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Today at tomdispatch.com there is an interview with Chalmers Johnson in which he makes the case that since the end of WWII the US has been consciously using military Keynesianism to stimulate our economy in order to prevent another depression.
Thus the Cold War needed to be replaced by the endless global war on terrorism so that the US could continue to give big contracts to defense contractors.
Assuming Johnson is correct, which I think he is, how do we enact Eisenhower's military-industrial complex warning and shift this stimulus to constructive rather than destructive spending?
Also shouldn't this be added to Kevin Phillips' trio of concerns - oil, debt, and fundamentalism? From Wikipedia:
....According to Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Hitler developed his political theories after carefully observing the policies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was born as a citizen of the Empire, and believed that ethnic and linguistic diversity had weakened it. Further, he saw democracy as a destabilizing force, because it placed power in the hands of ethnic minorities, who he claimed had incentives to further "weaken and destabilize" the Empire.
The Nazi rationale was heavily invested in the militarist belief that great nations grow from military power, which in turn grows "naturally" from "rational, civilized cultures." Hitler's calls appealed to disgruntled German Nationalists, eager to save face for the failure of World War I, and to salvage the militaristic nationalist mindset of that previous era. After Austria and Germany's defeat of World War I, many Germans still had heartfelt ties to the goal of creating a greater Germany, and thought that the use of military force to achieve it was necessary.
Many placed the blame for Germany's misfortunes on those whom they perceived, in one way or another, to have sabotaged the goal of national victory. Jews and communists became the ideal scapegoats for Germans deeply invested in a German Nationalist ideology.
Hitler's Nazi theory also claimed that the Aryan race is a master race, superior to all other races, that a nation is the highest creation of a race, and great nations (literally large nations) were the creation of great races. These nations developed cultures that naturally grew from races with "natural good health, and aggressive, intelligent, courageous traits." The weakest nations, Hitler said were those of impure or mongrel races, because they have divided, quarrelling, and therefore weak cultures. Worst of all were seen to be the parasitic Untermensch (Subhumans), mainly Jews, but also Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled and so called anti-socials, all of whom were considered lebensunwertes Leben (Lifeunworthy Life) due to their perceived deficiency and inferiority. The role of homosexuals during the Holocaust are controversial among historians. Some, like the International Committee for Holocaust Truth and authors Scott Lively and Kevin E. Abrams in "The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0964760932/qid=1102968285/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-1949491-7645427?v=glance&s=books&n=507846), defend the perspective that many homosexuals were involved in the inner circle of the Nazi party: Ernst Röhm of the SA, Horst Wessel, Max Bielas, and others. This perspective is denounced as hateful propaganda by most homosexual associations and groups, stirring heated debates and accusations of censorship and "hate-speech" from both sides.
People of the Eastern European Russian-dominated Slavic descent were also seen as subhuman, but only marginally parasitic, because they had their own land and nations, though many of them lived in German countries such as Austria, which Hitler saw as an ethnic invasion of Germanic Lebensraum by foreign populations who would have incentive to force Austria's loyalty to their lands of ethnic and cultural origin.
According to Nazism, it is an obvious mistake to permit or encourage multilingualism and multiculturalism within a nation. Fundamental to the Nazi goal was the unification of all German-speaking peoples, "unjustly" divided into different Nation States. Hitler claimed that nations that could not defend their territory did not deserve it. Slave races, he thought of as less-worthy to exist than "master races." In particular, if a master race should require room to live (Lebensraum), he thought such a race should have the right to displace the inferior indigenous races. Hitler draws parallels between Lebensraum and the American ethnic cleansing and relocation policies towards the Native Americans, which he saw as key to the success of the US.
"Races without homelands," Hitler claimed, were "parasitic races," and the richer the members of a "parasitic race" are, the more "virulent" the parasitism was thought to be. A "master race" could therefore, according to the Nazi doctrine, easily strengthen itself by eliminating "parasitic races" from its homeland. This was the given rationalization for the Nazi's later oppression and elimination of Jews and Gypsies. Despite the popularity of Hitler and his living space doctrine, some Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS soldiers found the duty repugnant. Only a small fraction of them were actively involved in genocide.
Hitler extended his rationalizations into religious doctrine, claiming that those who agreed with and taught his "truths," were "true" or "master" religions, because they would "create mastery" by avoiding comforting lies. Those that preach love and tolerance, "in contravention to the facts," were said to be "slave" or "false" religions. The man who recognizes these "truths," Hitler continued, was said to be a "natural leader," and those who deny it were said to be "natural slaves." "Slaves," especially intelligent ones, he claimed were always attempting to hinder masters by promoting false religious and political doctrines.
The ideological roots which became German "National Socialism" drew from numerous sources in European history, especially Romantic 19th Century idealism, and Friedrich Nietzsche's thoughts on "breeding upwards" toward the goal of a Übermensch (Superhuman). Hitler was an avid reader and received ideas that were later to influence Nazism from traceable publications, such as those of the Germanenorden (Germanic Order) or the Thule society.
Key elements of the Nazi ideology
- National Socialist Program
- Euthanasia and Eugenics with respect to "Racial Hygiene"
- Anti-Marxism, Anti-Communism, Anti-Bolshevism
- The rejection of democracy, with as a consequence the ending the existence of political parties, labour unions, and free press.
- Führerprinzip (Leader Principle) /belief in the leader (Responsibility up the ranks, and authority down the ranks.)
- Strong show of local culture.
- Social Darwinism
- Defense of Blood and Soil (German: "Blut und Boden" - represented by the red and black colors in the Nazi flag)
- "Lebensraumpolitik", "Lebensraum im Osten" (The creation of more living space for Germans)
- Related to Fascism
Nazism and romanticism
According to Bertrand Russell, Nazism comes from a different tradition than that of either liberal capitalism or communism. Thus, to understand values of Nazism, it is necessary to explore this connection, without trivializing the movement as it was in its peak years in the 1930s and dismissing it as a little more than racism.
Many historiographers say that the anti-Semitic element, which does not exist in the sister fascism movement in Italy and Spain, was adopted by Hitler to gain popularity for the movement. Anti-Semitic prejudice was very common among the masses in German Empire. It is claimed that mass acceptance required anti-Semitism, as well as flattery of the wounded pride of German people after the defeat of WWI. Others see anti-Semitism as central to Hitler's Weltanschauung (World view).
Many see strong connections to the values of Nazism and the irrationalist tradition of the romantic movement of the early 19th century. Strength, passion, lack of hypocrisy, utilitarianism, traditional family values, and devotion to community were valued by the Nazis and first expressed by many Romantic artists, musicians, and writers, as well as, among the Nazi elite, the ancient Greek habit of same-sex relations between the military and young boys praised notably in Plato's works, and favored by German sensualists such as Röhm, Bielas and Wessel. German romanticism in particular expressed these values. For instance, the Nazis identified closely with the music of Richard Wagner (a noted anti-Semite, author of Das Judenthum in der Musik, and idol to the young Hitler). Many of his operas express the ideals of the strong dominating the weak, and a celebration of traditional Norse Aryan folklore and values. The style of his music is often very militaristic.
The idealisation of tradition, folklore, classical thought, the leadership of Frederick the Great, their rejection of the liberalism of the Weimar Republic and the decision to call the German state the Third Reich (which hearkens back to the medieval First Reich and the pre Weimar Second Reich) has led many to regard the Nazis as reactionary.
Nazism and Communism emerged as two serious contenders for power in Germany after the First World War, particularly as the Weimar Republic became increasingly unstable.
What became the Nazi movement arose out of resistance to the Bolshevik-inspired insurgencies that occurred in Germany in the aftermath of the First World War. The Russian Revolution of 1917 caused a great deal of excitement and interest in the Leninist version of Marxism and caused many socialists to adopt revolutionary principles. The 1918-1919 Munich Soviet and the 1919 Spartacist uprising in Berlin were both manifestations of this. The Freikorps, a loosely organised paramilitary group (essentially a militia of former World War I soldiers) were used to crush both these uprising and many leaders of the Freikorps, including Ernst Röhm, later became leaders in the Nazi party.
Capitalists and conservatives in Germany feared that a takeover by the Communists was inevitable and did not trust the democratic parties of the Weimar Republic to be able to resist a communist revolution. Increasing numbers of capitalists began looking to the nationalist movements as a bulwark against Bolshevism. After Mussolini's fascists took power in Italy in 1922, fascism presented itself as a realistic option for opposing "Communism", particularly given Mussolini's success in crushing the Communist and anarchist movements which had destabilised Italy with a wave of strikes and factory occupations after the First World War. Fascist parties formed in numerous European countries.
Many historians such as Ian Kershaw and Joachim Fest argue that Hitler and the Nazis were one of numerous nationalist and increasingly fascistic groups that existed in Germany and contended for leadership of the anti-Communist movement and, eventually, of the German state. Further, they assert that fascism and its German variant National Socialism became the successful challengers to Communism because they were able to both appeal to the establishment as a bulwark against Bolshevism and appeal to the working class base, particularly the growing underclass of unemployed and unemployable and growingly impoverished middle class elements who were becoming declassed (the lumpenproletariat). The Nazi's use of socialist rhetoric appealed to disaffection with capitalism while presenting a political and economic model that divested "socialism" of any elements which were dangerous to capitalism, such as the concept of class struggle, "the dictatorship of the proletariat" or worker control of the means of production.
Support of anti-Communists for Fascism and Nazism
Various right-wing politicians and political parties in Europe welcomed the rise of fascism and the Nazis out of an intense aversion towards Communism. According to them, Hitler was the savior of Western civilization and of capitalism against Bolshevism. Among these supporters in the 1920s and early 1930s was the Conservative Party in Britain. During the later 1930s and 1940s, the Nazis were supported by the Falange movement in Spain, and by political and military figures who would form the government of Vichy France. A Legion of French Volunteers against Bolshevism (LVF) and other anti-Soviet fighting formations, were formed.
The British Conservative party and the right-wing parties in France appeased the Nazi regime in the mid- and late-1930s, even though they had begun to criticise its totalitarianism. Some contemporary commentators suggested that these parties did in fact still support the Nazis.
Nazism and Anglo-Saxons
Hitler admired the British Empire as a shining example of Nordic genius. Racist theories were developed by British intellectuals in the 19th century to control the Indian people and other "savages." These methods were often copied by the Nazis.
Similarly, in his early years Hitler also greatly admired the United States of America. In Mein Kampf, he praised the United States for its race-based anti-immigration laws. According to Hitler, America was a successful nation because it kept itself "pure" of "lesser races." However as war approached, his view of the United States became more negative and he believed that Germany would have an easy victory over the United States precisely because the United States in his later estimation had become a mongrel nation..
Nazi economic practice concerned itself with immediate domestic issues and separately with ideological conceptions of international economics.
Domestic economic policy was narrowly concerned with three major goals:
- Elimination of unemployment
- Elimination of hyperinflation
- Expansion of production of consumer goods to improve middle- and lower-class living standards.
All of these policy goals were intended to address the perceived shortcomings of the Weimar Republic and to solidify domestic support for the party. In this, the party was very successful. Between 1933 and 1936 the German GNP increased by an average annual rate of 9.5 percent, and the rate for industry alone rose by 17.2 percent.
However, some economists argue that the expansion of the Germany economy between 1933 and 1936 was not the result of the Nazi party, but rather the consequence of economic policies of the late Weimar Republic which had begun to have an effect. In addition, it has been pointed out that while it is often popularly believed that the Nazis ended hyperinflation, that the end of hyperinflation preceded the Nazis by several years.
