Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism’

A Democratic Marxist Condemnation of the Soviet Regime

January 18, 2023

A few days ago I put up a post about the 18th century communist Morelly. He had some interesting ideas, although I made it clear that I am not a supporter of communism because of the tyranny, poor economic performance and poverty of the Soviet regime. One of the great commenters here remarked that describing the USSR as a tyranny probably wouldn’t go down very well with the Socialist Workers Party, now renamed the Socialist Party. I’m not sure, as the Socialist Workers were, in their day, a Trotskyite party, and therefore opposed to the communism of the USSR over the issue of Stalin’s dictatorship. The impression I had was that the Trotskyite parties wanted a communist society, but one where the workers themselves would hold power through soviets, rather than controlled by the communist bureaucracy.

As well as the Trotskyites, there were democratic Marxists in the west, who believed that socialism should be achieved democratically and rejected violent revolution and the dictatorship of the USSR. Karl Kautsky, an Austrian Marxist and one of the leaders of European Marxism, took this position. Another was the French Marxist, Lucien Laurat, who made the following scathing condemnation of the Soviet tyranny in Russia in his Marxism and Democracy, published by the Left Book Club in 1940.

‘In the fascist countries we can still observe the existence of capitalist characteristics, where as in Russia these characteristics have been radically destroyed as a result of the absolute seizure by the State of all the means of production and distribution. Although the Russian economic system has often been called “State capitalism”, and although the term “State slavery” employed by Karl Kautsky seems to us a more appropriate designation in our opinion, the present Russian regime is not slavery, or serfdom, or capitalism, but something of all three. It is related to slavery and serfdom by the absolute and total suppression of all freedom for the workers, who are tied by domestic passports to their places of residence, and often to their places of employment, like the feudal serf to the glebe. It is related to capitalism by the preservation of a great number of economic categories and legal forms. However, it is fundamentally different from any of these systems.

With more reason, and, of course, with all those reservations proper to such historical comparisons, we may rather compare the present Russian regime with the social and economic regime of the Incas, who dictatorially governed Peru before the discovery of America: an authoritatively controlled economic system strongly marked by numerous communist traits, but with a division of society into classes. No one can say how and toward what this curious social system might have developed had not a brutal and rapacious conqueror brought it to a sudden and premature end. It is quite certain, however, that on an infinitely larger scale, with an incomparably higher mass culture, and provided with all the achievements of twentieth-century science, our modern Incaism over what is called “one-sixth of the globe” reproduces from the social and and political point of view the most characteristic traits of Peruvian Incaism of four hundred years ago.

Just as the Russian State disposes absolutely over the material elements of the economic process, so it disposes dictatorially over the human element also. The workers are no longer free to sell their labour-power where they like and how they please. They no longer enjoy freedom of movement in the territory of the U.S.S.R. (domestic passports) The right to strike has been suppressed, and if the workers expressed even the slightest desire to oppose the methods of Stakhanovism, it would expose them to the severest punishments.

The Russian unions, strictly under the orders of the governing party, are merely organs charged with the execution in their own province of the political instructions of the Government. The instruments destined to defend the working class against the directive organism of the economic system have become instruments in the service of these organisms. The working class thus finds itself subjected to the discretionary power of a bureau-technocracy identical with the State apparatus.’ (Pp. 200-2).

There, and if you only listen to the Libertarians, you would think that only von Hayek believed that communism was slavery, although in his case he all meant all forms of socialism. Not that I think he had any hatred of right-wing dictatorship. He served in Dollfuss’ Austro-Fascist regime, which ended with the Nazi invasion and supported the various fascist dictatorships in South America. This, too me, shows how far Libertarians really believe in freedom.

The Fascist Argument Against Free Market Capitalism

January 15, 2023

I notice that as the failure of contemporary free market capitalism becomes every more obvious, its right-wing supporters are out on the net telling everyone how wonderful capitalism is. Capitalism, according to them, has lifted more people out of poverty than any socialist state has ever done. You find this repeated by the Lotus Eaters, and I recent found yet another video on YouTube put up by a right-winger.

