More on Fascism from Orcinus
April 26, 2003
If you hadn't already known about it, Orcinus has been running a series of reports on fascism. I've been writing about the subject too (here and here) but in a different vein. Orcinus' latest is long, but worth the read. He's a thorough, thoughtful writer and he clearly crafts his work. I admire Orcinus' input because he has really had a lot of personal experience with resisting white power/white separatist movements; he has a lot of knowledge about the history of the West Coast in general, and the politics of the 1924 Asian Exclusion Act, and the 1942 round-ups and internment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans.
Orcinus includes this chilling passage which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up:
After ruthlessly suppressing communist and socialist opposition, the NSDAP began to "coordinate" German society through steady infiltration of institutions. Wehrmacht officers, for example, were "Nazified" through oaths to Hitler, and schools and universities given "Aryan principles in every discipline." Workplaces and professional associations underwent similar upheavals. Griffin argues that none of this 'coordination' was "an end in itself," as he suggests the reorganization of Italian society was between 1925 and 1936. It was rather "the prelude to an unbroken sequence of dynamic events set in train by the new state that fully merit the concept of 'permanent revolution' with all its ultimately self defeating and unsustainable connotations."
He goes on to point out that the fascist regime, both in Italy and in Germany, was forced to confront not just the pre-nationalist regions of the 19th century third world (as did the rest of Europe) but fully nationalist countries like Poland, Greece, Yugosalvia, and of course the USSR.
I am not sure that we stand on the brink of an era of American Fascism, but I think that we ARE sowing the seeds of one. It may take ten years for the seeds to flower, and the lucky gardeners to reap their crop. It may take 50. I don't think we can yet say. But I do agree with Paxton, and his complete refutation of the 'anti-modern' thesis that fascism can only flourish in place in which democracy and political participation are shallowly rooted. This argument has been used many times, particularly by right wing historians...to inoculate right-wing elements in 'real' democracies (the U.S., England) against the charge that they have fascist tendencies, or to pooh-pooh the notion of the rise of fascism in one of their 'favored' or 'privileged' countries.
"Fascism: Two hoary myths," October 2005:
The first is a supposed quote that I keep seeing pop up in e-mails sent to me:(This describes the movements, Fascism; upon achieving power, the terms left and right lost all meaning because of the anti-utilitarian character of the regime)"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."The fact is that, as far as anyone can ascertain, Mussolini never said or wrote this. Indeed, it contradicts much of what he did say about corporatismů
"The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism" (PDF), September 2004:
The "conservative movement," in the course of this mutation, has become something entirely new, a fresh political entity quite unlike we've ever seen before in our history, but one that at the same time seems somehow familiar, as though we have seen something like it...Call it Pseudo Fascism... Its architecture, its entire structure, has morphed into a not-so-faint hologram of 20th-century fascism.
"Jingoes and the fascist impulse," May 2004:
This is a peculiar blind spot, because in fact fascism is only possible as an outgrowth -- a metastasis, if you will -- of democracy. Historically, fascism has only taken root in democracies when they stumble. It seems not to occur to Americans that if their democracy stumbles, the dark face of fascism awaits to take its place.This is not something I'm sure I would agree with. Fascist regimes are rare; in addition to Naziism, which definitely grew out of the Weimar Republic, and Fascist Italy, which grew out of the embryonic Italian parliamentary monarchy, we have the Ustashi of Croatia, the Iron Guard Movement of Romania, the Flaming Cross Movement of Hungary (both ot which could be said to be abortive), Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and the Habyaremana regime in Rwanda. Others have made the case that Haiti under the Duvaliers experienced fascism, and most acounts of life in North Korea led me to believe that country also is under fascist rule. Note "mere" class-based tyrannies (e.g., in Indonesia under Suharto, the various military juntas of Latin America, Spain under Franco, and so on; I called these "falangism"). However, the most real heart of the post is this:
In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.This is classic do-it-yourselfer fascism, what I used to call "have-a-nice-day Naziism" when I was in college.
"Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An Exegesis" (PDF), August 2003