Europe crushed the Greek resistance in 2015. Not because Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, thought his economic plan would work; he candidly told the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, that “as a patriot” he would not sign it himself. But Germany wants to impose its order on Italy and on France, where civil society continues to fight back. And Chancellor Angela Merkel could not admit to her voters, or to fellow Europeans from Slovakia to Portugal, that back in 2010 she’d saved Germany’s banks by saddling them with Greek debts that could never be paid.
Greece was given collective punishment as a lesson. It was done to show that “there is no alternative.” It was done to stop any other attempt to develop, articulate, and defend a more rational policy. It was done to protect the power of the European Central Bank, the German government in Europe, and the policy-making authority, in face of a long record of failure, of the IMF.
Can finance and democracy work together?
What makes Europe’s democratic crisis so urgent?
What can politics do to fix the low growth, low dconfidence global economic malaise?
With lagging investment everywhere, how can we regain confidence in the global economy?
Eric Draitsler sits down with economist, and former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis to discuss the shifts in the political landscape of both Europe and the US, and what they mean for political activism and progressive politics. Eric and Yanis discuss the nature of the EU and whether it can be reformed or democratized, as well as the forces at play within it. The conversation also touches on the US election as Yanis and Eric debate the utility of “lesser evil” politics, while also examining the ascendance of the fascist right in Europe and the US, with particular attention to the Brexit vote and its implications. The bond bubble and potential economic collapse, the long view of the 2008 crisis, the importance of addressing climate change, the necessity of internationalism, and many other topics are discussed in this wide-ranging interview with one of the best economic minds in the world today.
Before beginning my self-apology let me ask, “Is it necessary for someone, or a “movement” they represent, to be a ‘full blown Nazi’ to be a proto-fascist, and therefore, dangerous to the society and the world in which we live?”
As a consequence of my last post, ON A LEFTIST MOVEMENT, a friend of mine (and once again I consider this person a friend and I welcome the opportunity to respond to his criticisms) suggested that I called “the opposition” (i.e. Regressives) “fascists”. The comment is as follows:
Name calling, however applicable you think the name is, has a toxic effect on political discussion. This is especially true when the name calling is of a personal nature. It cannot advance the cause of the exploited and oppressed. If you are going to characterize someone as a “fascist,” or someone’s ideas as fascistic then offer some evidence and line of reasoning that could be picked apart. Otherwise you are engaging is name-calling. The Hillary Clinton campaign excels in this. The best way to counter act it is to call someone on it, fight fire with water, rather than fight fire with fire.
Having reviewed my post I do not find the words “fascist” or “fascistic” in it; however, I willingly admit that I view both of the duopolistic DemoRepublican/Republicratic candidates as leaning in the general direction of fascism, that is, “ultra rightism” (to turn a phrase) and that this itself will lead to controversy. This is more obvious with Mr. Trump, but Ms. Clinton is not immune to these charges in my view. And, while I do not view my previous post as simply “engaging in name-calling” nor that I “called anyone a fascist” in that post, I will here present a case for thinking that Regressives are well to the right of a total view of the political spectrum for what is viewed as “liberal” in the US has ever been only a couple degrees left of center, at best.
In reference to the second point: My friend suggested that Aside from some ideological similarities, Trump does not represent a fascist movement qualitatively similar to the German NAZIs of the 1930s and Italian Fascists-1919 to 1945, in the following comment:
It is common for right wing politicians to saber rattle and scape goat immigrants, but the term “fascist” should not be loosely applied to all or most right wing politicians. Aside from some ideological similarities, Trump does not represent a fascist movement qualitatively similar to the German NAZIs of the 1930s and Italian fascists 1919 to 1945. The purpose of a fascist movement a la Adolph Hitler is to smash the organized working class via a movement of plebes, which becomes a serious danger to the labor movement when it achieves a certain level of popular support and financial backing from the ruling class, and that won’t happen short of a severe political crisis. Trump is little more than bogey-man manufactured by the corporate media and the Democratic party to frighten much of the left into supporting Hillary Clinton.
