Religious Right

No. 84a


Morton G. Wenger

University of Louisville

January 1983


Based on "The Realpolitik of Contemporary Religious Revival," presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Humanist Sociology, held in Cincinnati, Ohio (October 1981).


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Much has been made of the recent rise of political movements in the contemporary world which are typified by certain common characteristics: broad mass appeal; a reactionary political character; and an irrationalist, corporatist, mobilizing ideology centered around the association of a particular faith with a particular national history and a presumed national destiny. Although other examples exist, the four most widely known and frequently discussed manifestations of such movements are Christian evangelical fundamentalism in North America; Moslem resurgence in the arc from the Maghreb to the Indian sub-continent (and even beyond to the Philippines); the militaristic and expansionistic Zionism associated with the Likud bloc in Israel; and, as perhaps the most interesting case, a reborn and politically active Polish Catholicism. Although disconnected in many ways, and in further ways mutually hostile, it is the argument of this paper that an underlying unity exists among all of these social developments. As a consequence of this assertion, it is also argued that none of these social tendencies can be explained as the outcome of particular historical circumstances. Rather, the essentially simultaneous emergence and maturation of these phenomena should be understood as the result of general tendencies in the world order of contemporary capitalism, particularly the deep, broad, and ongoing crisis of the last decade. The special characteristics of each of these developments then may be perceived most accurately as culturally and historically situated forms of a common social response to total world systemic conditions which impinge in a similar manner on societies or sub-societies tied intimately to but separate from the capitalist metropole of Anglo-America and Western Europe. Restated more concisely, it is the position of this paper that all of the social movements enumerated here are isomorphic in essence, differing only in form and then only insofar as the modes of political discourse and culturally available ideological formations are historically diverse in each of the instances.

Were it not for the debasement through overuse of the term "fascism" as a uniquely useful ordering principle for the understanding of the reactionary socio-political response to capitalist crisis, it could be argued at the outset that the phenomena at issue here represent nothing more than fascist mobilizing ideology in modern guise and, at least in the American case, at a relatively early and inchoate point of development. Certainly, these several ideologies are no more diverse than the variant forms which fascist ideology took at the time of the earlier extreme crisis of imperialist capitalism during the time period 1914-1945. Iberian Falangism, Mussolinist Fascism, German Nazism, the Black Dragon in Japan, the various southeastern European movements of the period, the Pilsudski regime in Poland (about which more later), Huey Long "populism," the KKK revival of the 1920's in the U.S., and Peronism all have rich if repellent special histories and distinctive aspects. Nevertheless, they emerge out of the same decline in world economy, they develop political organizations, mobilizing ideologies, state apparatuses (when they come to power), and strategies and tactics, which show a similarity which is astonishing from the perspective of idiographic historiography. Furthermore, and perhaps most significantly, they emerge from the interests of class coalitions which show an equally striking compositional correspondence. The major assertion of this paper, as above, is that the movement of events since the 1914-1945 period has changed the expressive forms of the reactionary response to capitalist crisis, but not its fundamental origins, social bases, and goals. In order to support this assertion, then, several intermediate steps are necessary. First, the common characteristics of reactionary responses to capitalist crisis must be outlined. Second, the origins of this commonality should be delineated. Third, the ways in which the current mass movements which use religious doctrine as a mobilizing ideology and particular models of this more general phenomenon must be demonstrated. Fourth, the manner in which the current movements take on their unique character, and how this specificity distinguishes them from, and links them to the historically distant forms of the past, must be delineated. Finally, the future of such movements should be considered.

Capitalist Crisis and Political Reaction: General Considerations
. In 1918, in the midst of the most promising moment for proletarian revolution which had hitherto existed, while playing a prominent role in the central drama of that time - the attempted establishment of a revolutionary communist state in Germany - Rosa Luxemburg (1971:367-368) summarized the central message of her intellectual and political progenitors in the following way:

Stirring as these words are, they stand in striking contrast to the actual assertions of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto (McLellan, 1977: 231), wherein they state with complete self-assurance that "...the bourgeoisie produces, above all, its own gravediggers. Its fall and the rise of the proletariat are equally inevitable." If the question here were only one of what had happened between 1848 and 1918 to change a simple and mechanical formula into a desperate alternative, simple answers such as "World War I," or "the disintegration of the Second International," or any of a multitude of existing or possible simplifications might suffice. However, the shift from the formulation found in the words of Marx and Engels to the interpretation of Luxemburg represents a movement from the notion of a single possible outcome for world-historical development to a bifurcated and far more pessimistic formulation. Unfortunately, and with bitter irony, an early act of capitalist neo-barbarism was to end Luxemburg's life. Along with this great loss but suffered at different hands came the early suppression of Lukacs and Korsch and the somewhat later abandonment of W. Reich to the vicissitudes of a hopeless and bankrupt coalition politics. As a result, the most creative voices of dialectical analysis were stilled and came to be replaced by the naive official optimism that typifies the dominant "party" Marxisms to this day. Thus, the possibilities for a useful dialectical materialist analysis of historical forces in the development of capitalism ceased with What Is To Be Done?, and any hope for an early understanding of then-emerging fascist reaction was strangled in the cradle, and no larger framework in which to place the reactionary response to capitalist collapse was ever clearly articulated. With the catastrophe of fascism already having occurred, G. Dimitroff (1935) later attempted an analysis which could place capitalist reaction in the larger framework of capitalist decline. However, the rigid ideological constraints which fettered his attempt, those of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1930's, led him to ignore the widespread collaboration of wage-labor with fascist social movements and the generally meek acquiescence (outside of Iberia) of producing classes to the institution of fascist political orders when those movements attained state power. As F. Carsten (Laqueur, 1976:418-419) notes, such naivete was not present in the writings of Luxemburg's Spartacist comrade, Clara Zetkin, when she stated in 1923 that:

Carsten also notes that Dimitroff's independent Marxist contemporaries, Thalheimer and Sering/Lowenthal, were equally impressed and appalled by the participation of significant sectors of the proletariat in fascism's rise and triumph.

Such analyses, while of the greatest importance in and of themselves, nonetheless represent a terminal development, bound as they are by the historical specificity of the overwhelming horror they faced. Because of the limitations of these approaches, unavoidable though they were due to a lack of long historical perspective, "fascism" of the period 1914-1945 came to be treated as isomorphic with capitalist reaction as a general category. The two terms became synonymous and the two concepts which underlay them became fused and indistinguishable. Once this had occurred, "fascism" could then be portrayed and/or perceived only as a unique historical event with diagnostic empirical characteristics. This lead and still leads deficient leftist analyses to a misdirected vigilance which guards vigorously against fascism only when it appears in its ancient garb and, worse, allows bourgeois ideology to consign fascism to the dustbin of an idiographically construed history while giving reaction an ideational opening to the future. Thus yawns a dangerous abyss, theoretical and practical. It allows for the intellectual chicanery of ideologues such as Eugen Weber (Laqueur, 1976:450) who develop formulations equating Mao and Castro with Strasser and Hitler. Rather, the very possibility of the existence of such constructions and the fact that they are countenanced at all point to a need and a pressing one at that: the requirement for a general model of capitalist reaction which transcends particular historical conjunctures while still acknowledging their exemplary significance, and a model which also understands capitalist reaction to be itself a manifestation of a larger historical process transcending the limits and dimensions of any one historical epoch. Therefore, the theoretical import of the most recent form of capitalist reaction, the simultaneous rise of a world-wide reactionary religious Right, is that said phenomenon provides a crucial added case which, taken in conjunction with "classical" fascism, allows for the development of a scientific typification of capitalist reaction which would be impossible were only the earlier forms of the phenomenon known.

The key to the problem of capitalist reaction as a general phenomenon is to be found in the nature of imperialism. Not just Lenin, but Marx as early as the Grundrisse, as well as in his correspondence with Engels and their later individual and collective work, all understood that the international expansion of capitalism, at its root, was an internal political solution to the diagnostic and unavoidable economic contradictions of the capitalist mode of production. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall, along with the concomitant movement upward of the organic composition of capital, were seen in Capital to be the structural origin of crises of underconsumption, variously described over their long history as "panics," "depressions," "recessions", or whatever other terminology seemed semantically appropriate to ideologists of the existing order at a particular moment. These crises in turn brought their attendant and familiar social dislocations and catastrophes: the immiseration of the proletariat, both through the pauperization of active members of the working classes by means of reduction in compensation for labor and through the more brutal mechanism of the displacement of ever greater proportions of the producing classes into the stagnant surplus population. Dialectical/historical materialism identifies these events and processes as inevitable outcomes of the core social relations of capitalism; the private ownership of the means of production, the system of wage-labor, and the transformation of use-values into commodities. These are seen to be the base from which class conflict grows in the capitalist mode of production, and thus become the irreducible sub-stratum upon which political struggle in its myriad forms rests in the current epoch. As has been noted elsewhere (Wenger, 1978), these formulae, presented in their most elegant form in Capital, should be taken as analogous to an equation in calculus; a simplified representation of a complex dynamic process. Therefore, it should also be understood that when Marx asserts a directional tendency for the level of wages, he is speaking in terms of an "average" across a whole system. The import of this is that to the extent that capitalism in its middle period had yet to subsume all lines of historical development under its universal umbrella, perturbations in the general trend were to be expected and were in fact to be found. Underconsumption leads to a quest for new markets; which is hardly a novel insight to be claimed by scientific socialists. To the extent that such markets come into being, they absorb the accumulated inventories of more mature capitalist centers. Yet, as Lenin was to elaborate fully, this consumption itself depends on the ability of new markets to consume, which means a money economy, investment, and crucially, wage-labor in the new market. In this way, capitalism extends itself outward until it is all-encompassing. In exporting capital, commodities, and wage-labor, capitalism thus exports its own contradictions and makes that which was once outside itself a part of itself. This was the conceptual foundation upon which Lenin built his political theory and practice. For Lenin, as manifested in Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, and its various prefaces through 1920, the keys which unlocked the mysteries of imperialism were, as is well known, the unavailability of profitable investment opportunities in already developed capitalist societies along with the possibility of super-exploitation of labor in the periphery. Lenin recognized quite well the implications of these realities and paid particular attention to the effects they had on class structure in the capitalist core. Left somewhat unexplored by Lenin, however, was the dialectical aspect of class struggle within the capitalist heartland and its relation to the larger dialectic of core and periphery.

At least in part, the rate at which the rate of profit tends to decline is not subject to deterministic explanation. That is, the immiseration said decline brings, itself generates political responses on the part of producing classes. The most notable of these during the period of late-middle capitalism was the development of large and powerful unions. While unions never were, and, if Lenin is correct, never will be agents of revolutionary change, they undeniably raise the average wage of labor and thus reduces return on investment. Further, reformist political .entities coalesce around these working class combinations, often taking the form of political parties which tend to move the capitalist state toward its "welfare" mode, and thus places a burden of taxation on consumption and capital accumulation which tends to reduce the return on investment further, and thus also leads to the development of "surplus," or "unusable" capital, a phenomenon which Lenin analyzed keenly. Thus, the development of monopoly capital advances its own contradictions through the "automatic" processes described in Capital, but also does so by means of the political response to those developments by those whom they immiserate. Imperialism, then, seems on the face of it to solve the problem of "surplus" capital by international investment. Lenin treats this process correctly but cursorily. Were the export of capital to go on indefinitely, investment in the capitalist heartland itself would tend to drop to a critically low level, a problem with special relevance in contemporary America. This would then tend to heighten the level of class conflict in the core significantly at least by raising the size of the surplus population dramatically. (The full significance of this phenomenon will become evident shortly.) This would make imperialism a revolutionary mechanism at the core, not at the periphery, as Lenin envisioned. Second, and related, imperialism requires at least the passive acquiescence of the proletariat to class exploitation elsewhere and, insofar as imperialism must be enforced at gunpoint, through the active participation of masses of the producing classes in the huge standing militaries of the center nations. Why then should the producing classes give their jobs and the lives of their children to this process? Lenin has a brief and adequate answer for his purposes, but one that requires considerable elaboration if it is to be used here.

