Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Progressive labor Party Says: Today’s Liberal Billionaires Are the Fascists of Tomorrow

First Published: Challenge, June 28, 1973.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Watergate, which demonstrates U.S. bosses’ political and economic decline vis-a-vis their counterparts and competitors around the world, has stirred up a lot of talk and speculation about fascism, A good deal of attention has been paid to the various methods used by the Nixon crew in attempting to fasten their grip on the stale machinery. The spying, bugging, lying, framing-ups and other pedestrian events brought to light, are supposed to indicate Nixon’s “new police-state” tactics.

If these methods are “new,” then we have had fascism right along. Present accounts of the Watergate affair would have us believe that these and other tactics represent a sharp digression from the norm. This is bunk! Politicians and businessmen have always used these tactics against one another for financial and political gain. Industrial espionage is a growth industry. Political chicanery–including murder–is as old as the hills. It was used as recently as the 1960 presidential election, when the Kennedy Klan stole 100,000 votes from Nixon via the Daley machine in Chicago and thus swung the election into JFK land. What is new is that the power struggle between the dominant section of the bosses and the younger upstarts has become so sharp that they have gone public to enlist workers and others mainly onto the side of the liberals.

All militant fighters against the bosses have suffered from Nixon-type harassment (at the very least) in the past and will in the future. Militants have been murdered, jailed, beaten, and framed. Thousands of black rebels can cite chapter and verse about these bosses’ tactics, as can countless others. This kind of harassment and terror has always been practiced against the people, and it never mattered whether a Republican or Democrat was in power. So fascism must mean something else.


When and if fascism comes to our country, it will come all wrapped up in red, white, and blue. Its slogans will probably be “peace, democracy, and social welfare.” Some important liberal figure will possibly head the fascist movement. Liberal John F. Kennedy put forth a typical fascist concept in his 1961 inaugural address when he said: “Ask now what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” In their words, bow down to the state, keep your mouth shut, and work your ass off.

Many attempts will be made to explain that increased oppression by the bosses is as American as apple pie.

For the working class, fascism means intense oppression, mass terror, and increased national chauvinism, coupled possibly with stepped-up foreign expansion.

As in the past, the rulers continue to maintain a certain level of mass terror. But the development of fascism by them signals a qualitative expansion of mass terror. They need this intensification because of a new set of political and economic conditions developing within (and probably outside) the country that seriously threaten capitalism’s ability to maintain power. Some features of these conditions might be:

–The imminent collapse of the bosses’ economic system because of sharper class control at home and abroad coupled with stiffer competition from other bosses.
–Growing strength of the working class movement through the development of a communist leadership whose aim is the seizure of workers’ power.
–Stepped-up revolutionary thrusts by workers and oppressed people around the world wiping out more and more actual and potential investment areas.


You can easily see how liberals like JFK ruthlessly use fascism against oppressed people, as they did in Vietnam. Profits ripped out of oppressed workers’ hides are used in a limited way to provide a few crumbs for workers at home. But as oppressed people fight for liberation and socialism, this profit cushion goes and with it the crumbs and democratic illusion. So natural alliances become possible between workers at home and oppressed workers and people in other countries against the common enemy, U.S. imperialism.

The three developments outlined above will be among the more important ones forcing the rulers to fascism. Fascism is a sign of the bosses’ weakness and often indicates the growing strength of the working class. When workers move ahead decisively for socialism, this spells power for them and curtains for the bosses.

Thus fascism doesn’t fall out of the sky. It isn’t an aberration peculiar to one or a few men. It isn’t the good guys in the ruling class against the bad ones. Which are good? Fascism is capitalism forced to hold power through mass terror. First the capitalists consolidate their own ranks and then methodically use mass terror to apply their grip on the working class. Obviously, the dominant section of the ruling class determines the pace and timing of fascist development–if the workers let them. We can see from the Watergate affair as well as from analyzing who owns the basic wealth of the country that the liberals are among the main spokesmen for the dominant (i.e. the older) section of the bosses. Behind the smiles and nuances of each liberal lurks a fascist. Liberal leaders, like JFK who have led the murderous march against the Vietnamese will not hesitate a moment to act in the same ruthless way against “their own” workers if the situation demands it.


In addition to showing us how the state really works, how flimsy the bosses are (as they betray one another when under attack), the Watergate affair also teaches us the useful lesson of who is in the dominant section of the ruling class and how much they wield power. Within a month, the Nixon gestapo has been cut down to size. There is ever-growing talk of impeachment and resignation. The New York Times, the bosses’ most influential publication and the bastion of Eastern liberalism, is heaping abuse after abuse on the Nixonites. It has made Nixon appear like an inept boy scout. For example, on May 27, James Reston said: “To argue at this late date that ’national security’ (Nixon’s flimsy rationale for his group’s maneuvers to consolidate power, Ed.) is served more by secrecy or that It was ever served by an arrogant staff or by the clumsy plumbers who gave us the Watergate scandal and the Ells berg burglary is almost beyond belief. These characters couldn’t fix a traffic ticket, let alone defend the national interest, and it is now fairly clear that they can’t even protect their own security let alone the nation’s.” This is really saying that Nixon is a moron and his pals fools. Accusing him and his pals of inability to protect national security is neither a minor criticism nor a vote of confidence. Nor is it the sign of fear or respect.


