19/02/2020 by socialistfight
Ian Donovan’s Infantile Disorder That Bankrupts Marxism
By Dov Winter
Ian Donovan, who is supposedly a veteran Trotskyist say that Zionism is fascism:
“And we should regard ‘Friends of Israel’ the way earlier generations regarded ‘friends’ of Hitler and the Third Reich. Political Zionism is racism and organised political Zionism equals racist terrorism equals fascism.” (https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=ian%20donovan&epa=SEARCH_BOX)
Ian lost the ability to distinguish between black and white and grey. It is plus or minus and nothing in between. He writes that Zionism equals fascism. There is certainly a component of fascists within Zionism, but to write that all Zionists are fascists makes Stalin’s crudeness the most refined Marxism. If Ian lived in Israel, he would denounce 95% of the Jewish working class who consider themselves Zionists, as fascists– a great way to “defeat” Zionism! Ian clearly allows his hatred of Zionism to dictate his political positions. The only result from this method is a deeper political degeneration as time progresses.
Does Zionism equals Fascism?
Israel has a parliamentary “democracy”. In reality it is bourgeois democracy for Jews. While Arabs can “vote”, they can vote only for candidates that Israel tolerates. Candidates who call for the defeat of Zionism and for the full return of the Palestinians to their homes that were expropriated by the Zionists, cannot run in elections, they are usually detained indefinitely.
There is no question that the Palestinians are oppressed and many are killed on a regular basis. But does this make Israel a fascist state? Ian does not bother to use a scientific Marxist method that explains what is fascism, and he does not bother to explain why Israel is fascist from a Marxist perspective, because this would undermine his contention that Israel is a fascist state.
What is Fascism?
Every fascist movement normally contains elements of strong reactionary nationalism (primarily White Nationalism), that is used by the fascists to incite murder and genocide against oppressed minorities. This is normally done on the road for the annihilation of the working class vanguard and working class organizations. Fascism is the last resort of Capital, when the “normal” methods of controlling the working class within the clutches of capitalism do not longer work; in particular when the working class is on the ascendency through massive strikes, and other militant actions that threaten capitalism. Thus, fascism is the last resort of Capital to stop the working class through brutal means of destroying the workers organs of struggle and by killing the vanguard of the workers and its leaders. Trotsky writes that:
“Fascism cannot intrench itself in power without annihilating the workers’ organizations. The parliament is the main arena of the social democracy. The system of Fascism is based upon the destruction of parliamentarism.” (https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1932/01/whatnext2.htm)
And Trotsky elaborates:
“At the moment that the “normal” police and military resources of the bourgeois dictatorship, together with their parliamentary screens, no longer suffice to hold society in a state of equilibrium – the turn of the Fascist regime arrives. Through the Fascist agency, capitalism sets in motion the masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie, and bands of the de-classed and demoralized lumpen proletariat; all the countless human beings whom finance capital itself has brought to desperation and frenzy. From Fascism the bourgeoisie demands a thorough job; once it has resorted to methods of civil war, it insists on having peace for a period of years. And the Fascist agency by utilizing the petty bourgeoisie as a battering ram, by overwhelming all obstacles in its path, does a thorough job. After Fascism is victorious, finance capital gathers into its hands, as in a vice of steel, directly and immediately, all the organs and institutions of sovereignty, the executive, administrative and educational powers of the state: the entire state apparatus together with the army, the municipalities, the universities, the schools, the press, the trade unions, and the co-operatives.” (Ibid)
“the gist of Fascism and its task consist in a complete suppression of all workers’ organizations and in the prevention of their revival. In a developed capitalist society this goal cannot be achieved by police methods alone. There is only one method for it and that is by directly opposing the pressure of the proletariat – the moment it weakens – by the pressure of the desperate masses of the petty bourgeoisie. It is this particular system of capitalist reaction that has entered history under the name of Fascism.” (Ibid)
In Marxist terminology fascism is a clearly defined development. It directly relates to the class struggle and it is used by capitalism when “normal” means of stopping the working class do not work. The crazed petty bourgeoisie is critical for fascism, it is used as a demolition bar against militant workers and socialists. Some classic examples of this is Germany of course, and Chile in 1973. When the Chilean working class was surging, and the government of Social Democracy under the leadership of Allende could not stop the working class’ surge, Chilean fascism took power. The fascists killed many thousands of workers who were fighting for workers rights and were resisting capitalism. The bottom line is that when Social Democracy and the CP become useless in stopping the workers for Capital, a fascist dictatorship is summoned to crush the workers.
