Fascism is an expression of a larger social tendency that, in English language translations of Marx is called “the slaveholders’ revolt.”
It is a process by which every couple generations the revolutionary potential of the angry mob is turned in on itself in the hope that the destruction of society is the only hope to save the rich and their vacation homes from the consequences of their actions.
Every time this happens, there is a faction that arises as the rear guard for the fascists.
This rear guard is usually seen by their contemporaries as being part of the center-left. They will pay lip service to left social causes. They will probably even consider themselves as being politically to the left.
This faction thinks that they can save society and the rich and their vacation homes through small, largely symbolic distributions of pats on the back and cookies. They become covert extremists. Their extremism usually goes unrecognized because it arises in the paradoxical form of their doing nothing or as close to nothing as they can get away with.
As the metaphorical house we all live in burns around us, they insist vehemently that the smoke you feel in your lungs, the char that you see, the heat that you feel in anxious tingles just under the surface of your skin is in fact a problem of interior decoration. Or a misunderstanding.
They will get angry to defend this interpretation. They will gaslight. They will kneecap those with the audacity to acknowledge the house is on fire.
They will finally acknowledge after it’s too late that the house is in fact on fire, but claim that to say the house is on fire is impolite or uncivil.
And finally, when the crisis can no longer be denied, they will market themselves as “the only people who can save us.”
They believe half-heartedly their arrogance will magically make good faith negotiators out of Nazis.
They believe this because to believe otherwise would contradict their savior complex.
They believe this because it’s easier than doing something.
Having gone through bad faith motions of “negotiating” on our behalf, these cowards will offer up the populations they claim to represent as human sacrifices when the wolves show their teeth, craving blood.
The wolves dream of reinventing society to match their internalized self-image of endless opulence and grandeur.
They leave behind mass graves and Trümmerfilm.
The moderates dream of history stopping because they feel entitled to it because…they feel entitled to it.
Cruelty shields the wolves from the heat of the burning house. Denial shields their rear guard.
They are a cargo cult. They think if they say “the house isn’t on fire” enough times, the house will cease to be on fire.
The moderates “mean well.” This “meaning well” means nothing.
It means nothing because whether we kill each other or support each other we are ultimately in this together. The world I live in is the same one you have to live in.
The moderates’ denial will not stop the wolves from eating them, it will only clear the space for wolves to eat the rest of us first.
All their “good intentions” just help pave a wider road to hell.
They leave behind mass graves and Trümmerfilm.
18 thoughts on “The Fascists’ Rear Guard”
Trotsky was the great analyst of fascism. It was rooted in layers of the middle class – the ‘petit bourgeoisie’. The yeoman farmer risen from being a rural labourer. The supervisor who was on the assembly line. The store manager, once a mere clerk. One big step up from cow shit on their boots, grease on their overalls or a threadbare suit. They sweated and gouged and cheated their way up a few rungs. Their eye is fixed on moving up a deserved notch.
And they are frightened that hard times will cast them back into the pit of proletarian misery. The humiliation kindles fury. Someone else must be to blame for surely the hard working, get ahead people are not. The rich, the bankers, the uber-bosses, of course. The lazy, criminal unemployed, the job-stealing immigrants, the posh union bastards. These rivals must be suppressed, crushed.
In 1930s Germany this expressed as the Jew bankers and the communists. It was the National Socialist German Workers Party after all. Living space in the east.
In the United States of today it’s the liberal progressive Democratic Party. Again, a two faced party of hypocrisy. Bitching against the rich, but more austerity for the poor, the gig-workers will do. Desperate to cling to the threatened life style of Audis, designer clothes, box seats and a fat pension. Who can’t stand the thought of being cast back to the world of Datsuns, grubby flats, bologna. Why can’t America just go bomb and invade somebody and spread some of that loot around?
