Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

February 25, 2016

Does Donald Trump pose a fascist threat?

Filed under: Fascism — louisproyect @ 4:29 pm

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Juan Cole’s article titled “How the US went Fascist: Mass media Makes excuses for Trump Voters” reminded me that I wanted to say something about all this. It is not the first time I’ve run into a massive amount of warnings about a new Hitler or Mussolini running for President on the Republican Party ticket. Of course, with so many memes identifying Trump with Il Duce on the basis of his scowls and demagoguery, the temptation to make such an identification is irresistible especially if you are unfamiliar with historical materialism.

For Cole, the analogies with fascist Italy are obvious:

This is how the dictators came to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Good people remained silent or acquiesced. People expressed hope that something good would come of it. Mussolini would wring the laziness out of Italy and make the trains run on time.

Of course, what’s missing here is the threat to Italian capitalism that spurred the ruling class to throw its weight behind Mussolini—a revolutionary working class that supported anarchist, socialist and Communist parties. The Biennio Rosso, or “two red years” that lasted from 1919 to 1920, was marked by mass strikes and factory occupations. The Socialist Party of Italy had 250,000 members and the anarchists could count on up to 300,000 activists. From the Wikipedia article on the Biennio Rosso, we learn:

In Turin and Milan, factory councils – which the leading Italian Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci considered to be the Italian equivalent of Russia’s soviets – were formed and many factory occupations took place under the leadership of revolutionary socialists and anarcho-syndicalists. The agitations also extended to the agricultural areas of the Padan plain and were accompanied by peasant strikes, rural unrests and armed conflicts between left-wing and right-wing militias.

Industrial action and rural unrest increased significantly: there were 1,663 industrial strikes in 1919, compared to 810 in 1913. More than one million industrial workers were involved in 1919, three times the 1913 figure. The trend continued in 1920, which saw 1,881 industrial strikes. Rural strikes also increased substantially, from 97 in 1913 to 189 by 1920, with over a million peasants taking action. On July 20-21, 1919, a general strike was called in solidarity with the Russian Revolution.

Comrades, I don’t know how to put this exactly but similarities between Italy in 1919 and the USA in 2016 are less than zero. What insurgencies are a Trump-style fascism supposed to overcome? Black Lives Matter? The Chicago Teachers Union? Kshama Sawant? The good news is that fascism is not on the agenda because the movements of the working class and other oppressed sectors are so weak. Meanwhile the bad news is that the movements of the working class and other oppressed sectors are so weak.

I wrote about the Pat Buchanan campaign in 2000, when exactly the same fears existed. Just change the name from Buchanan to Trump and it holds up pretty well:

Sally Ryan posted an article from the Militant newspaper the other day. It states that Buchanan is a fascist:

“Buchanan is not primarily out to win votes, nor was he four years ago. He has set out to build a cadre of those committed to his program and willing to act in the streets to carry it out. He dubs his supporters the ‘Buchanan Brigades’….

“Commenting on the tone of a recent speech Buchanan gave to the New Hampshire legislature, Republican state representative Julie Brown, said, ‘It’s just mean – like a little Mussolini.’….

“While he is not about to get the Republican nomination, Buchanan is serious in his campaign. The week before his Louisiana win, he came in first in a straw poll of Alaska Republicans and placed third in polls in New Hampshire, where the first primary election will be held. He is building a base regardless of how the vote totals continue to fall. And he poses the only real alternative that can be put forward within the capitalist system to the like-sounding Clinton and Dole – a fascist alternative.”

These quotations tend to speak for a rather wide-spread analysis of Buchanan that a majority of the left supports, including my comrades on this list.

I want to offer a counter-analysis:

1) We are in a period of quiescence, not class confrontation.

Comrades, this is the good news and the bad news. It is good news because there is no threat of a fascist movement coming to power. It is bad news because it reflects how depoliticized the US working-class remains.

There is no fascist movement in the United States of any size or significance. It is time to stop talking about the militias of Montana. Let us speak instead of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. Has there been any growth of fascism? Of course not. In New York, my home town, there is no equivalent of the German- American bund, the fascists of the 1930s who had a base on New York’s upper east side, my neighborhood.

There are no attacks on socialist or trade union meetings. There are not even attacks on movements of allies of the working-class. The women’s movement, the black movement, the Central American movement organize peacefully and without interference for the simple reason that there are no violent gangs to subdue them.

