The Class Structure of Fascism (Gluckstein, Rutar, Nikčević)

Marxists as well as (liberal and critical) sociologists usually explain fascism as purely the ideology and movement of the so-called “middle class”, i.e. the class of white-collar workers, state employees, small shopkeepers and petty entrepreneurs. Gramsci and Trotsky both referred to this middling class in their explanation of the emergence of fascism. The same goes for Harold Lasswell, Franz Neumann, and Erich Fromm who, following Lasswell, wrote that the Nazi ideology was warmly welcomed by the lower stratum of the middle class, which is constituted of petty shopkeepers, artisans and white-collar workers. These theorists were joined by such sociological giants like Talcott Parsons and Seymour Martin Lipset after the war. They claimed that fascism is, essentially, a middle class movement which expresses disdain over both capitalism and socialism or big business and big trade unions. There was an agreement between Marxists and liberal sociologists that there was more than simply one set of reasons for such middling ideology: the most important being the relative privilege of the middle class, which broke away from the working class because of status panic to which it succumbed under the pressures of economic crisis.

The purpose of the panel is to present and examine both classical Marxist and liberal-sociological explanations of fascism as the ideology and movement of the middle class. Even though empirical data confirms the thesis that fascism was at first supported mostly by state employees, large peasants and independent entrepreneurs, it is not true that the average white-collar worker was as infatuated with fascism as the former. What is more, it seems unsatisfactory to refer only to the middle class if we are to convincingly explain the emergence of such a complex a phenomenon as fascism. The working class, composed primarily of industrial workers, definitely wasn’t the core of the NSDAP, but it seems that it was a part of it and this should not be overlooked.

Speakers:
Donny Gluckstein:The Class Structure of Fascism
Tibor Rutar:Social and Class Roots of Fascism
Dragan Nikčević:How Much Fascism is in Clerofascism?

Donny Gluckstein – The Class Structure of Fascism

Who is most susceptible to fascist ideology depends on social experience and the specific circumstances of the time. German Nazism is a useful case study as the racism, the swastika, and the methods of street violence are seen as a key reference point for many modern fascist movements, even if this is publicly denied. True to their ideology, the Nazis claimed to appeal to all sections of society equally – the Volksgemeinschaft. This, like everything else they said, was a lie. Nazi propaganda skilfully exploited popular discontent, but the movement had very varying impacts on particular groups in society.

Donny Gluckstein is a lecturer in history at Edinburgh College. His books include Nazism, Capitalism and the Working Class and A People’s History of the Second World War. He is a supporter of Unite Against Fascism, a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, and national salaries convenor of his trade union, the EIS.

Tibor Rutar – Social and Class Roots of Fascism

My paper is divided into two parts. In the first part, I’ll briefly explore a notable Neo-Weberian work on the topic of German and Italian fascism: Michael Mann’s Fascists (2004). My contention is that there are multiple passages in the book, in which Mann despite his pluralist Weberian framework hints at a non-reductive materialist explanation of the phenomenon; much like Weber himself, Mann in spite of his methodology sometimes accords causal primacy to material interests, social-property relations and class struggle. In other words, even though Mann is scathingly critical of materialist »class theorists«, as he calls them, he is in many concrete instances closer to some of them than he would like. In the second part, I’ll present classical Marxist and liberal class analyses of fascism that point to lower-middle class, i.e. white-collar workers, as the backbone of Nazism. This, I argue, is empirically false, as was shown by various data reviews in the past decades.

Tibor Rutar is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a member of the Institute for Labour Studies and of the editorial board of the Slovenian journal Borec. His PhD thesis is on the topic of Weberian and Post-Structuralist critiques of the core methodological and theoretical claims of historical materialism.

Dragan Nikčevič – How much Fascism is there in Clerofascism?

It is often said that the Civil War in Spain represents the first great battle against fascism in Europe. But, as Pierre Broué takes note in the opening chapters of The Revolution and the Civil War in Spain, co-authored with Elime Temine and still widely considered the magnum opus on the subject, the conflagration is also the last great battle against what the modern age remembers as the ancien régime.

