Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Barry Weisberg

The Fascist Menace in the United States and How to Fight It

Chapter V: The Kettle Is at the Boiling Point

A little while ago they were calling out “Bonzo”.
They’d better be careful. Bonzo grew up to be King Kong.

A wind is blowing across this state of ours.
And it is not only wind; it will grow into a tidal wave.
And there will be a government with men as tall as mountains.

Ronald Reagan

While fascism was defeated in World War II. the conditions propelling capitalism toward fascism were not eradicated, and the kernel of fascist reaction has matured within the shell of capitalist democracies. In some countries, fascism triumphed, was replaced and triumphed again. Fascist states arise on the base of both deep-seated foundations within the development of monopoly capitalism, and at a particular juncture in the class struggle. Before discussing the fascist movement and program, and the special features of fascism in the U.S., it is important to point out some of the most important foundations for a fascist state which already exist in the U.S.

Many have commented on the general features which impel fascism in a country like the U.S. In Fascism and the Social Revolution, R. Palme Dutt points to four factors: intensification of the economic crisis and the class struggle; widespread disillusionment with elected government; the existence of a large middle class or petty bourgeoisie, and sections of the working class under the influence of the capitalist class; and, the absence of an Independent, class-conscious leadership of the main body of workers. (Fascism and Social Revolution, Proletarian Publishers, pp. 256)

All of these factors are present in the U.S. today, and to a larger degree than in most modern industrial countries.

Further, in reviewing the special features of the development of fascism in the U.S., William Z. Foster in 1935 pointed to some important considerations. He recognized that a fascist movement could assume a mass base in the U.S. without a real crisis evolving in society and that such a movement could develop rather early in comparison to the experience in Germany or Italy. He noted the tradition of ruthlessness of the capitalist class, the lack of a reformist party in the U.S. and the ease with which the American capitalists learned from Hitler how to hamstring the workers’ movement. Furthermore. Foster pointed to the rapid fascization of the existing state and its ability to unleash fascist methods of rule.

Today, there are a number of very vivid factors which must be considered as the foundation which impels a fascist solution to the crisis of U.S. imperialism.

In no other country has the apparatus of state monopoly capitalism developed so extensively. Total subordination of the state apparatus to the interests of the monopolies has proceeded at a breakneck pace since World War II. It is today in high gear, with the Reagan programs of deregulation, taxes and abolition of anti-trust actions. In the U.S., the state intervenes directly in the interests of the monopolies in all aspects of life. State monopoly capitalism represents the highest degree of concentration of both economic and political power, and thus offers a ready-made foundation for the fascist state. American state monopoly capitalism has perfected the coercive and ideological apparatus to a degree unknown in any other country. This is an important factor in the ease with which a fascist state may be ushered in and in the extent of its terror.

The world balance of power today is less favorable to the U.S. than in any time in a hundred years. The U.S. is no longer in a position of merely maintaining the existing balance of forces, but is required to markedly strengthen its position and weaken its adversaries and allies. In the view of Wall Street, this is a pre-condition for ushering in a new period of accumulation and profits. It is not a problem of containment, but pushing back the competition, or destroying it through an imperialist world war.

The workers’ movement in the U.S. is today more divided than ever. Divisions among races and minorities are extremely acute, and examples of multi-national unity are not abundant. Even the organized labor movement is steadily losing membership and influence over the working class as a whole. The level of strike activity, with the exception of the current coal strike, has been at a low ebb for the last three years. In this climate, the opportunity to pass over from dollar democracy to a fascist state is ample. This is among the most important factors which makes a fascist solution to the crisis appear favorable on Wall Street.

The brutal history of slavery and racism in the U.S. is an important factor which nourishes the spread of fascist terror and opens the door to fascism. White supremacy and racism are a pervasive set of institutional and ideological relationships designed by capitalism to maximize the exploitation and oppression of minorities. It poisons the outlook of both the white majority and the minority peoples.

The rule of capital in the U.S. has promoted the most vicious white supremacist policies and ideology as a means to maintain its rule over the majority of workers. The cause of every economic crisis is portrayed as the result of the economic advancement of Blacks. Every aspect of social decay is portrayed as a result of integration, or as a parallel problem; every aspect of decay in agriculture is portrayed as a result of the undocumented workers from Mexico.

Similarly, the ills of the U.S. economy are attributed to the Arab oil producers or the Japanese auto makers. White supremacy, racism and national chauvinism have been weapons for the continued rule of the monopolies. They have unleashed a special culture of violence and terror against she Black minority and thus opened the door for fascist terror in the society as a whole. The present-day terror against Black children in Atlanta is a program of incipient fascism and a means to test the waters. The fact that the terror in Atlanta has met with little protest among the white population is a green light to fascism.

The history of slavery, legal lynching and all manner of violence against the Black people of the U.S. indicates that the initial fury of the fascist state will be directed, first and foremost, against Black people. We should have no illusions; crimes of the character perpetrated by Hitler, or the apartheid regime of South Africa will be unleashed against Black Americans in order to maintain the rule of capital. The forces which impel a fascist solution to the crisis of American imperialism are powerful and deep-seated, long-standing and sharpening. For many years the kettle has boiled. Now it is nearing the explosion.

While there are other factors which impel a fascist solution to the crisis of U.S. imperialism, these are among the most significant. But the problem cannot be seen from a one-sided view. While the factors which impel a fascist solution are substantial, there are various factors which argue for maintaining the present shell of dollar democracy. The extent of U.S. financial reserves world-wide, the growing margin of power between the U.S. and its allies and adversaries, the strong sentiment in defense of democracy in the U.S., the extent to which people are armed, and the adverse effect a fascist state would have on the allies of U.S. imperialism – these suggest that only the gravest necessity would compel monopoly capitalism to abandon the existing form of state rule and usher in fascism.