2010s >> 2018 >> no-1372-december-2018

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Donald The Great Dictator?

An article titled ‘Is Trump A Fascist?’ (informationclearinghouse.info, 1 November) lists twelve early warning signs of fascism and asks readers to make up their own minds. Rather than debate the validity or otherwise of the various signs, including some such as rampant sexism, control of mass media and protection of corporate power which are ubiquitous, defining fascism would be a good place to start. Originally, fascist referred to the followers of Benito Mussolini, who was dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943. Racism and anti-Semitism, though it did exist, did not play a prominent role in Italian fascism, unlike the German Nazi variant. Fascism was — and is – an authoritarian, nationalistic and anti-socialist political ideology that preaches the need for a strong state ruled by a single political party led by a charismatic leader. Hitler and the Nazis came to power with the support of more than ten million workers. Further, that very month, March 1933, the first camp was opened – for the incarceration of officials of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties. And on May 10 1933 in Berlin banned books were burnt openly and watched by some 70,000 people. Trump ticks those three ideological boxes and like Hitler was elected — his supporters include millions of workers, whilst millions of others are disenfranchised. In April his administration began enforcing a zero-tolerance immigration policy that has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their families. What next? More camps surrounded by ‘beautiful barbed wire’? Further, given that apparently Trump does not read books, and there is already a list of banned books, one wonders if he will object to them being burned … Steve Hilton, the former chief strategist to the former Prime Minister Cameron, made this candid comment: ‘Regardless of who’s in office, the same people are in power. It is a democracy in name only, operating on behalf of a tiny elite no matter the electoral outcome.’ Indeed, and in the more long-term perspective, all social events for over two hundred years have taken place within the framework of world capitalism, with its class divisions and profit motive. As such, this form of society must be held responsible for every war, every death from starvation and every dictator it has generated. Let us prove Hilton wrong by voting for ourselves for a change.

Blood, sweat & tears

‘What makes you rich, and how much do you earn if you’re middle class?’ (newstatesman.com, 1 November). George Orwell once described his family of origin as ‘lower-upper middle class’. The term middle class is in everyday use but generally to refer to occupation rather than, as in the New Statesman article, income. The socialist position is that classes are defined by their relationship to the means of production. We, the working class, having no other property to sell on a regular basis, live by selling our labour power for a wage or a salary. Marx put it more graphically: capital, ‘is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him.’ And: ‘The capital given in exchange for labour-power is converted into necessaries, by the consumption of which the muscles, nerves, bones, and brains of existing labourers are reproduced, and new labourers are begotten’. The life-blood of this system is the pumping of surplus value out of wage labour. The whole working class is involved in creating, maintaining and reproducing labour power for the benefit of the capitalist class. The struggles over the distribution of the social product, the organisation of work, working conditions and the results of production never stop. The class struggle or war is more than a struggle over the level of exploitation, however. Ultimately it is a struggle over the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution. The war in question has been correctly identified by none other than Warren Buffett: ‘there’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.’ Consider, the top 0.1 percent of American households hold the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90 percent and every 38 seconds a U.S. citizen dies of poverty and poverty-related social conditions. The rich will stay rich and the poor poor until a majority of class conscious workers act and capitalism is replaced by a world without wages, money, poverty and war.