This expansion propelled the German economy out of a deep depression and into full employment in less than four years. Public consumption during the same period increased by 18.7%, while private consumption increased by 3.6% annually. However, as this production was primarily consumptive rather than productive (make-work projects, expansion of the war-fighting machine, initiation of the draft to remove working age males from the labor force), inflationary pressures began to rear their head again, although not to the highs of the Weimar Republic. These economic pressures, combined with the war-fighting machine created in the expansion (and concomitant pressures for its use), has led some to conclude that a European war was inevitable. (See Causes of war.)
Internationally, the Nazi party believed that an international banking cabal was behind the global depression of the 1930s. The control of this cabal was identified with the ethnic group known as Jews, providing another link in their ideological motivation for the destruction of that group in the holocaust. However, broadly speaking, the existence of large international banking or merchant banking organizations was well known at this time. Many of these banking organizations were able to exert influence upon nation states by extension or withholding of credit. This influence is not limited to the small states that preceded the creation of German Empire as a nation state in the 1870s, but is noted in most major histories of all European powers from the 16th century onward.
It is important to note that the Nazi Party's conception of international economics was very limited. As the National Socialist in the name NSDAP suggests, the party's primary motivation was to incorporate previously international resources into the Reich by force, rather than by trade (compare to the international socialism as practiced by the Soviet Union and the COMECON trade organization). This made international economic theory a supporting factor in the political ideology rather than a core plank of the platform as it is in most modern political parties.
In an economic sense, Nazism and Fascism are related. Nazism may be considered a subset of Fascism, with all Nazis being Fascists, but not all Fascists being Nazis. Nazism shares many economic features with Fascism, featuring complete government control of finance and investment (allocation of credit), industry, and agriculture. Yet in both of these systems, corporate power and market based systems for providing price information still existed. Quoting Benito Mussolini: "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power."
Rather than the state requiring goods from industrial enterprises and allocating raw materials required for their production (as in socialist / communist systems), the state paid for these goods. This allows price to play an essential role in providing information as to relative scarcity of materials, or the capital requirements in technology or labor (including education, as in skilled labor) inputs to produce a manufactured good. Additionally, the unionist (strictly speaking, syndicalist) veneer placed on corporate labor relations was another major point of agreement. Both the German and Italian fascist political parties began as unionist labor movements, and grew into totalitarian dictatorships. This idea was maintained throughout their time in power, with state control used as a means to eliminate the assumed conflict between management labor relations.
These theories were used to justify a totalitarian political agenda of racial hatred and suppression using all the means of the state, and suppressing dissent.
Like other fascist regimes, the Nazi regime emphasized anti-communism and the leader principle (Führerprinzip), a key element of fascist ideology in which the ruler is deemed to embody the political movement and the nation. Unlike other fascist ideologies, Nazism was virulently racist. Some of the manifestations of Nazi racism were:
- Anti-Semitism, culminating in the Holocaust
- Ethnic nationalism, including the notion of Germans' status as the Herrenvolk ("master race") and Übermensch
- A belief in the need to purify the German race through eugenics - this culminated in the involuntary euthanasia of disabled people and the compulsory sterilization of people with mental deficiencies or illnesses perceived as hereditary
Anti-clericalism was also part of Nazi ideology.
Perhaps the primary intellectual effect has been that Nazi doctrines discredited the attempt to use biology to explain or influence social issues, for at least two generations after Nazi Germany's brief existence.
The Nazi descendants have been mute in the post-war democracies with some exceptions when interviewed by psychologists and historians. In Norway a group of descendants have taken the official stigmatizing appellation "Nazi children" in order to break the silence and to protest against the continuous demonization of their families. Some historical revisionists disseminate propaganda which minimizes the Holocaust and other Nazi acts, and attempts to put a positive spin on the policies of the Nazi regime and the events which occurred under it. These revisionists are often, however, either aligned with or in the employ of neo-Nazis, and this fact itself often casts suspicion on their beliefs.
People and history
The most prominent Nazi was Adolf Hitler, who ruled Nazi Germany from 30 January 1933 until his suicide on 30 April 1945, led the German Reich into World War II. Under Hitler, ethnic nationalism and racism were joined together through an ideology of militarism to serve his goals.
After the war, many prominent Nazis were convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials.
Nazism and religion
The relationship between Nazism and mysticism is one that has provoked both curiosity and controversy over the years.
Hitler and other Nazi leaders clearly made use of Pagan symbolism and emotion in propagandizing the Germanic public, and it remains a matter of controversy whether Hitler believed himself a Christian, a heathen, or something else entirely. Many historians have typified Hitler as a Satanist or occultist, whereas some writers have often utilized Nazism's occasional outward use of Christian doctrine, regardless of what its inner-party mythology may have been. The existence of a Ministry of Church Affairs, instituted in 1935 and headed by Hanns Kerrl, was hardly recognized by ideologists such as Rosenberg and by other political decision-makers.
The nature of the Nazi Party's relations with the Catholic Church is yet more fraught. Many Catholic priests and leaders vociferously opposed Nazism on the grounds of its incompatibility with Christian morals. Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (1937) condemning Nazi ideology. Like political dissenters, many priests were sent to the concentration camps for their opposition, including the parson of Berlin Cathedral Bernhard Lichtenberg. (Some of these were Poles persecuted due to their nationality.)
Nonetheless, since the 1960s it has been claimed by some that the Church hierarchy headed by Pope Pius XII remained largely silent in the face of Nazism, and allegations of the Pope's complicity are today commonplace; see for example John Cornwell's book Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (although many works have since been published defending Pius' wartime record, e.g. Ralph McInerny's The Defamation of Pius XII.)
As Nazism continued to rule Germany, to many people it became a kind of religion in and of itself, sometimes called Esoteric Hitlerism, and sometimes associated with Ásatrú.Hitler walking out of Brown House after 1930 elections
Nazism and fascism
The term Nazism is often used interchangeably with fascism, but this usage is controversial. Some use the word Fascism (spelled with a capital F), only to describe Italian Fascism, while generic fascism (spelled with a small f) may include many different movements, in many different countries.
Nazism and Italian Fascism both employed a similar style of propaganda, including military parades and uniforms, and the Roman salute. The ideologies of both ostensibly included an extreme nationalism and a rebirth of their own nation to some former, past state of national greatness. Both movements, when in power, also put in place totalitarian governments that pursued wars of expansion.
There were also many important differences between the two movements. For example, racism was central to Nazism but of less significance in Italian Fascism. Fascist Italy did not adopt anti-semitism until it followed Hitler's example.
Nazism and socialism
Because Nazism is an abbreviation for "National Socialism", and Nazi leaders sometimes described their ideology as a form of socialism, some people believe that Nazism was a form of socialism, or that there are similarities between Nazism and socialism. It has also been argued that the Nazi use of economic intervention, including central planning and some limited public ownership, is indicative of socialism.
Nazi leaders were opposed to the Marxist idea of class conflict and opposed the idea that capitalism should be abolished and that workers should control the means of production. For those who consider class conflict and the abolition of capitalism as essential components of socialist progress, these factors alone are sufficient to categorize "National Socialism" as non-socialist.
Nazi leaders made statements describing their views as socialist, while at the same time opposing the idea of class conflict espoused by the Social Democrats (SPD) and Communists (KPD). Established socialist movements did not view the Nazis as socialists and argued that the Nazis were thinly disguised reactionaries. Historians such as Ian Kershaw also note the links between the Nazis and the German political and economic establishment and the significance of the Night of the Long Knives in which Hitler purged what were at the time seen as "leftist" elements in the Nazi Party and how this was done at the urging of the military and conservatives.
Many of the traditional center and right political parties of the Weimar Republic accused the Nazis of being socialists citing planks in the Nazis' party program which called for nationalization of trusts and other socialist measures. However, the German National People's Party (DNVP), the most important party on the mainstream right, usually treated the Nazis as a respected potential member of coalition cabinet.
The Nazis came to power through an alliance with traditional conservative forces. Franz von Papen, a very conservative former German Chancellor and former member of the Catholic Centre Party supported Hitler for the position of Chancellor and later became an important Nazi official. The Enabling Act which gave the Nazis dictatorial powers passed only because of the support of conservative and centrist deputies in the Reichstag, over the opposition of Social Democrats and Communists.
When the Nazis were still an opposition party some leaders, particularly Gregor Strasser, espoused anti-big business stances and advocated the idea of the Nazis as a workers' party. In spite of this, most workers continued to vote for the SPD or the KPD as late as the March 1933 elections held shortly after Hitler's appointment as chancellor.
Central to Nazi ideology and propaganda was not the rights of workers or the need for socialism but opposition to Marxism and Bolshevism which the Nazis called Judeo-Bolshevism. According to the Nazi world view Marxism was part of a Jewish conspiracy. Rather than being afraid of the Nazis' "socialism" many prominent conservatives and capitalists supported and funded the Nazis because they saw them as a bulwark against Bolshevism.
Ideologically fascism and Nazism reject the most important aspects of Marxist theory. For instance, Hitler did not exalt the working class over the capitalist class as Marx prescribed. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote 'the suspicion was whispered in German Nationalist circles that we also were merely another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists suitably disguised, or better still, Socialists... We used to roar with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie and their efforts to puzzle out our origin, our intentions and our aims. '
Moreover, Hitler despised Karl Marx as a Jew and condemned communism and Marxism as Judeo-Bolshevism pledging to block its rise in Germany arguing that the nation's downfall was due to Marxism and its Jewish influence.
There were ideological shades of opinion within the Nazi Party, particularly prior to their seizure of power in 1933, but a central tenet of the party was always the leadership principle or Führerprinzip. The Nazi Party did not have party congresses in which policy was deliberated upon and concessions made to different factions. What mattered most was what the leader, Adolf Hitler, thought and decreed. Those who held opinions which were at variance with Hitler's either learned to keep quiet or were purged, particularly after 1933. Although this is in some respects comparable to the behavior of certain Communist dictatorships such as that of Stalin in the Soviet Union or Mao Zedong in China, it also presents a strong contrast to the collective leadership exercised in other Communist parties, more so to the more democratic organization of most European socialist parties.
In power, the Nazis jettisoned practically all of the socialistic aspects of their program, and worked with big business, frequently at the expense of both small business and the working classes. Gregor Strasser was murdered, as was Ernst Röhm while Otto Strasser was purged from the party. Independent trade unions were outlawed, as were strikes. In place of the unions, the Nazis created the Deutsche Arbeitsfront. The Nazis took other symbolic steps to co-opt the working classes' support, such as the introduction of May Day as a national holiday in 1933. These were described by socialists as superficial moves designed to win the allegiance of workers rather than grant them any material concessions at the expense of capital.
Industries and trusts were not nationalised, with the exception of private rail lines (nationalised in the late 1930s to meet military contingencies). The only private holdings that were expropriated were those belonging to Jews. These holdings were then sold or awarded to businessmen who supported the Nazis and satisifed their ethnic and racial policies. Military production and even film production remained in the hands of private industries whilst serving the Nazi government, and many private companies flourished during the Nazi period. The Nazis never interfered with the profits made by such large German firms as Krupp, Siemens AG, and IG Farben. Efforts were made to coordinate business's actions with the needs of the state, particularly with regard to rearmament, and the Nazis established some state owned concerns such as Volkswagen. But these were functions of the new German expansionism rather than an implementation of socialist measures. Germany had moved to a war economy, and similar measures occurred in the western democracies during the First World War, and again once the Second World War had begun.
