Will Adolf Hitler eventually win World War 2?
Are we getting closer to 1930’s Fascism?
What shows wisdom and compassion
in this global refugee crisis?
PART ONE OF TWO
A Definition of Fascism
Intention behind the essay
The Rise of European Fascism in the 1930s
USA Corporations and Fascism in the 1930’s and 1940’s
USA Corporations in Europe today
US Army and the Heritage of Iraq
The Rise of Anti-Immigration Parties in Europe
Examples of 14 Countries with growing Far Right Parties and Policies
A Definition of Fascism
Fascism is an intolerant form of political ideology with extreme overtones of belief aimed to intensify the will of the nation state and racial superiority of the majority within the state.
Fascism seeks to expand power and control leading to a dark intolerance, persecution and genocide. Fascism actively pursues the support of the majority its citizens, rich, middle class and poor, at the expense of minorities. A characteristic feature of fascism shows itself in an active discrimination against those who appear to threaten the superiority of its citizens.
Along with intensity of beliefs in racial superiority, the endorsement of state power comes at the expense of a genuinely creative individuality or creative group with different social and spiritual aspirations. On behalf of the nation state, the armed forces and police engage in the persecution of others of a different cultural and religious orientation. Through its powerful dogma, infused with a strong hierarchical structure, fascism offers a fusion of centralised political power with corporate power. This serves as a means to organise control over the state. This fusion enables a privileged elite to suppress and undermine any opposition.
Fascism seeks to subordinate all members of the nation state to its fundamental ideology. The rich, powerful banks, landowners, property owners, who support the ideology of power and control, will reject political pluralism and liberal standpoints. Fascism prefers the absolute authority of the one state system but, nevertheless, will exploit parliamentary systems to sustain its agenda and nationalistic viewpoint. Such an ideology strongly advocates a capitalist agenda, free from giving priority to the redistribution of wealth and social justice for the marginalised.
Fascism organises the control of the majority at the expense of the minority. It deliberately seeks to perpetuate a tightly controlled educational and work system so that all citizens live within its dogma.
Intention behind the Essay:
This essay details some of the grounds for concern that Western nations shows signs of a slow drift towards fascist thinking – a corrupt and brutal ideology that initially infected Europeans in the 1930s. Today, the political ground of the mainstream political parties in the Australia, European Union, Israel, Russia, USA and elsewhere appear to move further and further away from the left and the political centre towards a worrying right wing ideology with quiet murmurings of fascist beliefs. The growing belief in the superiority of the West and the inferiority of Muslims carries ugly echoes from the past.
Key concepts, such as ‘asylum seekers,’ ‘refugees’ and ‘immigrants,’ often get employed inter-changeably. There is a failure to recognise the distinct differences between these three widely use terms. ‘Asylum seeker’ refers to a person who has applied for asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees. Under international agreement, countries have a duty to accept asylum seekers.
The person pursues asylum on the grounds that if he or she returns to the country of origin the person has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political, social or religious belief. She or he remains an asylum seeker for so long as her or his application is pending. More and more Western countries keep asylum seekers out to prevent them applying for asylum. For example, people wishing to claim asylum in the UK have to enter the country before they can apply for asylum. They cannot apply from their homeland or a camp in another country.
A refugee has already received a positive decision from the authorities on his or her claim to asylum. The UK government offer a five year stay to those who they have granted refugee status. Immigrants consist of people who depart from their homeland to improve the quality of their lives rather than fleeing from persecution or fear of death.
The West’s relationship to asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants has turned into a crisis tearing into the soul of the European Union. This crisis either triggers compassionate action in the West or triggers unresolved prejudices towards minorities or an indifference to those in the West living ‘selfie’ lives. Political and social commentators refer to the crisis of values, responsibility and security as the biggest challenge to the West since the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Rise of European Fascism during the 1930’s
With its epicentre in Germany, the Nazis proclaimed Aryan superiority and targeted the Jews and other minorities for persecution for any unresolved social problems. Western citizens projected their own unresolved shadows onto the Jews, as the cause of the world’s problems. Today, Muslims, within Western countries and Muslims worldwide, have to endure daily dark projections. Powerful politicians and powerless, unemployed citizens, as well as the middle classes, will express gross and subtle comments about Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians, asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants.
