Some Real “F”ers

Avatar

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

Related Post Roulette

44 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Seeing things like this is exceptionally clarifying, periodically.

    Libertarians (perhaps especially) like to point out an authoritarian vector or a vector pointing toward more central control and say “Fascism!”… but, yes, this is the real deal.

    I hope that they get through this. If they do, they will be amazing allies and, yes, a firebrand for the rest of the Middle East.

    Oh, I hope I hope I hope.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    While I think I agree that we are seeing nascent fascism in Iran, I think it is worth preserving a distinction between states who will use shocking violence to tamp down non-violent civil unrest, but absent any public disorder leave their citizens unmolested absent due process, and those who terrorize their own population through the use of systematic political violence against citizens attempting to go discreetly about their business (even if that business might be publishing dissent or organizing political opposition). I think China does some of each. I don’t know what the baseline reality is in Iran.Report

  3. I’ve always preferred, as a libertarian, to describe what Obama represents as simply statism. It’s not a smear word, not really loaded, just a description of the belief in a powerful, interventionist state. Fascism is really a totally different level of control, because of Hitler and Mussolini.Report

  4. Avatar greginak says:

    Well the over use and expanding the meaning of words is a bugaboo of mine. Maybe we should go with Fascism and Extreme Fascism to separate the real bad guys from the others. I think totalitarianism might be a better word for pervasive systems of political and social control, where the gov is in every part of a persons life. Iran hasn’t been a totalitarian state, well since the shah was asked to leave, and it would be massive change for them to move back to that. Iran has had a lot of personal freedoms. I remember one story of protests, a couple of years ago, where quite a few people stood up at a speech of Achmwhoistsname and called him all sorts of nasty names. They weren’t whisked away or anything.Report

  5. Avatar whatever says:

    look, man, a social democratic academic by the name of sheri berman wrote a book making a lot of the same connections and drawing similar historical narratives as goldberg, but because she happens to like social democracy and because her name isn’t goldberg, she publishes to rave reviews from the important-people class. now, i know goldberg is a partisan hack and berman is a responsible intellectual (her book is excellent by the way: “the primacy of politics”), but this isn’t an excuse for bloggers (like you, unfortunately) to act as if the socialism-fascism-progressivism-social democracy matrix doesn’t exist. it does, and it’s a sorely neglected subject among the chatterers. which is why as much as i may resent goldberg, i find myself resenting superficial posts like yours even more. read berman, read goldberg (which you haven’t really read)…read wolfgang schivelbusch , too. then write a post about fascism that actually shows you’ve done your homework. this is thin stuffReport

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to whatever says:

      w,

      Of course there are connections between social democracy and fascism and progressivism and some forms of Marxism and all kinds of things. Populism, nationalism too. It’s called the 20th century. It’s called what happens when everybody has to react to the breakdown of classical liberalism and aristocracies/empires in the face of the rise of industrial capitalism. So yeah all those come from that matrix if you like, but when they reached their mature forms they clearly bifurcated into radically opposed camps whatever their original interplays. I’m not discounting the former, but I’m more honed in on the latter.

      Berman’s book is very Continental focused, so of course the social democratic-progressive & fascist connections are going to come out stronger. I’d have to think more about the Anglo-sphere (or at the US/Canada) and whether the same scenarios apply. In a broad sense perhaps, but I think there’s a significant enough difference to question or at least modify/contextualize that link.Report

    • Avatar James in reply to whatever says:

      I think you have severely misunderstood Berman’s thesis. I would definitely recommend The Primacy of Politics, but it isn’t about fascism at all. It’s mainly about the struggle of Social Democrats (who want to do something with their positions of power they won electorally) and the Orthodox Marxists (who wanted a state of consensual paralysis to reign while they awaited the Revolution).

      Fascism is studied briefly, but that’s because Mussolini started off in a left-wing party (he ran its newspaper, Avante!) before he became a right-winger. She doesn’t draw the “narrative” that social democracy & fascism are the same. She certainly doesn’t bring “liberalism” into it, which was what made it clear that Goldberg was a gibbering moron partisan hack (just read his definition of liberalism for confirmation of that).Report

  6. Avatar Kyle says:

    Good post Chris,

    It really does make a difference when people choose terms for their situational appropriateness rather than to shut down opposition by casting aspersions on perfectly benign commentary.

