Events in different parts of the globe strongly suggest that we must revisit 20th century history. We think of Fascism as a passing phenomenon that was vanquished in the Second World War, leaving us to cope with the equally dangerous threat of Communism. Alas, we must put that illusion to rest, for only by realizing that fascism never died can we make sense of today’s news.
I had begun to suspect this last summer when it became clear that the United States was supporting ‘pro-capitalist’ Islamists. The crisis in Greece added another brick to my as yet small edifice: why was Germany making out inordinately well from bailing out that country? Following on Wikileaks revelations about private security firms such as Blackwater, whose techniques recall those of Stormtroopers, Edward Snowden’s leaks exposed the electronic tracking of the world’s communications that make the Gestapo (and Stasi) look like amateurs.
But it is with the Ukrainian ‘revolution’ that we have the most blatant proof that globalization and fascism go hand in hand. Europeans wonder how Bruxelles can afford to bail out a non-member of the Union when Spain, Portugal and Greece are still mired in 20-50% unemployment. The answer discloses a painful reality: Western governance is not about striving for the best possible life for the most people, but about securing Louis XIV lifestyles for the global elite.
Seen in that light, the determination to draw Ukraine into the EU (first as a long-term guest) is about enrolling its citizens’ delusions of (European) grandeur in the NATO effort to prevent Russia from posing a serious threat to U.S.-led globalization. It’s as if the West had had to take a detour on its path to global, fascist domination to deal with the Soviet Union, and is now picking up where it left off after defeating its competitor on that path, Nazi Germany.
A few left-wing Europeans are warning of fascism again threatening the Old Continent, but as in the United States, their voices are drowned out by those of officialdom. The specter of socialism that gave rise to Fascism and its challenge to the ‘democratic’ West’s cornering of markets is greater now than it was in 1940, and it is compounded by the irruption on the world stage of radical Islam. Not that of Sunni Al Qaeda, but of revolutionary Shi’ism, which extends in various forms from Iran, through the Shi’ite-led Iraqi government, to Syria under the Ba’ath Party and into Lebanon with Hezbollah, and Gaza under a Sunni Hamas that is closely allied with Shi’a political ideology.
The influence of Marxism on Shi’ite revolutionary theoreticians, carefully kept from the Western public, is laid out in great detail in Alastair Crooke’s 2009 book Resistance: the Essence of the Islamist Revolution (Pluto Press) which should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand today’s world. Crooke makes clear that notwithstanding the Iranian regime’s co-optation by conservative clerics, its initial inspiration was revolutionary. It was not about ‘power to the people’ (or the Soviets), but it was about avoiding great disparities of wealth, combined with respect for even the poorest citizens. According to Crooke, the Qu’uran,
presents ‘giving’ as a redistributive mechanism to prevent excessive disparity in wealth. … It is conducive to a sense of ‘detachment’ from worldly possessions among the well-to-do; and prevents accumulations of wealth leading to monopolies and the domination of others … part of a wider purpose demanding that economic activity be viewed as one component in a human condition that is an integral part of a wider ‘being’ that encompasses the world in which we live.
Seen in this light, revolutionary Islam (as opposed to Sunni-inspired radical conservative Islam) mirrors the aspirations of progressives striving to achieve redistribution of wealth and maintain the Earth as a human habitat. And this in turn explains the resurrection of Fascism, which is concerned only with power and profit. The crisis in Ukraine (and Venezuela, and Syria) shows that it is relatively easy for a powerful alliance to manipulate popular discontent with any regime (whether more or less justified), to serve its own ends. You could say that the ultimate achievement of twenty-first century fascism, as opposed to its cruder predecessor, has been to usurp the people’s ultimate weapon – revolution – for ends which have nothing to do with popular aspirations.
Photo by Jose Luis Orihuela released under a Creative Commons license.