Recorded Talks | Biography
This book invites those immersed in the prevailing orthodoxy of “democratic capitalism” to entertain iconoclastic views, to question the shibboleths of free-market mythology and the persistence of both right and left anticommunism, and to consider anew, with a receptive but not uncritical mind, the historic efforts of the much maligned Reds and other revolutionaries.
To an impressive extent the political orthodoxy that demonizes communism permeates the entire political perspective. Even people on the Left have internalized the liberal/conservative ideology that equates fascism and communism as equally evil totalitaran twins, two major mass movements of the twentieth century. This book attempts to show the enormous differences between fascism and communism both past and present, both in theory and practice, especially in regard to questions of social equality, private capital accumulation, and class interest.
The orthodox mythology also would have us believe that the Western democracies (with the United States leading the way) have opposed both totalitarian systems with equal vigor. In fact, U.S. leaders have been dedicated above all to making the world safe for global corporate investment and the private profit system. Pursuant of this goal, they have used fascism to protect capitalism, while claiming to be saving democracy from communism. In the pages ahead I discuss how capitalism propagates and profits from fascism, the value of revolution in the advancement of the human condition, the internal and external causes and effects of the destruction of communism, the continuing relevance of Marxism and class analysis, and the heartless nature of corporate-class power.
Over a century ago, in his great work Les Mise’rables Victor Hugo asked, “Will the future arrive?” He was thinking of a future of social justice, free from the "terrible shadows" of oppression imposed by the few upon the great suffering mass of humankind. Of late, some scribes have announced “the end of history.” With the overthrow of communism, the monumental struggle between alternative systems has ended, they say. Capitalism’s victory is total. No great transformations are in the offing. The global free market is here to stay. What you see is what you are going to get, now and always. This time the class struggle is definitely over. So Hugo's question is answered: the future has indeed arrived, though not the one he had hoped for.
This intellectually anemic end-of-history theory was hailed as a brilliant exigesis and accorded a generous reception by commentators and reviewers of the corporate controlled media. It served the official worldview perfectly well, saying what the higher circles had been telling us for generations: that the struggle between classes is not an everyday reality but an outdated notion, that an untrammeled capitalism is here to stay now and forever, that the future belongs to those who control the present.
But the question we really should be asking is, do we have a future at all? More than ever, with the entire planet itself at stake, it becomes necessary to impose a reality check on those who would plunder our limited ecological resources in the pursuit of limitless profits, those who would squander away our birthright and extinguish our liberties in their uncompromising pursuit of self-gain.
History teaches us that all ruling elites try to portray themselves as the natural and durable order of things, even ones that are in serious crisis, that threaten to devour their environmental base in order to continually recreate their hierarchal structure of power and privilege. And all ruling elites are scornful and intolerant of alternative viewpoints.
The truth is an uncomfortable venue for those who pretend to serve our society while in fact serving only themselves--at our expense. I hope this effort will chip away at the Big Lie. The truth may not set us free, as the Bible claims, but it is an important first step in that direction.
Copyright © 1992 - 2012 Michael Parenti. All rights reserved.