    What I’ve never gotten, however, is how the people who casually misuse terms undermine their own point by decreasing sensitivity to the term. When everybody is a fascist, it ceases to mean anything extraordinary.

    Not that I frequent many fringe blogs but is the F-word common?Report

  7. I think you missed one of the more important points about fascism, one that I often see overlooked and is perhaps its most important characteristic, and that is its revolutionary zeal and desire to remake man and the world. Fascism is not simply military thuggery, warmongering, or racism, but a philosophy that believed it could engineer a new mankind. I have read only parts of Goldberg’s book, but he also seems to leave this important fact out.

    As for the videos and the Iranian regime, I am unsure if it can be classified as fascism in its traditional form, but it is clearly a lethal totalitarianism state, and that is enough for any good liberal to stand against.

    Whether Ahmadinejad won the election legitimately or not is irrelevant; the Mullah regime is a tyranny, one at war with many of its own people. It does not deserve respect.Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to Roland Dodds says:

      Roland,

      I did miss that one–thanks for the addition. In that case I still think it applies in the Iranian situation–at the very least to Ahmadinejad. His ideology teaches a new man brought about by belief/total commitment to his revolutionary creed.Report

  8. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Hey, what’s wrong with epigonic Marxist?
    And, speaking of the Great Provider I recently saw an old film of Adolf circa 1936. He was dressed in one of those Bravarian leather shorts deals and being introduced by Gobbels from a beautiful wooden podium. Adolf’s standing behind Gobbels and preening his hair and jerking about nervously, getting ready for his speech. When he begins to speak, it’s all rather calm, no wild gesters or anything. But the one thing I noticed is that from time to time, when he made a point, he would close his eyes and move his head from one side to the other, slowly, deliberately. The gester so reminds me of what The Beloved Leader does when Mr. Tele says something that is very important for the unwashed, for their soul/peace (I’m getting goosebumps thinking of He-who-sacrifices-for-us and his wisdom/love).
    The one, little criticism I would dare make of The Grand Thugee is his speech impediment; i.e. the high shrill, fingernails-on-chalkboard, snake-like ‘s’ sound he makes!
    BTW, where does The First smoke in the White House? Didn’t you statist Dems make smoking off limits in publicly owned facilities? Whas up with that?Report

  9. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    and, furthermore gester is spelled gesture!Report

  10. Dierkes has not read Goldberg’s book, which he admitted to on his own blog some time ago. Violence, Diekes’s big thing about fascism, is however always a means to an end. Goldberg addresses that end, from a political theory point of view. Dierkes is blind to it.Report

  11. Avatar Barry says:

    I would add that in the Two Big Examples of fascism (Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy), the corporate interests which supported fascism were ill-served in the end, by poor strategic judgement. Note that if Germany had attacked the USSR in 1939, banking on western reluctance for both a WWII and a WWII in support of Communism, it *might* have worked out.

    However, in many countries around the world, there’s a ‘fascism lite’ which doesn’t take stupidity to that level, and serves corporate interests very well, over decades (both internal and external corporate interests).Report

  12. Avatar Barry says:

    Oh, BTW – this doesn’t apply to people maintaining their right-wing cred, or pseudolibertarianwhosupportstheright credi, but any use of messianic BS terminology towards Obama simply marks you as an *sshole right-winger in the eyes of a lot of people.Report

  13. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    ARW, has a ring to it!Report

  14. Avatar greginak says:

    Barry, right on. Most people who throw out the term marxist don’t seem to get that Marxism is s primarily a system of economics. Sort of like throwing out socialism for every goverment program people don’t like.

    If coporate interests weren’t served well in Germany and Italy, it wasn’t because the system wasn’t set up for them to profit. The untited fruit company certaily did well with fascism in Guatemala. The profits and pride of place of business interests in fascism seems to be the biggest difference between fascism and communism. unless of course you fuse all poorly defined, misunderstood terms into one bit of performance art like only the critics of the Big O can do.Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to greginak says:

      g,

      the Central American example is interesting in this regard, since those regimes never had (as Roland mentioned) the belief in the new man. I certainly think it’s fair to call it fascist–they had the endemic violence, paramilitaries, and all the rest. But in that context A)they had alliances with the US and were not seeking to overthrow capitalism (unlike the Nazis). B)It was still very agrarian/agricultural and was in a sense more serfdom feudal than modernized fascist (perhaps Peron’s Argentina is a counterexample).

