Marxist view of fascism - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Discourse exclusively on the basis of historical materialist methodology.
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By Okonkwo
#1854207
I've never been able to wrap my head around this:
In the 20th century, finance capital was not able to accommodate itself to parliamentary democracy and was hence obliged to resort to fascism, thus making fascism the "saviour" of capitalism, if you will.

Explain to me, what this analysis is based upon, that would be greatly appreciated.
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By FallenRaptor
#1854261
The fascist movement has it's basis with the petty bourgeoisie, the lumpen-proletariat, and some strata of the working class. When capitalist society becomes increasingly unstable and these groups become restless the big bourgeoisie turns to the fascists and their extremist policies to maintain their social hegemony over society.
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By Okonkwo
#1854267
FallenRaptor wrote:to maintain their social hegemony over society.

Elaborate on that, specifically on how Hitler (I'm willingly taking this historical example as a starting point) protected the interests of the bourgeoisie with something akin to Keynesian military spending? It's not like capitalism itself was bankrupt in pre-Nazi German, but rather the social order.
If you wish to examine another case, take Mussolini's Italy: striving for how would autarky benefit any nation's bourgeoisie?
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By FallenRaptor
#1854386
IIRC, military Keynesian played a big role in revitalizing the German economy, and I'm sure the capitalists involved in the war industry were more than happy with it. Also, Italy's ambition for autarky was mainly due to the embargos placed on it as a result of invading Ethiopia.
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By jaakko
#1854423
The German example, which really became the head of Fascism-dominated Europe, appears quite simple with respect to decisive factors asked in the topic question. Despite the defeat and the depressing aftermath of the post-WWI rebellions, the militant labour movement lead by the KPD had become strong enough to really challenge the capitalist system by the advent of the 30's. Its popular strength felt in streets and factories was even reflected in the parliamentarian elections. The prospects for the revolution in Germany appeared realistic in both the communists' and the bourgeoisie's view. For the German bourgeoisie, communism was not quarantined within the USSR borders and the parliamentarian political system had failed in marginalising it.

The participation of the KPD in the parliamentarian elections was an important part of their revolutionary tactics. This participation wasn't just a method for the KPD to measure its popular support outside the organised proletariat - it was also a necessary means to dispel parliamentarian illusions among its own electoral base, and to eventually force the bourgeoise state to strip its parliamentarian mask.

It's a truism of Marxism-Leninism that bourgeois repression increases with the growth of the revolutionary movement, and that the more electoral support a communist party receives, the more it has to concentrate on extra-parliamentarian, clandestine and downright insurrectionary activities. A genuine communist party has no peaceful, parliamentary road to governmental power in an intact bourgeois state. The Spanish republic had been deserted by half the bourgeoisie and the Central and Eastern European bourgeois states had been literally crippled by the war, fascist occupation and retreat, the armed resistance and the physical presence of the victorious Soviet Army - in all cases of relatively peaceful ascension to power, the factor of violence was present and decisive.

So the question remains, why didn't Germany follow the semi-fascist or semi-parliamentarian (is the glass half full or half empty) road as did Finland, where the parliamentarian form of government was retained while the communists and wider left-wing were barred from elections and where the tradeunion movement was subjugated under a police-forced corporatism? There was fascist movement in Finland, but most of the industrial bourgeoisie didn't support it, effectively confining it into a rural party of the big land-owners.

My answer to that question is primarily militarism. There was a militarist consensus among the German capitalist class before there was fascist consensus. The need for military expansion of the German capitalism wasn't migitated but aggravated by the Versailles peace conditions. Add to that the lessons of the Spartakist rebellion, the lagging behind of the colonial power of France and Britain, and the economic depression. For these reasons or others, the German bourgeoisie chose militarism and anti-communism. The German working masses (including the petty bourgeoisie), too, had basically two options to improve its conditions; either to support the militarism and anti-communism to get some share of the loot, or support the communists and overthrow the whole system.

My speculation is that the aforementioned "Finnish road" (not implicating it was very original, just familiar to me as an example) would've been too slow and too gradual to either accomplish the militarisation of the society fast enough or to repel the revolution in time. To balance all this rationalism I must end by saying that capitalism as a socio-economic system doesn't always act like one conscious body - the irrational factor must be factored in.

Okonkwo wrote:how Hitler (I'm willingly taking this historical example as a starting point) protected the interests of the bourgeoisie with something akin to Keynesian military spending?


