Benito Mussolini said, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” It’s that – rather than numbers of blackshirted thugs on the streets – that defined fascism then, and does so now...
BACK IN 2006 the CPBML spoke about the sheer breathtaking speed of decay in Britain, warning “The ruling class has a horrifying future in mind for us: abandonment of Britain as a nation, which means abandonment of this working class.” Only now are we beginning to see exactly what this future means.
As we move seamlessly from Blair to Brown to Cameron and Clegg, what if anything has changed politically? Cameron models himself on Blair, Gove tries to accelerate Blair’s policy of privatising schools by turning them into academies and Osborne steals Darling’s public sector cuts policy and cranks it up a bit.
Former Labour Cabinet ministers John Hutton, now mysteriously metamorphosed as Lord Hutton, and Frank Field reappear as pensions (how to cut them) and poverty (how to cut benefits) tsars for Cameron, with Hutton already producing a report telling the government how to attack public sector pensions, while Alan Milburn, former Blair health secretary, is Cameron’s “social mobility” tsar. They will be joined by billionaire Top Shop boss Sir Philip Green, advising Cameron on “efficiency savings” (cutting public expenditure). This is where politics in Britain is going – straight to the horse’s mouth.
But there’s more – what is changing in the media? The News of the World phone hacking scandal has let us have a glimpse of how British MPs live in fear of the Murdoch media empire in case one of his publications does a job on them. It is reckoned by those involved that at least 6,000 phones were hacked into, while Murdoch’s emissary and the man at the heart of the hacking scandal, Andy Coulson, was later employed as Cameron’s Director of Communications. This minor setback doesn’t detract from the fact that Murdoch wants total control of Sky TV and a slimmed-down, tame BBC. He wants control of Britain’s media to dictate what information we receive. So, an end to any semblance of independent news media looks increasingly likely.
The City of London: home to finance capital of all kinds – and the heart of reaction.
What of the future for trade unions? Organised workers are now about the only check on capitalism’s operations, if they choose to be. The CBI announced at the Tory conference in October its demands for more anti-union laws and was parroted by the Mayor of London. The CBI wants employers to be entitled to employ agency workers to break a strike and to be given 14 days’ notice to enable them to recruit agency scabs. It wants strikes to be illegal unless 40 per cent of the total of union members vote in favour. If they get their way, we will have an end to automatic union recognition, employers to determine who is a union member, steeper fines for unions and more power for the Certification Officer. The Cameron–Clegg Government act for the CBI and it will be impossible to have a legal strike. Why would they do this? It’s certainly not because capitalism has had a big strike problem recently. No, it is solely to screw down further our ability to organise as a class.
A pattern is emerging. No political parties which are even ostensibly different from each other, no free news media, no freedom to organise in trade unions.
Finance capitalism brought many things to the 20th century but the worst by far was fascism.
Today, many find it difficult to define fascism, preferring to point to the British National Party rather than look at a developing structure throughout society, including Parliament. The early 20th- century Italians, who invented the word “fascism”, had a more descriptive term for the concept – “estato corporativo”, the corporate state.
Benito Mussolini said, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Communists defined fascism as “the dictatorship of finance capitalism”.
Of course the situation in the 1920s and 1930s was very different from today. In Italy there was the fascist march on Rome that effectively put Mussolini into power. And there was the revolutionary USSR. Terrified of this, and in the midst of the chaos and the widespread inspiration of revolutionary ideas following the First World War, finance capitalism would stop at nothing to control the working class. It had to lead to war.
Today, the ruling class tries to be much more sophisticated. But, try though it may, it cannot stop us seeing what is happening. We can see the coming together of corporate power and government, and we can see some of what they have in store for us. Having had the birth of trade unionism airbrushed out of the history syllabus, much of our history rewritten, academy schools run by businesses or religious institutions pushed on us, we can see how they want the young to become citizens with no knowledge of class struggle.
The National Minimum Wage will become the norm, especially those young people who can find work. Higher education is to be all but destroyed, except for the privileged few. The NHS, for which many of us have fought so hard, is to be privatised by the back door by means of GP Commissioning. Wages are now being depressed in real terms and occupational pension schemes may become a thing of the past in many areas. Benefits are to be cut to try to force people back to nonexistent work whilst potential parents are told not to have children unless they can afford them. Volunteers will take over from paid workers in our “communities” in the “Big Society” – or this is what we are told.
All of this is happening to pay for the bailout of the banking system with our money. In other words, the finance capitalists have such a powerful hold over government that it will pauperise the British working class so that they can continue with the reckless financial gambling that is at the heart of finance capitalism.
But as – or maybe more – significant is the European Union effect. The EU’s purpose has always been to slow down the absolute decline of capitalism by organising capitalism on a continental scale. The Commissioners are handpicked from those who will protect capitalism, brutally if needed.
The EU directives and laws, such as “free” movement of labour, are intended to prop up capitalism by providing rootless low paid workers with no allegiance to any national working class. The EU plans to gobble up the Balkan mini states next and has its eyes on Ukraine, Turkey and Georgia, giving it a vast pool of much lower paid workers to let loose on the rest of us, depressing wages further and at the same time getting control of the Black Sea and confronting Russia.
That marriage between the European Union and the forces of finance capital is the lifeblood for the dark heart of fascism, Hitler’s vision becoming a reality. It is in the boardrooms and stock exchanges – and, yes, parliaments – that our true enemy resides. ■