Monday, January 4, 2010
Fascism is the cornered rat of capital.
Unemployment has returned with a bang to the forefront of Irish economic discourse but this time round the Irish unemployment phenomenon is likely to manifest a degree of nastiness hitherto unknown on this island. We are, after all, one of the most globalised countries on the planet with immigration figures over the last decade that have superceded many of our European neighbours. So what are we going to do about all the foreigners who now constitute the work-hungry reserve army of our national economic shambles? What are we going to do about the foreigners? The first thing that should be said about the unemployed foreigners in Ireland is that they will inevitably become new unwitting actors in the psychopathology of basket-case Ireland. In psychoanalytic jargon, the foreigner will now begin to assume the traits of a deep structural symptom; the unwanted foreigner as symptom of our national depression. But he is also a comfort to us in the sense that his foreignness enables us citizens born in Ireland to blame him for our troubles.
We can now say that the immigrant is a burden on Irish society, a ruthless opportunist, a parasite competing for ‘Irish’ jobs. We have now entered the period of radical reaction and could be facing a golden age of racism and xenophobia.
The paradox of xenophobia in modern capitalist societies is that the ruling class, that is to say, the bankers, investors, developers and their media propagandists tend to support the idea of a multicultural society. This is fundamentally different from the situation in, say, Nazi Germany during the 1930s. In today’s Europe, being racist or xenophobic is politically incorrect, whereas the opposite was the case in German and throughout Europe during the economic crisis of the 1930s. Here we can see that a fundamental shift has taken place in Europe. There are various reasons for this. The most important of course is that racism as a political ideology was based on pseudo science. But in times of economic crisis, science and rationality have very little to do with social phenomena.
In spite of the fact that anti-racism is more or less espoused by all the right-wing, neo liberal regimes in Europe today, racism is in fact on the increase and the radical right is on its way back. Two British fascists MPs were elected to the EU parliament last year. However, this new emergent fascism has fundamental differences to this social phenomenon during the last century. Spanish, German and Italian fascism were reactionary ideologies designed to counter what seemed like the unstoppable march of communism throughout Europe since the rise of the Soviet Union. Fascism is in essence the attempt to rescue a failed capitalist system by appealing to the emotions of disgruntled workers.
Unlike communism which seeks to unite and educate workers of all races and nationalities, fascism subverts this tendency by superimposing racism and nationalism upon the ignorant masses. This divides the workers and the unemployed by distracting them from the true origins of their misery. In Nazi Germany, the racist subversion took an even more perverse form. There the Jews, long associated with the ruling banking class could easily be scape-goated. The communist leaning workers would then be encouraged to the ruling class with a particular race. To the ignorant masses, it became obvious who the enemies of Germany were. This scape-goating of the Jews in particular also benefited the radical international Zionists who were also anxious to see an exodus of European Jews to Palestine. As Theodor Herzl said “anti-Semitism is our best friend”. The concept of anti-Semitism still remains, paradoxically, the best friend of Israel today as it is the only concept which could justify the occupation of the West Bank and the oppression of Gaza. It is no surprise that the neo-Nazis in Germany today support the state of Israel. Fascism is simply the attempt to defend the worse excesses of human greed by subverting rational analysis of its correlative, namely, poverty.
Speaking on the international situation in 1924 Josef Stalin said “Social Democracy objectively represents the moderate wing of Fascism" What Stalin meant by this is that bourgeois parliamentary democracy is designed to defend the interests of capitalism. When the capitalist system crashes, the bougeois liberals and social democrats will be more inclined to support the intensification of capitalism represented by fascism rather than supporting a revolutionary atlternative.This is precisely what happened in Germany after the rise of Hitler when the social democrats refused to form an anti-fascist alliance with the communists. Fascism is simply captialism's last stand.
What can we in Ireland learn from this? The problem in Ireland and throughout Europe today is that we no longer have a radical united egalitarian opposition to the boom and bust theory of political economy. There is no longer a communist international capable of uniting workers of all races and nationalities. So, what the racist reactionaries, who are very often from working class backgrounds, do not see is that the Polish, Nigerian and other foreign workers should be their allies. They have had to leave their own country to find work just like the Irish who are leaving for Australia and Canada. Yet, they too are unable to see the reality of their situation. The real enemy of paddy Irishman is not paddy Polishman or Paddy Nigerian, it is the paddies in IBEC who represent the interests of a transnational global elite that is imposing this hardship on peoples of all races and nationalities.The question then for Irish workers is not ‘what are we going to do about the foreigners’. The question is ‘what are we going to do about the dictatorship of the bankatariat? Workers of all lands unite!