community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
Did Reagan win the Cold War? A myth exploded.
by DemocracyIsGood Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003 at 11:43 AM
Before I disprove this myth, I want to point out the childishness, crassness, and just plain ignorance of the propagandists who make this claim. Such a massive global struggle, and one guy who stumbled in after 90% of it was over decides to claim all the credit?
Welcome back, Reagan Democrats! As for the "Reagan won the cold war" myth...
As Clark unites America, I'm going to be writing a lot of welcomes.
I guess the turning point was when it became apparent that the aren't the Tough on Defense national security party they've always claimed to be. For a while it looked like Bush was going to provide, as the bumper stickers say it, peace through superior firepower. Yet now every week there's a new terror attack in a new part of the world, and every day more soldiers die while Bush and his warmongers go to fundraisers and party like it's 1939.
But what about that claim we've heard so many times, that Reagan "won the cold war"?
Before I disprove this myth, I want to point out the childishness, crassness, and just plain ignorance of the propagandists who make this claim. Such a massive global struggle, and one guy who stumbled in after 90% of it was over decides to claim all the credit?
The war against communism was not a "Cold War" in any way, shape or form. WW3 is a good name for it, though this battle of attrition started before the end of WW1, and continued to the fall of the USSR (after Reagan), though we can argue it is still being fought, against Burma and North Korea, while a sort of unofficial peace negotiation (though market reforms and better relations) moves along with China and Cuba.
Millions upon millions of soldiers, refugees, diplomats, activists, saboteurs, reformers, union members both behind the iron curtain and in the west, intellectuals, freethinkers, environmentalists, protesters, writers, artists, most of all innocent bystanders, and on and on and on, of ALL political stripes (even communists themselves) fought, agitated, where tortured and died in the battle of attrition to bring down the dark age known as communism.
Winston Churchill may have been right when he said that an "iron curtain has descended ", however, that curtain fell in 1917, long before the short-term memory of us in the west.
WW3 started in 1917 when Lenin violently overthrew the liberal democratic Provisional Government which was struggling to restore order after the revolution. The civil war effort involved a motley coalition of liberal democrats, socialists, monarchist reactionaries. It also included many forgotten soldiers of the western allies, including a lot of Americans, who fought and froze in the obscure battles of 1918.
During Hoover's great depression, it looked like the house of cards about to collapse was capitalism. Many Americans actually went to the USSR for work! Those western technicians was one of the reasons Stalin's industrialization actually succeeded. Then Roosevelt's New Deal got capitalism on its feet again, and republicans will never forgive him.
Poland fought a forgotten war against the soviets in the civil war era, then fought them again for a few days in 1939.
Finland fought three forgotten David-and Goliath battles with the USSR, in the civil war, the winter of 1939, and in World War 2.
If you're talking about inflicting sheer military and economic costs, Hitler did far, far more damage than Reagan even claims to have done. Not only Germans but millions of Europeans, volunteers and conscripts, most of all Russians themselves, fought on the losing side of that evil-VS-evil war.
Fascist Japan also fought two short, losing wars against the USSR during WW2. They also fought Chinese communists in a four-sided war that also involved Chiang-Kia Check [sp?], who probably spent more energy fighting the reds than the Japanese. The other "faction" of sorts was the Chinese warlords.
For a while in WW2 we were aiding the royalists who fought against Tito in Yugoslavia. Though Tito was a communist, he was too liberal for the USSR, so Yugoslavia played a more of less neutral role in the "Cold War began". His slightly more liberal brand of communism made Yugoslavia more prosperous than the rest of eastern Europe.
General Clark played a direct role: he defeated and opened the way to the overthrow of Milosovich's "socialist" party, which was actually a communist leftover.
The largest blow dealt to communism - bar NONE - was the Marshall plan of economic development under Truman. This was a decisive proof that foreign aid and economic development, sharing and caring, kills more fanatic movements than the shoot and loot, borrow and bomb ideology of the Bu'ushists. People who pointed this fact out after 9/11 were denounced as traitors, kicked out of jobs, schools, and families, yet today the contrast between Iraq and Germany is more obvious than ever.
Rebellions in Hungary, Prauge, Tienamen square, and other massacres added many martyrs to the cause. Unions like "Solidarity" in Poland fought strikes, and unions in America and the west constantly fought communists infiltrators. Right now, the largest labor movement in human history is fighting massive but unreported struggles in China.
The UN fought the North Koreans and Chinese in Korea. Truman's policy of containment contained them, while Republicans were more interested in starting a nuclear war. (Republicans have never understood a phenomenon known as "radiation".)
JFK and LBJ fought communism to another bloody stalemate in Vietnam. How much fighting was enough to prevent the domino-effect, and how much was just futile overkill, is am irrelevant debate that Americans should leave behind us.
Communist Vietnam invaded and destroyed Cambodia's Kmir Rouge. They also fought China once, and China fought Russia once. Now that American jobs can be sent to Vietnam and China, the republicans are silent and Maoism's only opponents seem to be fair-trade activists.
Clark has stated that he's going to make countries like them play by the same rules in global trade, such as taking on China's currency manipulation. In contrast, Bush actually apologized to China when they took our pilots hostage. He has a brother that is making money hand over fist in China.
Most of the corporate media, by the way, is actually forbidden from reporting any stories that are embarrassing to China. Too many of their investments are at stake. Go ahead, call any of the top media corporations and ask them to report something on the colossal union struggles and strikes that are occurring daily in China, for just one example.
Environmentalists behind the Iron Curtain were a major form of resistance. Throughout the world and most of all in Russia, the credit for the end of Communism goes to Micael Gorbi [I can`t spell his name, the guy with the birthmark on his head]. His market and civil liberty reforms made a huge impact that was never noticed very much all the way over here.
Solyetzin, (The Gulag Archipelego) the radical-leftist George Orwell (Animal Farm, 1984), communist-sympathizing writer John Scott (Behind the Urals) and other writers and intellectuals exposed the reality and thinking of communism in a way that could not be done by the hysterical and unbelievable propaganda from the right.
U2's best song (IMO) "Walk On", is about a Burmese dissident, while today Bush and his corporate contributors are cheerfully doing business and collaborating with the unbelievably savage Burmese communist dictatorship.
Peruvian governments, including liberal democrats, are still fighting against the terrorist Moaists of the "Shining Path" but you'll never hear about that when Bush talks about "terrah". Other than his miserably failed attempt to stop North Korea from building WMD, the only remotely anti-communist action of Bush is to use our taxes to fund fascist drug-lords in Columbia who tend to fight with their commercial rivals, the leftist drug-lords, and tend to massacre peasants who might possibly be leftists, after all, they`re peasants, right?
Tibet and pro-Tibetan activists are resisting China's invasion and settlement of Tibet. Nepal is fighting a war against Maoists.
Even peaceful Sweden played a part. When the USSR was brought down, it was generally expected that the result would be like Scandanavia, especially Sweden - a country that combines an economic higher standard of living and morals (less abortions, teen pregnancy, etc) than the rest of the capitalist world, with a superior socialism to the USSR. Had the Russians had to use the USA, with Reagan's double-digit unemployment, as a model, (let alone known the Great Depression style economic disaster they've suffered under a crony-capitalism disturbingly similar to that of Bush), would they have revolted? Probably not.
Remember that classic contrast at the Berlin Wall? The wealthy, vibrant, optimistic west just a block away from the poor, polluted, backward communists? That West Berlin was prospering under liberals and social-democrats. (That's why there's been so much hatred thrown at Germany and France by the republicans - they same liberalism that opposed the fanatic ideology of the communists is now opposing the fanatical ideology of the Bu'ushists.) If it has been a republican-governed state like Missouri next door to East Berlin, would there have been a contrast? Would people risk their lives to escape to a polluted slum in Texas?
This is all just off the top of my head. There are a million struggles and battles I have thoughtlessly neglected.
So then, what did Reagan do to fight communism? Let's see:
Reagan funded the right-wing Afgan religious fanatics and trained them in bombings and other terrorism. (One of their typical tactics - videotaping a young Russian prisoner as they skin him alive, then sending the videotape to his mother.) He compared Osama Bin Laden's friends to America's founding fathers.
Reagan focused his energy on Beruit - then caved in to terrorism, pulling his troops out. His attacks on communists in Latin America were intended to distract public attention from this.
Reagan trained every fascist terrorist group in Latin America, every nun-raping, genociding, cocaine-smuggling crack-Hitler on the entire continent. Remember those American nuns raped to death by Reagans "freedom fighters"? All morals aside, this was counterproductive.
Reagan and Bush were busily arming Saddam with WMD, then Bush suddenly switched sides, fighting an indecisive (Saddam survived) war to restore the Kuwaiti dictatorship. Those same WMD Reagan-Bush sent them might have caused Gulf War syndrome, which has killed and maimed thousands of our troops and their children. If anyone calls GW1 a decisive success, explain the horrors of Gulf War syndrome to them. With that in mind, it is obvious that GW1 was actually an indecisive, bloody stalemate. (Much of the military bases built in Saudi Arabia were done by Osama Bin Laden's family, who were greatly enriched by it.)
Reagan didn't have as much interest in the unions, environmentalists, reformists and liberal democrats who where bringing communism down from the inside. Reagan was too busy raping nuns to death.
The republican theory is that Reagan's welfare cheques to the Military-Industrial Complex corporations (the same ones Eisenhower warned us about) started an "arms race". Funny, seeing that republicans never argued that there was such thing as an "arms race" they said that spending would just give an advantage. When was the last time you heard a republican can say "no, buying weapons systems doesn't give us an advantage, but it causes the rest of the world to also waste its money on weapons."?
Reagan's main spending was on "Star Wars" which still doesn't work today. Back then, computers had no more power than pocket calculators. Yet the missile defense system still can't hit its targets, even when given advanced warning of the time and location of the attack.
So did arms spending affect the USSR? Ask anyone that has lived under communism, they'll tell you that it's consumer goods that communism finds impossible to make - they're perfectly competent at pumping out weapons systems in colossal numbers, in fact, some of the best military technology ever made were communist:
(The T-32 tank, the Il-2 attack aircraft, the RPG series, the Moaist guerrilla warfare model (still being used in Iraq more than half a century later) and infantry tactics (ask a Korea vet about how startlingly effective Mao's peasants were against our mechanical advantage in Korea - they were not the suicide charges portrayed in movies) the Viet Cong's tunnel system, the "mobile minefield" of Improvised Explosive Devices (another tactic still used in Iraq) the Mig-29 fighter, plus other things that are secret (what has that tiny bullet that managed to penetrate our invincible Abrams tank, for example? Must be Russian or Chinese).
So, had the USSR really gone all-out to beat Reagan's arms race, how do we know they wouldn't win? How do we know their missile defense system wouldn't be better than ours? Every time we fought them militarily, it was a long and bloody stalemate, because, despite their economic backwardness in the world of consumer goods, their military-industrial-complex could fight us to a standstill every time.
This is exactly the model that Truman's policy of containment was designed for. If they attack, fight to the inevitable stalemate, if not, simply wait for them to collapse.
If the nuclear war that republican hawks were craving for actually occurred, it probably would have been the same as every other war we fought against the communists - extremely bloody and indecisive.
Would you PLEASE stop complimenting the communists?
Democrats like Truman believed that communism was so unworkable it would eventually self-destruct. Democrats still believe that that's the reason it did. Communism failed because communism is a failure. Reagan and the republicans are completely different. To make Reagan a hero, they have to give him a bigger dragon to slay - so they have to pretend that communism wasn't the rotten house of cards that everybody knows it was.
Liberals have seen communism as a threat to democracy, the same as fascism, terrorism, and neo-conservatism. Communists want government to take over business, neo-cons want business to take over the government. Both want business and government owned by a small corporate elite. In the end there's no difference.
Reagan-Bush neo-conservatives see communism as just another bogeyman to frighten people into accepting totalitarianism, just like Hitler used communism to frighten people into accepting his rule. Notice how little they talk about communism now that they have terrorist bogeymen to replace it!
