Although Classical Marxist “socioeconomic” theory is still taught—mostly as an introductory or minor component in some undergraduate courses—it is no longer taken seriously by apparatchiks as the bedrock upon which the edifice of Marxism rests. Leftist ideology, for the want of a better phrase, has shifted its ideological foundations since the demise of the Soviet Union and the rise of China, away from the Classical Marxist metanarrative of dialectical materialism and its concomitant “class struggle”.
For those who have little idea what Classical Marxism is and how far its devotees have strayed from the path, a little clarification may be helpful. Classical Marxists claim that ideology and theory, in short, human value judgments, were the products of a linear socioeconomic historical development based on “dialectical materialism”, a pseudo-science concocted by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, which emphasises the importance of real-world conditions and relationships, in terms of human labour, to which the fate of the individual was locked in and determined by their class. In other words, individuals were not free agents, but part of an unfolding historical metanarrative.
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After the Soviet Union fell, the Left eventually decided that the theory and practice of dialectical materialism were inadequate, that the Marxist axiom, “All classes bear the seeds of their own destruction”, may not necessarily be true, because these theories forced one to deny human action any free will, in other words, the ability of human beings to choose between different courses of action, unimpeded. And thus, the post-Soviet, postmodern Left embraced relativism, with its rejection of metanarratives, incorporating it into its new methodology as a means of attaining power in the future.
It was Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School who, without discrediting it, moved away from the Classical Marxist model. Contemporary Marxists thereafter no longer considered history solely predetermined dialectically by “the class struggle”. This change was not only the result of the catastrophic failure of Classical Marxism wherever it was imposed on real life, but also of the reality that in free-market economies most workers didn’t fall deeper into poverty, but often prospered (and thereby changed their class status) particularly when they did not have to succumb to the usurious practices of banking institutions, speculators and radical government interference in their lives and finances.
The Marxist dialectic, as argument (with its proletariat-versus-bourgeoisie scenarios) has had to surrender most of its ideological Lebensraum to postmodern theory, defined by Jean-François Lyotard in The Postmodern Condition (1979) “as incredulity towards metanarratives”, in other words, towards a unified, universal and epistemologically certain story—which is precisely what rickety old Classical Marxism is! If one were to look for a biblical comparison: Classical Marxism was the Old Testament and Postmodern Theory, the New. The problem being that this New Testament had nothing to do with Classical Marxism, but was in itself a form of fascism—real fascism, of the kind practised by Mussolini.
Unlike Classical Marxists, those on the postmodern Left reject metanarratives because they reject the concept of truth that metanarratives presuppose. Postmodern philosophers, in general, argue that truth is always contingent on a historical social context rather than being absolute and universal, that truth is always partial and “at issue” rather than complete and certain. So, here began Marxism’s departure from any underlying notion of its prior methodology and ideals, and truth was now considered just another means to an end, not as the objective of any rational assessment or dialectical critique, but part of an arsenal to be used for cultural mass destruction, public propaganda and the attainment of absolute power, by any means necessary—which is one of the fundamental tenets of fascism.
It’s difficult these days to justify the label “Marxist” for people whose ideas stand almost in contrast to the most cherished metanarrative dogma of Marx himself. It is a revealing insight into the extent to which Marxism has become the sentimental opiate of the Left, that many intelligent buffoons can describe themselves in this way, that so many so-called communists (activists and theorists alike) feel it necessary to so describe themselves. The reality of course is that they are no longer Marxists; that Marxism is no longer their guiding principle but part of a potpourri of often opposing ideas, with one purpose: to destroy Western civilisation and its institutions and instal a totalitarian dictatorship, where truth itself is of relative value as long as it serves the purpose of the dictatorship, which is power for the sake of power, or as Adolf Hitler once wrote: “It’s not the truth that matters, but victory!”