The coalition between fascists and Spain’s old aristocracy and clergy represents a substantially different constellation of forces, compared on the other hand to contemporary Germany, where the old guard of Junker elites bore little love towards the NSDAP, but could also do much less about it, culminating in the failed July 20th plot of 1944.

Our aim is to approach the important question of the social stratification of fascist regimes through a comparative analysis with societies in which pro-fascist elements also played an important political factor, but are for a multitude of reasons considered not quite the same thing. Though ambiguous, the term “clerical fascism” has stuck, and may apply to cases such as Franco’s Spain, Dollfuss’ Austria, Piłsudski’s Poland and so forth.

We will attempt to grasp their societal differences through a variety of conceptual approaches, such as pseudo/anti/systemic movements and forces, political vs. organic nationalism, and centre vs. (semi)periphery.Dragan Nikčević is a student of Sociology of Culture and of History as well as a member of the programme committee of the Institute of Labour Studies.

Dragan Nikčević is a student of Sociology of Culture and of History as well as a member of the programme committee of the Institute of Labour Studies.

Razredna struktura fašizma

Marksisti pa tudi (liberalni in kritični) sociologi fašizem kot ideologijo in gibanje pogosto razlagajo izključno kot produkt »srednjega razreda«, tj. razreda beloovratniških delavcev, državnih uslužbencev, malih trgovcev in samostojnih podjetnikov. Tako Gramsci kot Trotski se pri razlagi vznika fašizma vsaj izvorno sklicujeta na ta vmesni razred, ki naj bi bil razpet med kapitalom in delom. Podobno razmišlja politolog Harold Lasswell ali pa Franz Neumann in Erich Fromm, ki je, sledeč prvemu, zapisal, da je nacistično ideologijo vneto pozdravil nižji sloj srednjega razreda, sestavljen iz lastnikov manjših prodajaln, obrtnikov in beloovratniških delavcev. Po drugi svetovni vojni so se tem teoretikom pridružili še sociološki velikani, kot sta Talcott Parsons in Seymour Martin Lipset, ki fašizem obravnavajo kot gibanje srednjega razreda, njegovega izražanja nezadovoljstva tako nad kapitalizmom kot tudi nad socializmom, tako nad velikim biznisom kot tudi nad velikimi sindikati (Lipset). Marksisti in liberalni sociologi so se oboji strinjali, da je več razlogov za takšno vmesno ideologijo; najpomembnejši je bil relativni materialni privilegij srednjega razreda, zaradi katerega je ta razred v luči ekonomske krize večkrat podlegel statusni paniki in se oddaljil od delavskega razreda.

Namen panela bo predstaviti in proučiti klasične marksistične razlage fašizma kot ideologije in gibanja srednjega razreda ter liberalne sociološke teorije, ki se vsaj načeloma strinjajo s prvimi. Čeprav empirični podatki potrjujejo tezo, da so fašizem na začetku podpirali predvsem državni uslužbenci, večji kmeti in samostojni podjetniki, ne drži, da so se tem pridruževali tudi običajni beloovratniški delavci. Obenem se zdi, da zgolj sklicevanje na srednji razred ne zadostuje, če želimo prepričljivo pojasniti vznik in razvoj zapletenega pojava, kot je fašizem. Delavski razred, sestavljen predvsem iz industrijskih delavcev, ni bil v jedru nacistične stranke NSDAP, bil pa je njen sestavni del, česar ne bi smeli zanemarjati.

Govorci:
Donny Gluckstein:Razredna struktura fašizma
Tibor Rutar:Družbeni in razredni temelji fašizma
Dragan Nikčević: “Koliko fašizma je v klerofašizmu?”

