A look at 'Anti-Egalitarian Socialism'.
Last edited - 03 Mar 22
Anti-Egalitarian Socialism: As previously mentioned, Marxism is the hypothetical 'pure' egalitarian socialism. Marx envisaged an international revolution of the 'proletariat' (working class) that would transcend ethnic, racial and cultural boundaries. This extreme egalitarianism or 'inclusiveness' is what defines egalitarian socialism.
However, many socialists realised that very few people unite around socio-economic class. Most are loyal to tribe, trades guild, geographic region, national ethnicity or race. In World War I, French socialists fought for France, German socialists fought for Germany and Italian socialists fought for Italy. With the notable exception of the Spanish Civil War, where many international socialists including the brilliant author George Orwell gathered together to fight Franco's Nationalists, international egalitarian socialism was a hypothetical idea with little grass-roots support.
As a consequence, many socialist movements have sought unity based on identities other than socio-economic class. Their goal is to create social homogeneity through exclusion. Members of the right guild, ethnicity, race or whatever are 'in' and everyone else is excluded. The 'in' group tend to get the universal income, universal healthcare, universal employment, etc that the socialist ideology promises. Those excluded, well, don't. The exclusion of predominantly black farm labourers from FDR's 'New Deal' benefits is a textbook example of anti-egalitarian socialism at work.
Most anti-egalitarian socialist movements adopt a less extreme form of economic structure, where individual economic success is allowed, or even encouraged. However, economic activity is highly regulated and many key industries are owned or controlled by the political party elites. State interests take precedence over individual, so loyalty to the party or state is essential. Failure to exhibit the correct loyalty and support for the state inevitably results in a rapid fall from grace/wealth/influence/etc.
It is unsurprising that anti-egalitarian socialism is the most common form found in recent history. Put simply, it's just tribalism rebranded for a modern setting, the oldest human societal structure known.
Fascism: Fascism is the most significant branch of Marxist socialism that rejects egalitarianism in favour of an anti-egalitarian socialism where only the ingroup is afforded ‘social justice’.
The emergence of Fascism was triggered by the same conditions that triggered the emergence of Leninism/Bolshevism and Maoism. By the end 19th century, the spontaneous revolution of the proletariat prophesied by Karl Marx simply hadn’t happened and, particularly in industrialized countries where the working class had doubled their material wealth in the last 50 years, the conditions for revolution were fading rapidly. Many Italian Marxists, led by Mussolini (Italy’s leading Marxist and editor of the Italian Marxist magazine, ‘Avanti’), concluded that Italian workers weren’t united by class distinctions, but by other cultural identities. With that discovery, the Fascists diverged from traditional Marxism and began to work toward a socialist model based on ethnicity and syndicalism, rather than socio-economic class.
NOTE: Syndicalism was one of the primary competing socialist ideologies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in the predominantly agrarian regions of Southern France and Italy, syndicalists argued that Marxism was dependant on industrialisation having already taken place and that a Marxist 'revolution of the proletariat', where the working classes seized the means of production and wealth would be shared among all was doomed to failure in a pre-industrial society where there were no 'means of production' to seize and, therefore, no wealth to share. Instead of removing the bourgeois industrialist class, syndicalists proposed a system in which the bourgeois were simply 'harnessed' by the revolution, with their managerial and creative skills used to drive industrialization but under the control of state. The mechanism of control was to be the syndicate, a 'super union' that dominated an entire economic sector and which exercised control over corporations on behalf of the ruling party/government.
The result was fascist corporatism, a concept virtually indistinguishable from Keynesian economics apart from the control mechanism at the top. In the 21st century, the term 'fascist corporatism' has been replaced by the more benign sounding 'stakeholder capitalism'. Despite the name, there is no 'capitalism' in fascism, it is simply corporate socialism where a ruling elite exercises control over society through corporate monopolies, duopolies, oligopolies and cartels; or through direct state power.
