"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Apr 6, 2010

Lest We Forget

Lest we forget:

"...The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and usefu[l] instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management...."

Benito Mussolini, 1935
Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
- attributed to Benito Mussolini


I don't think that the American corporate state has a 1:1 correspondence with that outlined by Mussolini. In fact, I think we ought to understand it as a different beast, entire.

For one, ours seems far more beholden to corporations (as to why, below) than Benny would have liked. For Mussolini, the State (Hegel's State, his spirit of history, itself) represented the highest conception of human activity, it embodied the best of Man:

"Fascism sees in the world not only those superficial, material aspects in which man appears as an individual, standing by himself, self-centered, subject to natural law, which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure; it sees not only the individual but the nation and the country; individuals and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which suppressing the instinct for life closed in a brief circle of pleasure, builds up a higher life, founded on duty, a life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual, by self-sacrifice, the renunciation of self-interest, by death itself, can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists."

Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism 

Heady stuff, however awful and adolescent.

I cannot really imagine the chief bankster at Goldman Sachs going full hog for it. Nor do I imagine Barack Obama wandering the West Wing, quaffing draughts of golden ale, quoting Benny whilst tapping the ash of his Nat Sherman into the White House china.

Mussolini's fascism, like that of Hitler, and the related falangist and peronist states arising in Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia and Lebanon, represents the emergence of this doctrine and practice within the context of the Westphalian order. 

National fascisms, straining against the constrictions of Westphalia, but defined by the borders, trade relations, concepts of nationality and colonial resource extraction of the Westphalian age.

Not so, that which now emerges from the continuing fallout of the Second World War. World War II ended with the unraveling of the Westphalian consensus. The division of the world into Soviet (later, ChiCom), Euro-American and "Third World" blocs, following the American nuclear atrocities in Japan, inaugurated an interregnum. 

During this period, ending roughly with the last Bush Presidency, the Westphalian nations (and their heirs, namely the US, India, Japan and China) exceeded their former national limits, creating over the decades (sometimes in fits and starts, and not without repeated conflict) a global monetary and trade superstructure which obligated those same nations to break with the Westphalian tradition of national sovereignty.

Sovereign states have, for the better part of four decades, ceded a number of their functions to supranational trade organs, trade compacts which benefit the "real victors" of the Second World War: corporations, zaibatsus and combines (for example: Krupp, Bayer, Daimler, Fiat, Mitsubishi et al survived the conflagration, despite the near complete destruction of the states which hosted them). 

Retaining warmaking capabilities, and domestic police powers, as well as a number of the older mechanisms of population governance, these states nonetheless shifted their enforcement focus from the protection of national interest (however variously defined) to the protection of corporate interest, called otherwise, neoliberalism.

As formerly sovereign states adopted the neoliberalism (called neoconservatism in the States) of the post-Westphalian interregnum, the various governments of those states began to use their offices and power to undermine the buttresses of the state itself: borders, national identity, language and national capital. Liberating capital from protective and legal frameworks (both at home and abroad), while allowing private banking and corporate firms to manage and circulate it, the neoliberal governments waged a series of offensive wars, embargoes, SAPs and police actions against intransigent former colonies still "mired" in the Westphalian vision of the nation-state (though never part of that consensus) whose leaders (yes, often brutal, thuggish tyrants) resisted the liberation of capital and the weakening of national identity: North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Panama, Serbia; these same post-Wesphalian governments undertook, as well, occupations of so-called "failed states" where sufficient structure for the protection of corporate interest did not obtain, but where resources abounded: Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Bosnia, et cetera.

What has emerged from this process is the second stage, or second form, of fascism proper, the corporation. 

Lest we forget, this second stage fascism no longer requires adherence to national myths. Dispensing with the vulgar racial and lingual fealty to a national entity, to a homeland, the new fascist organizations function without the self-imposed limitations of cultural identity, and in fact do better without them. 

Topical tolerances of lifestyle and cultural difference (formerly disdained within the national context, one which required a type of homogeneous conformity to the traits of national, religious or moral membership - see the assimilation of the Irish and Italian, but the exclusion of blacks) do not hamper their operation, nor the accumulation of power within their hierarchies

(A person inclined to see the Tea Party revanchists as a rearguard of the old order, of the dying nation, clinging to national myths, clinging to a social-religious framework which included them by excluding others, which in short, defined a White nation, might have an insight or two...)

To this emerging order, we should understand, do people like Barack Obama give their effort and loyalty. Gaining control of the government, they continue to serve the order which produced them, using that government to effect the further dismantling of the nation, and the national myths, in favor of the new fascism of the extra-national corporation.


(A hint, perhaps, as to why - despite extraordinary opportunity, public support and a rare lock on government power - they nonetheless did not construct a national health program, but instead crafted a legal edifice which placed more of the former Commons under the control of corporations.)

And a warning to the national fascists of Israel: at some point your affliction, your ironic embrace of Hitlerian national myths, of the primacy of your nation over those of your neighbors, will embarrass the leaders and princes of the European, American, Chinese, Indian and Brazilian corporate fascisms - and they will cut you loose...


My first introduction to the unraveling of Westphalia, an indispensable book, timely nearly two decades after publication: Van Creveld's The Transformation of War

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