"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying the Cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

Fascism is one Form of Capitalist Rule

By James Thompson

Some maintain that fascism is the capitalists' last option. Others ask, "What is fascism but the death throes of capitalism?"

The capitalist press has always tried to blur the distinction between fascism and communism, when they are actually opposites. Fascism is a form of government which safeguards and promotes the interests of the capitalists, whereas communism promotes the interests of working people.

There has been discussion among leftists in the U.S.A. as to whether the Bush administration was a fascist government. Norman Markowitz, in his article, "On Guard Against Fascism," published in Political Affairs (May, 2004), states "The domestic policy of fascism was to destroy the independent labor movement, all socialist and communist parties and all democratic movements of the people. The foreign policy of fascism was to completely militarize the society and organize the people to fight imperialist wars and accept and glorify such wars on nationalist and racist grounds…As both ideology and policy, fascism was the rabid response of a decaying capitalism threatened by the workers' movement at home and anti-colonial movements abroad. The forms that fascism takes can change and be updated, but these are its essential characteristics."

Gerald Horne, in his article "Threat Needs Study" in Political Affairs (July, 2004), calls for more study of the fascist movement in this country. He points out that there are organizations which track the activities of the extreme right. He suggests that donations from certain sectors of finance capital could be tracked to political candidates and organizations.

Fascism is best described as "the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital." According to George Dmitrov, in a collection of his reports in 1935 and 1936, "Against Fascism and War," fascism is "the power of finance capital itself. It is the organization of terrorist vengeance against the working class and the revolutionary section of the peasantry and intelligentsia. In foreign policy, fascism is jingoism in its most brutal form, fomenting bestial hatred of other nations."

Dmitrov points out that German fascism, i.e. Nazism or National Socialism, has been the most reactionary form of fascism. He explains, "It has the effrontery to call itself National Socialism, though it has nothing in common with socialism. German fascism is not only bourgeois nationalism, it is fiendish chauvinism. It is a government system of political gangsterism, a system of provocation and torture practiced upon the working class and the revolutionary elements of the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia. It is medieval barbarity and bestiality, it is unbridled aggression in relation to other nations."

Fascism has manifested itself in many other nations, including most notably, Italy, where Mussolini declared that fascism should be more appropriately called "corporatism" since it represents the merger of the state and corporations. It also appeared in Spain under Franco and other countries. It is important to remember that fascism is a logical extension of capitalism. It is not an economic system in and of itself. Fascism is a form of government intended to protect the interests of the capitalists through violence and oppression.

From a dialectical materialist point of view, we can see that the development of capitalist, fascist, socialist and communist movements are developments in the struggle between the owners of the means of production.

As Marx pointed out, "All human history hitherto is the history of the class struggle." As capitalism weakens, it may desperately grasp for fascist methods to sustain itself. Much as a wounded animal is more likely to bite, capitalism in its final stages is more likely to use direct violence against working people.

People use "fascist" far too easily these days to label people promoting policies they don't like. Throwing around labels and failing to use a class analysis is counterproductive at best.






Geoge Dmitrov, Against War and Fascism, (International Publishers, New York, 1986).







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You can go through these little modules in any order you like, but now that you have finished What is Fascism? then Do Marxists Oppose Religion? is recommended next.