Now there is something to this. Marx in the Communist Manifesto was impressed by the global achievements of capitalism, and industrialisation and trade has produced development and prosperity in Britain, the West and elsewhere, and lifted people out of the poverty of agricultural subsistence economies. But this hasn’t been done by capitalism alone. Trade unions have also been part of the development of mass prosperity in the industrialised nations through demands for increased wages, better working conditions and so on, a fact ignored by the right. And working people in the west enjoyed their greatest period of prosperity when capitalism was regulated as part of the post-War consensus. In Britain this took the form of a mixed economy in which the utilities were owned and operated by the state. The privatisation of these utilities, the devastation of the welfare state and the deregulation of the economy has led to a massive transfer of wealth upwards, so that the poor have become colossally poorer and the wealth of the rich even more bloated and obscene. Properly regulated, capitalism does raise people out of poverty. But free market capitalism, of the kind frantically promoted by right-wingers like the Lotus Eaters, has done the reverse.

But let’s grant them that the 19th century was an age of industrial and agricultural expansion in which people enriched themselves. Mussolini expressed this view in his speech about the corporative state he was introducing into Italy. The fascist corporations were industrial organisations, one for each industry, which included representatives of the trade unions and the owners’ organisations. The Italian parliament was dissolved and reorganised into a Chamber of Fasces and Corporations, in which these organisations were supposed to debate economic policy. In fact, it just served as a rubber stamp for the Duce’s decisions. It was, however, important for propaganda purposes, to show that Mussolini’s regime had transcended capitalism and socialism.

The Fascists weren’t enemies of capitalism, far from it. Mussolini’s constitution made private industry the basis of the state and economic life, which is why I’m using it his critique of free market capitalism against the free marketeers. Mussolini had been a radical socialist, but when the Fascists seized power he declared them to be true followers of Manchester School capitalism. In other words, free trade. This was accompanied by a programme of privatisation. In Germany Hitler gave a speech to the German equivalent of the Confederation of British Industry, saying that capitalism could only be preserved through a dictatorship. He stated that he would not nationalise any company, unless it was failing. During the Nazi dictatorship industry was organised into a series of interlocking associations subject to state control. But they were not nationalised, and the leadership of the organisations was always given to private industrialists, not the managers of state industries.

Back to Italy, Mussolini described how this initial period had begun to decay. The old family run firms declined, to be replaced by joint stock companies. At the same time, firms organised themselves into cartels. In America, these cartels demanded intervention from the government. Mussolini announced that, if left unchecked, this would lead to the emergence of a state capitalism that was every bit as pernicious as state socialism. His solution was that capitalism needed to be more ‘social’. It would be subordinated to the state through the corporations, where workers and management would cooperate to make Italy a great power once more.

Something similar has happened over the past four decades. Under this new corporativism, representatives of private industry have entered government as advisors and officials, often in the departments charged with regulating their industries. At the same time, industry has received massive subsidies and tax breaks so that much of the tax burden has moved lower down on working people. Mussolini was correct about private industry demanding state intervention, however much this is denied and state planning attacked by free market theorists. And the result is corporativism, which the free marketeers denounce as not being true capitalism. But it’s been pointed out that the type of capitalism they believe in has never existed.

Free market capitalism is a failure. The solution is not a murderous dictatorship, but the old, regulated, mixed economy of the social democratic consensus. An economy that includes private industry, but which recognises that it alone does not create wealth, and which demands the inclusion of working people and their organisations in industrial negotiations and policies in order to create prosperity for working people.

That Preston Journalist Accuses Starmer of Being a Tory: He’s Right!