While it is common for “right wing politicians to saber rattle and scape goat immigrants,” it is not common for any “mainstream party’s candidate” to call for the total ban on the entire membership of a religion, nor an entire race of people euphemistically called “Mexicans” that they are rapists and murderers: (for a considerable percentage of the people immigrating across our southern border are not “Mexican.” A union brother used to call “them all” “Cans” for as he claimed they are all “Mexi-cans, Puerto Ri-cans ⎝never minding Puerto Ricans are American by birth⎠, Argentini-cans, etc. He now supports Mr. Trump) This form of ultra-nationalism has long been the purview of FRINGE or EXTREMIST candidates who gain little, if any traction on the state of political theater. E.g., when Mr. Trump claims, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems…they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” This is all too reminiscent of my childhood as I grew up during Jim Crow in Mississippi. In relation to Blacks this was a common refrain “He is one of the GOOD ONES.” Leaving out the implication directed toward the remainder of the race they were referring to. Does not Mr. Trump’s statement “…some, I assume, are good people” imply a strongly reactionary racial prejudice? This is the type of rhetoric that has been coming from such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan, various “skinhead” groups, the “Ayran Nations” and similar groups long recognized as extremist right wing, even as “neo-nazi” groups by some very reputable people including those at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. Not only are these openly white supremacist and nationalist groups finding enough in Mr. Donald Trump with which they identify so that they can openly promote him, Mr. Trump is refusing to publicly distance himself from their endorsements which is something no serious mainstream candidate has refused to do since the “Old South” when one could not get elected without at least the tactic support of the KKK.
This post will not address the need to develop a leftist movement as the previous post did; it will only deal with the suggestion that I referred to “Regressives” wrongly as “fascists,” “as fascistic,” or as “neo-nazis.” I haven’t the time nor the space to deal with both movements, Fascism and Nazism, here and now. I hope a discussion concerning mainly the Italian Fascists will suffice.
Perhaps it is the lack of coherence that would lead someone to believe that Mr. Trump does not “represent a fascist movement qualitatively similar to the… Italian Fascists?” If so, please consider these statements by Il Duce (Italian for “the leader” which in German is “der Führer”), Mr. Benito Mussolini:
“…The lack of a formal system was used by disingenuous adversaries as an argument for proclaiming Fascism incapable of elaborating a doctrine at the very time when that doctrine was being formulated – no matter how tumultuously, – first, as in the case with all new ideas, in the guise of violent dogmatic negations…” √ and,
“When in the now distant March of 1919… I had in mind no specific doctrinal program… nearly a decade. My experience was that both of a follower and a leader but it was not doctrinal experience. My doctrine during that period had been the doctrine of action.” Published in 1932: √
I read this to say that when Mr. Mussolini first organized the “Partito Nazionale Fascista” (National Fascist Party ⎝of Italy⎠) as having had no specific ideology. (Later we shall see that they did actually have an ideology, that was, violence, hatred and ultra-nationalism.) Thus to say that Mr. Trump is not “consistent,” nor “coherent,” does not indicate a lack of qualitative similarity to Italian Fascism, circa 1919-1945, for indeed the founder of the Fascist movement had no coherent philosophy (beyond the aforementioned which seems very similar to Mr. Trump) for some years after its founding.
What about the apparent “cult of violence” that surrounds Mr. Trump for Mr. Trump’s campaign with the promotion of force both inside and outside his speech venues of which considerable “hay” has been made in the media? Surely this is not as prominent as it was in the early years of the National Fascist Party of Italy; however, having a candidate who openly encourages the use of force by his supporters (instead of his body guards and police units only) is a troubling development.
Secret Service had multiple convos with Trump Camp about his remarks suggesting violence. ∑ Consider another of Mr. Mussolini’s statements:
“The years preceding the march on Rome cover a period during which… Fighting was going on in the towns and villages. There were discussions but… there was something more sacred and more important … death… Fascists knew how to die. A doctrine… was replaced by something far more decisive, – by a faith.” √
Could this be the “faith of patriotism,” or more specifically of jingoism (extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy.) Which, by the way well encompasses Ms. Clinton’s foreign policy as well. Considering how many “Republican Neo-Cons” are abandoning Mr. Trump for Ms. Clinton should perhaps raise a few flags of concern in her foreign policy, in this regard. Consider the following quote from Il Duce:
“The State hands down to future generations the memory of those who laid down their lives to ensure its safety or to obey its laws; it sets up as examples and records for future ages the names of the captains who enlarged it’s territory and of the men of genius who have made it famous.” §
While the United Dixie White Knights (UDWK) (not pictured above) and other Klans may not be directly allied with Mr. Trump I wonder how many Fascist Sympathizers were members of The National Fascist Party in 1919 who were later very happy to join. The UDWK’s (of Mississippi) Imperial Wizard, Brent Waller of Leaksville, MS and other Klan leader claim that, due to the positive atmosphere created by the influence of Donald Trump, this year should be a “banner year” for recruitment and is planning to reach out to other Klans to form a Nationwide organization of Klans for the first time in decades. And several (the UDWK for instance) have greatly stepped up recruitment) in their respective regions. For more concerning the UDWK and other “Klans” check out the Southern Poverty Law Center at Hate Groups. Another thing we historically know about both Nazis and Fascists is that they knew not only how to die, but how to kill. Now consider the degree of deaths among marginalized communities in the US today:
“Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015, according to the findings of a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year.
