The Fascist style

37 posts / 0 new
Last post
Doug Woodard
The Fascist style

*****

Doug Woodard

It seems to have something to do with a lack of self-confidence:

https://aeon.co/essays/the-macho-violent-culture-of-italian-fascism-was-...

As Nietzsche expressed it "Thou goest to woman? Do not forget thy whip." Little boys...

lagatta4

The Russian Futurists, such as Mayakovsky, were leftwing though.

Of course Italian fascism preceded the German variety, but the latter proved far more lethal.

josh

Interesting.  And scary.

6079_Smith_W

And the Italians did have far better style, something the Nazis definitely tried to copy, with mixed success.

I am not trying to joke here. Philosophically they might have had roots in futurism, and the uniforms they adopted were very modern, but much of the imagery, art, and archtecture were classical, for a reason. It was something everyone would understand.

Also, part of the reason why German fascism was so much more lethal was because it developed in far more bloody circumstances than in Italy. And there was not the same siege mentality as there was in Germany between the wars (and at points a very real siege and occupation) . People were not starving to death in the streets. Nor was there the same degee of anti-Semitism, which gave Hitler his biggest target.

From J.G. Ballard's review (written in 1969) of Mein Kampf:

Quote:

The psychopath never dates.

Hitler's contemporaries - Baldwin, Chamberlain, Herbert Hoover - seem pathetically fusty figures, with their frock coats and wing collars, closer to the world of Edison, Carnegie and the hansom cab than to the first fully evolved modern societies over which they presided, areas of national consciousness formed by mass-produced newspapers and consumer goods, advertising and tele-communications. By comparison Hitler is completely up-to-date, and would be equally at home in the sixties (and probably even more so in the seventies) as in the twenties. The whole apparatus of the Nazi super-state, its nightmare uniforms and propaganda, seems weirdly turned-on, providing just that element of manifest insanity to which we all respond in the H-Bomb or Viet Nam - perhaps one reason why the American and Russian space programmes have failed to catch our imaginations is that this quality of explicit psychopathology is missing.

...

In this preface, the translator of Mein Kampf describes it as written in the style of a self-educated modern South German with a talent for oratory. In this respect Hitler was one of the rightful inheritors of the 20th century - the epitome of the half-educated man.

http://www.jgballard.ca/non_fiction/jgb_reviews_hitler.html

There are plenty of comparisons between Trump and Hitler, and certainly some of the tactics he is using can be called fascist. But really the two men could not be more different. Even Trump's greatest supporters do so while holding their noses. And while he is being enabled by the Republicans (who also tried initially to reject him) he did not take power like the Nazis. By 1933 they had a shadow government in place, with gauleiters in every district, and blockwarts on every street.

 

 

josh

lagatta4

Well, the black SS uniforms designed by Hugo Boss certainly had style; there have been essays on the elegance of evil (though obviously not all SS men lived up to that standard; I'm sure some looked more like Trump or Bannon). http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1975/02/06/fascinating-fascism/ Susan Sontag

Antisemitism was a very minor factor in Italy; there wasn't a large Jewish population, and the existing Jewish population was very well-integrated. There were Jews prominent both among fascists (before the Racial Laws) and antifascists, the latter including the Rosselli brothers, Carlo Levi, Carlo Ginzburg and Natalia Levi-Ginzburg. Primo Levi was younger, he was a partisan but a rank-and-file one and arrested in a maquis. Several bourgeois Jews saw the (pre-alliance with Hitler) fascist regime in a positive light.

The cowardly fascists went along with the so-called Racial Laws and the rest of the crap, but the real destruction of Jewish communities in Italy was after the Nazis took direct control along with their puppets in the Republic of Salo.

Except for the modern factories in Turin and some other Northern cities, Italy remained a far more agrarian society, and fascism was more a matter of "catching up" via authoritarian measures than repairing the damage caused by the deeply harmful exactions the Great War victors imposed on Germany.

Those interested in babble archaeology might want to look up the House Beautiful story on Hitler's Alpine retreat overlooking both Bavaria and his native Austria, and some of the visitors from other countries...

6079_Smith_W

The fascists might have used futurism as justification for their actions, but there are much older examples for what they are really all about.

Pasolini nailed it when he used Sade's story of the priest, the banker, the businessman, and the politician to make his very difficult to watch film Salo. Most of it was straight from the book, and he said he consciously made the victims seem weak and hateful in order to show how fascism worked. But then, Pasolini lived in the Salo Republic, so he knew the subject matter. I can't think of a better artistic indictment of fascism, and he was almost certainly murdered because he made that film.