      Given A & B, the climate was much better for corporate interests to have a longer shelf life and the regime to not put its fascist ideology over the top of the corporate powerholders.Report

    • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to greginak says:

      How about EMSCR?
      Epigonic Marxist Statist Commie Rat? That should cover it, no?
      Emscrrr!…..I do like the sound!Report

  15. Avatar James says:

    I have a trouble with your definition, Dierkes.

    1. Rabid xenophobia and paranoia around enemies domestic and foreign.

    Also true of imperialism.

    2. Intrinsic mass violence as a primary means of keeping control.

    Also true of imperialism.

    3. Use of paramilitaries to further #2.

    Also true of imperialism.

    4. When push comes to shove, over-riding the corporate-oligarchic interests for their own power.

    Also true of imperialism (although it rarely comes up).

    5. Namely in the end Fascism in actual practice is about the militarization of politics, society, and government.

    Also true of imperialism. I think that you are mistaking that “violence” is a rather novel concept in the way its used presently, only dating back to the mid-70s. There’s an excellent article by Hobsbawm in his collection of essays entitled “Revolutionaries” on the matter that I would very much recommend. Accordingly its somewhat anachronistic to define an ideology that existed in the early to mid 20th century in this way.

    In that era, political violence was just something that happened. Have you not read that quote by Churchill where he expresses bafflement towards “squeamishness over gassing the natives”? Governments did horrific things, that’s just the way it was. Now we’re in a softer, more gentle age (which is something that I’m thankful for), but we shouldn’t imagine that the only historical exception to this is Fascism. Indeed, it’s us that are the anomaly.Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to James says:

      James,

      Thanks. This is in my mind the strongest critique here yet. When I think about imperialism though I think it could be labeled if you like a fascism abroad–under the colonial powers. But there weren’t as I recall Brown and Black Shirts running around England under Disraeli beating people in the streets. In the colonies yes. Domestically no.

      Still your point on the endemic nature of violence across a whole swath of the political spectrum at that point is a helpful reminder.Report

      • Avatar James in reply to Chris Dierkes says:

        Yes, I was considering adding that it was violence elsewhere, rather than violence immediately surrounding the government. As an internationalist, though, that’s not a distinction that means a huge amount to me.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James says:

          There’s an old quote that I don’t remember who made it.

          “If you want the government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want the government to intervene internationally, you’re a conservative. If you want the government to intervene in both places, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want it to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist.”Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to James says:

      That’s just simply not true. None of those definitionally apply to imperialism except maybe… maybe #2.

      Moreover, the only difference you seem to be making between political violence today and then is that there was more of it back then, which to be honest, seems to be a very Euro-centric view of the world.

      Churchill actually said, “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes.”

      This I got from a Francis Ghilès article in the NATO Review in which he points out that the nations undertaking such actions were the UK, Spain, Italy, and later France. The middle two being the countries Chris was talking about. Though, to be fair it’s unclear exactly when in the interwar period Spain and Italy were engaging in chemical warfare.

      However, much of that is beside the point. France and the UK most certainly did not engage in the kind of domestic political violence that is typical of fascist regimes. As differentiated from imperialism, peripheral states are often structurally foreign powers, sometimes colonies. Their political distinction from a domestic constituency simply can’t be ignored to make a point claiming false equivalence.

      James, you might want to clarify what you mean when you say that conceptually violence is different in the post-70’s world. So far, you seem to be alleging that political violence like rail cars were common in the early 20th century and thus contextually unremarkable. Which considering postwar mores seems like a hard case to make.

      You also seem to be saying that we live in a kindler, gentler world today. Which might be true if you’re an Alsatian or Turk. Not so true if you’re Burmese, Sudanese, Cuban, or these days Iranian.Report

      • Avatar James in reply to Kyle says:

        However, much of that is beside the point. France and the UK most certainly did not engage in the kind of domestic political violence that is typical of fascist regimes.

        So they killed people abroad. Big difference, people still died.

        James, you might want to clarify what you mean when you say that conceptually violence is different in the post-70’s world.

        To paraphrase the article aforementioned rather harshly: this idea that there’s some big spectrum leading from property damage up to genocide all labelled “violence” is not something which has always been accepted.