“Despite making up only 2% of the total US population, African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police. Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age.” ¥
- KKK leader Brent Waller, imperial wizard of the United Dixie White Knights in Mississippi, said stopping immigration — not blocking minority rights — is the Klan’s No. 1 issue today.
- And other Klan leaders say Donald Trump’s ascendancy in the GOP is a sign things are going their way.
- “You know, we began 40 years ago saying we need to build a wall,” Arkansas-based Klan leader Thomas Robb said.
- Despite trying to rebrand itself, the Klan has not stepped away from burning crosses. As the sun set on a warm Saturday in April, Klan members gathered in a huge circle in a northwest Georgia field to set a cross and Nazi swastika afire.
- “White power!” they chanted in unison.
- “Death to the ungodly! Death to our enemies!” ❆
In the case (especially) of the Nazis it was those they identified as “other” that were targeted: Jews, Communists, Trade Unionists, Gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped (physically and mentally) and other “inferior races” especially, but not limited to, Slavs. In the case of Mr. Trump it is “Mexicans” (which apparently include all Latinos including those born in the US as in the case of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel), “Muslims” and “anyone who doesn’t love America enough” to suit Mr. Trump’s supporters.
What about the doctrine of “American Exceptionalism” which is so “dear to the hearts of both parties” and their selected candidates? Surely this could not be conflated as representing a fascistic concept! or could it? Consider another of Mr. Mussolini’s statements:
“The Fascist State, as a higher and more powerful expression of personality, is a force… It sums up all the manifestations of the moral and intellectual life of man… The Fascist State is an inwardly accepted standard and rule of conduct, a discipline of the whole person; it permeates the will no less than the intellect. It stands for a principle which becomes the central motive of man as a member of civilized society, sinking deep down into his personality…” β
The State as a “higher expression of personality”? America love it or leave it, hmmm? My country-right or wrong (as an expression to not question its policies), Hmmmmm? Or, a common comment in my region of the nation concerning Afro-Americans: “They should just go back to where they came from,” Hmmmmmmmm? I know not how others may see this, but as for me there is a rather disturbing similarity here.
What about the use of military might to enforce American political will on others which is in some sense considered by many to be a form of Neo-Colonialism or Neo-Imperialism as in why is it necessary for the US to have so many military bases around the world. Ω
“Fascism sees in the imperialistic spirit — i.e. in the tendency of nations to expand – a manifestation of their vitality” §
“Struggle is at the origin of all things, for life is full of contrasts… and until these contrasts achieve balance, struggle fatefully remains at the root of human nature… Today we can indulge in wars, economic battles, conflicts of ides, but if a day come to pass when struggle ceased to exist, that day would be tinged with melancholy…” ⅋
In the case of the Cold War Era fear of Communist expansion was proffered as the reason for maintaining what the Founding Fathers so dreaded: a standing army.✧ Today it is said to be terrorism, but was it terrorism during the Creek Indian Wars, or the Plains Indian Wars? Absolutely, that was the claim: the Savages had to be removed from the land of their fathers because they couldn’t live in peace with “peace loving” Whites (who were stealing their land and natural resources.) Sound familiar? (We must protect the Straits of Hormuz because of all the oil that flows through there.) And was it the threat of terrorism during the conquest of The Philippines? (Forget not that it was the conquest of The Philippines that induced the military to have the “1911A Colt 45” developed.) No, it was not terrorism then any more than it is now, except the claim of “savage Injuns” “the savage Huns” “the yellow devils” “the Nazi hoards,” “the Red menace of Communism” or “Islamo-fascist terrorists/Islamic extremists” are most useful in stirring up emotions enough to allow the use of violence to expand either territory and/or control of valuable natural resources.
“Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, has launched a stinging attack on George W Bush and Tony Blair over their motivation for toppling Saddam Hussein, claiming that the conflict in Iraq was ‘largely about oil’.
“In a book published today in the US, and serialised tomorrow in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Greenspan weighs in pointedly on the war.
Writing about the volatility of oil supplies from troubled parts of the world, he says: Whatever their publicised angst over Saddam Hussein’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’, American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in an area that harbours a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy.
‘I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’ He continues: ‘I do know that the future of the Middle East is a most important consideration in any long-term energy forecast.’” ✰
Of course the US is not an imperial nation in the classical sense as England, Spain, France, etc. were. We are more of an imperial power in the sense that the later British empire was in that we rule by puppet dictators and through alliances with friendly local leaders.
In relation to both of the duopolistic parties there are several items that have been developing for a long time. Some of these will concern the following quotes:
The first of these is in relation to the “Cult of Patriotism” which has been superimposed upon American culture in an ever increasing degree since the end of the LAST GREAT WAR: WWII.
“The Fascist State is… revolutionary, for it anticipates the solution of certain universal problems… by the need felt for order, discipline, obedience to the moral dictates of patriotism.” §
Today in the Home of the Free and the Land of the Brave, it takes a truly brave person to stand in opposition to the use of military might by the United States. Those of us who do thus dare often hear such phrases as America: Right or Wrong! as if it is okay for one to be content to support wrongs done by one’s own nation in an uncritical fashion; or when someone who proclaims: Don’t all lives matter? No! All lives do not matter to the über-patriot, who is most happy to bomb, kill and destroy infrastructure necessary for “a decent life” when it is against a multitude of innocent victims as long as we can claim we are targeting at least one (1) terrorist. Then in response to God Bless America! when I respond “God bless the World” I am invariably met with the ubiquitous America: Love It or Leave It. But isn’t America part of the world? Wouldn’t blessing the world also bless America: unless what is meant by God bless America is to curse the rest of the world. “”
Then there is the rise of the National Security State which actually began long before the PATRIOT ACT and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which was Mr. Obama’s stricter, stronger and more inclusive version of Mr. Bush’s PATRIOT ACT with the COINTELPRO of the 1960s and 1970s. Once again consider Mr. Mussolini’s statement:
The Fascist State… has curtailed useless or harmful liberties while preserving those which are essential. In such matters the individual cannot be the judge, but the State only. §
Perhaps it is just my paranoia that is stirring my imagination, but if so, I seem to have a most potent imagination for there seems to be many who agree with me. Or, perhaps I am just the victim of a mass hallucination?
Roger W Mills, II
√ THE DOCTRINE OF FASCISM–BENITO MUSSOLINI (1932)
POLITICAL AND SOCIAL DOCTRINE – EVOLUTION FROM SOCIALISM
§ THE DOCTRINE OF FASCISM–BENITO MUSSOLINI (1932)
THE ABSOLUTE PRIMACY OF THE STATE
β THE DOCTRINE OF FASCISM–BENITO MUSSOLINI (1932)
FASCIST STATE AS A SPIRITUAL FORCE
Ω see Title: Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
Author: Chalmers Johnson
Published: New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000.
see Title: Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance
Published: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 1, 2004)
⅋ APPENDIX FOOTNOTES
3. Positive conception of life as a struggle (4)
The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense Considered
“It may not be amiss in this place concisely to remark the origin and progress of the idea, which aims at the exclusion of military establishments in time of peace.” “At the revolution (1688), to abolish the exercise of so dangerous an authority (the king’s creation of standing armies), it became an article of the Bill of Rights then framed, that “the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, UNLESS WITH THE CONSENT OF PARLIAMENT, was against law.”
This process of expanding the collective consciousness toward a sane and humane social structure will not be won in the short term. This process will take a long term vision and a steady perseverance.
I have heard it suggested that to be a “True Leftist” one must completely internalize that the capitalist system cannot be reformed. With this I cannot more completely agree. This line of thought then goes on to suggest that the above reform of the capitalist system cannot be reformed through third parties, conferences with reformists, protests nor by marching. Granting the validity of the first statement it certainly follows that capitalism can’t be reformed by any of the following methods; thus, I am forced (rather willingly so in this case) to agree with the secondary premises. The argument then seems to propose that capitalism can only be reformed (I conclude a restructuring of the socioeconomic system is implied here rather than a reformation) only by drafting a completely new constitution and ushering in a new form of government. Once again as the premises seem valid to me I am forced (again quite willingly) to agree with the conclusion offered.