January 10, 2023

The very right wing That Preston Journalist has taken time off from sniping and criticising Nicola Sturgeon, and instead fixed his sights on Keir Starmer. Earlier this evening he posted a video stating very clearly that Starmer was a Tory. The thumbnail for this is a meme which shows a rubber plant on one side, and a Tory plant, Starmer, on the other. It’s very short, just 1 minute 44 seconds. The Journalist’s reason for calling Starmer a Tory was the Labour leader’s statement that the NHS needed reform. Although met with a chorus of criticism, Preston Man believes this is glaringly obvious. I agree. It is obvious, and the real solution would be to renationalise it and clear out the private medical companies and advisors who are a waste of money. But unfortunately I suspect this is not Starmer’s view, and that he really wants to follow his wretched, squalid hero Tony Blair and push the health service’s privatisation even further. But Preston Hack also believes that Starmer’s a Tory because of what he said about being fiscally prudent. Starmer stated that he was against austerity, had always been against austerity, but in government they would be careful about expenditure. They would be prudent. This, you will remember, was Gordon Brown’s mantra when he was chancellor: ‘We will be prudent’. He said this so often that according to Private Eye the assembled gentlemen and women of the press started calling him Dear Prudence after the Beatles song. Personally, I preferred ‘Help’ and ‘Helter Skelter’. As a Chancellor, who kept tight control of expenditure in order to avoid the boom and bust cycle, Brown was successful. That is until the bankers went berserk and almost destroyed capitalism. Brown prevented it by injecting our own reserves, for which he’s been blamed for wrecking our economy. But I really believe there would have been global financial collapse if he hadn’t.

And it remains the case that the bankers’ disastrous antics were exploited by the Tories, keen to push through austerity and punish ordinary people in the name of further enriching the superrich. But we were all in it together, as Cameron lied.

The trouble is, Blair and Brown were both neoliberal pushing through Tory policies of privatisation and welfare cuts. Moreover, by the time Brown got his feet into No. 10, New Labour had outlived any popularity with the British public. They were fed up with its managerialism, the spin, the condescension towards working class voters, Blair’s warmongering, the cuts to welfare services and hospital closures. I think Brown also put people off with his surly demeanour, although how much of that was real and how much an false image manufactured by the right-wing press is open to debate. He did not himself no favours by referring to an elderly lady, objecting to eastern European immigrants, as ‘some bigot’ when he thought the camera and microphone were off. But I think this may have been the last nail in his electoral coffin.

But back to Starmer, it really does look to me that once he’s in power, it’s going to be Blairite Tory politics as normal. Some of the great commenters here have suggested that the best policy would be to get him into power then bash him. At the moment, I think that is the best policy, considering that there are no alternatives and another round of Tory government would destroy this country. But I am not optimistic about Starmer’s government.

Heartfield’s Cover Art for Michael Gold’s ‘Jews Without Money’

January 10, 2023

I put up a piece a few days ago about the great German radical artist John Heartfield, who used photographs to create stunning pictures. Heartfield’s best known for his political works celebrating Communism and savagely denouncing war and the Prussian aristocracy that promoted it, and especially Hitler and the Nazis. But he also worked for publishers producing book covers. This is his cover for Michael Gold’s Jews Without Money, about poor Jews living on the Lower East Side of New York. The decades from the late 19th century saw mass Jewish migration from eastern Europe to the west and America. Many of them were dirt poor, and poorly educated, living in low-quality, massively overcrowded tenements. It’s from this milieu that many of the great founders of the American comics industry, like the mighty Jack Kirby. Kirby came from the kind of neighbourhood where men wanted to be mechanics rather than artists, and ran with the street gangs before breaking with them to enter comics. This is the background to Will Eisner’s acclaimed graphic novel, A Contract with God and Other Tenement Tales. I’m putting this up here also to make the point that Jewishness isn’t synonymous with wealth and power, whatever the Blairites in the Labour party may think. You may remember that a few years ago one right-wing female Labour MP claimed that socialism was anti-Semitic because it attacked capitalism. Hitler wouldn’t have agreed that ‘Marxist’ socialism was anti-Semitic, because he believed it was created and dominated by Jews. But he would certainly have wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiment that capitalism is Jewish. Other people realised the anti-Semitic nature of what she’d said, even though she obviously didn’t mean it as such, and called her out for it. In the meantime this is a striking piece of art illustrating a piece of American social history.

