working class into bourgeois political parties as a popular base in the age of mass politics from the mid-19 th century until the present has obfuscated the reality that social contract under varieties of parliamentary regimes continued to represent capital.
The creation of large enterprises gave rise not only to an organized labor movement, but to a larger bureaucratic regulatory state with agencies intended to help stabilize and grow capitalism while keeping the working class loyal to the social contract. Crisis in public confidence resulted not only from economic recessions and depressions built into the economy, but the contradictions capitalism was fostering in society as the benefits in advances in industry, science and technology accrued to the wealthy while the social structure remained hierarchical.
Ever since 1947 when the ideological father of neoliberalism Friedrich von Hayek called a conference in Mont Pelerin to address how the new ideology would replace Keynesianism, neoliberals have been promising to address these contradictions, insisting that eliminating the social welfare state and allowing complete market dominationthat would result in society's modernization and would filter down to all social classes and nations both developed and developing. Such thinking is rooted in the modernization theory that emerged after WWII when the US took advantage of its preeminent global power to impose a transformation model on much of the non-Communist world. Cold War liberal economist Walt Rostow articulated the modernization model of development in his work entitled The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto , 1960. By the 1970s, neoliberals adapted Rostow's modernization theory as their bible and the core of the social contract. (Evans Rubara, "Uneven Development: Understanding the Roots of Inequality"
The challenge for the political class has always been and remains to mobilize a popular base that would afford legitimacy to the social contract. The issue for mainstream political parties is not whether there is a systemic problem with the social contract intended to serve the capitalist class, but the degree to which the masses can be co-opted through various methods to support the status quo. "A generation ago, the country's social contract was premised on higher wages and reliable benefits, provided chiefly by employers. In recent decades, we've moved to a system where low wages are supposed to be made bearable by low consumer prices and a hodgepodge of government assistance programs. But as dissatisfaction with this arrangement has grown, it is time to look back at how we got here and imagine what the next stage of the social contract might be."
Considering that Keynesianism and neoliberalism operate under the same social structure and differ only on how best to achieve capital formation while retaining sociopolitical conformity, the article above published in The Atlantic illustrates how analysts/commentators easily misinterpret nuances within a social contract for the covenant's macro goals. A similar view as that expressed in The Atlantic is also reflected in the New America Foundation's publications, identifying specific aspects of Arthur Schlesinger's Cold War militarist policies enmeshed with social welfare Keynesianism as parts of the evolving social contract.
Identifying the social contract with a specific set of policies under different administrations evolving to reflect the nuances of political class and economic elites,some analysts contend that there is a European Union-wide social contract to which nationally-based social contracts must subordinate their sovereignty. This model has evolved to accommodate neoliberal globalism through regional trade blocs on the basis of a 'patron-client'integration relationship between core and periphery countries.
A European export and integral part of cultural hegemony in the non-Western world, the liberal-bourgeois social contract for the vast majority of Africans has failed to deliver on the promise of socioeconomic development, social justice and national sovereignty since independence from colonial rule. Just as in Africa, the Asian view of the social contract is that it entails a liberal model of government operating within the capitalist system rather than taking into account social justice above all else. Embracing pluralism and diversity while shedding aspects of authoritarian capitalism associated with cronyism and the clientist state, the view of the Asian social contract is to subordinate society to neoliberal global integration and work within the framework of Western-established institutions. In each country, traditions governing social and political relationships underlie the neoliberal model. (Sanya Osha, The Social Contract in Africa , 2014;
https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/key/date/2013/html/sp130302.en.html ; http://www.mei.edu/content/map/myanmar-transition-social-control-social-contract )
Despite far reaching implications for society and despite the political and business class keen awareness of neoliberalism, most people around the world are almost as perplexed by the term neoliberalism as they are with social contract theory that is outside the public debate confined to the domain of political philosophy. Many associate neoliberalism withRonald Reagan supporter Milton Friedman and the 'Chicago School', rarely mentioning the political dimension of the economic philosophy and its far-reaching implications for all segments of society. In an article entitled "Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems" The Guardian columnist George Monbiot raised a few basic questions about the degree to which the public is misinformed when it comes to the neoliberal social contract under which society operates.
" Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?
Advocates of neoliberalism, both from the pluralist-social welfare wing and the rightwing populist camp, have succeeded in institutionalizing the new social contract which has transformed the historically classical notion of individual freedombased on the Enlightenment concept of natural rights into freedom of capitalist hegemony over the state and society. Whether operating under the political/ideological umbrella of pluralism-environmentalism in Western nations, combined with some version of a Keynesian social welfare pluralist model, with rightwing populism or authoritarianism in one-party state, political and corporate elites advancing the neoliberal model share the same goal with regard to capital formation and mainstream institutions.
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0896920516668386 ; https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/23/culture-of-cruelty-the-age-of-neoliberal-authoritarianism/ ; http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0896920516668386
Weakening the social welfare corporatist state model by reaching political consensus among mainstream political parties by the late 1980s-early 1990s, whether operating under a centrist-pluralist or conservative party, neoliberals have been using the combination of massive deregulation with the state providing a bailout mechanism when crisis hits; fiscal policy that transfers income from workers and the middle class – raising the public debt to transfer wealth from the bottom 90% to the wealthiest 10% -; providing corporate subsidies and bailouts; and privatizing public projects and services at an immense cost to the declining living standards for the middle class and workers.
As much in the US as in other developed nations beginning in the 1980s, the neoliberal state has become status quo by intentionally weakening the social welfare state and redefining the social contract throughout the world. Working with large banks and multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank that use loans as leverage to impose neoliberal policies around the world in debtor nations desperate to raise capital for the state and attract direct foreign investment, the advanced capitalist countries impose the neoliberal social contract on the world.
As reflected in the integrated global economy, the neoliberal model was imbedded in IMF stabilization and World Bank development loans since the late 1940s. After the energy crisis of the mid-1970s and the revolutions in Iran and Nicaragua in 1979, international developments that took place amid US concerns about the economy under strain from rising balance payments deficits that could not accommodate both 'military Keynesianism' (deficit spending on defense as a means of boosting the economy) and the social welfare system, neoliberalism under the corporate welfare state emerged as the best means to continue strengthening capitalism. (J. M. Cypher, "From Military Keynesianism to Global-Neoliberal Militarism" , Monthly Review Vol. 59, No. 2, 2007; Jason Hickel, A Short History ofNeoliberalism ,
Everything from government agencies whose role is strengthening capital, to public schools and hospitals emulating the market-based management model and treating patients and students as customers, the neoliberal goal is comprehensive market domination of society. Advocates of the neoliberal social contract no longer conceal their goals behind rhetoric about liberal-democratic ideals of individual freedom and the state as an arbiter to harmonize the interests of social classes. The market unequivocally imposes its hegemony not just over the state but on all institutions, subordinating peoples' lives to market forces and equating those forces with democracy and national sovereignty. In pursuit of consolidating the neoliberal model on a world scale, the advocates of this ideology subordinate popular sovereignty and popular consent from which legitimacy of the state emanates to capital. http://www.rhizomes.net/issue10/introren.htm
As an integral part of the social environment and hegemonic culture reflecting the hierarchical class structure and values based on marginalization, the neoliberal social contract has become institutionalized in varying degrees reflecting the more integrative nature of capitalism after the fall of the Communist bloc coinciding with China's increased global economic integration. Emboldened that there was no competing ideology from any government challenging capitalism, neoliberals aggressively pursued globalization under the deregulation-corporate welfare anti-labor model.
Some countries opted for mixed policies with a dose of quasi-statist policies as in the case of China. Others retained many aspects of the social welfare state as in the case of EU members, while some pursue authoritarian capitalism within a pluralistic model. Still other nations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia where pluralism and multi-party traditions are not very strong, neoliberal policies are tailored to clientist politics and crony capitalism. In all cases, 'market omnipotence theory' is the catalyst under the umbrella of the neoliberal social contract.
Ideology, the Neoliberal State, and the Social Contract
Just as religion was universally intertwined with identity, projection of self-image in the community and the value system in the Age of Faith (500-1500), secular ideology in the modern world fulfills somewhat a similar goal. Although neoliberalism has been criticized as a secular religion precisely because of its dogmatism regarding market fundamentalism, especially after 2013 when Pope Francis dismissed it as idolatry of money that attempts to gloss over abject socioeconomic inequality on a world scale, capitalistsand the political class around the world have embraced some aspects if not wholeheartedly neoliberal ideology. https://economicsociology.org/2014/12/25/pope-francis-against-neoliberalism-finance-capitalism-consumerism-and-inequality/
In the early 21 st century arguments equating the rich with societal progress and vilifying the poor as social stigma indicative of individual failure are no different than arguments raised by apologists of capitalism in the early 19 th century when the British Parliament was debating how to punish the masses of poor that the industrial revolution had created. In defending tax cuts to the wealthy, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley stated: "I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing -- as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it's on booze or women or movies." https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/grassley-estate-taxes-booze-women_us_5a247d89e4b03c44072e5a04 ; The US senator's argument could easily be heard in early 19 th century England. Blaming the poor for structural poverty which capitalism causes has become widespreadsince the early 1980s. This is because of government efforts to dismantle the welfare state as a social safety net and transfer resources for tax cuts to the wealthiest individuals. https://www.globalresearch.ca/blaming-the-poor-for-poverty/535675
Rooted in classical liberal ideology, neoliberalism rests on laissez-faire and social Darwinist principles that affirm societal progress as defined by materialist self-interest. Because private financial gain is the sole measure of success and virtue, neoliberals demand that the state and international organizations must remove impediments to capital accumulationnationally and internationally no matter the consequences to the non-propertied classes. Aiming for more than mere mechanical compliance, the goal of the ideology is to create the illusion of the neoliberal self that lives, breathes, and actualizes neoliberal myths in every aspect of life from a person as a worker to consumer and citizen.
Jim Mcguigan argues that "the transition from organised capitalism to neoliberal hegemony over the recent period has brought about a corresponding transformation in subjectivity. Leading celebrities, most notably high-tech entrepreneurs, for instance, operate in the popular imagination as models of achievement for the aspiring young. They are seldom emulated in real life, however, even unrealistically so. Still, their famed lifestyles and heavily publicised opinions provide guidelines to appropriate conduct in a ruthlessly competitive and unequal world." (Jim McGuigan: 'The Neoliberal Self',Culture Unbound, Volume 6, 2014; http://www.cultureunbound.ep.liu.se/v6/a13/cu14v6a13.pdf
By offering the illusion of integration to those that the social structure has marginalized while trying to indoctrinate the masses that the corporate state is salvation and the welfare state is the enemy to default all of society's problems, the neoliberal ideology has captured the imagination of many in the middle class and even some in the working class not just in the West but around the world and especially in former Communist bloc countries where people entertained an idealized version of bourgeois liberal society. (S. Gill, "Pessimism of Intelligence, Optimism of Will" in Perspectives on Gramsci , ed. by Joseph Francene 2009)
Similar to liberalism in so far as it offers something for which to hope, neoliberalism is a departure when it decries the state as an obstacle to capitalist growth not only because of regulatory mechanisms and as an arbiter in society that must placate the masses with social programs, but even as a centralized entity determining monetary and fiscal policy. Proponents of neoliberalism demand turning back the clock to the ideology that prevailed among capitalists and their political supporters at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution when there were no state mechanisms to regulate labor conditions, mining operations and the environment, food and drugs, etc. From a dogmatic market fundamentalist perspective, the market transcends national borders and supersedes the state, thus the principal form of governance revolves around furthering capital accumulation.
Not only is there an absence of a social conscience not so different than what prevailed in the nascent phase of industrial capitalism, but there is disdain of social responsibility on the part of capital beyond the realm of tax-deductible charity donations and voluntarism. More significant, neoliberals believe that capital is entitled to appropriate whatever possible from society because the underlying assumption of corporate welfare entitlement is built into the neoliberal ideology that identifies the national interest with capital and labor as the enemy of capital accumulation. (K. Farnsworth, Social vs. Corporate Welfare , 2012)
The irony in all of this is that in 2008 the world experienced the largest and deepest recession since the 1930s precisely because of neoliberal policies. However, its advocates insisted that the recession was causedwe did not have enough deregulation, privatization, corporate welfare and low taxes on capital rather than going too far with such an extreme ideology whose legal and illegal practices that led to the global recession. Even more ironic neoliberal ideology blames the state – central banks, legislative branch and regulatory agencies – rather than the economic system for the cyclical crisis. https://cgd.leeds.ac.uk/events/2008-global-financial-crisis-in-a-long-term-perspective-the-failure-of-neo-liberalism-and-the-future-of-capitalism-2/
Because the state puts the interests of a tiny percentage of the population above the rest of society, it is a necessary structure only in so far as it limits its role to promoting capital formation by using any means to achieve the goal. Whether under a pluralistic-diversity political model or an authoritarian one, neoliberalism is anti-democratic because as Riad Azar points out, "The common denominator is the empowering of elites over the masses with the assistance of international forces through military action or financial coercion -- a globalized dialectic of ruling classes."
From conservative and liberal to self-described Socialist, political parties around the world have moved ideologically farther to the right in order to accommodate neoliberalism as part of their platform. The challenge of the political class is to keep people loyal to the neoliberal ideology; a challenge that necessarily forces political parties to be eclectic in choosing aspects of other ideological camps that appeal to voters. While embracing corporate welfare, decrying social welfare is among the most glaring neoliberal contradiction of an ideology that ostensibly celebrates non-state intervention in the private sector. This contradiction alone forces neoliberal politicians of all stripes and the media to engage in mass distraction and to use everything from identity politics ideologies to cult of personality,and culture wars and 'clash of civilization' theories. https://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/How-the-Democrats-Became-The-Party-of-Neoliberalism-20141031-0002.html ; https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/paul-emery/why-on-earth-would-socialists-support-neoliberal-undemocratic-eu
To justify why self-proclaimed socialist and democratic parties have embraced neoliberalism, many academics have provided a wide range of theories which have in fact helped solidify the neoliberal ideology into the political mainstream. Among the countless people swept up by the enthusiasm of the Communist bloc's fall and China's integration into the world capitalist economy, Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology (2000), argued that the world returned to old religious and ethnic conflicts around which ideologies of the new century were molded.
Encouraged by China's integration into the global capitalist system, in September 2006 Bell wrote : "It's the end of ideology in China. Not the end of all ideology, but the end of Marxist ideology. China has many social problems, but the government and its people will deal with them in pragmatic ways, without being overly constrained by ideological boundaries. I still think there's a need for a moral foundation for political rule in China – some sort of guiding ideal for the future – but it won't come from Karl Marx." https://prezi.com/kha1ketnfjtd/ideology-in-everyday-life/
Such hasty pronouncements and others in works like Francis Fukuyama's The End of History expressed the Western bourgeois sense of relief of an integrated world under the Western-dominated neoliberal ideology that would somehow magically solve problems the Cold War had created. While Bell, Fukuyama and others celebrated the triumphant era of neoliberal ideology, they hardly dealt with the realities that ideology in peoples' lives emanates from mainstream institutions manifesting irreconcilable contradictions. A product molded by the hegemonic political culture, neoliberal ideology has been a factor in keeping the majority in conformity while a small minority is constantly seeking outlets of social resistance, some within the neoliberal rightwing political mold. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/21/bring-back-ideology-fukuyama-end-history-25-years-on
As catalyst to mobilize the masses, nationalism remains a strong aspect of ideological indoctrination that rightwing populist neoliberals have used blaming immigrants, Muslims, women, gays, environmentalists, and minorities for structural problems society confronts resulting from the political economy. Although there are different political approaches about how best to achieve neoliberal goals, ideological indoctrination has always played an essential role in keeping people loyal to the social contract. However, the contradiction in neoliberal ideology is the need for a borderless world and the triumph of capital over the nation-state while state policies harmonize disparate capitalist interests within the nation-state and beyond it. If neoliberal ideology tosses aside nationalism then it deprives itself of a mechanism to mobilize the masses behind it. https://left-flank.org/2011/01/16/the-curious-marriage-of-neoliberalism-and-nationalism/
Arguing that the 'Ideological State Apparatuses' (ISA) such as religious and educational institutions among others in the private sector perpetuate the ideology of the status quo, Louis Pierre Althusser captured the essence of state mechanisms to mobilize the masses. However, ideology is by no means the sole driving force in keeping people loyal to the social contract. While peoples' material concerns often dictate their ideological orientation, it would be hasty to dismiss the role of the media along with hegemonic cultural influences deeply ingrained into society shaping peoples' worldview and keeping them docile.
Building on Althusser's theory of how the state maintains the status quo, Goran Therborn ( Ideology of Power and the Power of Ideology , 1999) argues that the neoliberal state uses ideological domination as a mechanism to keep people compliant. Combined with the state's repressive mechanisms – police and armed forces – the ideological apparatus engenders conformity wherein exploitation and repression operate within the boundaries that the state defines as 'legal', thus 'normal' for society. A desirable goal of regimes ranging from parliamentary to Mussolini's Fascist Italy (1922-1943) and clerical Fascism under Antonio de Oliveira Salazar's Portugal (1932-1968), legalized repressive mechanisms have become an integral part of neoliberal ideological domination.
( http://notevenpast.org/louis-althusser-on-interpellation-and-the-ideological-state apparatus/ ; https://isreview.org/issue/99/althussers-theory-ideology ; Jules Boykoff, "Limiting Dissent: The Mechanisms of State Repression in the USA" Social Movement Studies," Vo. 6, No 3, 2007)
It is part of the neoliberal ideology that markets dictate the lives of people in every respect from cradle to grave where self and identity are inexorably intertwined. Striving to determine public policy in all its phases of the individual\s life, of localities, nationally and internationally, the market has no other means to retain hegemony in society and pursue capital formation with the fewest possible obstacles. Neoliberals justify such an ideology on the basis that modernization of society transcends not just social justice but societal collective welfare when measured against private gain. https://www.salon.com/2016/03/27/good_riddance_gig_economy_uber_ayn_rand_and_the_awesome_collapse_of_silicon_valleys_dream_of_destroying_your_job/ ; https://www.greeneuropeanjournal.eu/neoliberalism-has-eviscerated-the-fabric-of-social-life/
The unchecked role of neoliberal capitalism in every aspect of the social fabric runs the risk of at the very least creating massive social, economic and political upheaval as was the case with the great recession of 2008 preceded by two decades of neoliberal capitalism taking precedence over the welfare regulatory state whose role is to secure and/or retain equilibrium in global markets. In The Great Transformation , (1944)", Karl Polanyi argued that: "To allow the market mechanism to be sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment would result in the demolition of society."
Because Polanyi lived through the Great Depression era of the New Deal and the rise and fall of the Axis Powers, he was optimistic that a return to the 1920s would not take root after WWII. Polanyi accepted Hegel's view of the social contract that the state preserves society by safeguarding general or universal interests against particular ones. However, we have been witnessing the kind of demolition of society Polanyi feared because of unchecked market forces. This is in part because the demise of the Communist bloc and the rise of China as a major economic power emboldened advocates of neoliberal ideology.
With the realization of US long road to decline at the end of the Vietnam War, neoliberal elites prevailed that the crisis of American leadership could be met with the elimination of Keynesian ideology and the adoption of neoliberalism as tested by the Chicago School in Chile under the US-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990. That the neoliberal ideology became an experiment tested in a US-backed military dictatorship in South America is itself revealing about what the nature of the social contract once implemented even in pluralistic societies where there was popular and political support for Keynesianism. Characteristic of a developing nation like Chile was external dependence and a weak state structure, thus easily manipulated by domestic and foreign capital interested in deregulation and further weakening of the public sector as the core of the social contract.
https://www.thenation.com/article/the-chicago-boys-in-chile-economic-freedoms-awful-toll/ ; https://www.salon.com/2010/03/02/chicago_boys_and_the_chilean_earthquake/
"The withering away of national states and the wholesale privatization of state-owned enterprises and state-administered services transferred highly profitable monopolies to capitalists, and guaranteed the repayment of the foreign debt-contracted, as in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay-by irresponsible, corrupt, and de facto military rulers. Neoliberalism supplied the general justification for the transfer of public assets and state-owned enterprises, paid for with public savings, even in areas considered "taboo" and untouchable until a few years ago, such as electricity, aviation, oil, or telecommunications. (Atilio A. Boron, "Democracy or Neoliberalism?" http://bostonreview.net/archives/BR21.5/boron.html
Advocating the systematic dismantling of the social welfare state in the name of upholding the virtues of individualism while strengthening of corporate welfare capitalism in the name of economic growth on global scale, advocates of neoliberal ideology were emboldened by the absence of a competing ideology after the fall of the Soviet bloc and China's capitalist integration. As the income gap widened and globalization resulted in surplus labor force amid downward pressure on wages, a segment of the social and political elites embraced a rightwing populist ideology as a means of achieving the neoliberal goals in cases where the pluralist ideological model was not working. The failure of neoliberal policies led some political and business elites to embrace rightwing populism in order to save neoliberalism that had lost support among a segment of society because of its association with centrist and reformist cultural-diversity pluralist neoliberals. This trend continues to gain momentum exposing the similarities between neoliberalism and Fascism. (David Zamora, "When Exclusion Replaces Exploitation: The Condition of the Surplus-Population under Neoliberalism" http://nonsite.org/feature/when-exclusion-replaces-exploitation .
Neoliberalism and Fascism
- The role of the state
Unprecedented for a former president, on 10 December 2017 Barak Obama warned Americans not to follow a Nazi path. A clear reference to president Trump and the Republican Party leading America in that direction with rhetoric and policies that encourage 'culture war' ( kulturkampf – struggle between varieties of rightwingers from evangelicals to neo-Nazis against secular liberals), Obama made reference to socioeconomic polarization at the root of political polarization.
"The combination of economic disruption, cultural disruption ― nothing feels solid to people ― that's a recipe for people wanting to find security somewhere. And sadly, there's something in all of us that looks for simple answers when we're agitated and insecure. The narrative that America at its best has stood for, the narrative of pluralism and tolerance and democracy and rule of law, human rights and freedom of the press and freedom of religion, that narrative, I think, is actually the more powerful narrative. The majority of people around the world aspire to that narrative, which is the reason people still want to come here." https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-warns-americans-against-following-in-the-path-of-nazi germany_us_5a2c032ce4b0a290f0512487
Warning about the road to Nazism, Obama drew distinctions between the Democratic Party's brand of pluralist neoliberalism and Trump's rightwing populist model. Naturally, Obama did not mention that both models seek the same goals, or that policies for which he and his predecessor Bill Clinton pursued drove a segment of the population toward the authoritarian neoliberal model that offers the illusion of realizing the American Dream. Distancing themselves from neo-Fascists, mainstream European political leaders embracing the pluralist model under neoliberalism have been as condemnatory as Obama of rightwing populism's pursuit of 'culture war' as a precursor to Fascism.
Accusing Trump of emboldening varieties of neo-Fascists not just in the US and EU but around the globe, European neoliberal pluralists ignored both the deep roots of Fascism in Europe and their own policies contributing to the rise of neo-Fascism. Just as with Obama and his fellow Democrats, European neoliberal pluralists draw a very sharp distinction between their version of neoliberalism and rightwing populism that either Trump or Hungary's Viktor Orban pursue. Neoliberal pluralists argue that rightwing populists undercut globalist integration principles by stressing economic nationalism although it was right nationalists Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan that engaged in wholesale implantation of neoliberal policies. https://bpr.berkeley.edu/2017/02/28/the-myths-of-far-right-populism-orbans-fence-and-trumps-wall/
Rightwing populism under Ronald Reagan as the first president to implement neoliberal policies emerged as a reaction to the prospect that the Western-basedcore of capitalism was weakening as a result of a multi-polar world economy. Whereas in the middle of the 20 th century the US enjoyed balance of payments surpluses and was a net creditor with the dollar as the world's strongest reserve currency and the world's strongest manufacturing sector, in 2017 the US is among the earth's largest debtor nations with chronic balance of payments deficits, a weak dollar with a bleak future and an economy based more on parasitic financial speculation and massive defense-related spending and less on productive sectors that are far more profitable in Asia and developing nations with low labor costs. (Jon Kofas, Independence from America: Global Integration and Inequality , 2005, 40-54)
Exerting enormous influence by exporting its neoliberal ideological, political, economic and cultural influence throughout the world, the US-imposed transformation model has resulted in economic hardships and political and social instability in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Institutionalizing neoliberalism under rightwing populism and using Trump as the pretext to do so, the US is leading nations around the world to move closer to neo-Fascism, thus exposing neoliberalism as totalitarian.The recognition by the political class and business class that over-accumulation is only possible by continued downward wage pressure has been a key reason that a segment of the population not just in the US but across EU has supported populist rightwing and/or neo-fascists.
https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2015/01/24/exporting-fascism-us-imperialism-in-latin-america/ ; https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/03/americanism-us-writers-imagine-fascist-future-fiction ; http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Corporatism/neofascism.shtml ; Bertram Gross, Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America , 1999.
Rejecting the claim of any similarities between neoliberalism and Fascism, neoliberal apologists take pride that their apparent goal is to weaken the state, by which they mean the Keynesian welfare state, not the 'military Keynesian' and corporate welfare state. By contrast, Fascists advocated a powerful state – everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. American neoliberals of both the pluralist and rightwing camps have created a societal model not just in one nation like Mussolini and Hitler but globally with the result of: "everything within neoliberalism, nothing against neoliberalism, nothing outside neoliberalism.
Neoliberal totalitarianism finds different expression in the US than in India, in Hungary than in Israel. In " Neoliberal Fascism: Free Markets and the Restructuring of Indian Capitalism," Shankar Gopalakrishnan observed that exclusive Hindu nationalism has been the catalyst for rightwing neoliberalism to mobilize popular support. "Hindutva [ a term coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923 to assert exclusive Hindu dominance] is seen as an effort by neoliberalism, or perhaps more broadly by capitalism, to divert attention from class conflict, to divide and weaken working class struggles and to deflect class-driven anxieties on to minority communities. This approach is problematic in two senses. First, it does not explain why Hindutva organisations are able to develop a mass base, except to the extent that they are seen to be appealing to "historical identity" or "emotive" issues. The state exists only as the expression and guarantor of a collectivity founded around a transcendent principle : The ideal state is the guarantor of the Hindu rashtra, a "nation" that exists as an organic and harmonious unity between "Hindus."
