Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers Viewpoint Organization

Culture & Fascism

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First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 2, No. 1, May, 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Struggle Against Fascist Ideology

What is fascist ideology? R. Palme Dutt, in Fascism and Social Revolution, makes it clear who is behind fascist ideology:

Behind the ranting megalomaniacs, bullies, drug-fiends, and broken down bohemians who constitute the outer facade of Fascism, the business heads of finance-capital who pay the costs and pull the strings are perfectly cool, clear and intelligent (pg. 197).

He goes on to explain that there is really no theory of Fascism, but that, in fact:

Fascism is solely a tactical method of finance capital–in exactly the same way as the support of democratic forms and of Social Democratic governments was also a tactical method, either being supported with equal readiness according to circumstances –to defeat the proletarian revolution, to divide the exploited population, and so to maintain capitalist rule (pg. 198).

He later goes on to explain the eclectic nature of fascist ideology, in its development as a movement without a theory, in opposition to proletarian revolution. He shows how Hitler, in Mein Kampf, saw the need to combat the world theory of Marxism with a “new intellectual theory.” Thus, in essence, fascist ideology is bourgeois ideology in a different form, desperately attempting to struggle against proletarian ideology as the capitalist system begins to collapse.

In fact, fascism has taken on an anti-government, pro-working class facade in order to capitalize on the rising class contradictions inherent in anarchistic monopoly capitalism. Its demagogy is irrational in character. Why? Because, as Butte pointed out:

The mystical and openly non-rational character of Fascist ideology and propaganda is only the inevitable expression of its class role to maintain the domination of a doomed and decaying class. The present situation of world capitalism is in the highest degree irrational, (pg. 206)

Demagogy, as Dutt points out later, is the art of playing on the hopes and fears, the emotions and the ignorance of the poor and the suffering for the benefit of the rich and the powerful. It is the meanest of the arts. It is the art of Fascism.

Fascist demagogy becomes prominent when collapse of monopoly capital is imminent, and the working class must be suppressed.

Under the bourgeois dictatorship in the US, art and culture in its mass forms have been potent weapons in the hands of the ruling class, especially in spreading the bourgeoisie’s ideology, political line, and illusions to the masses. It has historically helped to spread the bourgeois ideology of individualism and pragmatism (Daniel Boone to Superfly); racism (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind, “cowboy-and Indian movies ”, Charlie Chan–to name a very few); militarism and the glory of war (the war movies of all stripes, from Audie Murphy to George C. Scott); and imperialism and anti-communism (the Cold War FBI pictures to James Bond).

The present general crisis of the US capitalist system has brought the question of fascist ideology to the fore because of the rising danger of fascism as the bourgeoisie is less able to make concessions. If the bourgeoisie is to institute fascism in this country, the groundwork must be paved for the masses to accept it ideologically, to overcome their democratic “prejudices” and potential revolutionary stirrings, communism, and the like. Irrationality in all forms helps the masses to accept the fascist “answer” just as it did in the Weimar Republic when the movies and culture of the time were obsessed with theses of chaos, instincts, lusts, irrational impulses, nostalgia, and the longing for non-class innocent adolescence. On this question, the anti-revisionist communist movement in the US must avoid the mistake Dimitrov pointed out–disdain towards and underrating of the super structural elements:

One of the weakest aspects of the anti-fascist struggle of our Parties lies in the fact that they react inadequately and too slowly to the demagogy of fascism, and to this day continue to look with disdain upon the problems of the struggle against fascist ideology. Many comrades did not believe that so reactionary a variety of bourgeois ideology as the ideology of fascism , which in its stupidity frequently reaches the point of lunacy, was capable of gaining a mass influence at all. This was a great mistake. The putrefaction of capitalism penetrates to the innermost core of its ideology and culture, while the desperate situation of the broad masses of the people renders certain sections of them susceptible to infection from the ideological refuse of the putrefaction. (Dimitrov, Seventh World Congress of the Communist International)