Correct, Not Political’s Fascism Becoming More Blatant with Livestream on ‘Freemasons and Moneychangers’

December 11, 2022

I got a notice on my phone this afternoon that ultra-right-wing nutters Correct, Not Political, are holding a livestream this evening on the subject of ‘Freemasons and Moneychangers’. As I’ve said, Correct, Not Political go around broadly left-wing protests and try to undermine them by engaging the protesters in conversation and trying to get them to question their beliefs. Usually. At other times, as when they protested against Drag Queen Story Hour outside the libraries which were holding them, they also chant accusations of paedophilia. At first glance they appear to be just right-wing, reactionary Tories. After all, sections of the Conservative party are against the militant trans and gay rights movements, as well as environmental protesters, pro-immigrant groups, socialist, ‘commies’ and the trade unions. You can find similar sentiments on GB News, TalkTV and mainstream, allegedly respectable papers like the Heil. But then they start their livestreams, and the mask slips. They’ve held a couple before, and they’ve begun with footage of Oswald Mosley and his wretched BUF marching, while exchanging fascist salutes with an adoring crowd. All while the Adagio for Strings from Platoon or is Full Metal Jacket plays. The impression is that the marchers are supposed to be some kind of ‘lost generation’, like the courageous men and women, whose lives were wasted in the battlefields of Flanders in the First World War. The BUF aren’t a lost generation. If Mosley had had his way, he would have destroyed our precious democracy and installed a totalitarian dictatorship similar to that of Mussolini’s Italy and Nazi Germany. And Jewish Brits would either have been expelled, barely tolerated or sent to the gas ovens. He also called for the indigenous east Africans to be cleared off their homelands so that they could be developed as White colonies.

I’ve always wondered if there wasn’t anti-Semitism lurking somewhere in the organisation. There are no blatant rants against the Jews, but the subject of this livestream is coming close. Fascists and other dictatorial groups and ideologies hate the Freemasons as subversive organisations. The Nazis banned them, they definitely wouldn’t be tolerated in the Communist bloc, and I think they’re also illegal in various Islamic states like Iran. As for ‘moneychangers’, well, fascism claims to be fighting the stranglehold of international finance capital. By which they usually mean the old nonsense about the Jewish banking conspiracy. This livestream seems to be taking it in the direction of religion and mysticism, as the subtitle was that Freemasonry was a form of kabbalah. The kabbalah is traditional Jewish mysticism. There was also the stupid Kabbala cult that Madonna got involved with, which involved people tying red ribbons to their wrists and buying massively overpriced copies of the Zohar. That cult seemed to be a money-making scam based on the older, and far more respectable Jewish tradition.

I’ve no idea whether Freemasonry is based on the Kabbalah or not. There were suggestions decades ago in books like Inside the Brotherhood that they worshipped a trinity of gods called Yah-Bul-On, who of whom was Baal. Or that they were Satanists, but unless you’re a very high level mason, you don’t know. And they’re not going to be telling. It’s possible that they were influenced by the Kabbala as it was taken up by a number of Christian mystics and occultists in the Renaissance, like Robert Fludd and John Dee, as the old Aristotelian philosophy was being questioned. Some historians of science have said that it was influential in the origins of modern science through being taken up by the first pioneers of the new natural philosophy. It therefore wouldn’t surprise me if Freemasonry wasn’t also influenced by it.

