Covid-19 and Fascism
By the Ax
Linking COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and fascism would seem to many persons like linking bottle to a giraffe, but in the case of the National Reformation Party (NRP), the connection is very secure. We are witnessing a worldwide panic that arguably has not been seen since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2003. In fact, this epidemic (perhaps pandemic ultimately) may very well have consequences far more severe than that of SARS. Scientists have been warning of the possibility of a pandemic (defined by the World Health Organization as "worldwide spread of a new disease") for decades, the causes of which could be new viruses or anti-microbial resistance of novel strains of bacteria. Here, it is a virus, and the prevailing anarchy of liberal democratic regimes results in a panorama of disorder, where individual (and even competent) health units fail to coordinate with political authorities to effect a health programme to meet the challenges of the emerging pandemic.
I use the word "regime" here because we have an established order led by elites committed to preserving socio-economic relations at all costs. One needs to look at the ongoing shuffle of the same old faces and parties throughout the world to realize that no serious opposition or change is in the offing. It does not take a PhD-level analyst to figure out how mainstream media unites in reporting the illusion of change to make it look as though there is real choice, when, in reality, we see the real mechanisms at work, as in how the Democrat Party leadership systematically attacked Bernie Sanders and manipulated the candidate selection process in the presidential primaries. In Europe, it is the "socialist" parties who join with their reactionaries bedfellows clamp down with austerity programmes to pay off debts owed to the super-rich, who could not have gained their wealth except by predatory means.
Bourgeois regimes worldwide have left it to private entities to develop countermeasures, such as vaccines, there not usually being governments with their own laboratories to analyze the nature of the contagion. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is a paradigm case of a health care system in disarray and anarchy. Instead of following – as most of the world did - World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for test kit standards, CDC in typical bourgeois anarchic tradition of "individualism", instead of cooperation and coordination with experts worldwide, decided to create its own test with disastrous results. It seems here that "the CDC has removed data about the number of people tested in the United States from its website", not wanting the data to conflict with that of the states. Such is the tradition of the disjunct between federal and states governments – no unity, as in the pandemonium of the presidential primaries. Not only was this development effort counter to the United Nations', but the kits, themselves proved to be defective.
COVID-19 is a lens through which we can observe one of the most obvious failings of liberal democratic regimes, that of not prioritizing health care. In the United States, the only major industrialized country in the world not having a universally-accessible health care system, we see the increased risks of suffering adverse consequences from the virus, whereas China provides a firm direction in the much-needed response in a coordinated way.
Let's drop back for a moment to gain some perspective on this new coronavirus. Right now (March 2020), we are seeing what amounts to nothing short of heightened concern, if not panic in some quarters. It very well may be that the mortality rate of COVID-19 may exceed that of other common flu viruses. Currently, not much discussion has focused on the number of individuals likely to be infected by the virus, but suffice it to say that at the current rate of infection, the ultimate number of deaths could be quite significant.
As I have noted, COVID-19 has gained infamy at least that of SARS, but what is more significant is the effect on what I'd call "social dependencies". To analogize, computer software is installed on the basis of the integrity of its supporting software, namely the operating system. Our daily lives depend upon the social operating system of liberal bourgeois democracy, and it does not take much sophisticated argumentation to demonstrate its abysmal failure, especially in light of the substantial challenges meeting it, like radical income stratification with its attendant consequences, global warming, and now this virus. To expect these regimes to create effective responses to threats like COVID-19 does not even pass the laugh test.
Looking about worldwide, we see health care systems in their various states of bourgeois anarchy and privatization in utter disarray. All the "shoulds" and "ought tos" are no substitute for the firm hand of the State. Look at China. While it is no paradigm of what the State should be, it does have more substance in being able to exert direction and authority than most other countries, the latter even acknowledging the effectiveness of the former.
As the level of panic increases, more persons will be reluctant to venture out to have contact with others. Inevitably, this will result in a major economic slowdown. As anyone competent in understanding bourgeois economics will admit freely, it is confidence and the velocity of capital (the number of times a unit of currency changes hands) that are the bulwark of a healthy economy. I am loathed to predict anything, but if I were a statistician, I'd say that a sufficient slowdown would bring on a recession, if not depression. Given the already shaky status of world economies, it is not beyond reason to wonder if what is facing us could be worse than the 1929 Depression.
Bourgeois regimes not only are anarchistic but are oriented more towards laissez-faire economics than providing guidance to social events. If the CDC incident with the testing kits is any indication and the fact that most even industrialized world health care systems are woefully inadequate to deal with COVID-19 because of their refusal to have comprehensiveness in those care systems, the world may see a panic rivaling that of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
We are at a proverbial fork in the road: allowing capitalism as the instrument of liberal democratic regimes to continue literally business-as-usual or becoming civilized through cooperation and coordination for the benefit of society, rather than private gain. The COVID-19 lens brings into focus two essential characteristics of capitalism: method (predation) and effect (impoverishment). Capitalism, because it is an inherently predatory system (think of hyenas or parasites), runs its course in two ways, the first allowing speculation under the guise of "market economy" and "free enterprise" to dominate the landscape, the 1929 Depression as a logical outcome. Speculation, coupled with manufactured demand (as in the psychological warfare that is advertising) is the maintainer of this predatory system's health. That these liberal democratic regimes would allow the well-being of people to depend upon the fancies of these parasitic speculators is nothing short of criminal. Here, we have peoples' lives in the balance because of their greed. Hasn't anyone read the Preamble of the US Constitution, i.e., "insure domestic Tranquility, ... promote the general Welfare"? It is clear that even neo-Keynesian synthesis economics cannot prevent the ravages of this system, demonstrated by the stock market collapse of 1987 and the bankster crisis of 2008. Now, we are witnessing the huge gyrations of the stock market and other speculative processes, where the real possibility of massive collapse looms, placing hundreds of millions of lives in jeopardy, all for the private gain of the few.
