Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #649 The Corporate State Revisited

MP3: Side 1 | Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: Revis­it­ing mate­r­i­al first pre­sent­ed in Feb­ru­ary of 1990, the pro­gram com­pares key fea­tures of Mus­solin­i’s Cor­po­rate State with salient aspects of the polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic land­scape of George W. Bush’s “Own­er­ship Soci­ety.” Begin­ning with dis­cus­sion of Trea­sury Sec­re­tary (for­mer Chair­man and CEO of Gold­man Sachs) Hen­ry Paulson’s $700 bil­lion bailout pro­pos­al for Amer­i­can eco­nom­ic insti­tu­tions, the broad­cast notes Sean Olen­der’s claim that the pro­gram’s exemp­tion from judi­cial review con­sti­tutes fas­cism.

Much of the pro­gram reit­er­ates mate­r­i­al intro­duced in “Uncle Sam and Il Duce.” High­light­ing the work of jour­nal­ist, author and social crit­ic George Seldes on the major aspects of Mus­solin­i’s regime, the comparisons–originally with Ronald Rea­gan’s and George H.W. Bush’s administrations–are more unnerv­ing­ly rel­e­vant today. Pub­licly rep­re­sent­ed as a pop­ulist regime that would ben­e­fit the major­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion, Mus­solin­i’s cor­po­rate state was actu­al­ly a “spoils sys­tem,” designed to reward those mem­bers of the eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal elite who had ele­vat­ed Mus­soli­ni to promi­nence. Com­pare the fea­tures of fas­cist Italy’s eco­nom­ic land­scape with those of George W. Bush’s Amer­i­ca! The broad­cast con­cludes with James Stew­art Mar­t­in’s 1950 warn­ing that fas­cism might come to Amer­i­ca as “a calm judg­ment of busi­ness neces­si­ty” made by busi­ness­men, who are “hon­or­able men”!

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Excerpts from Mus­solin­i’s book The Cor­po­rate State; Amer­i­can jour­nal­is­tic white­wash­ing of the mul­ti­ple fail­ures and bru­tal exe­cu­tion of Il Duce’s “Cor­po­rate State;” the mur­der of Gia­co­mo Mat­teot­ti, the Ital­ian social­ist politi­cian who exposed the fraud inher­ent in Mus­solin­i’s regime, and its col­lu­sion with Ital­ian and inter­na­tion­al big busi­ness; the delib­er­ate bud­getary mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion con­duct­ed by Mus­soli­ni in order to mask the fis­cal dis­as­ter wrought by his gov­ern­ment; Mus­solin­i’s pro­pos­al to abol­ish the inher­i­tance tax in order to reward his wealthy back­ers; Mus­solin­i’s gov­ern­men­tal res­cue of failed com­pa­nies owned by some of those wealthy sup­port­ers; invest­ment in Mus­solin­i’s cor­po­rate state by Amer­i­can cor­po­rate inter­ests.

1. Not­ing that Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Hen­ry Paulson’s pro­pos­al for a $700 bil­lion fed­er­al bailout pro­gram for ail­ing finan­cial insti­tu­tions imple­ments com­plete exemp­tion of the pro­gram from judi­cial review, op-ed colum­nist Sean Olen­der asserts that the pro­pos­al con­sti­tutes fas­cism.

“Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Paulson’s edict to cre­ate a $700 bil­lion fund to buy worth­less mort­gage secu­ri­ties from agi­tat­ed wealthy bond investors is noth­ing short of a final step on the path to the end of the repub­lic. The sec­re­tary claims he can only be effec­tive if his deci­sions are beyond judi­cial review.

Our gov­ern­ment and its own­ers appear to be test­ing how much the Amer­i­can pub­lic will tol­er­ate. A few years ago, no one could have imag­ined that the silent major­i­ty would qui­et­ly accept thefts of this mag­ni­tude from a gov­ern­ment that stopped tiny pay­ments to sin­gle moth­ers with poor chil­dren in the name of wel­fare reform because the pro­gram’s $10 bil­lion cost was break­ing the fed­er­al bud­get.

This isn’t social­ism, it’s fas­cism. . . .”

“The End of the Repub­lic” by Sean Olen­der; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 9/23/2008; p. B7.

2. Next, the pro­gram high­lights the fun­da­men­tals of Mussolini’s fas­cist state—characterized by Il Duce as “the cor­po­rate state.”

