It’s strange that the right in America is permitted to bash socialism while the left never utters a word about fascism.
For those who are too young to be familiar with the background to the second world war, a few facts: Germany and Italy had instituted nazi or fascist regimes, both of which became subsequently known as fascism. Fascism is a form of capitalism in which the state is an all powerful overseer of private enterprises.The war was billed in America as a fight for freedom, but in Europe, it was a fight against communism, twenty some years after the Russian Revolution, and attempts at revolution in several European countries, most notably in Hungary.
After the war, America remained on the alert for fifty more years against the danger of communism. Meanwhile, the Scandinavian countries, which had been largely underdeveloped until then, instituted social democratic regimes and progressed to become the most broadly affluent countries in the world.
The permanent campaign against communism was also a campaign against socialism, because communist regimes actually considered themselves to be socialist regimes striving for the higher status of communism.
Communists, meanwhile, were virulently opposed to social democrats, whom they saw as weak-kneed, not daring to take on the capitalist monster. Yet the evidence today strongly suggests that countries which on the surface may look very different, such as Russia, Venezuela and Iran are tending toward a recognition that while capital is required for investment, the fruits of labor must be equitably distributed. In America, which would like to be seen as the best country in the world, the difference between “socialism” and social democracy has been conveniently ignored.
The right has managed to convince constituents who have little in-depth schooling, that redistribution is about taking money from them, to give to those too lazy to work. In reality, redistribution is still, as in the days of Robin Hood, about forcing the wealthy to give a leg up to those less healthy, educated or talented than they. And the kind of family you are born into, whether working class or upper class, has a lot to do with your future health and education.
Another way in which the wealthy skew the political discourse is to pretend that those who are actually poor are “middle class”. They would have us believe that class warfare is something to be ashamed of, thus leading many to in fact vote against their own interest.
In my next blog I will address the curious absence of the words “lower class” or “poor” in the political discourse. in America, that has become the first step toward fascism.