The RU, on the other hand, as shown in their article on Joe Hill in the Nov. 1974 article in Revolution, while recognizing the offensive of the bourgeoisie on the cultural front, displays the same liquidation of the fascist menace that they showed in their position on the Boston busing issue. Further, in typical fashion, they view the main importance of Joe Hill’s songs as the fact that they arose out of struggle, and serve to unite and rally the class and the people. In fact, the main significance of Joe Hill’s songs is their class content. This once again reflects RU’s past principal task of practice-practice-practice, and the tendency to create a new “Third Ideology” of anti-imperialism, which in no way raises our understanding of the fascization process and the role of ideology in the class struggle. In its eclecticism, anti-imperialist consciousness is by nature anti-government and anti-business. But if left at that level it can serve to disarm the cadres and the masses by not providing a systematic world view needed to overcome and destroy bourgeois ideology. At best, this ideology harmonizes with immediate struggle at a reformist level–at worst it can be turned into its opposite through fascist demagogy with its typically “anti-government” and “anti-big business” facade.

All art and culture is part of the struggle between the two classes and the ideological lines. Literature and art, the reflection in the brain of the given life of a society, belongs to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines. There is no “art for art’s sake”, above classes which is detached from or independent from politics, as the renegades like Trotsky and Liu Shao-chi believed. Every class uses art and culture to serve its class interests, to glorify itself and to villify its enemies–to portray the world from its class point of view, to propagate its ideology, and to consolidate its rule. Exploiting classes have always used art and literature to oppress the masses. All bourgeois anti-realist art and culture consciously blunts the reality of class antagonisms and distorts the class consciousness of the masses with its theory of an all-embracing innate and static “human nature,” and both because it cannot face up to its own decay and ultimate death and wishes to divert the eyes of the masses from it. It uses art and literature as a means to “escape reality,” as well as to distort it to their own needs and outlook, and to create a false “reality” for themselves. Overall, then, while art and literature are subordinate to politics, they also affect politics. Bourgeois realism, as seen in the art and culture forced on the masses, is in actuality a distortion of reality used to manipulate the fears and frustrations which exist among the people. Its “protest” of the inherent contradictions and irrationalities of capitalism never supercedes its idealism, ending up in romantic idealism or more commonly now, pessimism and nihilism.

We must be aware of the importance of superstructural struggle, for this front can at certain times play . a decisive role in the struggle for proletarian dictatorship in the United States. The relative speed with which changes occur on the ideological front in the US can be very rapid because of the highly developed communications media, bourgeois press, and high literacy rate. At the present time, when social and political attitudes are changing rapidly and are characterized by fluidity, Communists must inject Marxism-Leninism into the working class, particularly its advanced elements, rapidly, otherwise the bourgeoisie will surely fill this ideological vacuum. The fact that the young anti-revisionist communist movement has neglected this front reflects the theoretical weakness generally prevalent in the movement today, although taking different forms. The October League, with its strong revisionist tendencies, tails after the liberal representatives of the bourgeoisie’s offenses in both the Boston Busing Issue (see article on Boston Busing), falling into the bourgeois strategy, and in its analysis of the “Jane Pittman Story.” Because of the OL leadership’s lack of understanding of the class nature of liberal ideology and their petty-bourgeois outlook, the OL ends up praising the bourgeoisie’s portrayal of Black people in their review of the Jane Pittman Story shown on a national network – a typical liberal “history” of passivity, individualism, and “heroes-make-history” story of Black people in America since the end of slavery, and in the era of wage slavery. Because the OL views fascism as the sole property of the “right-wing,” often fascist bourgeoisie, and negates the cultural and ideological groundwork being laid now in the dialectical process of the interaction between the bourgeois democratic liberal ideology and the open right-wing fascist one via art and culture, and the racism fanned via the busing issue, they fail to view fascism in its ideological aspects, but can see it only narrowly in its repression and “conspiracy” aspects, such as Watergate. They are so caught up by the “right bourgeoisie” that they are blind to the relation between the two–how the bourgeoisie preaches militancy to the racists and fascists, and passivity to the masses (and especially the oppressed minorities).