Whereas under Ronald Reagan's neoliberal populist policies (Reaganism) under a rightwing political umbrella the state structure was strengthened in the US, in the process of implementing neoliberal policies state bureaucratic functions have been outsourced to private companies thus keeping with the spirit of corporate-welfare goals. Other countries followed a path similar to the one of the US. Contrary to the claims of many neoliberal scholars, politicians and commentators, neoliberalism has not weakened the state simply because the ideology lays claims to a hegemonic private sector and weak state. It is true that the Keynesian-welfare state structure has been weakened while the corporate-welfare-militarist-police-state structure has been strengthened. However, in the less developed capitalist countries the public sector has weakened as a result of the US and EU imposing the neoliberal model which drains the public sector of any leverage in stimulating economic and social development investment because of the transfer of public assets and public services to the private sector.( http://jgu.edu.in/article/indias-neoliberal-path-perdition ; Monica Prasad, The Politics of Free Markets , 2006)
Gaspar Miklos Tamas, a Romanian political philosopher of the George Lukacs-inspired Budapest School, argues that global division of labor in the neoliberal era has not only resulted in wealth transfer from the bottom up but it has diminished national sovereignty and citizenship for those in less developed (periphery) nations. "The new dual sate is alive and well: Normative State for the core populations of the capitalist center, and another State of arbitrary decrees for the non-citizens who are the rest. Unlike in classical fascism, this second State is only dimly visible from the first. The radical critique protesting that liberty within the Normative State is an illusion, although understandable, is erroneous. The denial of citizenship based not on exploitation, oppression and straightforward discrimination, but on mere exclusion and distance, is difficult to grasp, because the mental habits of liberation struggle for a more just redistribution of goods and powers are not applicable. The problem is not that the Normative State is becoming more authoritarian: rather, that it belongs only to a few." https://www.opendemocracy.net/people-newright/article_306.jsp
If the normative state is the domain of the very few with the rest under the illusion of inclusion, Miklos Tamas concludes that we are living in a global post-fascist era which is not the same as the interwar totalitarian model based on a mass movement of Fascism. Instead, neoliberal totalirarianism categorically rejects the Enlightenment tradition of citizenship which is the very essence of the bourgeois social contract. While the normative state in advanced countries is becoming more authoritarian with police-state characteristics, the state in the periphery whether Eastern Europe, Latin America or Africa is swept along by neoliberal policies that drive it toward authoritarianism as much as the state in Trump's America as in parts of Europe to the degree that in January 2018 Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) faced the prospect either of new elections or entering into a coalition with the neo-Nazi Alternative fur Deutchalnd (AfD). https://www.prosper.org.au/2010/05/25/the-counter-enlightenment/
The rightwing course of the Western World spreading into the rest of the world is not only because of IMF austerity used as leverage to impose neoliberalism in developing nations. Considering that countries have been scrambling to attract foreign investment which carries neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatization, weak trade unions and low taxes as a precondition, the entire world economic system is the driving force toward a form of totalitarianism. As Miklos Tamas argues, this has diluted national sovereignty of weaker countries, allowing national capitalists and especially multinational corporations to play a determining role in society against the background of a weak state structure. Along with weakened national sovereignty, national citizenship in turn finds expression in extreme rightwing groups to compensate for loss of independence as the bourgeois social contract presumably guarantees. (Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty , 2006; http://www.e-ir.info/2012/08/22/globalization-does-not-entail-the-weakening-of-the-liberal-state/
It is undeniable that there is a qualitative difference in Berlin and Rome under neoliberal regimes today than it was under Fascism. It would be a mistake to lump a contemporary neoliberal society together with the Third Reich and Fascist Italy, a dreadful and costly mistake that Stalinists made in the 1930s. Interwar totalitarianism existed under one-party state with a popular base operating as a police state. Although many countries under varieties of neoliberal regimes have an electoral system of at least two parties alternating power, the ruling parties pursue neoliberal policies with variations on social and cultural issues (identity politics), thus operating within the same policy framework impacting peoples' living standards.
Not just leftist academic critics, but even the progressive democratic Salon magazine recognized during the US election of 2016 that the neoliberal state would prevail regardless of whether Trump or Clinton won the presidential contest. " Neoliberalism presumes a strong state, working only for the benefit of the wealthy, and as such it has little pretence to neutrality and universality, unlike the classical liberal state. I would go so far as to say that neoliberalism is the final completion of capitalism's long-nascent project, in that the desire to transform everything -- every object, every living thing, every fact on the planet -- in its image had not been realized to the same extent by any preceding ideology.
In neoliberal society either of the pluralist-diversity or of the authoritarian political camp there are elements of polizeistaat though not nearly full blown as in the Third Reich. While conformity to the status quo and self-censorship is the only way to survive, modern means of communication and multiple dissident outlets attacking the status quo from the right, which is far more pervasive and socio-politically acceptable than doing so from the left, has actually facilitated the evolution of the new totalitarian state. http://www.thegreatregression.eu/progressive-neoliberalism-versus-reactionary-populism-a-hobsons-choice/
Whereas big business collaborated closely with Fascist dictators from the very beginning to secure the preeminence of the existing social order threatened by the crisis of democracy created by capitalism, big business under the neoliberal social contract has the same goal, despite disagreement on the means of forging political consensus. Partly because neoliberalism carries the legacy of late 19 th century liberalism and operates in most countries within the parliamentary system, and partly because of fear of grassroots social revolution, a segment of the capitalist class wants to preserve the democratic façade of the neoliberal social contract by perpetuating identity politics. In either case, 'economic fascism' as the essence of neoliberalism, or post-fascism as Miklos Tamas calls it, is an inescapable reality. (Andrea Micocci and Flavia Di Mario, The Fascist Nature of Neoliberalism , 2017).
In distinguishing the composition and goals of theparliamentary state vs. the Fascist one-party state, Italian Fascism's theoretician Giovanni Gentile characterizedit as 'totalitario'; a term also applied to Germany's Third Reich the latter which had the added dimension of anti-Semitism as policy. Arguing that ideology in the Fascist totalitarian state had a ubiquitous role in every aspect of life and power over people, Gentile and Mussolini viewed such state as the catalyst to a powerful nation-state that subordinates all institutions and the lives of citizens to its mold. In "La Dottrina del Fascismo" (Gentile and Mussolini, 1932), Musolini made famous the statement: "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state," although Hitler's polizeistaat was more totalitarian because it had the means to achieve policy goals stated in Mein Kampf .
The convergence of neoliberalism and Fascism is hardly surprising when one considers that both aim at a totalitarian society of different sorts, one of state-driven ideology and the other market-driven with the corporate welfare state behind it. In some respects, Sheldon Wolin's the "inverted totalitarianism" theory places this issue into another perspective, arguing that despite the absence of a dictator the corporate state behind the façade of 'electoral democracy' is an instrument of totalitarianism. Considering the increased role of security-intelligence-surveillance agencies in a presumably open society, it is not difficult to see that society has more illiberal than classic liberal traits. Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, 2008)
More powerful than the Axis Powers combined, American "Inverted totalitarianism" was internationalized during the Cold War and became more blatant during the war on terror, in large measure used as a pretext to impose neoliberalism in the name of national security. As the police-state gradually became institutionalized in every respect from illegal surveillance of citizens to suppressing dissent to the counterterrorism-neoliberal regime, it was becoming clearer to many scholars that a version of fascism was emerging in the US which also sprang up around the world. (Charlotte Heath-Kelly et al. eds., Neoliberalism and Terror: Critical Engagements , 2016; https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?15074-Chris-Hedges-The-Great-Unraveling-USA-on-the-brink-of-neo-fascist-police-state#.WifwyLBrzIU
Almost a century after the era of Fascist totalitarianism that led to WWII, the transition of capitalism's global structure with a shifting core from the US and northwest Europe to East Asia has entailed intense global competition for capital accumulation to the degree that the advanced countries have been pushing living standards downward to compete with low-wage global markets. The process of draining greater surplus value from labor especially from the periphery countries where IMF-style austerity policies have resulted in massive capital transfer to the core countries has taken place under the neoliberal social contract that has striking similarities with Fascism.
Backed by the state in the advanced capitalist countries, international organizations among them the IMF have been promoting economic fascism under the label of 'neoliberal reforms', thus molding state structures accordingly. Neoliberal totalitarianism is far more organized and ubiquitous than interwar Fascism not only because of the strong national state structure of core countries and modern technology and communications networks that enables surveillance and impose subtle forms of indoctrination, but also because the international agencies established by the US under the Bretton Woods system help to impose policies and institutions globally.
- Characteristics of the Illiberal Neoliberal Society
The genesis of illiberal politics can be traced back to the end of WWI when Europeans witnessed the unraveling of the rationalist order of the Enlightenment rooted in Lockean liberalism. Influenced by the wars of imperialism that led the First World War at the end of which Vladimir Lenin led the Bolsheviks to a revolutionary victory over Czarist Russia, Joseph Schumpeter like many European scholars was trying to make sense of how capitalism's forcible geographic expansion (imperialism) led to such global disasters that undermined the rationalist assumptions of the Enlightenment about society and its institutions. In his Sociology of Imperialism (1919), he wrote the following about the relationship of the bourgeoisie with the state.
"The bourgeoisie did not simply supplant the sovereign, nor did it make him its leader, as did the nobility. It merely wrested a portion of its power from him and for the rest submitted to him. It did not take over from the sovereign the state as an abstract form of organization. The state remained a special social power, confronting the bourgeoisie. In some countries it has continued to play that role to the present day. It is in the state that the bourgeoisie with its interests seeks refuge, protection against external and even domestic enemies. The bourgeoisie seeks to win over the state for itself, and in return serves the state and state interests that are different from its own."
The strong state structure of the imperial state that the bourgeoisie supported as a vehicle of expanding their interests globally while maintaining the social order at the national level held true only for the advanced capitalist countries eagerly trying to secure international markets at any cost including armed conflict. While essential for capital integration and expansion, the strong state structure was and remains an anathema to the bourgeoisie, if its role is to make political, economic and social concessions to the laboring and middle classes which are the popular base for bourgeois political parties. While classical liberal theory expresses the interests of capitalism its role is not to serve in furtherance of political equality for the simple reason that capitalism cannot exist under such a regime. Both John Locke and John Stuart Mill rejected political egalitarianism, while Schumpeter viewed democratic society with egalitarianism as an integral part of democracy. Rejecting Locke's and Mill's abstract receptiveness to egalitarianism, neoliberals of either the pluralist or authoritarian camp are blatantly adopt illiberal policies that exacerbate elitism, regardless of the rhetoric they employ to secure mass popular support.
Characterized by elitism, class, gender, racial and ethnic inequality, limits on freedom of expression, on human rights and civil rights, illiberal politics thrives on submission of the masses to the status quo. In his essay The Political Economy of Neoliberalism and Illiberal Democracy, Garry Jacobs, an academic/consultant who still believes in classical liberal economics operating in a pluralistic and preferably non-militaristic society, warns that world-wide democracy is under siege. " Democratic elections have become the means for installing leaders with little respect for democratic values. The tolerance, openness and inclusiveness on which modern democracy is founded are being rejected by candidates and voters in favor of sectarian, parochial fears and interests. The role of the free press as an impartial arbiter of facts is being undermined by the rise of private and public news media conglomerates purveying political preference as fact combined with a blinding blizzard of fake news. Party politics has been polarized into a winner-take-all fight to the finish by vested-interests and impassioned extremist minorities trying to impose their agendas on a complacent majority. Corporate power and money power are transforming representative governments into plutocratic pseudo-democracies. Fundamentalists are seizing the instruments of secular democracy to impose intolerant linguistic, racial and religious homogeneity in place of the principles of liberty and harmonious heterogeneity that are democracy's foundation and pinnacle of achievement."
While neoliberals in the populist rightwing wholeheartedly share and promote such views, those who embrace the pluralist-identity politics camp are just as supportive of many aspects of the corporate welfare-police-counterterrorism state as a means to engender domestic sociopolitical conformity and to achieve closer global economic integration. The question is not so much what each political camp under the larger neoliberal umbrella pursues as a strategy to mobilize a popular base but whether the economic-social policies intertwined with a corporate-welfare-police-counterterrorism state is the driving force toward a Fascist model of government. In both the pluralist model with some aspects of the social safety net, and the rightwing populist version neoliberalism's goal is rapid capital accumulation on a world scale, institutional submission of the individual and molding the citizen's subjective reality around the neoliberal ideology.
Illiberal politics in our time is partly both symptomatic of and a reaction to neoliberal globalism and culture wars that serve to distract from the intensified class struggle boiling beneath the surface. Rhetorically denouncing globalist neoliberalism, populist rightwing politicians assert the importance of national capitalism but always within the perimeters of neoliberal policies. Hence they co-opt the socio-cultural positions of nationalist extremists as a political strategy to mobilize the masses. Scholars, journalists and politicians have speculated whether the rising tide of rightwing populism pursuing neoliberalism under authoritarian models not just in the Western World, but Eastern Europe, South Asia and Africa reflects the rejection of liberal democracy and the triumph of illiberal politics that best reflects and serves the political economy. Unquestionably, there is a direct correlation between the internationalization of the Western neoliberal transformation model imposed on the world in the post-Soviet era and the rise of rightwing populism reacting to the gap between the promises of what capitalism was supposed to deliver and the reality of downward pressures on living standards. http://www.counterfire.org/interview/18068-india-s-nightmare-the-extremism-of-narendra-modi ; http://ac.upd.edu.ph/index.php/news-announcements/1201-southeast-asian-democracy-neoliberalism-populism-vedi-hadiz ; http://balticworlds.com/breaking-out-of-the-deadlock-of-neoliberalism-vs-rightwing-populism/
Not just the US, but Europe has been flirting with 'illiberal democracy' characterized by strong authoritarian-style elected officials as Garry Jacobs has observed. Amid elections in Bosnia in 1996, US diplomat Richard Holbrooke wondered about the rightwing path of former Yugoslav republics. "Suppose the election was declared free and fair and those elected are "racists, fascists, separatists, who are publicly opposed to [peace and reintegration]. That is the dilemma." Twenty years after what Holbrooke dreaded election outcomes in Yugoslavia, the US elected a rightwing neoliberal populist leading the Republican Party and making culture wars a central theme to distract from the undercurrent class struggle in the country. A structural issue that transcends personalities, this reality in America is symptomatic of the link between neoliberalism and the rise of illiberal democracy in a number of countries around the world. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1997-11-01/rise-illiberal-democracy
Some political observers analyzing the rightist orientation of neoliberal policies have concluded that neoliberalism and Fascism have more in common than people realize. In 2016, Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates Union of Belgium, wrote a brief article arguing that Neoliberalism is indeed a form of Fascism; a position people seem to be willing to debate after the election of Donald Trump pursuing neoliberal policies with a rightwing populist ideological and cultural platform to keep a popular base loyal to the Republican Party. "Fascism may be defined as the subordination of every part of the State to a totalitarian and nihilistic ideology. I argue that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also every aspect of our thought. The state is now at the disposal of the economy and of finance, which treat it as a subordinate and lord over it to an extent that puts the common good in jeopardy." http://www.defenddemocracy.press/president-belgian-magistrates-neoliberalism-form-fascism/
It is ironic that neoliberal society is 'a species of fascism', but there no widespread popular opposition from leftist groups to counter it. People remain submissive to the neoliberal state that has in fact eroded much of what many in the pluralist camp hail as liberal democratic institutions. Most adapt to the status quo because to do otherwise means difficulty surviving today just as it was difficult to survive under Fascism for those in opposition; as Palmiro Togliatti noted ( Lectures on Fascism, 1935) when he cautioned about castigating workers who joined the party simply because they placed survival of their family above any progressive ideology. Because evidence of systemic exploitation ingrained into society passes as the 'norm', and partly because repression targets minority groups, migrants, and the working class, especially those backing trade unions and progressive political parties, people support the neoliberal state that they see as the constitutional entity and the only means for survival.
The media, government and mainstream institutions denounce anyone crying out for social justice, human rights and systemic change. Such people are 'trendy rebels', as though social justice is a passing fad like a clothing line, misguided idealists or treasonous criminals. Considering that the corporate-owned and state media validates the legitimacy of the neoliberal social contract, the political class and social elites enjoy the freedom to shape the state's goals in the direction toward a surveillance police-state. All of this goes without notice in the age when it is almost expected because it is defaulted to technology making easy to detect foreign and domestic enemies while using the same technology to shape the citizen's subjective reality.
Partly because of the communications revolution in the digital age, neoliberalism has the ability to mold the citizen beyond loyalty to the social contract not just into mechanical observance but total submission to its institutions by reshaping the person's values and identity. In this respect, neoliberalism is not so different from Fascism whose goal was to mold the citizen. " Neoliberalism has been more successful than most past ideologies in redefining subjectivity, in making people alter their sense of themselves, their personhood, their identities, their hopes and expectations and dreams and idealizations. Classical liberalism was successful too, for two and a half centuries, in people's self-definition, although communism and fascism succeeded less well in realizing the "new man." It cannot be emphasized enough that neoliberalism is not classical liberalism, or a return to a purer version of it, as is commonly misunderstood; it is a new thing, because the market, for one thing, is not at all free and untethered and dynamic in the sense that classical liberalism idealized it.
Although people go about their daily lives focused on their interests, they operate against the background of neoliberal institutions that determine their lives in every respect from chatting on their cell phones to how they live despite their illusions of free will. As the world witnessed a segment of the population openly embracing fascism from movement to legitimate political party in interwar Europe, a corresponding rise in racism and ethnocentrism under the umbrella of rightwing neoliberal populism has taken place in the first two decades of the 21 st century.
Representing the UN Human Rights agency, Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein stated that 2016 was disastrous for human rights, as the 'clash of civilizations' construct has become ingrained into the political mainstream in Western countries. "In some parts of Europe, and in the United States, anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred, is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged. The rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists, meeting in ill-lit clubs or on the 'deep net'. It is becoming part of normal daily discourse." http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/united-nations-chilling-warning-rise-fascism-human-rights-prince-zeid-a7464861.html
Because neoliberalism has pushed all mainstream bourgeois political parties to the right, the far right no longer seems nearly as extreme today as it did during the Vietnam War's protest generation who still had hope for a socially just society even if that meant strengthening the social welfare system. The last two generations were raised knowing no alternative to neoliberalism; the panacea for all that ails society is less social welfare and privatization of public services within the framework of a state structure buttressing corporate welfare. The idea that nothing must be tolerated outside the hegemonic market and all institutions must mirror the neoliberal model reflects a neo-totalitarian society where sociopolitical conformity follows because survival outside the system is not viable.
Although Western neoconservatives have employed the term 'neo-totalitarian' to describe Vladimir Putin's Russia, the term applies even more accurately to the US and someEuropean nations operating under neoliberal-military-police state structures with as much power than the Russian bureaucratic state has at its disposal.The contradiction of neoliberalism rests in the system's goal of integrating everyone into the neo-totalitarian mold. Because of the system's inherent hierarchical structure, excluding most from the institutional mainstream and limiting popular sovereignty to the elites exposes the exploitation and repression goals that account for the totalitarian nature of the system masquerading as democratic where popular sovereignty is diffused. The seemingly puzzling aspect of the rise in rightwing populism across the globe that rests in marginalization of a segment of the population and the support for it not just from certain wealthy individuals financing extremist movements, but from a segment of the middle class and even working class lining up behind it because they see their salvation with the diminution of weaker social groups. This pattern was also evident in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and pro-Nazi authoritarian regimes of the interwar era. https://www.demdigest.org/neo-totalitarian-russia-potent-existential-threat-west/ ; Benjamin Moffitt, The Global Rise of Populism (2017.
Because of contradictions in bourgeois liberal democracy where capital accumulation at any social cost is the goal, the system produced the current global wave of rightwing populism just as capitalism in the interwar era gave rise to Fascism. As one analyst put it, " The risk democratic formations continually face is internal disintegration such that the heterogeneous elements of the social order not only fail to come together within some principle of or for unity, but actively turn against one another. In this case, a totally unproductive revolution takes place. Rather than subversion of the normative order causing suffering, rebellion or revolution that might establish a new nomos of shared life as a way of establishing a new governing logic, the dissociated elements of disintegrating democratic formations identify with the very power responsible for their subjection–capital, the state and, the strong leader. Thus the possibility of fascism is not negated in neoliberal formations but is an ever present possibility arising within it. Because the value of the social order as such is never in itself sufficient to maintain its own constitution, it must have recourse to an external value, which is the order of the sacred embodied by the sovereign. http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/78-78/41987-neoliberalism-fascism-and-sovereignty /
Public opinion surveys of a number of countries around the world, including those in the US, indicated that most people do not favor the existing social contract rooted in neoliberal policies that impact everything from living standards and labor policy to the judicial system and foreign affairs. Instead of driving workers toward a leftwing revolutionary path, many support rightwing populism that has resulted in the rise of even greater oppression and exploitation. Besides nationalism identified with the powerful elites as guardians of the national interest, many among the masses believe that somehow the same social contract responsible for existing problems will provide salvation they seek. While widespread disillusionment with neoliberal globalization seems to be at the core in the rise of rightwing populism, the common denominator is downward social mobility. (Doug Miller, Can the World be Wrong ? 2015)
As Garry Jacobs argues, "Even mature democracies show signs of degenerating into their illiberal namesakes. The historical record confirms that peaceful, prosperous, free and harmonious societies can best be nurtured by the widest possible distribution of all forms of power -- political, economic, educational, scientific, technological and social -- to the greatest extent to the greatest number. The aspiration for individual freedom can only be realized and preserved when it is married with the right to social equality. The mutual interdependence of the individual and the collective is the key to their reconciliation and humanity's future. http://www.cadmusjournal.org/article/volume-3/issue-3/political-economy-neoliberalism-and-illiberal-democracy
Just as in the interwar era when many Europeans lost confidence in the rationalism of the Enlightenment and lapsed into amorality and alienation that allowed for even greater public manipulation by the hegemonic culture, in the early 21 st the neoliberal social contract with a complex matrix of communications at its disposal is able to indoctrinate on a mass scale more easily than ever. Considering the low level of public trust in the mainstream media that most people regardless of political/ideological position view as propaganda rather than informational, cynicism about national and international institutions prevails. As the fierce struggle for power among mainstream political parties competing to manage the state on behalf of capital undercuts the credibility of the political class, rightwing elements enter the arena as 'outsider' messiahs above politics (Bonapartism in the 21 st century) to save the nation, while safeguarding the neoliberal social contract. This is as evident in France where the pluralist political model of neoliberalism has strengthened the neo-Fascist one that Marine Le Pen represents, as in Trump's America where the Democratic Party's neoliberal policies helped give rise to rightwing populism.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/macronism-neoliberal-triumph-or-next-stage-in-frances-political-crisis/5596722 ; https://socialistworker.org/2016/12/05/the-18th-brumaire-of-trump
As the following article in The Economist points out, widespread disillusionment with globalist neoliberal policies drove people to the right for an enemy to blame for all the calamities that befall society. " Beset by stagnant wage growth, less than half of respondents in America, Britain and France believe that globalisation is a "force for good" in the world. Westerners also say the world is getting worse. Even Americans, generally an optimistic lot, are feeling blue: just 11% believe the world has improved in the past year. The turn towards nationalism is especially pronounced in France, the cradle of liberty. Some 52% of the French now believe that their economy should not have to rely on imports, and just 13% reckon that immigration has a positive effect on their country. France is divided as to whether or not multiculturalism is something to be embraced. Such findings will be music to the ears of Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, France's nationalist, Eurosceptic party. Current (and admittedly early) polling has her tied for first place in the 2017 French presidential race. https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/11/daily-chart-12
Similar to deep-rooted cultural and ideological traits of Nazism in German society, there are similar traits in contemporary US, India and other countries where rightwing populism has found a receptive public. Although there are varieties of populism from Lepenism (Marine Le Pen's National Front) to Trumpism (US Republican Donald Trump) to Modism (India's Narendra Modi), they share common characteristics, including cult of personality as a popular rallying catalyst, promoting hatred and marginalization of minority groups, and promising to deliver a panacea to "society" when in fact their policies are designed to strengthen big capital.
Rightwing populist politicians who pursue neoliberal policies are opportunistically pushing the political popular base toward consolidation of a Fascist movement and often refer to themselves as movement rather than a party. Just as there were liberals who refused to accept the imminent rise of Fascism amid the parliamentary system's collapse in the 1920s, there are neoliberals today who refuse to accept that the global trend of populism is a symptom of failed neoliberalism that has many common characteristics with Fascism. In an article entitled "Populism is not Fascism: But it could be a Harbinger" by Sheri Berman, the neoliberal journal Foreign Affairs , acknowledged that liberal bourgeois democracy is losing its luster around the world. However, the author would not go as far as to examine the structural causes for this phenomenon because to do so would be to attack the social contract within which it operates. Treating rightwing populism as though it is a marginal outgrowth of mainstream conservatism and an aberration rather than the outgrowth of the system's core is merely a thinly veiled attempt to defend the status quo of which rightwing populism is an integral part.
Structural Exploitation under the Neoliberal Social Contract
Structural exploitation – "a property of institutions or systems in which the "rules of the game" unfairly benefit one group of people to the detriment of another" https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/exploitation/ – has been an incontrovertible reality of all class-based societiesfrom the establishment of the earliest city-states in Mesopotamia until the present.Usually but not always intertwined with social oppression, structural exploitation entails a relationship of social dominance of an elite group over the rest of society subordinated for the purpose of economic, social, political, and cultural exploitation. Legitimized by the social contract, justifications for institutional exploitation include safety and security of country, eliminating impediments to progress, and emulating nature's competitive forces that exist in the animal kingdom and reflect human nature.
From Solon's laws in 6 th century BC Athens until our contemporary neoliberal era, social contract theory presumes that the state is the catalyst for social harmony if not fairness and not for a privileged social class to exploit the rest of society. No legal system has ever been codified that explicitly states its goal is to use of the state as an instrument of exploitation and oppression. In reality however, from ancient Babylon when King Hammurabi codified the first laws in 1780 B.C. until the present when multinational corporations and wealthy individuals directly or through lobbyists exert preponderate influence in public policy the theoretical assumption is one of fairness and justice for all people as a goal for the social contract.
In the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – biotechnology, nanotechnology, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence – presumably to serve mankind as part of the social contract rather than to exploit more thoroughly and marginalize a large segment of humanity, the persistence of structural exploitation and oppression challenges those with a social conscience and morality rooted in humanist values to question what constitutes societal progress and public interest. Liberal and Christian-Libertarian arguments about free will notwithstanding, it has always been the case that mainstream institutions and the dominant culture indoctrinate people into believing that ending exploitation by changing the social contract is a utopian dream; a domain relegated to poets, philosophers and song writers lacking proper grounding in the reality of mainstream politics largely in the service of the dominant socioeconomic class. The paradox in neoliberal ideology is its emphasis on free choice, while the larger goal is to mold the subjective reality within the neoliberal institutional structure and way of life. The irreconcilable aspects of neoliberalism represent the contradictory goals of the desire to project democratic mask that would allow for popular sovereignty while pursuing capital accumulation under totalitarian methods. http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_contractarianism.html ' http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2017/05/15/indoctrination-and-free-will/
Social cooperation becomes dysfunctional when distortions and contradictions within the system create large-scale social marginalization exposing the divergence between the promise of the neoliberal social contract and the reality in peoples' lives. To manage the dysfunction by mobilizing popular support, the political elites of both the pluralist and the authoritarian-populist wing operating under the neoliberal political umbrella compete for power by projecting the image of an open democratic society. Intra-class power struggles within the elite social and political classes vying for power distracts from social exploitation because the masses line behind competing elites convinced such competition is the essence of democracy. As long as the majority in society passively acquiesces to the legitimacy of the social contract, even if in practice society is socially unjust, the status quo remains secure until systemic contradictions in the political economy make it unsustainable. https://mises.org/library/profound-significance-social-harmony
In the last three centuries, social revolutions, upheavals and grassroots movements have demonstrated that people want a social contract that includes workers, women, and marginalized groups into the mainstream and elevates their status economically and politically. In the early 21 st century, there are many voices crying out for a new social contract based on social justice and equality against neoliberal tyranny. However, those faint voices are drowned against the preponderate neoliberal public policy impacting every sector while shaping the individual's worldview and subjective reality. The triumph of neoliberal orthodoxy has deviated from classical liberalism to the degree that dogmatism 'single-thought' process dominates not just economics, not just the social contract, but the very fabric of our humanity. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21598282.2013.761449?journalCode=rict20 ; https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world
Under neoliberalism, "Uberization" as a way of life is becoming the norm not just in the 'financialization' neoliberal economy resting on speculation rather than productivity but in society as well. The neoliberal ideology has indoctrinated the last two generations that grew up under this system and know no other reality thus taking for granted the neoliberal way of life as natural as the air they breathe. Often working two jobs, working overtime without compensation or taking work home just to keep the job has become part of chasing the dream of merely catching up with higher costs of living. People have accepted perpetual work enmeshed with the capitalist ideology of perpetual economic growth perversely intertwined with progress of civilization. The corporate ideology of "grow or die" at any cost is in reality economic growth confined to the capitalist class, while fewer and fewer people enjoy its fruits and communities, cities, entire countries under neoliberal austerity suffer.
