Creeping fascism

CAPITALISM is in deep crisis. It cannot solve the problems of the millions of working people whose labour it exploits but it always seeks to divert the masses to perpetuate its rule. In Britain and throughout Europe we are witnessing the “creeping fascism” of the bourgeoisie who couple their attacks on working class rights and living standards with tactics that seek to scapegoat asylum-seekers, religious and ethnic minorities and immigrants to divide and weaken the working class.

Civil liberties and rights that had been taken for granted for decades are being stripped away as the forces of repression are granted more and more powers of arrest and detention. In the past bourgeois politicians encouraged the bogus theories of personal freedom, bourgeois democracy and the illusions of social-democracy as an alternative to scientific socialism. Now some of them don’t even bother to do that.

James Palumbo, the millionaire merchant banker turned nightclub owner who is a Liberal-Democrat peer in the House of Lords, is now calling for “a new model of democracy” that would see “the country run by experts and business leaders with no party allegiances”.

Writing in London’s Evening Standard this week, Palumbo tells us to: “Forget career politicians, qualifications would be needed to enter politics in the first place. The country would be run by experts in their respective fields, working to long-term plans using the best ideas from around the world. The ethos would be one of excellence, best practice and accountability.”

Palumbo then says: “In Singapore, business leaders are required to work for a few years in government. Unburdened by party politics, they are paid private-sector wages and bring the best experience to bear in running the country. Why can’t we do the same? With a government run by specialists and freed from the shackles of short-termism, every area of government would be transformed.” Palumbo calls this “democracy 2.0”. It is, of course, fascism.

The views of a man best known for running the Ministry of Sound record label may not necessarily be the best guide to current thinking within the ruling class. Palumbo himself says: “My political friends tell me this approach is naïve, that applying business practice to politics is too brutal.”

But the fact that a leading London newspaper has chosen to highlight views that would have been ridiculed 20 years ago shows that at least some sections of the bourgeoisie feel confident enough to express their real agenda.

One of the tenets of fascism is that “management must have the right to manage” like the “master and servant” laws that prevailed in Britain before the rise of the unions in the 19th century. It’s the employers’ mantra used to justify legislation that has all but destroyed collective bargaining and laws that gives us zero-hours contracts and forces claimants to work for their bread-line benefits — the modern day equivalent to the British 1930s work-house and labour camps.

Another is the principle is that what is good for business is good for everyone else. The capitalists and landowners would have us believe that their system of exploitation and oppression, which enables them to live the lives of Roman emperors, is totally justified and positively beneficial for the whole of humanity while the suffering and misery of working people is entirely of their own making.

In the throes of a global capitalist slump the credibility of the bourgeois political system whose leaders are little more than lackeys of the big corporations and landowners is being exposed and resistance to austerity is growing throughout Europe — resistance that could ultimately bring down the whole rotten edifice, as it did with the Czar.

The days of demagogic dictators who spoke about the dignity of labour to lure workers into accepting “corporatism”, which was little better than the caste system, have gone. But faced with no other options to perpetuate their rule the ruling class is returning to authoritarianism in a new form.

We now have a tame and manipulative mass media that seeks to strait-jacket all forms of expression within the confines of bourgeois thought. Repressive laws coupled with police spies and technology that can spy on every aspect of workers’ lives shows that the ruling class is preparing to quell any mass upsurge against their system of oppression.

It is a measure of desperation, not of confidence. For the working class, the day-to-day struggles must become consciously linked to the fight for fundamental change, and that means revolution and socialism.