The reason there are no violent gangs of fascists is the same as it was in the 1950s. We are not in a period of general social crisis. There are no frenzied elements of the petty-bourgeoisie or the lumpen proletariat being drawn into motion by demagogic and charismatic leaders like Mussolini or Hitler. There are no Silver Shirts that the labor or socialist movement needs protection from.

There is another key difference from the 1930s that we must consider. Capital and labor battled over the rights of labor within the prevailing factory system. Capitalism has transformed that factory system. Workers who remain in basic industry are not fighting for union representation. They simply want to keep their jobs. Those who remain employed will not tend to enter into confrontations with capital as long as wages and benefits retain a modicum of acceptability. That is the main reason industrial workers tend to be quiescent and will remain so for some time to come.

In the 1930s, workers occupied huge factories and battled the bosses over the right to a union. The bosses wanted to keep these factories open and strikes tended to take on a militant character in these showdowns. Strike actions tended to draw the working-class together and make it easier for socialists to get a hearing. This was because strikes were much more like mass actions and gave workers a sense of their power. The logical next step, according to the socialists, was trade union activity on a political level and, ultimately, rule by the workers themselves.

The brunt of the attack today has been downsizing and runaway capital. This means that working people have a fear of being unemployed more than anything else. This fear grips the nation. When a worker loses a job today, he or she tends to look for personal solutions: a move to another city, signing up for computer programming classes, etc. Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me” vividly illustrated this type of personal approach Every unemployed auto worker in this film was trying to figure out a way to solve their problems on their own.

In the face of the atomization of the US working class, it is no surprise that many workers seem to vote for Buchanan. He offers them a variant on the personal solution. A worker may say to himself or herself, “Ah, this Buchanan’s a racist bigot, but he’s the only one who seems to care about what’s happening to me. I’ll take a gamble and give him my vote.” Voting is not politics. It is the opposite of politics. It is the capitalist system’s mechanism for preventing political action.

2) Buchanan is a bourgeois politician.

Pat Buchanan represents the thinking of an element of the US ruling class, and views the problems of the United States from within that perspective. Buchanan’s nationalism relates very closely to the nationalism of Ross Perot, another ruling class politician.

A consensus exists among the ruling class that US capital must take a global route. The capitalist state must eliminate trade barriers and capital must flow to where there is greatest possibility for profit. Buchanan articulates the resentments of a section of the bourgeoisie that wants to resist this consensus. It would be an interesting project to discover where Buchanan gets his money. This would be a more useful of one’s time than comparing his speeches to Father Coughlin or Benito Mussolini’s.

There are no parties in the United States in the European sense. In Europe, where there is a parliamentary system, people speak for clearly defined programs and are responsible to clearly defined constituencies. In the United States, politics revolves around “winner take all” campaigns. This tends to put a spotlight on presidential elections and magnify the statements of candidates all out of proportion.

Today we have minute textual analysis of what Buchanan is saying. His words take on a heightened, almost ultra-real quality. Since he is in a horse race, the press tends to worry over each and every inflammatory statement he makes. This tends to give his campaign a more threatening quality than is supported by the current state of class relations in the United States.

3) The way to fight Buchanan is by developing a class alternative.

The left needs a candidate who is as effective as Buchanan in drawing class lines.

The left has not been able to present an alternative to Buchanan. It has been making the same kinds of mistakes that hampered the German left in the 1920s: ultraleft sectarianism and opportunism. Our “Marxist-Leninist” groups, all 119 of them, offer themselves individually as the answer to Pat Buchanan. Meanwhile, social democrats and left-liberals at the Nation magazine and elsewhere are preparing all the reasons one can think of to vote for the “lesser evil”.

What the left needs to do is coalesce around a class-based, militant program. The left has not yet written this program, despite many assurances to the contrary we can hear on this list every day. It will have to be in the language of the American people, not in Marxist- Leninist jargon. Some people know how speak effectively to working people. I include Michael Moore the film-maker. I also include people like our own Doug Henwood, and Alex Cockburn and his co-editor Ken Silverstein who put out a newsletter called “Counterpunch”.

Most of all, the model we need is like Eugene V. Debs and the Socialist Party of the turn of the century, minus the right-wing. Study the speeches of Debs and you get an idea of the kind of language we need to speak. Our mission today remains the same as it was in turn of the century Russia: to build a socialist party where none exists.

 

23 Comments »

  1. There is a kind of semi-fascism now prevalent. It is a mixture of military dictatorship, fascism, with vestiges of bourgeois democracy. An example: the Fujimori govt. in Peru. Also Argentina under Peron. In this epoch of transition we will rarely find pure fascism, pure workers states, or even pure capitalism. Remember that the tree of life is gray and may not be easy to label.