Thus, liberals want neo-conservatism, communism, and terrorism destroyed.
Neo-conservatives know they owe their jobs to our enemies. That's why liberals use effective strategies that win wars and bring down dictators, while neo-conservatives focus on welfare for weapons corporations and right-wing dictators while they stumble around with failed defense policy.
Just listen to them: "We must arm the Taliban! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must arm Iraq! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must go to Beruit! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must flee Beruit! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must bomb Iraq! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must not assist the enemies of Saddam as they're slaughtered! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must fight drug lords by arming drug lords! Disagree and you're a traitor! Bush must go to Somolia! Disagree and you're a traitor! Clinton must leave Somolia immediately! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must not go to Rwanda! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must blame Clinton for Rwanda! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must not bomb Bin Laden, that distracts from Clinton's sex life! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must be nice to Sudan even though it's harboring Bin Laden, we have oil companies there! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must not fight Milosovich! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must bomb China, Vietnam, the entire third world, no wait, we must export our jobs there! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must never apologize to China, I'm sorry, China! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must send foreign aid to the Taliban! Disagree and you're a traitor! I failed to stop the Taliban from attacking us, it's all YOUR fault! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must invade North Korea! No, we must invade Iraq! The rebels we allowed to be slaughtered will help us! We'll all be dancing in the streets within days! Disagree and you're a traitor! We must invade Syria and Iran, no, never mind! We WILL find WMD, but we never said Iraq had WMD! Disagree and you're a traitor! The UN is evil, evil, evil, hey, why won't the UN to send us cannon fodder? Disagree and you're a traitor! Did I call you an axis of evil, Iran and North Korea? Sorry, that was only because you couldn't threaten me with WMD at the time!"
The republicans' indecisive mess is not a foreign policy, it is simply stumbling around in the dark.
If anyone could add more examples and arguments, please do. Also, if anyone could boil this down to a series of talking-points and sound bites, I will be very thankful. Also, please provide links that provide detailed information on the various points I've made. Please copy and re-post this wherever you please. Feel free to alter it. Thanks for reading!
by Keith Tuesday, Dec. 09, 2003 at 12:47 PM
Your retarded, go back to smoking pot. You suck at rewritting history, I would set you stright if i had the time, but i don't have it to waste on you. I wipe my ass with your verison Reagan and the cold war.
many people with mental retardation
by sped teacher Tuesday, Dec. 09, 2003 at 1:02 PM
have better spelling and grammar skills than you do.
Wow, I rtarded to
by Matt Tuesday, Dec. 09, 2003 at 1:26 PM
A well thought out persuasive argument challenging common conceptions that could actually cause someone to think versus "your retarded." I really hope someone who looks at Rendell's budget sees this and somehow filters money to Pennsylvania's education system
Anyways, I was wondering if any sources could be listed for that first post. I went to the site, and my obnoxious computer won't load the page. I remember reading reading a good deal of that from Zinn, but the rest, I'd like to look into, thank you.
Its Partly True
by Prodigal Yunzer Tuesday, Dec. 09, 2003 at 5:25 PM
The Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe killed a lot of Red soldiers, and the USSR never recovered from that loss. Reagan destroyed the Soviet Union intellectually when he rolled Pershing 2 missiles into the Zuider Zee. The Soviet funded peace movement and their allies in the western press had no effect on Reagan's anti leftist resolve, and the sight of nuclear party poppers that could reach the Kremlin rolling into socialist Europe demoralized leftists around the world forever. People stopped listening to their idiocy. The destruction of the Sandinistas was a knockout punch, but the fatal blow was the Pershing 2s. For the record. the Pershing 1's could get there too, it just wasn't publicized. Reagan finished them off.
by nixon baby Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003 at 9:32 AM
Just like the Pope and Genesis P-Orridge of Psychic TV fame.
Everybody takes credit for the Soviet collapse.
The Bolshevization of the Soviets and the NEP had quashed the Revolution by '21.
Only Goofballs Care About The Revolution
by Prodigal Yunzer Thursday, Dec. 11, 2003 at 7:00 PM
The problem was the military might of the USSR, and their demostrated political will to exercise it ruthlessly. Stalin sent his shock troops into German lines with no hope of anything but death or capture. Like all tyrants, he hid the truth of his colossal mismanagement of the war by marching his troops right from German POW camps into his gulags. While you are right that free market politically liberal western society was not threatened philosophically by the corrupt socialist model, it was not the ideology that mobilized the aggression of that bloc. Their naked treachery was called out by Reagan after Carter tried to make nice with them and accept them with his morally relativistic imbecilic liberal worldview, which of course showed him for the fool he was when his good glasnost buddies invaded Afghanistan without so much as a heads up phone call on the Red Phone.
The notion that "Reagan won the Cold War", as so many of his ardent supporters like to claim, clearly is an over- simplification of history that wrongly implies that he alone accomplished this feat, a feat that required decades of effort by thousands of heroic Americans and others. Did the Marshall Plan, Churchill’s call to arms in his Iron curtain speech, Truman’s unequivocal support of freedom and democracy in address to Congress (when Stalin was still in Power, it should be noted), the formation of NATO, Kennedy’s win of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Nixon's trip to China not have a decided role in the final demise of the Soviet Union?
And of course, as so many of anti-Reagan people like to point out, and correctly so I might add, Communism was inherently and very fundamentally flawed in such a way that its ultimate demise was inevitable. That is all true and, if so, it cannot be said that Reagan "won" the Cold War
But to deny Reagan's important role in Iron Curtain's final fall at the time it happened is simply wrong. Reagan did play an important role and his role clearly hastened the inevitable demise. First, he changed the American mind-set to victory. Think of his controversial yet memorable line, that Regan repeatedly reinserted into his speech over the objections of his advisors, “Mr. Gorbecheauv, tear down this wall!” This speech was an excellent exemplification the Regan’s tactics and mind-set. No longer was he going to cling to the notion of detente' that, in his mind, equivocated the notion of good vs. evil which is what he saw, (correctly so, I believe) the Cold War to be all about. He believed in the goodness of human nature and its indomitable free spirit and thus was determined to see communism to take its rightful place on the "ash-heap" of history. This tactical change was important b/c now the United States was playing to win at a time when the Soviet Union was its weakest. This exerted great pressure for the Soviets to respond, to keep pace. While Reagan was vilified for his tough stance and ridiculed as a war-mongering cowboy and a short-tem increase in tension resulted, I think history proved this to be the right tactic at the right time. The Soviet Union, although most did not know it (but Regan knew or at least suspected—remember the ash-heap of history comment), was economically tottering and Regan’s change to hard-ball was the nudge that helped send it toppling.
It was this pressure that, in some important measure, resulted in the Politburo deciding on a young, energetic leader different from the stiffs of the past. Regan had changed the game and the Soviets responded with a different type of leader. There is an argument to be made that if Reagan had adopted Carter’s more conciliatory strategy the Soviets would not have elevated Gorby. Former Soviets admit as much.
While Reagan was not directly responsible for Gorby’s ascension, his tactics played a role, which in turn, as we all know, led to critical changes in Soviet society. The logic is as follows: Regan tactic’s and popularity made Gorby’s accession more likely, Gorby initiated Glasnost and Perestroika. This, in turn, this essentially opened the Pandora box of free-thinking and eliminated the fear of state reprisals. The elimination of this fear was the most important thing that let the Eastern Europeans to take society opening steps that, less than 10 years prior, would have invited Soviet tanks. And then before any of us knew it, the Wall came down in mind-blowing speed. Does Reagan deserve credit for setting in motion a chain of events that were only tangentially related to his actions? Of course, he does. That is what history is all about.
But he also took more tangible steps. Reagan also advocated Star Wars, which even former Soviet leaders admit scared them and forced them to admit they could not win another arms race--they simply could not afford it--mainly b/c of the inherently flawed system already mentioned. This brought them to the table and had them agreeing to proposals they had flatly rejected just a few years before. They could not afford to call his bluff, which it, even if Reagan did not think so, essentially was.
And third, Reagan has to be given credit for his ability, despite years of Anti-Communism, to forge a relationship with Gorby. These two men, together, did things that required a chemistry, a development of trust, an alignment of interests that is not always easy for former adversaries to forge. They actually came to like each other. We'll see the proof of that, I am sure, when Gorby goes to Reagan's funeral. Could Nixon forged such a relationship? I don’t think so.
While no man can rightly claim to have won something as complex and lengthy as the Cold War, to deny Reagan's clear, crucial role in the hastening of the Soviet's demise (and therefore the hastening United States’ emergence as a lone Superpower, hastening the proliferation of freer capital markets and the associated growth and productivity) is to deny history. Its time to end the politics of this issue. Regan has been gone for 14 years and is near death. This is history now and we should strive for the truth and the truth is Reagan deserves some credit and gratitude for having the right vision at the right time.
He may not have won the Cold War—it was, after all, a great team effort but he probably deserves the MVP. And the World is a better place sooner than it otherwise would have been because of it.
Gorbachev was the trigger that Reagan pulled to end the Cold War. Reagan charted his own path, abandoning the hawks and the doves and in doing so became one of the most significant public figures of the last century. The Soviet Union would have collapsed internally of it's own weight, but not nearly as soon. Reagan was brilliant and will be remembered, along with FDR, as one of the greatest presidents in American history.
Fallicious Arguments! Wow that is great
by Frederic E. Poag Friday, May. 07, 2004 at 9:14 AM
Wow! This is a great argument! I mean you totally summed up absolutely nothing with this post! "I could argue your point and set you strait but I don't have the time." Is that because you have nothing to add? Maybe you really don't know what you are talking about so instead you feel that you should just bash the author to make up for your ignorance. It is people like you that make people like Ann Coulter look like they have something to say.
Great place to sink an empire
by Bil Casey's Ghost Friday, May. 07, 2004 at 10:48 AM
Little Bush is sinking the US empire into a hole called Iraq, just like the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Who said the Cold War was over?
by Looking on from the 51st state. Sunday, Jun. 13, 2004 at 2:45 PM
So many people seem to be ready to give Ronnie the credit for this 'victory', but open your eyes. The polarity is still there, it has just moved.
As for continuing to focus on the US-USSR cold war as a battle of ideologies, this is equally simplistic. The USSR was a Marxist state for about 4 years tops. With Stalin came totalitarianism, not Marxism.
Lok at it for what it really was, two powerful groups, both trying to justify their hostility to the other. The simple fact is, the USSR were always outgunned, and it really was only a matter of time before the system imploded.
The problem now lay with all the poor saps that were caught in the middle of the battle through the last decades of the 20th century, particularly in the Middle East. Basically, the Cold War is now with the 3rd World, and they have little to loose.
Do yourselves a favour, and travel around the world, and open your eyes to the hostility much of the world has for the US. NOT (I should stress) for the average American, but for the Corporations that are royally screwing most of the world's poor.
Go to India, where US druds companies still refuse to pay compensation to the thousands who died in Bophal. Go to Indonesia, where tens of thousands work in slave camps to produce clothes for Gap. Go to American Samoa, where there are whole villages living on garbage dumps, scratching an existance, because the natural way of life has been shattered. Go to Africa, where countries are blackmailed by the IMF into opening their doors to US companies, but are not given the same economic arrangements to trade in the US. Go to Nigeria, where US Oil companies virtually run the country, keeping corrupt politicians in power. Go to South America, where Fascist dictators every bit as murderous as Hitler are kept in place with US money and CIA training. Go to Cuba, of course you are still not allowed, because 40 years after the Bay of Pigs, Clinton signed even tougher embargo restrictions. (Why did no president put such pressure on the USSR? I would love to know).
The list goes on, and on, and on.
Yet US governments react with shock and horror when any nation or culture reject this economic colonialism. At least the old European colonial powers put an organised administration in place, and left it intact when they left, (with the notable exception of the Belgians in the Congo). This new US colonialism gives nothing, and leaves nothing behind. So don't be surprised when people in the 3rd world get a little pissed, and decide they have had enough.
