Thursday, October 27, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
An even deeper source or socialist resistance to the syncretic 'Marxist' approach to fascism proposed here may be that it implies a far closer and more uncomfortable affinity between fascism and communism in practice than most Marxists would like to acknowledge. As forms of political modernism, both offered totalising solutions to the problem posed by the decadence of liberal society, which were outstanding specimens of the application to socio-political engineering of the "historical predictions' that Karl Popper identified with his concept of 'historicism' - a curious reversal of the connotations given the term by Benjamin - and with the mainspring of totalitarianism. In both cases, time utopia of a new society was formulated by blending scientific and technocratic discourse with mythic thinking, thereby producing that characteristic ideological product of modernity, `scientism'.' Both, when implemented, spawned an elaborate 'political religion' and, in their Nazi and Stalinist versions, provided tilt rationale for mass murder on an industrial scale,
One of the reasons I'm hostile to the alt-Reich--as opposed to the Dissident Right--is because it's a false hope for the Dissident Right and which will ultimately undermine it. And the reason why it will ultimately undermine it is because the Alt-Reich's father is Marx himself. Unlike the Left, whose danger to the Right is self evident, the Alt-Reich is a much more subtle foe, masquerading as an ally when in reality it's a disguised version of the enemy. This may seem difficult to comprehend as the Alt-Reich espouses many of the ideals of the Dissident Right, such as ethnic homogeneity, sexual polarity and border control but these views arise from a totally different metaphysical system to that which "powered" the Old European Civilisation and therefore represents a break from it. Put simply, the all the versions of Fascism, from "soft" to "hard" are essentially Modernist political ideologies and therefore are the kindred spirits of Marx.
Part of the problem in understanding Fascism and its variants is due to the historical treatment the subject has received. Jewish scholars have tended to give it a Semetic spin, whilst Marxist scholars have tended to see it as a bourgeois reactionary phenomenon. The problem is that these perspectives are wrong. Spanish and Italian Fascism did really care much about the Jews whilst all the parties claimed to act in the interest of the workers and were initially largely supported by them. The bottom line is that these perspectives are wrong.
Perhaps the world's foremost academic expert on the subject of Fascism is Roger Griffin, whose academic work has changed the contemporary for understanding of Fascism. To put it briefly, Fascism is the syncretist product of "Right wing feels" and the philosophy of modernity. i.e. modernism/positivism. It's a different version of modernity to that offered by the Left but all the same, it is a rejection of the past. From Griffin's, A Fascist Century.
This is not to be taken as unqualified endorsement of the view that Hitler was a conscious moderniser, which has been argued by some scholars. His basic obsession was not with modernising Germany, but with eradicating the nexus of forces to which he attributed its collapse (Zusammenbruch) and dissolution (Zersetzung). While he admired American technology, he loathed the multi-racial liberalism and materialism it embodied, and strove to turn Germany into the heart of a European empire based on crude racist and Social Darwinist principles for the triumph of the fittest. But while Ian Kershaw is right to criticise Zitelmann's thesis it is still appropriate to see Hitler's vision as an alternative, and (no matter how perverse and unrealisable) a revolutionary version of modernity, rather than the expression of anti-modernity or 'reactionary modernism'. It is a palingenetic utopia (indissociable in retrospect from the horrendous dystopian implications of its actualisation) which reverberates in Hitler's words on the occasions where he privately gave vent to his deepest convictions; 'Those who see in National Socialism nothing more than a political movement know scarcely anything of it. It is even more than a religion: it is the will to create mankind anew'.
Hitler's project for the renewal of European civilisation - its transformation into a genuine Kultur - under German hegemony involved a wholesale rejection of many aspects of the modern (indeed when he used the term it was with negative connotations). However, not only was this project entirely reliant for its realisation on all aspects of modernisation able to be co-ordinated with Hitler's larger palingenetic aim, but the aim itself was inconceivable without such quintessentially modern forces as massification, social engineering, bureaucratisation, rationalisation, the technologisation of warfare, Social Darwinism, nationalism, racism, and charismatic power. Furthermore, its focus was the quintessentially modern form of power assumed by the nation-state. ...............At the root of the Holocaust was the state-led drive for a fully designed, fully controlled social world, of a society lovingly tended and ruthlessly pruned by the 'gardening state'. So far the forces of pluralism at work in modern society have conspired to prevent such biopolitical projects from being carried out on a grand scale. But when this countervailing moment is overridden by authoritarianism there is little to stop wholesale social engineering and the terror state this creates: the electoral victory of Nazism in 1933 ensured that its totalitarian scheme of utopian society could be implemented to a terrifying degree.
To study Nazism is, on one level, to study the awesome potential of modernisation to create ephemeral and abortive (but to their victims terrifyingly real and definitive) symbioses between the traditional and the modern, to produce a form of modernity deliberately attempting to crush the Enlightenment humanist tradition. To grasp this fact destroys any comforting equation between modernity and humanism, modernity and civilisation, modernity and progress, modernity and the good. There is a famous line at the end of Brecht The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, namely 'The womb that gave birth to Nazism is fertile still."Griffin's proposition, is that while Fascism and Socialism are superficially distinct entities at a deeper level they're simply different variants of Modernism, both variants being profoundly anti-traditional. Any "Right wing" which aims to be a restorative force in history cannot ally itself with a movement which plans to undermine it.