        You also seem to be saying that we live in a kindler, gentler world today. Which might be true if you’re an Alsatian or Turk. Not so true if you’re Burmese, Sudanese, Cuban, or these days Iranian.

        Perhaps not. But although America can get away with a Fallujah, they have not attempted a Dresden. That indicates a degree of softening. Not that Fallujah was not an intolerable atrocity, mind.Report

        • Avatar James in reply to James says:

          & no, they do apply to Imperialism. Paramilitary forces were/are used to suppress colonies (see: IDF usage of Falangists in Lebanon), paranoia stoked to justify colonial actions & that militarisation occurred is fairly obvious.Report

          • Avatar Kyle in reply to James says:

            Ok but imperial relationships and power projection in say the past 2000+ years of human history are quite varied. So you can questionably point to the IDF. I can point to the Romans or Athenians who were quite violent but hardly xenophobic or paranoid.

            Nor, for that matter, would a retrospective application of the concept of paramilitary forces be particularly appropriate.

            Fast forward to the British Empire which undoubtedly used violence to achieve imperial solidarity but with stark contrast. After all, definitional attribute #2 might apply with regards to India or South Africa, but would not apply with regards to Canada or Australia.

            Similarly, definitional attribute #5 would be a ludicrous statement to make in the context of the imperial relationship between Colonial America and Great Britain, even in the lead up to the Revolutionary War.

            I could keep going. I still think my point stands as more historically accurate, that the criteria Chris uses to define fascism don’t readily or even largely apply as defining characteristics of empires. Surely powerful states, including empires can act similarly to fascist states but definitions are only helpful when they rely on distinguishing, often unique, characteristics, not common similarities.

            I’m not cold to the implications and horrors of statist violence but empire is not a synonym for strong state. Nor is imperialism a synonym for unpopular, aggressive foreign policy.Report

            • Avatar James in reply to Kyle says:

              Ok but imperial relationships and power projection in say the past 2000+ years of human history are quite varied. So you can questionably point to the IDF. I can point to the Romans or Athenians who were quite violent but hardly xenophobic or paranoid.

              I used the IDF in relation to the usage of paramilitaries. Research the use of Falangists by the IDF in Lebanon and then come back & tell me that I’m not correct.

              Nor, for that matter, would a retrospective application of the concept of paramilitary forces be particularly appropriate.

              Hm. I was going to bring up barbarians, but that makes things tricky. Not least because exactly what a “barbarian” is, what exactly their role within the Roman army was & indeed what exactly a “Roman” was was always both nebulous & in flux. It’s an essay in itself, really. As is whether the Romans or Greeks practiced “Imperialism”.

              Fast forward to the British Empire which undoubtedly used violence to achieve imperial solidarity but with stark contrast. After all, definitional attribute #2 might apply with regards to India or South Africa, but would not apply with regards to Canada or Australia.

              Depends on whether the people there are who the British saw as “civilised” people, basically. This is one of the reasons I hate John Stuart Mill & think that Bentham is one of the most underrated thinkers in history.

              Similarly, definitional attribute #5 would be a ludicrous statement to make in the context of the imperial relationship between Colonial America and Great Britain, even in the lead up to the Revolutionary War.

              I guess? It’s similarly ludicrous when applied to National Socialist attitudes towards femininity.

              I could keep going. I still think my point stands as more historically accurate, that the criteria Chris uses to define fascism don’t readily or even largely apply as defining characteristics of empires. Surely powerful states, including empires can act similarly to fascist states but definitions are only helpful when they rely on distinguishing, often unique, characteristics, not common similarities.

              I’m not cold to the implications and horrors of statist violence but empire is not a synonym for strong state. Nor is imperialism a synonym for unpopular, aggressive foreign policy.

              I just don’t think you can rely upon the concept of “violence” to define fascism. It includes it, but its a feature, not the essence.Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to James says:

          Yes, they did kill people abroad. If that were a defining characteristic of either empire or fascism, practically every government, nation, state that’s ever existed could be considered one or either. Thus rendering either moniker functionally useless as a descriptor.

          Domestically, the United States executes its own citizens. Surely we wouldn’t call Texas fascist for their criminal execution record. So the context under which violence, murder, etc… happens matters. You can’t just dismiss the context and say state sanctioned murder is automatically fascist or imperialist.

