Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism
Blackshirts & Reds explores some of the big issues of our time: fascism, capitalism, communism, revolution, democracy, and ecology—terms often bandied about but seldom explored in the original and exciting way that has become Michael Parenti’s trademark.
Parenti shows how “rational fascism” renders service to capitalism, how corporate power undermines democracy, and how revolutions are a mass empowerment against the forces of exploitative privilege. He also maps out the external and internal forces that destroyed communism, and the disastrous impact of the “free-market” victory on eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He affirms the relevance of taboo ideologies like Marxism, demonstrating the importance of class analysis in understanding political realities and dealing with the ongoing collision between ecology and global corporatism.
Written with lucid and compelling style, this book goes beyond truncated modes of thought, inviting us to entertain iconoclastic views, and to ask why things are as they are. It is a bold and entertaining exploration of the epic struggles of yesterday and today.
"A penetrating and persuasive writer with an astonishing array of documentation to implement his attacks."—The Catholic Journalist
"Blackshirts & Reds discusses the great combat between fascism and socialism that is the defining feature of the Twentieth Century, and takes every official version to task for its substitution of moral analysis for critical analysis, for its selectivity, and for its errata. By portraying the struggle between fascism and Communism in this century as a single conflict, and not a series of discrete encounters, between the insatiable need for new capital on the one hand and the survival of a system under siege on the other, Parenti defines fascism as the weapon of capitalism, not simply an extreme form of it. Fascism is not an aberration, he points out, but a "rational" and integral component of the system."—Stan Goff, The Prism
Michael Parenti, PhD Yale, is an internationally known author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leadiing progressive political analysts. He is the author of over 275 published articles and twenty books. His writings are published in popular periodicals, scholarly journals, and his op-ed pieces have been in leading newspapers such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. His informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad.
fully committed, it was difficult to divert resources to innovative production. In addition, experimentation increased the risks of fail ing to meet one's quotas. 4. There was no incentive to produce better machines for other enterprises since that brought no rewards to one's own firm. Quite C O M M U N ISM I N W O N D E RLAND 61 the contrary, under the pressure to get quantitative results, managers often cut corners on quality. 5. There was a scarcity of replacement parts both for
or sell on the black market. The last thing restaurant personnel wanted was satisfied customers who would return to dine at the officially fixed low prices. Not surprisingly, work discipline left much to be desired. There was the clerk who chatted endlessly with a friend on the telephone while a long line of p eople waited resentfully for service, the two workers who took three days to paint a hotel wall that should have taken a few hours, the many who would walk off their jobs to go shopping.
ers- over fifty years earlier -during the communist takeover after World War II ( San Francisco Chron icle, 3/9/96) . Again one might wonder why post-communist leaders seeking to bring the commu nist tyrants to justice could find nothing more serious to prosecute than a police assault case from a half-century before. Most of those incarcerated in the gulag were not political prison ers, and the same appears to be true of inmates in the other commu nist states. In 1989, when the millionaire
1 1 Vladimir Bilenkin, "Russian Workers Under the Yeltsin Regime: Notes on a Class in Defeat," Monthiy Review, 1 1 /96, l - 1 2 . T H E F R E E - M A R KET PARA D I S E G O E S EAST (Ill 1 07 In countries like Russia and Hungary, as widely reported in the U.S. press, the suicide rate has climbed by 50 percent in a few years. Reductions in fuel service, brought about by rising prices and unpaid bills, have led to a growing number of deaths or serious illnesses a mong the poor and the elderly
prescription for class struggle but the beginning of its reality" ( New Yo rk Times, 3/2 1 /9 5 ) . Rosenthal goes on to quote Wall Street financier Felix Rohatyn who notes that "the big beneficiaries of our economic expansion have been the owners of financial assets" in what amounts to "a huge transfer of wealth from lower-skilled middle-class American work ers to the owners of capital assets and to the new technological aris tocracy." Increasingly, "working people see themselves as simply