Imperialism produces several central changes in the nature of capitalism.
Through the development of monopolies in particular productive sectors and their global extension, laboring classes of many countries are united into highly coordinated and complex processes of production; e.g., the Mexican who makes brake linings for Bendix, the Zimbabwean who mines chromium, the aluminum processor in Jamaica, and the assembler in Flint, are all part of an indivisible economic entity. The feature of imperialism which thereby becomes most prominent at the macro-social level is that capitalist social relations emerge evermore as processes of unequal exchange between societies as much as they continue to be unequal exchange relationships between classes. This class relation realizes itself through a growing international division of labor in which the original relations of production which typified the internal class structure of the core capitalist societies replicate themselves between whole societies. Thus, there might be said to exist bourgeois/managerial, proletarian, peasant, and even lumpenproletarian societies. While each of these societal types have their own internal class divisions, more and more as imperialism grows, each society's internal structure is (de)formed by its international role. This is true not only in terms of the productive relations which generate value, but also exists in the sphere of the distribution of that value. Thus, super-exploitation under imperialism means a flow of value from periphery to core which is sometimes hemorrhagic in volume. However, early on Marxists began to develop the idea that such a flow would avail the bourgeoisie little in political terms if it alleviated the contradictions of capitalism for them alone. Once international monopoly integration of capitalism assured a common ledger book for all wage laborers, the weight of immiseration would be shifted around across borders, away from more organized proletariats, and to the more recently afflicted workers of the periphery. Engels and Lenin both spoke scathingly of the response of some working classes to imperial predation. Lenin quotes Engels (J. Conner, 1968:144) at length in the 1916 text of Imperialism on this matter:

In the preface to the 1920 French and German editions of Imperialism, Lenin (J. Conner, 1968:115) reasserts his earlier thesis:

Two things need to be noted here: first, the process being described had only begun to mature in 1858 and had not yet completed itself by 1920. In particular, the full ramifications of the internationalization of relations of production were still not fully matured, although the exchange relations which emerged out of them had already been understood. That is, the gross material inequalities which resulted from international exchange under conditions of imperial domination were quite evident, but the nature of the integration of wage labor in one nation with wage labor in another was still opaque. Second, Lenin's last word on his seminal work was written in the summer of 1920, and thus understandably tended to focus on the positive revolutionary outcomes of imperialist war. The disasters of Germany, Hungary, and Poland were yet to be recorded. The same set of causes which Lenin used to predict, explain, and bring about the Bolshevik victory had a different set of outcomes in other locales at later dates. Had the consequences of an international division of labor been understood fully in the 1920's to imply a political division within the working class, it is possible that then-future history might have been changed. In any case, history as it actually came to exist makes clear what was in 1920 only dimly seen: the collapse of the Second International, World War I, Soviet isolation, and the rise of fascism were not isolated "political" events, but rather were the unfolding and maturation of the fundamental social dynamics of a world in which imperial expansion was complete and the essential forms of capitalist contradiction had reemerged.

The Class Politics of Imperialism.
As Lenin's analysis indicates, imperialism has both external and internal aspects. On the one hand, it represents a higher order articulation of formerly self-contained social units, nations and nations-to-be, while it also corresponds to, emanates from, and generates the structure of those entities which it combines. Imperialism also represents an advanced (for Lenin, the highest) point in the development of the more general social form of which it is but a particular manifestation; i.e., capitalism. As a result, at any given moment in time during the period of mature imperialism, the social processes of any society will show both the basic dynamic of capitalist social relations as well as the distinctive character particular to the place, historical and political/ economic, of that society within the imperialist system. Clearly, one of the most important components in determining the life experiences of the " they really are..." of whom Marx and Engels spoke in The German Ideology, is the birth and death, formation and decomposition, or, most simply, rise and fall of classes. Imperialism introduces new class relations (and thus new classes as well) into capitalism, as was suggested earlier. For one, it generates qualitatively new relations between individuals sharing the same relative positions in different societies, as between the finance capitalists of the "trilateral" world and the comprador bourgeoisies of Latin America or Asia, or as exist between the uranium miners in South Africa and the builders of nuclear steam turbines in North America or Japan. Farhang (1981:47), summarizing Galtung, states this quite concisely:

He goes on to quote from Galtung's (1980:111) more specific assertions, which have pronounced and unsurprising resonance with the much earlier observations of Zetkin, which were cited previously:

Alongside of these new international relations between functionally similar classes, there grow up new relations among classes within single societies in part determined by the already unfolding pre-imperial trajectories of these classes, in part determined as well by the nature of the imperial order within which those classes play out their destiny. Of course, neat formulations of this kind tend to overlook the multiply recurved convolutions which are definitive of dialectical social processes. For example, the decline of craft labor under conditions of commodity production is a process which is one of the most frequently noted and novelly rediscovered of all the social phenomena associated with capitalism. Its antiquity is prodigious, stretching back at least four hundred nears and in some sense it represents a central "genetic" starting point for capitalist social relations as such. Yet, in all capitalist societies, and particularly those core societies which experienced the feudal/capitalist transition at a point subsequent to the emergence of imperialism, displaced and dispossessed craft labor formed a core constituency for colonial expansion. In this instance, the case of early North American settlement is perhaps the most telling of all. Thus, while the history of imperialism does in some sense become the history of capitalism as a whole, it is not the whole of capitalist history. This means that while all "modern" events must be understood in the context of imperialism, some of them have roots which precede and transcend that history. In the case of capitalism reaction, just such a situation obtains: it is a response to capitalist crisis in the period of advanced capitalism; i.e., imperialism, but it plays itself out against a background which precedes imperialism while at the same time being altered by it. This is the first and most general proposition which is necessary to understanding both what happened from 1914-1945, and also what began to happen after 1948.

A second major orienting principle
in understanding capitalist reaction is that the politics of the capitalist epoch is hegemonistic, as Gramsci and others have observed, and that therefore class coalitions rather than single classes tend to determine the outcomes of class struggle. Without negating the idea that there are fundamental classes in any epoch, nor in particular disavowing the idea that the bourgeoisie and the proletariat represent those antipodes in the capitalist epoch, it is still necessary to realize that other classes play crucial, albeit sometimes negative, roles at given historical conjunctures. Marx recognized this theoretically in his discussions of the French peasantry in the Eighteenth Brumaire; Lenin and Mao recognized the same reality in practice and with a more pleasing outcome in their political analyses. Further, it should be understood that such coalitions are often composed of classes with oblique interests, some shared and some opposed. It is the primary task of any class and/or its political leadership to construct umbrella programs which unite the largest assemblage of divergent classes while not obviating the interests of the leading or hegemonistic class. This was no novel insight to Lenin, nor to Hitler and Roosevelt, nor is it now news to Khomeini, Wojtyla/John Paul II, and Begin. In the context of the first principle above, this second principle of coalitions and hegemony should be seen as having a corollary wherein it is understood that during particular historical cusps, classes which have suffered long term and irreversible decline temporarily may seem to share common interests, cause, and future with objectively antagonistic classes suffering shorter term reversals. More specifically and to the current point, a crisis in imperialism may seem to unite the interests of classes born out of the imperialist epoch with the interests of classes whose last death-rattle would have been heard had imperialism somehow never existed. The fact that imperialist crises accelerate and accentuate all the degenerative tendencies endemic to the capitalist system makes such collective moments of disaster more than chance occurrences. To modify an old adage of the Detroit automobile industry, a person hospitalized with influenza tends to take more than a passing interest in a room-mate in the last stages of pneumonia. In fact, the debate about the class parameters of fascist appeal which runs within Marxism from Luxemburg to Dimitroff and continues unabated within and outside it (cf. Laqueur, 1976) is a tacit or unreflexive recognition that the matter of class coalition formation is crucial to the theoretical understanding and practical opposition to fascist/reactionary tendencies during capitalist crisis. As was noted much earlier, such discussions have an unfortunate tendency to be ad hoc in the case of Marxists and ideologically blind and crippled in the case of bourgeois analysts.

Growing out of the above and in a way contained within it, is a third generalization about the class politics of imperialism: classes in the capitalist epoch have a two-dimensional "natural history." As was noted in prior discussion, this dual process of class emergence, perseverance, and/or decline is in phase with the historical emergence of imperialism. The classes of bourgeois antiquity have one mode of historical development which exists prior to the emergency of imperialism and another mode after. Compare, for example, the warring bourgeoisies of 1914-1945 with the "Trilateral" bourgeoisie of the 1970's. Although the social role of the bourgeoisie remains the same; i.e., the private accumulation of surplus value, the internal structure of the class has changed substantially. Similarly, changes in functional activities have taken place; e.g., as can be seen in changes in the activities of the first Henry Ford and the second. The "decline" of a class also tends to be associated with the process of social "mobility" much beloved of mainstream sociologists. First eliminating value-laden concepts of "upwardness" or "downwardness" in such changes, it is still possible to see the decomposition of a class of wage-laborers over several generations, and their recomposition in another role. For example, the granddaughters of automobile workers becoming the office workers of the American mid-west. Of course, many more examples of such transformation exist, and their most fundamental aspects are often obscured by matters of "collar color," gender, nationality, etc. Furthermore, some classes or class fragments are brought into being de novo out of the requirements of advanced capitalism/imperialism. Witness the intellectual fall-out from this present in the voluminous, provocative, and still somewhat chaotic literature which has risen around the question of a "new petite bourgeoisie" or, as some style it, a "professional/managerial class." P. Walker's (1979) collection of work on the issue, as well as the works cited by the authors in that compendium, agree on several things if nothing else: that the "new class" is a child of the imperialist epoch, that it is growing in size, and that it is largely formed out of the remnants of the "old" petite bourgeoisie and the upper segments of wage labor. Criticisms aside (cf. Wenger, 1980), this literature points to the existence of a "class" with essentially no history prior to the age of capital with a high organic composition, monopolist, and global imperial expansion. However, the lacuna in this literature which cannot be ignored is the lack of a general historical model which encompasses the variety of forms which this "new class" takes and explains the diagnostically volatile politics it exhibits. Progress in the analysis of the contemporary politics of this class, reactionary or otherwise, therefore depends on a further elaboration of the class politics of imperialism as an historically situated phenomenon. Several points still need to be made on this crucial matter.

