This is of course untrue. We would not applaud someone saying “I’m literally a fascist” because we know what fascism IS.
The potential of Communism, bad or good, the practicalities of Communism, these are up for debate, but there is nothing intrinsically morally disgusting about common ownership without private property, money, social class, or a state.
Fascism is, by any accepted definition, rule by force, a straightjacket on creativity and culture, suppression of ethnic and religious minorities, denial of democracy, a state set up to provide greatest benefit for a few. Fascism, then, is intrinsically morally repugnant on several counts.
Perhaps a moral argument can be made against Communism on the grounds that it must lead to a totalitarian nightmare, something other than Communism, in fact. First one would have to establish those grounds as true. In any case, even if Communists were misguided, there is a clear world of moral difference between Communism, you idiot, and the sociopathic monstrousness that is Fascism.
People often say to me “Dave, in today’s fraught and polarised world, how can I tell if I’m turning into a bigot?”
And I say,
“Have you found yourself using any of the following four phrases in a negative way, in some rant about things that you didn’t have much interest in until you found yourself turning either reddish pink, or with an almost imperceptible alteration to your skin tone ( because I don’t want to be “racist against white people” or bloodpressure-ist)? Have you found yourself getting angry and ranting, whether your skin colour changed to something resembling a joint of ham or not? Whether you’re white, straight, a farmer, a Tory, a foxhunter, an immigrant-hater, a murderer…. Whatever your orientation… whether you loathe the NHS or want to see us all vaporised in mutually assured nuclear destruction… Whoever you are, gammon or any other kind of red faced man. Or magistrate-
-Have you found yourself using any of the following four phrases in some kind of rant about how the world isn’t concentrating on The Important Things… ?”
Now I’m not trying to stereotype people, because I know there are people who say “I’m on the left. I bought that Sting album once. I sing along to Billy Bragg at festivals. I hate the Tories. I want the working class to, well, not own the means of production- Let’s not go overboard- but maybe smell the means of production. Or at least have weekend visitation rights to the means of production, for a small fee. And that small fee will help pay for a theatre project, perhaps. I don’t know. The point is, Dave, I’m not a right wing reactionary…I actually want to renationalise the railways and…stuff…”
…some people who would say those exact words without hesitation, deviation, or repetition… Yes them… some of these people might accidentally use the four phrases. So you see, its not a straightforward thing, turning into a bigot. It can sneak up on the most liberal people… And those four phrases that, if you use them disparagingly, might give you a clue you are turning into a reactionary bigot, or the supposed concepts they represent, are, according to people who are turning into reactionary bigots, the reason we aren’t living in a Socialist utopia like Canada (where workers can view the means of production through a coin operated telescope).
This country could be a paradise, so they say, were it not for four things:
Political Correctness Gone Mad.
And, Gary Lineker.
And you might say in response,
“Well… Hold on. What you’ve done there is yourself conflate four things you dislike but are all different. Namely, genuine right wing reactionaries, misguided liberals, unsophisticated Marxists who fear any challenge or nuanced approach to a tentative 19th century historical framework, and Piers Morgan.”
Maybe so but to me they are all the same. These minor differences of identity are irrelevant, I say, and cannot be allowed to detract from the overarching narrative. That is, they are all shitstains.
They say these four concepts are the REASON FOR the rise of fascism, the literal cause of Donald Trump. A Tanzanian Lesbian Mothers’ Bookclub: That’s what’s causes Nazis! Don’t know about you but I had to start worshipping Hitler when I heard about Disabled Irish Men Against Hate. How dare they? Fucking up our radical post-neoliberal economics with their collective organisation and critique of failures to put in wheelchair accessible entrances in Cork. No wonder America embraced the right. You made Steve Bannon happen, feminism, with your demands for maternity leave and equal pay.
Then Piers Morgan or the dogmatic resident of the 19th Century says “No. It’s not those things. Obviously we are for those things. But the failure to put them in the proper socio-economic context allowed Thatcherism to take hold.” And I say, yeah, thats why the public rejected Keynesianism. Nothing to do with the oil crisis, unemployment, stagflation, or the undermining of the unions by various forces. It was black women in academia! It was Alan Turing having the thoughtlessness to get chemically castrated as a punishment for being gay despite not being remotely proletarian.