The Nazis engaged in an extensive public works program including the construction of the Autobahn system. As with the expropriation of rail lines, however, the Autobahn system was created with the purpose of facilitating military transport, and government investment in transport systems is common in almost all nations. Similarly, all political movements that have formed governments have used economic intervention of some form or another. The suggestion that economic intervention is left-wing ignores the tradition of intervention practiced by monarchies and oligarchies in Europe before the eighteenth century, and the intervention, including protectionism, subsidies and anti-trade union laws, practiced by right-wing parties in government in Europe and North America during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Since the fall of the Nazi regime, many theorists have argued that there are similarities between the government of Nazi Germany and that of Stalin's Soviet Union. In most cases, this has not taken the form of arguing that the Nazis were socialist, but arguing that both Nazism and Stalinism are forms of totalitarianism. This view was advanced most famously by Hannah Arendt in The Origins of Totalitarianism. However, most socialists argue that Stalin's system was not a truly socialist one, since it did not meet certain requirements that they see as essential for socialism - requirements such as a functional democracy, for example.
For more information see the article on Totalitarianism
Nazism and race
All forms of socialism focus on economic relationships as central in shaping society. In contrast, as can be seen in Mein Kampf, the central doctrine of Nazism is racism and the struggle between peoples. Nazis see the society divided not according to social classes, but according to races and peoples.
Nazis claimed to scientifically measure a strict hierarchy among races; at the top was the Caucasian or ("Aryan") race (minus the Slavs, who were seen as slightly below Aryan), then lesser races. At the bottom of this hierarchy were "parasitic" races, especially the Jews, which were perceived to be dangerous to society. Nazi theory said that because the nation was the expression of the race, the greatness of a race could be evaluated according to a race's ability and desire to acquire a large homeland. German accomplishments in science, weaponry, philosophy and art were interpreted as scientific evidence to support Nazi racist claims.
Primo Levi suggested another difference between socialism and Nazism: while both had their idea of what kind of parasitic classes or races society ought to be rid of, he saw the former to determine them by a social position (which people may change within their life), while the latter assign a place given by birth. In his view, revolutionary communists would accept one may be born the son of a wealthy capitalist to be acceptable as a productive member of society; according to Nazis, one born a Jew is a born parasite who must be disposed of. A counterexample may be found in Maoism in China, where at times during the Cultural Revolution the relatives of a "capitalist", even generations removed, were beaten, killed, or, at best, sent to a reeducation camp. Collective punishment is another way of describing this phenomenon. In support of Levi's contention, however, the Chinese Communists have had some members with "bourgeois" social origin, some of whom, such as Soong Ching-ling, achieved prominent positions in the People's Republic of China. Similarly there were a number of prominent Bolsheviks who came from wealthy backgrounds and were accepted in the movement despite this.
The role of the nation
The Nazi state was founded upon a racially-defined "German nation". This is a central concept of Mein Kampf, symbolized by the motto Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (one people, one empire, one leader).
In comparison, many socialists refute the idea of nations, which they see as artificial divisions that support the status quo and oppression: according to them, dividing the world among nations leads to artificial oppositions between these nations, which themselves lead to wars, which are, according to them, waged for the interest of the ruling classes and arms manufacturers.
Factors which promoted the success of Nazism
An important question about National Socialism is that of which factors promoted its success, not only in Germany, but also in other European countries (in the 1930s and early 1940s Nazi-type movements could be found in Sweden, Britain, Italy, Spain and even in the US) in the twenties and thirties of the last century? These factors may have included:
- Economic devastation all over Europe after WWI
- Lack of orientation of many people after the breakdown of monarchy in many European countries.
- A perception that there was a disproportionate number of Jews in the German bourgeoisie (or upper class).
- Perceived Jewish involvement in WWI of war profiteering
- Appeal of socialism or socialist rhetoric to the German working class
- Humiliation of Germany at the Treaty of Versailles
- Rejection of Communism (particularly redistribution of wealth ) and the perception that socialism and Communism were Jewish-inspired and Jewish -led movements; hence the Nazi use of the term Judeo-Bolshevik
- Hatred of the Jews
Nazi / Third Reich terminology in popular culture
The multiple atrocities and extremist ideology that the Nazis followed have made them notorious in popular grammar as well as history. The term "Nazi" is used in various ways. So are other Third Reich terms like "Führer" (often spelled "fuhrer" or less often, but more correctly, "fuehrer" in English speaking countries), "Fascist", "Gestapo", "uber/ueber" (from Übermensch, superior person, Aryan as opposite to Untermensch) or "Hitler". The terms are often used to describe individuals or groups of people who try to force an unpopular or extreme agenda on the general population, and also commit crimes and other violations on others without remorse. The terms are often simply used as an insult.
In the context of the Western World, Nazi or fascist is also sometimes used by (generally Left-wing) opposition to malign political groups (such as the French Front National) advocating restrictive measures on immigration, or strong law enforcement powers.
Critics of Israel have recently taken to using comparisons with the Nazis in describing its treatment of Palestinians, particularly with regards to Israel's separation barrier on the West Bank. Some regard this usage to be antisemitic.
The terms are also used to describe anyone or anything seen as strict or doctrinaire. Phrases like "Open Source Nazi", "Grammar Nazi", "ubergeek" and "Feminazi" are examples of those in use in the USA. These uses are offensive to some, as the controversy in the popular press over the Seinfeld "Soup Nazi" episode indicates, but still the terms are used so frequently as to inspire "Godwin's law".
More innocent terms, like "fashion police" also bear some resemblance to Nazi terminology (GESTAPO, Geheime Staatspolizei, secret state police) as well as references to Police states in general.
It can also be found that German-sounding or German-looking spellings of English words are used to claim superiority in some area, or to create some impression of power or brutality. For example, to give English words a German touch the letter 'C' is often replaced by 'K', like "kool" or "kommandos". A well known example of "germanization" of names are the names of heavy metal bands like Mötley Crüe, or MOTÖRHEAD. See Heavy metal umlaut.
Another similar effect can be observed in the usage of typefaces. Some people strongly associate the Fraktur typeface with Nazi Germany propaganda (although the typeface is much older, and its usage was banned at some time in Nazi Germany). A less strong association can be observed with the Futura typeface, which today is sometimes described as "germanic" and "muscular".
Mar 18, 2015 | Zero Hedge
There are many documented false flag attacks, where a government carries out a terror attack … and then falsely blames its enemy for political purposes.
In the following instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally or in writing:
(1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the "Mukden Incident" or the "Manchurian Incident". The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: "Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the 'Incident' was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army …." And see this.
(2) A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland.
(3) Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson.
(4) Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union's Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the "Winter War" against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War.
(5) The Russian Parliament, current Russian president Putin and former Soviet leader Gorbachev all admit that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered his secret police to execute 22,000 Polish army officers and civilians in 1940, and then falsely blamed it on the Nazis.
(6) The British government admits that – between 1946 and 1948 – it bombed 5 ships carrying Jews attempting to flee the Holocaust to seek safety in Palestine, set up a fake group called "Defenders of Arab Palestine", and then had the psuedo-group falsely claim responsibility for the bombings (and see this, this and this).
(7) Israel admits that in 1954, an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind "evidence" implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this).
(8) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.
(9) The Turkish Prime Minister admitted that the Turkish government carried out the 1955 bombing on a Turkish consulate in Greece – also damaging the nearby birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – and blamed it on Greece, for the purpose of inciting and justifying anti-Greek violence.
(10) The British Prime Minister admitted to his defense secretary that he and American president Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan in 1957 to carry out attacks in Syria and blame it on the Syrian government as a way to effect regime change.
(11) The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people's support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: "You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security" (and see this) (Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special. They also allegedly carried out terror attacks in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, and other countries.
False flag attacks carried out pursuant tho this program include – by way of example only:
- The murder of the Turkish Prime Minister (1960)
- Bombings in Portugal (1966)
- The Piazza Fontana massacre in Italy (1969)
- Terror attacks in Turkey (1971)
- The Peteano bombing in Italy (1972)
- The Atocha massacre in Madrid, Spain (1977)
(12) In 1960, American Senator George Smathers suggested that the U.S. launch "a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]".
(13) Official State Department documents show that, in 1961, the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals.
(14) As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in 1962, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
(15) In 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense wrote a paper promoting attacks on nations within the Organization of American States – such as Trinidad-Tobago or Jamaica – and then falsely blaming them on Cuba.
(16) The U.S. Department of Defense even suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States: "The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro's subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on Guantanamo."
(17) The NSA admits that it lied about what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 … manipulating data to make it look like North Vietnamese boats fired on a U.S. ship so as to create a false justification for the Vietnam war.
(18) A U.S. Congressional committee admitted that – as part of its "Cointelpro" campaign – the FBI had used many provocateurs in the 1950s through 1970s to carry out violent acts and falsely blame them on political activists.
(19) A top Turkish general admitted that Turkish forces burned down a mosque on Cyprus in the 1970s and blamed it on their enemy. He explained: "In Special War, certain acts of sabotage are staged and blamed on the enemy to increase public resistance. We did this on Cyprus; we even burnt down a mosque." In response to the surprised correspondent's incredulous look the general said, "I am giving an example".
(20) The German government admitted (and see this) that, in 1978, the German secret service detonated a bomb in the outer wall of a prison and planted "escape tools" on a prisoner – a member of the Red Army Faction – which the secret service wished to frame the bombing on.
(21) A Mossad agent admits that, in 1984, Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Gaddaffi's compound in Tripoli, Libya which broadcast fake terrorist trasmissions recorded by Mossad, in order to frame Gaddaffi as a terrorist supporter. Ronald Reagan bombed Libya immediately thereafter.
(22) The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him "to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident", thus framing the ANC for the bombing.
(23) An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author).
(24) The United States Army's 1994 publication Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces – updated in 2004 – recommends employing terrorists and using false flag operations to destabilize leftist regimes in Latin America. False flag terrorist attacks were carried out in Latin America and other regions as part of the CIA's "Dirty Wars". And see this.
(25) Similarly, a CIA "psychological operations" manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a "martyr" for the cause. The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government. The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other news coverage that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:
At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs.
(26) An Indonesian fact-finding team investigated violent riots which occurred in 1998, and determined that "elements of the military had been involved in the riots, some of which were deliberately provoked".
(27) Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings in 1999 and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion).
(28) According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.
(29) The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings.
(30) As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the "war on terror".
(31) Senior police officials in Genoa, Italy admitted that – in July 2001, at the G8 summit in Genoa – planted two Molotov cocktails and faked the stabbing of a police officer, in order to justify a violent crackdown against protesters.
(32) The U.S. falsely blamed Iraq for playing a role in the 9/11 attacks – as shown by a memo from the defense secretary – as one of the main justifications for launching the Iraq war. Even after the 9/11 Commission admitted that there was no connection, Dick Cheney said that the evidence is "overwhelming" that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime, that Cheney "probably" had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not 'doing their homework' in reporting such ties. Top U.S. government officials now admit that the Iraq war was really launched for oil … not 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction. Despite previous "lone wolf" claims, many U.S. government officials now say that 9/11 was state-sponsored terror; but Iraq was not the state which backed the hijackers. (Many U.S. officials have alleged that 9/11 was a false flag operation by rogue elements of the U.S. government; but such a claim is beyond the scope of this discussion. The key point is that the U.S. falsely blamed it on Iraq, when it knew Iraq had nothing to do with it.).
(33) Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country.
(34) Police outside of a 2003 European Union summit in Greece were filmed planting Molotov cocktails on a peaceful protester
(35) Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having "our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda's ranks, causing operatives to doubt others' identities and to question the validity of communications."
(36) United Press International reported in June 2005:
U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.
(37) Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians.
(38) Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this).
(39) At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence.