Earlier on it was noted that the capitalist division of labor changes dramatically under imperialism. This happens in at least two ways which are primary to the understanding of capitalist reaction. First, more classically and truistically, the operative unit of social motion changes from a class within a nation to a dual phenomenal outcropping: a situation where whole nations take on a class character of a particular kind, as was already discussed; and another where a class within a particular nation or complex of nations plays a distinctive role within the context of the total capitalist world order and thus may be linked intimately to other classes of different kinds located in other "nations" more so than it is to the other classes of its own land. One of the several dramatic consequences of this transformation is that certain classes which hitherto may have been more or less proportionally distributed across all societies in which capitalist social relations existed can, did, and do come to be demographically concentrated within particular societies. Thus, even were the relative proportion of the total population within the span of capitalist social relations to remain unchanged, their relative mass within the context of a particular nation-state might be considerably different. As a result, in those nations where they are concentrated, these classes can come to wield considerable political clout and may even "swing" classes when class struggle intensifies. However, the fact is that in dealing with classes such as the "new petite bourgeoisie" in particular and similarly but less so the "labor aristocracy," the situation is not simply one of redistribution, it is also one of absolute growth in clearly defined locales. This brings the focus around to the second way in which imperialism brings about a new division of labor, one which had earlier been specified to revolve around concrete social relations of production and not only around the accumulation and distribution of surplus value.

If it were possible to elicit a common thread on the topics of new classes and new class relations from works as diverse as those of Gorz (1972) and Poulantzas (1975), Mills (1951), Ewen (1976), and Braverman (1974), and perhaps even Habermas (1975), it would have to be contained within Gorz's apercu that these new classes, salaried or wage labor though they be, exist not to produce surplus value, but rather to reproduce capitalist social relations. In essence, these "classes" come into being to deal with the vast dynamic stress which the imperialist world order generates, be it social, political, national, or international. The advertising agent writing copy which de-Nipponizes Toyotas, the agricultural scientist in Iowa, the purveyor of Polish hams in the local supermarket, all to the same degree but in radically different ways to the existence of imperialism. The same may be said of the German anthropologist, the French marine, or the U.S. Border Patrol officer. Again, somewhat less so but in a parallel manner, the (now vanishing) U.S. automobile assembler exists at a pinnacle of poorly remunerated extractive and fabricating labor scattered around the globe. As recent events evince, the social function of this segment of labor came to be less that of producer and more that of consumer: easily replaced by machines, the demise of this class seems to have been felt more in the "sogere of consumption" or the "marketplace" than it has in the factory. Be this all as it may, piercing through the cloud of historical and social specificities which surround these diverse "classes" and class relations is the inescapable objective commonality noted at the outset of this excursus: imperialism brings forth or transforms classes which are specific to its requirements as an advanced form of the capitalist mode of production, and it distributes them unevenly across the globe. Often, these classes are raised out of the ashes/progeny of classes whose class role is still vital but is now performed elsewhere. None of this should obscure the central fact that "classes" come into being whose existences are conditioned by the special vicissitudes of imperialism as much as they are by the general processes of capitalism. Again, such a distinction is tricky: imperialism is capitalism at its highest stage. Indeed, there has been no capitalism "outside" of imperialism for at least a century. Nonetheless, there are classes whose very existence depends on the place of "their" society in the imperialist system more than it depends on the health of the imperialist system as a whole. Thus, to be a member of a "class" which is "rising" with imperialism may be an agony which is particularly piquant if the society within which that rise is occurring happens to be "falling" relative to other national contenders for the spoils of imperialism. More generally and in partial summary, functionally identical classes generated in different places at different times may suffer radically different fates and thus come to exhibit diametrically opposed political stances.

As a negative corollary to this, there are classes whose history
, as a general rule, terminates with the advent of mature capitalist social relations but whose velocity of decline and ultimate longevity fluctuate according to the place of their society in the unfolding world-system. Examples of classes of this kind include the "old" petite bourgeoisie of shop-keepers, small landholders, independent artisans, and "free" professionals. The first two of these have tended to disappear altogether while the last have tended toward absorption and/or conversion into parts of the mosaic of the new petite bourgeoisie, their progeny often becoming salaried employees of monopolistic enterprise or the capitalist estate. In the more successful imperial societies which themselves were of long-standing antiquity, the decline of these classes has been cushioned and on the average gradual; in the less successful imperial societies, their decline has often been abrupt and catastrophic. This fate has also befallen feudalists in societies such as China or Japan, but these are somewhat idiosyncratic cases which require precise treatment. For general purposes, however, the enumeration of those instances where the decline of classes corresponds to the rise of imperialism also serves to fill the category of classes whose destiny fluctuates with the vicissitudes of imperialism. Further, it becomes obvious that such fluctuations are themselves of two types: those which are tied to the history of the imperialist system as a whole, and those which are derived from the national experience of single societies which are a part of that system. Such a distinction is analogous to one which can be made in a more mundane sphere of existence; i.e., the difference which exists between the genetically determined life-history of all humans (birth, growth/senescence, death) and the actual life experience of a particular individual as they play out that process. Extending the analogy further, it is unquestionable that all humans are born of women; it is equally certain that a person born of a fifteen-year-old will differ from one whose mother is fifty-five. A proletariat whose emergence is coterminous with the origins of capitalism itself, such as the British, will show characteristics all along its own developmental path which are different from those of proletariats born on capitalism's withered loins, such as the Mexican. Some of these differences manifest themselves in the most crucial way: in the variant political history of the classes. Among the more salient observations which arise from this is the idea that these variations in class politics do indeed arise in response to the specifications of the world-historical moment which give context to the appearance and/or disappearance of the classes. Also operative and of equal importance is the fact that classes appear and disappear in the context of other classes, some rising or falling, some better or more poorly organized, some geographically or temporally more central or peripheral to the arenas of previous class formation. Thus, as Galtung and Farhang were seen to indicate, imperialism is a complex relationship, conditioned by the "unevenness" of historical development. Land-holding classes on the capitalist periphery which have arisen in the period of international finance capital have been required either to perish or collaborate in the extension of imperialism into "their" native lands when faced with the overwhelming power and wealth of the "developed" capitalist core. Acknowledging such dynamic processes allows for an understanding of the class politics of imperialism which is neither mechanistic nor "economistic"; it thus responds to Galtung's (1980:108) well-warranted apprehensions about some of the more simplistic models of imperialism:

The model of class politics generated here remains firmly established on the foundations of dialectical/historical materialism: it is based on the formal relationships of social entities to the means of production. Yet, it also rests on the history of the "real" humans which Marx and Engels spoke of in the German Ideology--humans whose life experiences are determined by and are determinative of the unceasing dialectical flux of class emergence, perseverance, transformation, and/or decline. By constructing an historically grounded model of imperialist class structure of the kind generated here, it becomes possible not only to avoid the error of rejecting a materialist analysis of history, but also tends to blunt the tendency to succumb to the Idealist analysis of Schumpeter (1951), wherein imperialism is seen, not as the most advanced form of class society, but rather is portrayed as a kind of mindless error or "atavism." Obviously, the "error" is not in the nature of imperialism but rather in the work of the student who wishes to run the hands of History's clock backwards. More important than blunting such theoretical errors, however, is the potential for an historically grounded model of the class politics of imperialism to produce an accurate comprehension of the class coalitions, progressive and reactionary, which typically emerge out of moments or capitalist/imperialist crisis; most important of all is the generation of a sound sociopolitical analysis of the current moment of crisis. As has been indicated, no mere laundry list nor sterile typology of class names of the past or present are adequate to such a task. The analytical tool which is needed is one built on the realization that in specific circumstances, classes can and do develop a community of interests which is bound to a shared time and/or a common place within the evolution of the imperialist world-system regardless of whether they have arisen together or separately and regardless of whether their class interests are antagonistic by any external, "objective" criterion. Once this is understood and applied, it is possible to comprehend both the reactionary class coalitions of the past and those which represent the main danger to humanity at the current time.

Class Decline and Reactionary Coalitions. From the time of the earliest students of capitalist reaction-cum-fascism onward, the most popular thesis concerning the class composition of rightist coalitions has been that of the "intermediate classes." This could be seen in the comments of Zetkin cited earlier on; it is also the core of Dimitroff's position, and it has had persistent appeal for social and political theorists from the academic center left-ward to the official ideologists of historical and contemporary party Marxists. Salvatorelli (cf. DeFelice, 1977) in 1923, Geiger from the 1930's onward, Lasswell (1933), Gramsci, Saposs (1935), Fromm (1941), Kornhauser (1959), Lipset (1960). Trow (1958), Bell (1963), and Guerin (1973) are only a few of the more prominent exemplars among many others of the viewpoint that locates the origin of the appeal of fascism in the "marginal" position of "intermediate" classes. This marginality is often expressed metaphorically as a "squeezed" position between the proletariat and capital. Associated with this position is the "displacement" hypothesis, which attempts to account for the notable appeal of fascism to displaced World War I veterans in Germany (as existed in the infamous Freikorps) and also to the disenchanted middle-class youth who constituted the "hippie"-like Wandervogeln of the same time. This hypothesis of fascism appealing to socially-disconnected youth is more often found in centrist social rather than leftist political analyses of the social appeal of fascism, but it is no less valid for that, and no more satisfactory. That is, both of these theses are "correct" insofar as they go descriptively, but they are equally invalid to the extent that they are both ahistorical and partial. The "squeeze" theory fails to define clearly the dimensions and sources of the compressive forces being placed on the old petite bourgeoisie, artisans, middle peasants, and other wells of popular support for classical fascism; it also fails to adequately account for the observations of Zetkin and Lenin as to the shaky allegiance of "labor aristocrats" to the proletarian cause. Similarly, the "displacement" argument fails to explain adequately the lack of integration or reintegration of certain class segments into "society." Thus, useful and accurate descriptions of some of the class actors in reactionary coalitions come into being, but those descriptions lose their value when they come to replace explanation. This becomes most obvious when it is noted that historically, after World War I, all European societies contained "squeezed" petite bourgeoisie, displaced veterans, etc. Further, all of those societies developed reactionary and progressive class politics alongside one another. However, only in some did these reactionary coalitions have sufficient strength to seize state power, and to do so by the techniques of mass mobilization typical of the form of capitalist reaction which has come to be known as fascism. The question of why this occurs can be reduced to the level of parsing national differences in political cultures, etc., which many of the earlier-cited bourgeois ideologues and idiographic historians tend to do. On the other hand, the question can be elevated to the level of seeking common national historical experiences which account for the breadth of narrowness of the reactionary base in given societies. This course is the one being endorsed here and it is supported because it allows for a template applicable to social developments occurring at times other than 1918-1945 and in places other than Central Europe and Japan. As was argued previously, the orienting principle operative in such a course of theoretical action ties class politics to the history of specific classes and the history of those classes to the total history of capitalism.

Why, then, did fascism find its origins and bourgeois liberalism its grave in Vienna (Schorske, 1981)? Why did a popular front leftist government come to power in France in the 1930's? Why did Germany and Hungary end up fascistic after a flirtation with socialism? Why did the U.S., beset by the Klan revival, the American Legion, the Dearborn Independent, and Father Coughlin end up with a centrist bourgeois regime in the 1930's? Clearly, the millions of pages devoted to each of these topics are warranted and cannot be adequately summarized here. Synopsis, however, is not synthesis. All cases need not be considered to test the adequacy of a model. Perhaps as it was the cases of the old and new petite bourgeoisies along with the "labor aristocracy" which elicited this long discussion, it should be these cases which test the rule.