Correct, Not Political are, however, seem to be taking us back to the old conspiracy theories about a masonic plot to undermine the traditional Christian order, as when books like Proofs of a Conspiracy, published in the early 19th century, claimed that they were behind both the American and French Revolutions. Michael Pipes, in his book on conspiracy theories published in the ’90s, traces the origins of modern anti-Semitic ideas of Jewish plots to these early beliefs about the masons. At first the theories were only about the masons, then they included the Jews as the mason’s partners, and then finally it was the Jews who were the major forces behind these conspiracies. These ideas of Jewish conspiracies against the traditional, feudal European order have been around since the days of Nesta Webster and Rotha Orne Linton in the 1920s. Quite apart from better known works like the utterly fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And today’s fascist blame mass immigration on the Jews, who are trying to use non-White immigrants to enslave and destroy the White race.

I might be wrong, but this seems to be the underlying beliefs of the people behind Correct, Not Political. I wonder how long it will be before they come right out with it and the banhammer comes down. I do wonder if they were trying this in Germany they’d be rounded up on charges of violating the Basic Law. This is one of the cornerstones of anti-Nazi legislation and forbids all organisations that oppose democracy. It was used several times in the ’60s and ’70s against the National Democrat Party and other extreme right-wing groups. I don’t know if it was repealed after the Fall of Communism, but if it’s still around it’ll almost certainly be used to prosecute the 25 nutters, who were arrested for trying to set up a coup this week.

Correct, Not Political should be glad that, however diminishing genuine free speech is in Britain, they have far more of it than Mosley would ever have allowed them.

Questions for the Mosleyites of Correct, Not Political

December 9, 2022

They’ve done it again. The man behind the extreme right-wing vlog and group, Correct, Not Political, held another livestream this week. And once again they gave an indication of their true political colours by prefacing it with black and white newsreel footage of Mosley marching with his BUF storm troopers, all to weeping string music, of course. The group go around staging counter-protests against Drag Queen Story Hour, gay pride, environmentalists, pro-immigrant groups, and people they class as ‘socialists and commies’. They were out today at the ‘Solidarity with Postal Workers’ demonstrations, which they declared to be ‘commies’. Now to be fair to them, they aren’t violent and just try to catch their victims out with awkward questions. They are less fascist in that way than antifa and the militant trans rights protesters, who do threaten violence, scream abuse and hurl smoke bombs around as well as making death threats. But I wonder how well they understand or agree with Mosley’s ideology. For example, at one point their main man said he was a ‘free speech absolutist’. In that case, why support a monster like Mosley? He didn’t, and he tells you over and again he didn’t. It’s in his autobiography, My Life, where at one point he says that free speech is worthless if you’re starving on a park bench. If, God help us! – Mosley had actually got into power and become dictator, the only free speech he would have permitted is the freedom to agree wholeheartedly with whatever nonsense he was spouting that day. If you watch the Channel 4 series about him, there’s one scene at a political meeting where Mosley is expounding his fascist views. And the other politicians condemn it as an attack on traditional British liberties. He denies this, and says it is just marshalling all the forces of the state. But his opponents knew far better.

I also have doubts about their education and intellect. In one of their videos, they urge people to boycott Selfridges, Bella Freud and other stores, whose goods are well out of the price range of ordinary people. Their reason for doing so is because they’re selling branded goods supporting Allen Ginsburg. Ginsburg was a beat poet, and a friend of William S. Burroughs of Naked Lunch infamy and Jack Kerouac, the author of On The Road, a classic of mid-20th century American literature. Except their guy couldn’t pronounce ‘Kerouac’. He got as far as ‘Ker-, Kerw-‘, before giving up. In fact their attack on Ginsburg is actually quite reasonable. They didn’t like him anyway, ’cause he was a Commie, who kept getting thrown out of Communist countries for supporting gay rights. But he was also a paedophile, and the play a recording of him talking about his attitude to people enquiring about NAMBLA, the main American paedophile organisation. Ginsburg didn’t want members to reply, in case it was an attempt to entrap them. If that’s true, then Ginsburg isn’t someone to be celebrated. But I also wondered if lurking behind this boycott there wasn’t a bit of anti-Semitism as well. I don’t know, perhaps there isn’t, but it’s too much like the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