“ON THE CORPORATE STATE: Res­o­lu­tion draft­ed by the Head of the Ital­ian Gov­ern­ment and read by him on Novem­ber 13th 1933, before the Assem­bly of the Nation­al Coun­cil of Cor­po­ra­tions, on the eve of his impor­tant speech. ‘The Nation­al coun­cil of Cor­po­ra­tions: ‘defines Cor­po­ra­tions as the instru­ment which, under the aegis of the State, car­ries out the com­plete organ­ic and total­i­tar­i­an reg­u­la­tion of pro­duc­tion with a view to the expan­sion of the wealth, polit­i­cal pow­er and well-being of the Ital­ian peo­ple. [The Nation­al Coun­cil of Cor­po­ra­tions] declares that the num­ber of Cor­po­ra­tions to be formed for the main branch­es of pro­duc­tion should, on prin­ci­ple, be ade­quate to meet the real needs of nation­al econ­o­my. [The Nation­al Coun­cil of Cor­po­ra­tions] estab­lish­es that the gen­er­al staff of each Cor­po­ra­tion shall include rep­re­sen­ta­tives of State admin­is­tra­tion, of the Fas­cist Par­ty, of cap­i­tal, of labor and of experts. [The Nation­al Coun­cil of Cor­po­ra­tions] assigns to the Cor­po­ra­tions as their spe­cif­ic tasks: con­cil­i­a­tion, con­sul­ta­tion (com­pul­so­ry on prob­lems of major impor­tance) and the pro­mul­ga­tion, through the Nation­al Coun­cil of Cor­po­ra­tions, of laws reg­u­lat­ing the eco­nom­ic activ­i­ties of the coun­try. [The Nation­al Coun­cil of Cor­po­ra­tions] leaves to the Grand Coun­cil of Fas­cism the deci­sion on the fur­ther devel­op­ments, of a con­sti­tu­tion­al and polit­i­cal order, which should result from the effec­tive for­ma­tion and prac­ti­cal work­ing of the Cor­po­ra­tions.”

The Cor­po­rate State; by Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni; Valec­chi Pub­lish­ing; copy­right 1938 [SC]; pp. 7–8.

3. The pro­gram focus­es on the work of the late inves­tiga­tive reporter George Seldes, specif­i­cal­ly his writ­ings about Mus­solin­i’s regime: Can These Things Be? (Brew­er and War­ren; [HC] 1931); Facts and Fas­cism (In Fact, Inc.; [HC] 1943); and pri­mar­i­ly, Saw­dust Cae­sar: The Untold Sto­ry of Mus­soli­ni and Fas­cism. Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed as a reporter in Il Duce’s Italy, Seldes was oblig­ed to leave the coun­try under pres­sure his report­ing on the regime’s fraud and col­lu­sion.

Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance are the fright­en­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties between the key fea­tures of Mus­solin­i’s Cor­po­rate State and George W. Bush’s “Own­er­ship Soci­ety” not­ed above!

4. Con­clud­ing with a warn­ing pre­sent­ed in 1950, the pro­gram echoes James Stew­art Mar­t­in’s obser­va­tion that fas­cism might be brought to Amer­i­ca by some of the same busi­ness inter­ests who had helped to bring it to Europe. Charged with the ulti­mate­ly unsuc­cess­ful attempt to break up the car­tels (inter­na­tion­al monop­o­lies) that had sus­tained and col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Third Reich, Mar­tin not­ed that the imple­men­ta­tion of Amer­i­can fas­cism might come as “a calm judg­ment of busi­ness neces­si­ty.”

“ . . . The moral of this is not that Ger­many is an inevitable men­ace, but that there are forces in our own coun­try which can make Ger­many a men­ace. And, more impor­tant­ly, they could cre­ate a men­ace of their own here at home, not through a delib­er­ate plot to bring about a polit­i­cal cat­a­stro­phe but as a calm judg­ment of ‘busi­ness neces­si­ty.’ The men who would do this are not Nazis, but busi­ness­men; not crim­i­nals, but hon­or­able men. [This is the last para­graph of the book!—D.E.]”

All Hon­or­able Men; by James Stew­art Mar­tin; Lit­tle Brown & Co. [HC]; 1943; p. 300.


3 comments for “FTR #649 The Corporate State Revisited”

  1. Fan­tas­tic! But Dave, you and Olen­der aren’t the only ones call­ing it fas­cism: http://tinyurl.com/4t9ev2

    Posted by Rob Coogan | September 30, 2008, 3:08 am
  2. Joseph, yep, the F‑word is always an easy thing to whip out in a fight, which is part of the point of cit­ing con­ser­v­a­tive Viguerie’s froth­ing con­tri­bu­tion.

    But in this case — name­ly Paulson’s attempt to bar con­gres­sion­al and judi­cial review to a pub­lic hand­out of $700 bil­lion, and the fear­ful hur­ry­ing of it all, with­out dis­cus­sion — we have a pret­ty com­pelling case for using the term in an accept­able struc­tur­al def­i­n­i­tion, syn­ony­mous with “cor­po­ratism,” as Mus­soli­ni pio­neered it. This I see as the hinge-point for Dave and for Olen­der.

