Militarism, nationalism, racism and a brutally oppressive patriarchal culture of masculinity and nationalistic exceptionalism form the toxic core of fascism. And fascism is the "final solution" to capitalism because capitalism cannot reform itself, nor save itself from itself.
Fritz Stern, a Holocaust refugee, knew how to recognize the face of fascism. In his book, The Politics of Cultural Despair, Stern focuses on personal and economic despair as a catalyst for fascism. It creates the perfect storm for propelling people towards totalitarianism and fanaticism.
For the past 30 years in the US, people across all racial lines struggling in poverty had been marginalized and made invisible except as fodder for vacuous middle class entertainment, commodified and dehumanized as objects of public ridicule and scorn.
The only vision of poor people that the majority of Americans saw was the imagery presented by the media — namely on prime time TV which portrayed poor men as stupid, as sexually immoral, as criminals and drug addicts, and as feral creatures to be feared and loathed on shows like Cops and Law & Order. On Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, poor women are portrayed as sexually immoral, slovenly and depraved creatures who have sex with so many men that they can't get the paternity claims right.
Lack of access to dental care, reproductive choice, advanced education, healthy foods and opportunities for living wage jobs with dignity were excluded from the narrative of the Welfare Reform "debates."
The overweight, unattractive looking single mom with 5 kids from different fathers, all whom were born before she turned 20, was held up as the typical single mother — a creature deserving of contempt and publicly called "trash" who just "popped out babies just for the welfare check" while the reality of male privilege and the Hyde Amendment were not factored into the equation.
The fact that marriage is a luxury that only middle and upper class women are able to attain provided they lucked out in the gene pool crap shoot of being sufficiently thin and attractive enough to win in the dating and mating game, was not allowed into the discussion. Nobody wants to admit that women's "worthiness"for anything in this society hinges mostly on her Euro-centric male-defined "value"as an ornament which determines whether or not she'll be socially accepted, get a chance for that good job, or be deserving of love and commitment.
But what about women who didn't inherit "good" hair and a predisposition for a perfectly proportionted thin and toned body?
While rich women quietly feed the materialistic capitalist beast by going for "mommy make-overs", vaginal rejuvenation surgery, boob jobs, liposuction, expensive wraps at day spas, etc., poor women for whom a YWMCA gym membership is as out of reach as a daytrip to Sedna are routinely told that "having a baby is no reason to let yourself go."
Being able to look good and afford various beauty aids — from expensive hair and skin treatments to cosmetic surgery and personal fitness trainers — is a social class privilege that only affluent women can afford.
Affluent women have far fewer obstacles to dating and marriage than poor women who are stuck having to make do with the cards life dealt them in a narcissistic, male-dominated society that never cared aboutany real social justice for women, or for the poor and downtrodden.
None of this was allowed to enter the narrative these past 30 years that poor women, more than any other group of the chronically poor, were publicly called "trash"; ridiculed and belittled by middle and upper-middle class liberals — the self-professed champions of the poor who bloviate on tolerance while incapable of extending any real compassion or tolerance to poor women who can't meet society's unrealistic expectations of physical attractiveness with "the right image", and who lacked the money to afford costly procedures to help them where biology failed them.
Too often, those who claim to be the most enlightened and well-educated prove to be the most stupid and cruel. Stupidity and cruelty in the name of exceptionalism is an American tradition. These "values" are reaffirmed and buttressed by religious beliefs and secular philosophies alike.
The Madison Avenue packaged "self-empowerment" movement and New Age philosophies are based on the premise that anything bad that happens to you is your own fault. Spiritual balm to soothe guilty consciences is hawked by charismatic snake oil salesmen to vacuous, self-centered, pretentious upper-middle class footsoldiers and economic hit-men for the elite.
It's no surprise that those who support the status quo of unearned privileges and social class discrimination would be attracted to these trendy spiritual movements that offer unconditional absolution for any emotional, economic, or physical harm they inflict on others in our culture of impunity.
Whether it is the deficit theory rooted in the predestination theology of Calvinism or the moral relativism of New Ageism, the underlying meme remains the same: those who are poor and downtrodden made victims of themselves. Such "spiritual comfort" justifies the oppression of women, the poor, and racial minorities and melds with capitalism perfectly.
Capitalism is both a racial war and a gender war. It is based on entitlement, and as you go up the economic ladder attitudes of self-importance and self-entitlement increase. This naturally follows from the fact that as one goes up the income ladder, their rate of capital accumulation increases in a world with finite resources. Towards the end of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King started to realize this.
The Martin Luther King quote that you most likely never heard about was what he said on the second anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott:
"Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that cripple them, is a spiritually moribound religion in need of new blood."
But we never talk about the culture of getting ahead at all costs that is so prevalent among the middle and upper-middle classes who think they have a divine right to come first.
We have a culture of capitalism that promotes, perpetuates, and maintains classism where greed, superficiality, and self-centeredness are virtues. Capitalism is an architecture of aggression in which its biggest losers — poor women across all racial lines — are set up and labeled as "the Other"; devalued and objectified as disposable commodities.
The culture of capitalism is centered on the idea that wealth and privilege is sacrosanct — only the "fittest" deserve anything and to hell with those who have been socially and economically excluded so that the alpha dipshits of the world can grab everything they want for themselves without a shred of remorse for the human casualties they leave in their wake.
The injustices and social ills inflicted by the culture of capitalism are not caused by just "a few bad apples." They're caused by a sociopathic cultural ethos — one that is reflective of the dominant class's values.
Benjamin Franklin once said that democracy was two wolves and one sheep voting on what is for dinner, but capitalism is a few wolves deciding how many sheep they're going to devour without regard for the sheep's democratic deliberations.
Capitalism is not an ethic, it's a process — one that requires losers in order for there to be winners in which living nature and people are commodified for conversion into dead capital.
Ghettos, trailer parks, and reservations are systems of internal colonization. As Russell Means once said, "America is one big reservation." Since the orchestrated collapse of the Soviet Union, the planned destruction of Yugoslavia (which was a model of successful socialism) by Western capitalist interests, the whole world is capitalist now; and the whole world is getting poorer and more oppressed. Capitalism with a human face was replaced with "capitalism in your face."
The micro mirrors the macro.
Without the language of class justice and class conflict, without the guts to give a Marxist critique of existing power structures, elite liberals will continue to drop the ball and damage their own credibility in the eyes of the poor — handing the reins to the more dangerous and fascist Christian Right by proxy while wailing and gnashing their teeth over those "uneducated" children of a lesser god who vote against their own best interests.
© 2012 by Jacqueline S. Homan