Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism
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most people are worse off than they were under Communism . … The quality of life has deteriorated with the spread of crime and the disappearance of the social safety net” Conservative ideologues defend capitalism as the system that preserves culture, traditional values, the family, and community. Marxists would respond that capitalism has done more to undermine such things than any other system in history, given its wars, colonizations, and forced migrations, its enclosures, evictions, poverty wages, child labor, homelessness, underemployment, crime, drug infestation, and urban squalor.
Under one or another Democratic administration, 120,000 Japanese Americans were torn from their homes and livelihoods and thrown into detention camps; atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an enormous loss of innocent life; the FBI was given authority to infiltrate political groups; the Smith Act was used to imprison leaders of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and later on leaders of the Communist party for their political beliefs; detention camps were established to round up political dissidents in the event of a “national emergency”; during the late 1940s and 1950s, eight thousand federal workers were purged from government because of their political associations and views, with thousands more in all walks of life witchhunted out of their careers; the Neutrality Act was used to impose an embargo on the Spanish Republic that worked in favor of Franco’s fascist legions; homicidal counterinsurgency programs were initiated in various Third World countries; and the Vietnam War was pursued and escalated. And for the better part of a century, the Congressional leadership of the Democratic party protected racial segregation and stymied all antilynching and fair employment bills. Yet all these crimes, bringing ruination and death to many, have not moved the liberals, the social democrats, and the “democratic socialist” anticommunists to insist repeatedly that we issue blanket condemnations of either the Democratic party or the political system that produced it, certainly not with the intolerant fervor that has been directed against existing communism.” r/History is a place for discussions about history. Feel free to submit interesting articles, tell us about this cool book you just read, or start a discussion about who everyone's favorite figure of minor French nobility is!
Basically I want to know if anything in the book is true. I guess I am a product of the capitalist, anti-communist brainwashing the author talks about, because there are a LOT of things where I just go "that doesn't seem right..." The first law of the market is to make the largest possible profit from other people’s labor. Private profitability rather than human need is the determining condition of private investment. There prevails a rational systematization of human endeavor in pursuit of a socially irrational end: “accumulate, accumulate, accumulate.” Parenti shows how "rational fascism" renders service to capitalism, how corporate power undermines democracy, and how revolutions are a mass empowerment against the forces of exploitative privilege. He also maps out the external and internal forces that destroyed communism, and the disastrous impact of the "free-market" victory on eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He affirms the relevance of taboo ideologies like Marxism, demonstrating the importance of class analysis in understanding political realities and dealing with the ongoing collision between ecology and global corporatism.
Over a century ago, in his great work Les Misérables Victor Hugo asked, Will the future arrive? He was thinking of a future of social justice, free from the terrible shadows of oppression imposed by the few upon the great mass of humankind. Of late, some scribes have announced the end of history. With the overthrow of communism, the monumental struggle between alternative systems has ended, they say. Capitalism’s victory is total. No great transformations are in the offing. The global free market is here to stay. What you see is what you are going to get, now and always. This time the class struggle is definitely over. So Hugo’s question is answered: the future has indeed arrived, though not the one he had hoped for.
State socialism transformed desperately poor countries into modernized societies in which everyone had enough food, clothing and shelter; where elderly people had secure pensions; and where all children (and many adults) went to school and no one was denied medical attention. Some of us from poor families who carry the hidden injuries of class are much impressed by these achievements and are unwilling to dismiss them as merely 'economistic'." Is fascism merely a dictatorial force in the service of capitalism? That may not be all it is, but that certainly is an important part of fascism’s raison d’être, the function Hitler himself kept referring to when he talked about saving the industrialists and bankers from Bolshevism. It is a subject that deserves far more attention than it has received.