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Fascism Is the True Face of Capitalism

by Bertholt Brecht, 1935

The truth must be spoken with a view to the results it will produce in the sphere of action. As a specimen of a truth from which no results, or the wrong ones, follow, we can cite the widespread view that bad conditions prevail in a number of countries as a result of barbarism. In this view, Fascism is a wave of barbarism which has descended upon some countries with the elemental force of a natural phenomenon. According to this view, Fascism is a new, third power beside (and above) capitalism and socialism; not only the socialist movement but capitalism as well might have survived without the intervention of Fascism. And so on. This is, of course, a Fascist claim; to accede to it is a capitulation to Fascism.

Fascism is a historic phase of capitalism; in this sense it is something new and at the same time old. In Fascist countries capitalism continues to exist, but only in the form of Fascism; and Fascism can be combated as capitalism alone, as the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive, and most treacherous form of capitalism.

But how can anyone tell the truth about Fascism, unless he is willing to speak out against capitalism, which brings it forth? What will be the practical results of such truth?

Those who are against Fascism without being against capitalism, who lament over the barbarism that comes out of barbarism, are like people who wish to eat their veal without slaughtering the calf. They are willing to eat the calf, but they dislike the sight of blood. They are easily satisfied if the butcher washes his hands before weighing the meat. They are not against the property relations which engender barbarism; they are only against barbarism itself. They raise their voices against barbarism, and they do so in countries where precisely the same property relations prevail, but where the butchers wash their hands before weighing the meat.

Outcries against barbarous measures may be effective as long as the listeners believe that such measures are out of the question in their own countries. Certain countries are still able to maintain their property relations by methods that appear less violent than those used in other countries.

Democracy still serves in these countries to achieve the results for which violence is needed in others, namely, to guarantee private ownership of the means of production.  [our emphasis]  The private monopoly of factories, mines, and land creates barbarous conditions everywhere, but in some places these conditions do not so forcibly strike the eye. Barbarism strikes the eye only when it happens that monopoly can be protected only by open violence.

Paris Nov 30 2018-2
Paris protests, November 2018

Some countries, which do not yet find it necessary to defend their barbarous monopolies by dispensing with the formal guarantees of a constitutional state, as well as with such amenities as art, philosophy, and literature, are particularly eager to listen to visitors who abuse their native lands because those amenities are denied there. They gladly listen because they hope to derive from what they hear advantages in future wars. Shall we say that they have recognized the truth who, for example, loudly demand an unrelenting struggle against Germany “because that country is now the true home of Evil in our day, the partner of hell, the abode of the Antichrist”? We should rather say that these are foolish and dangerous people. For the conclusion to be drawn from this nonsense is that since poison gas and bombs do not pick out the guilty, Germany must be exterminated—the whole country and all its people.

The man who does not know the truth expresses himself in lofty, general, and imprecise terms. He shouts about “the” German, he complains about Evil in general, and whoever hears him cannot make out what to do. Shall he decide not to be a German? Will hell vanish if he himself is good? The silly talk about the barbarism that comes out of barbarism is also of this kind. The source of barbarism is barbarism, and it is combated by culture, which comes from education. All this is put in general terms; it is not meant to be a guide to action and is in reality addressed to no one.

Such vague descriptions point to only a few links in the chain of causes. Their obscurantism conceals the real forces making for disaster. If light be thrown on the matter it promptly appears that disasters are caused by certain men. For we live in a time when the fate of man is determined by men.

Fascism is not a natural disaster which can be understood simply in terms of “human nature”. But even when we are dealing with natural catastrophes, there are ways to portray them which are worthy of human beings because they appeal to man’s fighting spirit. After a great earthquake that destroyed Yokohama, many American magazines published photographs showing a heap of ruins. The captions read: STEEL STOOD. And, to be sure, though one might see only ruins at first glance, the eye swiftly discerned, after noting the caption, that a few tall buildings had remained standing. Among the multitudinous descriptions that can be given of an earthquake, those drawn up by construction engineers concerning the shifts in the ground, the force of stresses, the best developed, etc., are of the greatest importance, for they lead to future construction which will withstand earthquakes.

If anyone wishes to describe Fascism and war, great disasters which are not natural catastrophes, he must do so in terms of a practical truth. He must show that these disasters are launched by the possessing classes to control the vast numbers of workers who do not own the means of production. If one wishes successfully to write the truth about evil conditions, one must write it so that its avertible causes can be identified. If the preventable causes can be identified, the evil conditions can be fought.