In its inevitable decline, the contradictions of US imperialism are sharpening in all areas, including that of art and culture. Because of the youth and relative primitiveness of the anti-revisionist communist movement in the US, however, little attention has been paid to the struggle on the cultural front, and what comes out from our ranks on the subject is characterized by mechanical and shallow “critiques” of bourgeois culture, but more fundamentally, from a bourgeois or petty-bourgeois point of view. In order for Marxist-Leninists in the US to truly become professional revolutionaries, we must be able to ensure that literature and art fit well into the whole revolutionary ma chine as a component part, that they operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy and that they can help the people fight the enemy with one heart and mind.

The cultural front is part of the struggle for proletarian ideology in the superstructure. In his letter to Bloch in 1890, Engels explains the relationship of the base and superstructure, cautioning against the mechanical application of economics as always the determining factor:

The economic situation is the basis, but the various elements of the superstructure–political forms, of the class struggle and its results, to wit: constitutions established by the victorious class after a successful battle, etc., juridical forms, and even the reflexes of all these actual struggles in the brain of the participants, political, juristic, philosophical theories, religious ties and their further development into systems of dogma also exercise their influence upon the course of the historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their form. (Emphasis ours) From Engels, p. 245, “Engels to Bloch,” On Religion, Progress Publishers, 1955 Russian edition.

Another important cultural prop of capitalism is religion, just another form of demagogy, but much more rooted in history and tradition, and, therefore, much more sophisticated and deeply rooted. What relationship does religion have with fascism? As Marx taught in Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right:

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. p.38 in CCHPR. “On Religion”

One particularity of religion in the U.S. are the sects, characterized by fundamentalist preaching (the literal interpretation of the Bible) and proselytizing. Arising from the most barbaric conditions of Southern feudal-like oppression, fundamentalism has become prominent in American life in times of great upheaval and crisis, feeding on the panic, desperation and pessimism of the masses. Oftentimes, it is connected with racism and anti-communism, as it was with the Father Conklin’s of the Depression Era, Rev. Moon of the present, and is like fascist ideology, characterized by eclecticism. It can promise miracle cures physically and spiritually, money and success for the faithful (like Rev. Ike), and can use the hatred of the masses for the government and monopolies by characterizing them as “turning away from the wishes of God,” etc. Its effect on disenchanted youth can be seen in the Jesus-freak phenomenon of our day. Very clearly, one of the forms that fascist ideology may take in this country is that of fundamentalist religion.

Role of Racism & National Prejudices: pragmatism & religion

Fascist ideology as a form of bourgeois ideology is eclectic. To perpetuate the rule of the moribund capitalism, “theoretical” demagogy adopts itself to national peculiarities.

Fascism, in Germany, for example, adopted itself to the idea of “patriotism” and revenge of “national humiliation” due to the Versailles Treaty.

In the U.S., racism and pragmatism is the most likely ideology that fascism will develop out of. Racism serves the ruling class by splitting up the multinational working class and drastically cutting down its resistance. Oppressed national minorities, as has been the case in U.S. history, bear the greatest brunt of the fascist policy of the U.S. ruling class, for the oppressed minorities will become the immediate target of the fascist repression, the scapegoat of fascism. Pragmatism is traditionally the ideology of capitalism and fascism. Its essence is the preaching of the utterly most reactionary ideology of “individualism.” It regards any practical immediate gains as virtue. Through an ideology developed out of the capitalist mode of production and capitalist relations of production, it justifies even the slavery-feudal ideology of mysticism and religion through the advocacy of subjectivism such as the “experience of god,” “experience of revival,” etc.

Nothing more aptly describes U.S. mass culture today than the word putrefaction. We need only scan the latest lists of movies or fiction to find hard-core pornography, cults of violence and occultism. We are accosted on the streets by religious fundamentalists like Rev. Moon or feudal mystics like Hare Krishna or the Maharaj Ji. We see the increasing trends of escapism and hedonism infiltrating the minds of our youth through nostalgia cults and rock idol cults.

