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It is important to note that the word used here is 'fascism', not Nazism. It is not necessary to fulfill the definition of being a Nazi in order to be a fascist. See Mussolini and Franco and consider the current situation in the USA. When powerful corporations control the selection of the candidates for the presidency, either control or can deadlock the House and Senate and have acquired a majority on the Supreme Court, when we have a domestic surveillance state that puts to shame anything from the first half of the 20th century and when we spend more on 'defense' than all of the rest of the world combined does it really matter that the shot callers have refrained from overtly exercising their power?  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 12:48:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That, of course, makes 'our' NATO allies fascist client states.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 12:50:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So Germany fascist -> ally Finland fascist client state

USA fascist -> Germany, UK, France etc. fascist client states.

Well and this started with Nixon or what?

But then this crisis didn't change anything anyway.

by IM on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 12:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Eisenhower understood the problem of the Military Industrial Complex and spoke about it in one of his last speeches as President, and then there is the remaining question about why Kennedy was assissinated and LBJ's escalation in Vietnam before we even get to Nixon's presidency, which was brought down.

I see the '70s as the dividing line. It was then that conservative, libertarian billionaires, working through think tanks and owned media, escalated the economic propaganda to make NCE our economic frame. That was sufficiently successful that Democrat Jimmy Carter was the one who began deregulation. Then Reagan was elected and these same interests had a true believer in the White House who advocated a strong version of deregulation and under whom the looting by the financial sector really became airborne.

Better yet, Ronnie knew how to hit his marks and deliver his message as he had been doing since "Death Valley Days" while being only too happy to delegate the messy details to cabinet members such as Ed Meese, ("watch what we do, not what we say",  and Casper Weinberger and the 'Star Wars' Boys, while laying on the "Evil Empire" rhetoric with regard to the Soviets. It was only when Reagan's more human sentiments intruded that he produced problems, as during the infamous Reykjavík summit with Gorbachev, when he was ready to completely eliminate nuclear weapons before others talked him down.

Bush 41 was certainly a 'national defense' insider and allied with corporate power while publicly speaking about the 'invisible hand' of economics and Clinton learned how to be a proper servant of wealth, as demonstrated by his choice of Robert Rubin as Sec. Treasury, Larry Summers as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and his re-appointment of Greenspan to the Fed, as well as by signing off on the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Futures Trading Modernization Act. The extreme libertarians and the fundamentalists might have hated Clinton but Wall Street certainly did not. (Aspects that thankfully have not become an integral part of the bi-partisan US corporatocracy are white racism and Christian Fundamentalism - yet.)

My own view is that the US REALLY became, effectively, a fascist state after 911. The national security legislation, the invasion of Iraq, the blatant lies served up by Cheney, et al. the trashing of the FBI's program to investigate mortgage lending fraud by reassigning all the agents to 'national security' duties and Rove's overreach in thinking he could make the Republican Party the permanent governing party are all factors.

And the fact that Obama has doubled down on so much of what Bush 43 put in place and refuses to countenance the enforcement of the law against Wall Street fraudsters are indicators that the USA is now a very different country than it was in 1960, when I graduated from high school. I don't like knowing I am living in a fascist state any more than you like being accused of living in a fascist client state, but I like the pretense that this is not the case even less.

I am over 70 and have no job from which I can be fired for saying unpopular things, so it is my duty to be honest about what I see.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 02:39:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That doesn't matter. Fascist has a meaning, at least a rough meaning too. Was in your opinion FDR a fascist? Some of his measures in 1933 were legally dubious and violated property rights.

In one of my old school books there was map showing democratic and non-democratic states in europe in 1929 and 1933. You imagine what happened: everything east of the Rhine and south of them mountains switched to dictatorship. And all right-wing dictatorship. But that doesn't means fascist. There were only two fascist states: Germany and Italy.

Now Hungary was traveling down the road to fascism in the mid-thirties and you can quibble about other countries.

But a definition that would have subsumed Germany and Latvia or Estonia as both fascist in the thirties is obviously meaningless.

So yes, fascism is an italian invention and doesn't needs to have all the defining traits of nazism.
But still the term has a meaning and shouldn't be used as term for anything someone doesn't likes.

by IM on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 01:10:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Property rights are not the issue.

In practical terms, fascism is simply the political wing of social darwinism - hence contempt for the weak and marginalised, and the overt glorification of expansionist narcissism on various spurious racial, financial, or religious grounds.

(There's also a rather obvious urge to self-destruction, but that's something I'll leave to the psychologists.)

So... stealing money is not fascism.

Stealing money from poor people while justifying it on the grounds of one's own specialness and ability to hover disdainfully over normal civilised norms certainly is - with extra points for blaming the weak while abusing them.

Interestingly, it seems that Schäuble's account of himself as a bulwark of reasonableness against the perfidy of the Cypriot establishment may be less than totally candid.

Is this true? Who knows.