To keep their place and make for an upward path the liberals have to find somebody to gouge it out of. And, apart from ceremonial cussing, they won’t go after the rich any more than Hitler did in his time. Because the liberals want into the System. And upward. They don’t want to jeopardize the Golden Goose. So, American liberals are pressed hard. They can yell at Trump but that doesn’t put money on the table. Immigrants? Women? Gays? OK, the Russians! No, that panned out. Right, CHINA. No, that’s not going to fly.
American liberalism. Proto-fascists without victims. But somebody has to be held to blame. And it can’t be the rich. And there’s no place to invade that could yield up loot. Hubris time is now.
MSM today says the second big wave of job layoffs\dismissals has started. People sent to working from home but there’s no business so down they go. Lawyers, accountants, teachers, architects , engineers, contractors and consultants. Liberals. ‘What? This can’t happening to ME’. Now looking for someone to blame big time.
Been reading the last two big paperback volumes of Trotsky’s short writings from 3-4 years before he was assassinated. It seems you picked up on that.
Thanks for leaving such a long and thought out comment.
It comes down to class consciousness. Where does one look for a solution to the crisis of life? Forward or back? Who are your allies and where are your class enemies?
Liberals are the crypto-fascists of today. Their orientation is “…how the capitalist state might be incrementally ‘democratized’, or how the capitalist economy might be made more ‘stable’ and its distribution of income more ‘just’, or how the phenomenon of racial and gender oppression within wealthy nations might be mitigated while leaving intact the structures of capitalism, imperialism and oppression on a world scale”.
(Prof. Murray Smith, ‘Invisible Leviathan: Marx’s Law of Value in the Twilight of Capitalism’, Haymarket Books, 2019.) A veteran Trotskyist.
Liberals want, think, hope to be among the ‘in’ crowd of class beneficiaries of ongoing capitalism. Any voices or forces that cut across this agenda, in favour of a revolutionary overturn of social relations they will oppose with fury. The challenge to the oppressed is to draw up their ranks and do exactly this. To fight for a better way.
American liberals are so decrepit that even the homeopathic strength ‘socialism’ of Bernie was too much. So, don’t be looking to this lot with any expectations. In the future as in their past liberals will always betray, sell-out, back-stab. Just as Jeremy Corbyn.
I’m guessing this is why Bernie dropped out so suddenly. He even admitted that he ran as a Democrat because he didn’t want to be turned into Ralph Nader. So he knew that if he stayed in the race the Eye of Sauron was going to “see” him very shortly.
Maybe it’s time for a Dead Kennedy’s revival.
Malvina Reynolds. Phil Ochs.
Bernie Sanders to Elizabeth Warren (or Obama).
The Saker on Bernie:
Finally that SOB showed his true face, the face of an ultimate fake. His appeal to identity politics (“racist, sexist, homophobe”) also shows were his REAL values are, and that sure ain’t Socialism!
There are NO real Socialists (of whatever variety) amongst US politicians and only a terminally brainwashed population can mistake folks like Obama or Bernie for “Socialists”. Okay so now we know that the pseudo-liberal pseudo-Left has now fully endorsed Biden. This just goes to prove that the entire Dem Party is, and has been for a very long time, a tool in the hands of the Deep State.
In the end, Bernie showed he was the true heir to Michael Harrington (in both the good ways and the bad ways). But at think it’s clear that he took the DSA model to its logical conclusion, which demonstrates that it’s not viable. I’m not sure what is, but I can’t imagine social democrats succeeding in taking over the Democratic Party in the future.
Changing ONE word from “competition” to “co-operation” moves the whole human narrative towards what we could be, at our best: A note to my CBC news source, today, after a crude explosion yesterday to Trump’s financial withdrawal/attack on WHO:
You don’t want to hear from me, apparently I am full of terrible ideas injurious to the public domain. Despite the stigma mounted against mme, I shall persist.
