What Have We Wrought, Part III: Anders Breivik and a Culture of Fascism

What Have We Wrought: thoughts on freedom, taxes, capitalism and democracy

Part III:  Anders Breivik and a
Culture of Fascism

These people–these relatives and neighbors–do not fall into the same category as Anders Breivik, the young man who murdered the children in Norway.  They would be as horrified at such terror.  Yet Breivik in the video he posted on Facebook before his violent actions–his video manifesto–calls for The Conservative Revolution,” and he refers to himself and others like him as “cultural conservatives.” I was able to watch this video on July 22nd through a Facebook link.  It has been pulled from YouTube, but here is a video with some of the images.

 

On his Facebook page, now pulled but posted on YouTube, he calls himself a Christian.

Breivik lists Nazism, along with Islam, Communism, and also Christiandom (with a note that it is anti-Semitic, falling in line with the Christian fundamentalists who support Israel), as the Genocidal Ideologies to be defeated by the Knights Templar Europe group he espouses, yet the video is full of ideology that is fascist.  His heroes are the historical Knights of Templar.  He has many photos of them, and then one interspersed, a modern figure that is a picture of himself with a large gun and in uniform.

There is no one definition of fascism.  The following information is from WikiLeaks. Here are some examples of how current elements of U.S. right-wing culture might be linked to facist tendencies, especially those items in italics.  Generally facism is militaristic, nationalist, authoritarian, has a positive view of violence, and uses technology to dehumanize.

It is true that in contemporary usage the word “fascist” is often used in a less serious manner, for example (from Wikipedia):

It would seem that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmersshopkeepersSocial Creditcorporal punishmentfox huntingbullfighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941  CommitteeKiplingGandhiChiang Kai-ShekhomosexualityPriestley’s broadcastsYouth Hostelsastrologywomendogs and I do not know what else.[1]

But for the purposes and ideas here, this key concept from Wikipedia used in this commentary:  

While attracting criticisms for imprecision and for downplaying the extremity of actual fascism, the use of fascist as an epithet for authoritarian and intolerant power-holders has a distinct analytical basis, suggesting that fascism is a continuum or a social relation, [emphasis mine] rather than simply a political system, and that acts of repression are in some way homologous with fascist ideology. 

When Breivik calls for a conservative cultural revolution, he is using the above concept of facism as a “continuum or a social relation,” which is cultural.

Traditional/historical definition of Facism from Wikipedia:

Fascism ( /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a  radical,  authoritarian  nationalist  political  ideology.[1][2]  Fascists advocate the creation of a  totalitarian  single-party state  that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation through  indoctrinationphysical education, and family policy including  eugenics.[3]  Fascists seek to purge forces, ideas, and systems deemed to be the cause of decadence  and  degeneration  and produce their nation’s rebirth based on commitment to the national community based on organic unity where individuals are bound together by suprapersonal connections of  ancestryculture, and  blood[4] Fascists believe that a nation requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong.[5] Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition to the state.[6] [emphasis mine]

[Traditional]  Italian Fascism  promotes a  corporatist  economic system whereby  employer  and  employee  syndicates  are linked together in a corporative associations to collectively represent the nation’s economic producers and work alongside the state to set national economic policy.[5] Italian Fascists claim that this economic system resolves and ends class conflict by creating class collaboration.[6] 

Traditional Italian Facism included some elements of Communism, therefore originally had the “employee syndicates” to represent the workers.  Unfortunately in the capitalist system in which we live only the corporations consider themselves the nation’s economic producers and the power of the unions, their complementary producers, has been severely eroded and/or corrupted.  The radical Republicans are trying to destroy any power the workers might have, for example, trying to repeal collective bargaining in Wisconsin, with similar bills introduced in other states.

For example:

Fascist economics supports the existence of private property, the existence of a market economy, and the use of the profit motive.

In political discourse, the term “fascist” is commonly used to denote authoritarian tendencies.

One common definition of fascism focuses on three groups of ideas:

[What they call] the Fascist Negations: anti-liberalism, anti-communism and anti-conservatism [that is, anti-conservative in the true meaning of the word “conservative,” e.g., not revolutionary; and Conservatism’s libertarian strand, an American staple, would not agree with fascism’s “nationalist authoritarian state”], nationalist, authoritarian goals for the creation of a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; a political aesthetic using romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence [emphasis mine], promotion of masculinity and youth and charismatic leadership.

Fascists promote violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and  vitality.[7] Fascists view conflict as a fact of life that is responsible for all human progress.[8]  Fascists exalt militarism  as providing positive transformation in society, in providing spiritual renovation, education, instilling of a will to dominate in people’s character, and creating national comradeship through military service.[9]  Fascists commonly utilize  paramilitary  organizations for violent attacks on opponents, or to overthrow a political system.[10]

Neo-Nazism consists of post-World War II social or political movements seeking to revive Nazism or some variant thereof.[1][2][3][4] The term neo-Nazism can also refer to the ideology of these movements.[5][6]  Neo-Nazism borrows elements from Nazi doctrine, including militant  nationalism,  fascism,  racismxenophobia,  homophobia  and  anti-Semitism.  Holocaust denial  is a common feature, as is incorporation of  Nazi symbols  and admiration of  Adolf Hitler. It is related to the white nationalist  and  white power skinhead movements in many countries.

Breivik is a neo-Nazi who glorifies warriors; the Knights of Templar is the group of warriors he identifies with, whose mission it is to clean up the decadence in this world.  Hia ideology includes hatred of Muslims , and ideological ties to the white supremacy movement in the U.S. as Jeff Sharlet discusses on Democracy Now.  (Amy Goodman interviews Jeff Sharlet, “Norwegian Shooting Suspect’s Views Echo Xenophobia of Right-Wing Extremists in U.S., Europe”):

[Amy Goodman speaks] with Jeff Sharlet, an author who has written extensively about right-wing movements in the United States, and who has read much of Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto. “What struck me most about this document is just how American it is in every way. I mean, a huge amount of it is from American sources,” Sharlet says. “He’s a great admirer of America, because he says United States, unlike Europe, has maintained its ‘Christian identity.'”

The exception to Neo-Nazi creed in Breivik’s writings is directly in line with U.S. Christian fundamentalist doctrine:  support of Israel’s oppression of Palestine, because Palestinians, while Semitic, are not part of the Judeo-Christian religious system, being primarily Muslim.

Part IV: Media and Propaganda and Part V: Crying Wolf? will be posted tomorrow.

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