Carl Boggs, The End of Politics: Corporate Power and the Decline of the Public Sphere , 2000; https://monthlyreview.org/2007/04/01/the-financialization-of-capitalism/ ; https://permaculturenews.org/2012/06/15/myth-of-perpetual-growth-is-killing-america/
The incentive for conformity is predicated on the belief that the benefits of civilization would be fairly distributed if not in the present then at some point in the future for one's children or grandchildren; analogous to living a virtuous life in order to enjoy the rewards after death. As proof that the system works for the benefit of society and not just the capitalist class, neoliberal apologists point to stock market gains and surprisingly there is a psychological impact – the wealth effect – on the mass consumer who feels optimistic and borrows to raise consumption. Besides the fact that only a very small percentage of people on the planet own the vast majority of securities, even in the US there is no correlation between stock market performance and living standards. (John Seip and Dee Wood Harper, The Trickle Down Delusion , 2016)
If we equate the stock market with the 'wealth of the nation', then in 1982 when the S & P index stood at 117 rising to 2675 in December 2017, the logical conclusion is that living standards across the US rose accordingly. However, this is the period when real incomes for workers and the middle class actually declined despite sharp rise in productivity and immense profits reflected in the incomes gap reflected in the bottom 90% vs. the top 10%. This is also the period when we see the striking divergence between wealth accumulation for the top 1% and a relative decline for the bottom 90%. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/upshot/income-inequality-united-states.html ; https://ourworldindata.org/income-inequality/
A research study compiled by the pro-organized labor non-profit think tank 'Economic Policy Institute' stresses the divergence between productivity and real wages. While the top 0.01% of America's experienced 386% income growth between 1980 and 1914, the bottom 90% suffered 3% real income drop. Whereas in 1980 income share for the bottom 90% stood at 65% and for the top 1% it stood at 10%, by 2014 the bottom 90% held just half of the income, while the top 1% owned 21%. This dramatic income divergence, which has been shown in hundreds of studies and not even neoliberal billionaires deny their validity, took place under the shift toward the full implementation of the neoliberal social contract. It is significant to note that such income concentration resulting from fiscal policy, corporate subsidy policy, privatization and deregulation has indeed resulted in higher productivity exactly as neoliberal apologists have argued. However, higher worker productivity and higher profits has been made possible precisely because of income transfer from labor to capitalist. http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/ ; https://aneconomicsense.org/2015/07/13/the-highly-skewed-growth-of-incomes-since-1980-only-the-top-0-5-have-done-better-than-before/
"Real hourly compensation of production, nonsupervisory workers who make up 80 percent of the workforce, also shows pay stagnation for most of the period since 1973, rising 9.2 percent between 1973 and 2014.Net productivity grew 1.33 percent each year between 1973 and 2014, faster than the meager 0.20 percent annual rise in median hourly compensation. In essence, about 15 percent of productivity growth between 1973 and 2014 translated into higher hourly wages and benefits for the typical American worker. Since 2000, the gap between productivity and pay has risen even faster. The net productivity growth of 21.6 percent from 2000 to 2014 translated into just a 1.8 percent rise in inflation-adjusted compensation for the median worker (just 8 percent of net productivity growth).Since 2000, more than 80 percent of the divergence between a typical (median) worker's pay growth and overall net productivity growth has been driven by rising inequality (specifically, greater inequality of compensation and a falling share of income going to workers relative to capital owners).Over the entire 1973–2014 period, rising inequality explains over two-thirds of the productivity–pay divergence. " (Josh Bivens and Lawrence Mishel, "Understanding the Historic Divergence Between Productivity and a Typical Worker's Pay Why It Matters and Why It's Real" in Economic Policy Institute, 2015, http://www.epi.org/publication/understanding-the-historic-divergence-between-productivity-and-a-typical-workers-pay-why-it-matters-and-why-its-real/
The average corporate tax rate in the world has been cut in half in the last two decades from about 40% to 22%, with the effective rate actually paid lower than the official rate. This represents a massive transfer of wealth to the highest income brackets drained from the working class. More than half-a-century ago, American anthropologist Jules Henry wrote that: "The fact that our society places no limit on wealth while making it accessible to all helps account for the 'feverish' quality Tocqueville sensed in American civilization." Culture Against Man (1963). The myth that the neoliberal policies in the information age lead toward a society richer for all people is readily refuted by the reality of huge wealth distribution gaps resulting from 'informational capitalism' backed by the corporate welfare state.
Capital accumulation not just in the US but on a world scale without a ceiling has resulted in more thorough exploitation of workers and in a less socially just society today than in the early 1960s when Jules Henry was writing and it is headed increasingly toward authoritarian models of government behind the very thin veneer of meaningless elections. Against this background of unfettered neoliberalism, social responsibility is relegated to issues ranging from corporate-supported sustainable development in which large businesses have a vested interest as part of future designs on capital accumulation, to respecting lifestyle and cultural and religious freedoms within the existing social contract. (Dieter Plehwe et al. eds., Neoliberal Hegemony , 2006; Carl Ferenbach and Chris Pinney, " Toward a 21st Century Social Contract" Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 24, No 2, 2012; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-6622.2012.00372.x/abstract
At its Annual conference in 2017 where representatives from the 'Fortune 500', academia, think tanks, NGOs, and government, business consultancy group BSR provided the following vision under the heading "A 21 st Century Social Contract" : "The nature of work is changing very rapidly. Old models of lifelong employment via business and a predictable safety net provided by government are no longer assured in a new demographic, economic, and political environment. We see these trends most clearly in the rise of the "gig economy," in which contingent workers (freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, or other outsourced and non-permanent workers) are hired on a temporary or part-time basis. These workers make up more than 90 percent of new job creation in European countries, and by 2020, it is estimated that more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be in contingent jobs." https://bsr17.org/agenda/sessions/the-21st-century-social-contract
Representing multinational corporate members and proud sponsors of sustainable development solutions within the neoliberal model, BSR applauded the aspirations and expectations of today's business people that expect to concentrate even more capital as the economy becomes more 'UBERized' and reliant on the new digital technology. Despite fear and anxiety about a bleak techno-science future as another mechanism to keep wages as close to subsistence if not below that level as possible, peoples' survival instinct forces them to adjust their lives around the neoliberal social contract. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/531726/technology-and-inequality/
Reflecting the status quo, the media indoctrinate people to behave as though systemic exploitation, oppression, division, and marginalization are natural while equality and the welfare of the community represent an anathema to bourgeois civilization. What passes as the 'social norm', largely reflects the interests of the socioeconomic elites propagating the 'legitimacy' of their values while their advocates vilify values that place priority on the community aspiring to achieve equality and social justice. (Robert E. Watkins, " Turning the Social Contract Inside Out: Neoliberal Governance and Human Capital in Two Days, One Night" , 2016).
The neoliberal myth that the digital technological revolution and the 'knowledge based economy' (KBE) of endless innovation is the catalyst not only to economic growth but to the preservation of civilization and welfare of society has proved hollow in the last four decades. Despite massive innovation in the domain of the digital and biotech domains, socioeconomic polarization and environmental degradation persist at much higher rates today than in the 1970s. Whether in the US, the European Union or developing nations, the neoliberal promise of 'prospering together' has been a farce. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tsq.12106/full ; http://www.ricerchestoriche.org/?p=749
Neoliberal myths about upward linear progress across all segments of society and throughout the world notwithstanding, economic expansion and contraction only result in greater capital concentration. "The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have taken a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, pulled out all 43,060 multinational corporations and the share ownerships linking them to construct a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company's operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.The model revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships. Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What's more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms, the "real" economy, representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a super-entity of 147 even more tightly knit companies (all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity) that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network." https://weeklybolshevik.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/imperialism-and-the-concentration-of-capital/ http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf .
With each passing recessionary cycle of the past four decades working class living standards have retreated and never recovered. Although the techno-science panacea has proved a necessary myth and a distraction from the reality of capital concentration, considering that innovation and technology are integral parts of the neoliberal system, the media, politicians, business elites, corporate-funded think tanks and academics continue to promote the illusive 'modernist dream' that only a small segment of society enjoys while the rest take pride living through it vicariously. ( Laurence Reynolds and Bronislaw Szerszynski, "Neoliberalism and technology: Perpetual innovation or perpetual crisis?"
Rooted in militarism and police-state policies, the culture of fear is one of the major ways that the neoliberal regime perpetually distracts people from structural exploitation and oppression in a neoliberal society that places dogmatic focus on atomism. Despite the atomistic value system as an integral part of neoliberalism, neoliberals strongly advocate a corporate state welfare system. Whether supporting pluralism and diversity or rightwing populists, neoliberals agree that without the state buttressing the private sector, the latter will collapse. Author of Liberalism in the Shadow of Totalitarianism (2007) David Ciepley argues in "The Corporate Contradictions of Neoliberalism" that the system's contradictions have led to the authoritarian political model as its only option moving forward.
"Neoliberalism was born in reaction against totalitarian statism, and matured at the University of Chicago into a program of state-reduction that was directed not just against the totalitarian state and the socialist state but also (and especially) against the New Deal regulatory and welfare state. It is a self-consciously reactionary ideology that seeks to roll back the status quo and institutionalize (or, on its own understanding, re-institutionalize) the "natural" principles of the market. But the contradiction between its individualist ideals and our corporate reality means that the effort to institutionalize it, oblivious to this contradiction, has induced deep dysfunction in our corporate system, producing weakened growth, intense inequality, and coercion. And when the ideological support of a system collapses -- as appears to be happening with neoliberalism -- then either the system will collapse, or new levels of coercion and manipulation will be deployed to maintain it. This appears to be the juncture at which we have arrived." https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/05/corporate-contradictions-neoliberalism/
Adhering to a tough law-and-order policy, neoliberals have legalized large-scale criminal activity perpetrated by capitalists against society while penalizing small-scale crimes carried out mostly by people in the working class and the marginalized lumpenproletariat . Regardless of approaches within the neoliberal social contract, neoliberal politicians agree on a lengthy prison sentences for street gangs selling narcotics while there is no comparable punishment when it comes to banks laundering billions including from narcotics trafficking, as Deutsche Bank among other mega banks in the US and EU; fixing rates as Barclays among others thus defrauding customers of billions; or creating fake accounts as Wells Fargo , to say nothing of banks legally appropriating billions of dollars from employees and customers and receiving state (taxpayer) funding in times of 'banking crises'. Although it seems enigmatic that there is acquiescence for large scale crimes with the institutional cover of 'legitimacy' by the state and the hegemonic culture, the media has conditioned the public to shrug off structural exploitation as an integral part of the social contract. http://theweek.com/articles/729052/brief-history-crime-corruption-malfeasance-american-banks ; https://www.globalresearch.ca/corruption-in-the-european-union-scandals-in-banking-fraud-and-secretive-ttip-negotiations/5543935
Neoliberalism's reach does not stop with the de-criminalization of white-collar crime or the transfer of economic policy from the public sector to corporations in order to reverse social welfare policies. Transferring sweeping policy powers from the public to the corporate sector, neoliberalism's tentacles impact everything from labor and environment to health, education and foreign policy into the hands of the state-supported corporate sector in an effort to realize even greater capital concentration at an even greater pace. This has far reaching implications in peoples' lives around the world in everything from their work and health to institutions totalitarian at their core but projecting an image of liberal democracy on the surface. (Noam Chomsky and R. W. McChesney, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order , 2011; Pauline Johnson, "Sociology and the Critique of Neoliberalism" European Journal of Social Theory , 2014
Comprehensive to the degree that it aims to diminish the state's role by having many of its functions privatized, neoliberalism's impact has reached into monetary policy trying to supplant it with rogue market forces that test the limits of the law and hard currencies. The creation of cryptocurrencies among them BITCOIN that represents the utopian dream of anarcho-libertarians interested in influencing if not dreaming of ultimately supplanting central banks' role in monetary policy is an important dimension of neoliberal ideology. Techno-utopians envisioning the digital citizen in a neoliberal society favor a 'gypsy economy' operating on a digital currency outside the purview of the state's regulatory reach where it is possible to transfer and hide money while engaging in the ultimate game of speculation. ( https://btctheory.com ; Samuel Valasco and Leonardo Medina, The Social Nature of Cryptocurrencies , 2013)
Credited as the neoliberal prophet whose work and affiliate organizations multinational corporations funded, Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek favored market forces to determine monetary policy rather than having government in that role working behind central banks. Aside from the fact that central banks cater to capital and respond to markets and no other constituency, Hayek's proposal ( The Denationalization of Money , 1976) was intended to permit the law of the 'free market' (monetary speculation) determine policy that would impact peoples' living standards. Hence capital accumulation would not be constrained by government regulatory measures and the coordination of monetary policy between central banks. In short, the law of unfettered banking regulation would theoretically result in greater economic growth, no matter the consequences owing to the absence of banking regulatory measures that exacerbate contracting economic cycles such as in 2008. www.voltaire.org/article30058.html )
In December 2017, the UK and EU warned that cryptocurrencies are used in criminal enterprises, including money laundering and tax evasion. Nevertheless, crypto-currency reflects both the ideology and goals of capital accumulation of neoliberals gaining popularity among speculators in the US and other countries. Crypto-currencyfulfills the neoliberal speculator's dream by circumventing the IMF basket of reserved currencies on which others trade while evading regulatory constraints and all mechanisms of legal accountability for the transfer of money and tax liability.
Although a tiny fraction of the global monetary system, computer networks make crypto-currency a reality for speculators, tax evaders, those engaged in illegal activities and even governments like Venezuela under Nocolas Maduro trying to pump liquidity into the oil-dependent economy suffering from hyperinflation and economic stagnation If the crypto-currency system can operate outside the purview of the state, then the neoliberal ideology of trusting the speculator rather than the government would be proved valid about the superfluous role of central banks and monetary centralization, a process that capitalism itself created for the harmonious operation of capitalism. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/04/bitcoin-uk-eu-plan-cryptocurrency-price-traders-anonymity ; http://www.lanacion.com.ar/2099017-venezuela-inflacion-nicolas-maduro-crisis-precios
Indicative of the success of the neoliberal ideology's far reaching impact in economic life cryptocurrencies' existencealso reflects the crisis of capitalism amid massive assaults on middle class and working class living standards in the quest for greater capital concentration. In an ironic twist, the very neoliberal forces that promote cryptocurrencies decry their use by anti-Western nations – Iran, Venezuela, and Russia among others.The criticism of anti-Western governments resorting to cryptocurrenciesis based on their use as a means of circumventing the leverage that reserve currencies like the dollar and euro afford to the West over non-Western nations. This is only one of a few contradictions that neoliberalism creates and undermines the system it strives to build just as it continues to foster its ideology as the only plausible one to pursue globally. Another contradiction is the animosity toward crypto-currencies from mainstream financial institutions that want to maintain a monopoly on government-issued currency which is where they make their profits. As the world's largest institutional promoter of neoliberalism, the IMF has cautioned not to dismiss cryptocurrencies because they could have a future, or they may actually 'be the future'. https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoins-unlimited-potential-lies-in-apolitical-core/ ; http://fortune.com/2017/10/02/bitcoin-ethereum-cryptocurrency-imf-christine-lagarde/
After the "Washington Consensus" of 1989, IMF austerity policies are leverage to impose neoliberal policies globally have weakened national institutions from health to education and trade unions that once formed a social bond for workers aspiring to an integrative socially inclusive covenant in society rather than marginalization. The IMF uses austerity policies for debt relief as leverage to have the government provide more favorable investment conditions and further curtail the rights of labor with everything from ending collective bargaining to introducing variations of "right-to-work" laws" that prohibit trade unions from forcing collective strikes, collecting dues or signing the collective contract. Justified in the name of 'capitalist efficiency', weakening organized labor and its power of collective bargaining has been an integral part of the neoliberal social contract as much in the US and UK as across the rest of the world, invariably justified by pointing to labor markets where workers earn the lowest wages. (B. M. Evans and S. McBride, Austerity: The Lived Experience , 2017; Vicente Berdayes, John W. Murphy, eds. Neoliberalism, Economic Radicalism, and the Normalization of Violence , 2016).
Although many in the mainstream media took notice of the dangers of neoliberalism leading toward authoritarianism after Trump's election, a few faint voices have been warning about this inevitability since the early 1990s. Susan George, president of the Transnational Institute, has argued that neoliberalism is contrary to democracy, it is rooted in Social Darwinism, it undermines the liberal social contract under which that people assume society operates, but it is the system that governments and international organization like the IMF have been promoting.
"Over the past twenty years, the IMF has been strengthened enormously. Thanks to the debt crisis and the mechanism of conditionality, it has moved from balance of payments support to being quasi-universal dictator of so-called "sound" economic policies, meaning of course neo-liberal ones. The World Trade Organisation was finally put in place in January 1995 after long and laborious negotiations, often rammed through parliaments which had little idea what they were ratifying. Thankfully, the most recent effort to make binding and universal neo-liberal rules, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, has failed, at least temporarily. It would have given all rights to corporations, all obligations to governments and no rights at all to citizens. The common denominator of these institutions is their lack of transparency and democratic accountability. This is the essence of neo-liberalism. It claims that the economy should dictate its rules to society, not the other way around. Democracy is an encumbrance, neo-liberalism is designed for winners, not for voters who, necessarily encompass the categories of both winners and losers."
Those on the receiving end of neoliberalism's Social Darwinist orientation are well aware of public policy's negative impact on their lives but they feel helpless to confront the social contract. According to opinion polls, people around the world realize there is a huge gap between what political and business leaders, and international organizations claim about institutions designed to benefit all people and the reality of marginalization. The result is loss of public confidence in the social contract theoretically rooted in consent and democracy. "When elected governments break the "representative covenant" and show complete indifference to the sufferings of citizens, when democracy is downgraded to an abstract set of rules and deprived of meaning for much of the citizenry, many will be inclined to regard democracy as a sham, to lose confidence in and withdraw their support for electoral institutions. Dissatisfaction with democracy now ranges from 40 percent in Peru and Bolivia to 59 percent in Brazil and 62 percent in Colombia. (Boron, "Democracy or Neoliberalism", http://bostonreview.net/archives/BR21.5/boron.html )
Not just in developing nations operating under authoritarian capitalist model to impose neoliberal policies, but in advanced countries people recognize that the bourgeois freedom, democracy and justice are predicated on income. Regardless of whether the regime operates under a pluralistic neoliberal regime or rightwing populist one, the former much more tolerant of diversity than the latter, the social contract goals are the same. In peoples' lives around the world social exploitation has risen under neoliberal policies whether imposed the nation-state, a larger entity such as the EU, or international organizations such as the IMF. Especially for the European and US middle class, but also for Latin American and African nations statistics show that the neoliberal social contract has widened the poor-rich gap.
In a world where the eight wealthiest individuals own as much wealth as the bottom 50% or 3.6 billion people, social exploitation and oppression has become normal because the mainstream institutions present it in such light to the world and castigate anyone critical of institutionalized exploitation and oppression. Rightwing populist demagogues use nationalism, cultural conservatism and vacuous rhetoric about the dangers of big capital and 'liberal elites' to keep the masses loyal to the social contract by faulting the pluralist-liberal politicians rather than the neoliberal social contract. As the neoliberal political economy has resulted in a steady rising income gap and downward social mobility in the past three decades, it is hardly surprising that a segment of the masses lines behind rightwing populist demagogues walking a thin line between bourgeois democracy and Fascism.
(Alan Wertheimer, Exploitation , 1999; Ruth J. Sample, Exploitation; What is it and why it is Wrong , 2003; http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/31/investing/wells-fargo-fake-accounts/index.html ; https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/5/14/1662227/-Was-suicide-of-Deutsche-Bank-executive-linked-to-Trump-and-Russia-money-laundering
Seizing power from sovereign states, multinational corporation are pursuing neoliberal policy objectives on a world scale, prompting resistance to the neoliberal social contract which rarely class-based and invariably identity-group oriented manifested through environmental, gender, race, ethnicity, gay, religious and minority groups of different sorts. Regardless of the relentless media campaign to suppress class consciousness, workers are aware that they have common interests and public opinion studies reveal as much. (Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns: How Global Corporations are seizing Power , 2015)
According to the Pew Research center, the world average for satisfaction with their governments are at 46%, the exact percentage as in the US that ranks about the same as South Africa and much lower than neighboring Canada at 70% and Sweden at 79%. " Publics around the globe are generally unhappy with the functioning of their nations' political systems. Across the 36 countries asked the question, a global median of 46% say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the way their democracy is working, compared with 52% who are not too or not at all satisfied. Levels of satisfaction vary considerably by region and within regions. Overall, people in the Asia-Pacific region are the most happy with their democracies. At least half in five of the six Asian nations where this question was asked express satisfaction. Only in South Korea is a majority unhappy (69%).
As confounding as it appears that elements of the disillusioned middle class and working class opt either for the exploitation of pluralist neoliberalism or the exploitation and oppression of rightwing populism expressed somewhat differently in each country, it is not difficult to appreciate the immediacy of a person's concerns for survival like all other species above all else. The assumption of rational behavior in the pursuit of social justice is a bit too much to expect considering that people make irrational choices detrimental to their best interests and to society precisely because the dominant culture has thoroughly indoctrinated them. It seems absurd that indirectly people choose exploitation and oppression for themselves and others in society, but they always have as the dominant culture secular and religious indoctrinates them into accepting exploitation and oppression. (Shaheed Nick Mohammed, Communication and the Globalization of Culture , 2011)
Throughout Western and Eastern Europe rightwing political parties are experiencing a resurgence not seen since the interwar era, largely because the traditional conservatives moved so far to the right. Even the self-baptized Socialist parties are nothing more than staunch advocates of the same neoliberal status quo as the traditional conservatives. The US has also moved to the right long before the election of Donald Trump who openly espouses suppression of certain fundamental freedoms as an integral part of a pluralistic society. As much as in the US and Europe as in the rest of the world, analysts wonder how could any working class person champion demagogic political leaders whose vacuous populist rhetoric promises 'strong nation" for all but their policies benefit the same socioeconomic elites as the neoliberal politicians.(J. Rydgren (Ed.), Class Politics and the Radical Right , 2012)
Rooted onclassical liberal values of the Enlightenment, the political and social elites present a social contract that is theoretically all-inclusive and progressive, above all 'fair' because it permits freedom to compete, when in reality the social structure under which capitalism operates necessarily entails exploitation and oppression that makes marginalization very clear even to its staunchest advocates who then endeavor to justify it by advancing theories about individual human traits.
In 2012 the United States spent an estimated 19.4% of GDP on such social expenditures, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based industrial country think tank. Denmark spent 30.5%, Sweden 28.2% and Germany 26.3%. All of these nations have a lower central government debt to GDP ratio than that of the United States. Why the United States invests relatively less in its social safety net than many other countries and why those expenditures are even at risk in the current debate over debt reduction reflect Americans' conflicted, partisan and often contradictory views on fairness, inequality, the role and responsibility of government and individuals in society and the efficacy of government action. Rooted in value differences, not just policy differences, the debate over the U.S. social contract is likely to go on long after the fiscal cliff issue has been resolved." http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/01/15/public-attitudes-toward-the-next-social-contract/
The neoliberal model of capitalism spewing forth from core countries to the periphery and embraced by capitalists throughout the world has resulted in greater social inequality, exploitation and oppression, despite proclamations that by pluralist-diversity neoliberals presenting themselves as remaining true to 'democracy'. The tilt to the right endorsed at the ballot box by voters seeking solutions to systemic problems and a more hopeful future indicates that some people demand exclusion and/or punishment of minority social groups in society, as though the exploitation and oppression of 'the other' would vicariously elevate the rest of humanity to a higher plane. Although this marks a dangerous course toward authoritarianism and away from liberal capitalism and Karl Popper's 'Open Society' thesis operating in a pluralistic world against totalitarianism, it brings to surface the essence of neoliberalism which is totalitarian, the very enemy Popper and his neoconservative followers were allegedly trying to prevent. (Calvin Hayes, Popper, Hayek and the Open Society , 2009)
Social Exclusion, Popular Resistanceand the Future of Neoliberalism
Every sector of society from the criminal justice system to elderly care has been impacted by neoliberal social marginalization. More significant than any other aspect of neoliberalism, the creation of a chronic debtor classwithout any assets is floating a step above the structurally unemployed and underemployed.The Industrial revolution exacerbated social exclusion producing an underclass left to its own fate by a state that remained faithful to the social contract's laissez philosophy. Composed of vagrants, criminals, chronically unemployed, and people of the streets that British social researcher Henry Mayhew described in London Labour and the London Poor , a work published three years after the revolutions of 1848 that shattered the liberal foundations of Europe, the lumpenproletariat caught the attention of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels ( The German Ideology ) interested in the industrial working class movement as the vanguard of the revolution.
Lacking a class consciousness thus easily exploited by the elites the lumpenproletariat were a product of industrial capitalism's surplus labor that kept wages at or just above subsistence levels, long before European and American trade union struggles were able to secure a living wage.In the last four decades neoliberal policies have created a chronic debtor working class operating under the illusion of integration into the mainstream when in fact their debtor status not only entails social exclusion but relegated to perpetual servitude dependence and never climbing out of it. The neoliberal state is the catalyst to the creation of this new class. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-20/a-164-year-old-idea-helps-explain-the-huge-changes-sweeping-the-world-s-workforce
In an essay entitled "Labour Relations and Social Movements in the 21st Century"
Portuguese social scientists Elísio Estanque and Hermes Augusto Costa argue that the manner that neoliberalism has impacted Europe's social structure in both core and periphery countries has given rise to the new precarious working class, often college-degreed, overqualified, and struggling to secure steady employment especially amid recessionary cycles that last longer and run deeper.
"The panorama of a deep economic crisis which in the last few decades has hit Europe and its Welfare state in particular has had an unprecedented impact on employment and social policies. The neoliberal model and the effects of deregulated and global finance not only question the "European social model" but push sectors of the labour force – with the youngest and well-qualified being prominent – into unemployment or precarious jobs. the sociological and potential socio-political significance of these actionsparticularly as a result of the interconnections that such movements express, both in the sphere of the workplace and industrial system or whether with broader social structures, with special emphasis on the middle classes and the threats of 'proletarianization' that presently hang over them. labour relations of our time are crossed by precariousness and by a new and growing "precariat" which also gave rise to new social movements and new forms of activism and protest." http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/34149/InTech-Labour_relations_and_social_movements_in_the_21st_century.pdf
'Proletarization' of the declining middle class and downward income pressure for the working class and middle classhas been accompanied by the creation of a growing chronic debtor class in the Western World. Symptomatic of the neoliberal globalist world order, the creation of the debtor class and more broadly social exclusion transcends national borders, ethnicity, gender, culture, etc. Not just at the central government level, but at the regional and local levels, public policy faithfully mimics the neoliberal model resulting in greater social exclusion while there is an effort to convince people that there is no other path to progress although people were free to search; a dogma similar to clerical intercession as the path to spiritual salvation. http://www.isreview.org/issues/58/feat-economy.shtml
The neoliberal path to salvation has resulted in a staggering 40% of young adults living with relatives out of financial necessity. The number has never been greater at any time in modern US history since the Great Depression, and the situation is not very different for Europe. Burdened with debt, about half of the unemployed youth are unable to find work and most that work do so outside the field of their academic training. According to the OECD, youth unemployment in the US is not confined only to high school dropouts but includes college graduates. Not just across southern Europe and northern Africa, but in most countries the neoliberal economy of massive capital concentration has created a new lumpenproletariat that has no assets and carries debt. Owing to neoliberal policies, personal bankruptcies have risen sharply in the last four decades across the Western World reflecting the downward social mobility and deep impact on the chronically indebted during recessionary cycles. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/53-of-recent-college-grads-are-jobless-or-underemployed-how/256237/ ; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/for-young-americans-living-with-their-parents-is-now-the-norm/ ; Iain Ramsay, Personal Insolvency in the 21st Century: A Comparative Analysis of the US and Europe, 2017)Historically, the safe assumption has been that higher education is the key to upward social mobility and financial security, regardless of cyclical economic trends. However, the laws of overproduction apply not only to commodities but to the labor force, especially as the information revolution continues to chip away at human labor. College education is hardly a guarantee to upward social mobility, but often a catalyst to descent into the debtor unemployed class,or minimum wage/seasonalpart time job or several such jobs. The fate of the college-educated falling into the chronic debtor class is part of a much larger framework, namely the 'financialization' of the economy that is at the core of neoliberalism. ( Vik Loveday, "Working-class participation, middle-class aspiration? Value, upward mobility and symbolic indebtedness in higher education."The Sociological Review , September 2014) Beyond the simplisticsuggestion of 'more training' to keep up with tech changes, the root cause of social exclusion and the chronic debtor class revolves around the 'financialization' of the neoliberal globalist economy around which central banks make monetary policy. Since the beginning of the Thatcher-Reagan era, advanced capitalist countries led by the US conducted policy to promote the centrality of financial markets as the core of the economy. This entails resting more on showing quarterly profit even at the expense of taking on debt, lower productivity and long-term sustainability, or even breaking a company apart and dismissing workers because it would add shareholder value. Therefore, the short-term financial motives and projection of market performance carry far more weight than any other consideration.
