Theses on Fascism (in power) in imperialist countries (Oct. 2003)
I. Fascism in power
1. When analysing fascism and doing anti-fascist agitation we have to show the inseparable connection between capitalism and fascism. (By doing so we draw a line against non-historic theories of totalitarism of bourgeois „fascism researchers“ who tear fascism out of its historic and politico-economic connection.)
2. We base ourselves on the analysis of monopoly capitalism, i.e. imperialism as developed by Lenin. The analysis of fascism is one part of the analysis of imperialism. Imperialism, the rule of finance capital, is the basic precondition for the formation of fascism.
Fascisation – Fascism
3. In the early times of capitalism when bourgeoisie was a rising class, they by fighting against the old feudal lords obtained a new social order and at the same time the corresponding bourgeois democratic rights. During the further development of capitalism into monopoly capitalism bourgeoisie more and more lost their role of advancing society, they became a class advancing towards their own decline and totally reactionary: „The political superstructure above the new economy, above monopoly capitalism … is the turn from democracy to political reaction. Free competition corresponds with democracy. Monopoly corresponds with political reaction.“ and „Imperialism means reaction all along the line“.(LW in German vol.23, p.34)
4. Historically seen, imperialist bourgeoisie tends to promote the cutback of bourgeois democratic rights within the frame of bourgeois democracy („fascisation“). Working class tends to advance democratic rights in their struggle against the exploiting class. The particular situation of class struggle and fighting strength of working class determines the expansion or cutback of bourgeois democratic rights within bourgeois democracy.
5. For us the necessity of distinguishing between steps of fascisation within bourgeois democracy and fascism in power derives from the respectively particular fighting conditions and therefore also from the necessity of different strategy and tactics of our struggle.
Bourgeois Democracy and Fascism
6. Fascism and bourgeois democracy are two forms of bourgeois dictatorship.
7. It’s an essential feature that in bourgeois democracies normally terror is not executed in an open form but in a disguised one. There is a bourgeois „constitutional rule of law“. In fascism open terror is the normal case, the possibility of appealing to bourgeois rights is abolished, arbitrariness of state power is the rule.
8. For getting definitions and terms as exact as possible we must clearly demarcate both of those forms of bourgeois dictatorship – bourgeois democracy and fascism – even though the changeover was and is different in different countries and at different times.
9. As communists we are convinced that capitalism must be destroyed by the organised working class. When bourgeoisie establishes fascism as form of rule we have to make clear to what extent fascism prevents us from making revolution and how we can nevertheless get forward in our struggle for socialist revolution.
Conditions for establishing fascism
10. Monopoly bourgeoisie is always striving to gain maximum profit. At the same time they are trying to monopolize political power in addition to their economic dominance, they are also subordinating other parts of bourgeoisie.
11. Fascism has developed with the general political crisis of capitalism, after the victory of October Revolution. Bourgeoisie was also driven into political defensive. Because of the strength of workers movement the necessity arose for them to establish new forms of rule – for destroying the revolutionary movement, for being able to maintain their power.
12. In times of economic crises it is getting more difficult for bourgeoisie to gain maximum profits. Even though crisis is a basic condition for the establishment of fascism a crisis does not „automatically“ lead to fascism. The establishment of fascism depends first of all on the political situation, the decisiveness of working class and the political decisions of monopoly bourgeoisie – and not first of all on an economic crisis that finance capital is confronted with.
13. Imperialist bourgeoisie establishes fascism as form of state if they see no other possibility for maintaining their rule in a bourgeois democratic way.
14. The establishment of fascism is an attempt of imperialist bourgeoisie to escape from their economic and / or political defensive and is at the same time a gigantic offensive against the working class and masses.
Fundamentals of our analysis
15. We take the characterisation of fascism that was stated by Dimitroff in his well-known report at the 7th World Congress of Comintern as a fundament of our analysis: „Fascism in power is … an undisguised terrorist dictatorship of the extremely reactionary, chauvinist and imperialist elements of finance capital…“ and „Fascism is not a form of state that allegedly stands above both classes, proletariat and bourgeoisie, … fascism is the power of finance capital itself. It is an organisation for the violent suppression of working class and the revolutionary parts of the peasants and intelligentsia. Fascism in foreign policy is most brutal chauvinism breeding beastly hate against other peoples …“
This characterisation was the 1935 result of a long discussion of the Comintern parties about fascism.
16. This description of fascism is further on our starting point because …
a) it characterises the fascist form of rule as an openly terrorist one,
b) it calls fascism clearly „the power of finance capital itself“. That is a clear demarcation against e.g. the statement that fascism be the petty bourgeoisie in power running wild where the class character is blurred. (We generally oppose constructions that suggest a personalisation – the definition „elements of finance capital“ and „power of finance capital itself“ refers to the contents of fascist power and not to the respective persons acting.)
c) it states against which forces / classes this open terror is directed: against the organisations of the working class, eventually against all opposition,
d) it specifies strategy and tactics for anti-fascist struggle – the anti-fascist united front that includes all anti-fascist forces with the Communist Party as its centre and leadership.
Note: The 2nd and 3rd part („Fascism in dependent countries and neocolonies“ and „Fascist movements“) have not yet been adopted. All quotations are our translations from German. (Oct.2003)
Stiftgasse 8, A-1070 Wien, Austria, EU.