Not Fascism but inverted totalitarianism
In my last diary, I discussed how Donald Trump was not a "Fascist," but rather an exterminist, someone whose policies were so bad that their inevitable result was the extermination of significant numbers of human beings. To be fair, the idea of "exterminism" is merely a reference to ultimate effects; it doesn't serve as a complete political theory. This diary suggests a preliminary sketch of the political theory.
The current regime is best called "inverted totalitarianism," a term which comes from Sheldon Wolin, in his book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism:
“Inverted totalitarianism” projects power inwards. It is not derivative from “classic totalitarianism” of the types represented by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or Stalinist Russia. Those regimes were powered by revolutionary movements whose aim was to capture, reconstitute, and monopolize the power of the state. The state was conceived as the main center of power, providing the leverage necessary for the mobilization and reconstruction of society. Churches, universities, business organizations, news and opinion media, and cultural institutions were taken over by the government or neutralized or suppressed.
Inverted totalitarianism, in contrast, while exploiting the authority and resources of the state, gains its dynamic by combining with other forms of power, such as evangelical religions, and most notably by encouraging a symbiotic relationship between traditional government and the system of “private” governance represented by the modern business
corporation. The result is not a system of codetermination by equal partners who retain their distinctive identities but rather a system that represents the political coming-of-age of corporate power.
Chris Hedges uses the idea of "inverted totalitarianism" also. His explanation of the concept is below. From a four-and-a-half-year-old essay commemorating Wolin after his death:
In classical totalitarian regimes, such as those of Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. But “under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,” Wolin writes. “Economics dominates politics—and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.”He continues: “The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.”
This isn't the end of it, though. Hedges continues:
But, he warns, should the population—steadily stripped of its most basic rights, including the right to privacy, and increasingly impoverished and bereft of hope—become restive, inverted totalitarianism will become as brutal and violent as past totalitarian states.
So far the violence of inverted totalitarianism has mostly been directed outward -- toward the endless wars -- although some of it can be found as directed by police against African-American communities. But watch -- as the quarantines and shop closures drag on, week after dreary week, as the economy collapses and the pandemic spreads and as the super-rich discover that they can own government and have it print billions of dollars to fill their electronic coffers but they can't revive the economy or stop the hordes whom they have deprived of reasons to live. And here's an open question: how is the Army going to survive social distancing?
Do you all see now why I object so strenuously to calling the current political situation "Fascism"? Hitler had his Master Race to support, with the blessings of Wall Street, and Stalin had Five-Year Plans by which Russia was dragged into a vague military-industrial parity with the United States, imported (btw) FROM the United States through Armand Hammer. Franco had to liberalize the economy if he was to sustain his rule. Hedges, again, quoting Wolin:
Unlike the Nazis, who made life uncertain for the wealthy and privileged while providing social programs for the working class and poor, inverted totalitarianism exploits the poor, reducing or weakening health programs and social services, regimenting mass education for an insecure workforce threatened by the importation of low-wage workers,” Wolin writes.
It is indeed true that when the Nazis invaded a country, that country was turned into a reservoir of resources and of slave labor for the Nazi war effort. The difference with inverted totalitarianism is that the whole world is treated as invaded country, and (regardless of whatever fantasies George W. Bush may have had about the matter) there is no real homeland to secure. The captains of inverted totalitarianism really don't care about you or me, or for that matter about the future of any portion of society or of the planet or anything outside of their little elite bubbles. This is why they're furiously trying to buy up property in remote areas of New Zealand. The totalitarians of old, living as they did in a DIFFERENT STAGE OF CAPITALIST DEVELOPMENT, hated democracy, and they had plans. Malicious plans, but plans. The people currently at the top today have the facade of democracy, and no plans.