          Surely it remains perfectly fine to call such acts evil, unfortunate, monstrous, or any other such term, but to inaccurately label them X-ist, I think, does a disservice to the conversation one is a party to as well as to the people who’ve actually suffered under X-ist/X-ism and might rightfully resent one’s exploitation of their misery to make a normative point inartfully.

          I appreciate the paraphrasing and the thoughts on softening.Report

          • Avatar James in reply to Kyle says:

            Yes, they did kill people abroad. If that were a defining characteristic of either empire or fascism, practically every government, nation, state that’s ever existed could be considered one or either. Thus rendering either moniker functionally useless as a descriptor.

            Suppressive violence was more what I meant.

            Domestically, the United States executes its own citizens. Surely we wouldn’t call Texas fascist for their criminal execution record. So the context under which violence, murder, etc… happens matters. You can’t just dismiss the context and say state sanctioned murder is automatically fascist or imperialist.

            That’s fairly discriminate violence, rather than some thugs on a rampage.

            Surely it remains perfectly fine to call such acts evil, unfortunate, monstrous, or any other such term, but to inaccurately label them X-ist, I think, does a disservice to the conversation one is a party to as well as to the people who’ve actually suffered under X-ist/X-ism and might rightfully resent one’s exploitation of their misery to make a normative point inartfully.

            I don’t really think it matters. I’m just saying that well armed thugs stalking around causing havoc was fairly typical, its just a matter of where you send them.

            I appreciate the paraphrasing and the thoughts on softening.

            Check out the original article, I didn’t do an amazing job. By contrast Hobsbawm, as ever, most certainly does.Report

  16. Avatar Whatever says:

    james, you’re right, berman doesn’t say “fascism and social democracy are the same.” niether did i, or goldberg for that matter. she DOES say, however, that fascism and social democracy sprung from the same fount of anti-liberal (that’s classically liberal, smart guy) socialism, that both fascism and socialism were essentially corporatist, nationalist, anti-dialectic heresies of orthodox marxism, and that the fundamental (if only) distinction between social democracy and fascism was that social democracy was, in fact, democratic. as for contemporary american liberalism, if you can’t see the strong (if not near identical) social democratic strains that run through its veins, you’re not paying attention. also, you’re simply wrong that berman
    doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about fascism in the book. it’s a running — if not THE running — theme throughout! yes, she writes a lot about bernstein’s revisionist social democracy versus kautsky’s orthodox marxism, and how the former was far more active and far less quietist than the latter, but this is all in the context of a running comparison with fascism (sorel’s fascism, de man’s fascism, etc. … all bernsteinian revisionists gone mad). if you really believe what you just wrote, dude, you’re either a terrible, terrible reader or a liar. either way, you’re not taking berman’s thesis very seriously. also, if you don’t see what makes her thesis (and goldberg’s, and schivelbusch’s…) thesis so unique, not to mention convincing, i suggest you reread (or, ahem, READ) all three until you arrive at this point. don’t mean to be an ass, but c’mon. when you’re talking about the pre-60s histories, goldberg can eassily be seen as providing the american progressive/liberal half to berman’s european social democracy. the only real difference, there, again, is that berman isn’t particularly worried about social democracy obtaining the intellectual and psycho-social roots to ‘go mad,’ whereas goldberg very much is worried. fwiw, i find myself somewhere in between the two on that count. i think if things are generally good, social democracy will maintain a strongly democratic (and generally) humane culture. however, when things get really bad, the latent corporatism, nationalism and active collectivism that social democracy/contemporary american liberalism trafficks in can morph into some very bad things. this doesn’t mean the social democrats or the american democratics suddenly gain a hitler mustache, but it DOES mean the kinds of thinking, sensibilities, and no-shit incipient fascist programs (witness the recent corporate-government mergers in america, or the rampant “anti-social” laws in britain) they help foster are better exploited by the REAL fascists. it’s not a coincidence the BNP is currently enjoying the fruits of labor discontentment across the pond, and it’s simply naive (that’s pointed at you, too, mr. dierkes) for us too assume america is somehow immune to the same stuff. we’re already seeing it on the fringes for chrisakes! and you’re either an idiot or a liar if you attribute the fringe hysteria to mere “republican anger” or “right-wing extremism.” goldberg is a partisan hack and, as a result, he doesn’t take his own thesis that seriously. berman is an idealistic friend of the very establishment she anatomizes, so she doesn’t either. but wake up fellas, if things get much worse (and i’m not entirely convinced they will, btw), the bermans and goldbergs of the world will prove the prophets.Report