I do, however, have some difficulty with the proposed remedies that were presented. It was suggested that this needed change in our present socio-economic-governmental structure could be accomplished only by revolution (I took the meaning of my friend to refer to some form of violent upheaval). Then it was suggested that the US is not ready for such a revolution; I wish I was as convinced as my friend that the US is not ready for a revolution. I fear that the US is all to close to entering a revolution. While I do agree that most citizens are not ready for such a revolution there are some very disturbing undercurrents by the more reactionary elements on the political right that obviously desire such a revolution and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure there is one in which they surely would use whatever level of violence they deem necessary. Let us hope, pray (or whatever you do) that the reactionary elements pushing for such a revolution cannot achieve their desires for that would be very ugly and whatever remnant that still exists within the “left” would be sure to loose and be utterly crushed int he process should the reactionary forces acquire the means to enforce their will upon all.
My friend (and I do think of her as a friend even though we only know each other from FaceBook) suggests that: probably the best way to be thought of as a participant in the “new left” would be to completely reject the system, build Eco villages, go off the grid and form our own cooperative society. I submit that she is precisely wrong. To this I suggest the following:
I would have to agree with you that the US is not ready for a political revolution of the kind that you desire. That is to say that it is not ready to utterly transform the economic/political landscape in any equitable fashion. However, to completely reject the system, build (independent/reclusive) villages… and form “cooperative” societies all to escape “competitive” cultures is not exactly new: in 1519 Sir Thomas More wrote the book that has given such adventures its name ~ THE UTOPIA. Nor do I believe that doing so could in any way insulate the participants from the worst excesses of either the economic or the political fallout that would come from the withdrawal of what is left of the leftist movement(s) in our country or within the world at large. This type of action would be simply to give the most reactionary and regressive forces in our society a boon and the greatest possible assistance to them in their designs to turn the world into a mass of dictatorships. This would inevitably lead to world war. This would not be good for anyone, left, right, or anywhere in between.
While I sympathize with the sentiment of seclusion to live in peace and relative prosperity, I do not believe such a system is workable short of a total apocalypse as before mentioned. I am very much in dread of the possibility of a coming apocalypse for such a future would prove very devastating to all life on this planet.
Therefore, I feel compelled to work toward the most viable options I see in front of me which is definitely not within the duopolistic culture represented by the DemoPublicans for each wing represented by the two traditional parties works toward the same goal, i.e., imperialistic selfishness. While the Green Party is far from ideal they seem to be the most effective means to promote an expansion of the public consciousness toward a more cooperative social structure. As we need, in desperate measure, a shift from the rightward descent pressed upon us by both of the wings of the National Corporate Party since the 1970s (beginning with the Nixon Shock of 1971 followed by the financialization began under the Carter Administration’s appointment of Paul Volcker to the Chair of the FED) I believe it is vital to support any non corporate party that has viability to it. Sadly, I see only one with any viability at present and that is the Green Party. (I would love to have a viable socialist party but it is no where in sight. And there is far too little unity within the various “socialist parties” from what I have been able to discern.)
Unfortunately, this process of shifting the collective consciousness toward a sane and humane social structure will not be won in the short term. This process will take a long term vision and a steady perseverance. However, for those who would escape this capitalistic structure to form small cooperative societies I fear the world has now entered a globalistic phase where one cannot escape the toxic effects of that capitalistic superstructure: for instance, as the global temperature continues to rise every living thing on earth will be effected. Thus, to me: it seems that we must all do everything in our individual and collective abilities to mitigate as much of the toxicity of global capitalism as possible within the confines in which we presently live.
I believe that the single most effective act that could be accomplished right now is to affect as rapid a shift from the use of fossil fuels as is feasible; otherwise, we will all be “off the grid” and there will be very little left of any society with which to “form [a] cooperative society [societies].” And the only semi-viable candidate that promotes this shift with a believable commitment that I have found is Dr. Jill Stein.
You argue, “But she stands no chance of winning.” Sadly, I must admit that; however, I recall your attention to the statement earlier made:
This process of expanding the collective consciousness toward a sane and humane social structure will not be won in the short term. This process will take a long term vision and a steady perseverance.
Time is of the essence. We have none to waste hoping the Duopolistic DemoPublican/Republicratic Party will come to it’s senses.
Roger W Mills II