The Right Falls, But Neo-Fascism Grows
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Decadence and neofascism are two concepts that are difficult to define although essential to understanding current reality. Their overwhelming presences, their blurred frontiers make them sometimes invisible to the eyes. Where does bourgeois authoritarianism end and begins? How can a process of decadence be distinguished from a great persistent turbulence or a phenomenon of widespread social corruption?”
This is what the Argentine thinker, economist and Marxist Jorge Beinstein wrote shortly before his death.
Emerging neo-fascism in the United States today is rooted in “white supremacy”. It dates back to the time when slavery was the predominant thought among British English settlers, of course with influences from several other new ideological elements.
Today, in most European economies, from the largest and strongest to the smallest and weakest, an increase in the electoral strength of the right is noticeable – with very few exceptions.
On the other side of the spectrum, resorting to violence, we are faced with a wave of extreme right-wing movements, for which the term neo-fascism seems to be the most appropriate designation. In order to try to understand what is happening, it is important to turn to a historical perspective. All these reactionary movements share certain similarities in terms of class.
Trump’s militant political base is estimated at about 25-30% of the electorate. It is located in the lower-middle stratum, with family incomes of about $75,000 a year. It is a very white sector of the population that is in a position of extreme economic insecurity. Its ideology is national-imperialist and wit0qw an accentuated racism.
A large part of this demographic group, in addition, is associated with right-wing evangelism which, in many aspects, resembles those Brazilians who support Jair Bolsonaro.
Within the neo-fascist bloc, the economic sphere invariably dominates. Capital is the first and most important nexus. Trump’s main value – for the ruling class – lies in the fact that the radical right has been able to deliver added value to the rich while removing obstacles to market dominance over all aspects of society.
Therefore, if you look at Trump’s program in detail, you will see that many of its ideological characteristics are in line with those of the lower middle white stratum (nationalism, racism, misogyny, anti-socialism, etc.),. Trump’s political ability has been to take advantage of these regressive ideologies as a means of mobilization and political power.
Hence, the slogan that gives cohesion to its social base is the construction of a wall along the Mexican border and the new detention centers – or, rather, concentration camps – symbolize that a war is being waged against poor immigrants.
But the economic policies of the Trump administration have little to do with the demands of its social base. Trump has increased the power of financial monopoly capital, given huge tax and subsidy exemptions to the wealthiest and big business; promoted economic and environmental deregulation; undermined unions; privatized education; expanded the penal state; destroyed the few advances made in health care; and is in a constant war for U.S. hegemony.
The disappearance of the Soviet bloc countries and the collapse of social democracy have disarmed this left. To some extent, the extreme right has filled this political vacuum by pretending to confront the ruling elites.
Despite its populist rhetoric, the radical right directly defends the current order, which includes promoting a neo-liberal policy of austerity that has lost all legitimacy.
Under the slogan of Make America Great Again, they pit the neo-fascist elements against the liberal state, itself in full stagnation.
For the left, the challenges are much more complex. There are two options: social-democratic policies designed to save capitalism in a fatal compromise with neo-liberalism or, on the other hand, a true movement towards socialism that represents a long revolutionary road against capitalism in its superior imperialist stage.
Social democracy, as a strategy, has proved increasingly dysfunctional and has capitulated again and again to the neo-liberal state, when genuine socialist movements have not been able to confront the capitalist regime in a clear and total way.
November 18, 2019.
This article can be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.