We do not live in a fascist state. Fascist governments do not rule us. Yet, there are growing grounds for concern as the national psyche of Western countries slowly takes a harder and harder line against Muslims. Once again, the majority group in the nation state start to treat such minorities as a problem and a threat to their way of life. With millions in debt, millions in the West out of work and the gradual erosion of benefits from the state, it is hardly surprising that the poor and the unemployed turn to far right wing ideology to speak up for them.
Sixty two people have as much combined wealth as half of the Earth’s population — 3.5 billion people. Twenty of the world’s 30 richest people are US citizens. One per cent of the world’s population own more than the combined wealth of the remaining 99%. To avoid paying taxes, many of the super-rich have placed an estimated total of $7.6 trillion in offshore accounts. $one billion is 1000 $1million. One $trillion is one million $1million.
Between 20% – 50% of that hidden money, through personal or corporate tax, should go to support welfare and aid programmes worldwide
Wealthy corporations make $billions profit one year after the other through paying pathetic hourly rates to workers, demanding long working hours and many governments have successfully castrated unions or denied the organisation of unions. Many of these same powerful corporations avoid paying corporate tax that would support the poor, sick and elderly. Citizens become fearful and angry of their present and future. Low down in the pecking order, Muslim become an easy target for blame rather than tax avoiding corporations.
You might think citizens would direct their wrath to the corporations and the governments that back them. Their wrath goes to people like themselves – the low paid, the poor and the homeless who have fled the most desperate of living circumstances in bombed out war zones in the Muslim world. Arab and African families have become the easy target to blame for pressing social issues, such as employment, housing, education and medical treatment. Once again, there are echoes here of the 1930s.
When Adolf Hitler rose to power in Berlin in 1933, he knew he needed an extensive and intimidating organisation to ensure that the citizens of Germany followed the ideological line of Fascism. The Nazis garnered together millions of citizens, children and adults, in widespread educational programmes into the Nazi doctrine. They set up labour camps for political dissidents and treated non-Aryans, such as the Jewish community and the Roma gypsies, as sub-human.
Forced labour in Nazi Germany became a vital part of the German economy, along with extermination of 12 million people during the 1940s, either in gas chambers or due to hellish living/working conditions in slave labour camps. Jews, gypsies, Poles, Russians, homosexuals, communists, Jehovah Witnesses, dissidents, the homeless and the frail in mind and body were sent to the forced labour/concentration camps or gas chambers.
USA Corporations and Fascism in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
During the 1930’s, Germany expanded its social, industrial and military agenda with the support of major corporations within Germany and overseas. Hitler turned to the USA with its wealthy corporations encouraging these powerful industries to invest in fascist Germany. American corporations, who built factories in Germany, include:
- Ford car company,
- IBM technology and consultancy corporation,
- Rockefeller Foundation,
- General Motors (GM),
- Standard Oil,
- Chase Morgan bank,
- Coca-Cola and
- Du Pont who provided the necessary chemicals for industrial and military use.
American corporations set up factories and businesses in Germany to enable the Hitler government to develop its industry, banking sector and military equipment.
For example, IBM, engaged in significant cooperation with the Nazi regime during the 1930s and 1940’s. Their co-operation enabled the Nazi regime to organise more efficiently genocide through the IBM system of the Hollerith punch cards to collect data on millions of citizens in Germany and countries under their occupation. The Nazis adapted the punch card system to sustain surveillance over the population through a census of details of individuals. The Nazi used the punch car system to select people for slave labour camps and concentration camps. They used the IBM system for transportation of people in packed tight train wagons to around 15,000 camps situated throughout Germany, Poland and other European countries. Through the punch card system, the Nazis found out that the number of Jewish people in Germany alone amounted to more than three million, three times more than their earlier estimation.