    Comment by Earl Gilman — February 25, 2016 @ 7:04 pm

  2. Lou nailed it but Earl’s point is valid and we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of snakes to slither under cracks but if you all want to imagine real Fascism in the USA then just picture the Occupy Movement growing exponentially like it had been at its height and then really catching fire in an ORGANIZED WAY amongst service & industrial workers at the point of production.

    Then you’d see the Iron Heel that Jack London envisioned.

    It’d be like the Anarchists in Spain during the 30’s. Utter Defeat & Bewilderment & Slaughter in the face of those who are Organized.

    The paid mercenaries that were kicking in doors in Baghdad (you know, support our troops!) would come home to join local police forces to kick in your door.

    Could we win them to our side after all that indoctrination and PTSD?

    Don’t count on it.

    Like the Bolsheviks learned against the proto-fascist White Armies. Vanquish them NOW by any means necessary.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — February 26, 2016 @ 1:53 am

  3. The communist left suggests a tendency toward authoritarian state capitalism arising in capitalist decadence, and that seems to be true. There are two sides to that coin, so we can see “left” and “right” varieties of these strongman pro military pro state control regimes all over.

    Imperial Bush and Obama
    Putin
    Correa
    Chavez/Madura
    Morales
    Mugabe
    Chanochan
    Fujimori
    Abe

    Comment by Forty five pound — February 26, 2016 @ 5:47 pm

  4. Buchanan has the attributes of a fascist without living in a period when the class enemy feels the need for a fascist movement. Trump shares the same period with Buchanan, but Trump is not a fascist. He is a bombastic bourgeoisie politician who has actually been shifting to the “center” in the past couple of months.

    Comment by Dave — February 26, 2016 @ 7:04 pm

  5. Obviously Trump is a populist. Populism has a long strong history in the US.

    Comment by Forty five pound — February 26, 2016 @ 7:28 pm

  6. Your analysis is laughable. Buchanan was a precursor to Trump, yes, but he never stood a chance at winning the nomination. Trump is on his way.

    Your contrasting of Trump with Mussolini, your pointing out of all the differences between the two, is very much /beside/ the point. Trump isn’t a fascist; he’s a neo-fascist. The neo-fascist uses many of the same stratagems as fascists of old, but does not rely on the same brute force and antiquated violence. Neo-fascism is a contaminant that spread virtually, through the vast media to minds. It needs brownshirts as much as it needs V-2 rockets. And never have we seen it spread further or wider, your blase misreading notwithstanding.

    That you don’t apprehend the threat of Trump is the decisive sign of rigidness and outdatedness. You’re so stuck in the 1930s that when the current era comes to resemble it in crucial ways, you obsess over irrelevant differences. Unrepentant Marxist, indeed.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 27, 2016 @ 9:46 am

  7. “The neo-fascist uses many of the same stratagems as fascists of old, but does not rely on the same brute force and antiquated violence.”

    What about neo-capitalism and neo-socialism? I can’t wait to hear about that…

    Comment by louisproyect — February 27, 2016 @ 2:24 pm

  8. “…when the current era comes to resemble [the 30’s] in crucial ways, you obsess over irrelevant differences.”

    ANON. You still don’t get. The old era had working class movements that threatened State power in virtually every industrialized country on the planet. Hence the need for the ruling class to resort to Fascism. There’s absolutely nothing like that now anywhere.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — February 27, 2016 @ 4:38 pm

  9. You got Italy just about right, well done. Another difference between Italy after WWI and the US today is that Italy’s liberal governments were weak, indecisive and powerless or unwilling to restore order to the country. As mentioned, Italian industry ground to a halt, virtually unopposed by the government. We’re talking about politicians who thought walking out of parliament in protest was the best way to stop Mussolini – hilarious in retrospect. And when they tried to come back and found the doors locked, they shrugged and went home for good (or in many cases emigrated), which of course didn’t stop them from calling themselves ardent anti-fascists after the war. Does that sound anything like today’s US government?

    Not to mention, the current age is bad for proletarians, but not nearly as bad as the early 20th century. Workers in the west aren’t destitute or angry enough to revolt, so reactionary ideologies like fascism have no threat to position themselves against.

    The one resemblance I see is that American culture actively promotes something very similar to ‘squadrismo,’ see the recent Oregon standoff and the existence of the NRA.

