Traditionalism, Liberalism and Neo-Nazism In the Current Political Space

Neo-fascism as a Concept: Ideological Debates and the Boundaries of Meaning

Aleksandr Shchipkov

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Recent events in Ukraine confirm we are witnessing the return of fascism to European politics. However, there still remains a serious problem in the analysis of the situation and a clear understanding of fascism as a historical phenomenon. For example, writer Maksim Kantor details six signs of fascism. [36] Obviously, the set of criteria being excessively large complicates the definition of the event rather than facilitates it. Nevertheless, let us try to consider the six characteristics of fascism laid out by Kantor.

"National pride is the first tenet of fascism". However, in which units is it measured? What about the cults of "Dear Old Blighty" and "Sweet France"? Are they manifestations of national pride? Are they really just sprouts of an archaic fascist consciousness? In fact, this is not national pride (in an adequate and healthy sense). This is the national (racial, cultural, civilizational) superiority complex and the position of a master nation or a civilizer.

"The union between the people and the state is the second tenet of fascism". This thesis ignores the main question: what kind of state is it? What are its ideology, economy, and social and political goals? A state by itself is a neutral phenomenon. The attitude to the "state in general" is a trendy topic of conversation among libertarians. However, this is somewhat baseless. Dogmatic, a priori anti-statism represents the phenomenon similar to the sovereign idolatry, with the opposite sign though. Historical experience shows that these events give rise to and support each other in Russia. This situation resulted in the lack of real politics in the country.

"Tradition is the third tenet of fascism. Only the bygone grandeur is honored. Fascism always represents a retrospective program". Once again this has nothing to do with reality. On the contrary, tradition (i.e. culture and history) is the only serious counterbalance to the "call of the blood". Tradition is something a person can tap into of his or her own free will whereas ethnicity is given to him or her at birth. Hence, tradition is a choice, freedom and responsibility. Tradition makes people equal. It doesnt involve the logic of exclusion. Cultural and national racism are bound up in this logic (here we are and here they are; we are the salt of the earth and they are natural born slaves). Tradition is in the tideway of history and therefore doesnt bind us to the past. It is not the past; it is a connection between the past and the future, a guarantee against historical gaps by preserving shared experiences. Therefore, tradition is not aggressive; it does not tend to conquer itself or someone on the side. It redeems all that belongs to it.

"Fascism is a retro empire. Fascism invents nothing new. The pathos of fascism is in the abolition of progress". Nothing of the kind. Fascism deifies progress with "blood": enough evidence supports this by recalling the economy of the "Third Reich". Truth and tradition are not enemies of progress but are rather the point of progress and assurance of humanity.

"Inequality is the fourth tenet of fascism. Fascist states represent armies, and the inequality is typical for armies. However, fascism receives this inequality preformed – from the market. The inequality itself was not created by fascism. The inequality had been already created by the oligarchy and the market democracy". This is the most important and, in some cases, the only viable criterion. This fact is undeniable. T's crossed and I's dotted.

"The fifth tenet of fascism is its totality". Strange criterion. Liberalism is also total and socialism aspired to be total. Religion is total, so what?

"Paganism is the sixth tenet of fascism". That is true. Moreover, the pagan nature of fascism is closely related to inequality. Nevertheless, it is difficult to agree with the following thesis: "Paganism does not necessarily mean the abolition of paternal religion. It is a modification of Christianity, adaptation of the latter to the needs of the earthen consciousness". In fact, it should be read as the modification of Christian religion to the needs of the global market. As an example of such modification, consider radical Protestantism and Calvinism. [8] Earthen consciousness initially had little in common with Christian uranopolitism, but the situation has somewhat changed in the age of globalization: Earthenism becomes a counterbalance to the interests of the global financial system, and eventually a preservative of tradition, including the Christian one. Therefore, in the case of the "earthen consciousness", it must be explained: what kind of "earth", i.e. what kind of tradition is in question?

The regression of neoliberalism to the direct support of Nazism and fundamentalism is no longer a theory. Evidence supports this. Maksim Kantor once admitted: "It is liberal democracy that prepared today's fascism... Fascism of the past century was defeated by the union of democracy, socialism, humanistic art and religion. All the components of this victory were deliberately destroyed. Today, we have nothing to oppose fascism." [28]

It is impossible to ignore this disappointing logic of the historical process. However, when any question related to the nature and origins of fascism arises, the main thing is not to distort the historical picture for the benefit of the neoliberal establishment.

The concepts based on the thesis of fascism "secondarity" (and thus minor guiltiness) compared with communism are often used for such distortion. Within the context of the school of German historian E. Nolte and the official adjustment for "German history normalization", it is commonly believed in Germany that Hitler's regime was a response to Stalin's regime and therefore Hitler cannot be considered an aggressor. The transition from political infighting to military activity (22.06.41) is not often taken into consideration.

However, the excuse of historical blame shifting from the aggressor to the victim is usually negligible. Fascism is much "older" than communism. It was born long before the 19th century. It is perfectly set out in Manuel Sarkisyanzs famous book Anglo-Saxon Roots of German Fascism: From British to Austro-Bavarian "Master Race.

According to Sarkisyanz, "Great Britain was the only country where racist ideology stemmed directly from the national tradition. The tradition was based on Old-Testament Puritanism, and the situation was exacerbated by the entrenched perception of social stratification as a part of English Heritage (in Great Britain, the social lows invariably harbored deep respect for the upper classes while the latter treated them with undisguised contempt)" [19, p. 95] (see also: Thost, Als Nationalsozialist in England (München, 1939), S. 99; Thurlow, Fascism in Britain (London, 1982), p. 276; Hannah Arendt, Elemente ... totaler Herrschaft, S. 288). Here, referring to Hannah Arendt, he also argues that class inequality was perceived almost as an inherent feature of the English national character. "The social inequality was the basis and specific feature of the English society, so, I suppose, the concept of human rights has never been such a thorn in the side anywhere else" states Hannah Arendt. [19, p. 95]

However, one should not focus on the English national character but on the conditions of global capitalism and the liberal ideology supporting it – the phenomena that emerged most clearly in England when it was the leading colonial power. In this case, the mystery of English roots in fascism can easily be solved without mysticism and everything clicks into place in the framework of this historical phenomenon. Yes, in the epoch of capitalism the leading European powers can be considered the birthplace of European fascism. However, the reason is not the mentality or the national character but the development of the global monetary system. This factor obviously influenced the formation of specific traits of the national character.

This poses the question: why did it happen? Why is the authoritarian nature of global capitalism much deeper and more radical than the ideological authoritarianism of communism? To answer this question, let me refer to a long quotation from Boris Kagarlitskii: "The fundamental difference between the capitalist "market" terror and the "totalitarian" terror is the fact that the latter is carried out by the government assuming political and moral responsibility. On the contrary, the "market" terror is carried out spontaneously while nobody at the political level claims responsibility for it. More specifically, the responsibility is allocated among a plurality of specific bad guys, each of which is responsible only for his "subtask". On the other hand, as noted by one character of The Lugano Report by Susan George, market terror is more efficient. Concentration camp guards can be bribed or moved to pity. The bureaucracy is slow and sluggish. Only the market solves the problem of destruction of people with its uncompromising and unrelenting efficiency by obeying the logic of a spontaneous process. In the end, no one is responsible for anything. The contractors, the profit receivers, the heirs of capital created by slave labor are all respectable citizens whose reputation is beyond the reach of all suspicion. Millions of victims of economic efficiency stay unrecognized, they are forgotten, and nobody is going to be penitent for their crimes. That is why the economic holocaust can happen over and over again" [11, p. 36].

It is important not to lose sight of the economic roots of any holocaust.