The Nazis could then adapt the punch cards to their requirements on individuals, such as:
- Code 1 Released
- Code 2 Transferred
- Code 3 Natural Death
- Code 4 Formal Execution
- Code 5 Suicide.
- Code 6 Extermination.
- Code 7 Escape
The Rockefeller Foundation provided Hitler with funding for the Nazi eugenics programme to experiment on and exterminate those considered “unfit” for life. Certain powerful public figures and scientists widely applauded the Nazi’s ‘social cleansing’ methods that resulted in the deaths of 300,000 – 400,000 people during the 1930s and 1940s.
Standard Oil in the US sold the Luftwaffe, the Nazi air force, tetraethyl lead gas, a vital ingredient for aircraft. Owing to protests from Britain, Standard Oil changed the registration of their entire fleet to Panamanian so the ships search could carry oil to the Nazis.
Henry Ford, the car manufacturer, built engines in their German factories for their military vehicles for the Nazis throughout the war. Henry Ford hated Jewish people. Hitler praised Henry Ford in his only reference to an American in his infamous biography, Mein Kampf. Ford and Hitler shared the same racist, anti-Semitic world view. Hitler described Ford as a ‘great man’ and an inspiration.’
Ford wrote a series of 80 essays expressing his anti-Semitic views that Hitler had translated and widely disseminated in Germany in four volumes under the title The International Jew. The Nazi leader proclaimed: “I shall do my best to put his theories into practice in Germany.”
Hitler kept a large photograph of Henry Ford on his desk. With such support from the rich and powerful in the USA, Hitler assumed that the USA would not enter into war with Germany. Both Germany and the USA shared a capitalist ideology and hatred of the left wing and communism. The US government’s acts of widespread genocide of American Indians, only two or three generations before the 1930s, and the US government’s treatment of Afro-Americans as inferior, gave Hitler confidence that the USA basically supported Fascism.
To avoid international criticism, US corporations made their factories and businesses in Germany appear as German as possible while making extensive profits from the German war machine.
- German Ford was the second-largest producer of trucks for the German army after GM/Opel, according to U.S. Army reports.
- GM helped produce engines and various parts for the Luftwaffe to bomb Europe.
- Chase Manhattan bank helped the Nazis in the 1930s raise large sums of money on the stock exchange, and froze the bank accounts of Jewish people on behalf of the Nazis during the war.
- Leading American financiers Rockefeller, Carnegie and Harriman also funded Nazi eugenics programs.
- Fred Kuch, a billionaire businessman, built factories in Nazi Germany to produce hundreds of thousands of gallons of high-octane fuel for the Luftwaffe to bomb European countries.
- Other corporations supported German fascism, such as Nestles in Switzerland, who provided all the chocolate for the German army throughout the war.
- Random House’s parent company, Bertelsmann A.G., worked for the Nazis publishing such books “Sterilization and Euthanasia.”
- Prominent Nazi scientists and officials were granted refugee status in the USA at the end of World War 2 to help develop American military programmes.
US Corporations in Europe today
A bi-lateral trade agreement, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) carries out currently secret trade negotiations between the USA and the EU. TTIP aims to cut the EU regulations for trade for the benefit of big business.
TTIP’s places pressure on the EU to introduce the Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which allow US corporations to sue governments if the policies of those governments cause a loss of profits to big business. This means that unelected corporations would dictate the policies of democratically elected governments. For example, a giant energy company could sue for $millions if a European government decided to phase out a nuclear power station. If the energy company won the case, taxpayers might have to pay out billions of $$$ in compensating for the company’s ongoing loss of profit. Phillip Morris, the tobacco company, sued the governments of Australia and Uruguay for passing regulations to make smoking less appealing.