Let remember once again the essence of fascism: its main task is to destroy the working class organizations (unions, etc.), kill all the workers leaders and impose a long brutal dictatorship until Capital does not need it anymore. Fascism normally use bigoty and extreme nationalism to distract the working class and direct its energy against the oppressed minority. Fascism uses the most backward elements of the working class, together with the backward sections of the petty bourgeoisie to kill “impure” people such as Jews and Roma (Gypsies). But there is no reason why Jews cannot be fascists. There were fascist organizations in Israel such as Meir Kahane and his Jewish Defense League (JDL). But this does not mean that the entire Zionist movement is fascist.
Israel never needed fascism to stop the mobilizations of the working class. There were plenty of strikes in Israel, including many wildcat strikes not authorized by the Histadrut’s bureaucracy. But the Israeli capitalists have not needed fascism to smash the workers mobilizations—which is the most fundamental requirement for a fascist regime. If the Zionist regime in Israel was fascist, myself together with many Leftists and possible liberals, would be executed by the fascist regime. But for all Jews, including every Jewish worker, Israel is not fascist country, but a bourgeois “democracy”. So, does Israel have a dual regime—a bourgeois democracy for Jews and a fascist dictatorship for the Palestinians? If that what Ian thinks, he confuses fascism with oppressive regimes. Not every oppressive regime, including a brutal dictatorship is fascist. The brutality of a regime by itself is not a sufficient criterion for a fascist regime that annihilates the workers organizations, its leaders and all militant workers. There are right-wing Bonapartist regimes, in which the military take power and kill its opponents including leaders from socialist parties and unions leaders. Although there is a similarity between fascist regimes and right-wing Bonapartist regimes, the Bonapartist regime is not necessary created by annihilating the unions and all workers organizations. Latin America had a number such Bonapartist regimes.
Ian’s method is daft. If we take his method to its logical conclusion, most Jewish workers in Israel must be fascists, because, according to Ian, Zionism is fascism, and most Jewish workers are Zionists, and thus, they supposedly believe in a fascist ideology. But it is also not true that Israel has a fascist regime for the Palestinians and bourgeois democracy for the Jews. A fascist regime is used against all workers who have some class consciousness, and not only against the most oppressed layers. So, a fascist regime in Israel would brutalize anti-fascist Jewish workers and Palestinians. And fascism certainly destroy all independent workers organs and unions; and it would destroy all democratic rights, which Jewish workers still have.
In capitalism nations are divided into oppressor imperialist nations, and oppressed semi-colonies and colonies. Lenin who developed this definition, never wrote that oppressor nations must be fascist, even though some of the massacres done by oppressor nations against the oppressed in their territories can be as brutal as the oppression under a fascist regime. Again, fascism is a specific regime that rests upon the total destruction of the workers’ parties, unions, etc. There can be fake unions under fascism that run and totally controlled by the fascist state. But this is another topic.
The topic is Ian’s incorrect and dangerous definition of the Zionist regime in Israel. If we had a revolutionary party in Israel with Ian’s politics, it would be a laughingstock. It would totally alienate the Jewish workers that can break with Zionism and join their Palestinian brothers and sisters in the struggle against Zionism. After all, why does a confused Zionist worker, who has not as of yet break with Zionism, want to join a party that call him/her a fascist. Thus, Ian’s politics will fail miserably. His method cannot win a single Jewish worker. And whether we like it or not, a good portion of Jewish workers must be won to overthrow the Zionist regime in Israel. Ian’s politics are only obstacles that would slow the prospect of defeating Zionism.