    Speak­ing of debased, near-mean­ing­less terms, before the bill was defeat­ed Mon­day night, Kucinich made a some­what sim­i­lar point about “Over­sight.” What does it mean?

    These often impo­tent, straw-filled words, them­selves the pat­ri­mo­ny of decades of debased dis­course, neu­tral­iza­tion through media over­load, char­ac­ter­ize our cur­rent, accel­er­at­ed creep into [insert appro­pri­ate term here].

    Posted by Rob Coogan | October 1, 2008, 10:53 am
  3. Up is down, black is white, and ALEC total­ly sup­ports the rights of cities to set up their own pub­lic munic­i­pal broad­band ser­vices. Don’t believe it? Maybe this cease and desist let­ter will per­suade you:

    Nation­al Jour­nal
    Con­ser­v­a­tive Group ALEC Threat­ens Legal Action Against Tele­com Crit­ics
    As cor­po­rate mem­bers con­tin­ue to bolt, the con­tro­ver­sial non­prof­it is on a warpath to silence its crit­ics.
    By Dustin Volz

    April 10, 2015 Suf­fer­ing from an ongo­ing exo­dus of promi­nent cor­po­rate spon­sors, the right-wing Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil is not only try­ing to silence crit­ics who say the group denies cli­mate change. It is also threat­en­ing legal action against those attack­ing its tele­com pol­i­cy.

    Last month, attor­neys rep­re­sent­ing ALEC sent a cease-and-desist let­terto Cre­do Mobile, a pro­gres­sive wire­less car­ri­er, ask­ing it to stop mak­ing claims that it oppos­es the expan­sion of munic­i­pal broad­band ser­vices.

    “We demand that you cease mak­ing inac­cu­rate state­ments regard­ing ALEC, and imme­di­ate­ly remove all false or mis­lead­ing mate­r­i­al from the Work­ing Assets and Cre­do Action or relat­ed web­sites and action pages with­in five busi­ness days,” the let­ter, dat­ed March 5, reads. “Should you not do so, and/or con­tin­ue to pub­lish any defam­a­to­ry state­ments, we will con­sid­er any and all nec­es­sary legal action to pro­tect ALEC.”

    ALEC con­tends that it does not oppose city broad­band but only advo­cates that cer­tain “steps” be required before a munic­i­pal­i­ty can pro­vide tele­com ser­vices. Addi­tion­al­ly, ALEC takes issue with Cre­do label­ing it as an orga­ni­za­tion that lob­bies state leg­is­la­tures at all, argu­ing that it is mere­ly a “think-tank for state-based pub­lic pol­i­cy issues and poten­tial solu­tions.”

    ALEC made the let­ter avail­able on its web­site this week short­ly after The Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed that the group had sent sep­a­rate cease-and-desist let­ters to Com­mon Cause and the League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers. Those let­ters threat­ened legal action if the pro­gres­sive groups did not imme­di­ate­ly “remove all false or mis­lead­ing mate­r­i­al” that accused ALEC of not deny­ing glob­al warm­ing.

    Both Com­mon Cause and the League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers issued respons­es indi­cat­ing they have no plans to stop label­ing ALEC a cli­mate denier. It is unclear if Cre­do has issued a response of its own, and the car­ri­er did not respond to a request for com­ment. ALEC also did not com­ment for this sto­ry.

    ALEC’s quest to silence its crit­ics comes as the orga­ni­za­tion con­tin­ues to suf­fer through a months-long shed­ding of promi­nent cor­po­rate mem­bers, most­ly in the tech sec­tor. Google Chair­man Eric Schmidt in part sparked the exo­dus when he pub­licly con­demned ALEC for “just lit­er­al­ly lying” about cli­mate change and said the search giant would leave the orga­ni­za­tion.

    Face­book, AOL, eBay, oil-and-gas giant BP, and oth­ers have since fol­lowed suit, though many did not explic­it­ly link their depar­ture to ALEC’s con­tro­ver­sial cli­mate views.

    Most recent­ly, T‑Mobile, the nation’s fourth-largest car­ri­er, announced this week it was divorc­ing itself from ALEC, though it also did not explain whether the sep­a­ra­tion was due to any spe­cif­ic pol­i­cy dif­fer­ences.