Sean in Ottawa

I have not yet read the article and I will.

Couple general comments about relevance for today. You see lists of Fascist attributes. Often they are made directly to make the comparisons to today. The most instructive for me are the descriptions of what was Fascism from the time.

When looking at it today, what I find most useful when you look not just what is common between 1930s Facists and what is happening today, looking at both general trends (what things are widely in place now) and specific attributes unique to a particular person, movement or party. So rather than a list comparing Trump to Fascists I would prefer to see a 1930s-1950s description of the attributes of Fascism compared against both the general practices of today and the specific ones of the comparison we are interested in to identify what is actually unique in our era to a particular example and have that come from a source from then.

To me this is a more scientific basis that avoids any confirmation bias.

Rev Pesky

If one wants to learn about fascism, what better place to start than with someone who had to battle it directly.

Fascism: What It Is And How To Fight It.

Quote:
At the moment that the "normal" police and military resources of the bourgeois dictatorship, together with their parliamentary screens, no longer suffice to hold society in a state of equilibrium -- the turn of the fascist regime arrives. Through the fascist agency, capitalism sets in motion the masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie and the bands of declassed and demoralized lumpenproletariat -- all the countless human beings whom finance capital itself has brought to desperation and frenzy.

...After fascism is victorious, finance capital directly and immediately gathers into its hands, as in a vise of steel, all the organs and institutions of sovereignty, the executive administrative, and educational powers of the state: the entire state apparatus together with the army, the municipalities, the universities, the schools, the press, the trade unions, and the co-operatives.

6079_Smith_W

Trotsky? Really? They guy who used this strategy?

Quote:

“root out the counter-revolutionaries without mercy, lock up suspicious characters in concentration camps — this is a necessary condition of success.Shirkers will be shot, regardless of past service. ”

Different side of the same coin, near as I can see.

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

Rev Pesky wrote:

If one wants to learn about fascism, what better place to start than with someone who had to battle it directly.

Fascism: What It Is And How To Fight It.

Quote:
At the moment that the "normal" police and military resources of the bourgeois dictatorship, together with their parliamentary screens, no longer suffice to hold society in a state of equilibrium -- the turn of the fascist regime arrives. Through the fascist agency, capitalism sets in motion the masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie and the bands of declassed and demoralized lumpenproletariat -- all the countless human beings whom finance capital itself has brought to desperation and frenzy.

...After fascism is victorious, finance capital directly and immediately gathers into its hands, as in a vise of steel, all the organs and institutions of sovereignty, the executive administrative, and educational powers of the state: the entire state apparatus together with the army, the municipalities, the universities, the schools, the press, the trade unions, and the co-operatives.

His description of Fascism under Fascism -- What Is It? is unhelpful and repetitious. Sorry if this is an unpopular opinion.

6079_Smith_W

A new (sort of) twist on it:

Quote:

While there are parallels to be found between Milo and historical and contemporary fascist figures interested in homoeroticism, he remains singular: an ultra right-wing pundit with a high-femme persona who is nonetheless largely embraced by a political bloc synonymous with contempt for homosexuals and feminine men. Understanding the sources of his appeal is crucial to developing sophisticated insight into the way alt-right media—now the sanctioned news of the White House—uses spectacle and irony to persuade, bewitch, disrupt, and overwhelm the public.

https://bostonreview.net/politics-gender-sexuality/daniel-penny-milosexu...

And in case it isn't clear where this troll stands:

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/17/gay-rights-have-made-...

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I am glad to see you are keeping up with the times and are now posting from Breitbart. Its good to see you keep up the good work of spreading the current elites message. 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Stylish to a fault.

6079_Smith_W

As a warning? You bet I am spreading it.

I think it is important to hear where he stands on gay rights, especially considering, as the first article says, some are confused because of the fact he is himself openly gay. In fact, there is nothing to be confused about at all, as his words should make clear. He is an opponent of LGBT rights.

And especially since he is getting some sympathy after the riot that happened at Berkeley earlier this week.

 

quizzical

thanks for the article with Susan Sontag quotes in it.

i've never read a thing of hers and her words explained so much to me......in fact learning about this Milo guy explains even more.

i think the Briebart link isn't needed and should be removed

i never went there. didn't need to. the Boston Review article laid it out and quotes Brietbart itself anyway.