In the particular social and historical context of the U.S., these all are signs of the reactionary role that U.S. art and culture is playing today. Under the protection of the “liberal” representatives of the bourgeoisie, all these trends are increasingly penetrating the minds of the masses. These liberals, just as in the Boston forced busing plan, are helping to usher in fascism through their protection of the most reactionary trends in art and culture, under the guise of “freedom of speech.” Protecting fascists like Jensen and reactionary trends like pornography, they of course, at the same time attack Marxism-Leninism ruthlessly as a “threat” to “freedom of speech”. Bourgeoisie “objectivity” serves the same purposes as bourgeoisie ”equality”: the invocation of the concept to cover and perpetuate the reality of its opposite.

In the particular social and historical context of the U.S., these all are signs of the reactionary role that U.S. art and culture is playing today. Under the protection of the “liberal” representatives of the bourgeoisie, all these trends are increasingly penetrating the minds of the masses. These liberals, just as in the Boston forced busing plan, are helping to usher in fascism through their protection of the most reactionary trends in art and culture, under the guise of “freedom of speech.” Protecting fascists like Jensen and reactionary trends like pornography, they of course, at the same time attack Marxism-Leninism ruthlessly as a “threat” to “freedom of speech”. Bourgeoisie “objectivity” serves the same purposes as bourgeoisie ”equality”: the invocation of the concept to cover and perpetuate the reality of its opposite.

On the other hand, these liberal representatives of the bourgeoisie also allow some forms of relatively progressive popular or protest art to exist, to create and perpetuate the guise of “democracy” under the bourgeois dictatorship. This also serves their line on art and culture, –that art is above classes and class struggle, that both fascist art and proletarian art are all “just art” to be judged on the same bourgeois esthetic standards, attempting to strip art of its class character and thereby degrading proletarian art to the level of vulgar bourgeois art.

The transition that has occurred in the realm of art and culture in the U.S. from the period of the 50’s to the 60’s and into the 70’s is connected to the political and social movements of our times. Lenin understood this very well in his article “Certain Features of the Historical Development of Marxism,” (Collected Works, Vol. 17), where he related the crisis that Russian Marxism was passing through and the periods of flow (1904-1907) and subsequent abrupt ebbs (1907-1910) in the Russian revolutionary movement. He pointed out that in the second period, reaction became the principal aspect politically and affected the sentiments and attitudes of the period:

The Medieval diehards not only occupied the foreground but also inspired the broadest sections of bourgeois society with the sentiments propagated by Vekhi, with a spirit of dejection and recantation. It was not the collision between two methods of reforming the old order that appeared on the surface, but a loss of faith in reforms of any kind, a spirit of “meekness” and “repentance,” an enthusiasm for anti-social doctrines, a vogue of mysticism, and so on (our emphasis). pg. 42

Art and culture in the period of the fifties in the U.S. were characterized by, on the one hand, the anti-communism of the McCarthy Era and, on the other, by the “celebration of America.” We had John Wayne hunting down communists and Doris Day leading her mindless, affluent petty-bourgeois existence, both in the same double-feature at the local drive-in. It was a time of predominance of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, racist romantics, but all ending “happily.” This euphoria reached its peak in the Kennedy years, when Camelot seemed to have come true (but was actually political life imitating art for the bourgeoisie’s purely pragmatic reasons). Shattered by the bullets of Presidential assassination, the rising tide of Black people’s resistance to oppression, and the anti-war movement, bourgeois art and culture found itself no longer providing the model for life, but in fact being pushed aside as irrelevant to the social realities of the time. The Sound of Music, the last gasp of the fifties, was no longer the standard of the times, which was now listening to the music of people’s war and people’s resistance. Hard driving rock and Black soul music knocked classical and easy listening out of the musical box, to the point where both Bernstein and Fiedler had to play it to seem “relevant” to the upsurge of the times. All manifestations of liberalism, reformism, and utopianism came to the fore under the guise of “anti-establishmentism” and was reflected in the topical movies of the day: The Graduate, Woodstock, Strawberry Statement, Alice’s Restaurant, MASH, and even Che. Like the spontaneity of the movements, art and culture of the period reflected the grip of the bourgeois world outlook on it, and the new progressive forms which emerged could not rise above the essentially bourgeois content. They essentially represented loyal opposition within the framework of bourgeois democracy and bourgeois conceptions of “justice” and “freedom”, doomed to degenerate into cynicism and despair or into cheaply commercialized means for the bourgeoisie to divert the minds of youth from reality when even those modest demands could not be met.