Secretary-General Gutterres and the Pope have asked for a global ceasefire during this pandemic. The exhortations have been ignored, because the Pentagon, in a news conference a few weeks back, declared a “Great Power Competition” between USA, China and Russia, which obviously declares an “enemy” status of geo-political relations between these three countries with nuclear weapons at their disposal that supposedly “balance” HATRED with appropriate military force. I call them “Stuporpowers” as the world holds its breath, waiting for the bombs to fall since 1945. (The hands of the “Doomsday Clock” at 100 seconds to midnight)
Humanity bravely made the UN in 1945 to answer that “competition” with a UN Charter. I know that UN, presently, is not all of “the answer” that our parents wanted it to be, but with that globalist perspective, the UN was part of the creation of the World Health Organization, a global agency to deal with what are now considered “problems” to be solved by the world’s nations connected together.
But, “forces” desire this competition between these three “Empires” and media fall forward into the drama of competition instead of imagining just changing a word from competition to co-operation could change national perspectives.
And so, because these Stuporpowers MUST be competing, Mr. Trump does such stupid things like announcing withdrawal of funds from WHO. Very dramatic, the media loves it and dutifully parrots Trump’s “attack” on an organized response to global chaos. Chaos is drama, and media likes the blood sport.
I am NOT following “media information” as long as society is being bullied with nitwit news. No news today, for me. You can go to hell with Satan’s work, I am not following – it’s co-operation or DIE!
Bawb Cawx, A Singular Medium Of Witness And Expression
The UN might have worked but it got coopted by the American Empire.
Even when these international institutions do the right thing they’re powerless to enforce it.
As this is “Writers Without Money” the song I am working on starts –
There ain’t no doubt, I’m just a lower class lout, I ain’t got the cash of the middle class…
“The natives are getting restive. USA Today chronicled protests across the US against the coronavirus “shelter at home” and less-extreme forms of activity restriction. Most were small, only a hundred or so in places like Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia. The largest was in Lansing, Michigan”.
“Signs of unrest are emerging across the country as Americans grow tired of social distancing measures that have prevented innumerable deaths but disrupted their everyday lives and cost millions their jobs. Demonstrators have held protests in a half-dozen states this week, with more to come. Virginia became the latest state to see a protest when three groups led a demonstration Thursday against Gov. Ralph Northam’s two-week extension of an executive order banning groups larger than 10 people.
“Groups of roughly 100 protesters gathered in Ohio on Monday, North Carolina on Tuesday and Kentucky on Wednesday to object to their governors’ stay-at-home orders and school and business closures. An even larger group rallied in Utah on Wednesday, the same day thousands of drivers backed up traffic in Michigan for more than a mile in several directions to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown policies, and additional protests are planned in Texas and Oregon.
Could be astroturf
I read the Guardian article on anti-lockdown protesters. It seems only USA would have “Disney Characters” having a fantasy revolution, complete with “carrying”.The sudden spurt of negativity towards the whole project of controlling the pandemic seems so over-done, and the endless questions from media about “who didn’t do what” and paranoia about deliberate “poisonings’ makes our modern science look like it’s being attacked as witchcraft and prophets of doom getting ready for Harmageddon. Frankly, I am begging a better God with a little larger intellect.
The real problem is that the ruling class, both parties and their corporate owners, have no legitimacy with the American people. This lock down, even if it is necessary, is going to feel like oppression. I keep thinking of that poem by Yeats. The best people (the liberal elite) have no convictions. The worst (the right) are full of passionate intensity.
I have read (somewhere I don’t remember, probably youtube) of a “RESET” conspiracy, of elites, I suppose, re-arranging the “world order” by using a martial law shutdown. I imagine some people are naming Covid-19 as that “reset”. India recently eliminated cash and forced everyone onto electronic banking. That part of controlling the money supply looks like deliberate disruption of cash economy that operates “freely” while electro currency is totally traced and followed. Many points in Canada and USA now want electro-payments and not “dirty” cash. I would say that electro-cash is coming to USA and Canada…will it be “sudden”? I am wondering.