What you should stop doing is eulogising about what Regan is supposed to have achieved, and look at the damage he and his kind (here I include both Bush X2 and Clinton) have inflicted.
When you want to decide on his achievement, just ask yourself, "Is the world really a safer place to be" Think about it!
I'll answer your question
by Irving Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2004 at 11:14 AM
"Is the world really a safer place to be"
Not as long as one single solitary Leftist exists.
McArthy is back
by Looking on from the 51st State Friday, Jun. 18, 2004 at 10:14 AM
So who are the most dangerous men alive today? By that I mean dangerous to the people of the world, not just to white middle class America;
Kim Jong Il?
or George W Bush?
Again, forget ideology, who was the man who rejected the Kyoto agreement, to protect his oil buddies, at the expense of you, me, and everyone on the planet?
Who has been instrumental in undermining any agreement to cut polution and emissions?
Who is prepared to start wars, to take improve his approval rating?
Until blind redneck xenophobes who can vote open their eyes to see the real world, every other country in it will be scared. There is a difference between respect and fear, and the world is afraid of the US. Not for what it could do, but FOR WHAT IT IS DOING!
To keep blaming Communism is pitiful. To see it as a threat to the US is delusional, (unless of course you fear that Americans may actually come around to the idea that 0.5% of the population screwing the other 99.5% over is not the best way to run a country, then maybe it is a cause for concern!)
Still, it is almost nostalgic to see such anti-Communist rantings, do you point at aeroplanes too Irving?
you're a fool
by Irving Saturday, Jun. 19, 2004 at 8:41 AM
Your mewling over Kyoto, as if it's make or break for Planet Earth, reveals you're incredible stupidity. Kyoto was the Leftist Fad of the Week. Haven't you checked your Fisher Price fax machine lately? last week it was global warming, the week before that it was global cooling, and now the latest craze for all mindless lice farmers such as yourself is global dimming! Please, try to keep up, sugah.
Never mind your comment about "blind redneck xenophobes", which reveals you to be a racist Yankee anal leech of Kofi Annan's. You're too goddamn stupid to understand that the UN, and the EU, is the darkest blots on human history.
Thank you for reinforcing what I said earlier. A Leftist is a cancer, and must be eradicated for the sake of future generations.
by Author Saturday, Jun. 19, 2004 at 5:00 PM
Irving, one presumes, volunteers to be the diagnosing doctor and the avenging eradicator, as well.
Future society must contain only homogenous and compliant droids; of course, this eliminates the need for mere humans.
devolution-or what A.N.S.W.E.R. monkeys march for
by Doug Weaver Saturday, Jun. 19, 2004 at 10:35 PM
Halifax N.S. Canada
The Sexual Rage Behind Islamic Terror
By Jamie Glazov
ALL SERIAL KILLERS, almost without exception, are severely sexually abused as children. The kind of people who hijack a plane with innocent people and drive it into a building with thousands of other innocent people are related to this phenomenon.
When sociopaths rape and kill, they do not see their victims as human beings, but only as objects. This is because the sociopaths were themselves, at one time, used as objects - as their bodily integrity was repeatedly violated. The rage that results from sexual abuse is one thing, but when combined with living in a dysfunctional culture of sexual repression and misogyny, where love is reduced to violent domination, it is quite another.
Throughout the Islamic Middle East, men and women are taught to be vehemently opposed to pleasure, especially of the sexual variety. Men are raised not only forbidden to touch women, but to even look at them. Sex before marriage is not just a sin -- but a criminal offence. It is punishable by a severe beating at best, and an execution at worst.
The sexual privileges that are allowed in Islamic cultures are permitted to men. Women's sexuality and social independence represent major threats to male supremacy and are tightly controlled. Thus, as the Moroccan feminist Fitna Sabbah reveals in her book Woman in the Muslim Unconscious, there is a disturbing conflict in the Middle East between sexual libido and repression. A deep-seated fear of, and hostility to, individuality prevails, and its main expression exists in misogyny.
Socially segregated from women, Arab men succumb to homosexual behavior. But, interestingly enough, there is no word for "homosexual" in their culture in the modern Western sense. That is because having sex with boys, or with effeminate men, is seen as a social norm. Males serve as available substitutes for unavailable women. The male who does the penetrating, meanwhile, is not emasculated any more than if he had sex with a wife. The male who is penetrated is emasculated. The boy, however, is not, since it is rationalized that he is not yet a man.
In this culture, males sexually penetrating males becomes a manifestation of male power, conferring a status of hyper-masculinity. It is considered to have nothing to do with homosexuality. An unmarried man who has sex with boys is simply doing what men do. As the scholar Bruce Dunne has demonstrated, sex in Islamic societies is not about mutuality between partners, but about the adult male's achievement of pleasure through violent domination.
There is silence around this issue. It is the silence that legitimizes sexual violence against women, such as honor crimes and female circumcision. It is also the silence that forces victimized Arab boys into invisibility. Even though the society does not see their sexual exploitation as being humiliating, the psychological and emotional scars that result from their subordination, powerlessness and humiliation is a given. Traumatized by the violation of their dignity and manliness, they spend the rest of their lives trying to get it back.
The problem is that trying to recover from sexual abuse, and to recapture one's own shattered masculinity, is quite an ordeal in a culture where women are hated and love is interpreted as hegemonic control.
With women out of touch - and out of sight -- until marriage, males experience pre-marital sex only in the confines of being with other males. Their sexual outlet mostly includes victimizing younger males - just the way they were victimized.
In all of these circumstances, the idea of love is removed from men's understanding of sexuality. Like the essence of Arab masculinity, it is reduced to hurting others by violence. A gigantic rupture develops between men and women, where no harmony, affection or equality is allowed to exist. In relationships between men, meanwhile, affection, solidarity and empathy are left out of the picture. They threaten the hyper-masculine order.
It is excruciating to imagine the sexual confusion, humiliation, and repression that evolve in the mindsets of males in this culture. But it is no surprise that many of these males find their only avenue for gratification in the act of humiliating the foreign "enemy," whose masculinity must be violated at all costs - as theirs once was.
Violating the masculinity of the enemy necessitates the dishing out of severe violence against him. In the recent terrorist strikes, therefore, violence against Americans served as a much-needed release of the terrorists' bottled-up sexual rage. Moreover, it served as a desperate and pathological testament of the re-masculinization of their emasculated selves
If this is the case...
by Looking on from the 51st State Sunday, Jun. 20, 2004 at 1:02 PM
...What does it say about the Prison guards on duty in Iraq.
Stepping back in time...
by Jean-Paul Sunday, Jun. 20, 2004 at 2:01 PM
Listening to Irving is like a history lesson come alive. I thought this demented anti-Communism died with...well Communism.
So, either Cuba is the next biggest threat to world peace, (if so, Fidel beware) or Communism is simply a term for anyone who doesn't believe US economic colonialism is a wonderful thing for all those lucky countries who now have McDonalds, (and an economy controlled by the IMF)
Irving seems tres concerned about the EU. Why would this be? Does he see a union of 25 countries, with a combined economic power and population that both exceed the US, as a danger? Danger to what? If the US only want to trade, a powerful integrated European economy would make a great trading partner.
Irving, for all his anti-Communist hysteria, may want to look a little more to the Middle East for something to be concerned about, or are Al Qaida communists now?
But hey, since when does the truth matter? I mean, a couple of years ago we were happy to believe Irag and Afghanistan were separate countries. We may have believed the among the 1.5 Billion moslims in the world, there was some variation of opinion. Not to mention the real biggie, that you had to get more votes that the opposition to win a US election.
Tell a lie big enough, often enough, and people (like Irving) will believe it.
with a name like Jean-Paul....
by Irving Sunday, Jun. 20, 2004 at 3:38 PM
....if you're French, then that destroys any credibility you'll ever have. You couldn't even tell us the sun was shining and be taken seriously.
by Jean-Paul Monday, Jun. 21, 2004 at 6:52 AM
Judging people by their nationality, (indeed by their name!)instead of their capacity for reasoned discussion and debate, would certainly question credibility. (I can only conclude this to be the George W. Bush approach to foriegn relations).
Why should it matter if I am French or not? (however, if it makes anyone feel better, I am not). Are all French people the same? Of course not! The same way all 280 million Americans are not the same. Or all 1.2 Billion Chnese are different. People are different! That is what makes meeting new people fun! Stereotyping is a game for idiots and Fascists.
Nice place to visit...
by Travel Agent Monday, Jun. 21, 2004 at 7:45 AM
Irving's anti-semitism and holocaust denial theories are actually very popular in France, more so than the US.
idiots and Fascists
by Irving Monday, Jun. 21, 2004 at 7:58 PM
Did I strike a nerve, little Chirac polyp?
Fuck the French, and you too.
you missed something
by Jean Claude Balls Monday, Jun. 21, 2004 at 10:54 PM
"Stereotyping is a game for idiots and Fascists."
Such a pisswilly knee jerk. Fascist, my ass.
Why didn't you screech all the other liberal yawn inducers like homophobe and racist and Halliburton and Enron and international criminal court and Kofi is my dreamboat and no blood for oil, too, you useless bedwetting parrot?
Learning a lot about your education system
by Jean-Paul Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2004 at 12:11 AM
"Why didn't you screech all the other liberal yawn inducers like homophobe and racist and Halliburton and Enron and international criminal court and Kofi is my dreamboat and no blood for oil, too, you useless bedwetting parrot?"
The cut and thrust of intellectual debate! Insults are so much easier than reasoned argument, and it saves time acually thinking. Particularly the anti-French stuff, we Dutch always take those personally. But hey, just a change, why not try to actually argue your position? If your point of view is sound, it should be easy to support. Personally, I don't believe you can do it.
As far as anti-semitism/Fascism being popular in France, it has always been popular among a minority in Europe, and we know the cost of letting this evil loose. We talk from experience of ignoring those who try to support their politics by simply insulting others.
So please tell this "useless bedwetting parrot?" why you are right, and I am wrong.
by The Fox Network. Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2004 at 3:27 AM
We are looking for objective political commentators for a prime-time show, aimed at Mr Average. Irving, we believe you can explain these issues in terms the average chimp would find insulting.
As such, you are just the man for us!
cut and thrust
by Jean-Claude Balls Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2004 at 8:30 AM
Insults are so much easier than reasoned argument, and it saves time acually thinking.
That's why you threw your head back like a Leftist robot and shouted "Fascist", ain't that right, sugah?
What's in an insult?
by Jean-Paul Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2004 at 9:45 AM
Oh well... Rather than simply drop to the level of trading insults, Let's look at what Fascism actually is. It is an ideology based on;
- Blind Nationalism.
- Rejection of any opinion opposing the leadership, (such - as this kind of interaction).
- Rejection of Human Rights
- Control of Mass Media
- Corporate power protected
- Labour power suppressed.
- Fraudulent Elections
- Scapegoating minority groups as a unifying cause.
This last one is fundamental to all Fascist governments. The methods usually involve stereotyping any outside group, to generate hatred. The Jews in Nazi Germany, Communists in Pre-War Italy, Asylum Seekers in parts of Europe, the Chinese in pre-WW2 Japan.
The word Fascist is only an insult to someone who doesn't do what Fascists do.
by Samantha Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2004 at 10:04 AM
You'd better quit while youre ahead. he got you fair on the name calling which you started. plus weather you like it or not the French are most hated.
Learn your geography!
by John Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2004 at 11:46 AM
What is wrong with you people? Can't you read?
Jean Paul is Dutch. Not French...Dutch! It is a different country! The world is reading this, and all you are doing is reinforcing the myth that the average American only finds out where a country is when we start to bomb it! Unlike the Dutchman, I'm happy to insult you idiots.
Irving, you are dumb son of a bitch who has no idea what a sentence is, let alone a reasoned argument. "Chirac polyp" What the hell is that? (I am sure as all hell you don't have a clue!)
Jean-Claude Balls - How is the weather in whatever hill-billy interbred hellhole you were 'brung-up' in. I am surprised yopu can type, with webbed fingers and missing chromosomes. Miss your buddy McViegh?