Donny Gluckstein – Razredna struktura fašizma

Kdo najlažje podleže fašistični ideologiji je odvisno do družbene izkušnje in posebnih razmer v posameznem obdobju. Nemški nacizem je uporaben kot študija primera, saj so rasizem, svastika in metode uličnega nasilja ključne referenčne točke za mnoga moderna fašistična gibanja, četudi to javno zanikajo. Nacisti so, zvesti svoji ideologiji, trdili, da služijo vsem platem družbe – Volksgemeinschaft. To, tako kot vse ostalo, kar so rekli, je bila laž. Nacistična propaganda je spretno izkoristila ljudsko nezadovoljstvo, vendar pa je imelo gibanje zelo različne vplive na različne družbene skupine.

Donny Gluckstein predava zgodovino na višji šoli Edinburgh. Je avtor knjig “Nazism, Capitalism and the Working Class ” in “A People’s History of the Second World War”. Je podpornik organizacije “Unite Against Fascism”, član “Socialist Workers’ Party”, in nacionalni zaupnik pri svojem sindikatu “EIS”.

Tibor Rutar – Družbeni in razredni temelji fašizma

Moj prispevek je razdeljen na dva dela. V prvem delu bom na kratko preučil pomembno neowebrovsko delo na temo nemškega in italijanskega fašizma: knjigo Fascists (2004) Michaela Manna. Moja teza je, da v knjigi Mann navkljub svojemu pluralističnemu webrovskemu okviru ponekod nakaže neredukcionistično materialistično razlago tega pojava; Mann, podobno kot Weber, materialnim interesom, družbenim lastninskim odnosom in razrednemu boju v nasprotju s svojo metodologijo včasih pripiše vzročni primat. Z drugimi besedami, čeprav je Mann izrazito kritičen do materialističnih »razrednih teoretikov«, kot jim pravi, jim je v konkretnih primerih bližje, kot bi želel. V drugem delu bom predstavil klasične marksistične in liberalne razredne analize fašizma, po katerih je nižji srednji razred, tj. beloovratniški delavci, hrbtenica nacizma. To je, kot je pokazalo več podatkovnih pregledov v zadnjih desetletjih, empirično zmotno.

Tibor Rutar je doktorski kandidat na Filozofski fakulteti, član programskega odbora IDŠ in uredniškega odbora revije Borec. Disertacijo piše na temo webrovskih in poststrukturalističnih kritik ključnih metodoloških in teoretskih trditev historičnega materializma.

Dragan Nikčevič – Koliko fašizma je v klerofašizmu?

Pogosto pravimo, da predstavlja državljanska voljna v Španiji prvo veliko bitko proti fašizmu v Evropi. Vendar, kot opozarja Pierre Broué v uvodnih poglavjih Revolucije in državljanske vojne v Španiji, ki jo je napisal skupaj z Elimom Teminom in ki se je še vedno drži sloves magnum opus-a za omenjeno temo, gre hkrati za poslednjo veliko bitko proti tistemu, kar moderna doba pomni kot ancien régime.

Koalicija med fašisti ter staro špansko aristokracijo in duhovščino predstavlja bistveno drugačno razmerje sil v primerjavi s sočasno Nemčijo, kjer ni stara garda pruskih junkerjev gojila nikakršne ljubezni do NSDAP, vendar tudi ni zmogla spremeniti stanja stvari, nenazadnje z neuspelo zaroto 20. julija v letu 1944.

Naš cilj je lotiti se pomembnega vprašanja socialne stratifikacije fašističnih režimov skozi primerjalno analizo z družbami, v katerih so profašistični elementi prav tako igrali pomembno politično vlogo, vendar jih zaradi množice razlogov ne moremo enačiti z njimi. Čeprav nima nedvoumnega pomena, se je zanje prijel izraz klerofašizem, ki ga lahko uporabimo za primere, kot so Francova Španija, Dolfussova Avstrija, Poljska Piłsudskega in tako dalje.

Družbene razlike med omenjenimi bomo skušali zapopasti skozi vrsto konceptualnih pristopov, kot so psevdo/proti/sistemska gibanja in sile, politični in organski nacionalizem ter centri in (pol)periferije.

Dragan Nikčević je študent sociologije kulture in zgodovine ter član programskega odbora Inštituta za delavske študije.

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