(40) Egyptian politicians admitted (and see this) that government employees looted priceless museum artifacts in 2011 to try to discredit the protesters.
(41) A Colombian army colonel has admitted that his unit murdered 57 civilians, then dressed them in uniforms and claimed they were rebels killed in combat.
(42) The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – recently admitted that the Saudi government controls "Chechen" terrorists.
(43) High-level American sources admitted that the Turkish government – a fellow NATO country – carried out the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government; and high-ranking Turkish government admitted on tape plans to carry out attacks and blame it on the Syrian government.
(44) The Ukrainian security chief admits that the sniper attacks which started the Ukrainian coup were carried out in order to frame others. Ukrainian officials admit that the Ukrainian snipers fired on both sides, to create maximum chaos.
(45) Britain's spy agency has admitted (and see this) that it carries out "digital false flag" attacks on targets, framing people by writing offensive or unlawful material … and blaming it on the target.
(46) U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then "drop" automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants
(47) Similarly, police frame innocent people for crimes they didn't commit. The practice is so well-known that the New York Times noted in 1981:
In police jargon, a throwdown is a weapon planted on a victim.
Newsweek reported in 1999:
Perez, himself a former [Los Angeles Police Department] cop, was caught stealing eight pounds of cocaine from police evidence lockers. After pleading guilty in September, he bargained for a lighter sentence by telling an appalling story of attempted murder and a "throwdown"–police slang for a weapon planted by cops to make a shooting legally justifiable. Perez said he and his partner, Officer Nino Durden, shot an unarmed 18th Street Gang member named Javier Ovando, then planted a semiautomatic rifle on the unconscious suspect and claimed that Ovando had tried to shoot them during a stakeout.
As part of his plea bargain, Pérez implicated scores of officers from the Rampart Division's anti-gang unit, describing routinely beating gang members, planting evidence on suspects, falsifying reports and covering up unprovoked shootings.
(As a side note – and while not technically false flag attacks – police have been busted framing innocent people in many other ways, as well.)
So Common … There's a Name for It
A former U.S. intelligence officer recently alleged:
Most terrorists are false flag terrorists or are created by our own security services.
This might be an exaggeration (and – as shown above – the U.S. isn't the only one to play this terrible game). The point is that it is a very widespread strategy.
Indeed, this form of deceit is so common that it was given a name hundreds of years ago.
"False flag terrorism" is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. Or as Wikipedia defines it:
False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one's own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy's strategy of tension.
The term comes from the old days of wooden ships, when one ship would hang the flag of its enemy before attacking another ship. Because the enemy's flag, instead of the flag of the real country of the attacking ship, was hung, it was called a "false flag" attack.
Indeed, this concept is so well-accepted that rules of engagement for naval, air and land warfare all prohibit false flag attacks. Specifically, the rules of engagement state that a military force can fly the enemy's flag, imitate their markings, or dress in an enemy's clothes … but that the ruse has to be discarded before attacking.
Why are the rules of engagement so specific? Obviously, because nations have been using false flag attacks for many centuries. And the rules of engagement are at least trying to limit false flag attacks so that they aren't used as a false justification for war.
In other words, the rules of engagement themselves are an admission that false flag terrorism is a very common practice.
Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the danger of false flags:
"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death".
– Adolph Hitler
"Why of course the people don't want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.
"The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened".
– Josef Stalin
These false flags depend upon the trust of their underling sheeple in their leaders and media. Trust is an opiate of each nation's sheeple. Yes, fool, your government/king/media lie to you. Terrorist is word designed to elicit an emote from you Emoting prevents thinking. Power corrupts. Government power corrupts. Media power corrupts. Stupidity enslaves.
"Cui bono" is thinking. Thinking negates blind obeying. There is no virtue, nor honor, nor self-respect in emoting to your leader's stimuli.
I think; therefore I am. I emote; therefore I'm controlled.
you missed out the London bombings in 2005, which are riddled with errors, mistakes and evidence of it being organised by military of Britain or perhaps CIA or Israel.... the train the attackers were meant to be on, was cancelled meaning they couldn't even get into London in time to do the bombings... it's all on CCTV and yet the 'official' report just skips over that part....
There are scores of false flags I didn't address ... I only focused on the ones that were ADMITTED.
Dozens of people have been hurt and some 350 people arrested as anti-austerity demonstrators clashed with police in the German city of Frankfurt.
Police cars were set alight and stones were thrown in a protest against the opening of a new base for the European Central Bank (ECB).
Violence broke out close to the city's Alte Oper concert hall hours before the ECB building's official opening.
"Blockupy" activists are expected to attend a rally later on Wednesday.
In earlier disturbances, police in riot gear used water cannon to clear hundreds of anti-capitalist protesters from the streets around the new ECB headquarters.
Organisers were bringing a left-wing alliance of protesters from across Germany and the rest of Europe to voice their anger at the ECB's role in austerity measures in EU member states, most recently Greece.
The bank, in charge of managing the euro, is also responsible for framing eurozone policy and, along with the IMF and European Commission is part of a troika which has set conditions for bailouts in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus.
A spokesman for the Blockupy movement said the troika was responsible for austerity measures which have pushed many into poverty.
Police set up a cordon of barbed wire outside the bank's new 185m (600ft) double-tower skyscraper, next to the River Main.
But hopes of a peaceful rally were dashed as clashes began early on Wednesday.
Tyres and rubbish bins were set alight and police responded with water cannon as firefighters complained they were unable to get to the fires to put them out. One fire engine appeared to have had its windscreen broken.
Activists said many protesters had been hurt by police batons, water cannon and by pepper spray.
Police said as many as 80 of their officers had been affected by pepper spray or an acidic liquid. Eight suffered injuries from stone-throwing protesters.
Police spokeswoman Claudia Rogalski spoke of an "aggressive atmosphere" and the Frankfurt force tweeted images of a police van being attacked. They were braced for further violence as increasing numbers of activists arrived for the rally.
Blockupy accused police of using kettling tactics to cordon off hundreds of protesters and appealed for supporters to press for their release.
What is Blockupy?
Europe-wide alliance of left-wing parties, unions and movements Vehemently against austerity polices of European Commission, ECB and IMF First Frankfurt protest attracted thousands in 2012 Activists from Greece's radical left governing party Syriza and Spain's anti-corruption Podemos are joining the rally
Also includes Germany's Die Linke and Occupy Frankfurt
Rallying call: "They want capitalism without democracy, we want democracy without capitalism"
As the number of protesters grew in the streets away from the new ECB building, the bank's president, Mario Draghi, gave a speech marking its inauguration.
Mr Draghi said that the it "may not be a fair charge" to label the ECB as the main perpetrator of unpopular austerity in Europe.
"Our action has been aimed precisely at cushioning the shocks suffered by the economy," he said.
"But as the central bank of the whole euro area, we must listen very carefully to what all our citizens are saying."
The new headquarters, which had been due to open years earlier, cost an estimated €1.3bn (£930m; $1.4bn) to build and is the new home for thousands of central bankers.
Blockupy activists said on their website that there was nothing to celebrate about the politics of austerity and increasing poverty.
marknesop , March 17, 2015 at 11:57 amMost here will be aware that Russia withdrew from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, effective about a week ago. But I wonder how many were aware of the lopsided balance of forces Russia was expected to accept in order to ratify the treaty.et Al, March 17, 2015 at 2:07 pm
"When Russia ratified the adapted CFE Treaty, the agreement's weapons limit for NATO was three times that established for the Russian army. However, NATO required the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdnistria as a condition for the ratification of the treaty.
"NATO countries were not in a hurry to ratify the adapted treaty," Alexei Arbatov said. "Although Russia had withdrawn almost all its troops, there remained some absolutely insignificant contingents and objects. The West sought to pursue its line. On the part of NATO, I think it was extremely short-sighted, it was a big mistake."
In Arbatov's view, this decision by NATO was what "finished off" conventional arms control in Europe."
So for Russia, it now no longer recognizes a balance of forces or limit on conventional arms it may deploy in reaction to what it considers NATO provocations. The temperature looks to be steadily rising.I advocated this as an option quite some time ago. The time is judged right by the Kremlin to do so. But, even the US has foreseen this:kirill, March 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm
There was a very interesting article (which of course I cannot now find) from a day or two ago outlining the US military's response to the end of the CFE treaty. The underlining point was that the US could do quite a number of things that could make it more militarily threatening to Russia without breaching any CFE commitmets.
Here's a few mil related stuff that is intersting:
New Radars, IRST Strengthen Stealth-Detection Claims
Counterstealth technologies near service worldwide
Counterstealth technologies, intended to reduce the effectiveness of radar cross-section (RCS) reduction measures, are proliferating worldwide. Since 2013, multiple new programs have been revealed, producers of radar and infrared search and track (IRST) systems have been more ready to claim counterstealth capability, and some operators-notably the U.S. Navy-have openly conceded that stealth technology is being challenged.
These new systems are designed from the outset for sensor fusion-when different sensors detect and track the same target, the track and identification data are merged automatically. This is intended to overcome a critical problem in engaging stealth targets: Even if the target is detected, the "kill chain" by which a target is tracked, identified and engaged by a weapon can still be broken if any sensor in the chain cannot pick the target up….
I think the point is that stealth has its place, but given the nature of 30 operational lives of aircraft, they are not going to keep their advantage for long. If you follow the tech news, the world is going through a sensor revolution. Price has massively dropped, capabilities have grown hugely, efficiency has significantly increase, its just the case of tying all the data together to make use of it 'data fusion' as they say in the article above. My camera has gps. In the pet shop I've seen gps cat collars not to mention video collars that can record all day or be set by sensor motion. It's only going to get better, cheaper and smaller and continue to reach the consumer in ever more imaginative ways.
Another 'gift' from the Ukraine, except this time to I-ran (the other I mentioned in a previous post of Su-33 naval prototype sold to China that ended up as the J-11B copy no to mention the copies Su-27SKs):
AW&ST: Iran Produces First Long-Range Missile
TEL-AVIV - Iran has unveiled a domestically produced long-range land attack cruise missile, dubbed Soumar.
Based on the Russian Kh-55, the Soumar is believed to have a range of at least 2,000 km. "This missile represents a significant leap in the Middle East arms race," says Col. Aviram Hasson of Israel's Missile Defense Organization.
"It positions Iran among the world's leaders in missile technology," a Western intelligence source adds….
…Iran secretly received the missiles in the first half of 2001 and began reverse engineering work. But unlike its publicly displayed ballistic missile program, Iran did not admit to having a cruise missile program until 2012. …
It's old, subsonic tech, but adds another arrow to the quiver that needs to be countered. Nor does it have a nuke warhead.
Defense Update: France to invest €330 million upgrading 218 Leclerc Main Battle Tanks
The planned modernization work will enable Leclerc MBTs to employ its heavy, direct firepower and mobility as part of the future "SCORPION" joint tactical groups (GTIA). The contract provides for the delivery of 200 "upgraded Leclerc" tanks and 18 "Renovated DCL" recovery vehicles from 2020….
Yup, from 2020. That's a lot of money for an extra reverse gear!"Even if the target is detected, the "kill chain" by which a target is tracked, identified and engaged by a weapon can still be broken if any sensor in the chain cannot pick the target up"
Total rubbish claim. It perhaps could be true if the "sensor fusion" system consisted of a couple of obsolete radars, but it would not be true for a system consisting of three or more obsolete radars. American idiots ripped off the stealth concept and mathematics from the Soviets and now prance around like they dictate physical reality. American idiots will not see what hit them when people with actual appreciation and skill in physics and mathematics will face their toys.
