Staunton, July 23 – In a theoretical introduction to what he promises will be a series of articles on how the Russian Federation became fascist, Moscow commentator Yury Mukhin argues that the path his country has followed is the one other fascist regimes have with those in power first moving to restrict or even eliminate freedom of speech.
“History shows,” he says, “that the ideologies of fascist parties and movements can be the most varied, both socialist and capitalism, both internationalist and racist and that it is a complete mistake to consider that fascism must have pretenses toward other peoples domestically or abroad” (forum-msk.org/material/news/15786361.html).
In many cases, Mukhin continues, fascists have as their goal “the banal striving of fascist elites to acquiring material goods for themselves or satisfying the personal ambitions of this elite.” Fascism thus is not a specific ideology as many think but rather “a goal and means of exercising power.”
Fascism doesn’t have to involve the forcible seizure of power. Its leaders can come to power by democratic means, as for example, Hitler did. “But fascism is an alternative to democracy. The goal of democratic governance is to serve the people” but “the goal of fascist powers is to force the people to serve it.”
In the past, it often happened, Mukhin says, that “fascists forced the people to serve their ideas, but today fascists have changed and now force the people to serve their greed.” If one wants to identify a fascist, one need only ask his attitude toward the population. For a democrat, people are the source of power; for a fascist, they are “rabble” whose views don’t matter.
Externally, “a fascist regime can be indistinguishable from a democratic one, with the very same ‘free’ elections and the very same ‘free’ media.” And there can even be competition between the fascist regime and a fascist opposition which seeks to replace the incumbents so it can satisfy its own greed rather than allow the latter to satisfy theirs.
“If one of the groups wins, as has happened in Russia with let us say the force structures, then fascism becomes absolutely dictatorial,” Mukhin says. But “if the struggle continues as has been the case in Ukraine, then the groups continue to compete for the right to steal from the people.”
In such situations, Russia in the past or Ukraine now, he continues, the question is this: why does the population vote for or support those whose interests are diametrically opposed to their own? The answer is simple: fascist leaders in power or aspiring to be work to ensure that the population doesn’t know their true goals.
That requires taking control of the media, destroying the concept of truth, and promoting lies as a description of reality. Such lying, especially if no one can counter it, “deprives the people of the chance of predicting the consequences of their political decisions, in the first instance of predicting the consequence of supporting those who are or become fascists.”
The power of the media often leads people to call it “the fourth branch” of government. It is a threat to fascism but also a means, if the fascists are able to subordinate it to themselves, of winning and maintaining power. Once the media are taken under control, the fascists have a far easier time of operating to their own benefit and against the benefit of the people.
It doesn’t have any significance by what ideology, the leaders seek to destroy media freedom. “The result will be the same. Destroy the ideology of German or Italian fascism and you ill get in exchange the power of Jewish fascists or the fascist power of the oligarchs. Or as today in Russia” under President Putin.
Only media freedom opens the way to a successful struggle of unmasking what the fascists are about by showing how harmful the various ideologies that lead to fascism are, Mukhin says. Consequently, the destruction of media freedom is the key defining feature of the fascists.
“As soon as freedom of speech is destroyed, under whatever pretext including ‘what is most needed for the people themselves,’ fascism is established.” That is what has happened in Russia and in other countries as well.