    • Avatar James in reply to Whatever says:

      Whatever: firstly, I’d request that you make use of the “enter” bar a little more often. I’m not trying to be snarky, but your comment was far from pleasing on the eye.

      james, you’re right, berman doesn’t say “fascism and social democracy are the same.” niether did i, or goldberg for that matter. she DOES say, however, that fascism and social democracy sprung from the same fount of anti-liberal (that’s classically liberal, smart guy) socialism, that both fascism and socialism were essentially corporatist, nationalist, anti-dialectic heresies of orthodox marxism, and that the fundamental (if only) distinction between social democracy and fascism was that social democracy was, in fact, democratic.

      Sure, if you disregard racism entirely. Which would be fucking stupid.

      as for contemporary american liberalism, if you can’t see the strong (if not near identical) social democratic strains that run through its veins, you’re not paying attention.

      I’m afraid that I don’t believe in self-evident truths. Support your claim, please.

      also, you’re simply wrong that berman
      doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about fascism in the book. it’s a running — if not THE running — theme throughout!

      No…It really isn’t. She uses a few case studies, that is all. She does the same with Lenin at one stage, iirc.

      yes, she writes a lot about bernstein’s revisionist social democracy versus kautsky’s orthodox marxism, and how the former was far more active and far less quietist than the latter, but this is all in the context of a running comparison with fascism (sorel’s fascism, de man’s fascism, etc. … all bernsteinian revisionists gone mad). if you really believe what you just wrote, dude, you’re either a terrible, terrible reader or a liar. either way, you’re not taking berman’s thesis very seriously.

      I think you might be confusing Bernstein with Hayek.

      also, if you don’t see what makes her thesis (and goldberg’s, and schivelbusch’s…) thesis so unique, not to mention convincing, i suggest you reread (or, ahem, READ) all three until you arrive at this point. don’t mean to be an ass, but c’mon. when you’re talking about the pre-60s histories, goldberg can eassily be seen as providing the american progressive/liberal half to berman’s european social democracy. the only real difference, there, again, is that berman isn’t particularly worried about social democracy obtaining the intellectual and psycho-social roots to ‘go mad,’ whereas goldberg very much is worried. fwiw, i find myself somewhere in between the two on that count. i think if things are generally good, social democracy will maintain a strongly democratic (and generally) humane culture. however, when things get really bad, the latent corporatism, nationalism and active collectivism that social democracy/contemporary american liberalism trafficks in can morph into some very bad things. this doesn’t mean the social democrats or the american democratics suddenly gain a hitler mustache, but it DOES mean the kinds of thinking, sensibilities, and no-shit incipient fascist programs (witness the recent corporate-government mergers in america, or the rampant “anti-social” laws in britain) they help foster are better exploited by the REAL fascists. it’s not a coincidence the BNP is currently enjoying the fruits of labor discontentment across the pond, and it’s simply naive (that’s pointed at you, too, mr. dierkes) for us too assume america is somehow immune to the same stuff.

      You really need to obtain evidence for wild assertions. The British National Party depend upon working class tories. They aren’t winning over left-wingers, as any study you read on the matter will tell you. The left did so badly in the recent elections because left-wing voters stayed at home. & given the hard-right New Labour Party they have courting them, can they really be blamed?

      we’re already seeing it on the fringes for chrisakes! and you’re either an idiot or a liar if you attribute the fringe hysteria to mere “republican anger” or “right-wing extremism.” goldberg is a partisan hack and, as a result, he doesn’t take his own thesis that seriously. berman is an idealistic friend of the very establishment she anatomizes, so she doesn’t either. but wake up fellas, if things get much worse (and i’m not entirely convinced they will, btw), the bermans and goldbergs of the world will prove the prophets.

