Where the Fascists Are (was Henwood vs. Cockburn)

Chip Berlet cberlet at igc.apc.org
Tue Nov 16 06:47:19 PST 1999


Let's do keep straight the difference between repressive authoritarian governments, transnational neocorporatism, and fascism. They are quite different although they can overlap.

Fascism as a mass movement is mobilized in part by a real sense of grievance felt by people who see themselves in the "middle," and in part by a faction of capitalism in an intra-elite battle for power. The "productive" industrial capitalists seek to assist the fascist mass movement against the "parasitic" finance capitalists. This false distinction is at the root of right wing populism today.

An excellent study of this is:

Peter Fritzsche, Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).

For the modern moment, see: Mary Rupert, "The Patriot Movement and the Roots of Fascism," in Susan Allen Nan, et. Al. eds., Windows to Conflict Analysis and Resolution: Framing our Field, (Fairfax, VA: Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 1997).

On the pitfalls of conspiracist anti-globalism, see:

Mark Rupert, "Globalization and the Reconstruction of Common Sense in the US," in S. Gill and J. Mittelman, eds., Innovation and Transformation in International Studies, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). online at:


-Chip Berlet

----- Original Message ----- From: Steve Perry <sperry at usinternet.com> To: <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com> Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 1999 8:40 AM Subject: RE: Where the Fascists Are (was Henwood vs. Cockburn)

> leaving aside for the moment the question of incipient
> fascism in the militias, i would argue that the most
> threatening portents of fascism are in--the democratic
> party. first, as a practical matter, i do not believe
> any republican could have gotten by with half the
> reactionary shit the clinton administration has pulled
> (as i noted before, under the useful cover of
> bipartisanship," which no one may oppose...). i give
> you two signal legislative events, one much-noted and
> one little-noted: welfare reform (which is not a fascist
> construct per se, but a useful precursor since it
> improves the material foundation for the hated lumpen
> other) and the domestic anti-terrorism act (which *is*
> a fascist construct per se).
> second--and this is entirely debatable, i realize--it
> seems to me that the road to a distinctively american
> fascism will have to be paved with two prime ingredients:
> the continuing glorification of buck-naked capitalism, in
> which no values save money and power are presumed to have
> any *real* claim on the public will and imagination; and
> the kind of mealy-mouthed, encoded, "scientized" racism
> and class bigotry that any right-thinking soccer mom can
> get behind (my presumption being that *open* bigotry, even
> as open as buchanan at the '92 convention, frightens
> most americans).
> now, who is it that best embodies these traits in
> american politics? neolib democrats, no question. stand-up
> guys like bill clinton and boomer schumer.
> well, i could go on, but every good closet dem on the
> list has heard enough to conclude i'm obviously insane...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> [mailto:owner-lbo-talk at lists.panix.com]On Behalf Of Christine Peterson
> Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 11:16 PM
> To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> Subject: Re: Henwood vs. Cockburn
> >they've opposed Nafta, MAI and WTO; they've attacked the drug war;
> >supported initiatives in Arizona and Oregon and California to
> >drugs; they opposed asset seizures and the death penalty; they've raised
> >the issue of the expanded domestic use of the military; and, contrary to
> >assertions by some, they are at the grassroots level, at least, fierce
> >critics of corporate power--they hate the big mining companies, the
> >big
> >timber, big beef (IBP), the farm syndicates: ADM and Cargill and
> >Continental Grain; and the pesticide companies, such as Monsanto and
> >DuPont.
> >
> >((((((((((((
> >
> >Charles: I hate to tell you this, but the Nazis' full name was the
> >Socialist Workers' Party. Mussolini had been a leader of the Socialist
> >Party of Italy. Mixing in some "socialist", "anti-capitalist",
> >demogogy with their rhetoric has been integral to the main fascist
> >movements in history. All of the above must be examined with a very
> >jaundiced eye.
> >
> >(((((((((((((
> Hey - Buchanan, and maybe Fulani, and Castro are all going to be in
> in two weeks. All of this is going to go on right in the 'Niketown',
> Hollywood, new upscale mall area of downtown too, everybody mingling.
> >There is no premature anti-fascism.
> >
> >
> >Charles Brown
> The trip to fascism is really short. Because we compare Hitler to the
> so frequently, that makes it seem like fascism is unobtainable or still
> steps beyond anything that any of the current US political parties could
> move into. My grandfather opposed it, not that they would let him vote,
> my family just described how they really were told nothing about what was
> really going on until the very last months. The living conditions of
> weren't so much different than anything they had experienced before under
> the kaiser and previously. the hitler youth was not that much different in
> substance than boyscouts and the flag salute and pep rallies. The people,
> not that they voted the nazis in, had not embraced 'naziism' as anyone
> understands it today. But at the same time, I'm not sure that there is a
> checklist of predictive signs for fascism that one can confidently avoid.
> german americans or american germans are really wary of weird third party
> people - old west germany could never elect someone like Jesse Ventura or
> bad actor - but embracing 'moderates' can lead to some pretty horrid
> policies being committed overseas. Isn't what has happened to Zaire and
> Indonesia and Central America and Lebanon and Iraq kind of ranking up
> with Germany and poland?
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