Warren , March 17, 2015 at 12:50 pmFrance and Germany join UK in Asia bank membershipmarknesop , March 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm
France and Germany are to join the UK in becoming members of a Chinese-led Asian development bank.
The finance ministries of both countries confirmed on Tuesday that they would be applying for membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Last week, the US issued a rare rebuke to the UK over its decision to become a member of the AIIB.
The US considers the AIIB a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank.
The UK was the first Western economy to apply for membership of the bank.
But German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble confirmed on Tuesday that his country would also be applying for membership.
France's finance ministry confirmed it would be joining the bank. It is believed Italy also intends to join.
The US has questioned the governance standards at the new institution, which is seen as spreading Chinese "soft power".
The AIIB, which was created in October by 21 countries, led by China, will fund Asian energy, transport and infrastructure projects.
When asked about the US rebuke last week, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said: "There will be times when we take a different approach."
The UK insisted it would insist on the bank's adherence to strict banking and oversight procedures.
"We think that it's in the UK's national interest," Mr Cameron's spokesperson added.
Last week, Pippa Malmgren, a former economic adviser to US President George W Bush, told the BBC that the public chastisement from the US indicates the move might have come as a surprise.
"It's not normal for the United States to be publicly scolding the British," she said, adding that the US's focus on domestic affairs at the moment could have led to the oversight.
However, Mr Cameron's spokesperson said UK Chancellor George Osborne did discuss the measure with his US counterpart before announcing the move.
Some 21 nations came together last year to sign a memorandum for the bank's establishment, including Singapore, India and Thailand.
But in November last year, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered lukewarm support to the AIIB and said its actions must be transparent.
US President Barack Obama, who met Mr Abbott on the sidelines of a Beijing summit last year, agreed the bank had to be transparent, accountable and truly multilateral.
"Those are the same rules by which the World Bank or IMF [International Monetary Fund] or Asian Development Bank or any other international institution needs to abide by," Mr Obama said at the time.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31921011The USA's grip on Europe, against all odds, is loosening. Who would have thought it would be over money, considering it went meekly along hand-in-hand with Washington in imposing sanctions which had an immediate and deleterious effect on its bottom line? I mean, isn't that money, too?james, March 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm
"The UK insisted it would insist on the bank's adherence to strict banking and oversight procedures. 'We think that it's in the UK's national interest,' Mr Cameron's spokesperson added." Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…Oh, 'pon my word, yes, m'lud. The UK would be everyone's first choice to monitor strict adherence to banking and oversight procedures, after the £2.7 Billion in fines handed the Bank of England for currency rigging – which also resulted in the dismissal of its senior foreign exchange dealer – just a few months ago. Or the Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) scam, in which banks greedy for more profit conspired to rig the deck so that insurance which cost more and more stood less and less chance of ever having a successful claim levied against it. And let's not even mention Libor.
I don't think there's too much about crooked banking the Chinese will be able to teach the British.there is a straight line that runs from the boe to the federal reserve… moon of alabama has a post up discussing some of the changes afloat which can be read here –davidt, March 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/03/the-end-of-the-us-dominated-international-money-system.html#commentsMy favorite Czech, Vlad Sobell, has an new article "The opportunity cost of America's disastrous foreign policy", which most of us here would agree with:kat kan , March 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm
He reminds us what could have been if Putin's vision for creating a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok had been realized. (George Friedman has already explained why this could not be allowed.)
I don't think that anyone has mentioned an earlier article by Sobell that appeared as his contribution on the experts' panel on us-russia.org, His is the last contribution.
If there were an award for clear thinking then Sobell would have to be a prime candidate.Only problem is, this was written in February. And without regard for Poroshenko.davidt , March 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm
The weapons withdrawals were more or less done. Nothing else was. The Special Status law proposal was based on September lines and not discussed with the Republics so is unacceptable to them. Not only was there no improvement of humanitarian access, but it has been tightened up, to the extent that virtually no medicines are getting through, and no food at all. Travel to and from the Republics involves permits that take 3 weeks to get. The gas got cut off once. No social payments have been made and no wages back-paid. All this is in Minsk2 and Kiev's actually gone backwards on these clauses.
The reality is, Minsk2 will not succeed, because Kiev (and their masters) don't want it to. Poroshenko is carrying in like he can set conditions, as if HE HAD WON when in fact HE LOST.From memory, I think that Sobell would agree with your penultimate sentence- I don't think that he was very optimistic about Minsk2. (On the positive side, the gap between Europe and the US seems to have hardened.)
February 25, 2015 | AlternetAs for those in the K Street elite pushing Uncle Sam to confront the bear, it isn't hard to see what they have to gain. There's a familiar ring to the U.S. calls to arm Ukraine's post-coup government. That's because the same big-money players who stand to benefit from belligerent relations with Russia haven't forgotten a favorite Cold War tune.
President Obama has said that he won't rule out arming Ukraine if a recent truce, which has all but evaporated, fails like its predecessor. His comments echoed the advice of a report issued a week prior by three prominent U.S. think tanks: the Brookings Institute, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Atlantic Council. The report advocated sending $1 billion worth of "defensive" military assistance to Kiev's pro-Western government.
If followed, those recommendations would bring the U.S. and Russia the closest to conflict since the heyday of the Cold War. Russia has said that it would "respond asymmetrically against Washington or its allies on other fronts" if the U.S. supplies weapons to Kiev.
The powers with the most skin in the game -- France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine -- struck a deal on Feb. 12, which outlines the terms for a ceasefire between Kiev and the pro-Russian, breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine. It envisages a withdrawal of heavy weaponry followed by local elections and constitutional reform by the end of 2015, granting more autonomy to the eastern regions.
But not all is quiet on the eastern front. The truce appears to be headed the route of a nearly identical compromise in September, which broke down immediately afterward.
Moscow's national security interests are clear. Washington's are less so, unless you look at the bottom lines of defense contractors.
As for those in the K Street elite pushing Uncle Sam to confront the bear, it isn't hard to see what they have to gain. Just take a look below at the blow-by-blow history of their Beltway-bandit benefactors:
No Reds Means Seeing Red
Following the end of the Cold War, defense cuts had presented bottom-line problems for America's military producers. The weapons dealers were told that they had to massively restructure or go bust.
Luckily, carrots were offered. Norm Augustine, a former undersecretary of the Army, advised Defense Secretary William Perry to cover the costs of the industry mergers. Augustine was then the CEO of Martin Marietta -- soon to become the head of Lockheed Martin, thanks to the subsidies.
Augustine was also chairman of a Pentagon advisory council on arms-export policy. In that capacity, he was able to secure yet more subsidy guarantees for NATO-compatible weapons sales to former Warsaw Pact countries.
But in order to buy the types of expensive weapons that would stabilize the industry's books, those countries had to enter into an alliance with the U.S. And some members of Congress were still wary of shelling out money to expand a military alliance that had, on its face, no rationale to exist.
Enter the NATO Expansion Squad
Enter the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO. Formed in 1996, the Committee wined and dined elected officials to secure their support for NATO enlargement. Meanwhile, Lockheed buttressed its efforts by spending $1.58 million in federal contributions for the 1996 campaign cycle.
The Committee's founder and neocon chairman, Bruce Jackson, was so principled in his desire to see freedom around the globe that he didn't even take a salary. He didn't have to; he was a vice president at Lockheed Martin.
By Clinton's second term, everyone was on board. Ron Asmus, a former RAND Corporation analyst and the "intellectual progenitor" of NATO expansion (who would later co-chair the Committee to Expand NATO), ended what was left of the policy debate in the State Department. He worked with Clinton's diplomatic point man on Eastern Europe, Strobe Talbott.
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were all in NATO come 1999. The Baltic States would soon follow. By 2003, those initial inductees had arranged deals to buy just short of $5 billion in fighter jets from Lockheed.
Bruce Jackson began running a new outfit in 2002. It was called the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
(36 F-16s are currently slated for delivery to Iraq at an estimated $3 billion.)
Rivers of Cash
Brookings is Washington's oldest think tank. For most of its existence, its research was funded by a large endowment and no-strings-attached grants. But all of that changed when Strobe Talbott took the reins.
Strobe Talbott, President
• Talbott sought to bolster Brookings' coffers with aggressive corporate fundraising. He took it from annual revenues of $32 million in 2003 to $100 million by 2013. Though always corporate-friendly, Brookings has become little more than a pay-to-play research hub under Talbott's reign.
• Among the many corporate donors to Brookings are Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin and cyber-defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
David M. Rubenstein, Co-Chairman of Board of Trustees
• Rubenstein is co-founder and co-CEO at the Carlyle Group, a massive private equity firm. Among the companies in which Carlyle has a controlling stake in is Booz Allen Hamilton -- a military and intelligence IT firm that is currently active in Ukraine.
• Booz, which both sells to and operates within the U.S. military and intelligence apparatus, counts four former Carlyle executives among its directors. Ronald Sanders, a vice president at Booz, serves on the faculty of Brookings.
The Atlantic Council was formed in 1961 as a "consolidation of the U.S. citizen groups supporting" NATO, according to its website.
Stephen Hadley, Director
• A former national security advisor for George W. Bush, Hadley doubles as a director for Raytheon. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the U.S. Committee on NATO, on whose board he sat, and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
• Prior to joining the Bush White House, Hadley was a lawyer for Shea & Gardner, whose clients included Lockheed Martin.
James Cartwright, Director
• A retired general and former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, James Cartwright has an active work life. He's "an advisor to defense and intelligence contractor TASC, defense consulting firm Accenture, and Enlightenment Capital, a private equity firm with defense investments," according to the Public Accountability Initiative. He's also on the board of Raytheon, which earned him $124,000 in 2012.
Other notables include:
• Nicholas Burns – former diplomat and current senior counselor at The Cohen Group, which advises Lockheed Martin, among other defense companies
• James A. Baker III – Bush 41 Secretary of State and partner at law firm Baker Botts. Clients include a slew of defense companies
• Thomas R. Pickering – former senior vice president for Boeing
Founded in 1922, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has since served as the premier voice of Midwest business leaders in American foreign policy. Jeb Bush recently made his "I am my own man" speech, outlining his foreign policy priorities, to the council:
Lester Crown, Chairman
• The chair of Henry Crown & Co., the investment firm that handles the fortune started by his father, Henry Crown. Henry put the "dynamic" in General Dynamics, helping to turn it into the world's largest weapons manufacturer by the time Lester became its chairman in 1986. The defense behemoth remains the single largest source of the family's treasure; they're currently the 35th richest clan in America. General Dynamics produces all of the equipment types proposed for transfer to Ukraine in the think-tank report.
Ivo Daalder, President
• A co-author of the report, Daalder is a former diplomat and staffer on Clinton's National Security Council. He later served on the Hart-Rudman Commission from 1998-2001. It was chartered by Defense Secretary William Cohen -- later to become a Lockheed consultant -- and tasked with outlining the major shifts in national security strategy for the 21st century. Among its commissioners was none other than Norm Augustine.
The commission concluded that the Department of Defense and intelligence community should drastically reduce their infrastructure costs by outsourcing and privatizing key functions, especially in the field of information technology.
The main beneficiaries have been America's major defense contractors: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lester Crown's outfit, General Dynamics.
General Dynamics' revenue tripled between 2000 and 2010 as it acquired at least 11 smaller firms that specialized in exactly the sort of services recommended for outsourcing. Roughly one-third of GD's overall revenue in 2013, the same year that Daalder was appointed president of the Council by Crown, came from its Information Systems and Technology division.
So even without a Cold War Bear to fuel spending, the re-imagining of that old foe is oiling the revolving door between the government and defense contractors.
