Friday 31 March 2017

The Doctrine of Fascism: Introduction!?

Orwell could not find a clear answer to the question of what Fascism was. Maybe he didn't try hard enough.

Benito Mussolini understood the question needed an answer. In a 1921 letter, Mussolini writes: "If Fascism does not wish to die or, worse still, commit suicide, it must now provide itself with a doctrine"; "[I]t is also a question of denying the silly tale that Fascism is all made up of violent men".

Ironies aside, allegedly coming straight from Il Duce, with the additional imprimatur of the Enciclopedia Italiana and its editor, philosopher and top fascist ideologue Giovanni Gentile, the 1932 essay "The Doctrine of Fascism" was meant as the authoritative answer.

Monday 27 March 2017

The Doctrine of Fascism: Mussolini.

As a young man I was very interested on WW2, its causes, development, and aftermath. My interest, however, was mostly limited to Europe. In that war theatre Adolf Hitler was the central character and Nazi Germany the main setting.

While I suspect that is a common blunder, that is no excuse: my focus was superficial and misleading. (Over the last twenty years several attempts have been made to correct the historical record: 1998, 2014)

Friday 24 March 2017

The Doctrine of Fascism.

"Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?" (Marx and Engels, 1848)

Recently, and due to political events mainly in the US and Europe, fascism has become a matter of concern. Words like "fascism" and "fascist" suddenly appear in popular discourse.

But, what is fascism?

Monday 20 March 2017

The Krugman Calling the Kettle Black.

"American politics -- at least on one side of the aisle -- is suffering from an epidemic of infallibility, of powerful people who never, ever admit to making a mistake." (Paul Krugman)

Whoever said economists had no sense of humour? *<8-)

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Only in Australia.

Yesterday Sally McManus, the new ACTU secretary, had her first public appearance in the ABC's TV 7.30 Report.

The first female ACTU secretary, McManus got the job when the union movement in Australia is going through a crisis: according to official 2015 figures, only 14.4% of workers belong to a union (a historical low); the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), which unlike other unions, still maintains some reputation for militancy and a propensity for industrial action, is being subjected to a campaign of judicial terrorism by the construction industry and their enforcers in the Federal Government (118, yes, 1-1-8, one hundred eighteen separate largely spurious legal proceedings!!!); and the decision by the absurdly named Fair Work Commission to starve Australia's lowest paid workers.

Friday 10 March 2017

Saving Capitalism.

I think Prof. Richard D. Wolff is onto something. In a recent piece for Counterpunch ("Trump and Saving Capitalism", March 6) Wolff compares and contrasts Donald Trump with Mussolini and Hitler. Although centred on the US case, I think Wolff's ideas are relevant to other developed countries, including Australia.

The merit in Wolff's piece is not so much its originality: plenty of what he says, valuable as it is, isn't new. His analysis of the rise of Trump, for example, is closely related to Thomas Frank's own ideas (see "Don't let Establishment Opportunists ruin the Resistance Movement", March 9, The Guardian). Both authors' views are mutually complementary.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

The Angry Summer: 205 Records.

"If you thought the weather over this past summer was off the charts, you weren't imagining things". (The ABC's Radio Penny Timms)
The Climate Council of Australia just released its report "Angry Summer 2016/17: Climate Change Supercharging Extreme Weather". From Timms' story:
"The summer of 2016/17 has been dubbed the 'angry summer' by climate scientists who've been investigating just how extreme things got.
"They've found that during a 90-day period, 205 weather records were broken."
This little app was included in the ABC's Online News story (click under 2030):

While I'm alarmed, I can't say I'm surprised.

The Federal Government's reaction? "The Federal Energy and Environment Minister declined to comment."

Sunday 5 March 2017

Did Hanson's Mask Just Slip?

Senator for Queensland and president of modestly named far-right Pauline Hanson's One Nation party, Pauline Hanson pretends to care about the underdog, the Aussie battlers. But who on earth is an Aussie battler? She never explained that, did she?

Yesterday Hanson had an extended interview with Barrie Cassidy, for the ABC TV's "Insiders". Her answers are instructive.