At least with the Classical Marxist model, there was a goal—albeit a foolish one—called utopia and a roadmap towards it called dialectical materialism. For the postmodern Left, this is no longer the case. Their goal now is just power, which can only lead to a series of increasingly brutal and destructive dictatorships, where the strong fight for control over the weak, through lies, propaganda, coercion and violence.
This proposition was ingeniously exemplified in Orwell’s Animal Farm after the pigs had seized control and begun to change the rules in order to stay in power. In Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell elaborates further in this prophetic paragraph, in which he reveals the emerging fascist nature of the new progressive Left:
The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
Here we have the expression of the Nietzschean philosophy of the Will to Power, which is one of the major doctrines of fascism, and which also incorporates Nietzsche’s doctrine of the Re-evaluation of Values (the rejection of truth) of which he spoke extensively in Beyond Good and Evil and Twilight of the Idols. In 1868, in the essay “On Schopenhauer”, he deduced that sometimes erroneous ideas are more valuable than true ideas, which is a position embraced today by the postmodern Left. Nietzsche was a favourite and often quoted philosopher of Hitler and Mussolini. Heinrich Hoffmann’s popular biography Hitler as Nobody Knows Him (1938) featured a photo of Hitler next to a bust of Nietzsche with the caption:
The Führer before the bust of the German philosopher whose ideas have fertilized two great popular movements: the national socialist of Germany and the fascist of Italy.
Hitler once sent to Mussolini, as a birthday present, the complete works of Nietzsche. Golomb and Wisterich noted in Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism (1993):
The “fascist” Nietzsche was above all considered to be a heroic opponent of necrotic Enlightenment “rationality” and a kind of spiritual vitalist, who had glorified war and violence.
To define the crux of this fascistic philosophy in simpler terms: one must do whatever it takes, and to hell with morality and ethics! This kind of thinking opens the doors to inquisitions, gas chambers and gulags, the seeds of which are beginning to sprout across the Western world, particularly in the United States, through the broad alliance of radical Left organisations and groups today, under the umbrella of the Democratic Party.
This was made no more evident than on the eve of the Democrats’ questionable election victory over the Republican Party of Donald Trump, where there was significant evidence of voter fraud, with some Democratic leaders even saying it was warranted because of the threat posed by the Trump administration. Like all parties that transition to fascism, the Democrats, along with their apparatchiks in business, academia and media, display with utter arrogance the belief that they know—better than their opposition and critics, and better than the American people—what is best for America and how to solve the great problems confronting it and the world. Those who question this arrogance are automatically attacked as rednecks, bigots, racists or insurrectionists.
The Democratic Party likes to posture as a fair, free, open and constitutionally-based party, but its actions, in the full light of public knowledge, have proven, on more than one occasion, to be the exact opposite. They lie, they deceive, they slander, they cheat, they steal, and through their allies and donors in the corporate world, the mainstream media and the publishing industry, they shadow-ban, sanction, frame and censor, in an attempt to discredit and destroy any opposition. Mussolini’s Partito Nazionale Fascista and Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party employed identical tactics in their efforts to stamp out all opposition.
A still closer inspection will reveal that the Democratic Party is anything but democratic. Add to this the fact that they are supported at the ballot box and on the streets by scores of America’s radical left-wing organisations, like Antifa (designated by the former US Attorney-General William Barr as a terrorist group), the Revolutionary Communist Party USA (funded by the Chinese Communist Party) and the Democratic Socialists of America, of which dozens of prominent Democrats are card-carrying members, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Bernie Sanders. The Democratic Party ticks all the boxes when it comes to what a fascist, left-wing political party looks like.
As is the case in most Western countries today, left-wing fascist regimes are mutating like cancers in the bodies of once genuine, free-market, constitutionally based parties (left-wing and right!), where they implement draconian laws and legislation beyond the mandates for which they were elected. But unlike their predecessors, once they have attained power, they threaten and intimidate those who hold opposing or critical views. In a free society, after a valid election has been held, opposing parties usually come together in a spirit of bipartisan reconciliation, to work for the good of the people until the next election.