It was during the early seventies, however, that the bourgeoisie mounted a full scale counterattack in the realm of art and culture. As the movement of the masses ebbed, bourgeois reaction in the cultural field intensified. Certainly the period before had been, as Lenin put it, a time when the old order had been turned upside-down, and pessimism was an inevitable outcome for bourgeois and petty-bourgeois art and culture:

Pessimism, non-resistance, appeals to the “spirit” constitute an ideology inevitable in an epoch when the whole of the old order ’has been turned upside-down’, and when the masses, who have been brought up under this old order, who imbibed with their mother’s milk the principles, the habits, the traditions and beliefs of this order, do not and cannot see what kind of a new order is ’ taking shape’, what social forces are ’shaping’ it and how, what social forces are capable of bringing release from the incalculable and exceptionally acute distress that is characteristic of epochs of upheaval. “Lev Tolstoi and His Epoch,” Collected Works, Vol. 17, p. 51.

The most reactionary trends started to appear in art and culture in the U.S. : hard-core pornography touted as “high art” and appearing on the popular screen, combined with, and as a compliment to, pessimism, as in Last Tango in Paris and Chinatown; mysticism, characterized by the movie The Exorcist; the glorification of violence combined with American pragmatism in the movies like Dirty Harry (which of course also glorified the police and their tactics) and on the other side of the “law”, the Godfather (which glorified the criminals and their tactics); and of course, the whole fascination bourgeois art and culture now has with European fascism, especially with its “human” aspects, which objectively serves as away of “humanizing” and “relativizing” the brutality of fascism–rendering it morally neutral.

American fascism, in its peculiar national form, appears in the art and culture of the time in such movies as Death Wish. It tells the story of a petty-bourgeois professional, Charles Bronson, who finds no use for his old liberalism when his wife is killed and daughter raped by muggers. Out of revenge and fear, he takes up the gun and shoots “muggers” in a one-man vigilante crusade which the police publicly “condemn” but really condone. Every fear of the petty-bourgeoisie and the white masses about the collapse of “law and order”, of their security, of the racism against the national minorities is played on and graphically portrayed by this movie. Raising the contradiction between the petty-bourgeoisie and the lumpen elements to the principal level, it implies that it is really a contradiction between “lawful” whites and “lawless” national minorities through the remark that it wasn’t racist for Bronson to kill mostly national minority muggers since there aren’t as many white muggers around. Echoing the words of the fascist Kerrigan and Hicks in Boston, the movie is saying to the petty-bourgeoisie in no uncertain terms: “Once you wake up from your liberal fantasy and see who your enemy is, you’ll be on our side too.” In fact, Death Wish shows that it understands clearly the vacillating and contradictory nature of bourgeois liberalism, and how a “liberal” one day in a very short period of time can flip-flop and become a fascist the next. Its understanding of the fasciszation process clearly exceeds the simple-minded, naive, and revisionist analysis of the OL and Guardian.

The representation of a liberal petty-bourgeoisie turned upholder of the law and “personal liberties” through individual violence of concerned citizens when the government is inept or bankrupt, is in the American tradition of the vigilantes, the KKK, and the lynch mob. It is exactly the characteristics of what we see as American fascism: (1) it would come in the guise of the protection of the Constitution and traditional freedoms, in this case the protection of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, (2) besides the monopoly capitalists* interests, the petty-bourgeoisie would be the social basis for fascism, (3) it would play on anti-government demogogy, (4) it would ride in on a tide of racism that would split the class, and the class from its potential allies. This movie very clearly pounds the message of the petty-bourgeoisie and white masses being “up against the wall” and having to defend itself against the assaults of the muggers and other groups (the national minorities) that are trying to do it in. It is an indication that the bourgeoisie is trying to create the ideological conditions for a fascist offensive through playing on the racism and the fears of the masses, and like the Boston busing plan, turning multinational working class against each other, rather than turn against the bourgeoisie in this time of crisis.

