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Interesting read on Liberty, Communism, Fascism, Capitalism and Socialism

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  • Interesting read on Liberty, Communism, Fascism, Capitalism and Socialism

    ...Having replaced radical liberalism as the party of the "Left," Socialism, by the turn of the twentieth century, fell prey to this inner contradiction. Most Socialists (Fabians, Lassalleans, even Marxists) turned sharply rightward, completely abandoned the old libertarian goals and ideals of revolution and the withering away of the State, and became cozy Conservatives permanently reconciled to the State, the status quo, and the whole apparatus of neo-mercantilism, State monopoly capitalism, imperialism and war that was rapidly being established and riveted on European society at the turn of the twentieth century. For Conservatism, too, had re-formed and regrouped to try to cope with a modern industrial system, and had become a refurbished mercantilism, a regime of statism marked by State monopoly privilege, in direct and indirect forms, to favored capitalists and to quasi-feudal landlords. The affinity between Right Socialism and the new Conservatism became very close, the former advocating similar policies but with a demagogic populist veneer: thus, the other side of the coin of imperialism was "social imperialism," which Joseph Schumpeter trenchantly defined as "an imperialism in which the entrepreneurs and other elements woo the workers by means of social welfare concessions which appear to depend on the success of export monopolism..." [5]

    Historians have long recognized the affinity, and the welding together, of Right-wing socialism with Conservatism in Italy and Germany, where the fusion was embodied first in Bismarckism and then in Fascism and National Socialism: the latter fulfilling the Conservative program of nationalism, imperialism, militarism, theocracy, and a right-wing collectivism that retained and even cemented the rule of the old privileged classes. But only recently have historians begun to realize that a similar pattern occurred in England and the United States. Thus, Bernard Semmel, in his brilliant history of the social-imperialist movement in England at the turn of the twentieth century, shows how the Fabian Society welcomed the rise of the Imperialists in England. [6] When, in the mid-1890's, the Liberal Party in England split into the Radicals on the left and the Liberal-Imperialists on the right, Beatrice Webb, co-leader of the Fabians, denounced the Radicals as "laisser faire and anti-imperialist" while hailing the latter as "collectivists and imperialists." An official Fabian manifesto, Fabianism and the Empire (1900), drawn up by George Bernard Shaw (who was later, with perfect consistency, to praise the domestic policies of Stalin and Mussolini and Sir Oswald Mosley), lauded Imperialism and attacked the Radicals, who "still cling to the fixed frontier ideals of individualist republicanism (and) non-interference." In contrast, "a Great Power ...must govern (a world empire) in the interests of civilization as a whole." After this, the Fabians collaborated closely with Tories and Liberal-Imperialists. Indeed, in late 1902, Sidney and Beatrice Webb established a small, secret group of brain-trusters called The Coefficients; as one of the leading members of this club, the Tory imperialist, Leopold S. Amery, revealingly wrote: "Sidney and Beatrice Webb were much more concerned with getting their ideas of the welfare state put into practice by any one who might be prepared to help, even on the most modest scale, than with the early triumph of an avowedly Socialist Party...There was, after all, nothing so very unnatural, as (Joseph) Chamberlain's own career had shown, in a combination of Imperialism in external affairs with municipal socialism or semi-socialism at home." [7] Other members of the Coefficients, who, as Amery wrote, were to function as a "Brains Trust or General Staff" for the movement, were: the Liberal-Imperialist Richard B. Haldane; the geo-politician Halford J. Mackinder; the Imperialist and Germanophobe Leopold Maxse, publisher of the National Review; the Tory socialist and imperialist Viscount Milner; the naval imperialist Carlyon Bellairs; the famous journalist J. L. Garvin; Bernard Shaw; Sir Clinton Dawkins, partner of the Morgan bank; and Sir Edward Grey, who, at a meeting of the club first adumbrated the policy of Entente with France and Russia that was to eventuate in the First World War. [8]

    The famous betrayal, during World War I, of the old ideals of revolutionary pacifism by the European Socialists, and even by the Marxists, should have come as no surprise; that each Socialist Party supported its "own" national government in the war (with the honorable exception of Eugene Victor Debs' Socialist Party in the United States) was the final embodiment of the collapse of the classic Socialist Left. From then on, socialists and quasi-socialists joined Conservatives in a basic amalgam, accepting the State and the Mixed Economy (=neo-Mercantilism=the Welfare State-Interventionism=State Monopoly Capitalism, merely synonyms for the same essential reality). It was in reaction to this collapse that Lenin broke out of the Second International, to re-establish classic revolutionary Marxism in a revival of Left Socialism.

    In fact, Lenin, almost without knowing it, accomplished more than this. It is common knowledge that "purifying" movements, eager to return to a classic purity shorn of recent corruptions, generally purify further than what had held true among the original classic sources. There were, indeed, marked "conservative" strains in the writings of Marx and Engels themselves which often justified the State, Western imperialism and aggressive nationalism, and it was these motifs, in the ambivalent views of the Masters on this subject, that provided the fodder for the later shift of the majority Marxists into the "social imperialist" camp. [9] Lenin's camp turned more "left" than had Marx and Engels themselves. Lenin had a decidedly more revolutionary stance toward the State, and consistently defended and supported movements of national liberation against imperialism. The Leninist shift was more "leftist" in other important senses as well. For while Marx had centered his attack on market capitalism per se, the major focus of Lenin's concerns was on what he conceives to be the highest stages of capitalism: imperialism and monopoly. Hence Lenin's focus, centering as it did in practice on State monopoly and imperialism rather than on laissez-faire capitalism, was in that way far more congenial to the libertarian than that of Karl Marx. In recent years, the splits in the Leninist world have brought to the fore a still more left-wing tendency: that of the Chinese. In their almost exclusive stress on revolution in the undeveloped countries, the Chinese have, in addition to scorning Right-wing Marxist compromises with the State, unerringly centered their hostility on feudal and quasi-feudal landholdings, on monopoly concessions which have enmeshed capital with quasi-feudal land, and on Western imperialism. In this virtual abandonment of the classical Marxist emphasis on the working class, the Maoists have concentrated Leninist efforts more closely on the overthrow of the major bulwarks of the Old Order in the modern world. [10]

    Fascism and Nazism were the logical culmination in domestic affairs of the modern drift toward right-wing collectivism. It has become customary among libertarians, as indeed among the Establishment of the West, to regard Fascism and Communism as fundamentally identical. But while both systems were indubitably collectivist, they differed greatly in their socio-economic content. For Communism was a genuine revolutionary movement that ruthlessly displaced and overthrew the old ruling Úlites; while Fascism, on the contrary, cemented into power the old ruling classes. Hence, Fascism was a counter-revolutionary movement that froze a set of monopoly privileges upon society; in short, Fascism was the apotheosis of modern State monopoly capitalism. [11] Here was the reason that Fascism proved so attractive (which Communism, of course, never did) to big business interests in the West--openly and unabashedly so in the 1920's and early 1930's. [12]
    Read the rest.
    Last edited by | K Y L E |; 02-15-2007, 05:02 PM.

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