The conflicts which begin between the capitalist societies in the 1850's are imperial in nature; this fact is commonplace and requires no further discussion. More provocative, however, is the idea that these conflicts begin to become conflicts between types of capitalist societies: socio-temporally, they may be separated into societies which formed and matured in the womb of feudal social relations alone, and those that came into being and developed out of feudal social relations and in the presence of other capitalist societies. In the cases of Europe, Anglo-America, and Japan, the slow rate of early capital accumulation and the facts of geographical isolation did not permit the permanent territorial incorporation of any of these societies into any of the others. The historical sequence in which they appeared, however, meant that some had reached the stage of imperial expansion well before others, and some had arrived on the world stage so late as to be forced to attempt to build empires out of territories wrested by main force from the already existing dominions. The 1898 attack against Spain in its Caribbean and Pacific colonies by the U.S. is archetypal in this respect. Further, in some cases, geography conspired with history to force at least two of the newer capitalist societies into direct attacks on their capitalist neighbors: Germany against France in 1870 and Japan against Russia in 1905. In the same way, the triple curse of France, Alp, and Gibraltar was later to force Italy into grisly opera bouffe adventures in Ethiopia. The results of this division of the capitalist world into imperial antagonists had both long-term endemic and short-term catastrophic outcomes for old petit bourgeois, artisan, feudalist, and proletarian in the latecomer societies. It is this fact that is of current interest.

The late advent of capitalist social relations in the societies in which fascism was later to triumph had early and direct impact on the life history of their classes; impact which sharply differentiated them from objectively identical classes in the other capitalist societies of greater antiquity. First, feudal social classes persevered well into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Germany, Japan, Italy, Austro-Hungary, Russia and Southeastern Europe. Other than in Japan, that was also true if the "old" petite bourgeoisie. When imperial constriction began to be felt in the form of heightened class conflict, falling rate of profit, increased bourgeois competition, and so on, the decline of those classes became precipitous when compared to the slow disappearance of their cognate classes elsewhere. This is the historical reality which underlies the "marginality" of these classes. In terms of the formal collective experience of actual class members, it meant a relatively abrupt rather than a slow multi-generational decline into the proletariat or lumpenproletariat. In no small part this was due to the more aggressive competition present in closed capitalist systems, where large capital tends to look more carefully for "inward" expansionary opportunities than it would were "easier" external paths open to it. Further, the higher level of organization which develops among wage-homogeneous (read non-aristocratic) labor also tends to make gains against the petite bourgeoisie more easily than against the more formidable resources of large capital. This is the phenomenology of the "squeeze" much beloved of formalistic class analysis. Where imperialism was widespread and prosperous, the petite bourgeoisie tended to disappear at an earlier date, by the universal calendar, but with far more gentility. Also, where empire was puny, the decomposing "middle classes" tended to fall further; there was little or no rising labor aristocracy to serve as a lateral economic cushion for the social step downward. In addition, the late arrivals on the imperial scene provided considerably fewer positions of the type which were precursors to the "new" petite bourgeoisie, tied as that class is to well-developed and expansive empire.

Given that much of the analysis of classical fascism is based on the German case, it deserves more attention even in a cursory overview such as this. Its perennial popularity is no accident; however, it results from the dramatic turn-about in German politics in the period 19181 932. This left-right reversal is itself a superb example of how the short-range vicissitudes of imperialism can have dramatic impact on the fates of classes and on their eventual political alignments. In this light, it should be recalled that following upon the heels of the successful Franco-Prussian War, Germany was able to acquire a substantial amount of overseas territory. Between 1884 and 1898 it counted a substantial piece of sub-Saharan Africa as its own, as well as smaller holdings in Oceania. This start on "real" imperialism, fueled with the money capital extracted from France as tribute, in part set in motion the social processes which were to eventually produce the nucleus of a professional managerial class/new petite bourgeoisie and allow for the growth of a later aristocracy. Further, the presence of ethnically distinct minorities in East Prussia also provided a potentially super-exploitable population from whose toil the means to placate militant German labor could be extracted. Perhaps as important as the actual history of Germany for its class structure was the future its ruling classes had planned for it. The goals of Germany, Austro-Hungary, and the pathetic Ottoman Empire were clear: to fracture Anglo-French hegemony and divide up the spoils of that earlier empire. To do so, the German bourgeoisie and militarists developed a technical, professional, and bureaucratic structure of a size more in proportion to their dreams than their reality. Had Germany achieved its World War I aims, its veterans would have had good jobs awaiting their return, and its former petite bourgeoisie and its offspring would have had more than enough to do administering to the needs of the expanded German Empire. In other words, the "displacement hypothesis" seems to dissolve into little more than a descriptive portrayal of the social outcomes of imperial disaster. Having examined, however briefly, the way in which imperialist history, general and social, relates to the class composition of reactionary coalitions, one major analytical question remains: what converts a group of dying, starved, and stricken classes into an actual political coalition with a common purpose?

Ideological Mobilization and Imperialist Crisis.
In the past, debate has arisen over the question of whether the successful reactionary coalitions of the classical fascist period represent combinations of classes or class fragments with actual material interests or, conversely, whether they represent temporary alliances with great internal contradictions that are blunted only by the invocation of uniquely powerful ideological constructions. This issue is taken up in one form or another in almost all the works cited here. Less frequently considered is the connection between the answer to this question and the varying forms of fascist ideology itself. Sternhall (Laqeuer, 1976) manages to devote over forty pages to the question of the forms of fascist ideology without once inquiring as to its material base (he also omits any reference to Nazism). He notes that until the mid-1960's, no serious inquiry into the general ideological forms of fascism was available in English. In listing the works which did appear, such as Nolte (1975), Eugen Weber (1964), Gregor (1969), Mosse (1964), and others, he correctly observes that there exists a split in the literature over whether the various fascist ideologies have more or less commonality; that is, whether they can be considered as outcroppings of a single phenomenon or fairly unique national experiences. Unfortunately, as his discussion reveals, much of the debate has taken on the character of a quarrel in the History of Ideas; i.e., did fascist ideology draw on a long-standing and widespread current in European thought, or, was "fascist ideology" instead only a later, synthetic principle by which historians overgeneralized a highly idiosyncratic ideological complex which arose at only a single moment in time. Both of these approaches tend to treat ideas as abstractions without a material base, and also tend to ignore the differential success of the ideas in different national contexts. While it is undeniable that reactionary ideology has broad and deep historical roots, it seems that the very fact that it enjoyed success in such a constrained and spotty fashion should have recommended an inquiry into the connection of its forms to the societies which produced it. This seems not to have occurred, however. Marxist treatments seem to have done little more, other than to have identified fascism as false consciousness built upon "chauvinistic demagoguery," as Dimitroff put it. Why this demagoguery should be so appealing is left unclear. Fromm (1941) resorts to psychological explanations based on "cravings for submission and domination," thus giving birth to the authoritarian explanation for fascist appeal which was later to be expanded by Adorno and his colleagues. Guerin (1973), Saposs (1938), and others also resort to the "status panic" hypothesis which Fromm and Lasswell originally advanced. Fromm (1941:244), however, did make some connection to the political economic infrastructure of the times when he observed that the "panic" he spoke of was mobilized and directed " the service of German imperialism." Neumann (1943) and others tended toward the "resentment" mode of this argument, wherein the discrepancy between the social standing and salaries of the "old middle classes" provoked hostility toward the proletariat and its political representatives. The source of these low salaries was not questioned. Further, as Burris (1982) shows in his insightful analysis of fascism and the various petite bourgeoisies, the entire empirical justification for the idea that the economic disaster of the classes at issue was a result of events beginning in the period of proletarian advance in Germany is, in fact, false:

Clearly, the decline of the "middle strata" is tied closely to the disaster of German imperialism and not the rise of the proletariat. Indeed, Burris (1982:33) goes on to observe that it was during the period of greatest decline relative to the German proletariat that the "intermediate strata" most supported social democracy and organized labor. Burris, however, attempts to explain the rise of fascism by its support among the haute bourgeoisie and by the sectarianism of the left. While both of these factors are crucial to the success of fascist political movements, they still fail to account for the broad appeal of reactionary ideology across class lines which Burris himself acknowledges, drawing on much the same literature as this discussion. The enigma of reactionary ideology and its broad appeal thus remains.

Based on the above, it is clear that reactionary coalitions during the capitalist epoch have a contradictory character; that they unite classes which have objectively opposed class interests; and that they unite classes at radically different points in their "life-cycles." It then follows that the key to understanding these apparent contradictions is to be found in the dual reality of capitalism in its imperialist form: that at any given moment as a general system it has sets of effects which act differently in each society which is encompassed by it, and that the variation in its effects has a great deal to do with the historical sequence in which societies enter that system. Further, it seems that imperialism as a special form of capitalism generates sets of objective class interests in historical societies which are not coterminous with the objective class interests to be derived from the dynamics of capitalism as a general system of social relations. This contradicts Marx no more than did Lenin; in fact, it doesn't contradict Marx at all. It does recognize, as did Lenin, that capitalism has an internal dialectic which causes it to transform itself; it is not so much like a machine, as Bernsteinian socialists would have had it, as it is like a butterfly. It is the genetic code of the lepidoptera that leads to the succession of caterpillar and butterfly, yet caterpillars and butterflies are not the same. Although all of the implications for the future history of capitalism are as yet unclear, and although the detailed minutiae of capitalism's past have not been fully comprehended, it still seems possible to say that at a given moment in time and in a given place, classes as diverse as feudal militarists, finance capitalists, privileged proletarians, and professional/managerial bureaucratic-technical functionaries, can unite around a set of real and common interests. In fact, it would be absurd to argue otherwise--they have done so on many occasions as the history discussed here indicates.

It should also be noted that the dialectical opposite of this is also true: that the petit bourgeois, the displaced peasant, the intellectual, the priest, and the wage-slave can unite for progressive change as in the cases of Russia, China, Viet-Nam, Cuba, and Nicaragua. What seems to differentiate the relative occurrence of these two tendencies is whether classes or class fragments perceive and/or act as if the system of social relations in which they exist is a relational matrix of classes, or whether they perceive and/or act as if it were something else. The existence of imperialism has a powerful effect on the perception that nations are the operative unit of social destiny. As was discussed at some length, nations are indeed the basic building blocks of imperialism, but as was also indicated, nations are what they are only in terms of their place in the more fundamental class relations of the modern capitalist world system.

In a theoretical sense, this formulation is only a complex restatement of the mundane Marxist thesis that the only accurate perception of the world is a perception which holds human society to be class society and, as a negative corollary, that any other perception is objectively false and thus useless for social progress. At the level of actual events, however, such an understanding is less banal. The main theses being advanced here are in some ways quite simple and straightforward: when the fate of classes within a society is dramatically changed for the worse by changes in that society's place in the imperialist system, the interests of classes so affected may come to be self-perceived as a matter of the future place of that society within the imperialist system. It is also possible that the fate of said classes can be perceived as tied to the dissolution of imperialism itself and the internationalization of the process of production and distribution of the useful products of labor. It is not difficult to understand why societies which were relatively privileged prior to an imperialist crisis tend to move toward imperialist renaissance as a cure for their problems, while those which were less privileged tend to gravitate toward an anti-imperialist solution. It is not quite as easy to understand the modern crop of reactionary social movements in this way, as their political-economic distribution ranges across societies as different as the United States and Egypt, and their geographical span is unbounded. Thus, something more is required than crude notions of national interest.