“But the GLC alienating the public by building multiculturalism when what the people needed is Volume 3 of Capital…”
Volume 3 of Karl Marx’s Capital, also known as ‘Raw Sex: The Hot Bits’.
“But all this about hedgehog flavour crisps insulting gays… It’s identity politics gone mad. It’s a Gary Lineker marketing ploy!”
It invariably turns out that it wasn’t like that at all. They got the wrong end of the stick.
“But what about all the books they are highlighting as racist? Why are they bringing attention to racist books? What harm have racist books ever done?”
“And the statues. General Lee… Wilfred Rhodes. Who next? Before you know it, they’ll be wanting to tear down the statue of Churchill. Or the one of Oliver Cromwell outside Parliament.”
I don’t discriminate. I don’t get bogged down in these insignificant differences of identity. So to all of those people:
If anything is certain about Brexit it is that it will go down in European history as a metonym for rushed decisions made on the basis of prejudice rather than good information.
As highly knowledgeable, well informed, anti-racist campaigner Lexiteers will be aware, that doesn’t mean it was the wrong result. Although, clearly it was, for much the same reason you don’t free a cat by dragging it through a barbed wire fence. You can tell me how awful the fence/barbed wire/cat/metaphor is in the comments but I don’t think you can do a damned thing about the collective European consciousness now you’ve voted to not be a part of it.
“What do you mean? I didn’t vote for that! I voted Leave because the EU is a protectionist neoliberal barrier to world Socialism. And because I like Tony Benn. We’re still Europeans, Dave! It doesn’t mean we voted to cast ourselves adrift from Europe.”
Actually, it does mean that. You didn’t mean it to mean that but here is the enduring symbol of Brexit, like it or not. Rotting fruit on a vine and the fruit farmer who voted Leave.
“That’s not a vine, it’s a forb. As a well-informed Lexiteer I’m as certain of that as I am that the EU will hinder Corbyn’s proto-Socialist agenda-”
-thus, as much by virtue of the human tendency to commit to a classification on the basis of a single common feature rather than meaningful commonalities here you are… fucking up my monologue rather than- Tell you what just look at the bloody picture and look at the fruit farmer. Is he you? No.
…What?…You have to imagine the fruit farmer. I understand that might be beyond the capabilities of a Brexiteer… imagining things…
That was just a joke. Obviously simply because you voted for Brexit along with idiots who believed Brexit would mean £350 million a week for the NHS that doesn’t mean you believed that. Just look at the picture. That’s what I’m telling you. That’s what Brexit means. That’s ALL it will mean in the collective European consciousness in fifty years. It will be in films, on posters…
“But Dave, a business shouldn’t be run on the basis of cheap migrant labour, should it?”
No, it shouldn’t. But you’re forgetting the fruit farmer aren’t you? He voted for this. Him. Not being able to imagine that the people he wanted to control away from our borders might be the same people who wouldn’t want to come pick his fruit any more. So fuck off out of my monologue. I won’t tell you again…
There will be coasters, keyrings, pencils, mugs with this picture of the rotting fruit and no, not the fruit farmer because the person who bought the mug didn’t vote to leave the EU did they? So they can IMAGINE the fruit farmer… Huge billboards, pop up ads… “Don’t Be Like The British”… cautioning you to install antivirus software before browsing porn, with a picture of rotten strawberries…The collective European consciousness, which none of us Brits, not even me, can be part of now… rotting strawberries… and [deep bass voiceover] “Imagine A World Without Jam”…
…and Claude or Bruno or whatever his or her name is- What do we care? We’ll never meet anyone with those names again- Claudia or Brunhilde will shudder and she’ll dip into her jam and thank her lucky yellow stars. But remember this, that jam she’ll be eating will be subject to EU regulations. And do you know what that means? For the purposes of EU regulations that jam she’s eating- I mean we won’t have any jam but if you could imagine there was such a thing as jam in some far distant place like France- that jam Brunhilde is eating could, according to EU regulations, be made from cucumbers or sweet potatoes or radishes. All those things they define as jam, made from some faceless Brussels bureaucrat’s idea of fruit… Cucumber jam! Imagine…
So, all things considered, on balance, it’s probably quite a good thing we’re leaving.