Is it plausible? Unfortunately so.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 02:42:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one is talking anymore how much fascism was a reaction to communism. And perhaps a very deliberate, synthetic reaction: national-socialism as a substitute for Marxist socialism, funding of fascist parties... Of course, the same package will be convenient in modern circumstances as well.
by das monde on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 02:55:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<Stealing money from poor people while justifying it on the grounds of one's own specialness and ability to hover disdainfully over normal civilised norms certainly is - with extra points for blaming the weak while abusing them.<<p> Looks like a goods working definition of most organized religion.
by IM on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 03:27:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was in your opinion FDR a fascist? Some of his measures in 1933 were legally dubious and violated property rights.

No, FDR was an opponent of the excessive power of Wall Street over government policy. And he was never overtly anti-democratic in the USA. He signed the Wagoner's National Labor Relations act, which was the foundation for the flourishing of the labor movement in the USA. His opponents, such as the leaders of The Businessman's Plot in 1933 were also supporters of Hitler who they admired because of the effective way in which he dealt with labor. The plot came to light because they attempted to recruit Gen. Smedley Butler, who, instead, went to Congress and denounced the plot and attempted coup.

FDR did tolerate vicious dictatorships in client states and noted of Somoza that 'he might be an SOB, but he was our SOB', and he was tolerant of white racism in the South as he wanted to retain 'The Solid South'. But, had he wished, he could have broken some of the leaders of  major corporations over the Businessman's Plot, but didn't. And DuPont, IBM, Ford, etc. continued to do business with Hitler even after Pearl Harbor, though they at least had the grace to disguise their participation. Prescott Bush, father of GHW Bush, through Brown Harriman Bank, and the Dulles brothers Allen and John Foster, who went on to be CIA Director and Secretary of State, through Sullivan and Cromwell were both heavily involved in legal aspects of US corporations trading with Germany. Many of these relationships helped Germany and harmed the USA during WW II. Much of the leadership and sponsorship of the Republican Party from the 20s through the 50s were, during Hitler's time, tacitly pro-Nazi. They were FDR's political opponents.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 04:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is silly. There is an entire academic sub-discipline which works on nothing but the definition of fascism, the "fascist minimum" (a number of things which have to be fullfiled for a regime or movement to qualify for fascism, see Griffin et al.).

A fascist is not just some right-wing authoritarian guy you don't like. This use of the word is a Soviet hold-over, as the Stalinists hardly could call the Nazis National Socialists (uh-oh) so instead they called them Fascists. They still do that in Russia.

Anyway, after the war many European hard left parties were more or less remote-controlled from Moscow, and their exposure to Soviet propaganda influenced the words they used. Nazis became fascists, missiles became rockets, and atomic never changed into nuclear. Hence you could hear people in the so-called peace movement of the 80's protesting against the deployment of "atomic rockets".

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 04:52:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This casts a very interesting light on Sara Palin's name. (From the Griffin link):

Palingenetic ultranationalism is a theory concerning generic fascism formulated by British political theorist Roger Griffin.[1][2] The key elements are that fascism can be defined by its core myth, namely that of "national rebirth" -- palingenesis.[1][2] Griffin argues that the unique synthesis of palingenesis and ultranationalism differentiates fascism from para-fascism and other authoritarian nationalist ideologies.

For me the more generic aspect of fascism is the state's appropriation of the right to define everything to its satisfaction and use force to insure compliance. It is sort of an abstraction from Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism as remembered from my grad school days. One of Mig's sig lines highlights this in terms of the operational attitude of most police organizations.

I will have to more carefully read Griffin before I can say whether his definition is more intended to demonstrate who is vs. who is not a fascist. (I.E. 'Not us, certainly!')

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 06:18:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean this one?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 06:23:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 07:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me the more generic aspect of fascism is the state's appropriation of the right to define everything to its satisfaction and use force to insure compliance.

Using this definition, even communism becomes fascism. This might be useful in some ways (like when you want to say that you don't like commies ("they're fascists!" (thus ironically using a Soviet-communist nomenclatura...)), but it's certainly not very stringent.

Your definition of fascism is pretty close to what I would just call "totalitarianism". Fascism is totalitarian, but not all totalitarianism is fascism.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 07:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The term 'fascism' comes from the fascies, or bindings, that held together the bundle of rods around the headmans's axe that the fascista carried. Those bindings also symbolized those that bound together the community in a common morality. But the modern useage more commonly gives priority to corporatism as the guiding principle - what ever the corporatists want. But, historically, the fascist government gets away from the control of the corporatists even as it continues to serve their interests, at least in the view of the state.

A more polite description is that the USA is run by a commercial oligarchy, per Lewis Lapham:

As was true in the early years of the Republic the country is governed by a commercial oligarchy. And a citizen who cannot afford the luxury of a contrary opinion learns of necessity to dance the beggars waltz.

What has changed is that significant elements of that oligarchy, through their financial support of the electoral process, have come to be self consciously above the reach of laws that should affect how the operate their businesses. The government has come to be the instrument through which they control the country to their benefit and that government has developed practical omniscience concerning the activities of the citizens which is turned against those citizens who challenge their actions, even when those challenges are of the nature of a conscientious objection. The Bradley Mannings and Aaron Schwartz's of the contemporary scene have the full power of the state turned against them with massively disproportionate charges being filed as an example to others.  
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 08:07:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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