In the June 7 Times, Anthony Lewis writes: “If the cloud of doubt remains month after month, with its devastating effects on the world’s confidence, then sooner or later Richard Nixon will have to face the question that the Eden government faced in 1956. Some good friend and true conservative, we cannot yet know who will come to him and say that for the country’s good he must go.” The liberals and the dominant section of the ruling class are “cutting him down to size” (Reston, Times, June 10) in a display of power but, more importantly, in a display of their rejection of Nixon policies–especially his economic policies, which they consider to have unnecessarily intensified U.S. imperialist decline. This decline is not only reflected in economic contradictions among the bosses. Workers can see it and must pay for it in their daily lives. The cities are crumbling. Prices and taxes are skyrocketing. Schools and hospitals are in a state of ruination. Streets are filthy. It’s hard to make a phone call or mail a letter–and now we are being told that much of the country’s tap water is polluted. These things are hardly an indication of a burgeoning economy. Now we are warned of yet another economic crisis either this year or next–which means more unemployment, speed-up, and budget cuts.

The dominant section of the ruling class is moving to limit the extent of the coming economic downturn. They want to cover up the Nixon team’s excesses in flaunting ruling class power. They are trying to guarantee that their economic interests are the ones favored in the new trade with Russia and China. Recently, Chase Manhattan opened its first office in Moscow. Can Peking be far behind? Most importantly, they are moving to consolidate their power over the new money boys in oil, aerospace, etc. and then to take them over in true capitalist style. They hope these and other moves will streamline the economy and restore the facade of democracy to the state apparatus. Apparently, they do not think this is the time for fascism at home.


They realize that their economic decline does not mean imminent collapse. They know they have some maneuverability. A good part of this is the opening up to huge trade of Russia and China. These once communist giants help U.S. bosses avoid collapse by acting to put the brake on revolutionary movements around the world. The leftwing and revolutionary movement in the U.S. is still at a low level. So the U.S. bosses reason they are not seriously threatened now by revolution at home and abroad, and they believe the revisionists in Moscow and Peking give them economic room to maneuver. However, they also realize that they have sharp problems and that they must move to deal with them. At best, they might get some short-term relief, but their days are whittling down. In the June 4 Times, Clark Clifford (top industrial spokesman) describes their plight: “... our country would not be in such dire straits because of inflation, the loss of confidence in the dollar and his unilateral decision to bomb Cambodia and Laos and remain hopelessly entangled in Indochina.

“Our country cannot afford to conduct its business in this manner any longer. Our problems at home are proliferating, while our position in the world is deteriorating. Every signpost indicates that conditions will continue to worsen on both fronts. (Emphasis ours. Ed.)

“However, I suggest that the present posture of affairs is not hopeless...”


The bosses may not yet be ready for fascism at home, but they are constantly sharpening their swords. In this process, they commit fascist acts, but these acts are not yet a full-blown system. They are passing more and more anti-labor legislation, writing forced labor laws, stepping up anti-communism, harassing and murdering political militants and people generally, spreading racism and racist education, and trying to bribe many workers and intellectuals. They always prepare the machinery for the eventual development of fascism.

They realize that whatever they do may not be adequate, and they prepare for the future. SO MUST WE!

Crying wolf is not the way to fight fascism. The way to fight fascism is to build the political and eventually the armed might of the people. At this moment, we must strengthen our unions by fighting the labor bosses arid putting the workers on the offensive against the big bosses. Through unity of black and white, men and women, we can strengthen our ranks. Workers can act for 30 for 40. This would be another sharp blow against bosses. A massive anti-racist campaign can be launched on the campuses, wiping out the bosses’ ideological efforts to split the workers. This will develop as everyone realizes that racism hurts the entire working class and intellectual community. And a powerful left-center, force can be built in the labor movement that aims to wrest power from the corrupt labor leaders. Finally, and most importantly, a mass party for socialism and revolution will grow and eventually challenge the rulers for power.


Of course, the liberal bosses would love us to line up with (hem. They pose as anti-fascists, Wends of the workers. Their lollypops and bandaids are used to bribe and cajole workers and others into thinking these billionaires are good guys. Alliances with liberals and failure to understand that the main fascist danger comes precisely from them because of their class interests has in the past been the doom of workers’ movements. Allying with our enemy to get ourselves wiped out is crazy, but this is what many “leftists” suggest They are confused by the gap between appearance and reality. Fascism is simply an extension of capitalism. It is mass terror by, for, and of the capitalist class–particularly the biggest capitalists. You can beat in only by relying on the strength of workers and others at home and abroad. In the past, workers have shown that they can beat fascism given certain conditions. Hitler, Mussolini, and others all fell under the blows of workers. Their successors gel a second chance only because the entire capitalist class isn’t wiped out.

Our job is to beat them all. And that is what we are trying to do.