More jobs, better chances for military expansion promoting German capital investments in Europe and opening it the door to oil and other raw material resources, and not least of all the creation of a happy German labour aristocracy? If all this had to offer for the German monopoly bourgeoisie was increased profits and national-social peace, then it was enough as the maximisation of profits is the primary economic law of monopoly capitalism and as the maximisation of profits is impossible without securing the national-social peace.

It's not like capitalism itself was bankrupt in pre-Nazi German, but rather the social order.

I don't see how you can "extract" the social order from the system as a whole.

If you wish to examine another case, take Mussolini's Italy: striving for how would autarky benefit any nation's bourgeoisie?


Was it striving for autarky or just promoting national industry?
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By Okonkwo
#1855352
jaakko wrote:the militant labour movement lead by the KPD had become strong enough to really challenge the capitalist system by the advent of the 30's

That's matter of dispute. It was certainly perceived as a threat much greater than it actually was, the KPD always polled at around 10%, parts of the general populace (especially the protestant conservative one) was avidly anti-communist, so the fear of the Soviet bogeyman was much larger than the actual threat it posed. This was of course something Hitler exploited.
Hence I disagree with the idea of the bourgeoisie having to resort to outright fascism to stop communism, when every single Weimar party (and that includes the social democrats) gained massive votes by utilising anti-Russian sentiments within the population.

jaakko wrote:Was it striving for autarky or just promoting national industry?

Mussolini proclaimed outright autarky after the trade embargos of 1935, while of course retaining a huge de facto reliance on the 3rd Reich.
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By Fasces
#13099939
As I understand it, fascist thought sees no issue with maintaining the roles of the elite, the bourgeousie, and the proleteriat, and even embraces it, wheras revolutionary Marxism would seek to the destroy the two former and promote the latter.

This stems from a fundamental difference in philosophy: wheras Marxists are concerned with the material advancement of the poor and their exploitation by the rich, fascists seek to harmonize the two within the national interests. Since the national interest is usually, according to Marxists, determined by the elite, fascism is seen as a tool by the elite to maintain their control over society using classic misdirection. Hence, it is used to preserve the existing system, which at the time meant capitalism.

I disagree with this analysis. Capitalists had as much to fear from fascism as communists did, although fascism did preserve class status. So while a critique may be appropriate from the viewpoint of class relations, to call it, as Lenin did, Capitalism in decay is not completely correct.
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By KurtFF8
#13102281
Okonkwo wrote:That's matter of dispute. It was certainly perceived as a threat much greater than it actually was, the KPD always polled at around 10%, parts of the general populace (especially the protestant conservative one) was avidly anti-communist, so the fear of the Soviet bogeyman was much larger than the actual threat it posed. This was of course something Hitler exploited.


I was under the impression that the KPD claimed it had an orthodox Marxist line all the way up until the rise of Fascism. That doesn't mean that it was "pure" or wasn't full of reformism as well although as Jakko stated earlier, not all parliamentary participation is necessarily reformism and I'm not claiming they were reformists like the SPD was. As a matter of fact I believe even the SPD claimed they had a Marxist line until the rise of fascism as well.

Fasces wrote:I disagree with this analysis. Capitalists had as much to fear from fascism as communists did, although fascism did preserve class status. So while a critique may be appropriate from the viewpoint of class relations, to call it, as Lenin did, Capitalism in decay is not completely correct.


How to you disagree with the analysis while at the same time admitting that the capitalist class necessarily would have an interest in preserving its own interest under fascism? If in a time of severe economic/political/social crisis like what Germany was in in the interwar period, why would the capitalist class not support the ascension of fascism? It seems quite clear that we can draw distinct class interests for why the capitalist class would support a fascist order.
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By Fasces
#13102515
How to you disagree with the analysis while at the same time admitting that the capitalist class necessarily would have an interest in preserving its own interest under fascism? If in a time of severe economic/political/social crisis like what Germany was in in the interwar period, why would the capitalist class not support the ascension of fascism? It seems quite clear that we can draw distinct class interests for why the capitalist class would support a fascist order.


I do not believe most capitalists supported fascism, choosing instead to support Hindenburg and the outright conservative party in the Reichstag. However, due to the massive gains of both National Socialist and Communist forces, the choice was clear: When a capitalist must choose between the party which preserves his life and social status, but may nationalize or otherwise take control of his capital (but leave him, in most cases, as a manager), or the party which denounces and seeks to destroy him, and most certainly will take his capital and leave him to the dogs, the choice is rather for the lesser "evil", so to speak, and not a clear choice between good or bad.