Samantha, whether...not weather. (The others are dumb and mean, you are just dumb)
People like you are the reason the world hates us. Too plain stupid to realise when you are being shafted, and even better, you will defend those doing the shafting.
Well, have fun watching George jr screw us all over, and make sure not to forget to vote for him again...then again, it doesn't matter if you don't, he will be there anyway.
To the rest of the world, (apart from the somewhat disturbed Canadian) we are not all in the KKK
Fascists or Leftists - is there a difference?
by Jean-Claude Balls Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2004 at 12:17 PM
MODERN LEFTISM AS RECYCLED FASCISM
By: John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)
A Leftist prophet
The ideas of Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), the founder of Fascism, are remarkably similar to the ideas of modern-day Western Leftists. If Mussolini was not the direct teacher of modern-day Leftists, he was certainly a major predecessor. What Leftists advocate today is not, of course, totally identical with what Mussolini was advocating and doing 60 to 80 years ago in Italy but there are nonetheless extensive and surprising parallels.
The popular view
Popular encyclopedias such as Funk & Wagnalls (1983) lump together Hitler's German regime, Mussolini's Italian regime, General Tojo's Japanese regime and Generalissimo Franco's Spanish regime under the single rubric of "fascist" so it seems clear that it is the accepted wisdom that all four regimes were basically similar and differed only in matters of detail. Anyone who knows even a little of the history of the period concerned, however, must realize how far from the truth this is. The feudal warlords of Japan, the antisemitic socialist of Germany, the Conservative Catholic monarchist of Spain and the pragmatic socialist of Italy were in fact united over only one thing: Their dislike of Lenin and Stalin's Communism and "Bolshevism" generally. There clearly is some need, therefore, for us to look at what Mussolini and the Fascists really were and did.
In what follows, facts that should be easily checkable in popular encyclopaedias and textbooks will not be referenced. Less well-known facts, however, will be referenced. History is of course written by the victors and most summaries of historical Fascism are therefore written from a very anti-Fascist perspective so care is normally needed to tease out the facts behind the interpretations and value-judgments. That will attempted here.
Unlike many other accounts, considerable emphasis will be given here to Mussolini's early years. What politicians say in order to get into power and what they do once they gain power are notoriously two different things -- with Lenin and Stalin being not the least examples of that. A major aim therefore will be to see where Mussolini came from and what he did and said in order to get into power.
In Mussolini's own words
Let us listen initially to some reflections on the early days of Fascism by Mussolini himself -- first published in 1935 (See the third chapter in Greene, 1968).
"If the bourgeoisie think they will find lightning conductors in us they are the more deceived; we must start work at once .... We want to accustom the working class to real and effectual leadership".
And that was Mussolini quoting his own words from the early Fascist days. So while Mussolini had by that time (in his 30s) come to reject the Marxist idea of a class-war, he still saw himself as anti-bourgeois and as a saviour and leader of the workers. What modern-day Leftist could not identify with that?
"Therefore I desire that this assembly shall accept the revindication of national trades unionism"
So he was a good union man like most Leftists today.
"When the present regime breaks down, we must be ready at once to take its place"
Again a great Leftist hope and aspiration.
"Fascism has taken up an attitude of complete opposition to the doctrines of Liberalism, both in the political field and in the field of economics".
The "Liberalism" he refers to here would of course be called "Neo-liberalism" today -- the politics of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Mussolini opposed such politics and so do Leftists today.
"The present method of political representation cannot suffice".
Modern-day Leftists too seem to seek influence outside the normal democratic channels -- from strikes and demonstrations to often successful attempts to get the courts to make law.
"Fascism now and always believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say in actions influenced by no economic motive"
He here also rejects the Communist emphasis on materialism. Leftism to this day is often seen as a religion and its agitators clearly often long to be seen as heroic and unmaterialistic.
"Fascism repudiates the conception of "economic" happiness"
Leftists today also tend to regard consumerism as gross (or say they do as they drive off in their Volvos).
"After the war, in 1919, Socialism was already dead as a doctrine: It existed only as a hatred".
Socialism has never been a buzzword in North American Leftist circles but it certainly was for a very long time in the rest of the world. And to modern day British Leftists too socialism has a meaning that is more nostalgic and emotional than concrete and many would be prepared to admit that it is functionally "dead". Mussolini, however was 70 years earlier in announcing the death. It should be noted, however, that Mussolini was principally referring here to the policies and doctrines of his own former Socialist Party -- which was explicitly Marxist -- and which were far more extreme than the socialism of (say) Clement Attlee and the postwar British Labour party.
"Fascism ..... was born of the need for action and it was itself from the beginning practical rather than theoretical".
Modern-day Leftist demonstrators too seem to be more interested in dramatic actions than in any coherent theory.
" one would there find no ordered expression of doctrine but a series of aphorisms, anticipations and aspirations".
This is how Mussolini described early Fascist meetings. Modern-day Leftist agitators too seem more interested in slogans than in any form of rational debate.
"If the 19th century has been the century of the individual (for liberalism means individualism), it may be conjectured that this is the century of the State.
This is Mussolini's famous prophecy about the 20th century in the Enciclopedia Italiana. It came true with the aid of the modern-day Left and their love of big government. To underline that, note that in 1900 the ratio of government spending to GDP in Italy was 10%, in the 1950s 30%, and it is now roughly 60% (Martino, 1998).
"Laissez faire is out of date"
To this day the basic free market doctrine of "laissez faire" is virtually a swear-word to most Leftists. Quoted from Smith (1967, p. 87).
"The paid slaves of kings in their gaudy uniforms, their chests covered with crosses, decorations and similar foreign and domestic hardware ..... blinding the public with dust and flaunting in its face their impudent display".
Here Hibbert (1962, p. 11) reports Mussolini's youthful contempt for the armed forces. Such anti-militarism would surely resound well with most student antiwar demonstrators of today.
"The Socialist party reaffirms its eternal faith in the future of the Workers' International, destined to bloom again, greater and stronger, from the blood and conflagration of peoples. It is in the name of the International and of Socialism that we invite you, proletarians of Italy, to uphold your unshakeable opposition to war".
This from Carsten (1967, p. 46). It is from an article that was published by Mussolini in the Socialist Party organ "Avanti!" of 22 September, 1914. So Mussolini's anti-militarism persisted until he was aged 31. When compared with Mussolini's subsequent career this shows exactly where anti-militaristic and antiwar sentiments can ultimately lead.
"Our programme is simple. We want to rule Italy".
As I have argued at length elsewhere, that is the real program of any Leftist. But Mussolini had the honesty to be upfront about it. Quoted from Carsten (1967, p. 62).
Mussolini ha sempre ragione ("Mussolini is always right").
This is probably the most famous of the many slogans that were plastered up everywhere in Fascist Italy. It too has a resounding echo among Leftists today. I can think of examples where modern conservative politicians have apologized and retracted their views but I can think of no example where a Leftist has. In the old Soviet empire there was virtually no such thing as "negative" news reported in the media. Even plane crashes were ignored. And as Amis (2002) notes, even though the reality of the vast, destructive and brutal tyranny of the now collapsed Soviet regime is undeniable, Leftists to this day are almost universally unapologetic about their past support for it and may even still claim that Lenin was a great man.
Mussolini as described by historians
"For the proletariat must consider itself anti-patriotic by definition and necessity and made to realize that nationalism was a mask for rapacious militarism that should be left to the masters and that the national flag was, as Gustave Herve had said, a rag to be planted on a dunghill"
This is a summary of Mussolini's attitudes when he was aged 25 by Hibbert (1962, p. 14). So although in his 30s Mussolini become an ardent nationalist, in his youth he was as anti-nationalist as any America-hater among the American "liberal" youth of today.
"He was coming to the belief which was soon to dominate his life -- that the existing order must be overthrown by an elite of revolutionaries acting in the name of the people".
This summary of Mussolini's developing beliefs in his 20s by Hibbert (1962, p. 17) could hardly be a more quintessentially Leftist outlook.
"It contained several demands that were decidedly radical: A progressive tax on capital and a tax of eighty-five percent on war profits, universal franchise for men and women, a national militia, a minimum wage, nationalization of the munition industries, worker's participation in the management of industrial enterprises, the confiscation of all eccelesiastical property".
This is Carsten's (1967, p. 50) summary of Mussolini's June, 1919, political program. There would be very little in that which would not strike a chord with modern-day Leftists. Note that Mussolini was even a feminist by the standards of his day -- agitating for equal rights for women.
"He had a profound contempt for those whose overriding ambition was to be rich. It was a mania, he thought, a kind of disease, and he comforted himself with the reflection that the rich were rarely happy"
Here Hibbert (1962, p. 47) is describing a lifelong attitude of Mussolini that continued right into his time as Italy's Prime Minister -- when he refused to take his official salary. Given the contempt for the rich so often expressed by Leftists almost everywhere, Mussolini was clearly a Leftist paragon in that regard.
"There was much truth in the comment of a Rome newspaper that the new fasci did not aim at the defence of the ruling class or the existing State but wanted to lead the revolutionary forces into the Nationalist camp so as to prevent a victory of Bolshevism.>.
Here Carsten (1967, p. 50) also reports on not mistaking the rivalry between the Fascists and the Communists as being pro-establishment.
"Mussolini, however, declared that he was fighting the Socialists, not because or their socialism but because they were anti-national and reactionary".
This is again from Carsten (1967, p. 50). So Mussolini retained his socialist loyalties even though he had also become a nationalist.
"In the summer of 1919 crowds, indignant about recent price increases, invaded the shops, looted goods and insisted on price reductions. Mussolini and his fasci proclaimed their solidarity with the rioters. The "Popolo d'Italia" suggested that it would set a good example if some profiteers were strung up on lamp-posts and some hoarders smothered under the potatoes and the sides of bacon they were hiding".
So Mussolini was far from being an instinctive supporter of law and order (Carsten, 1967, p. 52). The "Popolo d'Italia" was Mussolini's own newspaper.
"There Mussolini was still following a distinctly radical line. he asserted that his programme was similar to that of the Socialists, that Fascism was helping their cause, that it would carry through the agrarian revolution, the only one that was possible in Italy. He even welcomed the occupation of the factories"
This is again from Carsten (1967, p. 56) -- summarizing Mussolini's speeches of 1920. Pledging revolution and welcoming worker occupation of the factories is still of course a wet dream of the more "revolutionary" Left today.
"On 16 November the new government presented itself to Parliament.... received an overwhelming vote of confidence ... Only Mussolini's old enemy Turati, the spokesman of the Socialists rejected the government ... but not even all the Socialist deputies voted against."
So when he finally came to power, Mussolini and the "Reds" of his own former party were still bitter rivals but he was still Leftist enough for some "Reds" to vote for him! (From Carsten, 1967, p. 65). Much later, Hitler too received a lot of parliamentary support from Germany's Socialist party.
"Mussolini in March 1936 told the council of corporations that he did not wish to bureaucratize the entire economy of the nation but in practice the extension of government activities everywhere brought with it a top-heavy organization, slow and unresponsive, and quite out of touch with ordinary people".
This is from Smith (1967, p. 80) and describes a picture that is all too familiar to us today as the outcome of ever increasing cries for government regulation and intervention from Leftists. And Mussolini's disclaimer about bureaucratization is distinctly reminiscent of US President Bill Clinton's declaration that the era of big government is over. No doubt both Clinton and Mussolini crossed their fingers as they said it!
"Mussolini set the example in his revival of pagan rites, and in October 1928 instituted a ceremony in which patriotic citizens presented their national savings certificates as a burnt offering on an ancient altar of Minerva specially brought out of its museum for the purpose"
So do modern day Leftists find a superior spirituality in pagan pre-Christian religions such as the religions of the American Indians? Mussolini was there before them (Smith, 1967, p. 100).
And perhaps the ultimate comment by others on Mussolini is what Muravchik (2002) reminds us of at some length: Leftists of the prewar era worldwide very often praised and admired Mussolini as a great socialist innovator. It was once as fashionable among Leftists to praise his regime as it later became to praise Soviet Communism.