      …It really is mostly right wing hysteria. It was an abortion doctor & a Jew who got shot. Those are standard right-wing targets.Report

  17. Avatar Whatever says:

    so, yah, it’s now clear i’m talking to someone who hasn’t actually read berman’s book and is now pretending that he has (from your easy notion that fascism and racism are somehow integrally intertwined to your hilarious and weird assumption that i somehow had confused bernstein with hayek when i directly refer to bernstein’s revisionism, you give the game away). the stuff at then end about the bnp is total nonsense. they won in strong labor turf and there’s been hundreds of former labor voters who have been interviewed explaining why they went bnp this time around. i’m not going to waste time finding evidence for someone who clearly hasn’t read the material he is so certain i am misrepresenting (although i will give you some cred for being a hardworking skimmer) and, furthermore, for someone who clearly hasn’t a clue what it is he’s talking about. goodbyeReport

    • Avatar James in reply to Whatever says:

      so, yah, it’s now clear i’m talking to someone who hasn’t actually read berman’s book and is now pretending that he has

      LOL. As it happens, it’s one of my favourite books. I’ve most certainly read it.

      (from your easy notion that fascism and racism are somehow integrally intertwined

      They sort of are…

      to your hilarious and weird assumption that i somehow had confused bernstein with hayek when i directly refer to bernstein’s revisionism,

      I mistyped there, actually. I meant to say “Berman”. A very important distinction to make. 😛

      the stuff at then end about the bnp is total nonsense. they won in strong labor turf and there’s been hundreds of former labor voters who have been interviewed explaining why they went bnp this time around.

      Well the studies on the matter have shown them to be working class Tories. I’m sorry if that doesn’t fit with your narrative, that must be a real pity for you.

      i’m not going to waste time finding evidence for someone who clearly hasn’t read the material he is so certain i am misrepresenting (although i will give you some cred for being a hardworking skimmer)

      Nice ad hominem. I’m afraid it’s no substitute for supporting claims, though.

      and, furthermore, for someone who clearly hasn’t a clue what it is he’s talking about. goodbye

      Farewell. Don’t expect me to prop up your hollow assertions.

      oh, and i now need to provide you with evidence, apparently, for the similarities between contemporary american liberals and european social democrats? are you kidding me? would you like me to reteach you the alphabet, too?

      Ah, back for more? So soon? Yes, I require evidence that contemporary American liberals are inspired by social democracy. Obama is similar when he talks about markets being both a positive and a negative force, I grant you, but the neo-liberal strain is clearly far more state wary. See: Clinton’s vigorous state slashings.

      You shouldn’t be so stunned that people expect you to substantiate your claims, its the kind of thing you have to do in arguments, I’m afraid.Report

  18. Avatar whatever says:

    oh, and i now need to provide you with evidence, apparently, for the similarities between contemporary american liberals and european social democrats? are you kidding me? would you like me to reteach you the alphabet, too?Report

  19. Avatar phil says:

    The five features of fascism that you point out are not really accurate. I would recommend the book “The Birth of Fascist Ideology” by Zeev Sternhell for a detailed look at the development and emergence of fascist ideas.

    First of all paramilitaries were common in that time period as the militant wings of political parties. There were communist, nationalist and fascist paramilitaries. So they were not unique, identifying features of fascism.

    Second, the corporatism ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatist ) that the fascists adopted has nothing to do with the use of the term “corporation” in America as a kind of business organization. Many people ignorantly conflate the two and end up thinking that fascism is rule by or in the interest of big business which is totally false. Fascists adopted corporatism as a means towards integrating the different elements of society into the state as a unified whole.

    The “militarism” and “violence” have their origins in a few places. First was the influence of Sorelian ideas of the moral and creative value of violence. Second was the aesthetic element of violence best represented in the Futurism of Marinetti.
    But the third part is what’s really fascinating. The socialists who later went on to become fascists were faced with a dilemma. It became clear that the proletariat had no intention of fulfilling its assigned role as the revolutionary agent, therefore these socialists needed to find something else to play that role. Their solution was to replace the working class as the revolutionary agent with the “nation” and to replace the idea of class war with nation war. The lesson they took from WW1 and what they sought to apply in post-war governance was that the nationalism and top to bottom mobilization of society that occurred during modern war was a means of breaking down distinctions within society and unifying the population towards a common purpose that transcended individual goals. Remember that fascism was an anti-liberal ideology which means among other things that it was opposed to the idea of a liberal society within which individuals were free to pursue their own goals and ambitions.

    I have no idea whether the Iranian regime could accurately be described as fascist. I think we use the term too easily in a generic sense that is disconnected from its history. An interesting area of study for an enterprising scholar would be to study the influence of fascism on the Muslim world. Hopefully someone has already done it and we just haven’t discovered them.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *