Modern American corporate fascism is rooted in multinational corporate structures and wedded to a concept of racial and cultural “diversity” that (they hope) is compatible with corporate dictatorship.
“21stcentury fascism will be race-based and segregated, just as the United States has always been.”
The weakness of the Left In the United States is so extreme that the ruling class has to invent a “menace” to the prevailing oligarchic order: the Russians, whose phantom agents are said to wage a twilight struggle to undermine public faith in U.S. institutions. The U.S. Left is so pitifully small, so patently incapable of disrupting the rule of the rich, that it has lost all usefulness as a scapegoat for the failures and crimes of capitalism. Since no one believes that U.S. leftists have either the will or capacity to challenge the corporate regime, the Russians have to fill the role of internal as well as external enemy -- a daunting task on a meager Facebook budget of only $100,000.
With the real U.S. left having shrunk to near-invisibility, the capitalist pseudo-left -- all of them Democrats -- pretends that socialism has already arrived in America in the form of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Comrade Bernie Sanders tells us that [big “D”] “democratic socialism” will bloom triumphant with passage of Medicare for All, on the home front, and by combating the “New Authoritarian Axis” of Russia, China and assorted Trump-like regimes around the world. Sanders believes that U.S. empire is compatible with his very minimalist version of socialism, which neither requires nor desires the overthrow of the moneyed classes.
“The U.S. Left is so pitifully small, so patently incapable of disrupting the rule of the rich, that it has lost all usefulness as a scapegoat for the failures and crimes of capitalism.”
The pseudo-left Democrats have also invented their own version of fascism. In the real world, the world of actual human history, fascism arises as a reaction to grave threats to the capitalist order. During and after the First World War, the crises of capitalism and of intra-capitalist war gave birth to the Russian Revolution, and to desperate attempts at socialist revolution in Germany and Austria. The socialist threat spawned ultranationalist fascist movements across Europe, that seized power in Italy and Germany. I maintain that an earlier version of fascism arose in the Jim Crow regions of the United States, in reaction to the threat posed to the race-based ruling order by democratically empowered Black peasants and workers, during the brief Reconstruction period. The American South became the world’s first thoroughly racially regimented society, and a model for German and South African fascism.
“Fascism arises as a reaction to grave threats to the capitalist order.”
Donald Trump, the billionaire brat from Queens, New York, drew heavily on this seminal American fascism in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump’s pitch sounded very much like a promise to (re)create “good jobs” -- once known as “white man’s work” -- for his pale base, while stepping up police repression of Blacks and deportations of brown immigrants. Trump seized control of the GOP by feeding raw racist red meat to the Republican rank and file, rather than the usual, coded “dog whistles.” Trump had observed that, in both 2008 and 2016, any GOP senator or governor that acquired a billionaire sponsor could become a serious aspirant to the party’s presidential nomination. Why not Trump, the billionaire with instant name recognition who could sponsor himself?
“Sanders believes that U.S. empire is compatible with his very minimalist version of socialism, which neither requires nor desires the overthrow of the moneyed classes.”
Trump’s explicit racism was upsetting to many Republican big wigs’ corporate sensibilities, but that wasn’t the deal-breaker that caused the intra-capitalist crisis. The GOP had been the “White Man’s Party” since 1968. Trump’s explicit white supremacism was only a difference in degree. What set establishment Republicans to flight and nearly destroyed the corporate duopoly, was Trump’s campaign rhetoric opposing U.S. regime change wars and corporate trade deals that facilitated the free flow of money and jobs around the globe. The bulk of the ruling class, along with its national security and corporate media servants, fled into Hillary Clinton’s big nasty campaign tent, and have plotted to hog-tie or remove Trump, ever since.
Trump has since abandoned his opposition to regime change and corporate trade deals. He remains an arch-racist -- but that is only a difference in degree from all the other Republican presidents since Richard Nixon in 1968. In virtually every other aspect, the Trump presidency reflects the whims of the GOP’s corporate funders, for whom the Trump regime has been a cornucopia of tax and deregulation benefits. Trump seems destined to join previous Republican and Democratic administrations in pursuit of endless austerity and war – which marks both Trump and his corporate Democratic adversaries as fascists.
“Trump’s explicit white supremacism was only a difference in degree.”
