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Friday, December 02, 2005


It’s an intriguing phenomenon that, while capitalism can exist without fascism, fascism cannot exist without capitalism. It’s a concept that some, including Howard supporter Harry Heidelberg, a fascist blogger hiding under the cloak of ‘mainstream Australia’, apparently is incapable of understanding.

Fascism comes in all shapes and guises but it never comes without the embrace of capitalism. It also rarely comes without the embrace of any given nation’s upper classes. Old money would not like to be directly associated with fascism but will nonetheless support it. New money, as we see with Gerard, openly supports it.

Of course, these days it’s not called fascism. Very few will openly concede that they actually are fascists, indeed, most will vehemently deny it; they will simply laugh at the notion. They say that they don’t like dictatorships per se but they do like strong leaders that have a firm grip on things and they will ensure that that strong leader will stick around for as long as possible within the bounds of not going the full hog of having a real full-on dictatorship. Today’s fascist, in short, would never actually want to be seen as a fascist.

How things have changed. Between the wars in Europe, including Britain, when fascism was on the rise, most people that were fascists were quite happy to call themselves ‘Fascists’. They joined this or that Fascist Party. In fact it was really quite fashionable to be a ‘Fascist’ in the 1930s. Since they lost the war however, it has never been fashionable again. In fact to be called a fascist was – and still is – something of an insult. But that doesn’t mean that the concept has gone away. Every now and then it raises its head again. Several Latin American nations experienced fascist style governments including Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and, of course, who can forget Chile. Spain went on for decades under Franco and Portugal didn’t fare much better under António Salazar. The Greeks had their juntas in the 1960s and the Croatians had Franjo Tudjman (yet another fascist that came from the left) in the 1990s. All, every one of them, were supported by their nation’s wealthiest people.

All, in the main, also had the support of their respective armed forces and security services whose upper ranks are usually filled with those who, just by the very nature of their chosen profession, have right-wing leanings generally even when the government of the day is left-wing.

When Webdiary’s Margo Kingston drew the analogy between what is happening today in Australia with what Fascism was about in Mussolini’s Italy with regard to fascism and its alliance with corporatism, poor old Harry blew the anger fuse and found it necessary to resort to plain foul language in order to help express his denial of the facts. In his rush to defend his hero Howard he actually thinks that every capitalist country must therefore be heading to fascism if Margo Kingston’s logic, which I share, is used. What nonsense Harry! Let me repeat what I said at the beginning. ‘…while capitalism can exist without fascism, fascism cannot exist without capitalism.’ Because you deny Howard being a fascist you seem to think that corporatist Australia getting into bed with him is just plain old corruption. What rubbish.

Many people’s idea of fascism, including Harry’s, seems to revolve around merely the images of fascism past; endless ranks of black uniforms, jack boots, great symbolic nationalistic banners, mesmerised hordes of cheering admirers – all the populist imaginings of fascism which made it so attractive between the wars. The reality is far more prosaic than that. It’s about control, power, wealth and the new racism of culture and religion. The dumb and gullible of Australia should wake up to this new reality.