But with their questionably legal victory over the Republican Party, the ugly fascist face of the Left is starting to reveal itself (a promise of things to come!). For example, Robert Reich (former adviser to Obama) and MSNBC Left propagandist Chris Hayes want to set up Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, an Orwellian form of public shaming for wrong-think. When postmodern leftist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said after Biden’s victory that “Trump’s enablers should be rounded up” she wasn’t talking about a post-election, gracious democratic gesture. CNN reporter Jake Tapper said, “Defend Trump and you will be put on a blacklist.” Jennifer Ruben, a leftist commentator for the Washington Post, said, “We have a list of all these Trump fans and will make sure they never hold a position on a bench or in a faculty and are cast out of polite society.” When Washington Post leftist propagandist Eugene Robinson and New York Times Magazine’s Nikole Hannah-Jones agreed that there is a need for “Americans to be ‘deprogrammed’ and punished”, they were not talking about bipartisan co-operation. And during a discussion regarding domestic unrest, when MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace floated the idea of the US government killing American citizens with drone strikes, she was referring to anyone opposed to the Democrats. These examples are just a few of many. These utterances have nothing to do with the principles of a fair and just democratically-minded government.
These left-wing, postmodern Gramscian fascists have burrowed like nematodes into the body politic of the Democratic Party and many other institutions. This is precisely what happened in Mussolini’s Italy. First, people were censored and stripped of the right to speak out and criticise the regime. Second, many were rounded up by the Blackshirts and forced to “confess” their intransigence and sign a statement that they had been deprogrammed, and if they refused to co-operate they were imprisoned without trial or executed—which is what usually happens when the rule of law is abandoned for the rule of the mob and their dictators.
With this in mind, let’s ask ourselves: Why, theoretically, do left-wing movements exist? Most people would say say: to defend the rights of the workers against the evil capitalists and to construct on their ruins the foundations upon which to build a future utopia. But for today’s left-wing fascists, as we have seen, this is no longer the case. Today they embrace “the evil capitalists” with open arms, including the corporate media, big tech, publishing networks, corporations, Wall Street hedge-funders and banks. Evidence suggests the Left-establishment regime has made peace with these traditional enemies of the working class.
As it is written in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Corporate and financial capitalism—the enemy of the free market—has played major roles in the rise of totalitarian governments in Italy, Germany and Russia. The success of China today is due solely, not to communism, but corporate capitalism. In fact, most communist revolutions would not have succeeded without the backing of corporate capitalism. This has been documented in detail in the monumental works of Anthony Sutton, including The Best Enemy Money Can Buy, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution and National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union. As Mussolini wrote: “Fascism should appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
It’s the productive people,
the small-fry opponents
of the one per cent
who own the fish shop,
the farm, the pub,
the publishing company
and the convenience store.
It’s their property
they want to score,
to feed their
“no more votes
for me and you,”
fascist power core,
in whose service
we’ll all become
owners of the store,
but with no freedom
to deposit or withdraw.
Basically, to the Left, power today is the endgame and after attaining power, as Orwell noted, they will do anything necessary to keep it, and ethics and morality be damned! As Saul Alinsky made clear in his Rules for Radicals, “to combat Evil one must also if necessary become Evil”. The left-wing postmodernist philosopher Herbert Marcuse expressed a similar sentiment when he stated it was necessary to “fight the ideology of tolerance in order to impose communism”.
One of the distinguishing features of fascism as I have illustrated (and collectivism in general) is the belief that they know what is right and they have all the answers and that anyone who opposes or disagrees with them is part of the problem and needs to be censored, silenced and if necessary eradicated. If this is the “new foundation” for left-wing politics today, then there is nothing that distinguishes it from fascism apart from the colour of its flags.
Eugene Alexander Donnini is a writer of poetry and prose who lives in Melbourne. He contributed “Western Civilisation and Its Irrational Critics” in the May issue