Earlier on, it was noted that imperialist crisis can generate class disaster in two dialectically opposed ways: first, it can destroy classes (like the labor aristocracy) whose fate is tied to the success of imperialism; second, it can gravely injure classes (such as the "old" petite bourgeoisie) which had already begun to decline - as a result of imperialism. Obviously, the articulation between these two types of class difficulty and imperialist crisis must be different. Nevertheless, it must be stressed at the outset that the fate of these classes is more or less the same. A good example of the differences in the mechanisms of class decline can be seen in some of the earlier discussions here. When German imperialism entered crisis, competition for capital within the bourgeoisie heightened. The inability to avoid the tendency of the rate of profit to fall by seeking cheap labor elsewhere forced a drive toward greater investment in constant capital--machines and technique rather than labor. Such a drive raises demand for capital among investors and pushes smaller capitalists to the wall. In the long run, small capital is doomed no matter what the fortunes of imperialism might be; this is a basic dynamic of capitalism--the bourgeois cannibalism of which Marx spoke. Imperialist crisis accelerates this tendency to an intolerable rate--witness the beginning wave of business bankruptcies in the U.S. today. On the other hand, the fate of large sectors of the state bureaucracy is tightly tied to the advancing prow of imperialism. When imperialism halts, so does its growth. As a result, at the exact moment when imperialism experiences crisis, it damages two classes which are not only opposed, but are even in a successive relationship to one another. Clearly, an "objective" analysis makes such an antagonism obvious; however, reactionary social movements are not organized around objective analyses--indeed, that is one of their hallmarks. Moving along, one can consider the plight of the "labor aristocracy"; its privileges are based on its politically privileged integration into an international system of economic production. Thus, the advance of imperialism seems to be in its interest. Yet, over time, that very "wage privilege" encourages automation of core economies and capital investment at the periphery. As a result, the programs necessary for short run gains lay the groundwork for future catastrophe and class decomposition. It is undoubtedly in the short and long-range interest of the haute bourgeoisie to invest capital where labor is cheapest regardless of national boundary; Lenin correctly identified this as the ultimate functional destiny of this primary class of the capitalist epoch. Again, a scientific analysis of the situation would show these interests to be inextricably and diametrically opposed. Yet, in the U.S. and some other parts of the imperialist core, organized labor and capital have almost never broken ranks over imperialist expansion, as the Viet Nam experience made clear. Vulgar analyses of such phenomena sometimes refer to the "bought" leaders of producing classes who take positions which are self-destructive. While there is no shortage of empirical evidence to support such an assertion, there is also no reason to believe that such "class traitors" are Svengalis able to mesmerize and dupe millions of individuals. George Meany's appeal was not charismatic; it rested on the establishment of an ideological hegemony based on the elimination of competing ideologies and on the promulgation of a plausible--albeit utterly incorrect--view of the world which nonetheless corresponded to selected elements of the life experience of individual class members. Once this is recognized, the significance of the general form and content of capitalist mobilizing ideologies becomes clear, particularly so when it is also understood that capitalism has outlived its historical usefulness by many decades. In other words, any ideology which serves to maintain such a system is almost by definition reactionary.

Nationalism, Racism, and the Community of Believers:
the Forms of Reactionary Ideology. Any ruling class which attempts to preserve capitalist social relations at a time during or immediately following imperialist catastrophe is in a situation from which there seems to have been only one historical exit. It must form a coalition of disparate and antagonistic classes at a time of tremendous social upheaval and political volatility, and it must do so in the face of competing class-hegemonic attempts which are relatively uncontaminated by responsibility for the crisis. In order to form this coalition, it must create a mobilizing ideology which convincingly asserts the existence of a common class destiny which transcends class interests themselves, and it must do so on the basis of little more than the shared misery of political economic collapse. This promise of the state of things to come must also be seen as equally salubrious for all members of the class coalition, and thus once more not a matter of classes at all. The ideological battle must also be fought against a revolutionary opponent whose counter-proposals have the intrinsic virtue of being objectively correct; i.e., of having accurately identified the class basis of national trauma and in the process, having also brought into visibility the deeper historical processes upon which rests the class phenomena itself. The struggling bourgeoisie must do these things because imperial disaster, with its attendant wars and social dislocations rips the fabric of legitimacy which veiled the obsolete social nature of its class hegemony. These rather straightforward and compelling constraints are not only the motivation for the development of reactionary ideology, they are also the determinants of the parameters which define its form.

A relatively small set of characteristics occurs most frequently in comparative historical discussions of fascist ideology, many of which treatments were cited earlier. These include a false universalism, anticommunism, irrationalism, and totalitarianism. Each of these main principles is well-articulated with and overlaps the others. The seeming conceptual contradiction of a "limited universalism" is a reflection of the actual contradiction of the reactionary class coalition and its ultimate program: the combination of antagonistic classes under a single umbrella for purposes of re-establishing or advancing previously existing social relations. The "umbrella" in question usually has several stripes, but it is never class-internationalist in perspective. Nationalism is ubiquitous in this respect, since the problem of imperialist collapse has historically varied in its magnitude and points of impact from society to society. As was suggested previously, it thus becomes possible to treat the social problematic as a national one. However, the nation is never treated as primarily a political economic unit with a specific history; rather, it is always modeled as a form of Hobbsian whale: transcendent, towering above all other social divisions, and immortal. This leads to an ideological emphasis on a mystified history which looks backward to a glorious past which has only been derailed from its journey into the future by evil, external elements and/or malefic traitors. It is in those very contexts where nationality is weakest that the mystical nature of the nation is most emphasized. Further, in such circumstances, the character of the national experience is distorted so that a particular tradition which exists outside of the universal culture which capitalism brings is brought to the fore as representative as the "true" roots of nationality. There is not a single example from the period of classical fascism where such ideological outcroppings do not hold. This aspect of reactionary ideology undergoes some modification where the state is poorly developed or is distant from the everyday experiences of the masses. In such circumstances, pseudo-national bases for unity outside of class lines develop, often around concepts of peoplehood tied to "race," language, and/or a particular, definitive, and exclusivistic tradition of worship. Regardless of the particular blend of these elements, or of their relative primacy, reactionary ideologies are all "universalistic" in that they ideologically unite objective class antagonists under a transcendent rubric. This universalism is always limited in that it adumbrates community quite sharply, and usually on the basis of precapitalist social formations. In an obvious way, this is one of the dimensions of "reactionary" ideology which makes it, by definition, reactionary.

The basis of belief in such ideas is always irrationalist in nature. This only makes sense in that reactionary ideology is an objectively false definition of social reality. It thus must depend on feeling, mystical insight, faith, experiences of mass catharsis, and psychological insecurities of the type W. Reich (1972) discussed to validate it. The well-known anti-intellectualism of reactionary ideology is a contained aspect of its general irrationalism. Book-burning and the endless citation of segments of holy texts are only the behavioral correlates of the essential obfuscation upon which reaction rests.

Anti-communism is perhaps the most obvious of the essential elements of reactionary ideology; however, its ideological rational is multiple. First, communism rests on an appeal to reason--it is materialist in its analysis and seeks an objective appraisal of class interests. As such, it challenges the form as well as the content of reactionary discourse. In this, it finds itself lumped by reactionaries with "bourgeois liberalism, "cosmopolitanism," etc. Second, socialist and/or communist parties form the basis of the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist coalitions which arise as polar challenges to reaction at times of crisis. The motive for their ideological elimination is therefore obvious. Third, communism is always internationalist in perspective; it argues for a true universalism, one which is humanist rather than exclusivist. A characteristic aspect of reactionary anti-communism is its use of epithets and mystification in the portrayal of communism; it does not meet it on its own analytical grounds, but relies instead on the negative form of its mystical appeals to de-legitimate the very consideration of communist analysis. Thus, the "Red Menaces," "godless Communism." "the Yellow Peril," and "Jewish Bolshevism" are brought into being.

The fourth characteristic,
totalitarianism, grows out of both the ideological means and political ends of capitalist reaction. For all its being over-used to the point of abuse, the concept still has validity in its original context. First, it reinforces the belief in a supra-rational community by submerging the significance of the individual and thus his/her interests as real historical beings. Needless to say, such interests are in fact class interests when socially expressed. Sternhall (Laqueur, 1976:346) quotes Mussolini to good effect on this:

Such ideological outcroppings also reveal the essentially bourgeois nature of fascist/reactionary ideology; i.e., the view of the individual as a thing, an alienated object rather than a subject with species capacities and needs. Sternhell (Laqueur, 1976:346) amplifies on this by other references:

Second, more pragmatically, totalitarianism is a political necessity in a time of heightened class conflict, class-hegemonic challenges, and social disruption. Totalitarianism as an ideological principle becomes the basis for the political suppression of opposition and the regulation of social behavior in a time of delegitimation and normative flux. Finally, totalitarianism may be seen as a necessary principle for the restraint of self-awareness, reflexivity, and even conscience. As Orwell made clear, it is often in the margins of the day, in moments of quiet or of intimate conversation that revolutionary consciousness is born. By filling those margins and moments, a liberated zone of some consequence is occupied.

Contemporary Reaction and the "New" Religious Right.
It would be gross understatement to describe as merely "many" the changes which have taken place in imperialism since crisis erupted into war in 1914. However, underneath the kaleidoscopic seethe of discrete historical events, fundamental transformations have been few, if major, and the multitude of new phenomena produced by capitalist social relations still tend to have been variations on old themes. This is due in no small degree to the most astonishing fact of this century; i.e., that capitalism has survived at all. It has done so as a result of the recapitulation at the level of national societies of the processes which mark the internal history of each capitalist society: crisis, "shake-out," and monopolism. That is, during the period following the expansion of productive forces beyond the ability of existing social relations to contain them, capitalist competition heightens, weaker competitors are destroyed and absorbed, and the resulting reduction in and concentration of the number of operating units of capital accumulation allows for a respite, however temporary, from the stagnation which is capitalism's perpetual nemesis and final outcome. At the level of the world system, however, this process is not considered to be "merely" an economic one; the concept of "monopoly" is replaced by that of "hegemony," and the shake-out which takes place is bloody. In any event, by 1945, hegemony had been established within the imperialist system which was nearly total. Three important factors formed the primary lineaments of the contemporary imperialist world. One was the destruction of the European, Russian, and Japanese industrial bases; the second was the coup-de-grace administered to non-American finance capital at Bretton Woods in 1944 (the only non-Axis country which refused to sign this agreement besides the USSR was Argentina, a most interesting fact given its perpetual invalidism as a capitalist society and its long fascist tradition); and the third was the dissolution of the European and Japanese empires and their reconstitution under the domination of American capital and military power. For present purposes, only one aspect of this massive metamorphosis of imperialism need be considered: the fact that imperialist crisis, when it reoccurs in the mid-1950's and onward, is a universal crisis. That is, the emergence of American empire no more solved the fundamental disorders of capitalism-cum-imperialism than the disappearance and disincorporation of Studebaker-Packard into a larger structure solved the problem of "non-production" in the American automobile industry. Although minor and short-lived perturbations in the relative fates of capitalist societies are common in the current period, capitalist disaster is no less universal now than it was in earlier times; Germany and Japan are becoming just as ill as America and no amount of Idealistic obfuscation about managerial style and/or national culture can obscure this. In fact, with the existence of a single investment currency and a "locomotive-and-train" relationship between American consumption and world production, the harmonies of crisis are finely tuned: the ill health of any part of the imperialist system sickens all of it. Thus, a primary characteristic determining or conditioning the fate of classes today is the general inability of one advanced capitalist society to make permanent gains at the expense of others. (This has an important effect on the relative strength of nationalism as a component of reactionary ideology, about which more will be said.) Further, the possibility of imperial expansion is foreclosed. The single, "trilateral" empire has left no corner of the world untouched. In fact, its crises of "underconsumption" and capitalist accumulation have become so conditioned by this essential fact that history is treated to the spectacle of Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola competing for franchises in socialist societies, and massive investment by finance capital in the societies of "actually existing socialism." About this more will also be said later. For the moment, however, three facts need to be reemphasized; after this an analysis of the specific cases which originated this discussion can be pursued expeditiously. First, imperialism has nowhere left to go in terms either of geographic expansion or vertical integration; second, it is still a mode of capitalist production, and thus is characterized by structural flaws leading to economic collapse; and third, the hegemonic class of modern capitalism, the bourgeoisie of international finance capital, still is not "decadent" in the sense that elitist theorists have used the word. Put another way, finance capital not only shows no sign of class abdication, it seems to be rejuvenating itself politically.

