Sunday, December 21, 2008

Whole Totalitarianism thing.

The model that I developed several years ago for the rise of Fascism in Europe seems to hold pretty well; basically it points to both economic and psychological factors as mattering; but I need to look more into the rise of Stalin in order to reaffirm that Stalin's Russia had similarities to my model of Nazi Germany. I believe there are commonalities but I underestimated how different the two societies' were from each other.

Fascism appealed and appeals to people partially because what it promises them is a kind of freedom from alienation and a sense of social integration. That this sense of social integration and freedom comes at the expense of scapegoats does not diminish the basic appeal it has for people. In fact, while people who see fascism as just racism or as just anti-Communism or anti-liberalism miss the point, I feel. The question is what do people who support these groups feel they're gaining by doing all of this?
Going back to an idealized past, a golden age, which features none of the offending group is a theme that tells a lot about the whole thing.

But there's no reason that socialism, anarchism, radical socialism, can't also address feelings of alienation and of social dislocation, doing it without demonizing groups or praising the nation. Fascism is fundamentally disconnected from an economic reading of society. Socialism that has this economic analysis and that augments it with what might be termed cultural concerns, in the sense of anomie, and psychological concerns could beat fascism hands down. In fact, the thing that probably prevented the Communists from winning in pre-Nazi Germany was their complete mechanical materialism and their insistence on atheism.
It doesn't have to be that way. Anomie, social anomie, in relation to culture refers to the vacuum of content in a world run by the mass media and corporate capitalism, where commercialism has taken over everything. With so much based on trying to get people to buy stuff and to pay attention to stuff in order to get them to buy stuff later the public sphere becomes impoverished. Meaning itself goes down the drain, leading to intense feelings of alienation in the culture. Overcoming that alienation by presenting authentic alternatives to commercialism, authentic alternatives that present ideas about how to pursue an interesting and fulfilling life would be a way to stop people from being recruited into groups of people who hate foreigners, other races, liberals, leftists...etc... I think it always has to be anchored in the economic, though, and not be allowed to float freely as its own sort of abstract idea over things.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

exactly! its about providing a lost sense of community and fundamental wholeness. communists then were rather elitist, ironically enough, so thoroughly devoted to their ideological movement that they overlooked what would actually appeal to the people...