Party politics is millionaire MPs justifying why they voted to deny disabled people a reasonable quality of life. Party politics is “I know the country isn’t a meritocracy but” where what follows is the unconscious belief in why you deserve the property portfolio, the large salary, to be wined and dined, the expensive clothes, the restaurants several times a week… while making up excuses for “pragmatism” that are entirely down to your own mindset, that ole middle class self interest.
Party politics is smiling politely and using the right knife. It’s where our status quo is better than their status quo. It’s where those who have the least are accused of tyranny, ill discipline, and unfairness against high earning owners of prime real estate. It’s where white middle class sticklers in tiny secretive committees replicate society by dispensing “discipline” to outspoken black women and the wrong sort of Jew.
Party politics is where minority interest groups shut down the interests of minorities.
Party politics is being told to play nice with the friends of proto-Fascists because “We Are All The Party”.
Party politics is a wheedling ghost in my ear using every dirty trick to protest against my part in its downfall. Yet it was not me who killed the comfortable life for the middle. I’m just here with a mirror. And a knife which could never entirely be to your liking.
Party politics is a swelling mass movement, a new broom, bright light on the cobwebs, the release of steam, the new found confidence of the left, seeing through the games, dragging the leviathan screaming, half a million scalpels, the collective drive to a new universalism that is the only efficient future that doesn’t require the subjugation of the masses.
Athenian Democracy was, on a modern understanding, an elitist system, excluding women, immigrants, and slaves. Less than a third of the people of the city were empowered with voting rights. British Democracy, an ongoing tussle to disperse the undue power of a very few centralised around, even today, the monarchy and the church, could not be said to be less exclusive until the 20th Century reached maturity. Universal voting rights (suffrage), at least for unimprisoned adults, might be younger, and are unlikely to be very much older, than your oldest family member.
There’s no sensible argument to be made from this to abandon the entire project, yet if we’re talking about feminism or the civil rights movement the global political atmosphere has emboldened some to denounce those movements wholesale. On the left, this attitude comports with the mistaken belief that class conscious politics naturally overcomes all other discrimination, despite much evidence to the contrary. It is in itself a form of entitlement, and more than a lack of awareness: in fact, a lack of awareness of a lack of awareness.
Fortunately, this retrogressive and naive idea of “One size fits all” Socialism is not driving the mass left movement focused around Jeremy Corbyn, its prime movers either steeped in 70s/80s progressive Labour politics exemplified by the GLC or from a young metropolitan base who have absorbed its legacy. The message is straightforward: The battle for a diverse agenda has been won. To try to counter this, however well intentioned, is to only get in the way of the genuine struggle towards Universality.
Until we stop ‘hunting for bigots’ and can start to have proper discussions of the institutional nature of racism and its relation to power, and especially the primary props of State power and inequities of capital, actions taken will be ineffective and in fact will contribute to oppression, in UK cities to the USA to Palestine and beyond.
The supposedly liberal outrage at inherent “racists” as if we have to find only those pure souls for The Labour Party without a ‘racist bone’ is ascientific and privileges the white liberally educated. Ultimately, it is itself racist.
We see few better illustrations of the centrist and right tendency to enable fascism by perpetuating oppression than the bull-in-a-china-shop approach to anti-Semitism of the supporters of the Labour Party organisations where the current Israel government has most influence.
If you want to find bigotry and prejudice, and you are capable of questioning yourself, you’ll find it within you and without you. It’s probably there in your perception of white van man, your views on benefits, your most laissez faire attitudes to redistribution of wealth, the demographics of your friends, and those implicit attitudes you’ve never bothered to uncover about the minorities you have least interest in finding out about.
What do we hope to find? The racism gene?! Education not witch-hunts and education for YOU (me) first of all.
The stakes are so high now. For example, many European countries might make it clear that someone expressing Nazi hate speech, as Katie Hopkins did, is a security risk and is not welcome. This would serve to heighten the contrasts between the inclusive, multicultural, fully internationalist vision of Corbyn -supported by the youth and popular in most of our cities- and the insular, ultimately fascistic, perspective of the right. The question is, are liberals who see themselves as progressive capable of finally fully recognising the twin threats of a runaway right wing media and a tendency in the current Conservative Party towards isolationism? If so, they would pull out of Labour marginals, recognising the crucial importance of a Labour government that can work with Europe as well as clamping down on the excesses of the Press.