Paris protests Nov 30 2018
Bertolt Brecht (1935). Writing the truth: Five difficulties. Translation by Richard Winston, for the magazine ‘Twice a Year’. Collected in William Wasserstrom, ed., Civil Liberties and the Arts: Selections from Twice a Year, 1938-48. Syracuse University Press, 1964.
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elenits
Reader

It is worth remembering that at the start of WW2 all countries on the European continent – with the exception of Czechoslovakia throughout and pre-Vichy France – had fascist governments. Can we really FAIRLY describe the fascist governments of Spain, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Roumania and eastern European countries as the result of excessive capitalism?? Should we not look beyond ideologies of left and right [Berthold Brecht being a leftist], and beyond today’s retrospective judgement, [ie understanding that countries never go to war on a basis of ideology] to see what was actually happening in this period. Unknown and ignored today… Read more »

vexarb
Reader

Elenits: “‘surrounded by threats : not least the Bolsheviks to the east and Great Power victors to the west.”

Precisely: with Anglo Zio Capitalist victors to the West (F UK U$A) installing / encouraging / arming Fascist Regimes right across Europe in order to encounter an alleged “Bolshevik threat”.

Brian Thomson
Reader
Brian Thomson

The spirit of 1789, 1793, 1830, 1848, 1870, 1936 and 1968 is still alive and kicking in Paris of 2018. The oligarchy who tries to crush the people is confronted by the people in the streets of Paris.

“If the sun of 1793 is ever to rise again, it will rise on a non-capitalist Europe.”

Eric Hobsbawm
(1917-2012)

elenits
Reader

Be careful about May 1968, whose ‘face’ was Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who is still going strong as a spokesperson emeritus of today’s border and democracy-free EU. There is considerable evidence that the May ’68 ‘revolution’ [without demand] was CIA-engineered to destroy DeGaulle, which it accomplished.

Joerg
Reader
Joerg

@Brian Thomson Right! But as much as the state economy is concerned we must understand that the opposite to “capitalism” is not the socialist “planned economy” of the then “real existent socialism” but it’s MERCANTILISM. The modern Mercantilism that in Scandinavia, West-Germany and even Japan existed in the 1950s.and 1960s. Sweden of Olof Palme in the 1960s had the highest per capita income in all of Europe; West-Germany recovered from WWII BECAUSE it was marcantilistic and NOT Liberal/Neoliberal (same to Japan). For Karl Marx, of course, Mercantilism, was also “.capitalism”. But I definitely disagree here with Marx. Mercantilism means a… Read more »

Carla
Reader
Carla

All you describe here Mr Joerg is state capitalism no matter which term you use.

Joerg
Reader
Joerg

@Carla Yes, Carla, I am not a Marxist. And though I have no doubt that Karl Marx had only good intentions I disagree with him in most of his points. And confronting “Liberals” or “Neoliberals” (to me they are the same) I am worried that some people only see a solution in stepping back to Marxism-Leninism. Like if you were an Iranian and against this theocratic system (am not against Iran per se – quite to the contrary!) to suggest to step back to the Shah-regime. Or if in the 1990s as a Soviet citizen you were against the “Real… Read more »

jag37777
Reader

Countries and their economies are not businesses.
You have no notion of macroeconomic reality.
For every surplus there is a deficit.
Think on that for a while.
Zero is a very important number.

Joerg
Reader
Joerg

@ jag37777 1. “Countries and their economies are not businesses” Answer: Not only (businesses) – but also. In the times of kings the “national budget” was the king’s budget (like still in nowadays Saudi-Arabia). This is why Louis XIV introduced Mercantilism. Nowadays we, the people, are (should be) owner of the state and should be rich. The business of countries is called “gross national product”. And a healthy state produces a decent part of that with state firms. 2. “For every surplus there is a deficit.” Answer: Wrong! In the times of barter trade that was not the case (e.… Read more »

Kirsten Bertelsen
Reader
Kirsten Bertelsen

As for Iran: I wonder where were Iran, if Mossadeq were not put off by CIA??
Or: Where were Iran, if they did not have oil in the ground??

Jörg
Reader
Jörg

@Kirsten As for Iran: I wonder where were Iran, if Mossadeq were not put off by CIA?? Or: Where were Iran, if they did not have oil in the ground?? Hard to say! The Iranians would be possibly as good off as the Libyans under Gadaffi. On the other hand the then Iranian military would always have taken the US side and groomed their hate against the Soviet Union. Not only the Shah killed and tortured “Communists” but also the Khomeni regime when it came to power: first they did was killing a lot (never got a number) of “Communists”.… Read more »

Joerg
Reader
Joerg

One more word to “state capitalism”:
This corrupt Yeltsin “privatised” nearly everything in Russia (like Thatcher in GB). But he was then blocked from privatising the space-complex (satellites, rockets) and the military production complex. And until today which corporations/factories are the most profitable corporations, which by technology are not seldom ahead of their western competitors? It’s those state-owned space- and military-complexes!