For years I've wanted to have a better grasp of fascism-- what it is and what it isn't-- and Robert O. Paxton's new book, The Anatomy of Fascism, is just the ticket.
Let's start with Things You Might Not Have Known About Fascism:
One reason I wanted to learn more about fascism was frankly, to know whether Bush is a fascist. Fascism is largely used these days as an epithet; is it a valid one?
- Liberalism, conservativism, and socialism all matured in the 19th century; at its end fascism was still undreamed of. It seemed to come out of the blue.
- One reason for its appearance was that traditional liberal and conservative politicians had no idea how to appeal to the masses-- especially in countries where full suffrage came late. (Italy had full manhood suffrage only in 1912; Germany retained a 3-class voting system till the end of WW1.) Traditional politicians knew only how to appeal to the educated elite.
- Definitions of fascism are problematic, because fascism was prone to reinvent itself as it went along. Mussolini's first supporters were disgruntled veterans, pro-WW1unionists, and Futurist intellectuals. He and Hitler jettisoned ideas that didn't work, built coalitions, and explicitly aimed at power, not coherent ideology.
- Nonetheless, don't be fooled by perennial rightist attempts to depict fascism as left-wing. Fascists played with some socialist ideas early on, but these were some of the baggage tossed out as the parties took power. In both countries the fascists' allies were conservatives, who hoped to use their energy, ballot appeal, and violence for their own ends. Neither Mussolini nor Hitler seized power; both were handed it, quite legally, by conservatives terrified of leftist alternatives.
- The conventional wisdom is that Franco was fascist; Paxton disputes this. During the civil war it was hard to tell; but afterward, Franco disdained the mass emotionalism of fascism (and, ironically, its drive toward war), and though he made the Falange the only legal party, he gave it no power.
- Paxton pooh-poohs the notion that fascist states were particularly efficient. Hitler maintained parallel traditional and Party hierarchies, for instance; and was himself a notoriously lax ruler, with little interest in day-to-day government. The occupied territories were generally run by Party caudillos; decisionmaking was erratic. The democracies, according to Paxton, succeeded better in mobilizing their societies for total war.
- There were a large number of local fascisms in pre-WW2 Europe... none of which really went anywhere. There's no single reason; contributing factors include more effective government (Germany and Italy were singularly ill-equipped here), the strength of alternatives to communism, revulsion for fascist violence, and the degree of suffering due to the depression. In a few cases (e.g. Romania) conservatives created their own dictatorships-- and suppressed the fascists.
The short answer: No, not quite. To see why, let's go over Paxton's handy definition (p. 218).Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhoodCheck. For the Bushies, it's the supposed decline in morality, fundamentalists' persecution complex, and that amazing right-wing conviction that America is being brutalized by overbearing UN diplomats and Frenchmen.and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity,Half-check. Krugman points out that Bushism acts as a revolutionary power: one which grants no legitimacy to the existing system-- which recognizes no Loyal Opposition. All enemies, from terrorists to liberals to officials fleeing the administration itself must be attacked with equal zeal. But it falls far short of totalitarianism.in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites,Half-check or less. This could apply loosely to the alliance of fundamentalists and big business; on the other hand the people who actually hold power aren't populist allies of the traditional elites; they are the traditional elites. And the militancy falls short: Bush doesn't want his supporters to march on Washington; he wants their checks and votes.abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.The key missing element is violence. A typical fascist move: in early 1921, Mussolini sent blackshirted thugs on a rampage. They destroyed 17 newspapers, 59 Socialist Party headquarters, 119 socialist employment centers, 385 other clubs and offices. This was a paradoxical but brilliant move: an attack on civil society, but in the interests of conservative power (largely landowners who felt threatened by socialist election victories). In effect, Mussolini was making Italy ungovernable through terror... unless he was made Prime Minister, which he was, the next year.Half-check or more. There are troubling signs: Republican operatives disrupting a Florida vote recount by force; trashing the Constitution (as well as traditional safeguards of military law of the Geneva Convention) to go after an open-ended category of "terrorists"; the adoption of a frank imperial mindset and pre-emptive war; sympathy in some conservative quarters for violence against abortion clinics and ATF agents; a switch to recount-less, receipt-less, Republican-provided electronic voting systems. But most of this-- as well as the quest to give big business everything it wants-- is pursued quietly, without fascist trumpeting.
(Fascism, though conservative, is obviously not libertarian... but this story blurs the boundary. Private armed vigilantes acting against the state in favor of property owners-- it seems a little too close to some libertarian fantasies for comfort.)
Hitler had a similar trick, played when he was already Chancellor: the Night of the Long Knives (June 30, 1934). He not only murdered his own most uncontrollable followers, but key conservatives. The top two conservative leaders, both former Chancellors and both instrumental in bringing Hitler to power, were both targeted: one was killed, as were several top aides of the other.
Paxton points to the Ku Klux Klan as an American precursor to fascism, and this as well as the above stories shows how Bush falls well short of fascism. It isn't that he's a committed democrat; but he doesn't rule by thuggery. If the Republicans had co-opted and expanded the militia movement of the early '90s-- and unleashed it on liberals and Muslims and gays-- that would be fascism.
Well, that's reassuring! Or is it?
Fascism generally inspires horror, but also a certain comic-opera derision: it seems so crude. Out-and-out totalitarianism requires enormous energy-- squashing dissent, drumming up feigned enthusiasm, building a personality cult, fighting wars with people who can fight back... it's a huge waste of energy.
In a sense the communists learned this: the attempt to control hearts and minds, in Soviet Russia, generated too much opposition, and collapsed. The Chinese are smarter: let a hundred flowers bloom.... just don't let any of them actually take power. So long as living standards keep rising, the CCP is probably safe.
A lesson from Paxton's book is that if conservatives can keep control without fascism, they'll do so. Bush isn't a fascist... but he may well be a Franquista.
And then there's radical Islam, the folks who are trying to remake society for God by blowing up anyone who stands in their way. Arguably these people are today's fascists. Their theological preoccupations are no barrier to this; as Paul Berman points out, fascism is always national, and takes on local characteristics: a fascism in Muslim countries will trumpet its adherance to Islam. (Romanian fascism-- Codreanu's Legion of the Archangel Michael-- was explicitly Orthodox; American fascist movements like the KKK or the Patriot movement are explicitly Christian.)
This is alarming enough; but we also have to worry about the effect on our already unbalanced society. European fascism, after all, was an explicit reaction to another form of totalitarianism-- Soviet communism. Already Bush uses 9/11 as the justification for the erosion of civil liberties, smearing all opposition as unpatriotic, and an unlimited program of war-on-demand. It's always tempting to adopt the tactics of the enemy, whose strength is supposedly derived from ruthlessness. But it was wrong in 1922 and it's wrong today.This just in: An alert reader sent me a link to journalist David Neiwert's discussion of proto-fascism in America. I suggest skipping the theoretical bits and turning to the lively and alarming account of actual movements. Neiwert has written a book on far-right movements, and his report is that they didn't dissipate or reform after their moment in the sun in the early '90s. They went mainstream.
Neiwert estimates that far-right extremists make up about 4% of the electorate. That's enough to be extremely valuable if they can be persuaded to support a major party-- and the Republicans have invited them inside. They're comforted with coded messages of support, and in return the rightist media helps spread and mainstream their message. A nice dance has been perfected: fascist sentiments (such as calls for physical attacks on liberals, or for interning Muslim Americans, or the equating of welfare recipients with chimpanzees) are spread by conservative pundits, who can claim to be joking if anyone protests; the extremists take it quite seriously.
The constant ratcheting-up of acceptable hate speech is one of the marks of fascism on the rise; indeed, Neiwert considers the far-right venues as a sort of trial laboratory for anti-liberal extremism. The virulence that resulted in the Clinton impeachment circus, for instance, was mooted about years earlier in far-right groups.
Anyone, especially conservatives, who wonder if I'm exaggerating should read Neiwert's pages. I think there's much that will shock reasonable conservatives; and there's a clear moral and historical point: if you want to distinguish yourselves from these people, kick them out of your Party.
January 6, 2004 | lndependent/UK
Military Keynsianism Might get Bush Re-elected, But it is Starting to Worry Economists
Published on Tuesday, by the
What do the war in Iraq and the economic recovery in the United States have in common? More than one might expect, to judge from the last couple of rounds of US growth figures.
The war has been a large part of the justification for the Bush administration to run ever-widening budget deficits, and those deficits, predicated largely on military spending, have in turn pumped money into the economy and provided the stimulus that low interest rates and tax cuts, on their own, could never achieve.
The result, according to economists, is a variant on Keynesianism that has particular appeal for Republicans. Instead of growing the government in general - pumping resources into public works, health care and education, say, which would have an immediate knock-on effect on sorely needed job creation - the policy focuses on those areas that represent obvious conservative and business-friendly constituencies. Which is to say, the military and, even more specifically, the military contractors that tend to be big contributors to Republican Party funds.
"It may be very inefficient and obviously not fair, but it is nevertheless causing almost 5 per cent more money to be pumped into the economy than is being taken out in tax revenues," observed Robert Pollin, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "At the same time, it fits into the broader ideological goals of the administration because they can paint it as part of a national emergency, the fight against terrorism, the fight against Saddam Hussein, and so on."
During the second quarter of 2003, when the war in Iraq was in full swing, some 60 per cent of the 3.3 per cent GDP growth rate was attributable to military spending. Expenditure on manpower and weaponry was relatively flat, according to Professor Pollin's analysis, while the lion's share of the stimulus came from the multi-billion dollar contracts handed out to Halliburton, Bechtel and other private contractors.
A smaller proportion of the roaring 8.2 per cent growth recorded for the third quarter was directly attributable to the military, but Professor Pollin and others argue that it is still the military that is driving the deficit, and the deficit - budgeted at about $500 billion (£270bn) for next year - that is driving the recovery.
Just last month, the Pentagon awarded a $4 billion contract to California company Northrop Grumman to work on the Star Wars missile defense program. It is the sort of figure that can regenerate the economy of an entire region. California - the state where US economic booms have a tendency to begin and end - is also a beneficiary of the boom in security-related spending, since much modern security paraphernalia depends on Silicon Valley computer technology.
The Bush administration itself prefers to attribute the recovery to its tax cuts, targeted disproportionately towards the richest Americans. Many non-administration economists, however, say this is nonsense, and that the tax cuts are far more political than they are stimulative. A more significant role has been played by buoyant household spending, helped by low mortgage interest rates which have inspired many homeowners to borrow against the rising value of their properties. But there are signs that interest rates are now on their way back up and that the refinancing fad has ended.
"The administration is conducting a highly irresponsible fiscal policy, and there is no legitimate economist on the face of the earth who doesn't say the tax cuts are just loony," said Kent Sims, a San Francisco economic consultant and public policy expert. "The chosen weapon for dragging the economy off the floor - now that an election is coming - is the deficit. Military expenditure is usually the least effective of short-run ways of spending money, because it doesn't build infrastructure that give you returns over time. But it does create a short-term lift."
Military-fueled growth, or military Keynesianism as it is now known in academic circles, was first theorized by the Polish economist Michal Kalecki in 1943. Kalecki argued that capitalists and their political champions tended to bridle against classic Keynesianism; achieving full employment through public spending made them nervous because it risked over-empowering the working class and the unions.
The military was a much more desirable investment from their point of view, although justifying such a diversion of public funds required a certain degree of political repression, best achieved through appeals to patriotism and fear-mongering about an enemy threat - and, inexorably, an actual war.
At the time, Kalecki's best example of military Keynesianism was Nazi Germany. But the concept does not just operate under fascist dictatorships. Indeed, it has been taken up with enthusiasm by the neo-liberal right wing in the United States.