"Fascism is the marriage between corporate and state power" - Benito Mussolini
Fascism is a totalitarian ideology. As Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile (the 'Philosopher of Fascism') stated, ‘everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state’, although some fascist states have tended toward authoritarianism rather than totalitarianism. Fascist philosophy is inherently anti-liberal (philosophically and economically) and anti Judeo-Christian (as the primary source of Egalitarian Universalism and Liberalism). Fascists aim to create societal homogeneity through ‘exclusion’ based on ingroup vs outgroup identity, traditionally national identity in Italian Fascism and Petainist Fascism (France & Canada), or race in the more extreme variations such as German National Socialism, the US Democratic Party or modern fascist movements like the black supremacist movements in the US (BLM, Nation of Islam, etc.). The post-modernist tendency toward identity politics combined with neo-Marxist socialism has resulted in a multitude of variations on traditional fascism.
Traditional and modern Fascists tend to support a non-egalitarian socialist economic model closely approximating the economic philosophy of John Maynard Keynes, known as ‘Keynesian Economics’. This is also often referred to as State Capitalism or 'Stakeholder Capitalism'. This economic system was broadly adopted by Fascist Italy, Petainist France, Nazi Germany, Fascist Spain, the US under FDR, post-Maoist China and the fascist dominated democratic socialist parties of many western nations post WWII.
“Fascism entirely agrees with Mr. Maynard Keynes, despite the latter’s prominent position as a Liberal. In fact, Mr. Keynes’ excellent little book, ‘The End of Laissez-Faire’ (1926) might, so far as it goes, serve as a useful introduction to fascist economics. There is scarcely anything to object to in it and there is much to applaud.” – Benito Mussolini (Lawrence K. Samuels, ‘The Socialist Economics of Italian Fascism’, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.)
NOTE: John Maynard Keynes was not a liberal, his economic hypotheses reveal him to be more of a classical conservative and highly interventionist, a set of ideas largely antithetical to liberalism. However, he was outspoken about the scientific pretentions of Marxism and the horrors of Bolshevism. His economic theories, reflected many ideas proposed by One Nation Conservatism and were influenced considerably by socialist critique of unrestrained classical ‘pure’ liberal economics. It is from these two sources that the overlap with Fascist economics emerged.
National Socialism (Nazism): National Socialism is an extreme version of Fascism that leans heavily toward the presuppositions and philosophy of the German National Socialist Worker’s Party (Nazi Party). Nazi philosophy is a combination of Fascism and the philosophy of Adolf Hitler and other leading Nazis, as found in ‘Mein Kampf’ (1925 & 1926), ‘Hitler’s Table Talk’ (1941-1944) and other similar works. It is a race centric anti-liberal (particularly regarding liberal economics of finance or finance capitalism) and anti-Judeo-Christian philosophy. It is primarily the racist component of National Socialism that separated it from Fascism, which divided humanity according to ethnicity, not race.
The philosophical consequence of Nazism's concentration on race resulted in the rejection of Marxism, whereas Italian and French Fascists saw themselves as modifying and improving on Marxist doctrine. So, while Fascism is an anti-egalitarian evolution of Marxism, Nazism more rejects Marxism outright. Nazism superimposed social Darwinism on socialism, drawing heavily on the racist hypotheses presented in Charles Darwin's 'The Descent of Man', published in 1871. Combined with a deeply flawed interpretation of Fredrich Nietzsche's 'Ubermench' (Superman) concept, Nazism rejects Marx's fundamental presupposition that humans have no intrinsic value and replaced it with a hierarchy of value based on pseudo-Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' doctrine.
The Nazis are often described being anti-communist, but this is a grossly misleading analysis. The Nazis were anti-Russian and opposed Bolshevism and Bolshevik interference in German politics (Marxism and Bolshevism, hypothetically, being 'international' socialist movements). As the German communist movement in the 1920s was inspired primarily by Bolshevism and heavily influenced by Moscow, the Nazis were antagonistic toward German communists. However, through both diplomatic and coercive means, the German communist links to the Soviet Union were largely severed and, in 1933, most German communists voted for the National Socialists at the urging of their party leaders.
After WWII, many Nazis in East Germany, particularly members of the SS, simply changed uniforms and joined the new socialist regime in the DDR. This historical example serves to expose the false narrative that Stalinism and Nazism were substantially different. The practical reality is that while most differences were superficial and reflective of character differences in both leadership and national psyche, the two systems were largely coherent in core ideology.