Joerg
Reader
Joerg

Worthwile seeing:
“Meet the Renegades: Michael Hudson” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH8FWrbzxEs

Joerg
Reader
Joerg

The main reason for nowadays “fascism” – or better: nowadays “oligarchs fascism” – is the fact that our forefathers/-mothers chased away the Kings and Princes (except for only not-ruling constitutional monarchies like in Scandinavia or GB) because “we the people” should govern ourselves – and no one else. So everyone of us should be now ruling King or Queen. But history is full of Kings and Princes, who didn’t care about ‘their’ state and only cared about their fun with going hunting, having love affairs and so on. Most citizens are the same: They don’t care to inform themselves about… Read more »

BigB
Reader
BigB

“If one wishes successfully to write the truth about evil conditions, one must write it so that its avertible causes can be identified. If the preventable causes can be identified, the evil conditions can be fought.” Excellent essay, they don’t write ’em like the used to. So, to look further into Brecht’s claim. The processes that produce fascism (as studied by Arendt, Reich, Becker et al) are the same that produce a normal capitalist society (whatever one of those is – but Brecht is prescient about capitalistic Germany). The core ideolology is of individuation: which is an individual and a… Read more »

clear enough?
Reader
clear enough?

TINA:
a short form of Catharina and is generally pronounced like “TEE nah”.
famous persons include Tina Kwyla, the president of the kayak association in Bullistan. She always wears her glasses while swimming.

Dave
Reader
Dave

what’s Tina ?

BigB
Reader
BigB

TINA: ‘There Is No Alternative’ …as in: Fukayama’s “the end of history”.

vexarb
Reader

Pics are captioned Paris Riots 2018. So I searched to see what Parisians are rioting about in 2018. La Honte, perhaps? the shame of France trampling on the Rights of Man in Libya and Syria?

No, they were manning the barricades and shedding their blood over the price of gas. Oh well, they scratch where they feel the itch.

vexarb
Reader

Same viewpoint better expressed by Andre Vltchek in today’s interview: …, it is a nonsense to believe that “Europeans are brainwashed; that they do not know what the West is doing all over the world”. They know, or they at least suspect – most of them. But they pretend that they don’t know. In Europe, there is a shadowy deal between the government, corporations and the people. People want more benefits, and they do not care that the benefits come from plundering the world. _If they get their benefits, they shut up. If they think they are getting too little,… Read more »

vexarb
Reader

Gilets Jaunes : Le cri de désespoir d’une femme. Paris/France – 1er Décembre 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=121&v=jype2HiOxdo

So the stupid French sheeple elected a Rothschild agent for President; and now they emit cries of despair because the price of hydrocarbons has gone up. What did they expect from a Rothschild regime: that the price of hydrocarbons would go down?

Small gutter stargazer
Reader
Small gutter stargazer

Humanity is the question. Humanity is the answer.

Narrative
Reader
Narrative

A major step in turning an angel a Buddha (angel) into a Hitler (psychopath) is studying economics.

Even a short course in economics is enough to create and develop an acute obsession with ‘units of production’; the belief that anything not included in the supply chain can be and should be dispensed with, takes hold amazingly quickly.

der einzige
Reader

I know: fans are often fascists but there are no other photos to illustrate the theme instead of euro 2016?
https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sports/foot/euro/dix-choses-qui-ne-nous-ont-pas-plu-pendant-l-euro-2016_1534125.html
today and to the topic fits better this

vexarb
Reader

Der Einzige, danke schoen! I was puzzled by the physical fitness of all those young men supposedly rioting against Fascism & Capitalism. You have solved my puzzle: the young men who have stripped off their shirts to show off their sixpack torso look physically fit because they were sports fans out for a bit of sport. That really gets the adrenalin going, more than protest against The New World Order of George Bush Senior. Thanks also for reminding viewers of that cynically infamous speech. I was puzzled by Daddy Bush praising one of Hitler’s catch phrases, until I received a… Read more »

Jim Scott
Reader
Jim Scott

The death of great wonderful and caring man who provided Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons and helicopters to gas thousands of Kurds and to use against Iranians who had the temerity to want to choose their own leaders.
I sometimes wish their really was a burning hell for psychopathic arseholes like Bush and McCain and for the gutless lying media propagandists that present mass murderers as honourable gentlemen.

