anonymous asked:

what is an economy under a fascist regime like? how and what do corporations function as? I have a feeling it's essentially capitalism x 1000 but specifics would be nice and you seem very knowledgeable on this kinda stuff. hope this isn't weird I'm an ancom and I'm looking for info and sources for a story. if you have further reading that would be useful, thank you in advance!

I wouldn’t really call it Capitalism times 1000 because Capitalism itself can have many configurations. There are Capitalisms that are internationally oriented and Capitalisms that are nationally oriented, Capitalisms where the state controls all economic activity and Capitalisms where the state controls none, etc. It more resembles the instinctual response of the bourgeoisie when faced with crisis, to pull back in the corner like a hounded animal, to protect itself from threats with force, to retreat into fantasy, and to focus more on home. It’s a system that predicates itself on crisis, on a supposed threat to the order of things, and its willingness to go to whatever lengths necessary to restore that order. As Carl Schmitt noted, what makes the Sovereign powerful is not its ability to decide what occurs during ordinary times but to decide what constituted an extraordinary time and to take extraordinary action. Some say that Fascism is when right wingers use left wing techniques against the left wing, although I’d note that most of what Fascists do was done first by the Conservative European order as a response to the French Revolution. 

What nobody hears about when they learn about Fascism is the crises early 1930s Germany and early 1920s Italy were going through. I mean sure, you hear about the Great Depression and how the Nazis promised to save people, but every party was promising to save people at the time, and only one of those parties got into power. What you don’t hear about was that it was a daily occurrence on the streets of Germany’s big cities to see gangs of hundreds of Socialist and Communist youth battling it out with police and with Conservative gangs. Factories were at a standstill not just because of the Depression, but because workers were doing sit-down strikes inside and sabotaging equipment. A repeat of the 1919 German Revolution was imminent, and so Capitalists decided to suspend the normal order of things and call in a government that could deal with this threat. In the same way, Italy in 1922 had just experienced what was known as the Biennio Rosso, the two red years. As Wikipedia describes,

The Biennio Rosso took place in a context of economic crisis at the end of the war, with high unemployment and political instability. It was characterized by mass strikes, worker manifestations as well as self-management experiments through land and factories occupations.[1] In Turin and Milan, workers councils were formed and many factory occupations took place under the leadership of anarcho-syndicalists. The agitations also extended to the agricultural areas of the Padan plain and were accompanied by peasant strikes, rural unrests and guerrilla conflicts between left-wing and right-wing militias.

So when a Fascist comes to power, their first thing is to get things back in working order. They have to break trade unions and prevent workers from offering any kind of resistance to plans to intensify working conditions in order to restore profitability. Typically, the Fascist party that gets picked is chosen because it already has a big street gang of willing enforcers. These are people who want to commit all sorts of crimes, assault, looting, rape, murder, but can’t under normal conditions. Fascism elevates them above the law and sets them loose on workers, to devastating results. If you want to see just what these killers are like, watch the documentary The Act of Killing, about the murder of a million people in the aftermath of the 1965 Indonesian Coup. After an initial passage of emergency legislation, like the Reichstag Fire Decree, the Fascists will round up and imprison or shoot as many worker organizers as they can get their hands on. Strikes, independent unions, and political parties are banned, because they could give a voice to workers. Propaganda instead focuses on how the messianic Great Leader is the only one who can save workers from their boss’s malevolence. If it worked, you would see cases similar to medieval peasants who asked their king or tsar to save them from their overbearing lord. After the public exposure of the T4 Aktion programme, the secret Nazi murder of the physically or mentally ill, many thousands wrote letters to Hitler asking him to save their relatives from the Gestapo. Typically, a single government-run union is kept going, so that workers would have some means to address grievances without turning to underground action, and so that the state would have greater power over businesses especially in the case of hiring and firing decisions. This is all in the goal of suppressing class conflict, not physically ending it by abolishing class, although some Capitalist writers get the two confused.

Second of all, the Fascists have to turn around and do whatever it takes to get the economy back on track, often violating Classical Liberal tenets in the process. This angers some of the bourgeoisie, who have eaten their own propaganda on how markets are the most efficient method of doing things. It also angers the ones who were restricted in some way, like being unable to fire masses of workers or having their property nationalized. This is how the meager bourgeois resistance to Fascism is produced, although typically it goes nowhere because it fails to gain the attention of workers. In particular, big losers are smaller businesses and farms, who can’t keep up with the kind of  economies of scale that are now needed for profitability. Rather than protect them, policies preventing them from acting typically force their owners to sell to bigger companies. What they fail to realize is that a market cannot solve an economic crisis without state intervention, and this requires winners and losers to be picked. In some cases, businesses are cartellized, made to be monopolies in order to prevent prices from bottoming out in order to protect owners who are important supporters of Fascism even in the face of inefficiencies. In other cases, strategic businesses like oil refining are nationalized, especially ones related to the military-industrial complex to ensure the primacy of the army. Those are typically far rarer than privatizations and bailouts though. In the former case, these aren’t done to make money for the state, but rather to bring benefits to the business class, like the Nazi sale of nationalized banks in the mid-1930s at fire-sale prices. In the latter case, these are done to shore up important collapsing companies while maintaining the support of their owners, like the engineering company Ansaldo that made numerous types of military equipment in the early years of Mussolini’s reign. What unites the entire set of policies is an emphasis not on growing the economy as a whole, but in restoring profitability while maintaining power, even at the cost of a less efficient economy. Part of this also involves removing the tax burden from the rich and placing it on the poor. In Italy, the capital gains, luxury, and inheritance taxes were quickly abolished after the Fascists came to power, even though the government needed money for its imperialism. Fortunately for the Italians, their opponents largely consisted of poor Africans whom they could gas from the air without difficulty, so this military weakness didn’t manifest itself until they found their military unable to conquer the extremely weak Greeks in 1940. Taxes in Germany were almost nil on the biggest businesses, although after rearmament began, net profits were taxed heavily to encourage businesses to reinvest. This was an outlier; most of the Third World fascist governments in the years since have sliced taxes on the rich as quickly as they could.