Symptomatic of a combination of deregulation and the evolution of capitalism especially in core countries from productive to speculative, financialization has transformed the world economy. Enterprises from insurance companies to brokerage firms and banks like Goldman Sachs involved in legal and quasi-legal practices, everything from the derivatives market to helping convert a country's sovereign debt into a surplus while making hefty profits has been part of the financialization economy that speeds up capital concentration and creates a wider rich-poor gap. Housing, health, pension systems, health care and personal consumption are all impacted by financialization that concentrates capital through speculation rather than producing anything from capital goods to consumer products and services. (Costas Lapavitsas, The Financialization of Capitalism: 'Profiting without producing' http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13604813.2013.853865
Billionaire speculator George Soros has observed that market speculation not only drives prices higher, especially of commodities on a world scale, but the inevitability of built-in booms and busts are disruptive simply because a small group of people have secured a legal means for capital accumulation. At the outbreak of the US stock market collapse followed by the 'great recession' of 2008, the European Network and Debt and Development (EURODAD) published an article critical of financialization and its impact on world hunger.
"Do you enjoy rising prices? Everybody talks about commodities – with the Agriculture Euro Fund you can benefit from the increase in value of the seven most important agricultural commodities." With this advertisement the Deutsche Bankt tried in spring 2008 to attract clients for one of its investment funds. At the same time, there were hunger revolts in Haiti, Cameroon and other developing countries, because many poor could no longer pay the exploding food prices. In fact, between the end of 2006 and March 2008 the prices for the seven most important commodities went up by 71 per cent on average, for rice and grain the increase was 126 per cent. The poor are most hit by the hike in prices. Whereas households in industrialised countries spend 10 -20 per cent for food, in low-income countries they spend 60 – 80 per cent. As a result, the World Bank forecasts an increase in the number of people falling below the absolute poverty line by more than 100 million. Furthermore, the price explosion has negative macroeconomic effects: deterioration of the balance of payment, fuelling inflation and new debt." http://eurodad.org/uploadedfiles/whats_new/news/food%20speculation%202%20pager%20final.pdf
Someone has to pay for the speculative nature of financialization, and the labor force in all countries is the first to do so through higher indirect taxes, cuts in social programs and jobs and wages for the sake of stock performance. Stock markets around which public policy is conducted have eroded the real economy while molding a culture of financialization of the last two generations a large percentage of which has been swimming in personal debt reflecting the debt-ridden financialization economy. Contrary to claims by politicians, business leaders and the media that the neoliberal system of financialization is all about creating jobs and helping to diffuse income to the middle class and workers, the only goal of financialization is wealth concentration while a larger debtor class and social marginalization are the inevitable results. It is hardly surprising that people world-wide believe the political economy is rigged by the privileged class to maintain its status and the political class is the facilitator. http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41359-financialization-has-turned-the-global-economy-into-a-house-of-cards-an-interview-with-gerald-epstein ; Costas Lapavitsa, Financialization in Crisis, 2013; Rona Foroohar, Makers and Takers: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street , 2016)
Despite efforts by pluralist and populist neoliberals throughout the world to use 'culture wars' and identity politics as distractionwhile deemphasizing the role of the state as the catalyst in the neoliberal social contract, the contradictions that the political economy exposes the truth about the socially unjustsociety that marginalizes the uneducated poor and college-educated indebted alike.Not to deemphasize the significance of global power distribution based on the Westphalian nation-state model and regional blocs such as the European Union, but neoliberals are the ones who insist on the obsolete nation-state that the international market transcends, thus acknowledging the preeminence of capitalism in the social contract and the subordination of national sovereignty to international capital and financialization of the economy. After all, the multinational corporation operating in different countries is accountable only to its stockholders, not to the nation-state whose role is to advance corporate interests.
No matter how rightwing populists try to distract people from the real cause of social exclusion and marginalization by focusing onnationalist rhetoric, marginalized social groups and Muslim or Mexican legal or illegal immigrantshave no voice in public policy but financialization speculators do. In an article entitled "The Politics of Public Debt: Neoliberalism, capitalist development, and the restructuring of the state", Wolfgang Streeck concludes that neoliberalism's systemic rewards provide a disincentive for capitalists to abandon financialization in favor of productivity. "Why should the new oligarchs be interested in their countries' future productive capacities and present democratic stability if, apparently, they can be rich without it, processing back and forth the synthetic money produced for them at no cost by a central bank for which the sky is the limit, at each stage diverting from it hefty fees and unprecedented salaries, bonuses and profits as long as it is forthcoming -- and then leave their country to its remaining devices and withdraw to some privately owned island?
An important difference between pluralists and rightwing populists in their approach to the state's role is that the former advocate for a strong legislative branch and weaker executive, while rightwing populists want a strong executive and weak legislative. However, both political camps agree about advancing market hegemony nationally and internationally and both support policies that benefit international and domestic capital, thus facilitating the convergence of capitalist class interests across national borders with the symptomatic results of social exclusion. ( http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718508000924 ; Vicente Navarro, "The Worldwide Class Struggle" https://monthlyreview.org/2006/09/01/the-worldwide-class-struggle/
Regardless of vacuous rhetoric about a weak state resulting from neoliberal policies, the state in core countries where financialization prevailshas been and remains the catalyst for class hegemony as has been the case since the nascent stage of capitalism. Both Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan strengthened the corporate welfare state while openly declaring war against trade unions and by extension on the working class that neoliberals demonize as the enemy of economic progress. As statistics below illustrate, the debtor class expanded rapidly after 1980 when the financialization economy took off, reaching its highest point after the subprime-induced great recession in 2008. Under neoliberal globalist policies, governments around the world followed theReagan-Thatcher model to facilitate over-accumulation of capital in the name of competition. (Montgomerie Johnna, Neoliberalism and the Making of the Subprime Borrower , 2010)
Whether the state is promoting neoliberal policies under a pluralist or authoritarian models, the neoliberal culture has designated labor as the unspoken enemy, especially organized labor regardless of whether the ruling parties have co-opted trade unions. In the struggle for capital accumulation under parasitic financialization policies, the state's view of labor as the enemy makes social conflict inevitable despite the obvious contradiction that the 'enemy-worker' is both the mass consumer on whom the economy depends for expansion and development. Despite this contradiction, neoliberals from firms such as Goldman Sachs has many of its former executives not just in top positions of the US government but world-wide, no matter who is in power. Neoliberal policy resulting in social exclusion starts with international finance capitalism hiding behind the pluralist and rightwing populist masks of politicians desperately vying for power to conduct public policy.
Just as the serfs were aware in the Middle Ages that Lords and Bishops determined the fate of all down here on earth before God in Heaven had the last word, people today realize the ubiquitous power of capitalists operating behind the scenes, and in some case as with Trump in the forefront of public-policy that results in social exclusion and rising inequality in the name of market fundamentalism promising to deliver the benefits to all people. Neoliberalism has created a chronicdebtor class that became larger after the 2008 recession and will continue growing with each economic contracting cycle in decades to come. Despite its efforts to keep one step ahead of bankruptcy, the identity of the new chronic debtor class rests with the neoliberal status quo, often with the rightwing populist camp that makes rhetorical overtures to the frustrated working classthat realize financialization benefits a small percentage of wealthy individuals.
Personal debt has skyrocketed, reaching $12.58 trillion in the US in 2016, or 80% of GDP. The irony is that the personal debt level is 2016 was the highest since the great recession of 2008 and it is expected to continue much higher, despite the economic recovery and low unemployment. Wage stagnation and higher costs of health, housing and education combined with higher direct and indirect taxes to keep public debt at manageable levels will continue to drive more people into the debtor class. Although some European countries such as Germany and France have lower household debt relative to GDP, all advanced and many developing nations have experienced a sharp rise in personal debt because of deregulation, privatization, and lower taxes on the wealthy with the burden falling on the mass consumer. Hence the creation of a permanent debtor class whose fortunes rest on maintaining steady employment and/or additional part-time employment to meet loan obligations and keep one step ahead of declaring bankruptcy. Austerity policies imposed either by the government through tight credit in advanced capitalist countries or IMF loan conditionality in developing and semi-developed nations the result in either case is lower living standards and a rising debtor class. http://fortune.com/2017/02/19/america-debt-financial-crisis-bubble/
Maurizio Lazzarato's The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition argues that neoliberalism has created a debtor-creditorrelationship which has supplanted the worker-capitalist dichotomy, an argument that others focusing on the financialization of the economy have made as well. Although in Keynesian economics public and private debt was a stimulant for capitalist growth amid the contracting cycle of the economy, the neoliberal era created the permanent chronic debtor class that finds it difficult to extricate itself from that status. Evident after the deep recession of the subprime-financialization-induced recession in 2008, this issue attracted the attention of some politicians and political observers who realized theconvergence of the widening debtor class with the corresponding widening of the rich-poor income gap.
By making both private and public debt, an integral part of the means of production, the neoliberal system has reshaped social life and social relationships because the entire world economy is debt-based. Servicing loans entails lower living standards for the working class in advanced capitalist countries, and even lower in the rest of the world, but it also means integrating the debtor into the system more closely than at any time in history. While it is true that throughout the history of civilization human beings from China and India to Europe have used various systems of credit to transact business (David Graeber, Debt: the First 5000 Years , 2014), no one would suggest reverting back to debt-slavery as part of the social structure. Yet, neoliberalism has created the 'indebted man' as part of a policythat has resulted in social asymmetrical power,aiming to speed up capital accumulation and maintain market hegemony in society while generating greater social exclusion. https://marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks/reviews/2013/87E0
Ever since the British Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, followed by a number of other European governments in the early 1800s, there was an assumption that slave labor is inconsistent with free labor markets as well as with the liberal social contract rooted in individual freedom. Nevertheless, at the core of neoliberal capitalismUS consumer debt as of October 2017 stood at $3.8 trillion in a 419 trillion economy. Debt-to-personal income ratio is at 160%; college student debt runs at approximately $1.5 trillion, with most of that since 2000; mortgage debt has tripled since 1955, with an alarming 8 million people delinquent on their payments and the foreclosure rate hovering at 4.5% or three times higher than postwar average; consumer debt has risen 1,700 since 1971 to above $1 trillion, and roughly half of Americans are carrying monthly credit debt with an average rate of 14%. The debt problem is hardly better for Europe where a number of countries have a much higher personal debt per capita than the US.In addition to personal debt, public debt has become a burden on the working class in so far as neoliberal politicians and the IMF are using as a pretext to impose austerity conditions, cut entitlements and social programs amid diminished purchasing power because of inflationary asset values and higher taxes. https://www.thebalance.com/consumer-debt-statistics-causes-and-impact-3305704 ; https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/business/dealbook/household-debt-united-states.html
While personal debt is often but not always a reflection of a consumerist society, personal debt encompasses everything from education to health care costs in times when the digital/artificial intelligence economy is creating a surplus labor force that results in work instability and asymmetrical social relations. Technology-automation-induced unemployment driving down living standards creates debtor-workers chasing the technology to keep up with debt payments in order to survive until the next payment is due. Considering the financial system backed by a legal framework is established to favor creditors, especially given the safeguards and protections accorded to creditors in the past four decades, there are many blatant and overt ways that the state uses to criminalize poverty and debt. In 2015, for example, Montana became the first state not to take the driver's license of those delinquent on their student debt, thus decriminalizing debt in this one aspect, though hardly addressing the larger issue of the underlying causes of debt and social exclusion. https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:4b8gtht779 ; https://lumpenproletariat.org/tag/neoliberalism/
In an article entitled "Torturing the Poor, German-Style" , Thomas Klikauer stressed that the weakening of the social welfare state took place under the Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green Party coalition (1998-2005) government pursuing pluralist neoliberal policies. Although historically the SPD had forged a compromise that would permit for the social inclusion of labor into the institutional mainstream, by the 1990s, theSPD once rooted in socialism had fully embraced neoliberalism just as the British Labour Party and all socialist partiers of Europe pursuing social exclusion. Klilauer writes: "Germany's chancellor [Gerhard] Schröder (SPD) –known as the "Comrade of the Bosses"– no longer sought to integrate labour into capitalism, at least not the Lumpenproletariat or precariate . These sections of society are now deliberately driven into mass poverty, joining the growing number of working poor on a scale not seen in Germany perhaps since the 1930s." https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/20/torturing-the-poor-german-style/
No different than working class people in other countries need more than one job to keep up with debt and living expenses, so do three million Germans (rising from 150,000 in 2003) that have the privilege of living in Europe's richest nation. Just as the number of the working poor has been rising in Germany, so have they across the Western World. Social exclusion and the expansion of the debtor class in Germany manifested itself in the national elections of 2017 where for the first time since the interwar era a political party carrying the legacy of Nazism, the Alternative fur Deutchland (AfD), founded by elite ultra-conservatives, captured 13% of the vote to become third-largest party and giving a voice of neo-Nazis who default society's neoliberal ills to Muslims and immigrants. Rejecting the link between market fundamentalism that both the SPD and German conservatives pursued in the last three decades, neoliberal apologists insist that the AfD merely reflects a Western-wide anti-Muslim trend unrelated to social exclusion and the policies that have led to Germany's new lumpenproletariat and working poor. https://crimethinc.com/2017/10/01/the-rise-of-neo-fascism-in-germany-alternative-fur-deutschland-enters-the-parliament ; https://www.jku.at/icae/content/e319783/e319785/e328125/wp59_ger.pdf
Interestingly, US neoliberal policies also go hand-in-hand with Islamophobia and the war on terror under both Democrat and Republican administrations, although the pluralist-diversity neoliberals have been more careful to maintain a politically-correct rhetoric. Just as in Germany and the rest of Europe, there is a direct correlation in the US between the rise in social exclusion ofMuslim and non-Muslim immigrants and minorities and the growing trend of rightwing populism. There is no empirical foundationto arguments that rightwing populism whether in Germany or the US has no historical roots and it is unconnected both to domestic and foreign policies. Although the neoliberal framework in which rightwing populism operates and which creates social exclusion and the new chronic debtor class clashes with neoliberal pluralism that presents itself as democratic, structural exploitation is built into the social contract thus generating grassroots opposition.
Grassroots Resistance to Neoliberalism
Even before the great recession of 2008, there were a number of grassrootsgroups against neoliberal globalism both in advanced and developing nations. Some found expression in social media, others at the local level focused on the impact of neoliberal policies in the local community, and still others attempted to alter public policy through cooperation with state entities and/or international organizations. The most important anti-neoliberal grassroots organizations have been in Brazil ( Homeless Workers' Movement and Landless Workers' Movement), South Africa (Abahlali baseMjondolo, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, Landless Peoples' Movement), Mexico (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), Haiti (Fanmi Lavalas) and India (Narmada Bachao Andolan).
The vast majority of organizations claiming to be fighting against neoliberal policies are appendages either of the pluralist or the rightwing populist political camp both whose goal is to co-opt the masses as part of their popular base. The anti-globalization movement and by implication anti-neoliberal includes elements from the entire political spectrum from left to ultra-right. From India, to Bangladesh, from South Africa to Brazil, and from the US, France, and the UK, working class resistance to neoliberal globalism has been directly or indirectly co-opted and often de-politicized by corporate-funded or government-funded NGOs and by 'reformist' local and international organizations.
https://ssir.org/articles/entry/a_neoliberal_takeover_of_social_entrepreneurship ; http://anticsr.com/ngos-csr/
By promoting measures invariably in the lifestyle domain but also some social welfare and civil rights issues such as women's rights, renter's rights, etc, the goals of organizations operating within the neoliberal structure is not social inclusion by altering the social contract, but sustaining the status quo by eliminating popular opposition through co-optation. It is hardly a coincidence that the rise of the thousands of NGOs coincided with the rise of neoliberalism in the 1990s, most operating under the guise of aiding the poor, protecting human rights and the environment, and safeguarding individualism. Well-funded by corporations, corporate foundations and governments, NGOs are the equivalent of the 19 th century missionaries, using their position as ideological preparatory work for Western-imposed neoliberal policies. http://socialistreview.org.uk/310/friends-poor-or-neo-liberalism ; https://zeroanthropology.net/2014/08/28/civil-society-ngos-and-saving-the-needy-imperial-neoliberalism/
On the receiving end of corporate and/or government-funded NGOs promoting the neoliberal agenda globally, some leading grassroots movements that advocate changing the neoliberal status quo contend that it is better to 'win' on a single issue such as gay rights, abortion, higher minimum wage, etc. at the cost of co-optation into neoliberal system than to have nothing at all looking in from the outside. Their assumption is that social exclusion can be mitigated one issue at a time through reform from within the neoliberal institutional structure that grassroots organizations deem as the enemy. This is exactly what the pluralist neoliberals are promoting as well to co-opt grassroots opposition groups.
Partly because governmental and non-governmental organizations posing as reformist have successfully co-opted grassroots movements often incorporating them into the neoliberal popular base, popular resistance has not been successful despite social media and cell phones that permit instant communication. This was certainly the case with the Arab Spring uprisings across North Africa-Middle East where genuine popular opposition to neoliberal policies of privatization, deregulation impacting everything from health care toliberalizing rent controls led to the uprising. In collaboration with the indigenous capitalists, political and military elites, Western governments directly and through NGOs were able to subvert and then revert to neoliberal policies once post-Arab Spring regimes took power in the name of 'reform' invariably equated with neoliberal policies. https://rs21.org.uk/2014/10/06/adam-hanieh-on-the-gulf-states-neoliberalism-and-liberation-in-the-middle-east/
In "Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor" Jim Yong Kim ed., 2000) contributing authors illustrate in case studies of several countries how the neoliberal status quo has diminished the welfare of billions of people in developing nations for the sake of growth that simply translates into even greater wealth concentration and misery for the world's poor. According to the study: "100 countries have undergone grave economic decline over the past three decades. Per capita income in these 100 countries is now lower than it was 10, 15, 20 or in some cases even 30 years ago. In Africa, the average household consumes 20 percent less today than it did 25 years ago. Worldwide, more than 1 billion people saw their real incomes fall during the period 1980-1993." http://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v13/2/imf.html
Anti-neoliberal groups assume different forms, depending on the nation's history, social and political elites, the nature of institutions and the degree it has been impacted by neoliberal policies that deregulate and eliminate as much of the social safety net as workers will tolerate. Even the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) that experienced rapid growth from the early 1990s until the great recession of 2008 have not escaped mass opposition to neoliberalism precisely because the impact on workers and peasants has been largely negative. https://www.cpim.org/views/quarter-century-neo-liberal-economic-policies-unending-distress-and-peasant-resistance ; Juan Pablo Ferrero, Democracy against Neoliberalism in Argentina and Brazil, 2014; Mimi Abramovitz and Jennifer Zelnick, " Double Jeopardy: The Impact of Neoliberalism on Care Workers in the United States and South Africa" , http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/HS.40.1.f
Grassroots organizations opposed to policies that further integrate their countries into the world economy and marginalize the working class have been especially persistent in South Africa, Brazil, and India. To assuage if not co-opt the masses the BRICS followed a policy mix that combines neoliberalism, aspects of social welfare and statism. Combined with geopolitical opposition to US-NATO militarism and interventionism, the BRICS policies were an attempt to keep not just the national bourgeois loyal but the broader masses by projecting a commitment to national sovereignty.
In Brazil, India and South Africa internal and external corporate pressure along with US, EU, and IMF-World Bank pressures have been especially evident to embrace neoliberal policies and confront grassroots opposition rather than co-opt it at the cost of making concessions to labor. Considering that the development policies of the BRICS in the last three decades of neoliberal globalism accommodated domestic and foreign capital and were not geared to advance living standards for the broader working class and peasantry, grassroots opposition especially in Brazil, India and South Africa where the state structure is not nearly as powerful as in Russia and China manifested itself in various organizations.
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12129 ; Walden Bello, The BRICS: Challenges to the Global Status Quo" , in https://www.thenation.com/article/brics-challengers-global-status-quo/
One of the grassroots organizations managing to keep its autonomy is Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST)skillfully remaining independent of both former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. Although the MST supported some policies of theformer presidents who presented themselves as champions of labor rather than capital, both Lula and Rousseff made substantial policy compromises with the neoliberal camp and were eventually implicated in corruption scandals revealing opportunism behind policy-making. While the record of their policies on the poor speaks for itself, the Lula-Rousseff era of Partido dos Trabalhadores was an improvement over previous neoliberal president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2003). https://monthlyreview.org/2017/02/01/the-brazilian-crisis/
The MST persisted with the struggle against neoliberal policies that have contributed to rising GDP heavily concentrated among the national and comprador bourgeoisie and foreign corporations. Other Latin American grassroots movements have had mixed results not much better than those in Brazil. Ecuador under president Rafael Correa tried to co-opt the leftby yielding on some policy issues as did Lula and Rousseff, while pursuing a neoliberal development model as much as his Brazilian counterparts. With its economy thoroughly integrated into the US economy, Mexico is a rather unique case where grassroots movements against neoliberalism are intertwined with the struggle against official corruption and the narco-trade resulting in the assassination of anti-neoliberal, anti-drug activists. (William Aviles, The Drug War in Mexico: Hegemony and Global Capitalism ;
Anti-neoliberal resistance in the advanced countries has not manifested itself as it has in the developing nations through leftist movements such as South Africa's Abahlali baseMjondolo or Latin American trade unions that stress a working class philosophy of needs rather than the one of rights linked to middle class property and identity politics. https://roarmag.org/essays/south-africa-marikana-anc-poor/ Popular resistance to neoliberalism in the US has been part of the anti-globalization movement that includes various groups from environmentalists to anti-IMF-World Bank and anti-militarism groups.
Although there are some locally based groups like East Harlem-based Justice in El Barrio representing immigrants and low-income people, there is no national anti-neoliberal movement. Perhaps because of the war on terror, various anti-establishment pro-social justice groups assumed the form of bourgeois identity politics of both the Democratic Party and the Republican where some of the leaders use rightwing populism as an ideological means to push through neoliberal policies while containing grassroots anger resulting from social exclusion and institutional exploitation. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/the-legacy-of-anti-globalization
Black Lives Matter revolving around the systemic racism issue and Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist group fell within the left orbit of the Democratic Party (Senator Bernie Sanders) who is an advocate of the pluralist-diversity model, opposes market fundamentalism,and proposes maintaining some vestiges of the Keynesian welfare state. With the exception of isolated voices by a handful of academics and some criticsusing social media as a platform, there is no anti-neoliberal grassroots movement that Democrats or Republicans has not successfully co-opted. Those refusing to be co-opted are invariably dismissed as everything from idealists to obstructionists. Certainlythere is nothing in the US like the anti-neoliberal groups in Brazil, India, Mexico, or South Africa operating autonomously and resisting co-optation by political parties. The absence of such movements in the US is a testament to the strong state structure andthe institutional power of the elites in comparison with many developing nations and even some parts of Europe. https://www.salon.com/2015/08/15/black_lives_matter_joins_a_long_line_of_protest_movements_that_have_shifted_public_opinion_most_recently_occupy_wall_street/
As an integrated economic bloc, Europe follows uniform neoliberal policies using as leverage monetary and trade policy but also the considerable EU budget at its disposal for subsidies and development. A number of European trade unions and leftist popular groups fell into the trap of following either Socialist or centrist parties which are pluralist neoliberal and defend some remnants of Keynesianism. Those disillusioned with mainstream Socialist Parties pursue the same neoliberal policies of social exclusion as the conservatives fell in line behind newly formed non-Communist reformist parties (PODEMOS in Spain, SYRIZA in Greece, for example) with a Keynesian platform and socialist rhetoric.
As the government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras proved once in power in 2015, self-baptized 'leftist' parties areleftist in rhetoric only. When it comes to policy they are as neoliberal as the opposition they criticize; even more dangerous because they have deceived people to support them as the alternative to neoliberal conservatives. Because grassroots movements andthe popular base of political parties that promise 'reform' to benefit the masses are co-opted by centrists, center-left or rightwing political parties, social exclusion becomes exacerbated leading to disillusionment.
Consequently,people hoping for meaningful change become apathetic or they become angry and more radicalized often turning to rightwing political parties. Although there is a long-standing history of mainstream political parties co-opting grassroots movements, under neoliberalism the goal is to shape them intoan identity politics mold under the pluralist or rightwing populist camp. Behind the illusion of choice and layers of bourgeois issues ranging from property rights and individual rights rests a totalitarian system whose goal is popular compliance. https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/eliane-glaser/elites-right-wing-populism-and-left ;
'De-democratization' under Neoliberalism
More subtly and stealthily interwoven into the institutional structure than totalitarian regimes of the interwar era, neoliberal totalitarianism has succeeded not because of the rightwing populist political camp but because of the pluralist one that supports both militarism in foreign affairs and police-state methods at home as a means of maintaining the social order while projecting the façade of democracy. Whereas the neoliberal surveillance state retains vestiges of pluralism and the façade of electoral choice, the police state in interwar Germany and Italy pursued blatant persecution of declared ideological dogmatism targeting 'enemies of the state' and demanding complete subjugation of citizens to theregime. Just as people were manipulated in interwar Europeinto accepting the totalitarian state as desirable and natural, so are many in our time misguided into supporting neoliberal totalitarianism.
In her book entitled Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (2015), Wendy Brown argues that not just in the public sector, but in every sector of society neoliberal ideology of 'de-democratization' prevails. Extensions of a hierarchical economic system rather than citizens with civil and human rights guaranteed by a social contract aimed at the welfare of the collective, human beings are more commoditized today than they were in the nascent phase of industrial capitalism. The kind of ubiquitous transformation of the individual's identity with the superstructure and the 'de-democratization' of society operating under massively concentrated wealth institutionally intertwined with political power in our contemporary erawas evident in totalitarian countries during the interwar era.
Whereas protest and resistance, freedom of expression and assembly were not permitted by totalitarian regimes in interwar Europe, they are permitted in our time. However, they are so marginalized and/or demonized when analyzing critically mainstream institutions and the social contract under which they operate that they are the stigmatizedas illegitimate opposition. Permitting freedom of speech and assembly, along with due process and electoral politicsbest servesneoliberal socioeconomic totalitarianism because its apologists can claim the system operates in an 'open society'; a term that Karl Popper the ideological father of neo-conservatism coined to differentiate the West from the former Communist bloc closed societies.
