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sologdin

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Middlemarch: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Bert G. Hornback, George Eliot
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America - Bertram Gross I would've loved this when I was at university. Now, however, it comes across as a bit too speculative, somewhat less rigorous than necessary, substituting inference for analysis of actual statutes and history. It advances a general thesis similar to [b:Understanding the F-Word|335440|Understanding the F-Word American Fascism and the Politics of Illusion|David McGowan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348528609s/335440.jpg|325912]--that the US is ripe for fascist domination under the cover of democratic veneer. Whereas McGowan regards the US as presently fascistic, Gross considers fascism to be a possible future.

The text is broadly leftwing, though it engages in sectarian bickering with "dogmatic marxists" on numerous occasions. Cites often to London's [b:The Iron Heel|929783|The Iron Heel|Jack London|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1334104139s/929783.jpg|951056], Huxley's [b:Brave New World|5129|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327865608s/5129.jpg|3204877], Lewis' [b:It Can't Happen Here|11371|It Can't Happen Here|Sinclair Lewis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309210011s/11371.jpg|1296784], and, of course, Orwell's [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348990566s/5470.jpg|153313]. These texts are mentioned for comparative or speculative purposes--which makes for lively writing, but not convincing historical or economic argument.

Some inconsistent oddities, such as the call to "true patriotism" in the conclusion (383 ff) and the admission that the author is "afraid of blind anti-fascism" in the introduction (4). Both are WTF moments for me.

Begins with a schematic account of "classical fascism" (11-31), followed by a discussion of corporate power and the ultrarich in the US. Sure, these are summaries, but one might get a better appreciation of classical fascist doctrine from any number of other places; and something like [b:Wealth and Democracy|111917|Wealth and Democracy A Political History of the American Rich|Kevin Phillips|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320446983s/111917.jpg|672602] is far superior at tracking the US upper-upper class.

Reveals its age in considering how the capitalist world, at the time of composition, was shrinking (119 ff), which might've been true then, but is manifestly dated now. Not a large problem, as the relative success of communist geopolitics at the time is presented as a factor in the conduct of the US and its ultrarich beneficiaries. Thereafter follows a number of chapters that rehearse, in somewhat speculative form, the now-standard critiques of trilateralism, corporate media, CIA thuggery, workplace exploitation techniques, sexual repression, and other elements of domination that the leftwing has been challenging for decades. Perhaps at the time this text brought it all together in a new synthesis, but 30 years later, it's not wrong, just not news. I suggest [b:Manufacturing Consent|12617|Manufacturing Consent The Political Economy of the Mass Media|Noam Chomsky|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348204325s/12617.jpg|857416] as to media politics, [b: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II|78130|Killing Hope U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II--Updated Through 2003|William Blum|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1354209919s/78130.jpg|75452] as to CIA thuggery, [b: Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management|852463|Trilateralism The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management|Holly Sklar|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347463138s/852463.jpg|837967], and so on.

Text excels at organizing its ideas in handy charts--there are many of them, and they kick ass.

Author is quick to note at many instances that "fascism" should not be equated, as it is colloquially, with mere violence or caprice. That fails to distinguish it from most historical regimes. Fascism proper is defined: "Unlike the communists, the fascists were not out to destroy the old power structure or to create an entirely new one. Rather, they were heretics seeking to revive the old faith by concentating on the fundamentals of imperial expansion, militarism, repression, and racism" (17). I suppose that's alright, as far as it goes. Friendly fascism, by contrast, ultimately involves an integrated business-government complex used to maintain a world empire, which is militarist, technocratic, with extended stagflation, democratic form without democratic substance, low violence internally, and so on (344). Thinking through it, it's almost as though the main distinction is that there is no fuhrerprinzip as the actual political leaders are mostly irrelevant in friendly fascism--so the electorate mignt vote all they want on politicians who aren't in control of anything important. The levels of violence externally are basically the same in the world empire, though, when compared to classical fascism; there'd just be no holocausts--just bombings, police actions, and whatnot. He paraphrases these ideas by suggesting that "neofascism will have arrived in America whenever most white people are subjected to the kind of treatment to which most black people have long become accustomed" (342).

None of this is to say that I disagree with the conclusions, but rather that this is not the best argument to get there.