Carl Schmitt and the New Right
by Bernd Reismann, 2005
The intellectual New Right may be more a loose network of persons, political projects, publications and publishers than an organization or party. Carl Schmitt redefined democracy as the “identity of ruler and ruled.” He started from the unity and homogeneity of the people’s will with the will of the government and the state. State and people merge in the rule of the people.
The plebiscite is used to overcome and delegitimate pluralism and parliamentary democracy. The goal is creating an identity democracy based on ethnic and political homogeneity.
From the Constitutional State to the Security State
by Giorgio Agamben, April 2016 and translated from the German in Luxemburg 1/2016:
The state of emergency is that arrangement by which totalitarian powers were established in Europe. Hitler’s first official act after his nomination (to Reich chancellor) was the proclamation of the state of emergency that was never retracted (during the NS rule). If one is amazed at the crimes committed with impunity in Germany by the Nazis, one forgets that these actions were absolutely “legal” because the land was subjected to a state of emergency and basic rights and freedom rights were suspended.
The security state is neither part of the constitutional state nor what Michel Foucault called the disciplinary society.. The security state is permanently grounded on fear and must keep fear alive at any cost because it has its essential function and legitimacy from it…
The three characteristics of the security state-maintaining a generalized state of anxiety, de-politization of citizens and renunciation on any legal certainty-should make us think. The security state to which we are moving does the opposite of what it promises. While security means the absence of worry (Latin sine cura – without worry – as the root for the French word securite), the security state foments permanent fear and terror. The security state is a police state that increases the police’s freedom of decision by suspending the power of the judiciary. The state of emergency that becomes daily routine and acts as the sovereign more and more becomes the normal case.
The security state breaks out of familiar politics to move to an indeterminate zone where public and private whose borders are hard to define become ever more blurred – through the increasing de-politization of citizens.
Right Wing Populism and the Social Question
by Nikolaus Kowall and Fabian Lindner, April 17, 2017
Fascism also promised an alternative to unfettered markets
The scary thing is that this modern right-wing strategy is not modern at all, but the very principle of 20th century fascism: it and national socialism already offered “herrenmensch social democracy” in the 1920s and 1930s. Widely overlooked today, this aspect explains much of its appeal at the time – when there was almost no welfare state in Europe and the economy was devastated by war, inflation and financial crises.
Fascists identified real economic and social problems of the time, using them to build nationalistic mass political movements while many socialists were still fighting each other over the right interpretation of Karl Marx. In her book “The primacy of politics”, Sheri Berman argues that modern right-wing extremism and social democracy even share the same ideological roots in the late 19th century debate among socialists over “revisionism”. Revisionists argued that socialists should not cling to the Marxist idea that only proletarian revolution could improve workers’ lives. Socialists should and could improve the social and economic situation of the masses by good policies in the here and now. And this required allies in agriculture and the enlightened bourgeoisie.
The revisionist reasoning led to two kinds of solutions: modern social democracy on the one hand and fascism on the other. Both shared the idea that not all of capitalism was bad. They liked its dynamism and the ensuing economic growth which led to real wage gains for many workers – quite contrary to what Marx had predicted. They thought that good politics could harness capitalism’s dynamism and get rid of its bad side-effects like the unequal distribution of income and the chaotic up and downs of the business cycle. Both modern social democrats and fascists believed in the primacy of politics over markets, but not in the total abandonment of the market economy.
The fundamental difference between both movements was, of course, the ways they chose to achieve the primacy of politics: Social democrats believed in parliamentary democracy and human rights; fascists despised human rights and believed in a single omnipotent leader.
As Berman shows, Benito ‘Il Duce’ Mussolini was an important direct link between revisionist socialism and fascism: starting out as a fierce revisionist socialist, he actively participated in socialist debates about the way forward for the labour movement. Later on he would indeed fulfil many of the revisionist demands in fascist Italy: Berman writes that Italy’s welfare state was much more expansive than what Swedish social democrats achieved when they played by the democratic rulebook.
She argues that Hitler’s “national socialism” indeed incorporated many elements of revisionist socialism: The Nazis expanded the rudimentary German welfare state and achieved full employment. This is what gained them legitimacy among Germans who did not then see what price they had to pay later.
Trump is the Laughingstock of the World by Scott Ritter, Sept 26