Horowitz (1998) also quotes historical summaries showing that many modern Leftist intellectual stratagems have precedents in prewar European Fascist thought generally.
Mussolini's Marxist Roots
So, how many people today are aware that Mussolini, that great Fascist ogre, was in his youth an incandescent revolutionary socialist, a labor-union agitator who was jailed for his pains (Hibbert, 1962)? He was as radical as any student radical of today. Even in his childhood, he was expelled from two schools for his rebellious behaviour.
After that he became one of Italy's most prominent Marxist theoreticians and an intimate of Lenin. He was in fact first dubbed "Il Duce" (the Leader) when he was a member of Italy's (Marxist) Socialist Party and between 1912 and 1914 he was the editor of their newspaper, "L'Avanti". After his split with the Socialist Party he started his own Leftist newspaper "Il Popolo d'Italia" ("The people of Italy").
When he broke with the Socialist party in 1914, it was not over any dissatisfaction with socialist ideology but rather because the Socialists were neutralists in the First World War whereas Mussolini correctly foresaw that the Austro/German forces would not win the war and therefore wanted Italy to join the Allied side and thus get a slice of Austrian territory at the end of the war. Italians had suffered many humiliations at the hands of the Austrians and there must have been very few Italians who did not share Mussolini's desire to seize historically Italian territory from them. Like many Leftists then and since Mussolini did not have any principles that he allowed to stand in the way of a grab for power.
It should be noted that Mussolini's views in this matter did not at all disqualify him from continuing as a Marxist. Like many other Marxists of his time (See Gregor, 1979), Mussolini tempered his view of the importance of class-solidarity with the recognition that both Marx and Engels had in their lifetimes lent their support to a number of wars between nations. He looked, in other words, not only at broad Marxist theory but also at how Marx and Engels applied their theories. Such "pragmatism" was, of course, a hallmark of Mussolini's thinking. And, like the Communists, Mussolini had no aversion to war.
As further commentary on Mussolini's Marxist credentials, it may be worth noting that, long before the Bolshevik revolution, Mussolini had supported the orthodox Marxist (cf. the Mensheviks) view that backward States like Italy and Russia had to go through a capitalist or bourgeois democratic stage before evolving into socialism. It was this, as much as anything, that led Mussolini to collaborate with the Italian establishment when he eventually gained power.
Mussolini's disagreement with Lenin in this matter therefore meant that Mussolini and his Fascist friends greeted with considerable glee the terrible economic disaster (with national income at one third of the 1913 level) that emerged in Russia after the Bolshevik takeover. They saw both the Bolshevik disaster and their own eventual successes as proving the correctness of Marx's theory of history. When, in 1919, Lenin began to speak (in language that could have been Mussolini's) of the need to hold his country together with "a single iron will" (Gregor, 1979, p. 124) it put him belatedly but rather clearly in Mussolini's camp.
It should also be noted that Mussolini was the son of an impoverished and very Leftist father who worked mainly as a blacksmith. Mussolini was very proud of these working-class roots and it was a great recreation of his, even after coming to power, to take drives in the country with his wife and stop at various farmhouses on the way for a chat with the family there. He would enjoy discussing the crops, the weather and all the usual rural topics and obviously just liked the feeling of being one of the people. His claim to represent the people was not just theory but heartfelt. And he never gave up his "anti-bourgeois" rhetoric.
Mussolini gaining power
After 1918, Italy was in chaos, with Communist upheavals everywhere. Mussolini initially expressed his sympathies for these upheavals but soon saw that they were reducing Italy to a form of anarchy that was helping no-one. He therefore formed his "Fasci di combattimento" -- mainly comprised in the beginning of fellow ex-servicemen -- to help restore order. This they did by force, breaking up the Socialist and Communist rallies, strikes and organizations. Internecine feuds between Leftists have always been common, however.
Nonetheless, Fascism was subversive in that it fought against the traditional Italian ruling elite -- who were essentially still 19th century liberals (what would nowadays be called "neo-liberals"). It was also subversive because of its desire to innovate in many ways and to replace the existing ruling class with a new Fascist ruling class.
So, while in Italy, as elsewhere in interwar Europe, individual Communists, Fascists, anarchists and others fought fierce street battles with one-another in a way that is reminiscent of nothing so much as the turf wars between rival black gangs in Los Angeles today, many of the Leftist brawlers eventually went over to the Fascists --- showing how slight the real differences were between them.
When he did gain power, he implemented economic policies that would endear him to many of the Left today. His policies were basically protectionist. He controlled the exchange-rate of the Italian currency and promoted that old favourite of the economically illiterate -- autarky -- meaning that he tried to get Italy to become wholly self-sufficient rather than rely on foreign trade. He wanted to protect Italian products from competing foreign products. The Leftist anti-globalizers of today would approve.
And he even had some success. By 1939 he had doubled Italy's grain production from its traditional level, enabling Italy to cut wheat imports by 75% (Smith, 1967, p. 92). As with all autarkist nonsense however, the price was high. The extra grain could be produced only at high cost so Italians now had to pay twice as much for their grain. But what anti-globalizer would worry about that?
But socialism was of course not the only string to Mussolinis bow. He was also a strident Italian nationalist with an avowed aim to restore the Roman empire. He certainly offered Italians a new pride in themselves that was clearly welcomed by many Italians.
Something that seems generally to be overlooked is that the three countries with the most notable Fascist movements in the early 20th century (Germany, Italy and Spain) were all in countries with fragile national unity. Germany and Italy had become unified countries only in the late 19th century and Spain, of course, is only nominally unified to this day -- with semi-autonomous governments in Catalonia and the Basque country. Right up until the end of the Prussian hegemony in 1918, Germans saw themselves primarily as Saxons, Bavarians, Prussians etc rather than as Germans and the contempt for Southern Italians anong Northern Italians is of course legendary.
So the fierce nationalism of the Fascists (though Franco held himself above the Spanish Falange to some extent) appears to have been at least in part the zeal of the convert. Nationalism was something new and exciting and was a gratification to be explored vigorously. And the Fascists/Nazis undoubtedly exploited it to the hilt. The romance of the new nation was an important asset for them.
So if we regard the creation of large nation states as a good thing (a fairly dubious proposition) the small silver lining that we can see in the dark cloud of Fascism is that they do seem to have had some success in creating a sense of nationhood. A German identity, in particular, would seem to be the creation of Hitler. There was certainly not much of the sort before him.
There are of course differences between the three countries but in all three an acceptance of their nation-state now seems to be well-entrenched. This acceptance seems to be strongest in Germany -- probably in part because modern Germany is a Federal Republic with substantial power devolved to the old regions (Laender) so that local loyalties are also acknowledged. Spain has moved only partly in the direction of federalism and there is of course a strong political movement in Northern Italy for reform in that direction also.
It is perhaps worth noting that it took a ferocious war (the civil war) to create an American sense of nationhood too.
Mussolini the environmentalist
There were several other ways in which Mussolini would have appealed to modern-day greenies. He made Capri a bird sanctuary (Smith, 1967, p. 84) and in 1926 he issued a decree reducing the size of newspapers to save wood pulp. And, believe it or not, he even mandated gasohol -- i.e. mixing industrial alcohol with petroleum products to make fuel for cars (Smith, 1967, p. 87). Mussolini also disliked the population drift from rural areas into the big cities and in 1930 passed a law to put a stop to it unless official permission was granted (Smith, 1967, p. 90). What Green/Left advocate could ask for more?
Mussolini the pragmatist
Although Mussolini never ceased preaching socialism in some form, his actions when in power were like those of most politicians: Many unrealistic promises were broken and policies were adopted that in fact hurt the workers (such as wage cuts). The important point, however, is that the policies he in fact adopted once in power were not adopted for mere ideological reasons but because they were the policies that he thought would work best for Italy and, thus, ultimately for all Italians. As "Conservative" political parties tend to think in this way also (Gilmour, 1978), it is presumably in part this that causes Mussolini to be referred to as a Rightist. His appeal to Italians, however was as a socialist and a nationalist.
For all his pragmatism, however, it should also be recognized (contrary to what many of his critics say) that Mussolini did have a well-publicized and coherent economic strategy mapped out before he came to power and that policies that are sometimes seen as merely "pragmatic" were also theoretically grounded in his old Marxist ideas. He was well aware of both Italy's poverty and the inefficiency of its bureaucrats and blamed much of the former on the latter. Following the Marxist theory of developmental stages, he argued that the only alternative to the bureaucrats that would mobilize Italy's limited resources was the fostering of private enterprise and capitalism. He even advocated privatization of telecommunications and the post office! This coincides, of course, with the way modern-day Leftists (particularly in Britain) have abandoned the idea of State-run enterprises and acknowledged the benefits of privatization.
Mussolini was, however, far from being any sort of free-marketeer. Just like most modern-day Leftist politicians, he advocated private enterprise within a strict set of State controls designed, among other things, to prevent abuse of monopoly power (Gregor, 1979, Ch. 5).
So we see that Mussolini again had remarkable prescience. Deng Xiaoping of China and Gorbachev of Russia seem now to be generally seen as the first Marxists to have discovered pragmatism and private enterprise. Mussolini, however, did it all 60 or more years before them.
Mussolini's socialist deeds
One major "socialist" reform of the economy that is still a misty ideal to modern-day Leftists Mussolini actually carried out. He attempted to centralize control of industry by declaring a "Corporate State" which divided all Italian industry up into 22 "corporations". In these corporations both workers and managers were supposed to co-operate to run industry together -- but under Fascist guidance, of course. The Corporate State was supposed to ensure social justice and give the workers substantial control of industry.
And in 1933 Mussolini even promised that the National Council of Corporations would eventually replace the Parliament! Surely the ultimate unionist's dream! And the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations created in 1939 largely fulfilled that promise. Since Mussolini had dictatorial powers by then it was largely tokenism but it nonetheless showed how Leftist his propaganda was.
In reality the Fascist appointees to the corporations tended to take the side of the management and what resulted was really capitalism within a tight set of government controls. Since most of Europe and much of the rest of the world moved in that direction in the post-war era, Mussolini was in this also ahead of his times. And if the waning of the "Red" influence on Western economies in the post-Soviet era has led to some deregulation of business, the rise of the "Greens" has added a vast new area of government regulation. The precedent set by Mussolini is still being followed!
Some other clearly Leftist initiatives that Mussolini took were a big expansion of public works and a great improvement in social insurance measures. He also set up the "Dopolavoro" (after work) organization to give workers cheap recreations of various kinds (cf. the Nazi Kraft durch Freude movement). His public health measures (such as the attack on tuberculosis and the setting up of a huge maternal and child welfare organization) were particularly notable for their rationality and efficiency and, as such, were rewarded with great success. For instance, the incidence of tuberculosis dropped dramatically and infant mortality declined by more than 20% (Gregor, p. 259). Together with big improvements in education and public infrastructure, such measures gave Fascist Italy what was arguably the most advanced welfare State in the world at the time.
And if influential American "liberal" economists such as Galbraith (1969) can bemoan the low level of spending on public works as "private affluence and public squalor", Mussolini was well ahead on that. As Hibbert (1962, p. 56) says, Mussolini
"instituted a programme of public works hitherto unrivalled in modern Europe. Bridges, canals and roads were built, hospitals and schools, railway stations and orphanages, swamps were drained and land reclaimed, forest were planted and universities were endowed."
Given the modern-day Leftist's love of government provision of services, it would seem that Mussolini should be their hero in that respect. He actually did what they advocate and did it around 70 years ago.
Mussolini and religion
For most of the 20th century, most Leftists were deeply antipathetic to religion. In recent decades, however, that has changed so much that the old mainstream churches are now very often major founts of Leftist thinking and propaganda. Leftists have now largely got the major churches onside. Mussolini did the same over 70 years ago. In 1929 Mussolini and Pope Pius 12th signed the Lateran treaty -- which is still the legal basis for the existence of the Vatican State to this day -- and Pius in fact at one stage called Mussolini "the man sent by Providence". The treaty recognized Roman Catholicism as the Italian State religion as well as recognizing the Vatican as a sovereign state. What Mussolini got in exchange was acceptance by the church -- something that was enormously important in the Italy of that time.