Sean in Ottawa

quizzical wrote:

thanks for the article with Susan Sontag quotes in it.

i've never read a thing of hers and her words explained so much to me......in fact learning about this Milo guy explains even more.

i think the Briebart link isn't needed and should be removed

i never went there. didn't need to. the Boston Review article laid it out and quotes Brietbart itself anyway.

I have read some of hers but not nearly enough. At times I remind myself to find more and then I forget until the next time someone mentions her.

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Stylish to a fault.

Of course Franco was the only one to survive that period.

6079_Smith_W

Salazar in Portugal did too, though he kind of kept his distance from the Nazis.

 

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Trotsky? Really? They guy who used this strategy?

Quote:

“root out the counter-revolutionaries without mercy, lock up suspicious characters in concentration camps — this is a necessary condition of success.Shirkers will be shot, regardless of past service. ”

Different side of the same coin, near as I can see.

Another unsourced, rather spurious quote. This seems to  becoming a habit with you.

Rev Pesky

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...His description of Fascism under Fascism -- What Is It? is unhelpful and repetitious. Sorry if this is an unpopular opinion.

The repitition is a result of the overall article being a compilation of different articles, all addressing the same thing. There is bound to be a certain amount of overlap. I'll grant that it does slow the reader down a bit.

But, unhelpful? Trotsky knew more about fascism than any ten other authors of his time, and was there as it grew from a fringe group to the worldwide threat it became.

His warnings about fascism turned out to be right on the money, but unlike present day analysts, he didn't have the benefit of hindsight. He was writing in the 30's, as fascism was growing into the threat it became. Surely such an analysis is worth reading, to gain that direct knowledge.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

As a warning? You bet I am spreading it.

I think it is important to hear where he stands on gay rights, especially considering, as the first article says, some are confused because of the fact he is himself openly gay. In fact, there is nothing to be confused about at all, as his words should make clear. He is an opponent of LGBT rights.

And especially since he is getting some sympathy after the riot that happened at Berkeley earlier this week.

Outside of his own declaration, how do we know he's gay? After all, he does seem to have invented a few different versions of himself, including declaring his mother, or his maternal grandmother (your choice) to be Jewish.

In fact his birth name is Milo Hanrahan. He may just be an entertainer, with his own shtick.

By the way, the article posted, written by hiim, displays an complete lack of understanding of evolution, and practically everything else he says. I think he belongs to the school of 'just make stuff up'.

 

6079_Smith_W

@ Rev

I have cited (with source) that quote a few times, so I didn't think it was necessary, but you just have to ask. It is from a statement he made in 1918, quoted in The Eternal Revolutionary.

But thanks. I hadn't seen this wikiquote page before. The one after it about the guillotine (which I had not seen before) also gives you an indication of where he was coming from.

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Leon_Trotsky

Not to mention how that whole thing went sideways, even if he got purged in the process.

As for Yiannopoulos, that is kind of an odd question, but it really isn't the one that matters. The real problem is that because he is gay some people get bamboozled into thinking he is some sort of progressive. In fact, I don't think it really matters whether he believes (and he might) the things he says in his article. The whole thing is so over the top that his "gay exceptionalism" (and anti-lesbianism) isn't really the point. He clearly isn't being serious because none of the things he is talking about actually add up (as two of those he mentioned, Wilde and Turing, found out). I agree with you completely about him just making it up.

The point is that it is just a foil for right-wing trolling of those who do stand up for LGBT rights.  It runs all through that article.

There are plenty of others who spin themselves as victims of progressive reform. And as some sort of libertarian progressive. Breitbart, Gamergate, MRAs, the good professor at the U of T, to name a few. What does this have to do with the subject of this thread? Because while they may not be fascists, they promote (in varying degrees) the same things that fascists used to gain support: the powerful casting themselves as victims, an appeal to traditional roles, scapegoating, a rejection of the rule of law when it is in their way, division and discrimination, and in some cases promotion and use of violence.

Here are a couple more well-groomed victims. I suppose the subtle message is that women don't really belong at university anyway. But like the futurist message, that part will come when conditions are ready for it.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/white-students-union-posters-taken...

 

lagatta4

That is part of the message, but Fascist art has always been strong on the beauty of young, athletic men. Even with a homoerotic subtext, though Fascism is also homophobic andhas persecuted and killed gay people.

I think that what Trotsky wrote about the class nature of fascism and the need to unite the different currents in the workers' movement is relevant, but Gramsci certainly had at least as much to say about it... from inside its jails.

Remember that no military leader in a civil war could be angelic or democratic - that is true for the Anarchists in Spain as well. But it is true that ruthlessness too easily becomes a method. Trotsky wrote about fascism when he was already a "prophet outcast" (Isaac Deutscher).