Gezzah Potts
Reader
Gezzah Potts

Jim Scott: the gushing, fawning eulogising of this psychopathic evil criminal in the ABC here in Australia on their Facebook page was just grotesque. But the thing that shocked me was the big majority of commenters who tore strips off the ABC, and lambasted them for ‘rewriting history’ ‘turning a demon into an angel’ ‘worse than murdoch’ and many commenters simply labelled Bush a war monger and war criminal with most of those mentioning Iraq, Panama, Nicaragua, etc. Those small amount of commenters who tried to defend Bush also were strongly taken too task. For me, a positive seeing all… Read more »

BigB
Reader
BigB

The Devil will have to make a whole new ring of tormentation today to accomodate that one. Going down to the tenth circle of the depraved.

mark
Reader
mark

Mussolini was asked to explain what fascism was. He described it as the fusion of corporate and state power. Crony capitalism, crapitalism, mutual backscratching by business monopolies and politicians for their mutual benefit. This describes our current system adequately. Companies like Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, Google, Boots, that either pay nothing or a derisory fraction of one per cent in tax. Monopoly pricing by armaments, drug and insurance monopolies. Repressive laws to suppress workers’ rights and new competition. A two tier justice system that protects corporate criminals from prosecution. A corrupt and dysfunctional political system incapable of reform that is up… Read more »

keithshoheinielsen
Reader

This is hyperbolic and farcical, conceptually.

frank
Reader
frank

Neoliberalism’s Dark Path to Fascism by Chris Hedges
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50680.htm

The End of America – Ten steps to fascism (2007) Talk by Naomi Wolf
https://hooktube.com/watch?v=38r600J5Jx0

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps by Naomi Wolf
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment

Narrative
Reader
Narrative

Thanks for this link frank. Neoliberalism’s Dark Path to Fascism, in plain and clear language.

“The dissemination of the ideology of neoliberalism was highly organized by a unified capitalist class.

… They lavished universities with donations, as long as the universities paid fealty to the ruling ideology. They used their influence and wealth, as well as their ownership of media platforms, to transform the press into their mouthpiece. And they silenced any heretics or made it hard for them to find employment. Soaring stock values rather than production became the new measure of the economy. Everything and everyone were financialized and commodified.”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50680.htm

bullingdonmorons
Reader
bullingdonmorons

http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/36358701 You really do have to be an utter moron to support this system. Decades from now, history books will record these years of Neo-Liberalism as the dumbest period in human history. They will tell of a system that created vast wealth for a handful of people whilst leaving millions struggling to survive, a system designed to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich, a system that promoted a Malthusian hatred of the poor and a complete indifference to the plight of others whilst extolling the virtues of greed and ignorance. The last 10 years spanned the worst financial… Read more »

tutisicecream
Reader

Thanks for cross-posting this bullingdonmorons.

This is exactly why they are coming for Julian Assange for exposing their complete corruption.

We realise from the Bertholt Brecht essay posted on OffG that this is the phase of capitalism which the capitalist imperative for total control leads to fascism. We’ve been here before. We need to learn. But what do we have? The collapse of the forth-estate becoming the fifth column for the [elite] capitalist state.

And the march towards fascism again… Support for Ukraine? Ring any alarm bells??!!

tonyopmoc
Reader
tonyopmoc

Excellent analysis. Have you any new ideas of how to peacefully change it?

vexarb
Reader

@not-Camoron. Wow! You sound like the sort of Socialists we used to have before the war: the ones who brought Britain the Attlee government — the only time in history that the health of a country improved while it was fighting a major war. Statistics with passion: that’s the way it was done. Re rickets: As a boy I remember seeing a black-and-white photo of _cheery_ British kids with rickets; and I thought, Those days are gone forever. One of the deepest crimes of New Liebour: they not only killed kids in Iraq but adopted Snatcherite policies which made Labour… Read more »

Badger Down
Reader
Badger Down

Cows’ “milk” makes you stupid.

Dominion by any means
Reader
Dominion by any means

In a bigger picture, the planet now is in a state of agitation on many fronts. Globalisation is the new colonisation. Nations are turned into vassal states without being occupied by troops. Broad spectrum surveillance is almost complete using remote technologies. To be safe, troops and spooks are on stand-by to intervene on a short notice. Globalisation has become a hybrid of rampant capitalism combined with covert and increasingly overt fascism. Steadily, governments are ceding power and control to big corporations. Globalisation is destroying democracy and sovereignty. Hence, democracies are becoming a shadow of they ought to be and now… Read more »