Ronald Reagan famously resorted to deficit spending, using talk of the Evil Empire and communist threats from Central America as his excuse to ratchet up the military budget. In 1984, the deficit rose to a whopping 6.2 per cent of GDP. Consequently, the economy grew by more than 7 per cent that year, and he was re-elected by a landslide.
The corollary of the Reagan military boom was a sharp cutback in social spending, something that was not reversed under Bill Clinton and is now back on the agenda with George Bush. State and local budgets are all in crisis because of the recession of the past two years. The fact that the White House is not using federal dollars to help them finance schools, hospitals and police forces hurts all the more because these things have now been underfunded for a generation.
The Bush deficit has not yet reached Reaganesque proportions (it stands at roughly 4.5 per cent of GDP). But Professor Pollin, for one, predicts that the resulting debt burden could rapidly rise to the levels seen in the 1980s, with interest repayments eating up as much as 18-19 per cent of the overall federal budget.
Professor Pollin does not share the Clinton administration view that deficits are always bad. In classic Keynesian fashion, he believes they are necessary and desirable to pull countries out of recession. But he, like the generation of economists who criticized Reagan's policies, thinks the priorities are wrong - as well as overtly bellicose - and will have repercussions for years or even decades to come.
"The long-term effects of military Keynesianism are obviously negative on public infrastructure, health, education and so on, and there are limits on how long you can keep it up," he said. "What we borrow we will eventually have to pay back, with interest."
Mises Economics Blog Reaganism and Military Keynesianism
World War II and the Triumph of Keynesianism
Keynesian economics rests on the presumption that government spending, whether for munitions or other goods, creates an addition to the economy's aggregate demand, which brings into employment labor and other resources that otherwise would remain idle. The economy gets not only the additional production occasioned by the use of those resources but still more output via a "multiplier effect." Hence the Keynesian claim that even government spending to hire people to dig holes in the ground and fill them up again has beneficial effects; even though the diggers create nothing of value, the multiplier effect is set in motion as they spend their newly acquired income for consumption goods newly produced by others.
Such theorizing never faced squarely the underlying reason for the initial idleness of labor and other resources. If workers want to work but cannot find an employer willing to hire them, it is because they are not willing to work at a wage rate that makes their employment worthwhile for the employer. Unemployment results when the wage rate is too high to "clear the market." The Keynesians concocted bizarre reasons why the labor market was not clearing during the Great Depression and then continued to accept such reasoning long after the depression had faded into history. But when labor markets have not cleared, either during the 1930s or at other times, the causes can usually be found in government policies - such as the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, among many others - that obstruct the normal operation of the labor market.
So, government policies created sustained high unemployment, and Keynesians blamed the market. The Keynesians then credited the government's wartime deficits for pulling the economy out of the Great Depression and continued to credit defense spending for preventing another economic collapse. In this way, sound economics was replaced by economic ideas congenial to spendthrift politicians, defense contractors, labor unions, and left-liberal economists.
How much better it would have been if the wisdom of Ludwig von Mises had been taken to heart. In Nation, State, and Economy (1919), Mises said, "War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings." The analogy was apt in World War I, in World War II, and during the Cold War. It is still apt today.
Military Keynesianism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Military Keynesianism is a government economic policy in which the government devotes large amounts of spending to the military in an effort to increase economic growth. This is a specific variation on Keynesian economics, developed by English economist John Maynard Keynes. Instances commonly supplied as examples of such policies are Germany in the 1930s and the United States in the 1980s, although whether these assessments are accurate is the subject of vigorous debate.The economic effects advanced by supporters of military Keynesianism can be broken down into four areas, two on the demand side and two on the supply side.
On the demand side, increased military demand for goods and services is generated directly by government spending. Secondly, this direct spending induces a multiplier effect of general consumer spending. These two effects are directly in line with general Keynesian economic doctrine.
On the supply side, the maintenance of a standing army removes many workers, usually young males with less skills and education, from the civilian workforce. This demographic group ordinarily faces an especially high level of unemployment; some argue that drawing them into military service helps prevent crime or gang activity. In the United States, enlistment is touted as offering direct opportunities for education or skill acquisition, possibly to target this demographic.
In this sense, the military might act as an employer of last resort – it is an employment opportunity which tends to hire from the bottom (least qualified) part of the workforce, provides a decent standard of living, serves a useful social purpose, and offers jobs regardless of the state of the general economy.
Also on the supply side, it is often argued that military spending on research and development (R&D) increases the productivity of the civilian sector by generating new infrastructure and advanced technology. Frequently cited examples of technology developed partly or wholly through military funding but later applied in civilian settings include radar, nuclear power, and the internet.The primary criticism of military Keynesianism faults not its economic intuitions but adverse social effects. Many assert that the maintenance of large peacetime armies and growth of military spending will lead a nation into war, while also encouraging militarism and nationalism. These critics often attack the argument that the military prevents young men from sinking into crime by claiming that many soldiers who return from war are worse off physically or mentally than they would have been as an unemployed worker at home.
A similar critique is military Keynesianism accelerates the growth of a military-industrial complex – industrial sectors largely dependent on military spending. Because the military-industrial complex is a large employer and constitutes a significant fraction of aggregate demand, it is politically difficult for the government to reduce deficit spending. The end result of this, it is feared, is a cycle of constant war and continually high military spending.
Other critics point out that while military R&D can sometimes find later application in civilian industries, it is less efficient than simply researching civilian applications directly. Many point to the recent examples of Japan and Germany, economies which have had great success in developing new technology despite low military spending compared to nations like the United States.
Finally, some critics, and even some supporters, contend that in the modern world, these policies are no longer viable for developed countries because military strength is now built on high-technology professional armies, and the military is thus no longer viable as a source of employment of last resort for uneducated young people.While the term was not in use at the time, the clearest historical example of military Keynesianism in action is usually acknowledged to be 1930s Germany, which rebuilt a crippled economy with enormous military production under a National Socialist government. This example illustrates both the potential positives of such policies in generating rapid growth, and also the negative social effects presented by critics.
In today's discourse, the term is most frequently discussed in relation to the United States, particularly the administration of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Reagan's administration pushed for significant tax cuts, while increasing military spending to combat the Soviet Union. While this was in practice a policy suggestive of military Keynesianism, Reagan's reasoning for the policy was not that it would spur economic growth, but that military spending was necessary to combat the threat of Communism.
For many in the United States worried about the adoption of these economic policies, fears of this were somewhat averted by reduced military spending in the 1990s in what was commonly described as a peace dividend for the end of the Cold War. However, the War on Terrorism and War in Iraq have brought such concerns to prominence once more.
Non-Governmental Organizations in a Conjuncture of Conflict and War Psychosis
September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington and the ramifications define a new conjuncture for social movements and NGOs. The global context preceding September 11 is important in understanding Washington's reaction afterwards and the effects that both have on the perspectives and the role NGOs can play in global politics.
Prior to September 11, Washington's international position showed clear signs of weakening. The anti-globalization mass movements from Seattle to Genoa were creating greater obstacles to the "free market agenda." Washington's rejection of the Kyoto protocol on global warming, its unilateral renunciation of the ABM (missile treaty) and its failure to sign the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention isolated Washington from the rest of the international community. In the Middle East, Iraq was breaking out of the US imposed boycott, becoming an active member of OPEC, and increasing ties with Arab neighbors. Iran has economic relations with Japan, Russia, the EU and most of the rest of the countries in the world contrary to the US boycott. In Latin America, formidable social movements in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador challenged the neo-liberal model. The deepening recession in the US and Europe profoundly affected the "export model" in Mexico, Central America and the rest of Latin America and Asia. Moreover, the recession within the US was leading to massive job losses and bankruptcies, provoking a greater volatility in the stock market, already shaken by the collapse of the information technology speculative bubble.
In summary, US global hegemony was deteriorating, the internal foundations were weakening and discontent was rising - before September 11.
Post September 11
The immediate aftermath of the trauma of September 11 was, at the governmental level, a concerted effort at world mobilization based on a discourse of war. The key phrase was President's Bush's "Countries have to choose, you are with us or with the terrorists." The effect of this discourse was to mobilize predictable NATO followers like Tony Blair of England, Aznar of Spain and Berlusconi of Italy. Other NATO countries entered the "alliance" with some hesitation. While most of the rest of the world condemned the terrorist attack, and expressed sympathy with the victims very few countries were eager to join an open-ended world-wide military campaign against loosely defined terrorists and nations which provide havens for terrorists. Only by tactically specifying the enemy to a narrow set of targets (Osama bin Laden) and the Taliban) was Washington able to secure minimum cooperation within the Middle East and Central Asia. But Washington has a wider agenda - war against Europe and Japan's principal oil suppliers in the Mid-East - namely Iraq and Iran.
The key to President Bush's world-wide "anti-terrorism" campaign is to reverse the decline of US global hegemony. To force Europe to submit to US leadership, to secure the total obedience of the Arab rulers in the Mid-East and to encourage client rulers in Asia and Latin America to increase their repressive capacities against political opposition to the neo-liberal model and US hegemony.
Bush junior seeks to recreate a New World Order, that Bush senior tried to project after the Gulf War and which deteriorated shortly thereafter. After the Gulf War emergency, the competitive interests of Europe and Japan came into conflict with U.S. hegemony, as did the emergence of social movements, North and South. It is likely that once the initial war psychosis dies off, divisions and rivalries will reappear with even greater virulence than in the early 1990's. The extension of the war beyond Afghanistan, worldwide recession, and Washington's attempt to gain economic advantage form its leadership of the wartime coalition can easily provoke divisions.
Nevertheless, in the short run the war mobilization involves a worldwide socio-political offensive to reverse the advances of the late 1990's. This offensive has several common characteristics:
(1) Increasing repressive legislation, curtailing democratic freedoms and widening police power.
(2 Attempts to reverse the recession via "military Keysianism" with higher military spending and billion dollar subsidies to "adversely affected" (airlines, tourism, etc.).
(3) Restoration of U.S. hegemony via military dominance -- "leadership" -- and strengthening client regimes.
(4) Silencing anti-globalization movements by refocusing world attention from the evils of multinational corporations to international terrorism.
(5) Reversing U.S. isolation because of its unilateral rejection of international agreements on peace and the environment:
[Dec 27, 2005] Asia Times Online Asian news and current affairs
The exaltation of big business at the expense of the citizen was a central characteristic of government policy in Germany and Italy in the years before those countries were chewed to bits and spat out by fascism.
Fascist dictatorships were borne to power in each of these countries by big business and they served the interests of big business with remarkable ferocity. These facts have been lost to the popular consciousness in North America. Fascism could therefore return to us, and we will not even recognize it. Indeed, Huey Long, one of America's most brilliant and most corrupt politicians, was once asked if America would ever see fascism. His answer was, "Yes, but we will call it anti-fascism."
By exploring the disturbing parallels between our own time and the era of overt fascism, I am confident that we can avoid the same hideous mistakes. At present, we live in a constitutional democracy. The tools necessary to protect ourselves from fascism remain in the hands of the citizen. All the same, I believe that North America is on a fascist trajectory. We must recognize this threat for what it is, and we must change course.
Consider the words of Thurman Arnold, head of the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice in 1939: "Germany, of course, has developed within 15 years from an industrial autocracy into a dictatorship. Most people are under the impression that the power of Hitler was the result of his demagogic blandishments and appeals to the mob ... Actually, Hitler holds his power through the final and inevitable development of the uncontrolled tendency to combine in restraint of trade."