    But louisproyect, your comment confuses me. Are you implying that there’s no difference between fascism and neo-fascism?

    Comment by Alessandro — February 27, 2016 @ 7:25 pm

  10. I’m sorry, Louis — again your point escapes me. Are you saying neo-fascism isn’t a thing?

    Comment by Anonymous — February 27, 2016 @ 8:21 pm

  11. Yup.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 27, 2016 @ 8:26 pm

  12. I have no idea what “neo-Fascism” is. Golden Dawn are fucking Nazis. There is nothing “neo” about them.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 27, 2016 @ 10:32 pm

  13. The thing to do would be to actually define what Fascism is. How it is different from simple authoritarianism, ultra-nationalism or militarism, for instance, and what key features it has in common with them. Then demonstrate how Neo-Fascism represents a break from the “classical”. model.
    Such analysis is conspicuously absent on both ends of this discussion. I agree with the basic proposition that Donald Trump isn’t a Fascist and that the social conditions that would precipitate such a shift in American polity are absent in the contemporary political scene, but defining something by not only what is isn’t, but also by the lack of external factors that would create such phenomena, seems a strange way to approach this. This Neo-Fascism idea seems like monkey balls by the way..

    Comment by Adam Smith — February 28, 2016 @ 4:19 pm

  14. You may not believe in neo-fascism, but it exists. It’s a recognized category in political science and it can be defined. Your refusal to accept that is a kind of question begging. “Trump can’t be a fascist because I define fascism as strictly Italian-style fascism, and I don’t recognize how fascism has evolved over decades to suit changing conditions.”

    Neo-fascism is a “softer” kind of fascism. It’s the National Front in France. It’s Orban. You might lump Sisi in there, too. It’s arguably Putin, especially given the Eurasianists in his orbit. It has tinged the Ukrainian government. It’s postmodern, as much as I hate that term.

    It doesn’t have shock troops. It doesn’t have the elaborate corporatist ideology and artistic vanguard and aesthetic vision of the originals, the Italian fascists. It (usually) doesn’t openly profess an anti-democratic program. It comes in many degrees. It’s a vague confluence of left- and right-wing populism, with emphasis on the right.

    Trump is obviously a neo-fascist. He’s also obviously the only explicit neo-fascist to come this close to the White House. (Nixon had tendencies, but he wasn’t full-on.) I’ll briefly reiterate that I’m totally bemused by how you dismiss the threat of him. I wonder what motivates it. I don’t think it’s reason.

    I didn’t mention Golden Dawn, and I never claimed they’re neo-fascists, so I’m not sure why you brought them up. More reactive, sloppy arguing from you. They’re obviously not neo-fascists but neo-Nazis. By the same token, I wouldn’t mistake Italian fascists for German Nazis. (As an aside, I reject the conflation of Nazism with fascism – it’s less a child of fascism than a cousin – but that’s a subject for another day.)

    Comment by Anonymous — February 28, 2016 @ 9:47 pm

  15. You don’t seem to understand that Nixon, Trump, Pat Buchanan et al are conventional rightwing politicians. You can call them fascist if you like. After all, if Bernie Sanders calls himself a “socialist”, then we obviously don’t need Marxist definitions.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 28, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

  16. So Neo-Fascism is Trump, Putin ,Orban, Yatsenyuk, The Front National, Sisi, possibly Nixon, but not Golden Dawn. Sorry, but that’s just more vague. All you did was list a bunch of Right wing Authoritarians,situated in very different political landscapes, with very different strategies for gaining and maintaining power.Simply broadening a taxonomy, to include more examples, doesn’t make for a more complete definition. Arguably, in terms of economic policy, Obama is to the right of Nixon.
    Is he also a Neo-Fascist? Some members of the Tea Party, ( another bunch of right wing nasties who are probably also Neo-Fascists), might agree with you on that one, after all they frequently compare him to Hitler, but I wouldn’t.

    Neo Fascist just seems like a catchall term for right wing assholes you don’t like. I don’t like any of those people much either.You can go to plenty of bad places without being a Fascist though.and the case (with the exception of The Front National) hasn’t been made that they are.

    Comment by Adam Smith — February 29, 2016 @ 1:42 am

  17. Perhaps the question is less one of whether Ronald Rump poses a fascist threat than it is one of whether a fascist threat (properly so called) should be the only thing or the main thing the left, at least in the USA, has to fear or to fight.