As Italian journalist Claudio Hallo put it: "If the core of neoliberalism is a natural fact, as suggested by the ideology already embedded deep within our collective psyche, who can change it? Can you live without breathing, or stop the succession of days and nights? This is why Western democracy chooses among the many masks behind which is essentially the same liberal party. Change is not forbidden, change is impossible. Some consider this feature to be an insidious form of invisible totalitarianism. " https://www.rt.com/op-edge/171240-global-totalitarianism-change-neoliberalism/
Post-modern consumerist culture has inculcated into peoples' minds that they have never been so free yet they have never felt so helpless, as Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman has commented. Freedom is quantitatively measured based on materialist criteria at the individual rather than collective level and at a cost not just to the rest of society but to one's humanity and any sense of social responsibility sacrificed in the quest for atomistic pursuit.Not only the media, but government at all levels, educational institutions and the private sector incessantly reinforce the illusion of individual freedom within the context of the neoliberal totalitarian institutional structure. This is a sacred value above all others, including knowledge, creativity, and the welfare of society as a whole (public interest supplanted by private profit), as though each individual lives alone on her/his planet. https://thehumanist.com/magazine/march-april-2015/arts_entertainment/what-about-me-the-struggle-for-identity-in-a-market-based-society ; https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/04/american-nightmare-the-depravity-of-neoliberalism/ ; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/neoliberalism-economic-system-ethics-personality-psychopathicsthic ; https://www.academia.edu/28509196/Neoliberal_Illusions_of_Freedom
In an essay entitled "The unholy alliance of neoliberalism and postmodernism" , Hans van Zon argues that as the Western World'sdominant ideologies since the 1980s, "undermine the immune system of society, neoliberalism by commercialization of even the most sacred domains and postmodernism by its super-relativism and refusal to recognize any hierarchy in value or belief systems." http://www.imavo.be/vmt/13214-van%20Zon%20postmodernism.pdf . Beyond undermining society's immune system and the open society under capitalism, asHans van Zon contends, the convergence of these ideologies have contributed to the 'de-democratization' of society,the creation of illiberal institutions and collective consciousness of conformity to neoliberal totalitarianism. The success of neoliberalism inculcated into the collective consciousness is partly because of the long-standing East-West confrontation followed by the manufactured war on terror. However, it is also true that neoliberal apologists of both the pluralist and rightwing camp present the social contract as transcending politics because markets are above states, above society as 'objective' thus they can best determine the social good on the basis of commoditized value. (Joshua Ramsay, "Neoliberalism as Political Theology of Chance: the politics of divination." https://www.nature.com/articles/palcomms201539
An evolutionary course, the 'de-democratization' of society started in postwar US that imposed transformation policy on the world with the goal of maintaining its economic, political, military and cultural superpower hegemony justified in the name of anti-Communism. Transformation policy was at the root of the diffusion of the de-democratization process under neoliberalism, despite the European origin of the ideology. As it gradually regained its status in the core of the world economy after the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, northwest Europe followed in the path of the US. http://www.eurstrat.eu/the-european-neoliberal-union/
Ten years before the Treaty of Rome that created the EEC,Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek gathered a number of scholars in Mont Pelerin where they founded the neoliberal society named after the Swiss village. They discussed strategies of influencing public policy intended to efface the Keynesian model on which many societies were reorganized to survive the Great Depression. Financed by some of Europe's wealthiest families, the Mont Pelerin Society grew of immense importance after its first meeting which coincided with the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act, the Truman Doctrine formalizing the institutionalization of the Cold War, and the Marshall Plan intended to reintegrate Europe and its colonies and spheres of influence under the aegis of the US. Helped along by the IMF, World Bank, and the International Agreement on Tariffs and Trade established in 1947, US transformation policy was designed to shape the world to its own geopolitical and economic advantage based on a neo-classical macroeconomic and financial theoretical model on which neoliberal ideology rested. http://fpif.org/from_keynesianism_to_neoliberalism_shifting_paradigms_in_economics/
Considering that millionaires and billionaires providefunding for the Mont Pelerin Society and affiliates, this prototype neoliberal think tank became the intellectual pillar of both the pluralist and rightwing neoliberal camps by working with 460 think tanks that have organizations in 96 countries where they influence both centrist and rightwing political parties. Whether Hillary Clinton's and Emmanuel Macron's pluralist neoliberal globalist version or Donald Trump's and Narendra Modi's rightwing populist one, the Mont Pelerin Society and others sharing its ideology and goals exercise preeminent policy influence not on the merit of its ideas for the welfare of society but because the richest people from rightwing Czech billionaire Andrej Babisto liberal pluralist billionaireseither support its principles and benefit from their implementation into policy. (J. Peterson, Revoking the Moral Order: The Ideology of Positivism and the Vienna Circle , 1999; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/rise-of-the-davos-class-sealed-americas-fate
If the neoliberal social contract is the answer to peoples' prayers world-wide as Hayek's followers insist, why is there a need on the part of the state, international organizations including UN agencies, billionaire and millionaire-funded think tanks, educational institutions and the corporate and state-owned media to convince the public that there is nothing better for society than massive capital concentration and social exclusion, and social conditions that in some respects resemble servitude in Medieval Europe? Why do ultra-rightwing Koch brothers and the Mercer family, among other billionaires and millionaires fromNorth America, Europe, India, South Korea and Latin America spend so much money to inculcate the neoliberal ideology into the collective consciousness andto persuade the public to elect neoliberal politicians either of the pluralist camp or the authoritarian one?
http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-bloomberg-forbes-rupert-murdoch-billionaires-2011-3 ; https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/no-one-knows-what-the-powerful-mercers-really-want/514529/
Seventy years after Hayek formed the Mont Leperin Societyto promotea future without totalitarianism, there are elected neoliberal politicians from both the pluralist and authoritarian camps with ties to big capital and organized crime amid the blurring lines between legal and illegal economic activities that encompasses everything from crypto-currency and insider trading to offshore 'shell corporations' and banks laundering money for drug lords and wealthy tax evaders. Surrender of popular sovereignty through the social contract now entails surrender to a class of people who are criminals, not only based on a social justice criteria but on existing law if it were only applied to them as it does to petty thieves. In the amoral Machiavellian world of legalized "criminal virtue" in which we live these are the leaders of society.Indicative of the perversion of values now rooted in atomism and greed, the media reports with glowingly admiring terms that in 2017 the world's 500 richest people became richer by $1 trillion, a rise that represents one-third of Africa's GDP and just under one-fifth of Latin America's. Rather than condemning mal-distribution ofincome considering what it entails for society, the media and many in the business of propagating for neoliberalism applaud appropriation within the legal framework of the social contract as a virtue. http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/500-richest-people-became-1-trillion-richer-in-2017-mukesh-ambani-tops-indian-list/story-JcNXhH9cCp2pzRopkoFdfL.html ; Bob Brecher, "Neoliberalism and its Threat to Moral Agency" in Virtue and Economy . ed. Andrius Bielskis and Kelvin Knight, 2015)
Neoliberalism has led to the greater legitimization of activities that would otherwise be illegal to the degree that the lines between the legitimate economy and organized criminal activity are blurred reflecting the flexible lines between legally-financed millionaire-backed elected officials and those with links to organized crime or to illegal campaign contributions always carrying an illegal quid-pro-quo legalized through public policy. Beyond the usual tax-haven suspects Panama, Cyprus, Bermuda, Malta, Luxemburg, among othersincluding states such as Nevada and Wyoming, leaders from former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to President Donald Trump with reputed ties to organized criminal networks have benefited from the neoliberal regime that they served. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254953831_Economic_Crime_and_Neoliberal_Modes_of_Government_The_Example_of_the_Mediterranean )
Self-righteous pluralist neoliberals castigate rightwing billionaires for funding rightwing politicians. However, there is silence when it comes to the millions amassed by pluralist neoliberals as the infamous "Panama Papers" revealed in 2016. Despite the institutionalized kleptocracy, the mediahas indoctrinated the public to accept as 'normal' the converging interests of the capitalist class and ruling political class just as it has indoctrinated the public to accept social exclusion, social inequality, and poverty as natural and democratic; all part of the social contract.( http://revistes.uab.cat/tdevorado/article/view/v2-n1-armao ; Jose Manuel Sanchez Bermudez, The Neoliberal Pattern of Domination: Capital's Reign in Decline, 2012; https://www.globalresearch.ca/neoliberalisms-world-of-corruption-money-laundering-corporate-lobbying-drug-money/5519907
The Future of Neoliberalism
After the great recession of 2008, the future of neoliberalism became the subject of debate among politicians, journalists and academics. One school of thought was that the great recession had exposed the flaws in neoliberalism thus marking the beginning of its demise. The years since 2008 proved that in a twist of irony, the quasi-statist policies of China with its phenomenal growth have actually been responsible for sustaining neoliberalism globally and not just because China has been financing US public debt by buying treasuries while the US buys products made in China. This view holds that neoliberalism will continue to thrive so as long as China continues its global ascendancy, thus the warm reception to Beijing as the new globalist hegemonic power after Trump's noise about pursuing economic nationalism within the neoliberal model. (Barry Eichengreen, Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, the Great Recession and the Uses and Misuses of History , 2016; http://www.e-ir.info/2011/08/23/has-the-global-financial-crisis-challenged-us-power-in-international-finance/ )
China is not pursuing the kind of neoliberal model that exists in the US or the EU, but its economy is well integrated with the global neoliberal system and operates within those perimeters despite quasi-statist policies also found in other countries to a lesser degree. Adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), China's current share of world GDP stands at 16% and at annual growth above 6% it is expected to reach 20%, by 2020. This in comparison with only 1.9% in 1979 and it explains why its currency is now among the IMF-recognized reserved currencies. With about half-a-million foreign companies in China and an average of 12,000 new companies entering every day, capitalists from all over the world are betting heavily on China's future as the world's preeminent capitalist core country in the 21 st century. China will play a determining role in the course of global neoliberalism, and it is politically willing to accept the US as the military hegemon while Beijing strives for economic preeminence. Interested in extracting greater profits from China while tempering its race to number one, Western businesses and governmentshave been pressuring Beijing to become more immersed in neoliberal policies and eliminate all elements of statism. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-09/22/content_15775312.htm ; https://en.portal.santandertrade.com/establish-overseas/china/foreign-investment
Although the US that has 450,000 troops in 800 foreign military bases in more than 150 countries and uses its military muscle along with 'soft-power' policies including sanctions as leverage for economic power, many governments and multinational corporations consider Beijing not Washington as a source of global stability and growth. With China breathing new life into neoliberalism on the promise of geographic and social convergence, it is fantasy to speculate that neoliberalism is in decline when in fact it is becoming more forcefully ubiquitous. However, China like the West that had promised geographic and social convergence in the last four decades of neoliberalism will not be any more successful in delivering on such promises. The resultof such policies will continue to be greater polarization and social exclusion and greater uneven development, with China and multinationals investing in its enterprises becoming richer while the US will continue to use militarism as leverage to retain global economic hegemony rapidly eroding from its grip. ( http://www.businessinsider.com/us-military-deployments-may-2017-5 ; http://www.zapruderworld.org/welfare-state-decline-and-rise-neoliberalism-1980s-some-approaches-between-latin-americas-core-and ; Dic Lo, Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalization , 2012)
Between China and the US, the world can expect neoliberal globalization to continue under the pluralist and populist rightwing models in different countries with the two converging and reflecting the totalitarian essence of the system at its core.Characterized by rapid development and sluggish growth in Japan and Western core countries, neoliberal globalization has entailed lack of income convergence between the developed and developing world where uneven export-oriented growth based on the primary sector keeps developingnations perpetually dependent and poor. Interestingly, the trend of falling incomes characteristic of the developing nations from 1980 to 2000 was just as true in Western countries. It was during these two decades of ascendant neoliberalism that rightwing populist movements began to challenge the pluralist neoliberal political camp and offering nationally-based neoliberal solutions, further adding to the system's existing contradictions. (Dic Lo, Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalization , 2012)
The debate whether the rise of populism or perhaps the faint voices of anti-capitalism will finally bring about the end of neoliberalism often centers on the digital-biotech revolution often blamed for exacerbating rather than solving social problems owing to uneven benefits accruing across social classes. It is somewhat surprising that IMF economists have questioned the wisdom of pursuing unfettered neoliberalism where there is a trade-off between economic growth andsocial exclusion owing to growing income inequality. Naturally, the IMF refrains from self-criticism and it would never suggest that neoliberal globalization that the Fund has been promoting is responsible for the rise of rightwing populism around the world.
Within the neoliberal camp, pluralist-diversity advocatesare satisfied they have done their part in the 'fight for democracy' when in fact their stealthy brand of the neoliberal social contract isin some respects more dangerous than the populist camp which is unapologetically candid about its pro-big business, pro-monopoly, pro-deregulation anti-social welfare platform. Shortly after Trump won the presidential election with the help of rightwing billionaires and disillusioned workers who actually believed that he represented them rather than the billionaires, an article appearing in the Christian Science Monitor is typical of how pluralist neoliberals view the global tide of rightwing populism.
"Worldwide, it has been a rough years for democracy. The UK, the United States and Colombia made critical decisions about their nations' future, and – at least from the perspective of liberal values and social justice – they decided poorly. Beyond the clear persistence of racism, sexism and xenophobia in people's decision-making, scholars and pundits have argued that to understand the results of recent popular votes, we must reflect on neoliberalism. International capitalism, which has dominated the globe for the past three decades, has its winners and its losers. And, for many thinkers, the losers have spoken. My fieldwork in South America has taught me that there are alternative and effective ways to push back against neoliberalism. These include resistance movements based on pluralism and alternative forms of social organisation, production and consumption." https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/Breakthroughs-Voices/2016/1206/Opposing-neoliberalism-without-right-wing-populism-A-Latin-American-guide
Without analyzing the deeper causes of the global tide of rightwing populism promoting neoliberalism under an authoritarian political platform, pluralist-diversity neoliberals continue to promote socioeconomic policies that lead to social exclusion, inequality, and uneven development as long as they satisfy the cultural-lifestyle and corporate-based sustainable-development aspects of the social contract.Tolend legitimacy and public acceptance among those expecting a commitment to pluralism, the neoliberal pluralists embrace the superficialities and distraction of diversity and political correctness. Ironically, the political correctness trend started during theReagan administration's second term and served as a substitute for social justice that the government and the private sector were rapidly eroding along with the social welfare state and trade union rights. As long as there is'politically correctness', in public at least so that people feel they are part of a 'civilized' society, then public policy can continue on the barbaric path of social exclusion, police-state methods, and greater economic inequality.
https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/fighting-trump-right-wing-populism-vs-neoliberalism/ ; http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2056305117733226
The future of neoliberalism includes the inevitability that social exclusion will lead to social uprisings especially as even some billionaires readily acknowledge the social contract favors them to the detriment of society. As the voices against systemic exploitation become louder,the likelihood will increase for authoritarian-police state policies if not regimes reflecting the neoliberal social contract's ubiquitous stranglehold on society. Although resistance to neoliberalism will continue to grow, the prospects for a social revolution in this century overturning the neoliberal order in advanced capitalist countries is highly unlikely. Twentieth century revolutions succeeded where the state structure was weak and people recognized that the hierarchical social order was the root cause of the chasm between the country's vast social exclusion coupled with stagnation vs. its potential for a more inclusive society where greater social equality and social justice would bean integral part of the social contract. (Donna L. Chollett, Neoliberalism, Social Exclusion, and Social Movements , 2013)
Despite everything pointing to the dynamics of a continued neoliberal social contract, diehard pluralists like British academic Martin Jacques and American economist Joseph Stiglitz insist there is hope for reformist change. In The Politics of Thatcherism (1983) Jacques applauded neoliberalism, but during the US presidential election in 2016 he had changed his mind, predicting neoliberalism's demise. He felt encouraged that other pluralist neoliberals like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz were voicing their concerns signaling an interest in the debate about social inequality. In an article entitled "The death of neoliberalism and the crisis in western politics" , he wrote: "A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers." https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/21/death-of-neoliberalism-crisis-in-western-politics
Along with Krugman, Stiglitz and others in the pluralist camp favoring a policy mix that includes Keynesianism,Martin Jacques, Thomas Picketty and others like them around the world doenjoy some small influence with the pluralist-diversity camp. However, the demise of neoliberalism will not result from intellectual critiques regardless of the merits. On the contrary, the neoliberal social contract is solidifying not evolving toward dissolution. This is largely because the dynamics of the social order continue to favor it and the opposition is split between ultra-right nationalists, pluralists of varying sorts resting on hope of restoring Keynesian rationalism in the capitalist system, and the very weak and divided leftists in just about every country and especially the core ones. https://theconversation.com/if-we-are-reaching-neoliberal-capitalisms-end-days-what-comes-next-72366
Neoliberalism's inherent contradictions will result in its demise andthe transition into a new phase of capitalism. Among the most obvious and glaring contradictions is that the ideology promotes freedom and emancipation when in practice it is a totalitarian system aimed to mold society and the individual into conformity of its dogmatic market fundamentalism.Another contradiction is the emphasis of a borderless global market, while capitalists operate within national borders and are impacted by national policies that often collide at the international level as the competition intensifies for market share just as was the case in the four decades before the outbreak of WWI. Adding to the list of contradictions that finds expression the debate between neoliberal rightwingers and pluralists is the issue of "value-free" market fundamentalism while at the same time neoliberals conduct policy that has very strong moral consequences in peoples' lives precisely because of extremely uneven income distribution.
The enigma in neoliberalism's futureis the role of grassroots movements that are in a position to impact change but have failed thus far to make much impact. Most people embrace the neoliberal political parties serving the same capitalist class, operating under the illusion of a messiah politician delivering the promise of salvation either from the pluralist or authoritarian wing of neoliberalism. The turning point for systemic change emanates from within the system that fails to serve the vast majority of the people as it is riddled with contradictions that become more evident and the elites become increasingly contentious about how to divide the economic pie and how to mobilize popular support behind mainstream political parties so they can maintain the social order under an unsustainable political economy. At that juncture, the neoliberal social contract suffersan irrevocable crisis of public confidence on a mass scale. Regardless under which political regime neoliberalism operates, people will eventually reject hegemonic cultural indoctrination. A critical mass in society has not reached this juncture. Nevertheless, social discontinuity is an evolutionary process and the contradictions in neoliberalism will continue to cause political disruption, economic disequilibrium and social upheaval.
Jon V. Kofas , Ph.D. – Retired university professor of history – author of ten academic books and two dozens scholarly articles. Specializing in International Political economy, Kofas has taught courses and written on US diplomatic history, and the roles of the World Bank and IMF in the world.Share this:
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April 30, 2018
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In "World" Tags: Economy , Neoliberalism 2 Comments
- David Anderson January 11, 2018 at 3:21 pm
Neo-Liberalism in America is an underlying political philosophy based on belief in the sanctity of personal "freedom" with the conviction that this freedom is expressed through self-determination. It extends back to the early settlement and then the writing of transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) who popularized the expression "self-reliance." In the recent American election it underlay the Donald Trump code words: "what makes America great again." Ronald Reagan took advantage of it with his derisive use of the term "welfare queens." It undergirds the foundation of today's Republican Party.
It will bring an end to the American experiment.
- sundar January 13, 2018 at 3:28 pm
Very well explained and educative. Attempts to present alternatives to present neoliberal econamics. But needs several readings to digest.
Sep 03, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
We Americans were traditionally divided politically and culturally by region. There is still some of that but the major fault lines are more fuzzy now.
1. The Establishment. This group was on parade during the McCain imperial procession across the lands. The sight of the supposedly mutually opposed Republicans and Democrats hobnobbing, backslapping, joking, hugging and passing around the bi-partisan mints while they waited for the stiff to be wheeled in was revealing. The cavernous nave of the pseudo-Gothic church was a perfect venue for this fête de joie. A window depicting Robert Lee looked down on this vast space until recently. That has been taken down to maintain amity between the Yankee and "Southern" wings of the establishment. The Episcopal Church of today has no use for such as he. I wonder if the masses who support "the middle" understand how cruelly they are deceived by the pretended mutual animosity of their "betters." The farce was on display last week.
2. The Neo-Bolsheviks. These people have been gathering their strength in the schools since the '60s. they have indoctrinated the young all this time with a hatred of capitalism, a contempt for American tradition to include the Constitution and a desire to see the country reduced to the status of Cambodia in the Year Zero. The spectacle of the disintegration of Venezuela after decades of socialist tinkering means nothing to them. This time we will get it right! This is their belief. Disillusioned communists told me all across what had been the Warsaw Pact that Communism was never given a fair chance to prove itself. The American Bolsheviki think they will get it right this time if they attain power. The original Bolsheviks seized power with how many members in the vanguard? 20,000? Tell me. The governments of New York, California and New Jersey are all seeking to accommodate the Neo-Bolsheviks. How far will they go? The Soviet Bolsheviks killed millions of Russian Kulaks and political enemies. Remember that!
3. The Deplorables. This is essentially the "country party." They are the people who know they are being dis-possessed. These are the people who know they are despised by both the Establishment and the Neo-Bolsheviks and who are acutely aware that these other groups intend to exterminate them as a group if not as individuals. The Clintons were the ultimate Establishment people. Bill threw away the Deplorables' jobs in NAFTA in search of the Globalist Utopian vision at the heart of the Establishment's indoctrination in the schools.
Ross Perot was an amusing little freak? He spoke of a "great sucking sound" that would be heard as Deplorable jobs followed cheap capital across the southern border?
The Deplorables do not think he was funny at all. They elected Trump to give them hope and he has done that. They do not want to be governed by Establishment figures like HC who detested them as obstacles so much that she could not refrain from treating the miners with contempt to their faces. Bette Midler said this week that the Establishmenters cannot fight the Deplorables because people like her have no weapons but PBS tote bags. An interesting point.
There are a lot of splinter groups and factions. Tell me what they are. pl
blue peacock , 8 hours agoVietnamVet , 9 hours ago
Compared to the 60s there is much less social strife today. No riots on the streets, no bombings by radical groups, no live fire shootings to quell protests in universities. So is this the quiet before the storm?
What we see today is much more arm-chair fighting using keyboards on social media. Frothing at the mouth pushing hashtags The extent of action is writing #MeToo and #BringBackOurGirls. Can such somnambulant warriors cause a real war?
My observation is that over the last 30 years, there are a few big trends.
- One, is PCness becoming more and more embedded causing increased censorship of speech.
- The second is rising "doublethink" and the Establishment melding into a true Ingsoc with increasing governmental interference in all aspects of people's lives to benefit the "party club".
- The third, is the growth in "state capitalism", reflected in the increasing financialization of the economy and the substitution of credit for capital. It's no longer what's good for GM but what's good for Goldman Sachs. The Federal Reserve run by the Ph.Ds on the "sophistry" standard as the primary lever.
- The fourth trend is a slow moral decay among the elites as the powerful no longer feel a sense of duty and honor. It is more important for them how they are perceived by the "club". Invitations to gatherings such as Davos, Aspen, & the Google "camp".
- Fifth, is increasing hopelessness among many segments reflected in the rising deaths to opioids.
https://www.businessinsider...David , 10 hours ago
This post brought a smile of recognition to my face. I agree.
The media desperately ignores this issue. The current Western power structure is in flux and is confusing.
Communism died when the Soviet Union fell. China, Cuba and Vietnam are not workers' paradises. The hard left is impotent and in the lurch. The mild left and liberals sold out to the Plutocrats. Republicans are crazy except for Corporatists who are keeping their mouths shut and passing tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
Those who said farewell to Senator John McCain at the National Cathedral did not mentioned that he is as responsible as anyone for the forever wars that are causing the refugee influx that is tearing Europe apart.
Their donors are imposing austerity and poverty on to the people.
There is no one championing the concerns of the Deplorables except the hard right. These Theocrats are most likely to start carting off red shirted teachers, librarians, pot heads, agnostics, unemployed and dissidents to work camps, once things fall apart.Pat Lang Mod -> David , 10 hours ago
I think it is very important to realize that the current mess in this country is largely a result of not reigning in the investment bankers as well as the country embarking on deadly and abusive wars against a large part of the non-western world.
As you rightly pointed out, both establishment parties are equally guilty of the worst offensives against those who choose to live outside of the major metropolitan areas.
This country would be much better off if people were taught how the investment banking system works and how it is regularly abused by the rich to make themselves richer. Of course, that is not in the interest of the establishment leaders.
Where you and I differ is over Donald Trump. I do not believe for one minute that he gives a damn about the people that have been screwed so royally over the last thirty to forty years. He is just louder and more obnoxious than most.
If there is a way out of this mess, I cannot see it.
I am like you over seventy. I believe the old should be encouraged to disappear from politics and only the young should be engaged in trying to save this country (as well as themselves).
DavidDavid -> Pat Lang , 9 hours ago
Not sure why you single out "investment bankers" from the other Establishment types.
In my varied career I worked twice as an employee and three times as a consultant for Standard & Poors Retail Brokerage Division. I also worked for the Bank of New York, Government Clearance Division and did various consulting stints at Union Bank of Switzerland and Manufacters Hanover.
All of these positions were in the technology field.
You would be amazed at what you can learn from the inside.
The banks make everything function. When there is a banking crisis they turn up the screws on the politicians and the politicians respond by bailing the banks out at the expense of the majority of the population.
Of course, the politicians know that they will be rewarded either directly or indirectly by the bankers. Just think of all those millions they pay for speaking fees.
Harlan Easley , 7 hours agoGrimgrin , 8 hours ago
We are as united as Rome was near the end of their Empire when their idiot establishment was convinced they could integrate a massive influx of tribes that loathed their way of life. Same is occurring in Europe. History rhymes.
Rural vs City you touched on, gun owners vs gun banners, gender sanity vs gender insanity, free traders vs keeping what's left of our manufacturing base, stockholders vs deplorable's, open border chaos vs normal immigration patterns to the US, CNN& MSNBC vs Rural, Decent healthcare vs nothing, establishment vs God, Democrat intense hate vs Southern whites. I am a rural southern white who did consider myself independent, however, the intense hate directed toward me and my southerners makes me hate them. So be it.
Using your terminology, the places where I see the most serious factional divisions are the Neo-Bolsheviks. There's a group one might call the "50 Staters" after Howard Dean; they're people who want to re-orient the country in a more socialist direction (Medicare for all, increased minimum wage, expanded union rights, generally expanded intervention in the economy) and believe they can sell this as an electoral platform. They hate the establishment, and are themselves hated like poison by much of the rest of the Neo-Bolsheviks. The term "Bernie Bro" and "Brocialist" were thrown around a lot last election by people who's platform is basically "destroy all power structures" without thinking too hard about what it would mean should they have the power to do it. I've classed them with the Neo-Bolsheviks due to geographic and cultural similarities, though they may also be viewed as the left wing of the Deplorables. Personally, these are the lot I'd say I'm the most similar too.
The remainder of the neo-Bolsheviks can largely be grouped according to what they believe the source of all evil in the world is: Men; white people; the concept of gender itself; and in fringe cases the idea that being overweight is unhealthy or other aspects of reality they find inconvenient. Politically they're hamstrung by three things:
First, they can't really think about anything coherently. The only way they allow themselves to process issues is deciding who the victim of men/white-people/etc... is in a situation and deciding that this person must be in the right. If that leads to an conclusion where the cognitive dissonance is too much to bear (most recently the Siraj Wahhaj case), they then argue that the fact you're talking about it means "you're racist/sexist/transphobic/*-phobic shut up". This naturally leads to things like someone who believes that white-people are the source of all evil talking about how the groping attacks in Germany were just 'white bodies being subjected to what they subject black bodies too' (they love to use the word 'bodies' instead of 'people'). The people who believe men are the source of all evil took some umbrage at this idea. This infighting is constant.
Second, they are pathetically easy for the establishment to manipulate. It is as simple as getting the nominally left faction of the establishment to have a woman stump for a policy using vaguely left wing terms and they will fall over themselves to support it. I've been told by these people that Russia must be violently opposed because Vladimir Putin is a homophobic, islamaphobic (!), racist right-winger. It's kind of amazing to see the political descendants of the hippies cheering on the prospect of a nuclear war because it would be a woman killing everyone in the name of LGBT rights.