 

6079_Smith_W

And their whole health and fitness thing.

I don't know if anyone here has read Timur Viermes' book Look Who's Back (Er ist Wieder Da) or seen the movie. But it is kind of a wry joke on that that when Hitler returns in the 21st Century the party he feels the greatest kinship to is the Greens because they focus on issues like food and earth, something everyone understands which is easy to exploit.

As for the contradiction, it isn't that much different than Ann Coulter saying openly that she thinks things would be better if women were not allowed to vote.

And that same crew just love her for it too.

 

lagatta4

Well, there are all kinds of "Greens" from far left to far right.

Doug Woodard

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And their whole health and fitness thing.

I don't know if anyone here has read Timur Viermes' book Look Who's Back (Er ist Wieder Da) or seen the movie. But it is kind of a wry joke on that that when Hitler returns in the 21st Century the party he feels the greatest kinship to is the Greens because they focus on issues like food and earth, something everyone understands which is easy to exploit.

It's useful to remember that the Nazis had a talent for "getting into the juice" in Stephen Gaskin's phrase. They liked to batten on any issue that moved the public and use that political energy for their own purposes. They behaved rather like a wolverine rubbing his rump over a food cache and making sure that no one else would want to use it.

Socialists might take a good look at the phrase "National *Socialist* German *Workers'* Party. Same principle.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Rev

I have cited (with source) that quote a few times, so I didn't think it was necessary, but you just have to ask. It is from a statement he made in 1918, quoted in The Eternal Revolutionary.

In other words, you are accepting the statement of a third party as to the accuracy, or even existence of said quote.

For others who may not be familiar, 'The Eternal Revolutionary' was not a book written by Trotsky. It is a book written by Dmitri Volkogonov, who claims to have reviewed millions of documents of the Soviet Union made available after during the period of glasnost. There is no evidence the quote you posted is a real quote of Trostsky's.

6079_Smith_W

Yeah, just some so-called researcher.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Volkogonov

Well if he was, he was a very well-placed and well-informed one and, until he had a change of heart, the most committed of supporters.

There were plenty of accusations levelled against him, like "traitor". No one has suggested he fabricated that directive by Trotsky because there are plenty enough examples in Trotsky's other writings and actions where he shows himself to be a ruthless authoritarian.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/01/kronstadt.htm

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Rev Pesky don't bother. After all he's Russian so of course 6079 thinks he is evil. A nasty man compared to someone like Bandera who we all know was not a fascist. 2 + 2 = 5

6079_Smith_W

Who said Stepan Bandera was not a fascist? He was, actually. He just happened to be  Ukrainian one, which meant that various times he wound up opposing both the Soviets and the Nazis.

And the author I cited was Russian. Those who started the Kronstadt rebellion were Russian.

My point is that I don't consider someone like Trotsky - who used very fascist tool there was, from violence, to scapegoating, to dictatorial control - to be much of an opponent. If anything he was its mirror image, even if he did try to dress it up as a dictatorship of the proletariat.

 

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Yeah, just some so-called researcher.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Volkogonov

Well if he was, he was a very well-placed and well-informed one and, until he had a change of heart, the most committed of supporters.

But a supporter of what? Was he a support of Trotsky who eventually changed his mind because of what he found in the archives? Nope. He was, as the Wikipedia article says, "...a committed Stalinist and Marxist–Leninist ideologue." Just in case you're not aware, Stalin was not an admirer of Trotsky, and it is extremely doubtful that an admirer of Stalin would present a real picture of Trotsky.

In addition, those old archives were archives of Stalinist period, and their reliablity is very questionanble. Even if Volkogonov was what he says, a reformed Stalinist, he's still using sources that are so suspect you can't trust anything in them.

 

6079_Smith_W wrote:
...There were plenty of accusations levelled against him (Volkogonov - Rev Pesky), like "traitor". No one has suggested he fabricated that directive by Trotsky because there are plenty enough examples in Trotsky's other writings and actions where he shows himself to be a ruthless authoritarian.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/01/kronstadt.htm

As I pointed out above, even if we accept Volkogonov as what he says he is (which I don't), his sources are completely unreliable.

Was Trotsky an authoritarian? He was appointed to head the Red Army in the aftermath of the revolution. There was a civil war going on after the complete devestation of WW1 (and of course, years of unbelievable cruelty by the Tsars). Yes he was an authoritarian.

Was Trotsky a fascist? Absoutely not! And the more of his writing you read, the more you arrive at that realization.