    There’s no doubt, IMHO, that actual fascists can be found amid the garbage roiling in Rump’s wake. Nor is there any doubt that Trump is much more of a demagogue (and hence more like Hitler, Mussolini, or Putin) than the all-but-faceless horrors of the “mainstream” Republican party. On the other hand, as Louis points out, there is in the USA now no powerful working-class movement to be co-opted and destroyed as there was in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. Furthermore (I would add), Rump, like all the Republicans, seems more interested in appeasing his right-wing supporters than in mobilizing them for warfare, external or internal. The message seems to be “Vote for me and I’ll handle everything;” not, “Join us and together we will conquer the world.”

    If this is true–if we have here an extremist right ideology that actually seeks to avoid mobilizing those who put it in power–then that is very different from fascism, and Rump–flamboyant demagogue that he is–is really not so different from the other anti-Fuehrers that have come and gone on the American right since Reagan. The message here, as it has been for decades, seems to be to leave everything in the hands of the billionaire class and the war racketeers so Mr. and Ms. Mainstream America can go shopping with a sense of security. There is no real hint of raising up a nation of supermen for total war–and no hint of the total and radical reorganization of society that fascism had to promote, with its deliberate assault on the liberal concept of the sovereign individual. On the contrary, the Rump supporter is being encouraged to keep her feathery little head in the sand, leaving reality to the hyenas who are equipped to deal with it.

    What is the final meaning of this? History is not just repeating itself. Personally, I see in the bitter farce of Rump’s vaguely Mussolini-like antics not the beginnings of true fascism–which would mean, among other things, that we would still have time to fight back–but rather the actual triumph of an increasingly parasitic and financialized late capitalism that has lost interest in production for use and that does not really believe–and has no real reason to believe–that it will ever be challenged successfully on its home ground.

    I find the implications of this extremely frightening, not so much because of what Rump is proposing but because of the things he is willing to let happen. I suspect that, fascism or no, the Rumpian ordo seclorum can lead to a condition in which liberal society, with its charming fantasies about rights and due process and the deep and world-creating preciousness of each and every little individual soul–can break slowly apart like the fragile thing it is, leaving the police, the military, and the rich–under increasingly tenuous notions of legitimacy–as the final guarantors of political continuity, even without a “totalitarian” ideology. (All those guns in the hands of Tea Party nuts can be very well employed in sporadic, individual murders and suicides as well as plain old waste of ammunition. Their militias will never be well-regulated.)

    The final decadence of the formerly “advanced” United States–a prolonged climactic phase of capitalist destruction if you like–could be a very long and very painful episode in history. I do not see anything that says socialism–at least in this country–must inevitably triumph. And that grim thought, to me, is the real threat of Ronald Rump.

    Why is Rump not really a fascist? Perhaps it’s because–and he may well know this–he simply does not have to be. I can’t take much comfort in that.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — February 29, 2016 @ 3:43 pm

  18. “but rather the actual triumph of an increasingly parasitic and financialized late capitalism that has lost interest in production for use and that does not really believe–and has no real reason to believe–that it will ever be challenged successfully on its home ground.”

    You seem to be confused. Trump has been talking about bringing manufacturing “back to the US” from China and other places, while Clinton has said manufacturing is done here and will never come back.

    This makes sense since Clinton is a Wall Street Democrat like Obama and Trump is a populist who is appealing to the struggling white working class and petty bourgeoisie who have lost their jobs over the last 30 years and have no education or alternate training that would allow them to enter “the knowledge economy”.

    Further you say socialism may not triumph in this country. It’s true that socialism may not triumph. It’s not inevitable. Hence “socialism or barbarism”. But if socialism doesn’t triumph here it won’t triumph anywhere. There’s no possibility of communism alongside the most powerful military and economy the world has ever known.

    Comment by Forty five pound — March 2, 2016 @ 1:12 pm

  19. Apart from your self-indulgent pomposity, you seem to be naive. First, manufacturing–to Trump–has nothing to do with production for use. He is throwing a sop to the working-class segment of his supporters, who want jobs, but his view of capitalism is that of a real-estate parasite whose consciousness is limited solely to the sphere of money and investment as autonomous values in their own right. Production don’t enter into it–that is the beauty of right-wing American classical liberalism in its present form.

    So–of course–I was right in what I said. Second, nothing I have said–to a person of any real intelligence–suggests that I support Hilary Clinton. So your whole line on that is characteristically stupid and beside the point.

    Third, regarding socialism not triumphing, thank you for repeating–at a sixth-grade level–what I said better than you ever could.

