Tuesday, September 23, 2008

EMENDATION: SOCIALISM IS THE WRONG WORD

Brady Wiseman in Bozeman MT writes to note, "Bailing out the banks is not socialism. The government and the Fed are not becoming exactly the creditors of the banks. Because the numbers are so large, they are now partners. It's not a bailout so much as a merger. What do you call the merger of government and corporations? Mussolini called it fascism."

Wiseman is quite right. We let ourselves get caught in the rhetoric of the day in which you can call anything you don't like socialism, but god forbid you use the term fascism. In the past, however, we have addressed this matter:

Sam Smith, 2006 - One needs to look not at Hitler but at the founder of fascism, Mussolini. What Mussolini founded was the estato corporativo - the corporative state or corporatism. Writing in Economic Affairs in the mid 1970s, R.E. Pahl and J. T. Winkler described corporatism as a system under which government guides privately owned businesses towards order, unity, nationalism and success. They were quite clear as to what this system amounted to: "Let us not mince words. Corporatism is fascism with a human face. . . An acceptable face of fascism, indeed, a masked version of it, because so far the more repugnant political and social aspects of the German and Italian regimes are absent or only present in diluted forms.". . .

Adrian Lyttelton, describing the rise of Italian fascism in The Seizure of Power, writes: "A good example of Mussolini's new views is provided by his inaugural speech to the National Exports Institute on 8 July 1926. . . Industry was ordered to form 'a common front' in dealing with foreigners, to avoid 'ruinous competition,' and to eliminate inefficient enterprises. . . The values of competition were to be replaced by those of organization: Italian industry would be reshaped and modernized by the cartel and trust. . .There was a new philosophy here of state intervention for the technical modernization of the economy serving the ultimate political objectives of military strength and self-sufficiency; it was a return to the authoritarian and interventionist war economy."

Lyttelton writes that "fascism can be viewed as a product of the transition from the market capitalism of the independent producer to the organized capitalism of the oligopoly." It was a point that Orwell had noted when he described fascism as being but an extension of capitalism. Lyttelton quoted Nationalist theorist Affredo Rocco: "The Fascist economy is. . . an organized economy. It is organized by the producers themselves, under the supreme direction and control of the State.". . .

Article 48 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic stated, "In case public safety is seriously threatened or disturbed, the Reich President may take the measures necessary to reestablish law and order, if necessary using armed force. In the pursuit of this aim, he may suspend the civil rights described in articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153, partially or entirely. The Reich President must inform the Reichstag immediately about all measures undertaken . . . The measures must be suspended immediately if the Reichstag so demands."

It was this article that Hitler used to peacefully establish his dictatorship. And why was it so peaceful and easy? Because, according to Childers, the 'democratic" Weimar Republic had already used it 57 times prior to Hitler's ascendancy.

There are eerie similarities between Article 48 and George Bush's approach. When you add to this the remarkable incompetence of the current regime, the collapse of both traditional liberal and conservative politics, and the economic crises, it feels like a new Weimar Republic setting the stage for awful things we can not at this point even imagine. It may be that history has something to tell us after all.

2 Comments:

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Uncle B said...

Tender spot hurting a lot? Other side too? bruises on your face and body throbbing? Is that blood running out your nose, skirt above your head in the wind, panties torn and soiled, titties swelling and turning blue by the minute, lost on the roadside, hoping not to die? Did you recognize the tail lights of the limo that threw you off? Was it the same limo that picked you up at election time, promising a good decent clean ride? Will you ever learn? Last time these guys did this to you, your babies were killed in Iraq and your retirement fund spent to do it, your taxes went up, you did not get destroyed by the weapons of mass destruction, they were never found. Poor little America. Our heart-felt prayers from Canada go out to you!

 
At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Jack Collins said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who had this realization. This kind of Bizarro-World redistributionism, stealing from the poor to give to the rich as it were, was one of the cornerstones of Fascism. The next step will be giving corporations direct representation in congress. Oh, wait, lobbying has effectively already done that.

I hate to throw around the f-word (although I've been using the OTHER f-word a lot lately), because it has been so over-used that it only marginalizes the user. But if it goose-steps like a duck...

On a personal note: Sam, do you ever get tired of being right? Half the things you post seem to be quotes from something you wrote 3, 10, 20 years ago predicting exactly what has happened.

 

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PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM

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Your editor has been a musician for many decades. He started the first band his Quaker school ever had and played drums with bands up until 1980 when he switched to stride piano. He had his own band until the mid-1990s and has played with the New Sunshine Jazz Band, Hill City Jazz Band, Not So Modern Jazz Band and the Phoenix Jazz Band.

NOTES ON THE MUSIC

Here are a few tracks:

SAM SMITH'S DECOLAND BAND

'SHINE' 

JELLY ROLL

PHOENIX JAZZ BAND

APEX BLUES   Sam playing with the Phoenix Jazz Band at the Central Ohio Jazz festival in 1990. Joining the band is George James on sax. James, then 84, had been a member of the Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller orchestras and hadappeared on some 60 records. More notes on James

WISER MAN  Sam piano & vocal

OH MAMA  Sam piano & vocal