The Mass Psychology of Fascism in the 21st Century – part 11 – the crisis of global transnational capitalism and nationalism

“Can 21st century fascism resolve the capitalist crisis?”

In this chapter I draw from some points made by William Robinson in his article in March 2020, which argues that a global police state and 21st century fascism are the responses of an international ruling class to the crisis of the world capitalist system.

I argue that there is truth in this, and point out that, in particular Israel is both an exception so far because of the dominance of Zionism ideology at the state political level and is also an important global player because it facilitates permanent war – one mechanism for sustaining outlets for profitable transnational investment for over-accumulated capital, through its nationalist and expansionist polyvalent blend of secular right-wing and religious (Christian as well as Jewish) fundamental fear-mongering and myth-reliant xenophobia.

Openly fascist tendencies there may be but fascism also hides behind many cloaks of invisibility and propagandist myths: state violence for our own good, national security. Etc. the biblical promises, archaeological ‘findings’.

The crisis of over-accumulation of capital that cannot find a productive outlet for profitable investment and global inequalities and fear of revolution from below creates drives for fascism:

“ … the global economy is itself based more and more on the development and deployment of these systems of warfare, social control, and repression simply as a means of making profit and continuing to accumulate capital in the face of stagnation – what I term militarised accumulation, or accumulation by repression.”

Permanent warfare. This is only possible because made publicly acceptable as a pragmatic solution to a) our discursively exaggerated insecurity and dissolving sense of identity, and b) the discursively exaggerated sense of threat of the other, and its result racism or xenophobia. For example the oft cited but spurious threat of Palestinian child suicide bombers to justify state sponsored violence.

Wherein the collateral harms to the Palestinian civilian population is simply not-valued at an affective, or emotional level, at all.

“Moreover, the global police state is centrally aimed at coercive exclusion of surplus humanity. The mechanisms of coercive exclusion include mass incarceration and the spread of prison-industrial complexes, pervasive policing, anti-immigrant legislation and deportation regimes, gated communities and ghettos controlled by armies of private security guards and technologically advanced surveillance systems, ubiquitous, often paramilitarised policing, ‘non-lethal’ crowd control methods, and mobilisation of the culture industries and state ideological apparatuses to dehumanise victims of global capitalism as dangerous, depraved, and culturally degenerate.”

. In Israel’s case its survival as a (institutionally racist) Jewish Nation depends upon ensuring the productive labour of the nation is Jewish necessitating the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their lands (as envisioned by the zionist Herzl in 1895).

“The private lands in the territories granted us we must gradually take out of the hands of the owners. The poorer amongst the [indigenous] population we try to transfer quietly outside our borders by providing them with work in the transit countries, but in our country we deny them all work.”

Theodor Herzl, Selected Works vol. 7, book I (Tel Aviv: Newman, 1928–29), 86. A slightly different English translation of the same text is available online at

Zionist expansionism is also driven by a transnational capitalist class – to coercively exclude surplus humanity:

“As with its 20th century predecessor, the project (to sustain economic growth, exclude surplus humanity and prevent revolution – my addition) hinges on the psycho-social mechanism of displacing mass fear and anxiety at a time of acute capitalist crisis towards scapegoated communities, such as immigrant workers, Muslims and refugees in the United States and Europe, southern African immigrants in South Africa, Muslims and lower castes in India, Palestinians in Palestine/Israel, or the darker skinned and disproportionately impoverished population in Brazil.”

This also provides work and a sense of valued if uncertain identity for the insecure – in the 21st century both working classes and middle classes facing economic recession and/or unemployment.

The ‘wages of fascism’ are, I suggest, entirely psychic (self-identification through subjectivisation) based on a selfish self-entrepreneurial fantasy of socio-economic benefit to come – which of course, is not going to happen.

“Yet Trump’s populism and protectionism has no policy substance; it is almost entirely symbolic – hence the significance of his fanatical ‘build the wall’ rhetoric, symbolically essential to sustain a social base for which the state can provide little or no material bribe.”

The wall symbolizes security – economic and otherwise for those whose security the state and the TCC is steadily eroding.

In Israel Zionist settler-colonialists and their political backers have merged TCC and the state so that fascism has indeed emerged. Israel, remember provides for the TCC, the much needed productive outlets for profitable investment – of the technologies of permanent war and coercive exclusion of surplus humanity.

For an effective resistance against fascism, it needs to be outed, and made visible for what it really is, (and note it is only different from 20th century fascism because even the nation-based middle and working classes are going to be coercively excluded, as surplus, from economic security). This requires identification of the ways in which the features around which fascism congeals, are working today, even when they are being made (almost) invisible by propaganda. And finally, a call for recognition of the power of ideology to subjectivise the soul, and a call for ideologies that value the other, with love and compassion, over the selfish desire for surplus life, land, wealth, security or holiness (grace).

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