Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What is Harper's Political ideology. . . . .

David Myers of the Vancouver Sun today made an explicit connection between the strategies of the right-wing in the US and the Harper government; a link now made easier by the obvious connection between Harper and the NRA. He also spoke that dreaded word "fascist" in relation to this government's strategy. Last weak in another media article a Professor from The University of Carleton, named Jonathan Malloy, mused about what political strategy motivates the Harper government. Mr. Malloy ends by saying he doesn't know because, as he tries to demonstrate, all the standard political strategies seem not to fit with various acts by Harper and his cronies. What is very interesting is that Malloy disregards the strategy of Libertarianism because the Harper Government is big on Prisons and more and more police control. But what Mr. Malloy overlooks in his analysis is the ideology of fascism.

As I said a few years ago on this blog, Harper's political ideology is fascism in very simple and straightforward terms. His is big on State Controls of the population, he wants to undermine the power of the independent judiciary, he undermines democratic processes wherever possible, he is big on the military, he is eager to align the Government with Big Business, he degrades all opponents with provokative epithets rather than real discourse, he draws on inflammatory labels whenever possible (like separatists or socialists etc). Everything about this agenda is fascists and people are beginning to wake up to this fact.

Check out this book called Friendly Fascism by Bertram Gross.


doconnor said...

Fascism is a word overshadowed by the holocaust, making it difficult to talk about it without people associating it with the holocaust, even when you don't mean to. It would be nice to come up with a new word that doesn't have the same baggage, like neo-conservatism.

Communism is a word with a similar problem, overshadowed by the actions of Lenin and Stalin that ran counter to everything communism stood for. Fortunately, the word socialism isn't as tarnished.

kirbycairo said...

Dear doconnor -

There is no doubt that most people associate the notion of fascism specifically with Hitler and the so-called 'final solution.' However, the ideology of fascism had a fairly specific political program more clearly visible in the governments of Mussolini, Franco, and a number of leaders in Latin America.

The problem with the phrase "neo-conservatism" is that it is, I believe, far too ambiguous. Fascism makes specific the tie between government and capitalism, and the effort to undermine democracy and control information and spin. It is not a sugar-coated concept. Neo-conservatism, on the other hand, is an idea still largely seen as basically democratic and operating within the framework of the modern constitutional democracy. Calling the ideology of Harper 'fascism' lays bare all the genuine sins of this government and the very real danger that we face.

As for the question of Communism. Indeed, this notion has become confused and wrapped up with the perverted concepts of Leninism and Stalinism. I think the real dangers were inherent in a couple of basic 'mistakes' by Marx and his failure to properly come to grips with the implications of Bakunin and all that he stood for. But we will save that for another time.

Anonymous said...

In your opinion, how does scrapping the Gun Registry (with help from the NRA) conform with the pursuit of fascism?


PS - I believe the word doconnor might be looking for is Authoritarianism.

The difficulty in rectifying the significant differences between ostensibly fascist states (WWII-era Italy, Germany, Spain, etc) has led many academics too doubt the existence of fascism as a coherent ideology. Rather Italian Fascism was a specific, culturally unique form of authoritarianism, that differed from Nazi Germany's culturally unique form of authoritarianism, etc.

kirbycairo said...

Dear Leo - I knew you would leave a comment on this one. I only regret that I didn't really have time to properly expand this point on which one could write an entire book. First I will say that indeed an argument could be made that the contrasting aspects of the various European States which identified with the ideology of fascism makes the notion difficult to properly define. Since such definitions are always somewhat arbitrary and made for convenience, these things are always on shifting ground. However, I think the definition is useful and meaningful because there is an identifiable trend within capitalist ideology which is, as you say, authoritarianist in nature and seeks to initiate certain ideological constructs which are tied to finance capital and large scale capitalist endeavours in general and which are not only widely anti-democratic but rely on the widespread use of inflammatory language, scapegoatism etc. Anyway, suffice to say I think that this is still a useful and identifiable ideological construct.

As to the gun-registry, I don't think it fits into the general narrative very well. Though a number of fascist style governments in Latin America in particular actively tried to ensure that certain sectors of the population that were sympathetic to the state remained armed. Even today, we can use the example of Iran where much of the population is well armed. But fascist tendencies, like many ideologies, within the milieu of North America, are torn between the Libertarian roots of certain aspects of Conservatism on the Continent and the more authoritarian aspects of these traditions. We can see this struggle in Harper himself who obviously has many authoritarian tendencies but also was the head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Overall, I think it would be absurd to expect every aspect of a government's policies to be entirely in line with the overall ideology within the context of electoral politics. And I think within a slightly different context Harper would stand for total gun control. However, within the context of North America, this is problematical. Remember, many ultra-right wing Americans are against gun control but still in favor of a remarkably authoritarian government. It is a strange mixture but a very real one.

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