Along with the out-and-out propaganda for American fascism, bourgeois movies are on the one hand pushing the themes of extreme demoralization, pessimism and desperation, and on the other a consolidation and deepening of reactionary ideas and prejudices. Demoralization and the pessimism of the times run through the nostalgic movies about the twenties, the Depression era and the fifties, such as Paper Moon, The Last Picture Show, The Great Gatsby, American Grafitti and The Way We Were. Playing on the discontent of the masses with the present state of affairs, nostalgia contrasts a simplistic innocence and fantasized stability of the past with the turmoil of the present. Shameless melodrama and idealist romanticism are the last resorts of the bourgeois artists who, unable to face the reality of the present and who can only see chaos in the future, find solace in reproducing the cliches from the past. Like the nostalgical culture of the Weimar Republic, present day nostalgia serves as means of diverting the minds of the masses from the social problems and tasks of the present day and reducing the scope of problems (especially the antagonistic class contradiction) to the level of the personal and psychological, in which pessimism and longings for “lost innocence” prevail.

The best examples, however, of the trend of pessimism and the decadent bourgeois world outlook of existentialism and extreme individualism can be seen in the movies Chinatown and Last Tango in Paris. Last Tango clearly is at essence decadent and pessimist in its cynical existentialism and in its portrayal of the anxiety of alienated and isolated people, unable to deal with the problems of society except through random, faceless encounters in the realm of sexual hedonism and sadomasochistic perversions. It represents the idea of escape (Brando running away from his failure in the U.S. to France), but of the escape to nowhere, of the inability to break out of the social chains of the present time, beginning and ending with the extreme selfcenteredness of bourgeois existentialism. Its effect is not only to portray the helplessness and failure of these on the screen, but more importantly to teach those in the audience about the “futility of life” and having no confidence whatsoever in breaking out of the decaying and moribund social relations imposed by the capitalist system.

Chinatown is also an example of this genre of bourgeois art. Its essence is well presented in the following quote from “Some Problems of Contemporary Foreign Literature” (Albania Today, July-August, 1974):

The anti-democratic and anti-socialist elements are vested with a sophisticated idealist philosophy... the decadent, pessimist essence and the formalism reign in all of these. Their main inclination, to one extent or another, is the fantastic and distorted reflection of the world of shadows, instead of actual phenomena, and the anxiety of the isolated and oppressed man; the feeling of alienation and inability to solve the complicated problems raised by society; and the creation of arbitrary figures without an inner logical connection, based on associations of ideas which express chaotic, delirious situation. Another characteristic of all these “trends according to the various schools and authors, is the distortion of the actual forms and dimensions of life, replacing them with random subjectivist ties, conventionalism, symbolism, which surpass all measure and cause art to submerge in agnosticiam, revolving within the consciousness and subconsciousness, without seeking anywhere in society, outside the individual, the causes of internal disturbances, despair, disillusion, suicides, prostitution, and terror in the face of death. (p. 20 emphasis ours)