Arnold made his point even more clearly in a 1939 address to the American Bar Association: "Germany presents the logical end of the process of cartelization. From 1923 to 1935 cartelization grew in Germany until finally that nation was so organized that everyone had to belong either to a squad, a regiment or a brigade in order to survive. The names given to these squads, regiments or brigades were cartels, trade associations, unions and trusts. Such a distribution system could not adjust its prices. It needed a general with quasi-military authority who could order the workers to work and the mills to produce. Hitler named himself that general. Had it not been Hitler it would have been someone else."
I suspect that to most readers, Arnold's words are bewildering. Most people today are quite certain that they know what fascism is. When asked to describe it, however, they will typically tell you what it was, the assumption being that it no longer exists. Most people associate fascism with concentration camps and rows of stormtroopers, yet they know nothing of the political and economic processes that led to these horrible end results.
Before the rise of fascism, Germany and Italy were liberal democracies. Fascism did not swoop down on these nations as if from another planet. To the contrary, fascist dictatorship was the end result of political and economic changes these nations underwent while they were still democratic. In both these countries, economic power became so utterly concentrated that the bulk of all economic activity fell under the control of a handful of men. Economic power, when sufficiently vast, becomes by its very nature political power. The political power of big business supported fascism in Italy and Germany.
Business tightened its grip on the state in both Italy and Germany by means of intricate webs of cartels and business associations. These associations exercised a very high degree of control over the businesses of their members. They frequently controlled pricing, supply and the licensing of patented technology. These associations were private, but were entirely legal. Neither Germany nor Italy had effective antitrust laws, and the proliferation of business associations was generally encouraged by government.
This was an era eerily like our own, insofar as economists and businessmen constantly clamored for self-regulation in business. By the mid 1920's, however, self-regulation had become self-imposed regimentation. By means of monopoly and cartel, the businessmen had wrought for themselves a "command and control" economy that effectively replaced the free market. The business associations of Italy and Germany at this time are perhaps history's most perfect illustration of 18th century economist and philosopher Adam Smith's famous dictum, "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."
How could the German government not be influenced by Fritz Thyssen, the man who controlled most of Germany's coal production? How could it ignore the demands of the great I G Farben industrial trust, controlling as it did most of that nation's chemical production? Indeed, the German nation was bent to the will of these powerful industrial interests. Hitler attended to reduction of certain taxes applicable to large businesses, while simultaneously increasing the same taxes as they related to small business.
Previous decrees establishing price ceilings were repealed such that the cost of living for the average family was increased. Hitler's economic policies hastened the destruction of Germany's middle class by decimating small business. Ironically, Hitler pandered to the middle class and they provided some of his most enthusiastically violent supporters. The fact that he did this while simultaneously destroying them was a terrible achievement of Nazi propaganda.
Hitler also destroyed organized labor by making strikes illegal. Notwithstanding the socialist terms in which he appealed to the masses, Hitler's labor policy was the dream come true of the industrial cartels that supported him. Nazi law gave total control over wages and working conditions to the employer. Compulsory (slave) labor was the crowning achievement of Nazi labor relations. Along with millions of people, organized labor died in the concentration camps. The camps were not only the most depraved of all human achievements, they were a part and parcel of Nazi economic policy.
Hitler's untermenschen (sub-humans), largely Jews, Poles and Russians, supplied slave labor to German industry. Surely this was a capitalist bonanza. In another bitter irony, the gates over many of the camps bore a sign that read "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work shall set you free). I do not know if this was black humor or propaganda, but it is emblematic of the deception that lies at the heart of fascism.
The same economic reality existed in Italy between the two world wars. In that country, nearly all industrial activity was owned or controlled by a few corporate giants, Fiat and the Ansaldo shipping concern being the chief examples. Land ownership in Italy was also highly concentrated and jealously guarded. Vast tracts of farmland were owned by a few latifundisti (estate owners). The actual farming was carried out by a landless peasantry who were locked into a role essentially the same as that of the sharecropper of the US deep south. As in Germany, the few owners of the nation's capital assets had immense influence over government.
As a young man, Mussolini had been a strident socialist, and he, like Hitler, used socialist language to lure the people to fascism. Mussolini spoke of a "corporate" society wherein the energy of the people would not be wasted on class struggle. The entire economy was to be divided into industry specific "corporazioni", bodies composed of both labor and management representatives. The corporazioni would resolve all labor/management disputes, and if they failed to do so, the fascist state would intervene.
Unfortunately, as in Germany, there laid at the heart of this plan a swindle. The corporazioni, to the extent that they were actually put in place, were controlled by the employers. Together with Mussolini's ban on strikes, these measures reduced the Italian laborer to the status of peasant.
Mussolini, the one-time socialist, went on to abolish the inheritance tax, a measure which favored the wealthy. He decreed a series of massive subsidies to Italy's largest industrial businesses and repeatedly ordered wage reductions. Italy's poor were forced to subsidize the wealthy. In real terms, wages and living standards for the average Italian dropped precipitously under fascism.
Even this brief historical sketch shows how fascism did the bidding of big business. The fact that Hitler called his party the "National Socialist Party" did not change the reactionary nature of his policies. The connection between the fascist dictatorships and monopoly capital was obvious to the US Department of Justice in 1939. As of 2005, however, it is all but forgotten.
It is always dangerous to forget the lessons of history. It is particularly perilous to forget about the economic origins of fascism in our modern era of deregulation. Most Western liberal democracies are currently held in the thrall of what some call market fundamentalism. Few nowadays question the flawed assumption that state intervention in the marketplace is inherently bad. As in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, business associations clamor for more deregulation and deeper tax cuts.
The gradual erosion of antitrust legislation, especially in the United States, has encouraged consolidation in many sectors of the economy by way of mergers and acquisitions. The North American economy has become more monopolistic than at any time in the post-World War II period. (By way of example, US census data from 1997 show that the largest four companies in the food, motor vehicle and aerospace industries control 53.4%, 87.3% and 55.6% of their respective markets. More than 20% of commercial banking in the US is controlled by the four largest financial institutions, with the largest 50 controlling more than 60%.
Even these numbers underestimate the scope of concentration, since they do not account for the myriad interconnections between firms by means of debt instruments and multiple directorships, which further reduce the extent of competition. Actual levels of US commercial concentration have been difficult to measure since the 1970s, when strong corporate opposition put an end to the Federal Trade Commission's efforts to collect the necessary information.)
Fewer, larger competitors dominate all economic activity, and their political will is expressed with the millions of dollars they spend lobbying politicians and funding policy formulation in the many right-wing institutes that now limit public discourse to the question of how best to serve the interests of business. The consolidation of the economy, and the resulting perversion of public policy are themselves fascistic. I am quite certain, however, that president Bill Clinton was not worrying about fascism when he repealed federal antitrust laws that had been enacted in the 1930's.
The Canadian Council of Chief Executives is similarly unworried about fascism when it lobbies the Canadian government to water down our Federal Competition Act. (The 1985 act regulates monopolies, among other things, and itself represents a watering down of Canada's previous antitrust laws. It was essentially written by industry and handed to the Brian Mulroney government to be enacted.)
At present, monopolies are regulated on purely economic grounds to ensure the efficient allocation of goods. If we are to protect ourselves from the growing political influence of big business, then our antitrust laws must be reconceived in a way that recognizes the political danger of monopolistic conditions. Antitrust laws do not just protect the marketplace, they protect democracy.
It might be argued that North America's democratic political systems are so entrenched that we needn't fear fascism's return. The democracies of Italy and Germany in the 1920's were in many respects fledgling and weak. Our systems will surely react at the first whiff of dictatorship. Or will they? This argument denies the reality that the fascist dictatorships were preceded by years of reactionary politics, the kind of politics that are playing out today. Further, it is based on the conceit that whatever our own governments do is democracy.
Canada still clings to a quaint, 19th century "first past the post" electoral system in which a minority of the popular vote can and has resulted in majority control of parliament. In the US, millions still question the legality of the sitting president's first election victory, and the power to declare war has effectively become his personal prerogative.
Assuming that we have enough democracy to protect us is exactly the kind of complacency that allows our systems to be quietly and slowly perverted. On paper, Italy and Germany had constitutional, democratic systems. What they lacked was the eternal vigilance necessary to sustain them. That vigilance is also lacking today.
Our collective forgetfulness about the economic nature of fascism is also dangerous at a more philosophical level. As contradictory as it may seem, fascist dictatorship was made possible because of the flawed notion of freedom that held sway during the era of laissez-faire capitalism in the early twentieth century. It was the liberals of that era that clamored for unfettered personal and economic freedom, no matter what the cost to society.
Such untrammeled freedom is not suitable to civilized humans. It is the freedom of the jungle. In other words, the strong have more of it than the weak. It is a notion of freedom that is inherently violent, because it is enjoyed at the expense of others. Such a notion of freedom legitimizes each and every increase in the wealth and power of those who are already powerful, regardless of the misery that will be suffered by others as a result.
The use of the state to limit such "freedom" was denounced by the laissez-faire liberals of the early twentieth century. The use of the state to protect such "freedom" was fascism. Just as monopoly is the ruin of the free market, fascism is the ultimate degradation of liberal capitalism.
In the post-war period, this flawed notion of freedom has been perpetuated by the neo-liberal school of thought. The neo-liberals denounce any regulation of the marketplace. In so doing, they mimic the posture of big business in the pre-fascist period. Under the sway of neo-liberalism, Thatcher, Reagan, Mulroney and George W Bush have decimated labor and exalted capital. (Currently, only 7.8% of workers in the US private sector are unionized - about the same percentage as in the early 1900s.)
Neo-liberals call relentlessly for tax cuts which, in a previously progressive system, disproportionately favor the wealthy. Regarding the distribution of wealth, the neo-liberals have nothing to say. In the result, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. As in Weimar Germany, the function of the state is being reduced to that of a steward for the interests of the moneyed elite. All that would be required now for a more rapid descent into fascism are a few reasons for the average person to forget that he is being ripped off. The racist hatred of Arabs, fundamentalist Christianity or an illusory sense of perpetual war may well be taking the place of Hitler's hatred for communists and Jews.
Neo-liberal intellectuals often recognize the need for violence to protect what they regard as freedom. Thomas Freidman of the New York Times has written enthusiastically that "the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist", and that "McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the US Air Force F-15 ... ".
As in pre-fascist Germany and Italy, the laissez-faire businessmen call for the state to do their bidding even as they insist that the state should stay out of the marketplace. Put plainly, neo-liberals advocate the use of the state's military force for the sake of private gain. Their view of the state's role in society is identical to that of the businessmen and intellectuals who supported Hitler and Mussolini. There is no fear of the big state here. There is only the desire to wield its power. Neo-liberalism is thus fertile soil for fascism to grow again into an outright threat to our democracy.
Having said that fascism is the result of a flawed notion of freedom, I respectfully suggest that we must re-examine what we mean when we throw around the word "freedom". We must conceive of freedom in a more enlightened way. Indeed, it was the thinkers of the Enlightenment who imagined a balanced and civilized freedom that did not impinge upon the freedom of one's neighbor. Put in the simplest terms, my right to life means that you must give up your freedom to kill me. This may seem terribly obvious to decent people. Unfortunately, in our neo-liberal era, this civilized sense of freedom has, like the dangers of fascism, been all but forgotten.
Paul Bigioni is a lawyer practicing in Markham, Ontario. He is a commentator on trade and political issues. This article is drawn from his work on a book about the persistence of fascism.
National Socialism - definition of National Socialism in Encyclopedia
For earlier National Socialist movements which merged with Nazism see:
For modern Nazism see:
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as "military Keynesianism". For our purposes, it is useful to identify