But back to Mosley. Fascism is a weird mixture of the radical left and capitalist, pro-private enterprise right. Mussolini believed, if the opportunist believed anything, that Italy should be governed as a corporate state. Industry was to be organised into corporations, in this case the successors to the medieval guilds, in which trade unions, management and proprietors represented their industries in a ‘council of fasces and corporations’ which replaced parliament. Mosley initially believed the same, before he rejected it as ‘too bureaucratic’. Under him, the House of Lords would be abolished and replaced with a similar industrial chamber. It’s an interesting idea, but if it was like Mussolini’s Italy, it wouldn’t have done anything except cheered and clapped Mosley and automatically pass every piece of legislation he proposed. But it’s a good question to ask Correct, Not Political. Would they want to replace the House of Lords with a similar industrial chamber following the theories of the corporate state. My guess is that they’d be horrified by the idea, because trade unions = commies. When one of the rival fascist groups wanted to ally themselves with Mosley, he asked them what their views on the corporate state were. They immediately denounced it as Communism. At which Mosley left them. My guess is Correct, Not Political have the same views.

Ditto Mosley’s views on Europe. After the War he turned up, promoting ‘national syndicalism’, his term for his version of the corporate state and calling for the formation of a united Europe, again along fascist lines, against the Communist threat. I think he later claimed to be a pioneer of the idea of the EU, which I’ve no doubt would have horrified the real founders. So, are Correct, Not Political also for the idea of a united Europe against the threat of plutocratic capitalism and Communism? As I’m sure they’re all Brexiteers of the racist stripe, that’s probably another one which would cause them difficulties.

I may well be misjudging them. Perhaps they do have a strong grasp of Mosley’s ideas, and could provide well-informed answers to those awkward questions. But perhaps not.

Yiddish Workers’ Song

November 25, 2022

This is a real piece of forgotten Jewish working-class culture. I’ve put up a number of Socialist Jewish songs and anthems in Yiddish and Hebrew, including the Communist Internationale and the anthem of the Russian/Polish Bund. The Bund were the mass Jewish socialist party in Poland, fighting for the rights of Polish Jews who strongly rejected Zionism and wished to live in peace and equality in their native country with their gentile Polish compatriots. This song, Dem Arbeters Lid, ‘The Workers’ Song’, from Jane Peppler’s channel on YouTube, is characteristically Jewish but also strongly internationalist It says at one point that ‘race and nationality mean nothing to you’. It comes from the Jewish Labor Movement, which I would imagine is the American Jewish socialist movement, as shown by the thumbnail of a picket line of lady tailors on strike. It’s composer, Louis Gilrod, used as the tune the American song ‘The Mother of the Girl I Love’. It’s in Waltz time and reminds me very strongly of Edwardian British parlour songs.

It opens by describing the exhausted, penniless, ‘self-enslaved’ Jewish workers toiling as tailors. Their children are naked and their wives sick and weak. But they will bring about a new social order in which they will be free and there will be no rich and poor. These are sentiments that would no doubt leave the British Jewish Labour Movement, now a part of the Labour party, screaming in fury along with some of the other Blairites. Because somehow, some of them have got it into their tiny minds that socialism is anti-Semitic because it’s against capitalism. Presumably the Blairite moron who said this Radio 4 didn’t realise that by equating capitalism with Jewry she had just expressed the same views as Hitler and other grotty fascists, such as our own wretched Oswald Mosley. The picture of the squalor and poverty of the workers in the garment industry is absolutely accurate. Many, perhaps most of the Jewish immigrants to America were Yiddish-speaking Romanian fleeing persecution in that country. They were dirt poor, living in poorly furnished, overcrowded tenements, sometimes even just occupying stairwells. Many of the women were poorly paid workers in the garment industry. One of the most horrific disasters that hit the New York Jewish community in this period was a fire that broke out in one of the upper stories of one of the clothing factories. This resulted in tens, perhaps over a hundred dead. some of the women were killed because there were no adequate exits, and so leapt to their deaths. As for the myth of Jews sticking together against gentiles, the factories’ owners were also Jews who lived in the affluent districts uptown with their gentile neighbours.