6079_Smith_W

Oh right. I'm sure everyone felt much better knowing they were being murdered not by corporatists, but by "the people".

In fact, I never called him one. "Fascist" is kind of a technical term, after all.

But I did point out he used every rule in their playbook, from scapegoating anyone who opposed his power, including progressives, to the  arbitrary use of power and violence, to rule by dictatorship. And for all his talk about class consciousness and making the individual sacred, if that consciousness led to something other than his ideology they they were his enemy.

So who cares if he happens to be wearing a red star or a tricolour, or that he differed with those who purged him on tactical issues, and proved more ruthless than him, if anyone who he saw as the enemy wound up just as dead?

 

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Oh right. I'm sure everyone felt much better knowing they were being murdered not by corporatists, but by "the people".

In fact, I never called him one. "Fascist" is kind of a technical term, after all.

From an earlier post:

6079_Smith_W wrote:
...My point is that I don't consider someone like Trotsky - who used very fascist tool there was, from violence, to scapegoating, to dictatorial control - to be much of an opponent. If anything he was its mirror image, even if he did try to dress it up as a dictatorship of the proletariat.

He wasn't a Fascist, but he used every Fascist tool in the book...Pardon if I find this a tad amusing.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
...But I did point out he used every rule in their playbook, from scapegoating anyone who opposed his power, including progressives, to the  arbitrary use of power and violence, to rule by dictatorship. And for all his talk about class consciousness and making the individual sacred, if that consciousness led to something other than his ideology they they were his enemy.

So who cares if he happens to be wearing a red star or a tricolour, or that he differed with those who purged him on tactical issues, and proved more ruthless than him, if anyone who he saw as the enemy wound up just as dead?

The Nazi's didn't 'scapegoat anyone who opposed' their power, whatever that might mean. They blamed Jews for the problems suffered by the people of Germany. Trotsky didn't have to scapegoat anyone. The people of Russia were well aware of the suffering they had endured under the Tsars.

As far as Trotsky's power, he never really had any. It is true he was head of the Red Army, but that was a very delicate balancing act. The army had been devestated by WW1, and the soldiers were in no mood for fighting. At the same time, outside powers were helping the White Army in their efforts to overthrow the Bolsheviks. According to Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Whites and the Reds fought the Russian Civil War from November 1917 until 1921, and isolated battles continued in the Far East until 1923. The White Army—aided by the Allied forces (Triple Entente) from countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States and (sometimes) the Central Powers forces such as Germany and Austria-Hungary—fought in Siberia, Ukraine, and the Crimea. They were defeated by the Red Army due to military and ideological disunity, as well as the determination and increasing unity of the Red Army.

Needless to say, if the White Army had the needed support in Russia itself, they wouldn't have needed outside help.

In the meantime, Stalin was consolidating his power in the Communist Party. He was appointed General Secretary in 1922. When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin was named as his successor in the party leadership.

By 1927, Trotsky was expelled from the Central Committe, and shortly thereafter expelled from the party. In 1929 Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union, and spent the rest of his life outside the country.

Now, where in this did Trotsky have great power? The answer is, he didn't. Trotsky never wielded great power in Russia, except by his own powers of persuasion.

It is interesting though, that Trotsky remains the bugbear of capital and Stalinist both. No lie to big or to small for that crowd.

6079_Smith_W

Rev Pesky wrote:

He wasn't a Fascist, but he used every Fascist tool in the book...Pardon if I find this a tad amusing.

Good to see you get the point. No, he wasn't a corporatist. But the end result? Not that different. Yes, there is a contradiction there, but it isn't mine.

You think the Nazis only blamed the Jews? To hear the Soviet mythology they were the biggest target (speaking of contradictions), and in fact the Nazis were bitterly opposed to Communism. But also Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gays, members of the Confessing Church, anarchists, social democrats, freemasons, trade unionists, and pretty much anyone who was not Nazi. It just happened that  they singled out the Jews as their single biggest target.

As for Trotsky, he may have fallen out of favour when started complaining about support for the KMT, and party democracy when it affected him. But if you read that article of his from 1938, he never really learned the lesson when it came to those who disagreed with him. So he never really learned it at all.

People also give Danton some credit for wanting to put the brakes on when he saw things going against him. Doesn't change the fact that he cared nothing when it was just priests, prisoners and (mostly) sex workers being butchered by the mob.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Back to Fascist style. Who knows some Ukrainian medals along with the Hungarian ones might become de rigueur in the Trump inner circle.