TTIP want to change the EUs environmental legislation, banking regulations and safe food policies to make it an easier market to establish their business deals. TTIP want to make the European public sector open to private US corporations selling everything from food to farming, from medicine to mining.
Soft EU regulations would enable supermarket shelves to be lined with GM food products imported from the United States. TTIP want to sell hormone injections to insert European cattle with the hormones as permitted in the USA. Medical scientists have linked such hormones with cancer. With the reduction in levels of safe food, US industry can increase levels of exported processed food and sell more toxic substances. In return, the UK banking business wants the US to ease US banking regulations so it can profit from mergers, takeovers, deals and business ventures. Corporations in the US want the EU to ease its data privacy laws in order to expand its market and advertising campaigns.
There are around 500 cases of major corporations suing governments around the world in ‘arbitration tribunals’ made up of corporate lawyers. These tribunals have the power to make these settlements despite the absence of direct judicial authority. The tribunals constitute a third tier system of justice with increasing influence over the democratic process.
US Army and the Heritage of Iraq
The destruction of the past contributes to the control of the present and future. Western nations also display an intensity of ideology with certain comparisons to European fascism in the 1930s. The merger of Western governments and corporations have the determination to impose a two party state on Afghanistan, Iraq and neighbouring Arab countries, alongside corporate control over resources, especially oil, and conversion of Arab societies to consumerism.
The West continues to remain largely ignorant of Islamic culture, religious traditions and social values. There is a growing incapacity to see Muslims as human beings. We see the labels and not the person. Such perceptions blind us to the humanity of people so our perceptions become charged with a stereotype of millions of people. The slippery downward slide from notions of superiority and inferiority can start to give credence to fascism.
Iraq had lovingly preserved much of its ancient heritage for 3000 years despite looting of some of its treasures during the 19th century by Britain, Franc, Germany and the USA. Regarded by historians as a ‘fount of civilization,’ Iraq took care of its National Museum, archaeological sites, museums, monuments, ancient cities and sacred locations of prophets, saints and places of pilgrimage.
When the National Museum was looted in 2003, American troops stood by whilst their colleagues diligently guarded the Oil Ministry. The US/NATO led invasion of Iraq, and other Muslim countries, contributed to widespread destruction of the ancient heritage of these countries. The US army largely ignored the co-ordinates of the museums and archaeological sites. While the US army guarded the Iraqi oil wells, they ignored the sites of ancient treasures, which led to widespread destruction and looting including the much loved National Museum of Iraq.
The US military swarmed all over the delicate buildings dating back 3000 years as they hailed themselves as conquerors, as ‘mission accomplished.’ Photos of US soldiers standing atop these ancient buildings were shown on social media to the disgust of the people of Iraq.
This ancient Arabic and global heritage had no relevance to those identified with an ideology, either Western or Islamic. ISIS have also adopted a similar view so they engage in destruction of the heritage to impose their warped ISIS version of Islam and the Caliphate. For example, ISIS burnt to ashes 113,000 irreplaceable books and manuscripts in Mosul Library and then blew the library up. The Nazis and Khmer Rouge also attempted to erase history in their determination to start a new era, such as the Third Reich or Year One. The crude American war machine also shows an utter disregard for ancient history. There is little difference in the outcome. Bombs and invasions destroy the past as well as the present.
The Rise of Anti-Immigration Parties in Europe
Lebanon now has a Syrian refugee population of 1.2 million – one in five people in Lebanon are Syrian refugees. Turkey has allowed two million refugees into the country, about 2.7% of the total population of 75 million people.
Western countries from Europe to North America to Australia show more and more resistance to asylum seekers and refugees desperate for support and security from the West. The vast majority of asylum seekers have suffered traumatic living conditions in various war zones. Most have fled with next to nothing or spend their last money for a place on a crowded boat from Turkey or Libya to Greece or Italy.
The initial warm statements of compassion and hospitality, especially from Germany and Sweden, have gone lukewarm in the past year, as more and more citizens in the EU express concern, if not anger, at the prospect of millions of asylum seekers and refugees entering Europe in the next few years. It is the biggest crisis in Europe since World War 2.