What then may be made of the seemingly unconnected movements led by Falwell, Begin, Walesa, and Khomeini when they are viewed in the context of this analysis? First, it should be understood that these examples are seen not as idiosyncratic but as part of a broader phenomenon--however, the special characteristics of the histories of Poland, Persia, Israel, and the United States tend to carve their experiences in bold relief. Other manifestations, such as the increased xenophobia in France along with a parallel renaissance of French Catholic reaction also could have been considered, as could the cases of Argentina, Egypt, or China. Even it if is realized that the selection paradigm for investigations of this kind is often arbitrary and dictated by current events, each of the societies chosen as exemplary is either singular in importance or particularly representative of a much larger aspect of the total process at issue. The important point is that the fundamental questions would remain the same in any instance: what are the operative class coalitions; in what way are they reactionary; how is that reaction tied to imperial crisis; and how does the content of the reactionary mobilizing ideology conform to the general model established here?

. Iran, after the fall of the Pahlevi dynasty, is interesting in that it is seen by its antagonists as a carrier of a "communicable" social disorder. That is, it is often seen as a possible precursor of social movements with a potential geographical range stretching from Saharan Africa to Pakistan. Of course, Iran has a long and rich special history, and recent events haven't impoverished that record. Therefore, it should be recognized that the present goal is not an unrealistic attempt to elaborate on that which is already voluminous; rather, it is an attempt to see how easily a special case can be matched to a general model.

In the Persian case, the mature operative class coalition is straightforward, albeit not quite as obvious as it might seem at first. While almost all classes opposed the Shah, the coalition which was finally to emerge was composed largely of precapitalist social sectors and the urban masses recently displaced from the countryside. Various "liberal" groupings emerged who were associated with foreign enterprise and the technical intelligentsia, and much smaller and leftist groupings also sought to construct alternative coalitions. They all failed, however. The connection between the dissatisfaction of the bazaar, the mullahs, and the displaced rural population, and imperialist crisis is clear and unambiguous. The regime of the Shah had largely served as a two-day conduit for international finance capital. Capital flowed in rapidly to develop the oil industry(an industry with an extremely high organic composition of capital) and left just as rapidly to be absorbed by foreign investors directly or to be invested by the regime itself in European and North American financial institutions and enterprises. Thus, while Iran in the 1970's completed the economic integration into the world imperialist system which had begun over a century ago, it did so as a vassal state with a classically distorted imperial/ peripheral economy. As a result, the advance of imperialism left a social wasteland in its wake, with almost all classes except for the functionaries of the state and international capital decimated and with no alternative social destination. The crisis Iran experienced was not in any obvious way one which was associated with a shift in its relative position in the imperialist world system. However, the deformed social structure which finally cracked in the late 1970's only existed and functioned in the harsh way it did because of the demands of the imperialist center. The heedless creation of a barbaric regime sitting on a one-legged economic stool took place largely because of the insatiable need for cheap petroleum products to fuel the high energy, high profit machine economies of the capitalist core. If imperialism had not been against the wall of its own limits it seems likely that more "liberal" (farsighted?) elements in finance capital would have prevailed as they did under Carter in southern Africa and in Latin America. This is an excellent example of how the unifocal "Americentric," character of imperialism as it coalesced after 1945 produces a typical reactionary politics different from that of imperialism in its earlier multi-focal period. Once more, under contemporary imperial conditions, it is the international more so than the national class contradictions that a society experiences which shape its class politics.

As to whether the class coalition which holds in Iran today is reactionary, little need be said. The religious character of that reactionary ideology is the focus of interest. To be sure, Persian nationalism is woven through the fabric of the ideology, but far more prominent is the "Islamic fundamentalism" much feared by the geo-politicians. The fact that the only organized power outside of the Shah's regime after a quarter century of oppression was located in the mosque has a great deal to do with the Koranic focus of Iranian reactionary ideology. However, the question needs to be raised of whether any alternative mobilizing base was possible in Iran even had its history been different. With a demographically insignificant proletariat of partially alien ethnic origin, a displaced peasantry, and no domestic bourgeoisie independent of foreign capital and the ruling dynasty, liberalism and internationalism were both foreclosed progressive options. Reactionary ideology could not depend on the irrationalist nationalism of the flag any more than could the German bourgeoisie albeit for different reasons. Whereas the German state was a recent novelty, the origins of the Persian state were do distant in time and so irrelevant to the present, that its appeal was limited in advance as a rallying cry. Further, any appeal to the unique language of Iran and its independent history would isolate it in its region at a time of great weakness and external threat. The Shah had also tainted Persian nationalism by attaching his dynasty to the Aryan past. "Race" was never an operative issue, because such pseudo-scientific notions had never developed and diffused outside of the European cultural orbit. The only bond which united the fragmented, dislocated, and predated Persian people was that of a common religious belief system. If Iran were not to suffer partition or imperialist revival, that single unifying character had to be emphasized to the maximum. Based as its tenets are on the life-conditions of feudalistic and pastoralist experiences, the Koran became a useful ideological tool which allowed for the resolution of Iran's dilemma of "Western" imperial domination without threatening the class interests of its theocrats and remaining landholders, which any class analysis of necessity had to do. Unlike the earlier situation in the case of German or Italian imperialist adventurism, however, Iran is not a developed capitalist society, nor can it soon move out of its materially distorted role in world-economy. Thus, as powerful as its mobilizing ideology is at the moment, the regime which promulgates it already shows chronic instability. Again unlike the situation in Europe, there is no plausible program for material well-being which can be tied to the existing irrationalist unifying base. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Koran is repeatedly probed for references which will justify the socialism of oil, but not of land and labor. The significance of this for the general model at issue will be considered at a later point.

Because of its putative status as a socialist society, Poland's recent troubles have led to analyses which gravitate around the question of pro- or anti-Sovietism. With the limited and ambiguous exception of an analysis on the order of Szkolny's (1981), this has been the theoretical fate of Poland's ills as, ironically, its actual history has been a residue of its relation to Russia. The Russian issue today, however, is the symptom of a larger problem and not the problem itself. The problem per se is again that of imperialism as a world system and Poland's past and present place in it. At the present time, the uneasy class coalition which operates around "Solidarity" and KOR in Poland consists of wage laborers in Poland's export industries, agricultural small-holders, and the clerics and secular intelligentsia associated with the Catholic Church. Although the broadest based on the four coalitions being considered here, it is in some ways the most ideologically inconsistent. Whether one of these phenomena is an outcome of the other is largely irrelevant; the main prefatory questions (not present in the Iranian case) are whether this class coalition combines contradictory interests, whether it is reactionary, and the manner of its connection to imperialist crisis.

The key economic contradiction of Polish society is that it is only partially socialist and is also well within the imperialist orbit. While industry is socialized, agriculture is largely in private hands. Poland experienced rapid reindustrialization after 1945, and a further jump in urbanization and industrialization after 1956. This vast industrial base, among the ten largest producers in the world, was only poorly fed by horse-drawn feudal agricultural organization. Unable or unwilling to undertake the necessarily arduous political task of collectivizing Poland's archaic farms, the less-than-orthodox ruling party in Poland instead chose the path of yet greater industrial growth in the hope that sufficient export goods could be produced to offset the need to import agricultural commodities. As is well known, the source for the investment funds this plan required was found in imperialist finance capital. Imperialist crisis becomes intertwined with Polish politics at this point in two ways: first, were it not for the lack of suitable investment opportunities in the capitalist core and in the already incorporated periphery, European finance capital--and by proxy its American cognate--would have been unlikely to have invested capital in a place where it had so little political control. This is the phenomenon of exhausted opportunities for imperial expansion arising once again. Second, as Szkolny (1981:12-13) correctly notes (in a rather slanted way), actual crisis occurred simultaneously with the drop in capitalist import abilities and the heightened competition for markets which goes along with such contraction. By 1976, Poland was unable to export sufficient manufactured goods to subsidize its fossil agricultural base. The original outlook of anti-government protest followed the consequent raising of agricultural prices. Szkolny (1981:20) also reports the supporting fact that by 1979, Poland was using 92% of its export earnings to service its debts to finance capital. In the face of this, however, Polish politics stands itself on its head.

Rather than demanding the collectivization of agriculture, the three-quarters of the population which labors for wages joins in the demand of small-holding peasantry for the institutionalization of the latter's position in Polish society. Equally remarkable, rather than demanding default on obligations to imperialism, Polish intellectuals seek closer ties to the capitalist world. Further, the Catholic Church, which in return for a cessation of state hostility cooperated in the legitimation of the ideologically absurd and politically corrupt Gomulka regime, provides the rallying point around which opposition to the Polish regime revolves. While a more unlikely coalition can hardly be imagined, the means by which it comes to pass are less obscure.

It should be remembered that Poland's political history during the previous period of imperialist crisis was unabashedly reactionary. The Pilsudski government, supported by a virulently anti-Communist and anti-Semitic Catholic Church, provides the ideological context out of which modern Poland emerges. Further, the eradication of the Jewish population during World War II, the expulsion of ethnic Germans from East Prussia, and the later exile in 1968 of the remaining cosmopolitan intelligentsia, leave Poland in the same kind of political and ideological vacuum as Iran experienced. The only organized body outside of the state was the Church, and when mass dissatisfaction with Poland's patchwork socialism surfaced, the Church and the State faced a common dilemma. Any real satisfaction of the demands of Polish workers would have meant the radical reform of Polish agriculture. Any such reform would have meant the eradication of the core of support for the Catholic Church. Similarly, an adequate program for social reform would have meant the complete dissolution and reform of the so-called Polish Workers' Party and the extension of socialism into the political process. Such democratization brings class radicalizations at all levels, including the cultural, as the Chinese experience demonstrated. Thus, the Catholic Church was forced into a dual strategy of edging Poland toward open anti-Russian rebellion, while still maintaining the legitimacy of the pseudo-socialist regime with whom it had collaborated. Out of such inconsistencies irrationalist ideologies are born. In order to execute this strategy, it first had to establish control over the ideological opposition to the regime, and then to transform proletarian demands into nationalist ones. It did so by silently countenancing the purges of 1956 and 1968 and by encouraging the growth of a radical Catholic intelligentsia in the same period. Szkolny (1981) provides a brief but telling account of the delicate process that this involved. Such coups, however, eradicate potential opposition, but they do not mobilize masses, even when events have premobilized them. In accomplishing this, the Catholic Church used techniques which are well-known aspects of classical reaction and which were also present in Iran--the mass iconic rally which is the street seminar of fascism.

