Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism
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Blackshirts & Reds explores some of the big issues of our time: fascism, capitalism, communism, revolution, democracy, and ecology—terms often bandied about but seldom explored in the original and exciting way that has become Michael Parenti’s trademark.
Parenti shows how “rational fascism” renders service to capitalism, how corporate power undermines democracy, and how revolutions are a mass empowerment against the forces of exploitative privilege. He also maps out the external and internal forces that destroyed communism, and the disastrous impact of the “free-market” victory on eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He affirms the relevance of taboo ideologies like Marxism, demonstrating the importance of class analysis in understanding political realities and dealing with the ongoing collision between ecology and global corporatism.
Written with lucid and compelling style, this book goes beyond truncated modes of thought, inviting us to entertain iconoclastic views, and to ask why things are as they are. It is a bold and entertaining exploration of the epic struggles of yesterday and today.
"A penetrating and persuasive writer with an astonishing array of documentation to implement his attacks."—The Catholic Journalist
"Blackshirts & Reds discusses the great combat between fascism and socialism that is the defining feature of the Twentieth Century, and takes every official version to task for its substitution of moral analysis for critical analysis, for its selectivity, and for its errata. By portraying the struggle between fascism and Communism in this century as a single conflict, and not a series of discrete encounters, between the insatiable need for new capital on the one hand and the survival of a system under siege on the other, Parenti defines fascism as the weapon of capitalism, not simply an extreme form of it. Fascism is not an aberration, he points out, but a "rational" and integral component of the system."—Stan Goff, The Prism
Michael Parenti, PhD Yale, is an internationally known author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leadiing progressive political analysts. He is the author of over 275 published articles and twenty books. His writings are published in popular periodicals, scholarly journals, and his op-ed pieces have been in leading newspapers such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. His informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad.
one puts it, "you must be young, childless and 3 K.L. Abeywickrama, "The Marketization of Mongolia," Monthly Review, 3/96, 2533, and reports cited therein. ,.. T H E F R E E - M A R K E T PARA D I S E G O E S EAST ! I l l 1 09 have a big bosom" (Nation, 1 2/7/92). Occupational safety is now almost nonexistent and workplace injuries and deaths have drasti cally increased. Workers now toil harder and longer for less, often in sweatshop conditions. Teachers, scientists, factory workers, and
the workers would expropriate it and put it to use for the collective benefit of the common people, the ones who built it in the first place. Certainly Marx's predictions about revolution have not material ized. There has been no successful proletariat revolution in an advanced capitalist society. As the working class developed so did the capitalist state, whose function has been to protect the capitalist class, with its mechanisms of police suppression and its informa tional and cultural
ture, and citizens into debt-ridden workers and consumers. Marxists understand th at a cl ass society is not just a divided soci ety but one ruled by class power, w ith the state playing the c r ucial role in maintaining the existing class structure. Marxism m i ght be considered a " h olistic" science in that it recognizes the links between various components of the social system. Capitalism i s not just an economic system b ut a political and cultural one as well, an entire social order. When
state power, Hitler then used the state R AT I O N A L F A S C I S M 15 to neutralize the SA. Now suddenly Roehm's homosexuality did con flict with National Socialist ideology. In truth, the SA had to be decapitated not because its leaders were homosexual - though that was the reason given-but because it threatened to turn into a seri ous problem. Roehm and about 300 other SA members were exe cuted, not all of whom were gay. Among the victims was veteran Nazi propagandist Gregor Strasser,
would revitalize society, sweeping away the old order and building the new. For this reason, mainstream writers feel free to treat fascism and communism as totalitarian twins. It is a case of reducing essence to form. The similarity in form is taken as reason enough to blur the vast difference in actual class content. Writers like A. James Gregor R AT I O N AL F A S C I S M 17 and William Ebenstein, countless Western political leaders, and oth ers who supposedly are on the democratic Left,