We are slowly becoming conditioned to view Muslims as a threat to our way of life. Losing sight of their suffering and flight from their homeland, we perceive them as agents of Islamization, violent and unwilling to adapt to our culture. To repeat, these views convey again painful echoes of fascist thought towards the Jews and the Gypsies, who were perceived as a threat to the social order.
European Union, Australia and the USA gradually shifts its political axis towards making right wing ideology the centre ground. We witness the rise of political parties whose core policy centres around the rights of the majority in the country at the expense of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. These anti-immigration parties relentlessly espouse the view of ‘us and them.’ The rhetoric of politicians, conservatives, liberals and left leaning progressives find themselves fence sitting. They lack the confidence and determination to outline clear, positive proposals to resolve the refugee crisis, the conflicts in Arab countries and the Western wars on those countries.
We have to recognise the needs and concerns of long standing residents in the West and the needs of traumatised Arab and African families who have lost everything in their homelands. The choice often appears to be taking a very hard line against those fleeing war zones or sitting on the fence unable to make a wise and compassionate decision.
Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14, everyone has the right to seek and receive in other countries asylum from persecution.
The widespread depth of corruption in democratic societies show itself in the insidious manner where the oligarchy, which controls most of the media, permits, often unconsciously, a restricted range of views on the refugee crisis. Via the media, television, radio and the press, the powerful elite, both political and corporate, sustain their grip over the national consciousness. Voices of compassion and empathy for suffering people receive little attention. Media news, documentaries and sales of newspapers thrive on conflict. Refugees pay the price for the ‘conflict’ ideology of Western media in the name of the free press.
These voice generate fears and phobias around ‘Islamisation’ of the West. Editorial writers and columnists inflame the situation with their reports and standpoints. More and more Muslims in the West experience abuse on the streets. We witness the rage of anti-refugee/anti-Muslim demonstrations. We read about government ministers, who undermine Islamic culture, code of dress and blame Muslims for not adapting fully to the Western way of life. Once again, we hear echoes of the 1930s in Germany.
In 1933, Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini (1883 – 1945) said “Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State.” We might wonder whether today the State/Corporation alliance only accepts the individual when his or her interests coincide with the State and Corporation. The majority of citizens live within the remit of the State and Corporations that goes back to the 1930s and before. This secular ideology contributes to widespread suspicion of a religious and non-consumerist culture, where local and civic duties matter more than submission to the State and Corporations.
Examples of 14 Countries with growing Far Right Parties and Policies
There is the growth of political parties in the West that reject the entry into their country of the vast majority of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants. Here are 14 examples of Western countries with a growing anti-refugee sentiment forming into political parties and policies.
Australia: In the Big Country, main stream political parties support the punitive long term incarceration of asylum seekers, who have committed no crime. The Australian government detains asylum seekers in large detention centres on the mainland and on Nauru and Manus Island in the Pacific Ocean. The majority of asylum seekers flee persecution, torture and violence. Detainees have started hunger strikes, inflicted self-harm, and sewed lips together in protest at their treatment in these permanent detention centres. There are reports of suicide and attempted suicide. Information has been provided to the authorities that the guards have inflicted sexual abuse on women. Australian government paid boat crews significant sums of money to take asylum seekers on the boats in the open sea back to their place of departure.
Austria: The far-right Freedom Party came second in the regional election. In 2015, the party received about 30% of the vote in Vienna, the capital. The Party has called for a border fence for Austria in its campaign on an anti-immigration and ‘anti-Islamisation.’ platform. The party claims that refugees are infiltrators, criminals and economic migrants.
Denmark: People’s Party has gained the second largest percentage of Denmark’s vote in June’s national elections. The anti-immigration party promised to preserve social benefits for Danish citizens. Denmark created a new law in early 2016 empowering authorities to seize cash and valuables from asylum seekers to help cover their expenses. The law was passed in parliament by 81 votes to 27, with one abstention. The ‘Jewellery Bill’ allows the seizure of valuables worth more than £1000. The new law allows watches, mobile phones and computers to be confiscated.
