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The Militant, 17 February 1945

Pioneer Paragraphs

Daniel Guerin

Fascist Movements Develop Out of Monopoly Capitalism


From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 7, 17 February 1945, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


There would be a final illusion to be dispelled if the triumph of National Socialism in Germany had not dealt it the death blow: the illusion that fascism is a local phenomenon, a “specifically Italian” phenomenon, or one “peculiar to backward and predominantly agricultural countries,” to which the great industrial nations, the “great Western democracies,” are immune.

Today we are better acquainted with the nature of fascism, and we know that it is the specific product of the most highly developed capitalism, of monopoly heavy industry. Therefore it is a general phenomenon which is especially likely to be reproduced in industrial countries.

It is true that in Italy and Germany certain causes hastened its development, especially the fact that Italy and Germany after the war received particularly unfavorable treatment in the division at Versailles. The result was that, on the one hand, they had to struggle with acute economic difficulties much earlier than the more favored industrial powers; and, on the other hand, it was particularly easy in these two countries to graft the national idea on the social idea in order to arouse the fanaticism of the popular masses.

But the same profound causes which drove the Italian and German magnates to finance fascist bands and then to entrust fascism with the government can produce the same effects elsewhere. The economic crisis has become chronic throughout the world. Already, in a number of industrial countries, the capitalist magnates are Subsidizing “anti-labor” militias, to which they entrust the task of weakening the organized proletariat and reducing its resistance in order to slash wages and deprive it of its gains. At the same time they entrust a strengthened state – while waiting for the “strong state” – with the task of artificially checking the fall in their profits. We see here, and there governmental powers being reinforced and democratic institutions being gradually worn away. Even in those great countries where various expedients have made it possible to restore the profit mechanism temporarily and to a certain extent without abandoning democracy, fascism still has a chance. The bourgeoisie are keeping this last card in reserve. When an acute crisis comes, they can play it.

(From Fascism and Big Business, by Daniel Guerin, pp. 300–303. Pioneer Publishers, 1939; 340 pp., paper, $1. Order from Pioneer Publishers, 116 University Place, N.Y. 3, N.Y.).

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