Guy DeBord (1970) in his "Society of the Spectacle" provides an extremely deep analysis of how class interests are subordinated to false unities by massified public experiences. In some ways his thesis parallels Reich's mass psychology, although it never intersects with it. The world is quite familiar with the mobilizing effect of the demonstrations in front of the American Embassy in Tehran, in which iconographic displays were prominent. The Nuremburg rallies are equally well-known. Perhaps not surprisingly, the demonstrations at Czestochowa and the display of the Black Madonna are portrayed not as political acts but as expressions of piety. That which they did in fact was to re-invigorate Polish nationalism in its Russophobic form, and make nationalist expression religious in form. In terms of the general theses presented here, this clericalization of nationalism is required where nationhood is insignificant or awkward for reaction, as in Iran, or where it is politically irrelevant, as in Poland. As in the general model, Poland's current crisis and that of the Polish proletariat is a result of its class relationship to finance capital, more so than to its national/political relationship to Russia. Yet, any attempt to solve this problem within a class context would mean the final socialization of Poland, a course which the Catholic Church correctly foresees as its own end. Thus, all the techniques and processes are deployed by which class analysis is submerged and nationalism expressed in its most irrational form, allegiance to a particular belief system. This is the most irrational form because it is based on no material interest at all, merely a set of ideas which form mythic representations of a mythic unity where only opposition exists. In the case of Poland, given its history, only two dimensions of nationalism could exist--Russophobia and Catholicism. The first is on one level irrelevant and on another impossible in practice; in this way Catholicism becomes the only means to express the nationalism which itself obscures the class contradictions of Poland. Were solidarity "only" a nationalistic movement, it would still have found its way to the Black Madonna; it had nowhere else to go. However, by its militant class motivation and organization, "Solidarity" became a threat to the Polish Catholic Church and this had to be blunted or usurped. As a result, when solidarity moves away from nationalism and toward class analysis, the Church admonishes it to "social responsibility"; when it moves toward nationalism, it is sanctified by the Church. In any case, Poland becomes one of the more interesting and elaborate examples of how the erosion of the fact of nationality in the face of the actual existence of imperialist social relations transforms the experience of capitalist crisis into a religiously expressed nationalism. Israel under the Likud is equally instructive.

. Where Poland has Czestochowa, Israel has Masada; for Katyn, there is the Holocaust--both share Auschwitz; Poland frightens itself with Russia, Israelis confront their Arab bogeymen. Poland is plagued by chronic food shortages, Israel has astronomical inflation. The two peoples who shared a long and unhappy history together now share an unhappy present separately.
The analogies between the two situations are many; the major thesis deployed here argues that there should be. The common root of Iranian, Polish, and Israeli trouble is their connection to imperialism; their common inability to resolve their problems arises from their unwillingness and/or inability to confront this fact. For all these parallels, however, the situations of the two societies are as fundamentally different as their roles in the contemporary imperialist system. Whereas Poland's troubles arise largely from their economic role in that system, Israel's arise from its geopolitical function. As the above recitation suggests, a coalition of antagonistic classes is to be found in Israel as it is in Poland, the coalition is reactionary, and it is mobilized around an irrationalist nationalism growing out of a religious belief system. The particulars are as follows.

Although Israel was originally founded on the basis of a racist philosophy with its roots in the same purulent Viennese soil as Nazism, until 1948 it was largely a homogeneous colonialist movement of the dispossessed, similar to the Boer or Algerian colon variety. At that time, with the replacement of British and French condominium in the Middle East by its geographically distant American successor, the function of Israel in the imperialist world system also changed: it became an important base for the extension of American imperial power into the oil-rich region. At the same time, the migration and/or expulsion from Palestine of large numbers of its native population along with the influx of large numbers of "Oriental" Jews displaced from Arab lands changed the class composition of Israeli society substantially. It began the long process of transformation from a settler-colonial society to the sub-imperial regional power it now is. As was noted, in the early years of settlement, the Zionist enclave was largely inhabited by displaced Eastern European artisans, craft laborers, and intellectuals with a nationalist/socialist ideological orientation. While maintaining the socialist principle of common ownership of the means of production, it shared the easy European racism of the time, seeing Arabs much the way Europeans viewed Native Americans: as sub-human impedimenta to a manifest destiny. However, alongside this socialist Zionism there existed another variant which was explicitly racist toward all non-Jews, and which viewed the construction of any form of socialism as epiphenomenal to the assertion of the "rightful" place of Jews in the world. This tendency was associated with Vladimir Jabotinski and was unashamedly a negative dialectical counterpart to Nazism in almost every respect. This Zionist tradition tended to draw its support from the urban Jewish petite bourgeoisie and professionals of Eastern Europe, which class was relatively privileged compared to the conditions of many of its co-religionists, but which was relatively underprivileged compared to its Christian counterparts. Because of their social status, relatively few Jews of this class migrated to Palestine prior to 1939. When members of this class were Zionist, they oriented themselves more toward the parlor than to the East. Only the most zealous of this tendency ended up in Israel, before or after 1939. Among them was Menachem Begin, who from the time of his migration onward represented an explicitly capitalist, racist, and authoritarian brand of Zionism. As long as the Jewish settlement in Palestine was largely composed of European Jews whose interest was the creation of socialism for Jews, the Jabotinskyites were a minority tendency with no significant political base. However, once Israel became an explicit extension of American hegemonic power and once it became something akin to a caste society, Begin's position began to improve rapidly. Within the context of already settled European Jews and a subject Arab population exploited as cheap labor, Oriental Jewry had little opportunity to move in Israeli society. It suffered high unemployment, social discrimination, poverty, and in general provided little more than cannon fodder for the Israeli military and a surplus population to be drawn upon when needed. The establishment of the Zionist state was, in fact, an unmitigated disaster for this population segment, first having displaced them from their homelands and then having given them no satisfactory role at their destination other than to die in its wars. Oriental Jews seethed as a "social problem" in Israel for many years; their relatively high birth rate accentuated this, but as a result of it, in the long run they were to become the majority of the Jewish population in Palestine.

When Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956 and Eisenhower aborted the Anglo-French and Israeli onslaught that followed it, a process was set in motion which was to alter the class politics of Israel permanently. At that point in time it became clear that Israel was to be no more than a vassal state whose interests might be subordinated to those of American-dominated international finance capital. It also became clear that the function of Israel within the imperialist system was to blunt the thrust of Arab re-awakening and to prevent the establishment of anti-imperial regimes "from the Nile to the Euphrates." The details of this strategy and the tactics by which it was executed are far beyond the scope of this discussion. The result of this new role for Israeli politics was not.

The transformation of a marginal foreign intrusion in the Levant into a bristling garrison state brought with it new internal relations in Israel as well. The grave limitation of opportunity and the abandonment of even partially socialist social relations were among these. As a result, the life-chances of the Oriental Jewish population became increasingly bleak. By the middle 1950's, serious class conflict had begun to erupt around this issue. Simultaneously, a militant resistance movement began to develop among the far-flung Palestinian exiles. While this movement was scarcely a threat to Israel's existence, it was proletarian internationalist in orientation and became the nucleus of class-based organization and analysis wherever it arose. Once organized under the umbrella of the PLO, it became a significant political threat to all the corrupt Arab regimes which had made their separate deals with foreign capital. At this point something new began to occur.

Given the upheaval in Arab social structure of that time, and given the vital nature of Arab oil to capitalist industrial society, and also given the close ties which began to grow up between the USSR and some Arab societies, a confluence of interests began to develop between Oriental Jews, Jewish fascists, and American finance capital. For finance capital, the end of this road brought the proposed destruction of the Palestinians as a "destabilizing" political force; for Oriental Jews, there lay new lands to settle and a new population, subordinate even to themselves, to exploit. For fascist mystics like Begin, there lay a giant step in the direction of a long-delayed Jewish destiny. At the same time that this dynamic had been set in motion, a new wave of immigration, small but influential, had begun to arrive in Israel from North America and Europe. It was composed largely of partially unassimilated Orthodox Jews who were themselves encountering the blocked opportunity structures of the declining capitalist heartland. They found even more difficult situations in Israel. The obvious solution to this problem was a devastating assault on and occupation of those areas contiguous to Israel where an organized Palestinian presence still existed. The problem remained of developing an adequate mobilizing ideology.

It should be noted that the Israeli situation is in some ways more analogous to the classical mode of capitalist reaction than it is to that of Iran or Poland. This is due to more than common roots in the rightist culture of fin-du-siecle Europe. As a colonial society, Israel and much of its population did stand to make substantial gains by territorial expansion. However, returning to the matter of conflict between imperial and national interests, imperialism stood to gain only by the repeated battering of the Palestinians, not by their further dispersal as a radicalizing influence in the Arab World. Thus, the interests of imperialism and of Israel came more and more to be contradictory. Israel was to bloody the Arabs and throw the Palestinians into disarray, but it was not to do so in so complete a manner as to upset the whole imperial applecart in the Middle East, as it almost did in 1973. Thus, the ideological task which faced Jabotinskyite or "Revisionist" Zionism was to find an ideology which would generate sufficient internal support for extended military occupations, new settlements, and heavy external influence by the imperialist centers. Such an ideology began to gain ground in Israel in the early 1970's.

Simple appeals to material interest seldom succeed as mobilizing ideas when those interests remain unfulfilled. The promise of security which Zionist expansion made to the Jewish population in Israel was not fulfilled. Promised economic gains did not materialize. Isolation from the rest of the world increased. For those (mostly European) Israeli classes with something to lose, the entire Zionist project began to seem precarious. Many voted with their feet, emigrating to the imperialist core. Others began to seek an accommodationist path, moving toward the idea of rapprochement with the Palestinians. No such solution held any promise for the interests described earlier. How then to mobilize those who would die and become impoverished for (sub-)Imperial Israel? In a sense, the religious solution was the most natural for Israeli reaction from the outset, both for obvious and subtle reasons.

A nation created by imperial fiat (Balfour and the United Nations) and with scarcely thirty years of history is not going to endure constant war on the basis of tradition. A nation which speaks an intentionally revived and imposed fossil language and which disavows the former traditions of its people will not persevere on the basis of a common culture. A nation composed of peoples from scores of lands will not struggle endlessly because of an ever-receding catastrophe that befell the ancestors of less than half of its population. Such resoluteness requires a myth of peoplehood which negates history and common sense, which is based on faith and a mystical community, and which defies the apparent and actual divisions of everyday life. Despite the prevailing atheism and/or agnosticism of the majority of Israeli Jews, a mythic system was constructed around the historical references of the Old Testament, around the experience of the holocaust, around the hopelessness of Bar Kochba's Rebellion, and around the dream of manifest destiny. In many ways, this reactionary ideology resembles the volkisch and Aryanist constructs of Nazism. It is just as romantic, no less irrational, and equally as dangerous to those who hold it. It rests, as do all the modern reactionary religious ideologies, in the false but persistent belief in nationhood where nationality has been dissolved, peoplehood where there is only humanity, and destiny where there is only the future. It is brought forth by the impossible ideological contradiction of capitalism in its imperialist form: the organization of politics by nation-states in the face of the organization of production by classes. Indeed, this is the source of the romanticism, fatalism, and fanaticism associated with all such ideological forms: the belief in that which is objectively unbelievable.

