I watched The Blues Brothers the other night and took great delight at the scene where the Illinois Nazis are forced off the bridge and into the river. But, now that we are a ‘depression’ more and more stories of far right gains keep popping up. I commented recently that we should not fear the far right, because they can only lose in open debate. But then that can be said about any other form of capitalism and yet here we are. I have since removed my comment.
Alan Woods says in Reformism and Revolution that the capitalist system "threw Hitler against the Soviet Union". To what degree he means that this was an organized plan I am not sure. But, having Germany as a bulwark against communism certainly figured in France and Britain’s treatment of Germany at the close of WWI.
In Land and Freedom the German claims that before Hitler’s rise Germany had the biggest communist movement in Western Europe. It seems certain that the capitalist elite in the West would have preferred Hitler’s rise to the communists taking power in Germany, and therefore that they would have not opposed or even aided Hitler if they had thought there was any possibility of a communist victory.
When Hitler secured mainland Europe and he was left surrounded by two foes: capitalist Britain and the Soviet East. Could he not have took on and defeated Britain gaining easy access to worlds oceans? There was already a declared truce with the Soviet Union and, having the land forces he did, was not vulnerable to invasion by them.
With which ideology was fascism most reconcilable: capitalism or socialism? Markets, private property, and hierarchy are things that two systems share and not the third1.
If the Britain, and its empire, had eliminated private property and renounced markets and class domination whilst the Tzar remained in power in Russia what would Hitler have done? Would a deal with the Tzar to supply oil have been made or would it have been necessary to go to war? Would Hitler’s aggression not instead have been directed against Britain? What would Japan and the US have done as India, Africa and the Middle East emerged from colonial domination by Britain’s radical change of policy?
To what extent it was or was not planned it seems to have been what happened in the end. Rather than see Germany fall to the left, a monstrous system was allowed to develop and then pushed against the dangerous new model that lay to the east. The capitalist elite had little to fear from the existence of a system lacking democracy and everything to fear from the existence of a system lacking private property. This seems to have been the theme of post WWII American foreign policy as well (Young. 09).
In an interview with Amy Goodman Noam Chomsky speaks of both hope and fear. He highlights a resemblance between talk show radio (US) and early Nazi propaganda: ‘demagogues appealing to grievances’. He also notes the existence of more activists (in the US) than anytime since height of the anti war movement, in the sixties, and says that gives him hope.
I think we should bear in mind that the capitalist elite in the US and the rest of the world have more to fear from the activists than the quasi fascists.
The more gains the left makes to the south the more dangerous those activists become, and the more corporate remittances to the US will fall. If the consolidation of the left (in Latin America) cannot be stopped (and its early days) ultimately the US is going to have to join the trend or openly wage war against it. Perhaps that war can be waged without officially suspending democracy?
The capitalist elites of China, Russia, India, Europe and the rest of the world care not if democracy is suspended in the US, but they care very much whether radical forces intent on reversing the concentration of wealth gain power first in South America and then (God forbid) in the North! And, just as rival elites rubbed there hands in glee as Germany and the USSR fought it out, a war that strips the US off its hegemony and crushes the dangerous alternative models will be much to the liking of the elites of China and co.
1 Although markets, private property and hierarchy were all present in the USSR they all were so to a significantly lesser degree than the UK and Nazi Germany due to the dominant ideology being very much against these things.
Far right gains:
Neo-Nazis getting more ‘aggressive’,By David Wroe
The Unknown War, April, 18 2009, By Kagarlitsky, Boris
Reformisim or Revolution, Alan Woods, 07.2008
German Revolution ends horror of war, Niklas Albin Svensson, 11.11.2008
Land and Freedom is a 1995 film (alternative title: Tierra y Libertad) directed by Ken Loach and written by Jim Allen.
US Policy and Democracy in Latin America: The Latinobarómetro Poll
May 29, 2009 By Kevin Young
Global Economic Crisis, Healthcare, US Foreign Policy and Resistance to American Empire, April 14, 2009 By Noam Chomsky