Mussolini a racist?
Despite recent upsurges of antisemitism among extreme Leftists in the Western world in connection with the Arab-Israeli conflict, most Leftists today probably continue to deplore antisemitism. The early Mussolini would have had no argument with them over that. He was a most emphatic Italian nationalist but it is perhaps important here to distinguish patriotism, nationalism and racism. These do to some extent tend to slide into one-another but there are differences too. Most notable in the present case is the contrast between Hitler's persecution of the Jews and Mussolini's reluctance to have any part in that.
Under Hitler's prodding, Mussolini did eventually put antisemitism on his agenda and did in 1938 pass generally unpopular antisemitic laws but it was no part of his own original program. He had never expressed any antisemitism prior to his alliance with Hitler. In fact, Italian Jews had been prominent as leaders in some of the early Fasci di combattimento (Fascist bands) and the antisemitic laws were largely ignored by Italians -- so much so that one of the safest places in Europe for Jews to be during the second world war was undoubtedly Fascist Italy. Jews were in fact routinely protected by both Fascist and non-Fascist Italians (including the clergy) and many Jews to this day have grateful memories of wartime Italy. At a time when Jews had very few friends anywhere in the world, they had friends in Fascist Italy (Steinberg, 1990; Herzer, 1989). Contrast this with the way in which Eastern Europeans and even the French actively co-operated with Hitler's round-up of Jews. It should also be noted that, unlike Hitler, Mussolini did not set up any concentration camps for the Jews.
It must of course be conceded, however, that the Ethiopians suffered considerably at the hands of their Italian invaders but most human societies make a distinction between war and murder and Mussolini certainly did. Nazis and revolutionary Leftists, on the other hand, do not seem to.
Attitude to Hitler
Ideologically, Mussolini and Hitler were broadly similar. And when I point out how far to the Left most of Hitlers policies were, a strong reaction I get from many who know something of history is to say that Hitler cannot have been a Leftist because of the great hatred that existed in prewar Germany between the Nazis and the Reds. And the early Fascists battled the Reds too, of course.
The reply I always give to such doubts is to say that there is no hatred like fraternal hatred and that hatreds between different Leftist groupings have existed from the French revolution onwards. Such hatreds do not make any of the rival groups less Leftist however. And the ice-pick in the head that Trotsky got courtesy of Stalin shows vividly that even among the Bolsheviks themselves there were great rivalries and hatreds. Did that make any of them less Bolshevik, less Marxist, less Communist? No doubt the protagonists concerned would argue that it did but from anyone elses point of view they were all Leftists at least.
Nonetheless there still seems to persist in some minds the view that two groups as antagonistic as the Nazis and the Communists or the Fascists and the Communists just cannot have been ideological blood-brothers. Let me therefore try this little quiz: Who was it who at one stage dismissed Hitler as a "barbarian, a criminal and a pederast"? Was it Stalin? Was it some other Communist? Was it Winston Churchill? Was it some other conservative? Was it one of the Social Democrats? No. It was none other than Mussolini, who later became Hitlers ally in World War II. And if any two leaders were ideological blood-brothers those two were. So I think it is clear that antagonism between Hitler and others and between Mussolini and others proves nothing. If anything, the antagonism between Hitler and other socialists and between Mussolini and the Reds is proof of what typical socialists both Mussolini and Hitler were.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler expressed great admiration for Mussolini in and did in the early days regard Mussolini as his teacher so at least part of Hitler's National Socialism is traceable to Mussolini's innovations. As noted, however, Mussolini did NOT reciprocate Hitler's regard and correctly divined and loathed Hitler's murderous personality from the beginning. Hitlers mania about the Jews was also one reason why Mussolini derided Nazism as a doctrine of barbarians. Few modern-day Leftists would argue with that judgement.
Mussolini remained neutral in 1939 and 1940 and only joined in Hitler's war when France had collapsed, Hitler already bestrode Europe and his overtures to Britain had been rejected. In such circumstances it seemed wise to be on the winning side. That was Mussolini's one big mistake and it was, of course, ultimately a fatal one. True to his pragmatism, in both wars Mussolini simply tried to side with the winner.
Another major difference between Hitler and Mussolini would seem to flow simply from the fact that Mussolini was Italian: Mussolini was much less brutal. I grew up in Innisfail -- a place that was 50% an Australian country town and 50% an Italian village. Since then I have always had an affection for Italians. Italian was even one of my matriculation languages (Ho studiato Italiano a scuola ma ho quasi tutto dimenticato). So I have always thought it in keeping that Mussolini's Italian Fascism appears to have been the mildest of all the many Leftist dictatorships of the 20th century. The Italian Fascist response to political rivals was not to torture them to death but simply to give them a large dose of Castor oil! Almost funny! Here is a link about another instance of Italian humaneness in the Fascist era.
Other Leftist nationalists
Those who know of the Leftist themes in the election campaigns of both Hitler and Mussolini often say that neither was a real Leftist because they were also vehement nationalists. The thought seems to be that nationalism can only be Rightist. But that shows no knowledge of Leftist history generally.
From the days of Marx onward, there were innumerable "splits" in the extreme Leftist movement but two of the most significant occurred around the time of the Bolshevik revolution --- when in Russia the Bolsheviks themselves split into Leninists and Trotskyites and when in Italy Mussolini left Italy's major Marxist party to found the "Fascists". So from its earliest days Leftism had a big split over the issue of nationalism. It split between the Internationalists (e.g. Trotskyists) and the nationalists (e.g. Fascists) with Lenin having a foot in both camps. So any idea that a nationalist cannot be a Leftist is pure fiction.
And, in fact, the very title of Lenins famous essay, Left-wing Communism, an infantile disorder shows that Lenin himself shared the judgement that he was a Right-wing sort of Marxist. Mussolini was somewhat further Right again, of course, but both were to the Right only WITHIN the overall far-Left camp of the day.
It should further be noted in this connection that, as Horowitz (1998) reminds us, the various European Socialist parties in World War I did not generally oppose the war in the name of international worker brotherhood but rather threw their support behind the various national governments of the countries in which they lived. Just as Mussolini did, they too nearly all became nationalists. Nationalist socialism is a very old phenomenon.
And it still exists today. Although many modern-day US Democrats often seem to be anti-American, the situation is rather different in Australia and Britain. Both the major Leftist parties there (the Australian Labor Party and the British Labour Party) are perfectly patriotic parties which express pride in their national traditions and achievements. Nobody seems to have convinced them that you cannot be both Leftist and nationalist. That is of course not remotely to claim that either of the parties concerned is a Nazi or an explicitly Fascist party. What Hitler and Mussolini advocated and practiced was clearly more extremely nationalist than any major Anglo-Saxon political party would now advocate.
And socialist parties such as the British Labour Party were patriotic parties in World War II as well. And in World War II even Stalin moved in that direction. If Hitler learnt from Mussolini the persuasive power of nationalism, Stalin was not long in learning the same lesson from Hitler. When the Wehrmacht invaded Russia, the Soviet defences did, as Hitler expected, collapse like a house of cards. The size of Russia did, however, give Stalin time to think and what he came up with was basically to emulate Hitler and Mussolini. Stalin reopened the churches, revived the old ranks and orders of the Russian Imperial army to make the Red Army simply the Russian Army and stressed patriotic appeals in his internal propaganda. He portrayed his war against Hitler not as a second Red war but as 'Vtoraya Otechestvennaya Vojna' -- The Second Patriotic War -- the first such war being the Tsarist defence against Napoleon. He deliberately put himself in the shoes of Russias Tsars.
Russian patriotism proved as strong as its German equivalent and the war was turned around. And to this day, Russians still refer to the Second World War as simply "The Great Patriotic War". Stalin may have started out as an international socialist but he soon became a national socialist when he saw how effective that was in getting popular support. Again, however, it was Mussolini who realized it first. And it is perhaps to Mussolinis credit as a human being that his nationalism was clearly heartfelt where Stalins was undoubtedly a mere convenience.
And last but not least we have the original Leftist nationalist: Napoleon. Napoleon Bonaparte was the child and heir of the very first Leftist revolution, the French revolution and he is to this day lauded as the man who took the ideals of the French revolution to the rest of Europe. Yet he also took French nationalism and love of gloire to new heights. During his rule -- police state though it was -- he made the French feel that they were the greatest nation on earth. And they died in their droves in furtherance of that myth just as Germans later died in their droves for Hitler. Mussolini may have invented the term but it was really Napoleon who was the first Fascist. Arthur Silber has put up some excerpts from the recent biography of Napoleon by Paul Johnson that show how very Fascist Napoleon indeed was. Since Napoleon is still a French national hero, it is no wonder that the Germans found it relatively easy to get the French to collaborate in World War II.
Peron: The Argentinian Fascist
Argentine dictator Juan Peron, is less well-known and understood than Mussolini but he was a disciple of Mussolini so his example is worth a special mention for the way it helps confirm what Fascism is.
Most people would not be aware that historians and political commentators often describe Peron as what Latin Americans sometimes call a Fenómeno (paradox). The paradox or puzzle is that he first came to power in Argentina as part of a military coup, so should have been Right-wing -- yet he became the champion and hero of working class Argentines, and to this day the major Leftist political grouping in Argentina (the Peronistas) is named after him. How come?
Anybody who has read what I have so far written about the strongly Leftist nature of both German Nazism and Italian Fascism will not have far to seek for the answer. Both Nazism and Fascism won power largely through claiming to be the champions and glorifiers of the ordinary worker and both Nazism and Fascism are routinely described as Right-wing too. Peron was just another one of that fraternity. Peron in fact soon got kicked out by his fellow participants in the military coup and finally gained power -- as did Hitler and Mussolini -- through primarily political means.
And that is only the beginning of the resemblance: The doctrines Peron preached (e.g. giving the workers and managers equal say in running industry) were almost exactly what Peron had learned from Mussolini when he lived in Italy for some years in the 1930s. Peronism is Fascism. Also like Hitler and Mussolini, Peron was a great patriot and nationalist who got the foreign business interests out of Argentina and tried to make Argentina independent of foreigners generally. With the able help of his wife Evita, Peron made the Argentine people feel special and persuaded them that he was on their side and would lead them to greatness. And they loved him for it!
The only major difference is that Peron was clever enough to stay neutral instead of joining Hitlers war. As already mentioned, Mussolini stayed neutral for a couple of years too but finally made the fatal mistake of joining in.
So what Hitler, Mussolini and Peron all show is what most modern-day Leftist intellectuals passionately deny: That you can be an extreme Leftist and an extreme nationalist too. And it shows something very troubling too: That the combination of Leftism and nationalism is POPULAR! The popularity of that combination is also shown in the way Germans fought to the end for Hitler. Perhaps we should be thankful that modern-day Leftists (who are often anything but patriotic) have not learned all that their Fascist brethren might have taught them.
So the only puzzle or paradox of Peronism is one that modern-day Leftist intellectuals have artificially created for themselves. They refuse to accept that you can be BOTH a Leftist and a nationalist so are basically just lost for words (or sensible words anyway) when confronted with great historical figures such as Peron who prove by their living example that you CAN be both.
And Peron was of course almost as bad for Argentina as Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Mussolini were for the countries that they led down the extreme Leftist path. Before Peron came to power, Argentina was one of the worlds richest countries but Peron sent it broke and it has never recovered -- largely because, although Peron is dead, Peronism (Fascism) is still the strongest single force in Argentine politics.
Like other Leftists, Fascists may or may not be antisemitic. Hitlers Fascist regime was of course enormously antisemitic but one swallow does not make a summer. And one of the other swallows was Peron. As I have already mentioned, Mussolini was not initially antisemitic until he was virtually forced into adopting some antisemitic measures by his alliance with Hitler -- and Italy was even then one of the safer places for Jews to be in World War II Europe.