France: The Front National (FN) stormed to victory in the first round of the French local elections. This far-right party highlighted immigration and home-grown extremism in the massacre in Paris. The party Received 28% of the national vote in the first round of the elections, polling first place in six of France’s 13 administrative regions and won more than six million votes It holds most power in the European Parliament – representing 23 out of France’s 74 seats.
Germany: Right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party makes gains through anti- asylum-seeker statements. The party campaigns under the slogan ‘Asylum requires borders. ’Far-right group Pegida held one of its biggest ever rallies in Dresden in October, 2015, with 20,000 people taking to the streets to protest against immigrants. A speaker at the Dresden rally spoke of his regret that “the concentration camps are out of action”.
Greece: The neo-fascist Golden Dawn party gained the third largest percentage of the vote in both of the country’s parliamentary votes in 2105. Boats from Turkey packed with refugees from Arab countries land on Greek islands on a daily basis. Around 500,000 Greeks voted for the party. One of the spokesman for the party has a Swastika tattooed on his arm.
Holland: The country’s main far-right party, Party for Freedom (PVV) could gain much power in the next general election with around a quarter of the vote. PVV leader said that Europe should close its borders to Muslims and described the refugee crisis as an ‘Islamic invasion.’ He supports US presidential candidate, Donald Trump, the corporate billionaire, over his similar proposed policy for the United States.
Hungary. Fidesz Party in Hungary exploits ethno-nationalism and promotes anti-immigration policies. The far right party has built a 160 kilometre fence to stop refugees from entering Hungary, via Serbia.
Israel: Mainstream political parties refer to the ‘Jewish state of Israel’ at the expense of 20% of the population who are Palestinian/Arabs or citizens from other countries employed in Israel as cheap labour. Israel continues its occupation of Gaza, the world’s largest open prison and continues expansion of Israel into the West Bank with around 400,000 settlers in Palestine. The Israeli government has built an 8-metre-high concrete wall for 700 kilometres to keep out Muslims/Palestinians. The Israeli army/police have a shoot to kill policy against Palestinians of any age who threaten them. Around 7200 Palestinians remain locked up in political prisons in the desert.
Italy. The leader of Italy’s right-wing party has said that immigrants making the dangerous journey across the sea from Libya should be left on board their boats. “We have enough of them,” he said.
Poland: The country has elected one of Europe’s most right-wing parliaments. The Law and Justice party has become the country’s first majority government since the fall of Communism. It is nationalistic, deeply conservative, adhere to Roman Catholic orthodoxy and suspicious of foreigners.
Sweden. A former neo-Nazi part, the extreme-right Sweden Democrats has steadily risen in polls. A Swedish opinion poll ranked the Sweden Democrats as Sweden’s most popular party in August, 2015. The leader of Sweden Democrats stated that “Islamism is the Nazism of our time.”
United Kingdom. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), gained 12.6% of the vote in the 2015 general election. This anti-immigration party, has been accused of “baseless scaremongering” after its party political broadcast on the BBC warned of the dangers of Turkey joining the EU, enabling 15 million of its citizens to migrate to the UK. The British Prime Minister described refugees living in squalid conditions of tents and mud in Calais as a “bunch of migrants.” The government has determined that the country will permit a maximum of 20,000 Syrian refugees to enter in the next five years.
USA. The US government has agreed to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016 out of the 4.2 million Syrians forced to flee their homes in villages, towns and cities because of aerial bombing from the US, French, British and Russian sorties and the civil wars on the ground. In previous years, the US government has permitted less than 2000 Syrian refugees per annum. United Nations must recommend first the refugees to the US authorities. The US screening process includes the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and Defence Department. It takes around two years before the US decides on admitting a refugee.
(see next blog for Part Two of Two)