NOTE: It is often suggested that fascism is a combination of 'nationalism' and 'socialism'. This view has gained wide acceptance, but it is technically incorrect. The 'nationalism' of most fascists is not the traditionally defined nationalism as a form of culturally isolationist nationalism, but a more aggressive ethno-centric or race-centric imperialism. More will be said on this subject in a subsequent article, but it was the aggressive militarist imposition of one race or ethno-centric culture on others that distinguishes fascist 'imperialist nationalism' from the more traditional nationalism of Judeo-Christian philosophy, India's Ghandi, South Africa's Mandela and most of the anti-colonialist leaders of the post WWII era.
Stalinism: Whether or not Stalinism was an egalitarian socialist phenomenon or an anti-egalitarian socialist phenomenon remains open to debate. Stalin's rejection of Lenin's New Economic Policy and State Capitalism, in favour of collectivisation, would place Stalinism in the Marxist egalitarian camp. However, his Socialism in One Country doctrine, his view that bourgeois influences in the Soviet Union were predominantly external, and his distrust and mass persecution of non-Russian ethnic groups, would place Stalinism solidly in the anti-egalitarian camp.
As a consequence, Stalinism has been referred to as 'Red Fascism' and Benito Mussolini, the founder of fascism, believed that Stalin had evolved Soviet Bolshevism into a form of Slavic Fascism.
Post-Maoist China: In the late 1970s, following the death of Mao Tsetung, the new leader of China, Deng Xiaoping initiated a number of economic reforms intended to modernise China's agrarian economy and make it more competitive with the outside world. The most significant feature of these reforms was a transformation from collectivization to state capitalism, the same Keynesian economic model favoured by Mussolini, FDR and Hitler. This new economic model was to be overseen and led by a technocratic bureaucracy, a modified version of the Chinese Communist Party and retaining the party name despite the move away from traditional communism.
This, combined with China's cultural xenophobia (still dominant despite Mao's attempt to destroy traditional Chinese culture during the 'Cultural Revolution') meant that China rapidly became an anti-egalitarian socialist state very closely replicating Mussolini's model, as seen in the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (Italian Social Republic) between 1943 and 1945. The Chinese government still closely controlled economic activity but, provided businessmen and industrialists supported the Communist Party and placed Chinese national interests (defined by the Party) in a prioritised position, they were free to make their fortunes. Of course, the Chinese working class remained little more than serfs and for every Chinese billionaire today, there are millions of Chinese living and working in extremely poor conditions.
This transformation into a technocratic led, anti-egalitarian state capitalist state means that China has become the most powerful and, thus far, economically successful (in absolute terms) fascist nation in history.
Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe is an interesting case study in anti-egalitarian socialism at work. Mugabe professed to be a Maoist fighting a Maoist revolution against a capitalist colonial power. However, tribalism was at the centre of Rhodesian/Zimbabwean politics from the start and Mugabe only truly represented a revolutionary movement within the Shona tribes.
After independence in 1980, unrest began in Matabeleland due to the Ndebele tribes seeing Mugabe's rule as representing a Shona takeover of Zimbabwe. This proved to be true, with 1985 seeing the start of the Gukurahundi massacres, where the Zimbabwean 5th Brigade (reporting directly to PM Mugabe) killed up to 80,000 Ndebele tribal people.
In addition, instead of adopting Maoist collectivisation, Mugabe's government retained capitalism, but under tighter and tighter government control, the Keynesian 'State Capitalism' of Fascism.
Far from being a Maoist regime, Mugabe's government revealed itself to be a fusing of tribalism and socialism, including the Fascist economic model. Yet another example of anti-egalitarian socialism emerging from Marxism.
North Korea: As the most significant Stalinist state left in the world, North Korea is an interesting case study. North Korea is an extremely anti-egalitarian and collectivist socialist state. As such, it is a good example of the most extreme case of anti-egalitarian socialism.
Ironically, and certainly worthy of discussion, North Korea is also a hereditary monarchy. Rule of this state has now passed on to the third generation of it's ruling family, a hereditary monarchy in everything but name. As such, there is little to distinguish North Korea from any number of feudal kingdoms in human history. An astute student of socialism could say this is simply Marxism reaching it's ultimate, and inevitable, conclusion.
'Essays on Fascism' - Benito Mussolini, Oswald Mosley, Alfredo Rocco, Giovanni Gentile
'Mein Kampf' - Adolf Hitler
'Hitler's Table Talk' - Martin Bormann
'Mussolini Unleashed, 1939-1941: Politics and Strategy in Italy's last war.' - MacGregor Knox
'The Descent of Man' - Charles Darwin