And Peron followed Mussolini. Although Jews were subjected to some attacks under his rule Peron was only marginally interested in them. He certainly had no interest in a final solution.
That this made him a typical Fascist rather than an atypical one can be seen if we add in the British example. Most people have probably forgotten that prewar Britain had a large Fascist movement too -- under Sir Oswald Mosley. And Sir Oswald initially used to EXPEL from the British Union of Fascists anybody who made antisemitic utterances! When his meetings came under constant attack from Jewish Leftists, however, he had something of a rethink.
And Perons Fascism does of course explain why so many former German Nazis found a safe haven in Argentina after World War II. Peron was simply helping out his old friends.
Leftist or Rightist?
We should now by this stage be able to evaluate better whether Mussolini's Fascism was Right-wing, Left-wing or neither. As already outlined, its rhetoric certainly had strong Left-wing elements. The 1919 election manifesto, for instance, contained policies of worker control of industry, confiscation of war profits, abolition of the Stock exchange, land for the peasants and abolition of the Monarchy and nobility. Further, Mussolini never ceased to inveigh against "plutocrats".
As has been mentioned, however, Mussolinis nationalism is undoubtedly the major feature of Fascist ideology that gets it labelled as Rightist. Nationalism is most easily associated with the Right because it is antithetical to the equality gospel that characterizes most Leftism. If all men are equal, then all nations should be equal too. And Mussolinis nationalism did endear him to the Right and gain their co-operation and support on many important occasions. His nationalism also made him eventually reject the divisive class-war notions of Communism and the revolutionary activities of the Reds. He wanted a harmonious and united Italy for all Italians of all classes and was sure that achieving just treatment for the workers needed neither revolution nor any kind of artificially enforced equality.
And his nationalism is the one thing that clearly separates Mussolini from the Leftists of today. It seems routine today, for instance, for American Leftists to hate America. Or at the least they rarely have a good word to say for their country. But one swallow does not make a summer and there have always been many varieties of Leftism (Muravchik, 2002). Mussolinis was a nationalist variety. And as any Trotskyite will tell you, both Lenin and Stalin were nationalists in their own way too. Nonetheless, Mussolini was undoubtedly to the Right of Lenin and the Communists -- but so too are most modern-day Leftists.
Another feature of Mussolinis message that today looks inconsistent with his Leftism is the way he glorified war, strength and obedience and was explicitly anti-democratic. These ideas might seem very much at variance with modern-day Leftism but are in fact quite similar to what Lenin advocated in his famous essay on "Left-wing Communism -- an infantile disorder":
I repeat, the experience of the victorious dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia has clearly shown even to those who are unable to think, or who have not had occasion to ponder over this question, that absolute centralization and the strictest discipline of the proletariat constitute one of the fundamental conditions for victory over the bourgeoisie (Lenin, 1952).
So both Lenin and Mussolini simply made explicit certain ideas that modern-day Leftists usually feel the need to deny but often still practice when they get into power (e.g. Pol Pot). Unlike the Communists, however, Mussolini did not make any truly revolutionary changes or carry out any great "purges" so again was undoubtedly to the Right of Stalin -- but that is not saying much, of course. Mass purges (murders of whole classes of people) and revolution are not generally advocated by modern-day Leftists either.
Despite his being much more upfront about his authoritarian ideas than any modern-day Leftist would be, Mussolinis Leftism was, like modern-day Western Leftism, in fact comparatively mild compared with Stalins. This made Italian Fascism a much more popular creed than Stalins Communism. This is perhaps most clearly seen by the always persuasive voting with your feet criterion. Mussolini made no effort to prevent Italians from emigrating and although some anti-Fascists did, net emigration actually FELL under Mussolini. Compare this with Stalin and the Berlin wall. One notes that modern-day Leftists in the Western world today also never seem to feel the need to emigrate -- for all their swingeing criticisms of contemporary Western society.
It should also be noted that, like many modern-day Leftists Mussolini gained power through political rather than revolutionary means. His famous march on Rome was only superficially revolutionary. The King of Italy and the army approved of him because of his pragmatic policies so did not oppose the march. So this collusion ensured that Mussolinis revolution was essentially bloodless.
One rather amusing consequence of the way Mussolini made use of the existing power structures was that when Hitler (who in Germany was by that time both head of State and head of the government) first arrived in Italy on a State visit, he was greeted, not by Mussolini but by the King. As protocol requires, the head of government (Mussolini) was on the sidelines. This both confused and annoyed Hitler. It is a good illustration, however, of how Mussolini put pragmatism before ideology, as his 1919 manifesto was explicitly anti-Monarchist.
Some people claim that Mussolini was not really Leftist because he in fact did not do much for the workers of Italy. But how many Leftist politicians would qualify as Leftist by the criterion of whether they were of net benefit to the workers when in office? The common economic failures of Leftist regimes tend to affect all the population, with no exemption for the workers. To judge politicians as they are normally judged (by their ideology), therefore, Mussolini was very much an extreme Leftist. Was Stalin of net benefit to the workers? Given the very poor standard of living in the Soviet Union that the Gorbachev reforms revealed, it seems unlikely. Do we for that reason say Stalin was not really a Leftist?
Without his necessarily being insincere about either, both Mussolini's Leftism and his nationalism seem to have been, however, in the end mainly tools for getting people on-side. His No. 1 priority was simply to rule -- a good Leftist goal. His considerable popularity for many years among a wide range of Italians shows how effective his recipe for achieving that was. Unlike Hitler, he was even popular with Britain's arch-conservative Winston Churchill (Hagan, 1966, p. 474).
And much less surprisingly, F.D. Roosevelt, found in Mussolinis policies part of his inspiration for the semi-socialist New Deal and referred to Mussolini in 1933 as "that admirable Italian gentleman. Mussolini was plausible to an amazingly wide range of people -- not the least to the people of Italy.
And Roosevelt and his political allies practiced what they preached. As UPI financial journalist Martin Hutchinson has pointed out, the USA in the 1940s was a place with price controls, government licensing of transportation, state intervention in the steel and auto industries, interest rates that were set by Treasury fiat and a capital market in which banks were not allowed to operate. Also a democracy in which electoral districts were wildly unequal and 15 percent of the population was denied the vote. By modern-day standards the USA of that time had considerable Fascist elements too. American Leftism was Fascist even then.
There is practically no feature of modern-day Leftism that was not prefigured by Mussolini. It is clear from the many quotations and reports that are available (only a fraction of which are reproduced here) that Mussolini was very much a kindred spirit of modern-day Leftists. It is therefore hilarious that Leftists now use the name of his movement as their routine term of abuse! Ignorance of history does indeed lead to some strange follies.
He started out as such a radical unionist firebrand and Marxist agitator that he was often jailed for his pains. But as he matured he moved towards somewhat more moderate politics which saw him win power by political rather than by revolutionary means. Modern day Leftists seem to be the same. The young go out demonstrating against globalization and the like while older Leftists exert their efforts within the framework of conventional democratic politics -- via the major Leftist political parties.
And no-one was a more ardent advocate of government provision of basic services than Mussolini was -- and he actually put those ideas into practice on a large scale as well. And he also instituted a welfare state that was very advanced for the times.
In his corporate state, Mussolini was the first to create that very modern phenomenon constantly now being advocated by Leftists everywhere -- a system of capitalism under tight government control. And his corporate state was one where the workers had (at least in theory) equal rights with management. He actually put into full-blown practice what is still a great but rather misty ideal for most Leftists.
And he was the first socialist ruler to turn to pragmatism in deciding economic policy, thus anticipating Chinas Deng, Russias Gorbachev and Britains Prime Minister Blair by 60 years or more. Europe has still not entirely moved away from direct government participation in industry so Mussolinis influence has stretched far forward right into our time.
So to have listened to Mussolini in the 1920's or even earlier would be to have heard most of the Leftist ideas that are still being preached today. Intellectually, the 20th century was largely Mussolini's, strange though that may at first seem. He substantially foreshadowed not only Lenin, Stalin and Hitler but even Gorbachev, Deng and Tony Blair. If any one man therefore has a claim to embody the Leftist politics of the 20th century, it is surely Mussolini.
The Fascist origins of modern-day Leftist ideas should then help to alert us to the authoritarianism and potential for tyranny that lurks beneath their supposedly compassionate surface.
hey John-here's the bitchslapping you asked for
by Irving Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2004 at 12:31 PM
Allow me to slap the Leftist out of the little banty rooster. Thank you.
We know the freak said it was Dutch. Yet Jean-Paul sounds more French than, say Taiwanese, wouldn't you say?
What are polyps, John? You supposedly "intellectual" anal cravers ought to know where they're usually found. It was an insult, and you were too goddamn stupid to realize it. Typical.
"I am surprised yopu can type, with webbed fingers and missing chromosomes." You really should proofread when you think you're going for the kill, you fantastically brain dead bastard.
Who on Earth would give a flying rat fuck what Kofi Annan groupies thinks of us except lice encrusted brain dead Leftists and bedwetting chickenshits like John?
I guess I could continue, but seeing as how that angry metrosexual Appeaser Trekkie is sooooo worried about what the rest of the world thinks....it would be like abusing a child that's already got zero self esteem.
by John Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2004 at 3:56 PM
To Jean Claude Balls
...for learning to cut and paste.
Do you believe it is a discovery that Hitler's policies are similar to the left? NAZI...National Socialist...BUT OF A HINT, BIT OF A CLUE!
Both are collective, the state dominates big business.
The main difference being, business still profits...hugely.
Focussing on Mussolini to discredit the modern left is like comparing FDR with Bill Clinton. They have some things in common, but their underlying ideals were poles apart. If you knew anything about Mussolini, you would know he was a opportunist over anything else. He would say, and do, anything to gain power. One minute a socialist, the next fighting socialism. He did whatever it took, and had little or nothing in common with Hitler. (Indeed, he had more in common with FDR, who was himself called a Fascist by Republican congressmen in the mid 30s). Mussolini was in the pocket of business from the early 20s, despite his pronouncements, (which were to persuade the working classes to support him as well as the middle-classes).
The first rule when evaluating Mussolini, ignore the words, look at the actions. His comments changed with the weather, his actions didn't.
Irving, there are good reasons to be a little concerned about how the rest of the world views us. Or are you still so completely stupid that you think Sept 11 was about jealousy of our way of life? Another dumbass redneck buying government bullshit. Jesus you make life easy for George and his boys. Don't question anything, and if anyone else does, call them a commie, just like daddy did.
You, and people like you, will never have the guts to go and find out what is really happening in the world. You will just sit at home, picking your ass, believing the world is really just what the government says it is, just like is says on the CBS news. Wake up fool!
Call that a bitchslapping
by Randell Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2004 at 4:07 PM
I thought a bitchslapping was supposed to be more than incomprehensible babbling, (metrosexual Appeaser Trekkie, sort your medication out!).
This page started well, with some challenging comments from both sides of the political divide, but it has degenerated into childish namecalling.
Is this political discussion US style?
up yours, Randell
by Jean-Claude Balls Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2004 at 5:53 PM
And as for that feckless lice coated freak with webbed fingers PortaJohn, fuck you too.
I don't need some elitist asswipe who can't spell itself to tell me how to view the world.
Now you kiddies run along and circle jerk to your Kofi Annan mural.
Enjoy your swim...
by Randell Thursday, Jun. 24, 2004 at 7:15 AM
...in the shallow end of the gene pool.
deep end of the gene pool
by Jean-Claude Balls Thursday, Jun. 24, 2004 at 7:33 AM
Lemme guess. The deep end of the gene pool is where all the elitist Regressives congregate, ain't that right, Little Precious?
Oh yeah, useless wastes of DNA who chase the diseased anus of another male certainly will enhance and continue the species.
Gawd, I feel so forlorn, cyber whipped by an adolescent Einstein. Excuse me while I slash my wrists.
by Randell Thursday, Jun. 24, 2004 at 7:44 AM
This is the deep end of the gene pool, Irving.