Gary Weglarz
Reader
Gary Weglarz

Strange, somehow even though the literature professor had us reading the work of Bertholt Brecht so many many years ago now when I was an under-graduate, nothing of his capitalist critique was ever discussed or mentioned. Western university education has a way of “de-radicalizing” even the most progressive minds and societal critiques. My admiration for Brecht has gone up dramatically with this reading. I couldn’t agree more with his assessment. That it was written in 1935 – simply amazing. Thank you for sharing this.

mark
Reader
mark

Whatever you think of his political views, his plays themselves are utter rubbish. Mutter Courage isn’t too bad, but the rest are dreadful, dreary, preaching, clumsy didactic garbage, lacking in any literary merit.

vexarb
Reader

Mark, I liked Galileo Galilei which I heard over the radio (I think it was interpreted by the great Charles Laughton). “This wine has a blue tinge. I know the hill where its grape is grown”.

And the Pope — God’s CEO on Earth — no less memorable: “Will there ever be a stop to this shuffling of feet outside my door?”.

But the science was for dummies. Like that review of Amadeus, “Not for Music Lovers”. As Plato said, Literature and Mathematical Physics do not mix easily.

different frank
Reader
different frank

Early Warning Signs Of Fascism.
1. Powerful and continuing Nationalism
2. Disdain for human rights
3. Identification of enemies as a unifying cause
4. Supremacy of the military
5. Rampant sexism
6. Controlled mass media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Government intertwined
9. Corporate power protected
10. Labor power suppressed
11. Disdain for intellectuals and the Arts
12. Obsession with crime and punishment
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
14. Fraudulent elections

The Tory regime in the UK ticks every box.

vexarb
Reader

@Different Frank. And TB.Liar’s New Liebour ticked boxes 1 2 3 4 6 7 9 10 & 13. Phony Tony was a sort of inverted John the Baptist, preaching the AZC and preparing the way for The Beast from Bullingdon.

different frank
Reader
different frank

No argument with you there

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

?15. Reluctance to condemn openly fascist, right wing governments/regimes.
?16. Offering support (in a multitude of ways) to openly fascist, right wing governments/regimes.

Einstein
Reader
Einstein

Agree with 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.
Disagree with 1, 5, 14 – but we’re clearly headed for worse.
So, 77% agree with you.

lundiel
Reader

My understanding of fascism is that it’s an uneasy alliance between business, workers and elites, people who do not, under normal conditions, make good bedfellows. That kind of in your face fascism is only likely to appear when civil insurrection against a common enemy is stoked by politicians using nationalism as the glue to hold the alliance together. Neoliberalism has achieved far more than fascism could without the overt nationalism or working class enforcers. The minimum wage, limited welfare….crumbs from the table. Along with managed democracy, voting for personalities rather than policies and identity politics equals politics without the commitment… Read more »

Henry Wilson
Reader
Henry Wilson

Communism is state capitalism the ultimate fascist state

Ken Kenn
Reader
Ken Kenn

To paraphrase some one ( look it up – no Wikipedia it) In the final analysis the State is a body of armed men. Then use your imagination and imagine that 250 years ago how Capitalism in one country would have survived. It is nothing if it is not international. Communism is nothing and will be nothing if it is not international. Fascism is an agreement between the Fascist State ( a body of armed men ) and the Ruling Class in any given nation and only comes about when the Old Order is threatened from the left. They (… Read more »

different frank
Reader
different frank

I bet you say that Hitler was a socialist because of he National socialist moniker.

different frank
Reader
different frank

Ha, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Cont page 94.

Makropulos
Reader
Makropulos

Ah so capitalism is capitalism and communism is capitalism too. No escape from capitalism then Henry? Might as well just bow down before it all then.

Pepe
Reader
Pepe

You don’t know a shit about communism, Henry, admit it.

vexarb
Reader

Henry, that gives much food for thought. “Fascism is the financial power of Capitalism backed by the coercive power of The State.” — Benito Mussolini I have heard that Hit and Muss did some good things; and Stalin did some bad things. That Islamic Socialism is doing some good things in Syria, Iran and Lebanon; while Anglo Zio Capitalism is doing many bad things in Israel, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Serbia, Ukraine, Sweden, U$A and Britain. I think it depends a lot on something childishly simple: Watch your morals. “Do not follow a crowd intent on mischief”. — Old… Read more »

mohandeer
Reader

Good article and one that I knew a little about from my friend Migarium. His article(he has obviously studied some of Brechts work) is here:
https://unnecessarynewsfromearth.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/today-every-human-being-should-be-bertolt-brecht/comment-page-1/#comment-3529

Mat
Reader
Mat

It is written by brecht an anti capitalist, but the fascism has more to do with socialism than fascism. This article is pure propaganda.