Wednesday, April 17, 2013
fascism and the corporate state
Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in mid-20th century Europe. Fascists seek to unify their nation through a totalitarian state that promotes the mass mobilization of the national community, relying on a vanguard party to initiate a revolution to organize the nation on fascist principles. Hostile to democracy, liberalism, socialism, and communism, fascist movements share certain common features, including the veneration of the state, a devotion to a strong leader, and an emphasis on ultranationalism, ethnocentrism, and militarism. Fascism views political violence, war, and imperialism as a means to achieve national rejuvenation and asserts that "superior" nations and races should attain living space by displacing weak and inferior ones.
Fascist ideology consistently invoked the primacy of the state. Leaders such as Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany embodied the state and claimed indisputable power. Fascist movements emphasized a belligerent, virulent form of nationalism (chauvinism) and a fear of foreign people (xenophobia), which they frequently linked to an exaggerated ethnocentrism. The typical fascist state also embraced militarism, a belief in the rigors and virtues of military life as an individual and national ideal, meaning much of public life was organized along military lines and an emphasis put on uniforms, parades, and monumental architecture.
Influenced by national syndicalism, the first fascist movements emerged in Italy around World War I, combining elements of left-wing politics with more typically right-wing positions, in opposition to socialism, communism, liberal democracy and, in some cases, traditional right-wing conservatism. Although fascism is usually placed on the far right on the traditional left-right spectrum, fascists themselves and some commentators have argued that the description is inadequate. Following the Second World War, few parties openly describe themselves as fascist and the term is more usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The term neo-fascist or post-fascist is sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideological similarities to, or roots in, 20th century fascist movements respectively. (read more)
Corporatocracy is a term used as an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests. It is a generally pejorative term often used by critics of the current economic situation in a particular country, especially the United States. The term has been used by liberal and left-leaning critics, but also some economic libertarian critics and other political observers across the political spectrum. Economist Jeffrey Sachs described the United States as a corporatocracy in his book The Price of Civilization. He suggested that it arose from four trends: weak national parties and strong political representation of individual districts, the large U.S. military establishment after World War II, big corporate money financing election campaigns, and globalization tilting the balance away from workers.
The term was used by author John Perkins in his 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, where he described corporatocracy as a collective composed of corporations, banks, and governments. This collective is known as what author C Wright Mills would call the Power Elite. The Power Elite are wealthy individuals who hold prominent positions in Corporatocracies. These individuals control the process of determining society's economic and political policies.
The concept has been used in explanations of bank bailouts, excessive pay for CEOs, as well as complaints such as the exploitation of national treasuries, people, and natural resources. It has been used by critics of globalization, sometimes in conjunction with criticism of the World Bank or unfair lending practices, as well as criticism of free trade agreements. (read more)