Third, every effective organizer and leader they may have just becomes part of the establishment. Since these are typically female, gay, or non-white, they cannot meaningfully be opposed no matter how obviously they betray the goals of the neo-Bolsheviks. This happens to the deplorables as well, but they seem to be far more aggressive in countering it. It's not a coincidence that the neo-Bolsheviks have never really succeeded in any political project that the establishment doesn't find acceptable.
I may well be downplaying their threat, but they do seem to have disadvantages that the original versions lacked.
im cotton , 9 hours agoEEngineer , 9 hours ago
I'm not sure who you would lump in with the "Neo-Bolsheviks", but as someone living in a semi-rural area of Iowa--deplorable central -- that voted democratic for decades and then voted for Trump, many of these deplorables embraced Bernie Sanders* (a Neo-Bolshevik?) and would welcome a return to an FDR style democratic party.
If for no other reason than to partake of the benefits afforded every other citizenry in the western world such as universal healthcare, free or affordable college, etc.
Imho, far from being supporters of progessive economic policy, most liberal dem politicians defend the status quo as much as anyone and defer to their tech, insurance, arms, and financial donors.
Like was said 2 yrs ago, the dems would rather lose with Clinton than win with Sanders. And I include Pelosi, Schumer, you name it, in that bunch.
As you say, there are many more factions. Not all so-called deplorables are the same politically of course.
As for Trump's base--I have always thought it erroneous to label that base as working men and women of below average education, etc. 90% of Trump voters supported Romney and 60% had a median income above the national average.
While he is supported by disparate groups, the largest of Trump's base is the vast suburban gop voters of many large US cities. The Msm just doesn't want to acknowledge that Trump voters are also their well to do neighbors. Trump carried Suffolk County/Hamptons in New York state.Fred -> EEngineer , 6 hours ago
The military, veterans, and various police agencies. States fail when they will no longer enforce the official line. That's usually happens when their own family members start showing up in the marches, barricades, protests, and such.
Loads of bright eyed youngsters have joined up over the last few decades thinking they would be like Luke Skywalker only to find out they're being used as Imperial Stormtroopers.
"thinking they would be like Luke Skywalker..."
Those folks with the starwars bumper stickers you see on the road aren't the ones who signed up for service.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
ADKC , Sep 1, 2018 4:15:46 PM | linkLaguerre @119
(Neo-)Liberalism, imperialism, Nazism, etc. are all internationalist as well.
I know so many people on the western left who believe that invading Syria, Iran, Venezuela, intervening in Africa, sanctions/punishments (war?) on Russia, Soros, colour revolutions, etc. is all good and justified because it moves away from the nation state towards internationalism.
vk , Sep 1, 2018 4:32:05 PM | link@ Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 1, 2018 2:48:22 PM | 113dltravers , Sep 1, 2018 5:24:19 PM | link
Even what you call Arendt's "same techniques" is wrong: nazi Germany had a completely different socioecomic and cultural structure than the USSR. Germany didn't even had eg commissaries, they didn't even had a planified central economy. It was really just liberalism: an USA that went wrong.Someone recently told me that the whole of human history boils down to one thing, "one tribe wants to take something from another tribe". I would put it another way, sharing outside of the family unit is learned, taking is natural selection at its best.Laguerre , Sep 1, 2018 5:24:48 PM | linkre vk 122Jen , Sep 1, 2018 5:26:39 PM | link
So, having stated Arendt as your belief, you now deny it, saying that fascism is different from communism. So what makes fascism then, apart from the technique of declaring the unity of the nation behind the leader, which the commies also did? The only answer is nationalism, as I said before.To those who say Statements 1 and 3 illustrate reality: don't confuse bullying with strength.ADKC , Sep 1, 2018 5:30:35 PM | link
Hitler and Netanyahu's statements reflect the viewpoint of Social Darwinism, an ideology that justifies elite dominance of society to its own ends.
The question we should be asking ourselves is whether nations that have achieved military power, often through intimidating and brainwashing their own peoples, and smashing down those who resist. should be allowed to continue in this way. And for what purpose?
Can the actions and policies of Nazi Germany and Israel be construed as those of powerful and strong nations? If Israel chooses easy targets to attack, and relies on bullying others and intimidating them by exploiting the Shoah, are its actions those of a strong nation?Bevin @101 & vk @99juliania , Sep 1, 2018 5:44:44 PM | link
I have been brought up with the history and consequences of the potato famine and one thing that always puzzled me was why the British Empire just allowed it to happen? It would have cost little to the Empire and cast the British in a whole new light in the eyes of the Irish.
This proposition that it was ideological (liberalism) is something of an eye opener to me, social darwinism (let the weak die) is a very persuasive reason. And this does lead to a direct correlation with Nazism/fascism.
The more recent books (Kershaw) on Hitler talk about the freedom of officials to do what they want and take what they want as a reason why there are not written orders from Hitler authorising (amongst other things) the genocide of those considered weak and undesirable. This is obviously frustrating to the writers because they are unable to convincing find sufficient written documentation supporting the administrative implementation of the presumed 'ideology'; a frustrating inability to adequately explain Hitler, as it were.
This idea that Nazism is some kind of souped up liberalism is more convincing than saying Hitler was just too lazy to get out of bed in the mornings.
The key objection that I think that most people will instinctively have (because the idea is so contrary to what we have been taught) is that (neo-)liberalism and democracy go together. However, some of (neo-)liberalism's prime ideological advocates (Hayek, James M. Buchanan) clearly wanted to minimise democratic interference and envisaged a time when democracy was no longer of use and could be discarded.
This idea "that Fascism (and Nazism) are a form of Liberalism" seems like a really important idea.To ex-reedie @ 120Jackrabbit , Sep 1, 2018 5:50:48 PM | link
Thank you for taking us back to the Greeks! I offer in tandem this quotation from the website of a Plato scholar who has long been one of my heroes, Bernard Suzanne (his site is still available, an amazing source of ongoing study):
"Unless either the philosophers become kings in the cities or those who are
nowadays called kings and rulers get to philosophizing truly and adequately,
and this falls together upon the same person, political power and philosophy,
while the many natures of those who are driven toward the one apart from
the other are forcibly set aside, there will be no cessation of evils, my dear
Glaucon, for cities, nor, methinks, for the human race."
Plato, République, V, 473c11-d61
I will just add that the title "Republic" is a bad translation of the Greek word "Politeia" - to my mind "Citizenry" fits better, bearing in mind that cities in Socrates' day were the equivalent of small states. And in Shakespearean terms, it would be prudent to say of that 'forcible setting aside of many natures' - "Aye, there's the rub!"ADKC: ... why the British Empire just allowed it to happen?karlof1 , Sep 1, 2018 5:59:09 PM | link
It wasn't liberalism or social darwinism. As proven by the success of Irish outside Ireland. It was pacifying the unruly Irish that lived next door to the greatest Empire yet known. Today we would call it a crime against humanity.ADKC @126--vk , Sep 1, 2018 6:03:42 PM | link
Prior to the contrived Potato Famine was Enclosure. Perhaps you've read Sir Thomas More's Utopia which describes well the outcome of that quite deliberate policy. It would be nice to ascribe such doings to the Policy favored by Sir Francis Bacon who advocated waging war on the poor continuously and mercilessly, deeming them The Hydra threatening the wellbeing of the well off.
As many have written, the British rehearsed their colonial policies first on the Irish and the aims had nothing to do with Liberalism or any other ism aside from Authoritarianism, which is quite close to being a Totalitarian System and is certainly argued as such. That Liberalism can be in any way associated with Fascism means a basic lack of understanding of Liberalism's defining characteristics .@ Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 1, 2018 5:24:48 PM | 124Jen , Sep 1, 2018 6:06:58 PM | link
That's my point: Arendt's totalitarianism theory is 100% false. There is no "totalitarianism" in reality: it is a Cold War myth, a mirage. Nazism and Communism had absolutely nothing in common (as she states). Different ideology, different genesis in Western school of thought, different goals, different economic systems etc.
Hitler never laid out any economic plan, it was implicit the liberal model was the model: he simply wanted a traditional colonial power that could mirror the British Empire to the East. He didn't invent racism or genocide.
It was not just a difference of "the Third Reich was nationalist and the USSR was not" -- on the contrary, Socialism in one country was the victorious ideology post-Lenin, and the Cuban, Vietnamese and Chinese (to a lesser extent) were all nationalist in substance. Fidel Castro wasn't even communist when he led the Revolution!
There are no coincidence in "techniques". Unless you characterize anything as tributary to the place who first invented it. In this sense, everybody who uses Law is Roman, or anybody who goes to space is Soviet -- which is absurd.
Propaganda warfare, prison systems, war strategies, logistics -- those are all universal methodologies, means to achieve an end, there are no patents in then. This is so true that the USA is using many methods (including torture in black sites) that, during the Cold War, its propaganda (which would cause Goebbels envy) stated only a "totalitarian" (i.e. a communist or a fascist) would do.
The USSR was a unique experiment, which dissolved suddenly and unexpectedly. In my opinion, it was valuable in the sense it was the first experience of a State in which the working class was in power (dictatorship of the proletariat). Yes, it failed -- but no new economic system is born ready, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Even capitalism failed for more than 300 years before finally working in the least of probable of places: tiny and peripheral England.ADKC @ 126:ADKC , Sep 1, 2018 6:20:17 PM | link
There is pretty strong debate on the nature of the British reaction to the 1845 Irish Potato Famine. Some sources say it was deliberate genocide on the part of the British. Either Irish people starved to death or they fled overseas (and gave up their land, language and culture) to survive. Others point to the monoculture that the introduction of potatoes back in the 1600s created, and the population boom that resulted. Potatoes are a very nutritious crop staple for poor people.
The famines that began afflicting India from the 1770s on (after the Indian subcontintent started to come under British rule through the British East India Company) and which the British always never dealt with adequately - even though previous empires in India had always been able to stave off famine and starvation when monsoons failed to arrive or were late and harvests ended up ruined - might shed some light on the British treatment of the Irish Potato Famine.
In India. the Mughals and others who came before them prevented famine in areas that had suffered crop failures by reducing taxation and giving afflicted areas stored grain (from previous years' surpluses). Under British rule, India was heavily taxed (by having to supply food for the empire) and the levels of taxation were maintained regardless of local or regional conditions. In times when the monsoon failed and crops failed, communities continued to suffer from the brunt of heavy taxation. Combined with the British destruction of the Indian textile industry over the 1700s, which put thousands out of work, British taxation and other imperial policies turned India into a massive poorhouse.Jackrabbit @128 karlof1 @129Pft , Sep 1, 2018 6:55:49 PM | link
And yet the British State would describe itself (then and now) as liberal and democratic. Even today the British State does not recognise that any "crime against humanity" happened in Ireland regarding the potato famine.
To avoid any confusion:- I am not suggesting that there wasn't a crime, I am not advocating social darwinism, I am not suggesting that the Irish were weak or inferior in anyway. I am saying that liberalism may subvert democracy and tend towards criminality [including genocide] and that seems an area that has been neglected when considering what the nature of Nazism/Fascism really is.Communism is state owned capitalism where state controls the means of production, fascism and neoliberalism (classic liberalism)is private owned capitalism where the owners of production (elites) control the government to an unhealthy degree. Social liberalism (called socialism by some) is a mix of state and privately owned production, a mix determined to maximize benefits to society with the people in control of government, and capitalism and government serving the people and not just the elitesvk , Sep 1, 2018 6:56:45 PM | link
The US had social liberalism following WWII although tainted somewhat by the CIA and MIC and lasting until the early 70's. There was essentially a civil war fought starting in 1963 at the elite level by neoliberal globalists and social liberal nationalists leading to a number of assassinations and ending with Nixons impeachment/resignation in 1973/74. The good guys lost and its been downhill ever since as the US descends Jacobs Neoliberal Ladder.
Only in some kind of hell could a guy like Trump be elected. At least the Germans never elected their racist and fascist leader@ Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 1, 2018 5:59:09 PM | 129karlof1 , Sep 1, 2018 7:26:22 PM | link
Although you're right in the sense that Liberalism has some diversity over history, its cornerstone is freedom=private property.
If you take the first Constitution of the French Revolution, you'll see right in the first articles that by freedom they consider the right of the individual to fully enjoy his life and his private property ("industrie"). This chunk of the Constitution remained in the next versions.
So, colonialism was a perfectly liberal policy: the workers you're exploiting are your property, so you're enjoying your individual freedom. It was only with the socialist uprisings of the 19th Century that property-less people (i.e. workers) begun to enjoy some rights -- the most illustrative being the right to vote (non-censitary vote, universal vote).
There's absolutely no documentation that demonstrate Hitler and/or Mussolini tried to end liberalism and create a new economic system (like the Communist). Nazism and Fascism are literally liberalism with a bombastic narrative (one with the quest of the Aryan Race of its Lebensraum; the other trying to revive the Roman Empire), but all the basic elements of liberalism are there: the main one being the preservation of private property.
P.S.: the concept of freedom of speech was different back then: all those rights only belonged to the capitalist class; workers and slaves were not considered human beings. The concept of the "universal man" only really came in vogue with Marx; before him, it was widely believed the dominant class was of a different breed than that of an dominated class.We're discussing isms here. What ism's being advocated by the testimony before the Outlaw US Empire's Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Wess Mitchell:ADKC , Sep 1, 2018 8:13:40 PM | link
"Russia and China are serious competitors that are building up the material and ideological wherewithal to contest U.S. primacy and leadership in the 21st Century. It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration's foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power."
Mitchell mentions a document I wasn't able to locate, the "Russia Integrated Strategy," but I was able to find what appears to be its predecessor , "Russia Project Strategy, 2014-2017."
Surely, this conforms to the Outlaw US Empire's Imperialism via which its goal is the Full Spectrum Domination (FSD) of the planet and its people. Some would consider that Totalitarianism--the doctrine of total control. During its drive to attain FSD, certain aspects must be masked from the Empire's public since relatively unfettered freedom is featured as one of its alleged values, which is why the many undemocratic aspects of various "trade" agreements are never discussed and negotiated in secret, for example. What do we call a government that directly lies to its populous? What sort of ism is in play?
Mitchell's testimony was done in public so it didn't remain secret very long, was written about in Russian, then the analysis was translated into English . Hopefully barflies and others will read these documents and shudder, although I'm sure a few will say "So, what's new?" Well, this goes far beyond the millennia long, ongoing Class War, and confirms what I've been saying for awhile now--We're already within a Hybrid Third World War being waged by people who want everything or nothing. What sort of ism's that? In my book, it's the worst form of Authoritarianism anyone might imagine.Karlof1 @135psychohistorian , Sep 1, 2018 9:47:56 PM | link
And yet the vast number of academics, elected representatives and people of the west would describe the US as liberal and democratic?Wow! Quite a discussion...thanksben , Sep 1, 2018 10:52:36 PM | link
I want to discuss fascism but not yet
One of the things I find missing in the discussion so far is the anthropological perspective. A short version would be that with the rise of monotheistic religions came the rise of human hubris about humans place in the cosmos and limited variations of us/them proscriptions about how life should be led....and the belief that everyone should believe this way or be eliminated.
This arrangement was challenge during the (as yet finished) Enlightenment period that began with the start of the scientific revolution in 1620. This period was the birth of liberalism and the church and state came under increased scrutiny.....but not rejection....blind faith still lives on.
Fast forward to the present where we have ongoing elimination of any and all cultures not "Western" which is my biggest problem with our social order....it is reducing our genetic ability to survive by the monoculture focus.....as well as being a heinous form of social organization that favors the few over the many.
On to fascism....Fascism is not just defined by a single aspect but a combination that show the face of the beast. The best description of fascism is a list of 14 points written in 2004 by Dr. Laurence Britt, a political scientist. Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of: Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile). His points are as follows:
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people's attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice -- relentless propaganda and disinformation -- were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite "spontaneous" acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and "terrorists." Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.
5. Rampant sexism
Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.
6. A controlled mass media
Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes' excesses.
7. Obsession with national security
Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting "national security," and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite's behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the "godless." A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.
9. Power of corporations protected
Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of "have-not" citizens.
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment
Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
14. Fraudulent elections
Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.Jr @ 138: Thanks for the link, but all I get from the endless semantics, is that the English language is a lot like beauty, " in the eye of the beholder, or speaker.karlof1 , Sep 1, 2018 11:24:31 PM | link
English, or any language, can be used to inform or confuse.
ADKC @136--Piotr Berman , Sep 2, 2018 12:12:29 AM | link
How many of a similar sample of Germans in 1938 thought that their government would do what it did? Consent must be manufactured. Caitlin Johnstone recently wrote this addition to the genre explaining how that's done .I have a different perspective than psychohistorian.Charles R , Sep 2, 2018 12:49:09 AM | link
For starters, I would see different causes of Enlightenment. It was a huge (if somewhat misunderstood) ideological change in Europe, and such changes are caused by the profound catastrophes undermining the trust in the status quo. While the scientific and other cultural advances were definitely in place in 17 century Europe, a larger part of that century were spent on horrific wars. If you add up their effects and compare to the continent's population, it is hard to tell if 17 century was less horrible that World Wars of 20-th century or not. And most of those wars were "religious", or had a major religious component. In reaction, the thinkers and rulers got convinced that "reason" should have primacy over "religion". Scientific advances played a role in fortifying the authority of "reason", but ideas like defending one true faith and following rulers because of their divine mandate were discredited by calamitous wars.
Advantages of "reason" were quite quickly noticed by elites, for example divine rights of absolute rulers were patched by their enlightenment. Wars in Europe improved methods of conscription, arming and disciplining the peasants and outright massacring and pillaging was less evident than in 17-th century. But any discussion on fascism had to wait until 20-th century, because it made no sense in authoritarian systems of more traditional elites -- manipulating public opinion makes little sense if public opinion matters only a little. But as democracy became widespread AND the traditional elites got compromised once again by WWI, radical movements emerged, including Communism and Fascism.
What I am trying to say is that mo st of points listed as features of fascism by psychohistorian is "good old order" with appeals to "reason". Of course, all methods used in the past are applied if handy, e.g. in Thailand divine mandate of the king is energetically applied by the ruling military junta. To me, fascism is bit more specific. For example, the cult of a uniquely qualified leader, championing the "common people", projects of "national grandeur" that may include highway system and/or war of conquests, rank intimidation augmenting more gentle "manipulation" etc.
But most of points listed by psychohistorian are more insidious features that follow from "Iron law of oligarchy". Getting rid of them will require more effort than getting rid of "true fascism".vk, what text/interviews are you using for your claims about Arendt's theory of totalitarianism? I mean, could you quote a specific place or paragraph? I come to her thought through Life of Mind and Human Condition, and my take or sense of her ideas about "totality" when it comes to social structures is that she gets it amazingly well how contemporary technology destroys/yed the public realm by amplifying the organismic aspects of the collective. Y'all talk about the ism of totalitarian being you find in Hannah's writings, but it's like there's still something missing: the difference between the social and the political isn't just a matter of concept but metaphysical. It isn't just ideological but geo-metric. Social control isn't political when it reaches the point of actualizing gods'-eyes-views, it has become self-aware bureaucracy -- what we already find every day when our ego mistakes its beliefs about control for actions making history.partizan , Sep 2, 2018 3:13:50 AM | link
People forget the deepest slogan of The Party is GOD is POWER. If you believe war is not peace and ignorance is not strength, then you have to figure out why Orwell wants you to also start figuring out why god is not power.les7 , Sep 2, 2018 3:36:39 AM | linkSome like to amalgamate Nazism and communism into one, with the term 'totalitarianism' covering both How would you analyse this concept?'Totalitarianism' has roots in 'total mobilisation' and 'total war' – in the total regimentation of the population, driven by the capitalist great powers and their competition to conquer colonies and global hegemony. Hitler aspired to German revanchism, winning back and expanding Germany's 'living space' and colonial territories. He saw himself as heir to the colonial tradition, which he sought to radicalise.
He first of all identified with the US example, seeking his own Far West in Eastern Europe and reducing the Slavs to the condition of slaves in service of the Herrenvolk. Decisively, this project met its definitive defeat at Stalingrad; this defeat was, at the same time, the beginning of a gigantic wave of anti-colonial revolts.
A historical comparison is useful, here, for grasping how unserious the dominant ideology's framing of 'totalitarianism' is. At the start of the nineteenth century Napoleon sent a powerful army to Saint-Domingue with the mission of re-establishing slavery, after it had been abolished thanks to the great black revolution led by Toussaint Louverture.
We could indeed say that in the war that then raged, the attacked were no less 'savage' than the attackers. But we would cover ourselves in ridicule if we claimed that we could reduce both sides to a common 'savagery' or a shared bloody 'totalitarianism'.Much of the consideration of fascism here has been about the power and control of leaders and elites. There is another side to the equationbevin , Sep 2, 2018 10:02:18 AM | link
One writer foretold the inevitable decline of the US toward fascism based on the social construct used to establish law. At its' formation the US, like most of the West, had some form of divinely sanctioned 'law' as the basis of its' civil code. While in theory law was proclaimed to flow from democratic forms of government, the law was actually a projection of a cultural/social ideal based on a religious text.
As that cultural/social/religious unity fractured in the face of secularism, humanism and liberalism, there was a shift in the 'authority' that lay behind social law. The writer I referred to indicated that cultural inertia would continue to carry the country for a generation or two, but inevitably social/moral disintegration would occur. The result he said would economic & social collapse which would in turn propel a movement toward fascism.
Since then there has been a lot of evidence from evolutionary biology that suggests the human predisposition to organize itself under some form of "authority structure" is hard-wired into us."Not sure where the Romans and Genghiz Khan fit into that theory." dh |Noirette , Sep 2, 2018 10:24:28 AM | link
We are not talking about wars but about societies in normal times. Both the Romans (see eg Bread and Circuses) and the various post Genghiz states (the Mongol dynasty in China) ruled by ensuring the general welfare of the population.
Incidentally there is no suggestion that the Irish were an 'inferior race'. Those depending on the potato were weakened when there were no edible potatoes. The point is that there was plenty of food to feed them but that liberal ideology did not allow of 'relief' which would improve their fate.Social Darwinism and Eugenics was certainly not owned by Fascists alone. Its alive and well today and is used to justify neoliberal economics and imperialism. Pft at 43.
Yes.. I'd go further, the Fascists (as a standard narrow ex. Italy and Germany somewhat before and during WW2) merely adopted parts of what was then mainstream 'Science' and/or sociological accepted thinking, which itself was of course built on the zeitgeist, trends in popular opinion etc. 'Modern' (late 18th - early 19th cent > 'misgenation', apartheid laws, etc.) eugenics was very much a USA driven scientific trend. (Colonialist roots..) Many got on the bandwagon - medicos, drug pedlers, breeders (of non-humans like chickens and beef), socio pundits, pols, and more. Ex.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics_Record_Office (founded 1910)
'Biologic' determinist credos (=> it's all in your genes) hold a strong sway in the US today, stronger imho than in any other country, sticking out my neck as of course I know little to nothing about 2/10 or far more of the world.
The fundamentalist and rigidly deterministic stance of course serves repressive policies: ppl are born bad and 'need prison' etc.
Another nefarious result, e.g. 'ppl are born gender dysphoric' so need corrective measures (surgery, drug dependence) is another, exploitative, side of the same coin.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
bevin , Sep 1, 2018 1:26:09 PM | link
The primary link between neoliberalism and fascism is their insistence that the weak go to the wall. Communism denies this so did all societies before the British empire of the C19th.
It is inconceivable that any previous society would have condoned the positions adopted by the British government in Ireland during the 'Potato famine' or the policies pursued during successive Bengal famines.
For those unfamiliar with the history of what occurred in Ireland it is worth recalling that during the years in which the potato harvest failed entirely there were massive shipments of food out of Ireland, vast quantities of meat, butter, cheese, barley and other grains, were despatched to England and elsewhere for sale.
Benjamin Jowett, the Master of Balliol College Oxford, said of the liberal Political Economists that he distrusted them and had done so since being told by one of them that, while it was true that more than a million Irish people had died of starvation during the famine, "He said that he wasn't sure that that that was enough."
For Bengal see, for example, Mike Davis's Late Victorian Holocausts.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Sep 2, 2018 10:11:09 AM | link
@ Posted by: Charles R | Sep 2, 2018 12:49:09 AM | 145
Her book in question is The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). Possibly her most famous book and the one which skyrocketed her career in the USA (and to the CIA, to which she was a collaborator).
Also, in an article about modernism (I don't know how it was published in English), in the last paragraphs, she mentions her "research on totalitarianism", and then goes on stating that what united nazism and communism was the adoption of a "grand narrative" (see the coincidence with post-modernism? Not a mere coincidence, for sure): the nazi adopting the "grand narrative" of race struggle and the communist the one of class struggle. That she equated the two is intellectually dishonest, but hey, it was the height of the Cold War, there was poetic license to lie in the academic world.
I was born right at the end of the Cold War. I probably belong to the first generation of historians born "post-Cold-War". And the first thing that amazed me was the sheer quantity of pure lies and myths that pervaded Cold War era thought and science. It wasn't some "conspiracy theory" level lies -- those very carefully crafted lies, extremely difficult to debunk -- no, it was pure ideology, lies that can be easily debunked with a first look at primary sources or with five minutes in internet research. Future historians (of the 22nd Century) will probably see the Cold War era until today as a dark age for science.
Even Marxist production of this era suffered a lot: Marx must have had spinned in his tomb like never before during the post-war era.
@ Posted by: les7 | Sep 2, 2018 3:36:39 AM | 149Since then there has been a lot of evidence from evolutionary biology that suggests the human predisposition to organize itself under some form of "authority structure" is hard-wired into us.
The homo sapiens is an apex superpredator, a species of the fifth trophic level (level 5). To top it off, we are also omnivorous, which makes us even more deadly and voracious.
Apex predators are not cannibal (the higher the trophic level, the lower the energy level, so it wouldn't be energetically advantageous for apex predators to eat/hunt themselves. The meat of apex predators have very low nutrition levels and are usually full of parasites and other poisonous residues (e.g. dolphin meat is full of mercury, not edible for humans).
However, apex predator can and do kill themselves in territorial disputes -- be it among themselves, be it with another apex predator species.
So, it is only natural that humans kill themselves for resources. It is in our nature.
However, there's a situation where apex predators stop killing themselves: when the environment has enough for everybody. It will not be Teletubbies, where everybody will hug and love themselves, but they would tolerate themselves. For example, you may want to kill a stranger in the street -- but if that stranger is your children's doctor, then you'll think twice, you'll tolerate his existence just because it is in your economic interest to keep him alive.
That's what Marx was all about: capitalism increased interdependency, so are now, relative to total population, killing ourselves less. The only reason the USA just don't nuke everybody is that it depends on the rest of the world for trade. If we develop the productive forces further, we could have a situation were the excedent would be so big that nobody would have to exploit nobody (a fully-automated society). Again, Marx never stated communism would be a hippie utopia: humans would still get happy, sad, anger, grief, violence for passional motives would still happen, people would still cry when a parent would die etc. etc. What he envisaged was a society without class.
Now, the last time about liberalism.
Liberalism is an umbrella term (although not as umbrella as illuminism) to designate the legitimating of capitalism over four centuries. Liberalism was not just philosophy: it was an economic theory etc.
What unites liberals of all sorts of kinds is the fact that, ultimately, the acted to preserve or advocate for capitalism.
Liberalism can be better described thus as the way of life of capitalism; the way capitalism perceives itself over time.
The separation we do nowadays between liberalism and nazifascism comes from neoliberal propaganda.
Neoliberalism (new liberalism) was born in the 40s, in Mont Pelerin, and its doctrine stated that 1) post-war social-democracy in Western Europe = socialism and should be combated and 2) what happened between the WWI (1914) and WWII (1945) was an abortion of History, and the world should continue from where it stopped (i.e. with the old liberalism).
That's why I consider neoliberalism more like the "return of the liberals" than "the new liberalism", albeit it, I confess, from the point of view of the economists, the latter definition suits better. New liberalism because they conceded liberalism collapsed in 1914 and needed to be updated (this happened with Friedman's monetarism); Return of the liberals because, albeit it was born in the 40s, it was just in 1979, with the election of Margaret Thatcher in the UK, that it would really come to power in a worldwide level (there was already a neoliberal experiment in Pinochet's Chile, some years before).
But I think the definite empirical proof totalitarianism is a Cold War myth and that nazifascism is really liberalism is that this new rise of the "far-right/alt-right" is not coming from socialist countries (North Korea, Cuba, China and Vietnam), but from capitalist, Western Democracies (Italy, France, USA, UK, Australia, Japan -- albeit Japan never gave up fascism to begin with --, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Austria and Ukraine). It was from the liberals' womb that fascism was (re)born, not "communism". This is a fact, a fact we can observe today, with our own senses.
Now, you can rationalized that many of these countries are from the ex-Iron Curtain. But 1) it only happened after they turned capitalist, not while they were under the USSR and 2) those Iron Curtain countries were actually full-fledged Nazi countries before the USSR liberated them in 1945, so they had a nazi past and culture as a nationalist narrative against USSR hegemony; the Ukraine has a sui generis history, that involved a triple side civil war (White, Black and Red Armies), so, albeit they were part of the USSR, they too had a Nazi past.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Sep 1, 2018 12:54:18 PM | linkChipnik , Sep 1, 2018 11:35:18 AM | link
@ Posted by: Noirette | Sep 1, 2018 12:01:23 PM | 94
Fascism (and Nazism) is a form of Liberalism. But we need to clarify one of the most persuading Cold War myths: the myth of totalitarianism.
(huge parenthesis alert)
During the Cold War, a cold warrior called Hannah Arendt published a book (with a CIA editor) that laid out the most famous version of the theory of totalitarianism.
The theory of totalitarianism states that communism and fascism are the sides of the same coin. Arendt's central argument was that both communism and nazism were brother ideologies because both adopt a central, all-encompassing historical narrative: nazism adopting the narrative of the struggle between the races and communism adopting the narrative of struggle between classes.
Yes, she equate racism to class struggle (which is a false dichotomy, because class struggle is empirically observable towards all written history we have available today, while race war is a modern late 19th Century invention).
Arendt's totalitarianism theory helped to give birth to modern liberal leftism, more specifically, post-modernism, which states that there's no "long term narrative" in human history (i.e. there's no class war; or class war was a random phenomenon of the late 19th-early 20th Centuries) and that there's no truth: only points of view based on the observer's immediate observation.
Alongside post-modernism, there was, at the same time, a rehabilitation of Christianism, as a part of the ideological war against communism/socialism in the Cold War: that meant a tendency to secularism and reason begun to be reversed in the West from the 70s onwards. Such "imbecilization" process is not new: it happened during the decline of the Roman Empire, during the late Severan dinasty and throughout the crisis of the Third Century and progressed with the reforms of Diocletian, reaching its appex with Constantine and Justinian. This period of time saw the economy of Rome collapse, while Christianism flourished.
So yes, everytime society tries to progress, the Western elite calls 911-Christianism to the rescue, it is not new: it is important to notice that, after the French Revolution, the legitimizing narrative was that the Roman Republic was being revived (Napoleon was in love with Ancient Rome, and read all of Caesar's Commentaries ) -- what Marx called the "farce" in the Brummaire -- and that both the British and the American empires like to mirror themselves with the Roman Empire (and many of modern laws and principles are based on Roman jurists). So, there's a lot of inspiration there by the Western elites.
But Arendt came out with another very important conclusion: that a totalitarian society can not disintegrate from within, only from the outside. Put it in other terms, the peoples of totalitarian states can never do a revolution, only be liberated by an alien liberal society. At the time, there was no perspective the USSR would ever go away, and there was plenty of demand to ideologies that legitimized rising military spending and invasions in the Third World.
The Cold War ended and Arendt's theory was proved wrong: the USSR dissolved over the weight of its own internal contradictions. But the idea that nazifascism and communism were brother ideologies stuck in the West.
Nazifascism is a mode of liberalism (classic liberalism) because that's what history shows us: both Hitler and Mussolini were born and created during the apex of liberalism, in liberal countries and received liberal education. Both declared the communists as their main enemies once they got to power. Both economies remained highly decentralized, liberal style, during the WWII. If you take out both lunatic narratives, you wouldn't be able to discern, e.g., a typical German Aryan family in Berlin from a typical suburban family in the 60s USA.
Communism/socialism both came from classical Social-Democracy (not the post-war version, the original version). Classical Social-Democracy has a very well documented paternity: Karl Marx.
Marx took the term "socialism" from the nowadays so-called "utopian socialists", a movement from France, whose main intellectual was Proudhon. Those "utopian socialists" come from the old late-feudal artisan class, the class which lost the most with industrialization. Communism (as in communist parties) come from the late 19th Century/early 20th Century schism between the German and Russian Social-Democrat parties. At the time, the German one made a turn to the right (which would culminate, decades later, with it supporting the German bourgeoisie in WWI, a pivotal episode to the rise of Nazism in the 30s), and Lenin, in order to make the ideological differences clear, changed the name to "communist". So, whatever point of view you adopt, neither communism nor socialism come from liberalism, so it doesn't even belong to the same branch as nazifascism.
The last "common ancestor" of both Social-Democracy and Liberalism is illuminism. But "illuminism" was not a school or ideology per se, but an umbrella term to designate a significant change in thought after the 16th Century. If you take the concept of Reason as the condition sine qua non to designate something illuminist, then the only existing "child" of "illuminism" today is Marxism.Yeah, Right , Sep 1, 2018 5:10:27 AM | link
Controlled dissent relies on obscuring the Pincer Movement being used to corral Freedom and Liberty.
'(Commercial consumerism is) consistent with banal economic relations and routine familial and social patterns, and, as a means towards those ends, imprisonimg...the authentic, strong, free, vital human beings who learned to break loose and live heroic lives, in defiance of (Judaic) 'static legalism'.
Simplicity is the panacea for the evils of the present. In short, back to Nature. We must look to the Artist, not to the Scientist as our teacher and guide, for the artist was the genius who knew the goal and the way ...through the ideals which the new 'vitalist' culture intended to displace decadent 'civilization': childlike simplicity, natural spontaneity, an Olympian will to risk and dare, an unerring intuition into the hidden and transcendent, a sense of awe and mystery, an abundance of unrestrained passions, and an exhilirating torrent of energy.'
(Vision and Violence, Arthur Mendel)
So Nietzche, but also Euell Gibbons and Carlos Casteňeda were 'Back to Nature' NAZIs. Nietzche saw Judaic culture of regimental Bolshevism as the 'unpure enemy', and eugenic extermination as the solution, while the Hippies saw 'The Pigs' (regimental military Bolshevism) as the unclean enemy, and 'Get Back to the Land and Set My Soul Free' as the solution. They're both a form of Fascism.
If you don't 'turn on, tune, in and drop out', if you won't let your hair grow long as you can show it, and wear beads braided in your beard and hemp sandals, write graffiti about AGW and fossil fuels, and eat meal worms and cannabis cookies, then you are an 'unclean pig'.
The End of History Rational Supra-National State, versus the Hot Money Pay-for-Play Uber-Capitalist Renegades. Regimental Bolshevism and Iconoclastic Fascism are just the two-sided Janus-faced nature of our human reality. Rodham the Bolshevik versus Trump the Fascist. Lose-lose.
Lose-lose most especially in USA, because State-Corporate Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty represents the unholy union of these two anti-human forces. Think Israel joining with the Syrian 'rebels' (sic). Think the globalist ECB/IMF/WB finance marauders aligning with the NATO Wehrmacht.
That's the NWO Spawn of Satan. They are One. Netanyahu is your Father. Come into the Light. Use the Force, Luke. A
Oh, and be sure to get your vaccinations!a , Sep 1, 2018 2:41:54 AM | link
@22 ex-Reedie nails it. All three quotes were pre-empted by Thucydides so very many centuries ago, when he has the Athenians responding to the Melians appeal to decency with "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must".
Before, of course, the Athenians slaughtered the Melians.
But the other side of the coin is, of course, "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword".
The Siege of Melos is a classic example: the Athenians conquered the Melians and then colonized Melos (sound familiar?). And then.... in the long run lost the Peloponnesian War and all those colonists were sent packing.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Cock of the walk one day, a feather duster the next.
It's a long way to the top, and a quick ride to the bottom.
All concepts that would be utterly foreign to Netanyahu.
Until, that is, it happens to him and his Zionist throwbacks to the 19th century.donkeytale , Sep 1, 2018 3:09:26 AM | link" It is not just by chance that Netanyahoo sounds like Hitler. Both, Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, and Adolph Hitler developed their political awareness around the turn of the century "
Interestingly, the Indian fascists of the Hindutva movement, of which the RSS organisation is the mothership, also have intellectual links to the Nazis... The romantic irrationalist texts from which the European fascists drew their inspiration were translated into Marathi and read avidly, by the brahmins of western India where Hindutva ideology was incubated.
It is important to make a distinction between Hinduism, the religion, and 'Hindutva' which is a political ideology. Hindutva is more old-fascism than neo-fascism. The RSS, the mothership of this ideology, has been organising their movement for nearly a hundred years. And it is follows quite well the old-fascist pattern. The mothership sends expeditionary contingents into each area of social life and captures it - nazi youth, nazi unions, nazi lawyers, etc. The present phase is probably best captured by the old nazi term, 'gleichschaltung' , the attempt to force social institutions into the fascist mould... there seems to be now an ongoing attempt to capture the universities, the media, the supreme court etc. in India.
Those interested can check out the following books
1. Walter Andersen and S Damle Brotherhood in Saffron... (a reliable objective description of the RSS.. unfortunately out-of-print for decades, but it should be available in the Univ.of Heidelberg South Asia institute library . no electronic copy seems to be available, if anyone has a link, please post. Andersen and Damle have a new book to be published this year)
2. MS Golwalkar We or out nationhood defined and Bunch of Thoughts. MSG was the second head and most important ideologue of the RSS who admired nazi 'race pride'. he wrote,
"To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the semitic races -- the Jews... Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by." and "the foreign races [he meant other religions too] in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, ie of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment not even citizen's rights."
3 Manoj Mitta Modi and Godhra The Fiction of Fact Finding. On the attacks on Muslims in gujarat and subsequent investigations... modus operandiLinky thingiedonkeytale , Sep 1, 2018 3:10:10 AM | link
https://splinternews.com/if-youre-confused-about-what-race-baiting-is-heres-a-b-1793848630Oops, wrong thread for the link. Sorryuncle tungsten , Sep 1, 2018 3:35:50 AM | linkKarlof1 @37Walter , Aug 31, 2018 4:00:48 PM | link
Thanks karlof1 I look forward to you posts here. I am sure the elite could be identified as fascist as the concentration of wealth and power was certainly in their hands then after centuries of mercantile plunder. Equally they bundled the wealth generated from the progress of automation from horse drawn farm machinery through to steam power etc.
I guess the englander workers could be coerced or press ganged into supporting their fascist lords as they were to support the various wars and defense needs. I doubt that one should class the workers and common folk as naturally fascist though. Cowed into compliance from centuries of oppression seems a better description.
Engels was a mighty keen observer and knew well the ways of the ruling class industrialists."...since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must..." Thucydides - he said it in Melian Dialogue.Webra , Aug 31, 2018 4:30:52 PM | link
But the quote should be read in context...and is itself a paraphrase of Athenian Policy,
It is also True. Yes indeed, fascists do sometimes say true things...it happens. I do not like fascists, but I do like truth, doesn't everybody?@16Pft , Aug 31, 2018 5:10:37 PM | link
Gramsci's thinking thrives in many fields, being a safe haven for political and intellectual organizations midway between the pure abandonment of Marxism and unrestricted adherence to neoliberal "democracy". Gramsci became the prostitute of the neoliberals, as he was before that of the recycled Stalinists when against "Trotskyism", whatever this was.Social Darwinism and Eugenics was certainly not owned by Fascists alone. Its alive and well today and is used to justify neoliberal economics and imperialism. The strong (cognitive or physical) rule the weak. Any attempt at equalizing the disparity is labelled as Socialism and is opposed in part for fears it promotes dysgenics.peter , Aug 31, 2018 5:59:33 PM | linkDarwin had it right I think. Or maybe it was the ancient Greeks. I'm trying pretty hard to keep up here ,eugenics might be partly responsible for that.
Thank Christ somebody broke in with news of that guy getting blowed up. Somebody said Canada might be the culprit. Well, suck me dry and call me Dusty, I never heard of that motherfucker and neither have any of my friends at the bar. Maybe it's because of that gal who had a granddad that was a Uke who liked Nazi invaders better than the Russians. But she's pretty busy right now trying deal with other stuff. Like the biggest trade deal in the world.
But there's some PHD stuff here for sure.
juliania , Aug 31, 2018 6:45:58 PM | linkI had been going to propose that the answer to all three questions was "Thrasymachus" (from Plato's Republic) - but I see in checking my source that all that fine young man did actually say was that justice is the advantage of the stronger, using as an example the rulers of cities who order things to their own advantage. And indeed, the statement is refuted, which causes the frightening man to blush...But best to read the original, as what Thrasymachus represents looms larger in that setting and in the labyrinthian dialogue upon whose threshold he makes his claim.Mark2 , Aug 31, 2018 6:50:10 PM | link
Posted by: juliania | Aug 31, 2018 6:45:58 PM | linkSo back to current affairs !Chas , Aug 31, 2018 7:05:37 PM | link
England is now divided down the middle politically, as is a whole list of country's, to many to mention. left and right increasingly polarized ! Perhaps the most important being the USA. If we look at the right wing street violence in Germany this week, we see what is going to happen all the way round very soon.
This weeks violent aggressive protest is much much bigger than people realize ! It was aimed at innocent people in the street, it was apparently protesting about victims of western military aggression emigrating to Germany. But not addressing the root couse of why they became victims, but the problems caused by their emigration to Germany.
Last Sunday these nazi's and there sympathizers numbered 6000 but the truth is a large proportion of the police present were on their side. Looking the other way when violence occurred failing to arrest people doing the nazi salute. The coalition government has a large part of extreme right wing politicians.
These next weeks determine which way western country's will swing. We can stop the nazi's on the street's or we can except the consequences.There aren't any more fascists. Haven't you heard? They're called white nationalists now. Or at least that's what I read in the NY Times.vk , Aug 31, 2018 7:13:34 PM | link@ Posted by: peter | Aug 31, 2018 5:59:33 PM | 45karlof1 , Aug 31, 2018 2:56:40 PM | linkLike the biggest trade deal in the world.
Given the context of your whole comment, I'm considering this an apology to Trump and an insult to the people who comment in this blog.
World trade (globalization) has halted.
Whatever thing Trump and his minions (American allies, "Western Civilization") are doing right now, they are just restructuring already existing trade deals at best.
As for the "Greek" discussion. It's not a surprise Hitler took at least some inspiration from the ancient Greek. From the 19th to early 20th Century, there was some kind of "Greek revival" in Germany's academic circles. Take Nietzsche for example: he dialogues with the Greeks (mainly Plato and Socrates) many times. Even that so-called Nazi historian (forgot his name) focused on the ancient Greek. Hell, even Marx did his doctorate thesis over Epicurus. So, Hitler essentially lived in the end of a "philellene" period of Germany.karlof1 , Aug 31, 2018 1:29:21 PM | link
As far as the strong protecting the weak, the human animal is a prime example of this as the mother and infant must be protected for several years before either can fend for themselves. Another well known example is the mother bear protecting her cubs--don't mess with either!
There's no superiority/inferiority involved as such in either example as both are natural mechanisms. The concept of social castes/classes was very well established millennia ago with numerous ideas put forth to justify their existence, many of which still operate today. Many of those ideas are present within the Monthly Review article I linked to yesterday.
Engels may or may not have coined the term Social Murder, but even the Whigs agreed as this passage shows:
"In 1844, Frederick Engels wrote that 'English society daily and hourly commits what the working-men's organs, with perfect correctness, characterize as social murder. It has placed the workers under conditions in which they can neither retain health nor live long [and] it undermines the vital force of these workers gradually, little by little, and so hurries them to the grave before their time.'24 Anyone who thinks that Engels was not an objective witness should compare his judgement to that of the influential Whig journal the Edinburgh Review :
"Out of every two persons who die in the east of London, one perishes from preventable causes. From twenty to thirty thousand of the labouring population of London are killed every year by causes which, if we chose, we might expel by a current of water. Though we do not take these persons out of their houses and murder them, we do the same thing in effect, -- we neglect them in their poisonous homes, and leave them there to a lingering but a certain death."
It's very easy to see why Marx and Engels characterized what they observed in England and Europe as Class War. But can the English of the mid 1800s be characterized as fascist, or perhaps just the elite?
...As for American Fascism, the entire mindset of American Exceptionalism combined with the doctrine of Manifest Destiny provide it with a substantial foundation. Combined with the implied imperialism within JQ Adams speech that outlined what became known as The Monroe Doctrine, White, Anglo-Saxon superiority was further institutionalized. Social-Darwinism is quite complex to discuss despite it being a relatively simple concept on the surface.
Wikipedia's page is rather good on this topic and shows Herbert Spencer published his ideas before Darwin published his revolutionary book. Vice-President Henry Wallace is the most prominent American citizen I know of to write boldly about American Fascism In his famous NY Times op/ed The Dangers of American Fascism that concludes thusly:
"Fascism in the postwar inevitably will push steadily for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and eventually for war with Russia. Already American fascists are talking and writing about this conflict and using it as an excuse for their internal hatreds and intolerances toward certain races, creeds and classes."
Yes, he saw it but IMO was too soft toward it. I'd be remiss not to mention Bertram Gross's bold 1980 book Friendly Fascism and Sheldon Wolin's Inverted Totalitarianism .
This discussion is getting out of hand. vk 99 is not right (to be polite).
Laguerre | Sep 1, 2018 2:48:22 PM | 114
Nazifascism is a mode of liberalism (classic liberalism) because that's what history shows us: both Hitler and Mussolini were born and created during the apex of liberalism...
Communism and Fascism are not the same thing, as in the theory of Arendt. They merely used the same techniques. Nor is fascism really liberalism. Perhaps a reaction, but not even that.
The states in which Hitler and Mussolini grew up were not liberal democracies, but rather monarchical autocracies, which had failed. So reactions to that.
The demonstration is that Neo-Nazis today are not in any way liberal, but rather far right, based on uber-nationalism. That is the basis also of 1930s fascism. Nationalism taken to an extreme, and employing totalitarian techniques.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jen , Sep 1, 2018 5:03:48 PM | link
To those who say Statements 1 and 3 in B's post reflect or demonstrate reality: don't confuse bullying with strength.
The statements are expressions of Social Darwinism in its various forms. Social Darwinism represents a particular belief system that justifies the existence of an elite dominating society and culture, so as to ensure its (that is, the elite's) continued survival and domination.
Needless to say, Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara are under police investigation in Israel for corruption. Sara N apparently is also notorious for ill-treating her staff and throwing her weight around to impress and intimidate others.
Is this sort of behaviour - stealing from the nation, bullying others - the behaviour of those who are strong and secure in their power?
Even the Mongols, though they brought destruction, extermination and ruin everywhere they went, did eventually bring order and stability, and revived trade and civilisation. They themselves became civilised by the peoples they conquered. In the end, they were undone by their own internal family squabbles and competition. They were not so strong as they first seemed.
It's not enough to be "strong" in a military sense - what a nation's leadership does with its power is as important as acquiring and having that power in the first place.
Aug 31, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
... ... ...
At that time I was certain that the globalists would find great use for a Trump presidency, more so in fact than a Clinton presidency. However, I was not sure whether Trump was controlled opposition or simply a useful scapegoat for the economic crisis that globalists are clearly engineering. Now it appears that he is both.
Trump's history was already suspicious. He was bailed out of his considerable debts surrounding his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City in the early 1990s by Rothschild banking agent Wilber Ross , which saved him from embarrassment and possibly saved his entire fortune . This alone was not necessarily enough to deny Trump the benefit of the doubt in my view.
Many businessmen end up dealing with elitist controlled banks at some point in their careers. But when Trump entered office and proceeded to load his cabinet with ghouls from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, the Council on Foreign Relations and give Wilber Ross the position of Commerce Secretary, it became obvious that Trump is in fact a puppet for the banks.
Some liberty movement activists ignore this reality and attempt to argue around the facts of Trump's associations. "What about all the media opposition to Trump? Doesn't this indicate he's not controlled?" they say. I say, not really.
If one examines the history of fake coups, there is ALWAYS an element of orchestrated division, sometimes between the globalists and their own puppets. This is called 4th Generation warfare, in which almost all divisions are an illusion and the real target is the public psyche.
This is not to say that leftist opposition to Trump and conservatives is not real. It absolutely is. The left has gone off the ideological deep end into an abyss of rabid frothing insanity, but the overall picture is not as simple as "Left vs. Right." Instead, we need to look at the situation more like a chess board, and above that chess board looms the globalists, attempting to control all the necessary pieces on BOTH sides. Every provocation by leftists is designed to elicit a predictable response from conservatives to the point that we become whatever the globalists want us to become.
... ... ...
As this is taking place, conservatives are growing more sensitive to the notion of a leftist coup, from silencing of conservative voices to an impeachment of Trump based on fraudulent ideas of "Russian collusion."
To be clear, the extreme left has no regard for individual liberties or constitutional law. They use the Constitution when it suits them, then try to tear it down when it doesn't suit them. However, the far-left is also a paper tiger; it is not a true threat to conservative values because its membership marginal, it is weak, immature and irrational. Their only power resides in their influence within the mainstream media, but with the MSM fading in the face of the alternative media, their social influence is limited. It is perhaps enough to organize a "coup," but it would inevitably be a failed coup.
Therefore it is not leftists that present the greatest threat to individual liberty, but the globalist influenced Trump administration. A failed coup on the part of the left could be used as a rationale for incremental and unconstitutional "safeguards." And conservatives may be fooled into supporting these measures as the threat is overblown.
I have always said that the only people that can destroy conservative principles are conservatives. Conservatives diminish their own principles every time they abandon their conscience and become exactly like the monsters they hope to defeat. And make no mistake, the globalists are well aware of this strategy.
Carroll Quigley, a pro-globalist professor and the author of Tragedy and Hope, a book published decades ago which outlined the plan for a one world economic and political system, is quoted in his address ' Dissent: Do We Need It ':
"They say, "The Congress is corrupt." I ask them, "What do you know about the Congress? Do you know your own Congressman's name?" Usually they don't. It's almost a reflex with them, like seeing a fascist pig in a policeman. To them, all Congressmen are crooks. I tell them they must spend a lot of time learning the American political system and how it functions, and then work within the system. But most of them just won't buy that. They insist the system is totally corrupt. I insist that the system, the establishment, whatever you call it, is so balanced by diverse forces that very slight pressures can produce perceptible results.
For example, I've talked about the lower middle class as the backbone of fascism in the future. I think this may happen. The party members of the Nazi Party in Germany were consistently lower middle class. I think that the right-wing movements in this country are pretty generally in this group."
Is a "failed coup" being staged in order to influence conservatives to become the very "fascists" the left accuses us of being? The continuing narrative certainly suggests that this is the game plan.
* * *
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Aug 31, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Who said this?Always before god and the world the stronger has the right to carry through what he wills. ... The whole of nature is a mighty struggle between strength and weakness, an eternal victory of the strong over the weak.
Who is paraphrased here?The first state to adopt evolutionary ethics would prevail over all others in the struggle for existence. ... Extermination and war then became moral goods to eliminate the weak.
And who said this?The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.
1. Adolph Hitler on April 13 1923 in Munich
2. Wilhelm Schallmayer, co-founder of the German eugenics movement in the early 20th century, paraphrased here .
3. Benjamin Netanyahoo on August 29 2018 at the Negev Nuclear Weapon Center (Also here .)
It is not just by chance that Netanyahoo sounds like Hitler. Both, Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, and Adolph Hitler developed their political awareness around the turn of the century in imperial Vienna. Social Darwinism was the rage of that time. Fascists and Zionists drank from the same poisoned well.
Besides - did you know that Hitler did not want to exterminate the Jews? An Arab made him do that. A Muslim. That is according to one Benjamin Netanyahoo, currently prime minister of the Zionist entity in Palestine:In a speech before the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, Netanyahu described a meeting between Husseini and Hitler in November, 1941: "Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jew. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, 'If you expel them, they'll all come here (to Palestine).' According to Netanyahu, Hitler then asked: "What should I do with them?" and the mufti replied: "Burn them."
The account is, of course, historically nonsense.
The administration of the Hindu supremacist Narendra Modi in India launched an arrest campaign to silence its critics. Its demonetization program, a first step to introduce a degressive bank transaction tax , did not achieve the desired results but created an economic mess . Modi's re-election is in danger. The accusations against the arrested people imply, correctly in my view, that the government of India is fascist:Elgaar Parishad probe: Those held part of anti-fascist plot to overthrow govt, Pune police tells court
Posted by b on August 31, 2018 at 09:32 AM | Permalink
grafter , Aug 31, 2018 9:36:07 AM | 1"The strong are respected"... .What a disgusting and dangerous little man Netenyahoo is.Martin Finnucane , Aug 31, 2018 9:49:53 AM | 2I figured one of those quotes had to have been from Winston Churchill. Though on second thought, his forte was more in the denigration of brown-skinned people.donkeytale , Aug 31, 2018 9:57:38 AM | 3When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled "made in Germany"; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, "Americanism."Jackrabbit , Aug 31, 2018 9:58:14 AM | 4
Professor Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School of Yale University in a sermon at the Riverside Church, Riverside Drive and 122d Street, NYC. September 1938.1,000-year Reich 2.0Northern Observer , Aug 31, 2018 10:10:13 AM | 5
DumbfucksSo what.les7 , Aug 31, 2018 10:16:53 AM | 6
1 and 3 are not even arguments, they are plain old description of reality as it is.
As for point 2, that's that old German arrogance, how the hell do you know what the genome "wants". Taken form what we know today, a eugenic state would initiate a program of forced miscegenation.God is dead.... and we killed him.BM , Aug 31, 2018 10:24:19 AM | 7
Such is the arrogance of evolutionary ethics. And so too, we pay the price of a system built on such folly. Certainly no better than those who claim divine sanction to slaughter and destroy."The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong."blues , Aug 31, 2018 10:39:24 AM | 8
It is ironic that Netanyahoo should say that. Netanyahoo himself is extremely weak and unstable due to his corruption and the criminal probes against him. He flexes his muscles and violently bullies the Palestinians and illegally bombs Syria to assert a strength that is nonexistent. Israel is weak against its neighbours especially Hezbollah and Syria, its IDF is weak and ineffective against Hezbollah and the Syrian army, and in its insane paranoia it is so fanning the flames of conflict that it risks inciting (or may even itself initiate) a war that realistically could result in its own annihilation.OT?VK , Aug 31, 2018 10:40:32 AM | 9
Here is what is obviously-to-me THE REAL NEWS! See:
RT America News -- 30 Aug, 2018 -- Russia warns US not to 'play with fire' in Syria – Lavrov
Russia's foreign minister is the latest official to warn the US against using a possible chemical weapons provocation to justify a new strike against Syrian forces. He said Moscow warned the West not to play with fire in Syria.
Sergey Lavrov reiterated the warning that a staged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Idlib province may trigger a US-led attack on the forces loyal to Damascus.
READ MORE: US & allies can have missiles ready to strike Syria within 24 hours – Russian Foreign Ministry
"A new provocation is being prepared by the West to hamper the anti-terrorist operation in Idlib," Lavrov said during a joint media conference with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem. "We have facts on the table and have issued a strong warning to our Western partners through our Defense Ministry and our Foreign Ministry not to play with fire."
