The Guardian February 16, 2000


The Spectre Of Global Fascism

by David Lethbridge*

The year 1999 was one of struggle in the anti-fascist movement. The Bethune 
Institute (Canada), carrying out a consistently militant approach, was able 
to achieve a number of successes.

The new Aryan Nations leader in Canada  Marty Olsen, of Prince George  
was forced to resign his position and remove the organisation's website 
from the Internet.

The Canadian British-Israel Association's annual convention was denied a 
venue in London, Ontario, on the basis of the racist propaganda they were 
selling and the anti-Semitic speakers they were intending to host.

The Preferred Network, a British Columbia (BC) organisation, was forced to 
remove hate literature from their website. Material was provided to Acadia 
University, in Nova Scotia, to combat advertising by Holocaust-deniers.

The neo-Nazi American Front was forced to remove their Internet and e-mail 
listservice.

With varying degrees of success, we worked closely with other 
organisations, in attempts to shut down meetings by Paul Fromm, Doug 
Christie, and David Icke, to expose the existence of the New Order Knights 
of the Ku Klux Klan in the mountains of central BC, and to expose and shut 
down Winston's Journal, a white supremacist newsletter from Alberta.

But as we enter the new millennium, the main threat will not come primarily 
from the hundreds of fascist groups established throughout the capitalist 
world. Of course, that does not mean that they are no threat at all.

These fascist groups will continue to produce and distribute hate 
propaganda, hold public meetings, recruit new members, harass, assault, and 
murder. They will keep trying to shift the anger of workers away from the 
capitalist economic agenda, the true source of their suffering, towards 
minorities and immigrants.

And such groups will remain potentially useful to the capitalist state as a 
force to divide and terrorise the working class and their mass 
organisations. But the main threat facing the working class of every nation 
is the growing possibility of global state fascism.

We must examine this possibility seriously, neither giving way to 
hysterical exaggeration, nor refusing to draw the necessary conclusions 
from objective political, economic, and historical analysis.

The driving force toward global fascism is US imperialism. Like an ever-
expanding bloodstain, it is spreading and deepening its influence into 
every corner of the world. Intent on global economic domination, it is 
backed up by a ruthless and sophisticated military machine.

If we examine only the most recent period, some disturbing trends become 
clear. The US has an open record of manipulating international bodies such 
as the United Nations, NATO, and the Organisation of American States.

Increasingly, it engages in illegal acts of war, such as the invasions of 
Panama or Yugoslavia, the mining of Managua harbour, or the blockade of 
Cuba. Washington ignores both world opinion and the decisions of 
international courts.

It supports fascist and quasi-fascist client states, training their police 
and military in advanced methods of torture and interrogation. It engages 
in attempts to assassinate world leaders of whom it disapproves.

At the level of economics, US imperialism increasingly dominates foreign 
states through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. 
Nations are forced to choke off funds to education, social programs and 
economic development, in order to pay back exorbitant interest on debts.

The majority of the world's working class, and  increasingly  elements 
of the middle class, are being forced into grinding poverty. US-based 
transnational corporations (TNCs) are buying up important industries, 
mines, and fuel resources in the very countries they have bankrupted 
through IMF manipulation.

TNCs are demanding increased powers through international investment 
treaties, whose primary function is to allow imperialist capital to flow to 
wherever labour is cheapest, with the predictable effects of reducing wages 
everywhere, and eroding the power of labour unions and the sovereignty of 
nations.

US imperialism has moved to a strategy of "lightning wars": low-intensity 
warfare carried out with such speed that effective popular resistance 
becomes difficult or impossible to build.

This strategy includes the twin tactic of controlling media access to 
warfare zones, while spreading disinformation and outright lies.

The monopolisation of mass media in fewer and fewer hands accelerates the 
process of state information control.

Domestically, the US state engages in extensive counter-intelligence and 
electronic spying on its citizens. The percentage of its population 
currently in prison is the highest in the world.

The privatisation of prisons means worsening conditions for inmates and an 
industrial process of prison slave labour. The inherently racist US 
judicial system is executing prisoners at record rates.

When Nazi Germany engaged in a similar pattern of global domination, 
accompanied by viciously racist and anti-working class policies, the world 
recognised it for what it was: fascism.

But to many workers today, the idea of global US fascism is literally 
unthinkable.

Imperialist control of ideology means that the very mode in which people 
think is manipulated. The ideological attack against socialism, Communism, 
and working-class power continues unabated.

Further, since elections continue to be held, and the state continues to 
operate through a multi-party system, the spectre of global fascism remains 
largely invisible at very centre of its production.

In this context, it is worth quoting what Lenin wrote in 1919, as fascism 
first began to take hold: "The forms of domination may vary: capital 
manifests its power in one way where one form exists, and in another way 
where another form exists  but essentially the power is in the hands of 
capital, whether there are voting qualifications or some other rights or 
not  in fact, the more democratic it is the cruder and more cynical is 
the rule of capitalism.

"One of the most democratic republics in the world is the United States of 
America, yet nowhere is the power of capital, the power of a handful of 
multimillionaires over the whole of society, so crude and so openly corrupt 
as in America" (The State, Collected Works, v 29).

Yet global US fascism is more an undeniable possibility than an 
accomplished reality. Counter-trends are developing. Mass movements 
opposing corporate globalisation are maturing.

The working class and the peasantry, especially in South America, are 
rising and showing signs of strength. Organised labour in North America is 
reaching toward left positions. Socialist and Communist parties around the 
world are holding their own and building their base.

Global fascism is not inevitable. But the vulture's egg has already 
hatched. We must be vigilant in analysing its every step.

And we must work hard to bring together the various mass movements, with 
their fragile and partial political consciousness, into a mass force 
capable of transforming the future. Never more than now, we have a world to 
win.

* * *
*David Lethbridge is Director of the Bethune Institute for Anti-Fascist Studies, Canada. From People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper

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