Any support Hitler derived from the capitalist elite was, I believe, from a survival interest, not a class one.
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By Vera Politica
#13105435
Any support Hitler derived from the capitalist elite was, I believe, from a survival interest, not a class one.


I am suspicious of the exclusion of 'class' from 'survival interest' and am unsure why you seperate the two. What you say is right, in a way. Fascism is a reactionary response to the apex of class antagonism. Surely the bourgeoisie prefer liberal-democracy over illiberal authoritarianism, however to say that fascism doesn't serve the bourgeois interest is out of context. They would not opt for fascism over liberal democracy, but fascism is indicative of resorting to illiberal practices to preserve class categories and is usualyl why it appeears in times of upheaveal and extreme class anatagonism.
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By Fasces
#13105442
I agree that the bourgeoisie will turn towards fascism over communism. However, this does not make fascism a bourgeoisie ideology, merely a revolutionary ideology that puts class on a lower priority than the spiritual well being of the nation.

Fascism is no better for capitalism than communism. It is simply better for the individuals that make up the capitalist class. This is all I am trying to point out.
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By KurtFF8
#13106767
Fascism is no better for capitalism than communism. It is simply better for the individuals that make up the capitalist class.


As a collectivist, you ought to see something wrong in this line of logic. It's quite easy to demonstrate the obvious class interest of the capitalist class under fascism. The fact that some in capital is willing to resort to a new ideology in order to preserve its state in society is nothing new, and capital's support for fascist states is a further demonstration of that fact.
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By Fasces
#13108195
Yes, but the implementation of fascism destroys capitalism. So while the capitalist class may be willing to be adopted and work within the fascist system, it is only because of the dreadful alternative. The fact that this is a general trend among the capitalist class, makes Marxists label it as class interest, but I believe it is something much more primitive than that.
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By Fasces
#13108619
That shows ignorance of fascist ideology. Properly implemented fascism is syndicalist, and while the free market is preserved, it bears little similarity to the capitalist market.
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By KurtFF8
#13109226
Capitalism is not only equal to a free market system that libertarians posit, though. Vera's point, which is dead on, is that fascism does support bourgeois property albeit in a different manner than liberal free market systems do.

We're not arguing that fascism is equal to free market liberal capitalism, of course we understand that fascism is a different way in which the ruling classes under capitalism maintain their ownership over the means of production. This is precisely why we oppose fascism so much.
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By Fasces
#13109612
But they do not. They are equalized to the lower classes. Most industry would be run in a syndicalist manner, with workers (and managers, but they are outnumbered) electing their representatives, who then, in conjunction with others in a national assembly, dictate from the center all economic policy.
#14727306
Retrospectively, Fascist ideology was the next and proper dialectical step up from western Democracy and Capitalism.

Fascists first over-turned Democracy for a Peoples Republic, because of the failures of Democracy to serve the people. ('Liberty' it seems, is in fact the root of our oppression in a capitalistic-scheming economy run by elites, as we now also see in the US.)

Then, Fascists in total control of government, not having to deal with opposition parties in parliament, have the power and strength to force nationalization of banks and major industries. Capitalists, including Internationalists, have no recourse except to flee.

Once you have nationalized the economy and major industries, you have taken the first big step towards a proper socialism. It is moderate, but definitive. Under this system, you have a limited socialization of the economy, but capitalists elements remain. This balance helps ensure the steady progress of the State economically and technologically.

If you want a proper *communism*, you will have to wait another 200 years.

Unlike the Trotskyist and the *real* extremists, communism isn't going to be attained overnight. or over a decade. or maybe even a century. ..We're talking evolution of HISTORY, here. It takes time.

So if you refer to yourself as a Fascist, now, that is quite fine and in-league with post-Marxist theory. (two-stage theory, one country, one socialism theory, and with an emphasis on nationalism as a means of defense against foreign imperialists and internationalists.)

The one's you have to be careful about are the one's who think they're 'marxist', haven't learned from history to realize 'post-marxism'.

Anyways, China is the best and only example of proper historical dialectic. It is currently in it's Fascist stage, and I expect it will attain to socialist utopia in ~100 years.
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