Advancing Syrian troops hoist the national flag. © Mikhail Alaeddin Idlib to become Syria's final battle with terrorists if the West stays out of it
Earlier, the Russian military reported that a group of militants in Syria was preparing a provocation, in which chlorine gas would be used to frame the Syrian government forces. The incident would be used by the US and its allies to justify a new attack against the country, similar to what happened in April, according to the claim.
Amid international tensions, Russia has launched a massive naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, which involves 25 ships and 30 aircraft, including Tu-160 strategic bombers.
The US earlier stated that it would retaliate to a possible a chemical attack by the Syrian government, using more firepower than it did in April. The previous tripartite strike by the US, the UK and France targeted what they called sites involved in chemical weapons research. It came in response to an alleged use of an improvised chlorine bomb against a militant-held area. Russia insists that the incident had been staged with the goal of triggering the Western response.
RT America News -- 30 Aug, 2018 -- US & allies can have missiles ready to strike Syria within 24 hours – Russian Foreign Ministry
It will take the US and its allies just 24 hours to ready its missile-strike group for an attack against Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The statement comes amid warnings of a possible false-flag chemical attack.
The coalition strike group has around 70 delivery vehicles deployed to the Middle East, the ministry's spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters at her news briefing on Thursday. The arsenal includes nearly 380 cruise missiles, and US Navy missile destroyers 'Karni' and 'Ross' deployed to the region, each carrying 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Syria. © Ammar Abdullah Planned chemical weapon provocation in Idlib aimed to prevent removal of terrorists – Lavrov
Earlier, the Pentagon denied Moscow's claim that Washington was building up military forces in the region. One of the US warships, USS 'The Sullivans,' left the Persian Gulf after media reports about an increased American military presence in the area, according to Zakharova.
While rejecting news of its growing presence in the region, the "US military forgot to mention that they can build up missile capabilities to strike Syria in just 24 hours. The strike group of the United States, France and the UK currently consists of planes, strategic and tactical aircraft at bases in Jordan, Kuwait, Crete," Zakharova said.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that a false flag chemical weapons attack is being planned in Syria's Idlib province to frame Damascus and use as a pretext for a new strike. Eight canisters of chlorine were delivered to a village near Jisr al-Shughur city, and a group of militants, trained in the handling of chemical weapons by the British private military contractor Olive Group, arrived in the area, according to Defense Ministry.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the planned provocation is aimed only at preventing the expulsion of terrorists from the de-escalation zone in Idlib. He also accused the US of trying to get rid of another "dissident regime" in Syria, as was the case in Iraq and Libya.
The second of these RT links is being totally censored by Google and DuckDuckGo. I think something big is up. Perhaps WW-III.Hitler's inspiration for the specifics of Nazism was Sparta (while the political system in itself was inspired from Fascism). It's amazing (and one of the most glaring examples of liberal self-censorship) that people don't know about this fact.fastfreddy , Aug 31, 2018 10:51:50 AM | 10
For people who don't know, (the famous version of) Sparta was a post-communist polis of Classical Greece, born from the reforms of mythological Lycourgos in the 9th Century BCE. Apart from the apparent military discipline, Classical Sparta was famous for two things:
1) it didn't killed the male population of the conquered poleis in the Peloponnese and captured and assimilated the adult female population; instead, it enslaved them, and institutionalized their status (the helots). It was impossible, in theses, for a helot to become a Spartiate, so the helots population became much larger than the Spartiate population over time. The most amazing fact here is that, albeit some helot revolts probably happened, they were never victorious. Hitler rationalized it as Spartiate genetic superiority.
2) the Spartiates allegedly practiced eugenics among themselves. This was immortalized in our times by the popular movie "300", where they threw defective newborns over a cliff. This cliff really exists and there are many skeletons found there by archaeologists, but none of them are from babies or even children -- only adult males were found (probably criminals; there was no prisonal system in the ancient world because it would be very expensive: penalties were usually execution for the common guy -- and throwing from a cliff was a very traditional way of execution, practiced by the Romans since the kingdom times -- and exile for the powerful). Again, Hitler rationalized this (probably myth) as the cause for (1).
But the rationalization behind those three quotes is wrong: yes, it is true that "might" is an essential ingredient for "right", but might doesn't come from intrinsic characteristics of a given people (be it genetic or religious).
For the first case, Darwin's Natural Selection theory is clear: it only happens because reproduction is random. Factors such as geographical isolation are hindering factors of natural selections. In other words, artificial selection (eugenics) is a bad way of doing natural selection: it is always the environment that should decide who reproduces and who doesn't, human breeding should always be random (i.e. by chance) if we want to keep our genetic diversity at the healthies state possible.
For the second case, just empirical investigation is enough: a religion only consolidates itself as dominant ex post facto, i.e. after the domination is done. Religion is only to reinforce consensus of the power. But religion by itself doesn't generate power: Islam, for example, was born as a necessity of the merchants of Mecca to initiate a bellicose expansion through the Arabian peninsula (and beyond). But it was economic necessity which gave birth to the religion, not the religion that gave birth to the economic necessity.
As for Modi. It was a known fact his monetary policy would fail. The Chinese had already warned, days after it was approved:
His demonetisation policy only didn't result in the immediate collapse of his government because most Indian people don't have access to such big notes to begin with. He gained significant popular support from the poorest rural areas with this:
Fool's gold.Could have been Churchill, Kissinger, Poppy Bush, Henry Ford, Lloyd Blankfein, Patton, Sherman, John McCain, Ollie North, any member of the Cheney family, either of the Kagan brothers plus Nudelman, Andrew Jackson, Karl Rove, Pliny the elder, or hundreds of other like-minded heroes whom made sincere, heartfelt remarks such as these.Zanon , Aug 31, 2018 10:57:52 AM | 11
Now JEB or Dubya or Nikki Haley, or Betsy DeVoss, for example, don't have the brain cells to put together sentences like these, but they uphold this worldview for a trust fund or a paycheck."In their blind hatred for Trump, liberals have sunk to an all-time low by unabashedly cheering a war criminal."Shakesvshav , Aug 31, 2018 11:03:22 AM | 12
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/437350-brennan-maher-liberals-trump/Full title of Darwin's magnum opus: 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life'. Presumably, though, favoured by nature, not by human intervention. Therein lies the problem: Man has a mind, a will and an awareness of the past, and for thinkers like Samuel Butler and Marx, Darwin (who was influenced by Malthus) had advanced scientific thought a lot, but had not given a full picture.dh , Aug 31, 2018 11:09:15 AM | 13
Surely some will always be stronger than others. The real question is whether the strong have an obligation to help the weak.Trisha Driscoll , Aug 31, 2018 11:16:39 AM | 14@8 I did a duck-duck-go and google search on "missiles ready to strike Syria within 24 hours" and both popped up the RT article at the head of the search.falcemartello , Aug 31, 2018 11:38:59 AM | 15"Meglio viviere un giorno da leone che cento da pecore." " Better to live a day as lion then 100 days as a sheep. "falcemartello , Aug 31, 2018 11:41:58 AM | 16
Benito Mussolini circa 1924. Fascist and Zionist LA MEME CHOSE"I Troskisti sono le puttane dei fascisti." "Trotskyist are the whores of the fascists."Rob , Aug 31, 2018 11:43:17 AM | 17
Antonio Gramsci circa 1929Agree totally with b's take on Netanyahu. What an a-hole.Kalen , Aug 31, 2018 12:19:57 PM | 21
I am eagerly awaiting b's commentary on the neo-Nazi mobs in Germany. No doubt the rise of fascism in Europe is related to U.S. driven wars in the Middle East which have produced hundreds of thousands of refugees, but what can be done about it? I should think that step number one is to cease hostilities in Syria, thus allowing civil society to normalize. This would stem the outward flow of refugees and encourage the inward flow of many who would want to return to their homeland.Communists and Jews were in concentration camps in Germany since 1933 in Dachau eight years before the meeting, starved, exploited to collapse and death in quarries. In fact most of first Jews were communists, candidates from KPD arrested before elections of April 1933 conducted under emergency law with Hitler's designated as Kantzler.Ex-Reedie , Aug 31, 2018 12:33:27 PM | 22Hephie , Aug 31, 2018 12:36:21 PM | 23
"We hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."
A summary of Athenian statements to the Melians, Book V, 5.89-
History of the Peloponnesian War
The final clause is often quoted by many people, among them Noam Chomsky.
The Melian Dialogue is a brilliant fictionalized recreation of the pre-siege negotiations between Athens and Melos. It is important to note that, from a military point of view, the brutal genocidal siege, while initially successful, was short-lived, successfully over-turned by the Spartans, and ultimately regretted by many Athenians (Cf. example of hubris).
Perhaps more revealing is the spirit in which Thucycides is quoted: Triumphantly, realistically, or lamentably.The Twitter link on the Netanyahu quote is a gold mine! Simply scroll down!hopehely , Aug 31, 2018 12:37:49 PM | 24
'Russian interference???' 'We're working to prevent Iran from establishing military presence in Syria. We won't relent in pursuit of this goal as we did not relent in bringing about the cancellation of the bad nuclear deal w/ Iran, a goal seen impossible when I put it on the intl agenda several years ago
10:05 - 29. 8. 2018'Posted by: Northern Observer | Aug 31, 2018 10:10:13 AM | 5Ex-Reedie , Aug 31, 2018 12:41:42 PM | 26
1 and 3 are not even arguments, they are plain old description of reality as it is.
In (1) the second sentence could pass as an observation, but the first one cannot. It contains the verb "has to" so it is not a passive statement but the assertive one. It implies a necessity and desire.
In (3), yes, from that quote alone it is not clear is Bibi identifies himself with the weak, or with the strong. So, you might be right, it could be that he just cynically describes the world as is, without endorsing it. However, it clear IMO on which side he prefers to be.
But, I do not see that kind of attitude much different than for example of my realtor who told that I should install alarm in my apartment so that a prospective burglar chooses someone else's place to rob, instead of mine.
Or a car dealer who sells huge 4x4 SUV monsters to moms telling them that it is safer for her children, because in case of collision, passengers in larger vehicle are less injured than in the smaller one. And moms do buy them. And put a sticker on the back 'Baby in car' what I find quite ironic.2.Miranda , Aug 31, 2018 12:49:29 PM | 27
History has proved Netanyahu wrong: The strong are not respected but, eventually, overcome.
His is a statement of weakness."Minorities shall bow or leave", according to a presidential candidate here in Brazil.bevin , Aug 31, 2018 12:50:18 PM | 28"Surely some will always be stronger than others. The real question is whether the strong have an obligation to help the weak." dhkarlof1 , Aug 31, 2018 1:29:21 PM | 31
There is no question about it: unless the strong assist the weak the community will dissolve. Society depends upon mutual aid and without society the strongest individual perishes and disappears.
Nothing is more mistaken than to regard the ravings of fascists and the fantasies of eugenicists as 'common sense' axioms. In reality man is a social creature almost uniquely unable to survive alone.
Hitler and Netanyahu were/are whistling in the dark, attempting to banish their consciousness of the inevitable fate of the unjust whose actions are a stench in the nostrils of humanity-Karma.
Will Israel survive until 2030?In his report , Garrie says: "The Russian Foreign Minister has condemned the terrorist act and has accused the Kiev regime of committing an act of state terrorism." I've yet to see Lavrov's statement, but I trust Garrie.English Outsider , Aug 31, 2018 1:30:22 PM | 32
As for American Fascism, the entire mindset of American Exceptionalism combined with the doctrine of Manifest Destiny provide it with a substantial foundation. Combined with the implied imperialism within JQ Adams speech that outlined what became known as The Monroe Doctrine, White, Anglo-Saxon superiority was further institutionalized. Social-Darwinism is quite complex to discuss despite it being a relatively simple concept on the surface. Wikipedia's page is rather good on this topic and shows Herbert Spencer published his ideas before Darwin published his revolutionary book. Vice-President Henry Wallace is the most prominent American citizen I know of to write boldly about American Fascism In his famous NY Times op/ed The Dangers of American Fascism that concludes thusly:
"Fascism in the postwar inevitably will push steadily for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and eventually for war with Russia. Already American fascists are talking and writing about this conflict and using it as an excuse for their internal hatreds and intolerances toward certain races, creeds and classes."
Yes, he saw it but IMO was too soft toward it. I'd be remiss not to mention Bertram Gross's bold 1980 book Friendly Fascism and Sheldon Wolin's Inverted Totalitarianism .Northern Observer - "1 and 3 are not even arguments, they are plain old description of reality as it is"partizan , Aug 31, 2018 2:47:45 PM | 35
Not so. The Primitive Darwinists took no account of feedback, or inter-related systems. The super-tiger eats all the prey and then dies out. There has to be a balance.
But that's a mechanistic refutation of the Primitive Darwinist argument, not that much better than the argument itself. To be human surely means something different in any case, unless we are to succumb to mechanistic determinism.I did not know that is from the Melian Dialogue.karlof1 , Aug 31, 2018 2:56:40 PM | 37
I thought it comes from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, who is after all blamed as a father/idelogue of Nazim.
"What is good? All that enhances the feeling of power, the Will to Power, and the power itself in man. What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is increasing -- that resistance has been overcome. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but competence. The first principle of our humanism is that the weak and the failures shall perish. And they ought to be helped to perish."As far as the strong protecting the weak, the human animal is a prime example of this as the mother and infant must be protected for several years before either can fend for themselves. Another well known example is the mother bear protecting her cubs--don't mess with either! There's no superiority/inferiority involved as such in either example as both are natural mechanisms. The concept of social castes/classes was very well established millennia ago with numerous ideas put forth to justify their existence, many of which still operate today. Many of those ideas are present within the Monthly Review article I linked to yesterday. Engels may or may not have coined the term Social Murder, but even the Whigs agreed as this passage shows:ben , Aug 31, 2018 3:43:21 PM | 40
"In 1844, Frederick Engels wrote that 'English society daily and hourly commits what the working-men's organs, with perfect correctness, characterize as social murder. It has placed the workers under conditions in which they can neither retain health nor live long [and] it undermines the vital force of these workers gradually, little by little, and so hurries them to the grave before their time.'24 Anyone who thinks that Engels was not an objective witness should compare his judgement to that of the influential Whig journal the Edinburgh Review :
"Out of every two persons who die in the east of London, one perishes from preventable causes. From twenty to thirty thousand of the labouring population of London are killed every year by causes which, if we chose, we might expel by a current of water. Though we do not take these persons out of their houses and murder them, we do the same thing in effect, -- we neglect them in their poisonous homes, and leave them there to a lingering but a certain death."
It's very easy to see why Marx and Engels characterized what they observed in England and Europe as Class War. But can the English of the mid 1800s be characterized as fascist, or perhaps just the elite?All three scenarios fit the Ayn Rand model for humanity..Walter , Aug 31, 2018 4:00:48 PM | 41"...since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must..." Thucydides - he said it in Melian Dialogue.Webra , Aug 31, 2018 4:30:52 PM | 42
But the quote should be read in context...and is itself a paraphrase of Athenian Policy,
It is also True. Yes indeed, fascists do sometimes say true things...it happens. I do not like fascists, but I do like truth, doesn't everybody?@16Social Darwinism and Eugenics was certainly not owned by Fascists alone. Its alive and well today and is used to justify neoliberal economics and imperialism. The strong (cognitive or physical) rule the weak. Any attempt at equalizing the disparity is labelled as Socialism and is opposed in part for fears it promotes dysgenics.
Gramsci's thinking thrives in many fields, being a safe haven for political and intellectual organizations midway between the pure abandonment of Marxism and unrestricted adherence to neoliberal "democracy".
Gramsci became the prostitute of the neoliberals, as he was before that of the recycled Stalinists when against "Trotskyism", whatever this was.
Posted by: Pft , Aug 31, 2018 5:10:37 PM | 43Social Darwinism and Eugenics was certainly not owned by Fascists alone. Its alive and well today and is used to justify neoliberal economics and imperialism. The strong (cognitive or physical) rule the weak. Any attempt at equalizing the disparity is labelled as Socialism and is opposed in part for fears it promotes dysgenics.So since this blog entry is dedicated on "The delusions of grandeur that the United States of America suffer", I will let you on a little secret....
Posted by: Pft | Aug 31, 2018 5:10:37 PM | 43 /div
I am doing this because USA is literally a midget and that is not my personal oppinion.
USA is as defenceless as a baby cockroach trying to find its way out of a stinky poophole using as a nest.
God has a very strange sense of humor it seems.
For the love of me I can't figure out why He chose these clowns to pretend they are the global superpower in order for Mankind to be bullied around.
It must be our collective sins!
I can understand, Rome, Persia, Greece, China, India, even some portions of European history, but USA is a total joke.
... ... ...So since this blog entry is dedicated on "The delusions of grandeur that the United States of America suffer", I will let you on a little secret....peter , Aug 31, 2018 5:59:33 PM | 45
I am doing this because USA is literally a midget and that is not my personal oppinion.
USA is as defenceless as a baby cockroach trying to find its way out of a stinky poophole using as a nest.
God has a very strange sense of humor it seems.
For the love of me I can't figure out why He chose these clowns to pretend they are the global superpower in order for Mankind to be bullied around.
It must be our collective sins!
I can understand, Rome, Persia, Greece, China, India, even some portions of European history, but USA is a total joke.
... ... ... /divDarwin had it right I think. Or maybe it was the ancient Greeks. I'm trying pretty hard to keep up here,eugenics might be partly responsible for that.juliania , Aug 31, 2018 6:45:58 PM | 46
Thank Christ somebody broke in with news of that guy getting blowed up. Somebody said Canada might be the culprit. Well, suck me dry and call me Dusty, I never heard of that motherfucker and neither have any of my friends at the bar. Maybe it's because of that gal who had a granddad that was a Uke who liked Nazi invaders better than the Russians. But she's pretty busy right now trying deal with other stuff. Like the biggest trade deal in the world.
But there's some PHD stuff here for sure.I had been going to propose that the answer to all three questions was "Thrasymachus" (from Plato's Republic) - but I see in checking my source that all that fine young man did actually say was that justice is the advantage of the stronger, using as an example the rulers of cities who order things to their own advantage. And indeed, the statement is refuted, which causes the frightening man to blush...But best to read the original, as what Thrasymachus represents looms larger in that setting and in the labyrinthian dialogue upon whose threshold he makes his claim.Mark2 , Aug 31, 2018 6:50:10 PM | 47So back to current affairs !Chas , Aug 31, 2018 7:05:37 PM | 48
England is now devided down the middle politically, as is a whole list of country's, to many to mention. left and right increaseingly polerised ! Perhaps the most important being usa. If we look at the right wing street violence in Germany this week, we see what is going to happen all the way round very soon. This weeks violent aggressive protest is much much bigger than people realise ! It was aimed at inocent people in the street, it was apparently protesting about victems of western military aggression being in Germany. But not stateing their victems, but the problem.
Last Sunday these nazi's and there simperfiers numbered 6000 but the truth is a large proportion of the police present were on there side. Looking the other way when violence occurred failing to arrest people doing the nazi salute. The coalition govenment has a large part extreme right wing.
These next weeks determine which way western country's will swing. We can stop the nazi's on the street's or we can except the consequences.There aren't any more fascists. Haven't you heard? They're called white nationalists now. Or at least that's what I read in the NY Times.vk , Aug 31, 2018 7:13:34 PM | 49@ Posted by: peter | Aug 31, 2018 5:59:33 PM | 45Union Horse , Aug 31, 2018 7:26:43 PM | 50Like the biggest trade deal in the world.
Given the context of your whole comment, I'm considering this an apology to Trump and an insult to the people who comment in this blog.
World trade (globalization) has halted.
Whatever thing Trump and his minions (American allies, "Western Civilization") are doing right now, they are just reestructuring already existing trade deals at best.
As for the "Greek" discussion. It's not a surprise Hitler took at least some inspiration from the ancient Greek. From the 19th to early 20th Century, there was some kind of "Greek revival" in Germany's academic circles. Take Nietzsche for example: he dialogues with the Greeks (mainly Plato and Socrates) many times. Even that so-called Nazi historian (forgot his name) focused on the ancient Greek. Hell, even Marx did his doctorate thesis over Epicurus. So, Hitler essentially lived in the end of a "philellene" period of Germany.To jump right in: OMG this headlineMark2 , Aug 31, 2018 7:33:20 PM | 52
I have been a student of the history of hemispheres and I see this as an abrupt redirect. Several heavily destructive wars have been fought over this in just the last 55 years. LAND REFORM is on the economic agenda. At the IMF indeed.Even at this late stage, the right wing can be stopped peacefully! By sheer weight of numbers alone. tomorrow again they plan a large demonstration. It's now time for the German public to stand up against the reemergence of full blown hitler style fascism taking over there country. And lastly a warning as shocking as it is you can no longer trust your police, they are no longer on your side or on the side of law and order. I don't say this lightly ! I have been following events closely !Netanyahoo and David Irving arguing in the same direction regarding Hitler and the slaughter of Europe's Jews. Wow.
Posted by: Thirdeye , Aug 31, 2018 8:22:09 PM | 53Netanyahoo and David Irving arguing in the same direction regarding Hitler and the slaughter of Europe's Jews. Wow.notlurking , Aug 31, 2018 9:00:01 PM | 56
Posted by: Thirdeye | Aug 31, 2018 8:22:09 PM | 53 /divWhen will people realize these never ending wars in the ME are fought for the 880 pound gorilla....Israel....Chipnik , Aug 31, 2018 10:10:00 PM | 58Thanks, b, I didn't see the (scroll down) so leapt right to search engines and in: Vision and Violence
Arthur P. Mendel · 1999 · Philosophy
from the Google Books access, found some pretty dundew'd up stuff. Are these really quotations? Wow, eugenics must have been a thrill ride in the 1930s for a gimp.
Aug 31, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca
Developing the tradition charted by C. Wright Mills in his 1956 classic The Power Elite , in his latest book, Professor Peter Phillips starts by reviewing the transition from the nation state power elites described by authors such as Mills to a transnational power elite centralized on the control of global capital.
Thus, in his just-released study Giants: The Global Power Elite , Phillips, a professor of political sociology at Sonoma State University in the USA, identifies the world's top seventeen asset management firms, such as BlackRock and J.P Morgan Chase, each with more than one trillion dollars of investment capital under management, as the 'Giants' of world capitalism. The seventeen firms collectively manage more than $US41.1 trillion in a self-invested network of interlocking capital that spans the globe.
This $41 trillion represents the wealth invested for profit by thousands of millionaires, billionaires and corporations. The seventeen Giants operate in nearly every country in the world and are 'the central institutions of the financial capital that powers the global economic system'. They invest in anything considered profitable, ranging from 'agricultural lands on which indigenous farmers are replaced by power elite investors' to public assets (such as energy and water utilities) to war.
In addition, Phillips identifies the most important networks of the Global Power Elite and the individuals therein. He names 389 individuals (a small number of whom are women and a token number of whom are from countries other than the United States and the wealthier countries of Western Europe) at the core of the policy planning nongovernmental networks that manage, facilitate and defend the continued concentration of global capital. The Global Power Elite perform two key uniting functions, he argues: they provide ideological justifications for their shared interests (promulgated through their corporate media), and define the parameters of action for transnational governmental organizations and capitalist nation-states.
More precisely, Phillips identifies the 199 directors of the seventeen global financial Giants and offers short biographies and public information on their individual net wealth. These individuals are closely interconnected through numerous networks of association including the World Economic Forum, the International Monetary Conference, university affiliations, various policy councils, social clubs, and cultural enterprises. For a taste of one of these clubs, see this account of The Links in New York. As Phillips observes: 'It is certainly safe to conclude they all know each other personally or know of each other in the shared context of their positions of power.'
The Giants, Phillips documents, invest in each other but also in many hundreds of investment management firms, many of which are near-Giants. This results in tens of trillions of dollars coordinated in a single vast network of global capital controlled by a very small number of people. 'Their constant objective is to find enough safe investment opportunities for a return on capital that allows for continued growth. Inadequate capital-placement opportunities lead to dangerous speculative investments, buying up of public assets, and permanent war spending.'
Because the directors of these seventeen asset management firms represent the central core of international capital, 'Individuals can retire or pass away, and other similar people will move into their place, making the overall structure a self-perpetuating network of global capital control. As such, these 199 people share a common goal of maximum return on investments for themselves and their clients, and they may seek to achieve returns by any means necessary – legal or not . the institutional and structural arrangements within the money management systems of global capital relentlessly seek ways to achieve maximum return on investment, and the conditions for manipulations – legal or not – are always present.'
Like some researchers before him, Phillips identifies the importance of those transnational institutions that serve a unifying function. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, G20, G7, World Trade Organization (WTO), World Economic Forum (WEF), Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group , Bank for International Settlements, Group of 30 (G30), the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Monetary Conference serve as institutional mechanisms for consensus building within the transnational capitalist class, and power elite policy formulation and implementation. 'These international institutions serve the interests of the global financial Giants by supporting policies and regulations that seek to protect the free, unrestricted flow of capital and debt collection worldwide.'
But within this network of transnational institutions, Phillips identifies two very important global elite policy-planning organizations: the Group of Thirty (which has 32 members) and the extended executive committee of the Trilateral Commission (which has 55 members). These nonprofit corporations, which each have a research and support staff, formulate elite policy and issue instructions for their implementation by the transnational governmental institutions like the G7, G20, IMF, WTO, and World Bank. Elite policies are also implemented following instruction of the relevant agent, including governments, in the context. These agents then do as they are instructed. Thus, these 85 members (because two overlap) of the Group of Thirty and the Trilateral Commission comprise a central group of facilitators of global capitalism, ensuring that 'global capital remains safe, secure, and growing'.
So, while many of the major international institutions are controlled by nation-state representatives and central bankers (with proportional power exercised by dominant financial supporters such as the United States and European Union countries), Phillips is more concerned with the transnational policy groups that are nongovernmental because these organizations 'help to unite TCC power elites as a class' and the individuals involved in these organizations facilitate world capitalism. 'They serve as policy elites who seek the continued growth of capital in the world.'
Developing this list of 199 directors of the largest money management firms in the world, Phillips argues, is an important step toward understanding how capitalism works globally today. These global power elite directors make the decisions regarding the investment of trillions of dollars. Supposedly in competition, the concentrated wealth they share requires them to cooperate for their greater good by identifying investment opportunities and shared risk agreements, and working collectively for political arrangements that create advantages for their profit-generating system as a whole.
Their fundamental priority is to secure an average return on investment of 3 to 10 percent, or even more. The nature of any investment is less important than what it yields: continuous returns that support growth in the overall market. Hence, capital investment in tobacco products, weapons of war, toxic chemicals, pollution, and other socially destructive goods and services are judged purely by their profitability. Concern for the social and environmental costs of the investment are non-existent. In other words, inflicting death and destruction are fine because they are profitable.
So what is the global elite's purpose? In a few sentences Phillips characterizes it thus: The elite is largely united in support of the US/NATO military empire that prosecutes a repressive war against resisting groups – typically labeled 'terrorists' – around the world. The real purpose of 'the war on terror' is defense of transnational globalization, the unimpeded flow of financial capital around the world, dollar hegemony and access to oil; it has nothing to do with repressing terrorism which it generates, perpetuates and finances to provide cover for its real agenda. This is why the United States has a long history of CIA and military interventions around the world ostensibly in defense of 'national interests'.Giants: The Global Power Elite
Wealth and Power
An interesting point that emerges for me from reading Phillips thoughtful analysis is that there is a clear distinction between those individuals and families who have wealth and those individuals who have (sometimes significantly) less wealth (which, nevertheless, is still considerable) but, through their positions and connections, wield a great deal of power. As Phillips explains this distinction, 'the socio