Back Forward Contents This Author Return to Homepage

Fascism/Antifascism (2)

 

ANTIFASCISM - THE WORST PRODUCT OF FASCISM
Since the fascism of the inter-war period, the term "fascism" has remained in vogue. What political group has not accused its adversaries of using "fascist methods"? The Left never stops denouncing resurgent fascism, the Right does not refrain him labelling the P.C.F as the "fascistic party." Signifying everything and anything, the word has lost its meaning since international liberal opinion describes any strong State as "fascist." Thus the illusions of the fascists of the thirties are resurrected and presented as contemporary reality. Franco claimed to be a fascist like his mentors, Hitler and Mussolini, but there was never any fascist International.
If today the Greek colonels and Chilean generals are called fascists by the dominant ideology, they nevertheless represent variants of the capitalist State. Applying the fascist label to the State is equivalent to denouncing the parties at the head of that State. Thus one avoids the critique of the State by denouncing those who direct it. The leftists seek to authenticate their extremism with their hue and cry about fascism, while neglecting the critique of the State. In practice they are proposing another form of the State (democratic or popular) in place of the existing form.
The term "fascism " is still more irrelevant in the advanced capitalist countries, where the Communist and Socialist parties will play a central role in any future "fascist " State which is erected against a revolutionary movement. In this case it is much more exact to speak of the State pure and simple, and leave fascism out of it. Fascism triumphed because its principles were generalized: the unification of Capital and the efficient State. But in our times fascism has disappeared as such, both as a political movement and as a form of the State. In spite of some resemblances, the parties considered as fascist since 1945 (in Fiance, for example, the R.P.F., poujadism, to some extent today the R.P.R) have not aimed at conquering an impotent State from the outside [4].
To insist on the recurring menace of fascism is to ignore the fact that the real fascism was poorly suited to the task it took on and failed: rather than strengthening German national Capital, Nazism ended by dividing it in two. Today other forms of the State have come into being, far removed from fascism and from that democracy we hear constantly eulogized.
With World War II, the mythology of fascism was enriched by a new element. This conflict was the necessary solution to problems both economic (crash of 1929) and social (unruly working class which, although non-revolutionary, had to be disciplined). World War II could be depicted as a war against totalitarianism in the form of fascism. This interpretation has endured, and the constant recall by the victors of 1945 of the Nazi atrocities serves to justify the war by giving it the character of a humanitarian crusade. Everything, even the atomic bomb, could be justified against such a barbarous enemy. This justification is, however, no more credible than the demagogy of the Nazis, who claimed to struggle against capitalism and Western plutocracy. The "democratic" forces included in their ranks a State as totalitarian and bloody as Hitler's Germany: Stalin's Soviet Union, with its penal code prescribing the death penalty from the age of twelve. Everyone knows as well that the Allies resorted to similar methods of terror and extermination whenever they saw the need (strategic bombing etc.). The West waited until the Cold War to denounce the Soviet camps. But each capitalist country has had to deal with its own specific problems, Great Britain had no Algerian war to cope with, but the partition of India claimed millions of victims. The USA never had to organize concentration camps [5] in order to silence its workers and dispose of surplus petits bourgeois, but it found its own colonial war in Vietnam. As for the Soviet Union, with its Gulag which is today denounced the world over, it was content to concentrate into a few decades the horrors spread out over several centuries in the older capitalist countries, also resulting in millions of victims just in the treatment of the Blacks alone. The development of Capital carries with it certain consequences, of which the main ones are:
1) domination over the working class, involving the destruction, gentle or otherwise, of the revolutionary movement;