Thomas Sowell Attacks British NHS Because Scared of Rise of Socialism in America

October 23, 2022

I thought so as soon as I saw his wretched video attacking the NHS yesterday. It struck me then as the act of a frightened man trying to discredit a rival political and medical institution. Yesterday Black American conservative Thomas Sowell put out a short video, just under five minutes, urging Americans to choose the American healthcare system over the British because it was better. Er, no. On so many levels. The American healthcare system is so dire that when Thatcher sent her personal private secretary Patrick Jenkin to America to see how it worked so she could do it to Britain, he joined the full-on cabinet rebellion against her when she tried to privatise the NHS. Yes, private American hospitals don’t have the crowding, and I dare say have more choice, than the NHS but that comes at a price. And more and more Americans are unable to afford it. As a result, good, hardworking, severely normal Americans have to say up years before they can afford the hospital care for American mothers to give birth. There is also a much higher infant mortality rate than Europe. Our NHS is no longer the world’s best because it has been comprehensively run down by the Tories and Blairite Labour for decades. But it’s still better than the American system. And the private American system is in crisis. Robert Reich put up a post on YouTube about how it’s falling apart. I’ll try to find it. A friend of mine trained as a doctor, and according to him, American private hospitals are being kept afloat by American public subsidies. As for the utilities, a number of American states have state-owned electricity companies that produce power more cheaply than private firms. In that sense, Reaganite capitalism is failing.

Now Sowell has put out another video with the title that more Americans are falling for socialism. ‘And it’s bad’. Naah. America has a very respectable socialist tradition going all the way back to the Knights of Labor in the 19th century. From what I can see, socialism may even have been stronger in the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It seems that former president Barack Obama has also stirred things up a little by saying that America needs single-payer healthcare. Of course, it’s a bit rich that he says that now, when he refused to implement it in office and went for Obamacare instead, which is based on a Republican plan from Newt Gingrich. What the west needs is a return to the social democratic consensus of a strong welfare state, properly funded public healthcare, nationalised utilities and strong unions. The consensus that gave Britain a rising standard of living up to the 70s. A form of politics that could and should stop the movement to the far right as immigrants get blamed for the poverty caused by neoliberalism. But obviously even this mild form of socialism is anathema to someone like Sowell, who’s a fan of the discredited economics of Milton Friedman.

Monetarism died in the late 1980s. Reaganomics and Thatcherism have run their course. And the Tories have run out of candidates for prime minister so they’re recycling old ones like Johnson and Rishi Sunak.

Hurrah for socialism and down with neoliberalism!

Simon Webb Asks ‘What’s Wrong with Fascism?’

September 16, 2022

Well, it looks like Simon Webb of History Debunked has finally gone full Mosley. And you never go full Mosley. He’s put up a piece today asking, ‘what’s wrong with fascism?’ He argues that fascism is viewed negatively because it’s confusion with Nazism. But socialism has also committed horrible atrocities and run death camps. In contrast to this, he points to the Portugal of the dictator Salazar in the 1960s, which was prosperous and had kept out of the Second World War. And fascism, he explains, is neither communist nor capitalist.