    ALEC, a coali­tion of cor­po­ra­tions and thou­sands of most­ly Repub­li­can state leg­is­la­tors, relies on fund­ing from its busi­ness spon­sors to func­tion. The Arling­ton-based non­prof­it has been derid­ed by lib­er­als for years as a “bill mill” for con­ser­v­a­tive ideas and has most recent­ly drawn intense scruti­ny for its back­ing of leg­is­la­tion that dis­putes that human activ­i­ty is con­tribut­ing to cli­mate change—a view that runs counter to the over­whelm­ing sci­en­tif­ic con­sen­sus. ALEC adamant­ly rejects that is denies cli­mate change.


    Ok, this is going to be good. So now, in addi­tion to assert­ing that they don’t do lob­by­ing but are mere­ly a think thank (tech­ni­cal­ly they’re cor­rect, since it’s influ­ence on shap­ing leg­is­la­tion goes far deep­er than just lob­by­ing), ALEC is also deny­ing its well-doc­u­ment­ed his­to­ry of cli­mate change denial­ism and threat­en­ing to sue those that deny its denial of denial­ism.

    But beyond that, ALEC is threat­en­ing to sue those that point out its his­to­ry of oppos­ing munic­i­pal broad­band. And Alec did this with­out updat­ing their web­page that talks about how they oppose munic­i­pal broad­band:


    Munic­i­pal Broad­band

    There is no ques­tion that broad­band will become as ubiq­ui­tous as the tra­di­tion­al house­hold util­i­ties.

    But does it deserve the same clas­si­fi­ca­tion as water & sew­er, road­ways, or school sys­tems, in being pro­vid­ed by the gov­ern­ment?

    A grow­ing num­ber of munic­i­pal­i­ties are answer­ing “yes” by build­ing their own net­works and offer­ing broad­band ser­vices to their cit­i­zens. ALEC dis­agrees with their answer due to the neg­a­tive impacts it has on free mar­kets and lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment. In addi­tion, such projects could erode con­sumer choice by mak­ing mar­kets less attrac­tive to com­pe­ti­tion because of the government’s expand­ed role as a ser­vice provider.

    In addi­tion, ALEC is con­cerned that many cities and towns are sign­ing up for these projects before com­pre­hen­sive­ly eval­u­at­ing all the issues sur­round­ing this type of ini­tia­tive. The fact that no “best prac­tices” or stan­dard busi­ness mod­els have yet to emerge and many local gov­ern­ments have used tax­pay­er mon­ey to fund los­ing ven­tures war­rants the need for gov­ern­ment offi­cials and cit­i­zens to care­ful­ly weigh the advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages that exist.

    ALEC has explored this issue in detail and com­piled a list of ques­tions that should be asked when assess­ing the appro­pri­ate­ness of such a ven­ture. We grouped these ques­tions for the three par­ties involved in the deci­sion mak­ing process; cit­i­zens, local lead­ers, and state offi­cials, so that they may be well-informed of impor­tant cri­te­ria with respect to this type of ini­tia­tive.

    If munic­i­pal­i­ties are inclined to pur­sue broad­band ini­tia­tives then cer­tain safe­guards must be put in place in order to ensure that pri­vate providers, with whom the munic­i­pal­i­ty will com­pete with, are not dis­ad­van­taged by the munic­i­pal­i­ty in the exer­cise of its bond­ing and tax­ing author­i­ty, man­age­ment of rights of way, assess­ment of fees or tax­es, or in any oth­er way.

    Oh, nev­er­mind! They don’t oppose munic­i­pal broad­band. They just oppose it if such ser­vices dis­ad­van­tage pri­vate ISPs in any way. LOL! Way to not seem total­ly duplic­i­tous and sleazy ALEC!

    Part of what makes the flight from ALEC poten­tial­ly so trou­bling for more than just ALEC is that if any­thing rep­re­sents the real heart and soul of the GOP, and gen­er­al plu­to­crat­ic cor­po­ra­toc­ra­cy, it’s ALEC: a bunch of cor­po­rate lob­by­ist and leg­is­la­tor join­ing a Koch-fueled cor­po­rate-run “think tank” to craft leg­is­la­tion at their behest of their mutu­al bene­fac­tors. So with the rejec­tion of ALEC, we aren’t just see­ing a rejec­tion of ALEC the orga­ni­za­tion. We’re see­ing a nation­wide rejec­tion of the philo­soph­i­cal heart and soul of the con­tem­po­rary GOP. And the only solu­tion ALEC can come up with is a laugh­ably unbe­liev­able pub­lic image cam­paign that’s only going to make their image prob­lem even worse.

    Still, you can’t real­ly blame ALEC for this. As the orga­ni­za­tion­al man­i­fes­ta­tion of the heart and soul of the GOP, this kind of pub­lic rela­tions “reboot” was real­ly the only option.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 13, 2015, 5:30 pm

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