Endless austerity and war is how the corporate regime strips all democratic character from late stage capitalist societies like ours, and reorganizes the world economy to serve plutocracy’s purposes.. The U.S. empire, not the territorial United States, is multinational capital’s home. Corporate imperatives dictate the global race to the bottom. The job of the two duopoly parties in the U.S. -- and of the bourgeois parties in the rest of the “West” and Japan – is to blunt the people’s resistance to the increasingly oppressive measures of capitalism in crisis and decline.The imperial “home” countries’ populations must also be made to acquiesce in, if not cheer, the steady drumbeat of war against the resistance to imperial aggression, now centered in Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua -- even though every tightening of the imperial knot means more misery for all those who have been drafted into the race to the bottom.
In the U.S., the hegemony of capital is all but complete. That’s why all of our “news” comes from five or six corporations -- and most of it is fake. Alone in the world, the U.S. has two parties of the ruling class, and no other parties that effectively contend for power. It is therefore, definitively, a corporate dictatorship. However, even though there is no effective countervailing force to corporate rule, the U.S. ruling class is wracked by contradictions that are playing out in full view of the global audience. Despite their near-monopoly on power, the capitalists are unsure how to manage endless austerity and war, and are fearful that real resistance may arise to the political economy of total insecurity they are creating in the United States.
“Alone in the world, the U.S. has two parties of the ruling class, and no other parties that effectively contend for power.”
The bulk of the corporate ruling class still do not trust Donald Trump, despite having neutered his foreign policy heresies. They are fascists -- in that they seek to perfect the dictatorship of the most ruthless elements of finance capital -- but their version of fascism is different from Trump’s old school, crudely race-based brand. Modern American corporate fascism is rooted in multinational corporate structures, and wedded to a concept of racial and cultural “diversity” that (they hope) is compatible with corporate dictatorship.
Whether these corporate actors actually believe in racial and ethnic equality or not, they have been forced by circumstances to make “diversity” the battle cry in their conflict with Trump and his “White Man’s Party” -- a party and racist ideology that still commands the allegiance of a majority of white Americans, including white women. Ironically, the two-corporate party trap that the ruling class built to corral all the rest of us provided only one alternative when Donald Trump mounted his takeover of the GOP. The bulk of the ruling class found itself herded together into a Democratic Party that is 25 percent Black, and growing more Latino every day. Not only was the (overwhelmingly white) corporate class forced to champion diversity for electoral reasons, but, even more importantly, they have made diversity virtually the only issue (along with pro forma support for women’s reproductive rights), in order to avoid confronting all the other issues and contradictions of life in a racist country under late stage capitalism at war with much of the rapidly warming world. Trump’s overt white supremacism, which won him solid white majorities, becomes the defining issue for his corporate adversaries, whose mission is to increase insecurity and eliminate remaining freedoms for the masses of people under endless austerity and war. But, they promise respect for people’s diversity, amidst the misery.
“The capitalists are unsure how to manage endless austerity and war, and are fearful that real resistance may arise to the precariat, total insecurity political economy they are creating in the United States.”
For Blacks, diversity is a diversion. The term was coined two generations ago as an alternative to the reparations-like promise of affirmative action. Instead of goals and timetables for inclusion or promotion of Black people, we got vague schedules to achieve “diversity” in the classroom and workplace -- with the bulk of the benefits going to white women. The corporate ruling class is making the same kind of promise, today, at a time of intense intra-capitalist conflict: Let’s all join together to defeat the racist Trump, they say, and build a world of diversity. But, it is the diversity of an integrated concentration camp -- and, even that is a lie. 21st century fascism will be race-based and segregated, just as the United States has always been. The ruling class will be as white as ever, and the cops will be as brutal and technically proficient as possible.
As the only group that has repeatedly demonstrated the will and capability to massively disrupt major urban centers of the nation, and the group that is, historically, the most left-leaning and peace-minded, Blacks will remain the main “national security” threat, just as when we first arrived in the British Americas, in chains.
The U.S. ruling class wants desperately to put its electoral duopoly back together again, with both parties serving corporate interests, interchangeably. They are betting that Donald Trump is a temporary disruption to the smooth operations of the system, and that the Republican Party will be recaptured by the dog whistlers. Odds are, they are correct, and the ruling class electoral political crisis will end when Trump leaves the White House, although the emboldened racists will doubtless continue to embarrass the corporate managers of the GOP. With the corporate consensus re-established, both parties will speak the same language as they collaborate to manage the last days of capitalism – and, maybe, of human existence on Earth.
Unless we rebuild a real left that actually challenges corporate rule, with the clear aim of overthrowing the oligarchs and setting the oppressed free.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].
Please join the conversation on Black Agenda Report's Facebook page at http://facebook.com/blackagendareport
Or, you can comment by emailing us at [email protected]