Progress part 2
by Randell Thursday, Jun. 24, 2004 at 7:47 AM
Lookit me, baby! I'm the wave of the Future!
show your Pride!
by Randell Thursday, Jun. 24, 2004 at 7:54 AM
We elitist "intellectuals" know what it's all about, baby!
a Leftist loves nothing if not totalitarianism
by Jean-Claude Balls Thursday, Jun. 24, 2004 at 2:33 PM
Our Koori, commie, feminist, greenie show-off
Herald Sun (Melbourne)
by Andrew Bolt
GERMAINE Greer this week went on BBC television and appealed for help.
"It's about time, I reckon, we resuscitated the Communist Party." No one on the panel with her blinked at this evil idea -- although whether because they agreed with it or thought Greer was crazy and best ignored, I can't tell.
I'd understand if some thought the latter. On the same show, Greer, famed for leading the feminist revolution with her The Female Eunuch, offered a nutty excuse for Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving cars.
"I get a bit worried about certain heavily veiled ladies driving because they have no peripheral vision at all," she said. "You can understand why in some countries they are not allowed to drive."
Oh, so that's why. And women are beheaded there because . . .?
But is Greer really just a look-at-me loud mouth, or another disaffected intellectual making excuses for totalitarians, and calling for the return of a creed responsible for 100 million deaths?
It's true she'll tell noisy untruths, and revel in the fuss. There was her claim that she'd never return to Australia until the Government said sorry to Aborigines, and her boast of being an "honorary Aborigine".
But Greer does show which way the intellectual wind blows. She does, after all, like applause, and consider: she is a university lecturer, and was a guest at Melbourne's Writers Festival, where she condemned the war to free Iraq. She was also asked to write for the "prestigious" Quarterly Essay, published by Melbourne's Black Ink.
Her essay, republished in Britain last week, was typically hostile to Western civilisation and an even more typically grovel to primitive autocracies, free of freedom.
In it, Greer suggested we become an "Aboriginal republic" and a "hunter-gatherer nation", guided by a "council of elders".
This racist dreaming of a lost Eden fitted in with Quarterly Essay's earlier offerings, such as Robert Manne's "proof " there was a "stolen generation" and fellow academic Amanda Lohrey's hymn to the Greens.
Just why intellectuals such as Greer should worship the idea of the noble savage needs a book to tell.
Blame the lack of faith of so many, perhaps, and their quest for a heaven on earth. In earth.
For instance, Greer's latest gardening column savages the Australia exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show, and praises New Zealand's so: "It was dominated by tall tree-ferns brought all the way from Mt Ngoggotaha in the central North Island, a place sacred to the patupaiarehe, divine guardians of nature. Elders of the Ngati Whakane, traditional custodians of the mountain, had selected the ferns and blessed them . . ."
Scary, because we now know the step from adoring Mother Earth to worshipping a Fatherland, or some other totalitarian god, is small. Most members of Germany's main green groups -- and many intellectuals -- joined the Nazis by 1939, far more enthusiastically than did, say, lawyers.
There's just something in the totalitarian causes that intellectuals like. Maybe it's the on-paper perfection of grand plans. Maybe the headiness of a cause. Maybe the kicking over of old restraints and traditions.
AND, as Greer shows, intellectuals seem very keen to believe lies which suit their theories.
Malcolm Muggeridge said that as a reporter in Stalin's Soviet Union in the 1930s, he was stunned by the intellectuals "who flocked to Moscow like pilgrims to Mecca".
He said foreign journalists there would compete to tell them the most "outrageous fantasy" about the joys of life under Stalin, and scored a point if their dupes wrote up their lies as true.
He himself won "considerable acclaim" for his own whopper: "That the huge queues outside food shops came about because the Soviet workers were so ardent in building socialism that they just wouldn't rest, and the only way the government could get them to rest for even two or three hours was organising a queue for them to stay in.
"I laugh at it all now, but . . . you can imagine what a shock it was to someone like myself, who had been brought up to regard liberal intellectuals as the samurai, the absolute elite of the human race, to find that they could be taken in by deceptions which even a half-witted boy would see through in an instant."
"Credulous fools," Muggeridge called them then.
And hearing Greer, the "honorary Aborigine", call for the return of the communists, we're reminded there's still an awful lot of them around today.
Porta-John was right
by Jean-Claude Balls Thursday, Jun. 24, 2004 at 10:16 PM
Damn. I really do need to learn more about my world. I didn't realize that Leftists were sao goddamned stupid.
Check out the anal gazer who was so dejected because the Good Humor man wasn't a part of the "collective". (Oh my fucking God, that word "collective" just makes me cream my jeans. The Leftists are where it's AT, baby!!!).
G-8 protests cause a stir, but little else
The Washington Times
June 10, 2004
James G. Lakely
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Organizers of the protests of the Group of Eight summit, as well as local law enforcement, had planned for 5,000 sign-waving and shouting opponents of globalization and the war in Iraq to pack this quaint and historic Southern city's public squares.
But the demonstrations have been nothing short of a dud, and the 20 or so protesters who quietly rallied yesterday were unable to hide their disappointment at the meager turnout.
"I think we overestimated ourselves," Sandra Kwak, 22, said with a laugh in a light drizzle in expansive Forsyth Park. "But even if the few people who are here learn something, it's not a total loss."
Denied access to Sea Island for security reasons, two groups of around 150 people each gathered in the cities of Savannah and Brunswick on Tuesday to kick off three days of planned protests. But by the second day of the summit, only a fraction remained out in force.
"It's a victory just to have this event," protest organizer Kellie Gaznik said Tuesday. "If we didn't have a place for people to do their art and make their statements, they would just walk around and maybe break things, which doesn't accomplish anything."
Such behavior, however, did accomplish something in 1999, when thousands of anarchists and left-wing activists rioted in Seattle in protest of a World Trade Organization meeting.
That event shocked an unprepared Seattle police department. Ever since, organizers of global events have beefed up security whenever significant numbers of world leaders gather.
Savannah's police department -- heavily reinforced this week by Secret Service agents, National Guard troops, the Coast Guard and police forces from around the area -- has easily and peacefully handled the demonstrations on its own.
Police officers, reporters and gawking tourists outnumbered the protesters by a ratio of at least 7-1 yesterday.
At the corner of Bull and East Broughton streets, a phalanx of police, clad in riot gear, formed a defensive line to protect a Starbucks being patronized by the few tourists who have endured the hassles of visiting a city that has been virtually locked down.
Soon, the distant beating of drums became louder as a group of 15 protesters -- escorted by police on bicycles and horses -- walked calmly down the sidewalk.
"This is what democracy looks like. That is what a police state looks like," shouted a few individuals waving black-and-red flags representing anarchy.
One older man holding a drum shouted to police, "we don't want to hurt you," as a younger man wearing a green bandana on his face danced to the beat.
After letting news photographers and tourists snap pictures for a few minutes, the small contingent turned west toward a series of public squares named for heroes of the American Revolution and the Civil War.
Israel Tarann, who owns and operates an ice cream truck in Savannah, seranaded the group as it passed.
"All we are saying, is give ice cream a chance," he sang.
Though the song attracted a few protesters to his truck, Mr. Tarann did not make a sale.
"I had to tell them I was capitalist, and I sell ice cream for profit," he said. "The guy who came up to me said, 'Oh, we thought you were a collective.' Then they left."
Back in Forsyth Park after a 10-block march, the protesters joined a group of about 15 who stayed behind. The 30 mostly college-aged adults sat down in the grass for cigarettes and snacks near a display of 100 opened black umbrellas symbolizing those killed in the Iraq war.
But not every youth in attendance sympathized with the causes being promoted.
"I came to see this spectacle, see the beach and eat some seafood, not necessarily on that order," said Matt Buckner, 20,a student from Kingston, Tenn.
"It's kind of ridiculous how few people there are here," said Livy Stout, 21, from Princeton, N.J. He and Mr. Bucker said they attend school at Emory College in Atlanta and came down to share the hotel costs with two other friends more who were more interested in the protests.
One young man with a bandana on his face was asked if he was a supporter of the causes being promoted there.
"No. I wore the bandana so I could get reporters to talk to me -- and to get on TV," he said.
As an event organizer pleaded in vain for someone to grab the microphone and give a speech, Mr. Buckner and Mr. Stout wandered toward the stage.
"They had an open mike night last night. It was pretty sad," Mr. Stout said. "But Mark knows some pretty funny songs. Let's go find a guitar."
By the time he started strumming, the bulk of the audience -- the police -- had long ago departed, and the few stragglers in the park were concentrating harder on a game of hacky-sack than on the stage.
"Hopefully we'll get some more poeple out," Mr. Stout said. "Maybe this is all just practice for tomorrow."
Jean Claude's Photo Album
by Billy-Bob Friday, Jun. 25, 2004 at 4:48 AM
So Jean Claude, are you the one on the left? (If you will pretend to be someone else, try not to post a message one minute after! You are so dumb you give us rednecks a bad name.)
by Carl Friday, Jun. 25, 2004 at 1:01 PM
Jean-Claude, look it up, you may learn something about yourself.
Is it something in the water...
by David Monday, Apr. 04, 2005 at 1:42 AM
I ask, because I am trying to figure out why the average American is so God damned dumb. To be so successfully conned into believing their way of life is so dependant on basically butt-fucking the rest of the world shows monumental ignorance of economics, politics, the environment, and particularly geography. (Lets face it, the only time you idiots know where a country is, it is because you are bombing it).
The real kicker is, you are just as exploited as the rest of the world, but are dumb enough to be bought off by a few trinkets. All the power in the world is in the US, but NOT with you fools, it is with that handfull of men controlling the multi-nationals. The ones who put Bush in, (don't kid yourselves you live in a democracy either, noone can be that blind...can they?). You COULD have the power, but you will never have the guts to take it, because you are happier getting a little bit fatter on the backs of the rest of the world.
Do you thing 9-11 was about killing people? WRONG! (The great majority died because, unexpectedly, the building fell down). If they had wanted to kill people, flying a plane into the superbown, or Disney World would have had many times the bodycount. It was done to making a point about how 'Free Trade, is anything but free, and is killing many more people in developig countries than the Asian Tsunami will ever do. (You may not have heard about that, as it didn't happen inside US borders). Of course, you don't give a fuck about those people, do you! Indeed, anyone that doesn't open themselves to the US way of life is automaticaly an enemy. Do you really believe you have got it right? Are you really so arrogant to think your way of life is the best on offer? So good you are trying to force it on the rest of the world.
Take the good ol' US way of life and stick it. I for one do not want poverty, inequality, endemic drugs problems, and almost compulsory obesity, and neither does the rest of the world. If you are happy in ignorant apathy, fine, but keep it to yourselves. The USSR was called evil, for trying to promote world communism, what is so different here. (Ask a POOR Russian if he feels better off under the free market, with no work, no security, and all the law inforcement money can buy).
Until you realise the rest of the world doesn't really want your ideals, your version of democracy, (look at your last two elections for God's sake!)and your blind obedience to the dollar. If things are so good, why does Bangladesh have a lower infant mortality rate than the USA? Until you back off from this world domination programme, expect more 9-11 type occurances, inflicted upon you by the potential terrorists you are creating every day in Iraq, (and probably Iran, Syria, and who knows where else before you finally see what Bush is doing). Uncle Sam is Osama's best recruiting sergent, but as with the majority of the US population, he is too fucking dumb to see it.
The real tragedy is, most of the victims of any terrorist action will probably be the poor bastards living on the breadline, the cleaners, fast food vendors, and all those other minimum wage workers whose lives you don't want to think about. A third world country inside your borders, but you won't ever see it.
The real threat to the sacred way of live you try to inflict on others is not from the Middle East, but inside your own cities. What hapens when those minorities realise they are the majority?
You will be fucked, and I look forward to it.
by me Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005 at 7:43 AM
Your website didnt help......at all.......watsoever.....thank you.......for nothing....good bye.