The second way capitalism is running its course is by radical income stratification. "The gap between the top 10% and the middle class is over 1,000%; that increases another 1,000% for the top 1%." Let's put it this way, these critters didn't get to be so rich by working in a mine, driving a truck, or doing actual work in profession. What can be the final result of these two processes?
Harken back to National Socialist Germany to see one of the already demonstrated outcomes of this vicious system: mechanized death. It is chilling to see the transport records of enslaved populations and calculations of caloric intake designed to help decide who should live or die. Yet, we do not have to institute what the Nazis did to bring about deaths of large populations. Merely deny basic services to persons because of the inability to pay, as is the case unfolding in the United States. Failure to be tested for the virus is the first step towards a pandemic and mass death. One Miami, Florida man was billed $3,270 by the insurance parasites for the tests he got, and he was not on poverty row, earning $55,000 a year. Homelessness, under or outright unemployment, not having adequate health care, and poor diet all make populations much more vulnerable to contagions like COVID-19. Yes, this virus is less deadly than the Spanish flu, but scientists have been warning for years of pandemics, and it is clear just by this relatively mild virus that liberal democratic regimes are not adequate to provide the needed social response. If the scientists are correct, it is only a matter of time when the real beast enters the room.
We can turn the narcissist's expression "carpe diem" and say, yes, we will seizing the moment to help usher in the order than truly can save this species and its environment through the organicity that is the true essence of fascism. It is one organism helping another.
So, where does the current situation place us? If by some miracle populations emerge unscathed and the world does not enter one of its recessions, then we can sit back and watch the world economies continue to degenerate slowly amidst global warming, overpopulation, income stratification, and increasing complexity for which peoples will be increasingly unable to cope. Or, there will be some new major crisis, like a pandemic that will further exacerbate world systems and prove to be that straw breaking an already weak social back.
Where do these things place the National Reformation Party (NRP)? What does all this have to do with fascism? Well, we ARE fascists, are we not? Great movements, regardless of their character most always have surged because of driving events. Again, intellectualization rarely is a show-stopper or show maker.
As is said, "necessity is the mother of invention", and such is no less true than in the current situation. The question of that our rising to the occasion and demonstrating that the NRP has real alternatives to those destructive ones resulting from the failure of liberal democracies. It not only will be COVID-19 but events just a serious. Even uttering a series of "what ifs" for peoples' ears as the system continues to break down will promote the needed questioning of the prevailing order.
It is not beyond reason to physically be there to provide what the prevailing regime cannot. This is called "propaganda of the deed", where people can see fascism in action. We can learn from the lessons of shadow societies who have provided services to the common people to demonstrate the failure of the ruling regime. This really is a no-brainer.
My view is that the NRP is not going to gain ascendancy by intellectualization. I'll be blunt here. One of the reasons why I came to the party was observing the degree of sophistication exhibited by many of its members in plumbing the depths of deep and complex but socially critical philosophies of the likes of Hegel, Durkheim, and fascists, in general. One has to have read – no, studied – the works of Locke, Rousseau, Hume, and others to winnow out the essential message that societies essentially are organisms and without their coming into their own as world citizens, this species is doomed. My possibly extremist words are founded on what scientists have determined is our racing towards the Holocene Extinction. Here, I stand with Greta Thunberg but with the sad and maddening observation that it has to take a teenager to point out the bloody obvious to supposedly mature, knowledgeable, and more sophisticated adults who refuse to overcome their liberal democratic passions and act in unison. The watchword of liberal democracy is "individualism" at the expense of social interests. Upon reflexion, we see that even animals do not exhibit this bizarre behavior, as a quick look at wolves, bees, monkeys, and lions (as examples) will demonstrate. Yet, it is not enough to realize this intellectually but to internalize the reality that we have to recognize our environment is collapsing around us and our being "the only bar in town" to save this species. In the end, only the State, society as an organism, can turn this juggernaut of self-destruction around. Such presupposes that this species assumes a collective internalization of what it means to be civilized: cooperation, community, and, above all, the passionate love of truth.
Radical? You bet, but look around and see the prevailing modes of thinking. I defy anyone to identify a mainstream view that places cooperation above destructive competition, and I surely would be bet my life on the fact that there is no mainstream view arguing that societies essentially are organic, living entities, that are sustained by all their elements working together as a whole.
One start is for the NRP to start issuing "policy" documents, applying fascist philosophy to contemporary problems. How WOULD we address COVID-19? What would a fascist state look like in these responses? Ideally, we would be out there actually implementing a solution, but given the information overload of existing sites, it would be nigh difficult to start another information repository. However, there was, starting in the later 1970s the thinking, "act locally; think globally", where the relatively few individuals affected by immediate action could grow in numbers, again, through the "propaganda of the deed". Nothing much can be expected, as for most persons, the need for a radically different system is apparent, but, as with other major calamities, as in the 1929 Depression, structural and philosophical change often follows.
I think we need to ask how prepared we are to ride this approaching tsunami