2) competition with other national Capitals, resulting in war.
When power is held by the "workers'" parties, only one thing is altered: workerist demagogy will be more conspicuous, but the workers will not be spared the most severe repression when this becomes necessary. The triumph of Capital is never as total as when the workers mobilize themselves on its behalf in search of a "better life".
In order to protect us from the excesses of Capital, antifascism as a matter of course invokes the intervention of the State. Paradoxically, antifascism becomes the champion of a strong State; For example, the P.C.F. asks us:
"What kind of State is necessary in France today?... Is our State stable and strong, as the President of the Republic claims? No, it is weak, it is impotent to pull the country out of the social and political crisis in which it is mired. In fact it is encouraging disorder." [6]
Both dictatorship and democracy propose to strengthen the State the former as a matter of principle, the latter in order to protect us -- ending up in the same result. Both are working towards the same goal : totalitarianism. In both cases it is a matter of making everyone participate in society: "from the top down" for the dictators, "from the bottom up" for the democrats.
As regards dictatorship and democracy, can we speak of a struggle between two sociologically differentiated fractions of Capital? Rather we are dealing with two different methods of regimenting the proletariat, either by integrating it forcibly, or by bringing it together through the mediation of its "own" organizations. Capital opts for one or the other of these solutions according to the needs of the moment. In Germany after 1918, social democracy and the unions were indispensable for controlling the workers and isolating the revolutionaries. On the other hand, after 1929, Germany had to concentrate its industry, eliminate a section of the middle classes, and discipline the bourgeoisie. The same traditional workers' movement, defending political pluralism and the immediate interests of the workers, had become an impediment to further development. The "workers' organizations" supported capitalism faithfully, but had kept their autonomy; as organizations they sought above all to perpetuate themselves. This made them play an effective counter-revolutionary role in 1918-1921, as the failure of the German revolution shows. In 1920 the social democratic organizations provided the first example of anti-revolutionary antifascism (before fascism existed in name). [7] Subsequently the weight acquired by these organizations, both in society and in the State itself, made them play a role of social conservatism, of economic Malthusianism. They had to be eliminated. They fulfilled an anti-communist function in 1918-1921 because they were the expression of the defense of wage labour as such; but this same rationale required them to continue to represent the immediate interests of wage earners, to the detriment of the re-organization of Capital as a whole.
One understands why Nazism had as its goal the violent destruction of the workers' movement, contrary to the so-called fascist parties of today. This is the crucial difference. Social democracy had done its job of domesticating the workers well, too well. Social democracy had occupied an important position in the State but was incapable of unifying the whole of Germany behind it. This was the task of Nazism, which knew how to appeal to all classes, from the unemployed to the monopoly capitalists.
Similarly, the Unidad Popular in Chile was able to control the workers, but without gathering the whole of the nation around it. Thus it became necessary to overthrow it by force. On the contrary, there has not (yet?) been any massive repression in Portugal since November 1975, and if the current regime claims to be continuing the "revolution of the officers," it is not because the power of the working class and democratic organizations prevent a coup d'itat from the Right. Left wing parties and unions have never prevented any such thing, except when the coup d'itat was premature, e.g. the Kapp putsch in 1920. There is no White terror in Portugal because it is unnecessary, the Socialist Party up to the present time unifying the whole of society behind it.
Whether it admits it or not, antifascism has become the necessary form of both working class and capitalist reformism. Antifascism unites the two by claiming to represent the true ideal of the bourgeois revolution betrayed by Capital. Democracy is conceived as an element of socialism, an element already present in our society. Socialism is envisaged as total democracy. The struggle for socialism would consist of winning more and more democratic rights within the framework of capitalism. With the help of the fascist scapegoat, democratic gradualism is revitalized. Fascism and antifascism have the same origin and the same program, but the former claimed to go beyond Capital and classes, while the latter tries to attain the "true" bourgeois democracy which is endlessly perfectible through the addition of stronger and stronger doses of democracy. In reality, bourgeois democracy is a stage in the taking of power by Capital, and its extension into the 20th century has resulted in the increasing isolation of individuals. Born as the illusory solution to the problem of the separation of human activity and society, democracy will never be able to resolve the problem of the most separated society in the whole of history. Antifascism will always end in increasing totalitarianism; its fight for a "democratic" State will end in strengthening the State.
For various reasons, the revolutionary analyses of fascism and antifascism, and in particular the analysis of the Spanish Civil War which is a more complex example, are ignored, misunderstood, or regularly distorted. At best, they are considered as an idealist perspective; at worst, as an indirect support of fascism. Note, they say how the P.C.I. helped Mussolini by refusing to take fascism seriously , and especially by not allying itself with the democratic forces; or how the K.P.D. allowed Hitler to come to power while treating the S.P.D. as the principal enemy. In Spain, on the contrary, one has an example of resolute antifascist struggle, which might have succeeded if it hadn't been for the deficiencies of the Stalinists--socialists--anarchists (cross out the appropriate names). These statements are based on a distortion of the facts.
 
[4] Rassemblement du Peuple Français (R.P.F.), a Gaullist party (1947-1952). Poujadism, a right-wing petty bourgeois movement of the 4th Republic. Rassemblement pour la République (R.P.R.), a contemporary Gaullist party.
[5] 100,000 Japanese were interned in camps in the USA during World War II, but there was no need to liquidate them.
[6] Humanité, March 6, 1972.
[7] The Kapp putsch of 1920 was defeated by a general strike, but the insurrection in the Ruhr which broke out immediately following and which aspired to go beyond tbe defense of democracy was repressed on behalf of the State... by the army which had just supported the putsch.

 

Back Forward Contents This Author Return to Homepage 1