Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fascist corporatism didn't come from Socialism

Being a brief part two to the below post. One of the reasons that fascist corporatism looks superficially like socialism to people in the U.S. is because we experienced none of the medieval institution of estates, or full on guilds and merchant associations. Corporatism arose as a response to both liberal capitalism and socialism in that it looked back on pre-capitalist feudal institutions and sought to restore them in a way that was somewhat modern. Objections to liberal capitalism were closely linked not just to the corrosive effects of unregulated capitalism on culture but to the egalitarianism inherent in the system of liberal rights and in the tendency of capitalism to allow people who were closer to the 'masses' to rise to the top, even if once they reached there they sold out their origins. You can trace an easy genealogy from Mussolini back to Charles Maurras, the monarchist ultra-conservative of the Action Fran├žais, and from him to more obscure figures like Rene de la Tour du Pin in France, as well as to the intersection of medievalism with parts of the syndicalist movement. Some syndicalists looked back to the middle ages and guilds for inspiration. Despite Mussolini having been a socialist the things that he advocated had been advocated by other ultra-conservatives before him.

The point of corporatism wasn't equality but was instead a kind of feeling of integrated-ness to combat the feeling of alienation of mainstream laissez faire capitalism. Some of this had also been enacted by the Bolsheviks, but in the Fascist system part of the point was creating a stratified social hierarchy where people knew their place, although of course the hope was that ultra-motivated conservative fascists could rise through the ranks of the social hierarchy and land in the company of captains of industry and people participating in the dictatorship. As part of this the aristocracy wasn't destroyed by the fascists, not in either Italy or in Germany, although in reconstituting the formal social hierarchy that once existed the fascists didn't give the reigns of administering things to the aristocrats. A quick look at some notable fascists gives us Prince Valerio di Borghese, naval commander for Italy during World War II, as well as Prince Bernhard of the Dutch House of Orange becoming a member of the S.S. during the 1930s.

to be continued.

No comments: