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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

"Fascism is a most ferocious attack by capital on the toiling masses"

Excerpt from Georgi Dimitrov's famous "United Front" speeches to the Communist International, 1935


The most reactionary variety of fascism is the German type of fascism. It has the effrontery to call itself National Socialism, though having nothing in common with Socialism. It is a government system of political banditry, a system of provocation and torture practiced upon the working class and the revolutionary elements of the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia. It is medieval barbarity and bestiality, it is unbridled aggression in relation to other nations and countries.

German fascism is acting as the spearhead of international counter-revolution, as the chief incendiary of imperialist war, as the initiator of a crusade against the Soviet Union, the great fatherland of the toilers of the whole world.

Fascism is not a form of state power "standing above both classes—the proletariat and the bourgeoisie," as Otto Bauer, for instance has asserted. It is not the revolt of the petty bourgeoisie which has captured the machinery of the State," as the British Socialist Brailsford declares. No, fascism is not super-class government, nor government of the petty bourgeoisie or the lumpenproletariat over finance capital. Fascism is the power of finance capital itself. It is the organization of terrorist vengeance against the working class and the revolutionary section of the peasantry and intelligentsia. In foreign policy, fascism is chauvinism in its crudest form, fomenting the bestial hatred of other nations...

Comrades, the accession to power of fascism must not be conceived of in so simplified and smooth a form, as though some committee or other of finance capital decided on a certain date to set up a fascist dictatorship. In reality, fascism usually comes to power in the course of a mutual, and at times severe, struggle against the old bourgeois parties, or a definite section of these parties, in the course of a struggle even within the fascist camp itself—a struggle which at times leads to armed clashes, as we have witnessed in the case of Germany, Austria and other countries. All this, however, does not detract from the fact that before the establishment of a, fascist dictatorship, bourgeois governments usually pass through a number of preliminary stages and institute a number of reactionary measures which directly facilitate the accession to power of fascism. Whoever does not fight the reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie and the growth of fascism at these preparatory stages is not in a position to prevent the victory of fascism, but, on the contrary, facilitates that victory.

The Social Democratic leaders glossed over and concealed from the masses the true class nature of fascism, and did not call them to the struggle against the increasingly reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie. They bear great historical responsibility for the fact that, at the decisive moment of the fascist offensive, a large section of the toiling masses of Germany and a number of other fascist countries failed to recognize in fascism the most bloodthirsty monster of finance, their most vicious enemy, and that these masses were not prepared to resist it.

What is the source of the influence enjoyed by fascism over the masses? Fascism is able to attract the masses because it demagogically appeals to their most urgent needs and demands.

Fascism not only inflames prejudices that are deeply ingrained in the masses, but also plays on the better sentiments of the masses, on their sense of justice, and sometimes even on their revolutionary traditions. Why do the German fascists, those lackeys of the big bourgeoisie and mortal enemies of socialism, represent themselves to the masses as "socialists," and depict their accession to power as a "revolution"? Because they try to exploit the faith in revolution, the urge towards socialism which live in the hearts of the broad masses of the toilers of Germany.

Fascism acts in the interests of the extreme imperialists, but it presents itself to the masses in the guise of champion of an ill-treated nation, and appeals to outraged national sentiments, as German fascism did, for instance, when it won the support of the masses by the slogan "Against the Versailles Treaty!"

Fascism aims at the most unbridled exploitation of the masses, but it appeals to them with the most artful anti-capitalist demagogy, taking advantage of the profound hatred entertained by the toilers for the piratical bourgeoisie, the banks, trusts and the financial magnates, and advancing slogans which at the given moment are most alluring to the politically immature masses. In Germany—"The general welfare is higher than the welfare of the individual"; in Italy—"Our state is not a capitalist, but a corporate state"; in Japan—"For Japan, without exploitation"; in the United States—"Share the Wealth," and so forth.

Fascism delivers up the people to be devoured by the most corrupt, most venal elements, but comes before them with the demand for "an honest and incorruptible government." Speculating on the profound disillusionment of the masses in bourgeois-democratic governments, fascism hypocritically denounces corruption.

It is in the interests of the most reactionary circles of the bourgeoisie that fascism intercepts the disappointed masses as they leave the old bourgeois parties. But it impresses these masses by the severity of its attacks on bourgeois governments and its irreconcilable attitude toward the old bourgeois parties.

Surpassing in its cynicism and hypocrisy all other varieties of bourgeois reaction, fascism adapts its demagogy to the national peculiarities of each country, and even to the peculiarities of the various social strata in one and the same country. And the petty-bourgeois masses, even a section of the workers, reduced to despair by want, unemployment and the insecurity of their existence, fall victim to the social and chauvinist demagogy of fascism.

Fascism comes to power as a party of attack on the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, on the masses of the people who are in a state of unrest; yet it stages its accession to power as a "revolutionary" movement against the bourgeoisie on behalf of 'the whole nation" and for "the salvation" of the nation. (Let us recall Mussolini's "march" on Rome, Pilsudski's "march" on Warsaw, Hitler's National Socialist "revolution" in Germany, and so forth.) But whatever the masks which fascism adopts, whatever the forms in which it presents itself, whatever the ways by which it comes to power —

Fascism is a most ferocious attack by capital on the toiling masses;

Fascism is unbridled chauvinism and annexationist war;

Fascism is rabid reaction and counter-revolution;

Fascism is the most vicious enemy of the working class and of all the toilers! -- Georgi Dimitrov, from his famous "United Front" speeches to the Communist International, 1935



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