Gramsci on fascism

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Wed Dec 6 13:05:47 MST 1995


On Mon, 4 Dec 1995, Bryan A. Alexander wrote:

> 	A second requirement for the rise of fascism is a crisis of the 
> ruling class.  When "the task of running the productive forces 
> [progressively] slips out of the control of the productive forces" (216) 
> and "these people, who are currently in charge politically, are not and 
> never will be in charge economically" (217), extraordinary plans and 
> practices appear and breed.  There is the fantasy of the "Unknown 
> Leader," a caesar who will appear *from nowhere, or from outside the 
> system* and fix all problems rapidly, "solving the riddle and killing the 
> sphinx."  There is the option of a coup d'etat from the right and center 
> (213-4).  Above all is fascism.

Louis: I want to re-direct the list's attention to our discussion on 
fascism. I plan to direct more extended remarks to Bryan's contribution, 
but want to immediately zero in on the paragraph above. Gramsci says that 
fascism emerges when the ruling class is in crisis. This is deeply 
important. Crisis is a word that is much over-used on the left, but this 
certainly describes the Italian ruling-class immediately after WWI. 
Fascism is a movement that arises out of crisis. Are we in that kind of 
situation today? Do figures like Clinton and Dole, the *preferred* 
candidates of the US ruling class, express a crisis of the ruling class? 
I will have more to say about Bryan's extremely important contribution, 
but this struck me right off the bat.

On another front, I have been getting regular reports from Esa Davis on 
neo-populism. She had expressed interest in reporting on the militias, etc. 
She is temporarily un-s*bscribed for reasons that have nothing to do with 
disgust with the discussion on the l*st or the out-of-control behaviour 
(!) of some of its participants. So is Francisco Gomez, who will also be 
sending in a report on the ideology of fascism. I will act as 
intermediary for these two generous and thoughtful folks and look forward to 
continuing input from them.

One last thought. I notice that Tim Wolforth has once again tried to 
start a discussion around US armed participation in Bosnia. Now we went 
through a rather exhaustive debate around the politics of US intervention 
some months ago and I doubt if we will learn anything new through a 
repeat of this discussion. I, for example, don't plan to go back and do 
more research on Zimmerwald, WWII, the UN, etc. I will be frank about 
this matter: I think it would be a distraction for us to re-hash these 
issues when our attention is focused on the topic of fascism.

I would strongly urge the people who battled ideologically with Tim 
Wolforth and Leo Casey some months ago to instead focus their attention 
at the matter at hand. Especially since 3 of the list members who were more 
actively involved in the Yugoslavia discussion are assigned to report on 
fascism: Bryan, Matt D, and Chegitz.

I seem to remember that Tim Wolforth, a while back, was harping on the 
idea that the militias were fascist. Perhaps he might direct his 
considerable intellectual and political energies to this topic while 
everybody's attention is invested in it at at the moment.


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