    Whoever you really are, you obviously failed to understand what I wrote. But that is characteristic of a troll whose only purpose is to pick fights and exhibit wisdom in his own conceit.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — March 3, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

  20. You said that Trump represents a faction of the capitalist class that has no need for production. In fact, one of Trump’s main pillars has been a return to industrial production to “make America great again.” of course the workings of capitalism would never let that happen, but it’s his position.

    Clinton on the other hand very specifically states the industrial production will never return. This is because it is she who is almost wholly backed by the financial elite on Wall Street, just like her democratic predecessor.

    Trump is a billionaire running on his own dime and relying on populist appeals to ruined white workers and petty bourgeois for support. Most of the capitalist establishment is scrambling to get one of the other mainstream candidates to win the nomination.

    Clinton is a running dog wall Street capitalist relying on corporate and financial donors, identity politics (first woman president) and the knowledge that fake socialist Sanders has rallied millions of disaffected voters who he will hand over to her when he inevitably endorses her as “the lesser evil”. It is almost certain that she will win the election.

    By the way, i didn’t assume you support Clinton or Trump. I assume socialists and communists don’t participate in capitalist elections unless I’m told otherwise.

    Comment by Forty five pound — March 3, 2016 @ 3:44 pm

  21. I said that Ronald Rump is not concerned with production for use. Use value and exchange value (and surplus value) are not the same thing, Q.E.D. Rump is a real-estate guy–the example par excellence of a parasite for whom all that is solid (what could be more solid than buildings?) melts into thin air at the whim of a capitalist whose principal reality is money and investments as ends in themselves.

    Although anyone who ever saw The Apprentice has to know that Rump regards workers as mostly losers who should be fired, Rump has managed to convince them that he wants them to have a certain amount of money (jobs). He is also playing on the egoism of white racists who lament the decline of “Made in America” because they pine for the lost world of white male supremacy, with its limited and misleading egalitarianism (IMHO, the Jacksonian ideal that underlies what you are calling “populism”). Lamenting the loss of stuff Made in America is only a pretext for wanting the old-fashioned white man’s world back.

    An example of capitalists who had a higher degree of concern with production for use than the Martin Shkrelis and Ronald Rumps we have now might be the Krupps of 19th-century Germany. I’m not praising these bastards–nor am I saying they were NOT driven by exchange value and the need to extract surplus value–but they were individuals who owned factories that made solid stuff, and lived right next door to those factories, which they supervised closely.This put them a bit closer to production for use than decadent assholes like Rump and Shkreli. Ditto the Bechsteins, who made wonderful pianos even though Helene Bechstein, like Alfried Krupp, eventually became a Nazi. Maybe Friedrich Engels is another example of a capitalist with roots in actual production, though fortunately on the side of the angels.

    The point of my post is that Trump is not a fascist because he does not have to be a fascist, not because he represents anything that is meaningfully or even marginally opposed to fascism (for example “populism”). In the USA today, I think, there are worse possibilities than actual fascism, even though that is by no means out of the question.

    The very possibility of socialism in an “advanced” country (at least in this one) seems as if it might be vanishing. Capitalism continually builds up productive capabilities with great potential for human betterment only to destroy them again because (among other things) production for use is in the final analysis beside the capitalist point. The likes of Shkreli and Rump are perhaps in the vanguard of the current wave of destruction, which as far as the U.S.A. is concerned may eventually prove final. That might prove even worse than fascism, at least as far as the U.S.A. is concerned–although it could also be combined with elements of fascism, which would be worse still. Whether this would be “barbarism” or not (an oddly imperialistic term) I take to be a mere quibble.

    Is this a “crisis”? That all depends on where you put the tipping point, or whether there is one tipping point or several or many, etc.

    But I take no comfort in Rump’s non-fascism or in his alleged “populism.”

    No time here to go into Clinton and Wall Street.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — March 4, 2016 @ 6:28 pm

  22. You make up your own words then put existing and recognized terms like populism in quotations. This and your other ideas lead me to belive that any discussion with you would probably be a waste of time. Take care.

    Comment by Forty five pound — March 5, 2016 @ 4:01 pm

  23. Sure–I just made up “use value,” “exchange value,” and “surplus value.” And of course your unspoken definition of the highly ambiguous term “populism” is the accepted one–even if you yourself are incapable of saying what you mean by it.

    You’re right though–there’s no future in this discussion. I’ve certainly wasted too much time on it.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — March 7, 2016 @ 8:35 pm


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