There’s a contradiction between the activities of pre-war and post-war Fascist governments towards international trade. It was wholly agreed pre-WW2 that protectionism was the way to go to ensure the survival of domestic business. Italy, Germany and Spain were all nationally oriented Capitalisms, attempting to build economic self-sufficiency in all matters. This was often poorly directed. In Germany, the average worker saw the quality of their diet decline as high tariffs on food imports increased the price of food. It often didn’t target every item in the supply chain, as in Italy, where self-sufficiency in wheat production wasn’t followed up with self-sufficiency in fertilizer, meaning that Italian food production declined during the war. In the post-war period, Fascism mostly came to power in much smaller Third World economies like Indonesia and Chile, where foreign investment could go a lot farther in keeping economies afloat. Pre-war Fascists had courted foreign investment, but post-war Fascists were maintained by it and thus did all they could to invite businesses in. Even Spain required a bailout from the IMF in the 50s, leading it to adopt these policies. So the economic policy of our theoretical Fascist state depends mostly on the time period it’s in and whether it has a big imperial power (America) supporting it or not. 

Third is the bit everybody knows: militarism. Typically, this cannibalizes from workers to a heavy degree. Raw materials are diverted by government fiat from consumer applications to military industry. In Germany, while great promises were made to workers about owning cars, most iron and rubber was put into tank production instead, making vehicles too expensive for almost everybody. Investment in agriculture shrank, meaning German food production never reached what it was in 1913 under the Fascist regime. While this means that employment is high and that workers are secure in their jobs, it also means an increase in working hours. The average German worker did 68 hours a week by 1938, being paid less for each one of these hours. In many ways, Germany can be seen as an outlier on this point, since its economy was so well-developed that it was able to take on much of its own absurd ideological responsibilities towards imperialism. For the most part, Fascist wars are internal, like the Spanish Civil War or the Argentine Dirty War, or against weak neighbors, like the Italian Invasion of Albania or the Indonesian Invasion of East Timor. Germany could not only make the wild claims to a greater national area that typically occur under Fascism, but actually carry out these threats as well by taking over most of Europe. So of course, our theoretical Fascist nation depends on what sort of place it arose in. Is it one of the most advanced countries in the world, or is it a little less developed, like Italy with its completely agricultural southern half?

The fourth thing a Fascist nation does is implode. It isn’t economically rational. Its suppression of workers becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, preventing internal consumption from becoming a major factor in economic growth. Military plunder works well (if there’s no material loot, they’ll use the conquered population as slave labour) until a defeat occurs, like Germany in 1942 or Argentina in 1982. Perhaps they can extend their lifespan by selling to a greater economic power (America), ensuring the profits don’t run out soon. In that case, workers eventually grow tired of not having any access to what they produce, and the myths that Fascism rely on to get into power begin to conflict with reality. Workers eventually lose all hope that they’ll ever have better conditions unless they put their lives on the line against a repressive apparatus. Maybe businessmen begin to chafe under the old boys networks that prevent them from being more profitable, as in Indonesia in 1998. More recently, Fascists have tried to buy in to the power of consumer goods to maintain their regimes. In South Korea under Chun Doo-Hwan, the government implemented the 3S policy, Sex, Screen, and Sports, hoping that colour TV, easy access to porn and prostitution, mainstream films with explicit sex, and the hosting of international games would satisfy the population. It didn’t work. It never does. Fascism is a type of state that thrives on crises, and when those crises are over, its justifications for being power become increasingly thin. 

Sketch of the Day! LOBO


Feetal’s Gizz!

Today’s sketch features th’ Main Man himself, LOBO! If i could point to one comic that warped my young mind, above almost all else, it was probably this one.

This bastich is 8.5” x 9”, markers on chipboard. The original can be yours, over in the STORE.

Martin Bryant was a spree killer who committed his crimes in Port Arthur, Australia. Bryant packed a sports bag loaded with several rifles, a hunting knife, two sets of handcuffs, a rope, a large amount of ammunition, a video camera, and a container of gasoline. He had lunch at a cafe, and after he finished he set the video camera up on a nearby table and began shooting other patrons of the cafe with a semiautomatic rifle. He killed 20 people and injured several others, then left the cafe and murdered 4 more people, against wounding others passing by. Bryant drove towards the nearby tollbooth and killed a woman and her two children walking beside the road. He drove a few hundred yards closer to the tollbooth and killed three men in a car. He approached another car with a couple inside, forced the man into the trunk of his car, and shot the woman.

Continuing his rampage, Bryant drove to the Seascape Cottage where he fired at several cars within his sight. He then removed his guns from the car and took a male hostage inside the house and handcuffed the man a stair rail. Bryant returned outside and poured gasoline over his car and set it on fire. He then reentered the cottage, which was owned by a Mr and Mrs Martin, against whom he held a grudge. When police arrived to find Bryant barricade inside the cottage, they believed he could have as many as three people hostage (the man he abducted from the tollbooth and the Martins). Thus, they were cautious as to how to approach the situation. The next morning, after several negotiations between the police and Bryant throughout the night, Bryant set the cottage on fire. As he ran out of the cottage with his clothes ablaze, the police captured him. In all he had killed 35 people and injured 18 in over 19 hours time.