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Read the other articles in the series The Vile Beast

The character born of Brecht’s “beast” seems to have cloned over the decades. Bolsonaro, Orban, Salvini, Turmp, Duterte, Erdoğan, the list could go on for a long time still.

And all, or almost, were designated by the “people” following a so-called “democratic” institutional electoral process, occurring on a background of loss of confidence in politics, flagrant economic inequalities,  all factors leading to populist swellings with a strong identitarian focus. In each case, scapegoats were targeted in order to galvanize the nationalists with the assistance of discriminatory words and actions.

Information and entertainment media, often controlled by financial groups favoring business and the markets, follow suite while pouring out the best and the worst on the big wide digital world of internet, now organized in silos dominated by hegemonic groups prospering on “information and data” provided by trapped consumers. The internet pipe is now pinched in  several places and entirely colonized by colossal financial ownership groups.

The apparent freedom to inform on social networks is nothing but the binding element in disinformation and major market orientations, just as institutional elections are the safety valves for regular  defusing of crises, or providing them with a escape hatches… None of these are the “great conspiracy” at work, nor are there puppets pulling strings, but rather a coagulation of  converging interests in a world of predation and accumulation, each element reactions depending on the position it occupies in the system.

Is the rise irreversible of extreme right-wing movements, of “the beast”, in this last quarter of the century, with its major aspects such as racism, the phobia of the “great replacement“, “on loss of values”?

Some are wont to analyze the relative failure of “Trumpism” as a possible sign of resilience of liberal capitalism in the face of obscurantist forces and choices that would unbalance it in a permanent way – and the global economy along with it – throwing it open to the workings of forces devoid of multilateral “regulations”. In other words, the climate threat, short-term unbalances,  pandemics, economic consequences of forced globalization and  new players in the power struggles  demand greater concerted regulation for the market rather than sovereignist retrenchemnts leading to generalized confrontations.

Concentration of Capital does not accommodate itself well of retrenchment since its field of action is now a world-wide global one, exploiting as it does developmental differentials on a planetary scale. Thus a Trump did not success in grafting a libertarian onto a basically fascistic populist ideology. A Bolsonaro appears as if he will also be rejected eventually, although he did not put forward a “Brazil First” model  but chose instead a full-scale opening to capital, particularly to the agro-food business as pillagers of resources, aided in their work by an authoritarian central government.

The notion of fanning the fires of wild capitalism, everyone on his own turf, supported by local totalitarianisms in tune with exacerbated bouts of popular nationalism wil always  be up against the globalization of finance which is the only life saver for maintaining the profit rates soaring; this requires a total disregard for borders. This was not yet entirely the case  in the mid 20th century, as it is now.

Everything indicates that these identitarian populisms, “the beast” are incited to always express themselves with the majority “there is no alternative” of the moment decreeing “the end of history”. A few samples of of “counter liberal democracy” may be tolerated here and there as the system’s useful idiots carried along by populist upsurges. Whether this has anything to do with our former notions of fascism remains to be seen.

To be continued…

And if you still have a bit of time to spare, a few images on the topic. The commentary is in French but there is quite a bit of footage in English. The basic questions raised in the video: what is fascism and why has it not triumphed yet in the United States? The basic answer being: as long as the “normal workings of the system” protect the interests of capitalism and as long as the “normal management tools” –laws, police, army – keep the lid on extremists, capitalism prefers not having to deal with the barbarous violence of it’s weapon of last resort – fascism.

Read the other articles in the series The Vile Beast

Image : CC Lila Montana solidary photographer-journalist

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Daniel Fleury
Lettres modernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots politiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…