No, I’m not going to put the video up here. Because he’s arguing for fascism after all. Now he’s got a point in that some political scientists and historians do make a distinction between Nazism and Fascism. Nazism is at its heart a form of biological racism and has its own origins unique to Germany, while Italian Fascism was a form of militaristic nationalism which included elements of both socialism and capitalism. However, Italian Fascism was also imperialistic, calling Italy a ‘proletarian nation’ that had been unjustly deprived of colonies by the great powers of Britain and France. It invaded Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia, as well as Tripolitania in north Africa and Ethiopia. In nearly all these countries the Fascists committed horrendous atrocities. They also developed racial policies similar, but not as harsh as the Nazis, defining Italians as Aryans as contrasted with the Jews, who were expelled from various professions. Both Nazism and Fascism supported and protected private industry, but the economy was centrally planned by the state. Germany was a complete dictatorship under Hitler, in which the Reichstag was only called once a year to sign the act stating that Germany was still in a state of emergency and so Hitler’s dictatorship could legally continue, In Italy Mussolini let the Italian parliament continue for a few years until he replaced it with a chamber of Fasces and corporations. A corporation in this case was an industrial organisation, one for each industry, that contained both management and the unions. By the 1930s there were 27 of these. They were supposed to run the various industries, but in practice they served just to rubber stamp the decisions Mussolini had already taken.

I’ve read some of the comments that have been left on the video. Some of them are rants against Tony Blair’s period in office and complaints that it was supported by a biased media. Well, one paper stood against him – the Daily Heil. And you can wonder who had the real power in Blair’s relationship with the media, as he was always worrying whether his policies would meet the approval of one Rupert Murdoch. And Blair was a Tory in all but name. Thatcher, remember, regarded him as her greatest achievement. I’ve also notice that several of the commenters can’t spell Nazism. They’ve spelled it ‘Natzim’.

Of course, it hasn’t just been the association with the Nazis that has tarnished Italian Fascism. It’s also the various brutal dictatorships that have appeared across the world that committed horrendous atrocities, like the various military dictatorships in Latin America, the most famous of which is General Pinochet’s in Chile, as well as Greece under the Colonels. You can also attack his argument by pointing out he deliberately confuses socialism with communism. Communism is a form of socialism, but it is not the definitive form. For most British Labour supporters and politicians before Blair and his stupid, Thatcherite ‘Third Way’, socialism meant democratic socialism, which supported and included parliamentary democracy, and a mixed economy. This was the type of socialism practised by the reformist socialist parties of western Europe, like the German Social Democrats. And this form of socialism was keen to support human rights and democracy to a greater or lesser extent, as shown in the various people who joined anti-apartheid and anti-racism movement and gave Khrushchev a hard time when he visited the country about the imprisonment of socialist dissidents in the USSR.

I’ve left this comment on Webb’s video. I wonder if anyone will reply.

‘Salazar is probably best viewed as a reactionary Catholic like General Franco, rather than a pure Fascist. His books apparently are pretty much about Roman Catholic dogma, rather the secular ideas which informed Italian Fascism. And Fascism wasn’t just nationalism or dictatorship. Would your readers want definitive features of fascism like a state-directed economy, even if it is done through private industry and the corporate state, in which parliament is replaced by a chamber representing industries, each corporation including management and unions, which is charged with running the economy?’

Jacob Rees-Mogg Denies Workers Have a Moral Right to Paid Holidays

September 15, 2022

That was the title of a video I found on the Net the other day. The thumbnail showed the Minister for Bring Back Boy Chimneysweeps talking to someone. The video wasn’t very long either, just under a minute and a half. I didn’t bother watching it because it seemed to me to be an extract from a conversation Rees-Mogg had had in which he said just this. And it doesn’t surprise me. After all, Priti Patel and, I think, Liz Truss, were both part of the Britannia Unchained group of profiteers and exploiters, who believe workers should work harder and have less rights to match those in the Developing World. The Conservatives have always admired American capitalism, and American workers don’t have the right to a paid holiday. Unlike in Britain, where it’s been a part of the welfare state since forever and a day. This is the state Rees-Mogg and Truss want to take us back to, folks, as part of their admiration for American free market capitalism. And with the monstrous Therese Coffey now head of the NHS, I’m very worried for the welfare state and Britain’s working people.