The movie fulfills almost all of the points made above, but its special significance lies in its insidious moral about how the system cannot be fought, how futile it is to fight corruption, how powerful and all-encompassing the control of the bourgeoisie is, how useless to protest. For all of the effort of Jack Nicholson, the protagonist, to expose the corruption behind the faked water crisis which has gripped the Los Angeles region, and to save the daughter (and lover, it turns out, which underlies the theme of how “reliable” reality turns out to be) of the corrupt bourgeois politician, from his clutches, he ends up defeated by him, and the daughter dead. The Guardian’s Irwin Silber missed the whole political point of the movie when he said “...unlike the obligatory moralism of the 1930’s, justice does not triumph, thus demonstrating the more realistic popular mood of the 1970’s.”(Guardian, July 10, 1974, p. 18). This is exactly the “realistic popular mood” that the bourgeoisie wants to create in the masses, when the capitalist crisis is becoming ever more acute! He goes on moreover to say that “Five years ago people like Poitier, Belafonte, Gould, Sutherland, Polanski and Nicholson were involved in projects that, for all their built in limitations, were creatively and even politically adventurous. One need hardly wax sentimental over that lost era to bemoan the fact that today they are not even trying.” Because Silber is blind to the Fascisization process and the current overall trend in bourgeois art and literature, and especially in the movies, he cannot see how it is not simply a case of “not trying” to be relevant (in their own class interest of course) on the part of the bourgeoisie, but in fact is being used to disarm the masses ideologically in the period of widespread crisis, and to prepare them for a fascist offensive. To bemoan the bourgeois liberalism of the past era and to miss the specific political content of the present one is to betray Marxist class analysis in art and literature and to take the stand of the bourgeois art critic. Silber fails to see how fascisization is a process and what particularities in the superstructure will contribute to it. Fascism in the U.S. will come about through the dialectic of the liberal representatives of the bourgeoisie along with their revisionist allies, creating issues by using the reactionary content already existing in the superstructure (such as racism, mysticism, religious fundamentalism, anti-communism, and national chauvinism) to feed the growth and acceptance of the fascist representatives of the bourgeoisie by the backward section of the masses and by those who are particularly vulnerable, such as youth. In our view, anything or anyone who permits or encourages this dialectical process is objectively aiding the growth of the fascist danger in the U. S. Because of the bourgeois methodology which he employs Silber is blind to the connection of bourgeois art and culture with the overall development of fascism, how they are dialectically related, and how decisive certain elements in the superstructure can be in the development of fascism in this country.

In sum, bourgeois art and culture at this time has grabbed on to the pessimism of the masses in the period when the old order has been “overturned”; at the same time, the bourgeoisie has consciously fed and nurtured the most base and backward attitudes and sentiments among them. Without the conscious guidance of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse-tung Thought injected into the consciousness of the masses to explain the inevitable downfall of the old order, and to explain the line of march that they must take in order to establish the new order, the heavy hand of the bourgeoisie will prevail, with all the decaying and reactionary aspects that go with it, and lead down the road to fascism. Only the highest level of consciousness about the danger of fascism in this period on the part of the anti-revisionist forces, and the building of the anti-revisionist communist party, can prevent this catastrophe from taking place.

How do we fight the spread of fascism? One way is to promote proletarian culture. But we cannot fight on this front alone. We must join and lead the spontaneous resistance of the masses to fascist culture. This is the dying culture of the bourgeoisie who sees no future for itself, whose lifestyle is thoroughly parasitic and decadent. The working class, on the contrary, toils for a living and sees the future belongs to itself, and fascist culture is repugnant to the working class. Therefore, no matter how hard the bourgeoisie tries to corrupt the working class with fascist culture, to drag the working class down the drain with itself, the resistance of the masses is spontaneous, strong and powerful. This resistance may take many different forms. More often than not, the working class borrows the weapons used by the bourgeoisie when it was a revolutionary class fighting against the decadent feudal lords. Puritanism was such a weapon. For example, the working class may demand closing theaters showing pornographic and sadistic films with nothing but puritanical arguments. Communists must engage in these struggles to direct them from their oftentimes reactionary leaders, on to a revolutionary course. The petty bourgeois “new left” radicals can never see the revolutionary potential of the resistance of the masses cloaked in old ideologies the bourgeoisie has long abandoned. They see it as old fashioned, conservative and reactionary. In their striving to be the avant-garde, the petty bourgeois radicals sink deeper and faster than the ruling class. Glorifying themselves in counter culture and drug culture, the petty bourgeois radicals are one step ahead of the bourgeoisie in its decadence. They become the vanguard of the bourgeoisie. But communists are the vanguard of the working class. In joining and leading the resistance of the working class to fascist culture, communists will raise the level of consciousness of the working class to that of socialism, will merge this spontaneous movement into the mighty torrent to overthrow the bourgeoisie. This is how the communists view the minimum program and the maximum program. This is how the communists accumulate the revolutionary strength of the working class through day to day defensive struggles against the ruling class and turn them into an offensive for overthrowing the capitalist system which is the root cause of fascism and for building the bright future of socialism.