The United States.
For a number of reasons, the Israeli case is the proper prelude to that of the United States. In a mechanistic sense, as a "sub-imperial" proxy for American interests in the Levant and the Middle East as a whole, Israel should be expected to recapitulate to some degree the internal structural forms of its generative model. Less formalistically and at a phenomenologically more profound level, Israel shares with the United States several salient social and historical characteristics: relatively recent nation-formation, polyglot origins, a settler colonial past, and a history of exploitation of ethnically distinctive wage-labor. The United States, to be sure, is unique in its own formidable way: it is the primary hegemonic power of mature imperialism. While this fact richly colors its present social dynamics, it also emphasizes another contrary fact that ties it to the processes of the classical period of capitalist reaction. That is, at one time it was but one of plural contenders for imperial hegemony. As shall become evident, in conformity with the dialectical principles of transformation and the interpretation of opposites, its great success also becomes its great failure. This conundrum must await elaboration; for the moment, it should be understood that the United States, as it emerged successfully from the earlier moment of imperialist crisis (19141945), comes to represent the achievement of the goals of capitalist reaction: a (temporarily) viable social, economic, and political structure in which class conflict is negated and the accumulation of surplus value by means of the private ownership of the means of production remains unimpeded. Paradoxically, the United States is unique in that it is archetypical: it is the model toward which capitalist reaction strained upon attaining its maturity. As in the drive toward monopoly, however, all aspire to it but only one can achieve it.

On the basis of much earlier discussion, a number of assertions can be made: first, on the basis of its imperial success, the United States was able to bring into being a significant labor aristocracy; second, the decline of its old petite bourgeoisie was cushioned, enough so that the decomposition of this class meshed fairly smoothly with the emergence of the professional/managerial/technical new petite bourgeoisie to which so much attention was earlier devoted. This overlap seems to have occurred in such a way that the "old" class elided into the "new," as much of the literature on American social "mobility" in the 1950's and 1960's suggests. Further, the new petite bourgeoisie of the United States came to be the proportionally largest class of its kind in the world, as occupational/demographic data from the other societies of the trilateral metropole clearly indicate. It is also the largest class of its kind in terms of absolute numbers. Prior to the time of the first post-World War II crisis of "underconsumption," i.e., during the period 1945-1957 and for some time thereafter, the centrality of the American economy to the world system of production, consumption, and finance, led to a period of unparalleled prosperity and capital accumulation. However, as was understood by Marx and Lenin, this very success in capital accumulation negates itself in a crucial way.

Imperialist triumph has its costs, subtle as well as overt. Steak and butter cost a great deal at the check-out counter; they also have hidden costs in the arteries. The explosion of capital accumulation in the United States during its hegemonic heyday recreated the ancient nemeses of capital-a rising organic composition with its concomitant decline in the rate of profit and increase in the size of the surplus population, and the lack of profitable investment opportunities in areas of "overdevelopment," i.e., at home. If these problems seem familiar, they should. These are, of course, the very problems which give impetus to the outward expansion of capitalism and its transformation into imperialism. As was noted earlier, however, at some point there is nowhere left to go that does not represent an absurdity of some kind or other. When Polish hams and Mauritanian rope appear in K-Mart on "dollar days," that limit has been reached. The Polish situation, where proletarians strike against a putatively socialist state which is a massive debtor to finance capital, is but one of the not-very funny punch lines to this historical jest. Given that one of the main aspects of imperialism is its attempt to maintain prices and capital accumulation through export, the society which gains the lion's share of the world-systems' liquid wealth must also consume its products; if parts of that system are not to sink into depression. Were this to occur, the possibility of proletarian revolution or counter-hegemonic revival in other core economies would become a perpetual threat to the imperialist system and capitalist social relations as a whole. Thus, poor trade balances, inflation, unequal tariffs, high borrowing, deindustrialization, and the other chords of the familiar litany of current American economic woes become ever more frequently heard. Once more, these were precisely the problems which led to inter-imperialist conflict from 1850 onward. It is sometimes difficult to comprehend that these are the wages of imperialist success, as American workers looking to their Japanese and German counterparts of the 1960's and '70's learned.

Another part of the burden that falls to the hegemonic winner is the maintenance of that very tool which itself produced hegemony--a massive standing military. The grave economic and social effects of trillion-dollar expenditures on war need not be recounted here, nor need the catastrophically delegitimating political consequences of imperial "police actions" such as Korea or Viet Nam- This aspect of the problem of "successful" imperialism also tends to expand over time: as the hegemonic domain becomes ever more impacted in terms of investment, the need for vigilance and response increases. Even if the dimensions of empire remain constant rather than diminishing, the export of capital brings with it the concomitant export of capitalist contradictions, primary among them being the necessary creation of the class which Marx and Engels identified as capitalism's gravedigger: the proletariat. Once more, the creation of this external proletariat brings with it "superexploitation" and utter degradation; consequently, it also tends to bring class conflict and revolution in the imperialist hinterland. Thus, for the labor aristocracy of the capitalist center, the question becomes not merely one of guns or butter, but equally one of sons or butter. The problem which then faces the ruling class of the capitalist heartland (which is simultaneously the ruling class of the imperialist world system) is how to garner support for imperialism and capitalist social relations in that which must be the worst of circumstances. The constraints are indeed daunting: the situation is one where capitalist failure followed quickly on the heels of heady success (cf., Blumberg, 1980), where all "normal" (read "bourgeois") solutions have been tried and found wanting (high taxes and low, tight money and loose, "detente" and confrontation, etc., ad infinitum), and gravest of all, where the class coalition of imperialism must be preserved in the actual face of its hereditary and potentially most dangerous class enemy: the declining classes of its own societies of residence--classes which it brought into being itself. In this it confronts the same problem which plagues the confused and/or malevolent reactionary leaders of its Iranian and Polish victims and which troubles its reactionary Israeli analogues. It should not be surprising that the solution which it finds is equally similar.

As in the other cases considered here, reactionary ideology in the United States is constrained by the requirement of plausibility; however, in the present instance, that plausibility is further constrained by the special place of the United States in the world-system. For the United States, the objective enemy of imperialism is in a very real sense itself. That is, the conditions of imperialism create imperialism's problems. The commonplace nature of this Marxist observation should not obscure its significance. While Poland, Iran, and Israel all have immediate objects around which to focus fear and hatred, the United States has only the Soviet Union.

While the significance of anti-Sovietism as a bulwark for American reaction should not be underestimated, it provides only an antinomial object. Sufficient for the "background level" of reactionary ideology necessary for the strategic defense of imperialist interests, as was evident in Southwest Asia, Russophobia is insufficient for the tasks of class mobilization during times of crisis on the periphery. However, anti-communism is as much an indispensable part of reactionary mobilizing ideology as it was in the capitalist core in the period of classical reaction, and for obvious reasons. A positive component sometimes expressing itself as a sense of historical mission, an expression of collective selfhood, or some combination of the two, is necessary to overcome the palpable differences between antagonistic classes within a society. In Poland, this has tended to center around reactionary concepts connoting "Westernism," as it is expressed in the use of the Latin alphabet and the faith of Rome. In Israel, the Biblical mission and a distorted sense of being "chosen" are satisfactory, as is Koranic purity in Iran. Since the filling of the North American continent was completed, however, concepts of "manifest destiny" have tended to be consigned to the dustbin of history or treated as an embarrassing atavism, and for good reason. With the end of territorial expansion, America's destiny has become ideologically more metaphysical than it is manifest. The polyglot origins of the society and the extreme social heterogeneity which characterizes it, as well as its youth as a completed nation, have presented it with problems which classical reaction in Europe did not share. Mom is no substitute for the Black Madonna, baseball is no substitute for Marianne, apple pie for the faded Roman Empire, nor Chevrolets for Barbarossa. Simply put, it is only in the formative capitalist societies of Europe (and the societies of Asia) that a fairly homogeneous nationality has lasted long enough to be able to stimulate a sufficient level to sustain the terrible losses of imperial war. For this reason, American political and military strategy in both World Wars to no small degree were structured around the minimization of casualties.

While racism has been a potent reactionary ideological force in American society
, it has served to fracture class coalitions rather than cement them, as it does in Israel or as it did in Germany. While the utility of racist ideology has served to propagate the exploitability of some national minorities, it is certainly inadequate to the tasks of global empire. This was reflected in America's time of hegemonic struggle when racist mobilizing propaganda was heavily skewed against the Japanese rather than the Germans or Italians. It is difficult to mount a strong campaign against the alleged intrinsic evil of an enemy when the commanding general of one's own military is of the same descent as his opponents in the field. This was again shown in the hysterical tone of the anti-Chinese ideological campaigns of the 1950's and 1960's, when an inconsequential threat was elevated to the level of that presented by the Soviet Union. The failure of anti-Orientalism was palpable in each of America's imperial wars, hegemonic and imperial, with the exception of the early genocidal campaign in the Philippines. In Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, American troops collaborated with the native civilian population in ways that would have been inconceivable to the SS in Poland or the Japanese in Manchuria. Racism seems to require long and close contact before it can be used as a mobilizing force for imperial warfare.

Although racism, nationalism, and anti-Communism have always been significant parts of reactionary ideology in the United States, they have never had the positive appeal that the current of Messianic, charismatic, and missionistic Christianity has had. Its usefulness to reaction has gone beyond the mere breadth of its social appeal. By claiming to be above politics and by disclaiming party partisanship, it has been easily deployed to suit the hegemonic cause of the moment. By emphasizing the individualism of Protestant faith, it has been able to produce an anticommunism not of intellect or of interest, but rather one in which materialism becomes a threat to personal identity. The profound success of this ideational mechanism is revealed by its persistent use in times of capitalist crisis, while ostensibly having no economic content at all. Anti-evolutionism, creationism, and fundamentalist liberalism are long aspects of American reactionary ideology which have long puzzled external observers. Only when the uniquely successful personalization of faith by American Protestantism is understood can its equally tremendous significance for anti-Communism be comprehended. Similarly, the role of "low" Protestant denomination in perpetuating racism institutionally and ideologically has been subtle and only revealed in times of direct ethnic confrontation, as in the struggle of Americans of African descent in the 1950's and 1960's. The Baptist and Mormon denominations are particularly instructive cases in this regard.

At a time when the economic requirements and consequences of late imperialist production had tremendous destructive impact on the reproductive structures of American society, the organs of religious ideology used their permeation of the personal sphere to become major conduits for reactionary thought. The tremendous onslaught on sexual egalitarianism and liberty which the churches in America mounted was crucial in limiting the emancipatory political consequences of emerging gender equivalence in the labor marketplace. Thus, the economic demands of an increasingly deindustrialized and "unproductive" economy could be met while the social consequences of the changes and disruptions it entailed could be contained and deflected. By taking up this burden, religious institutions also preserved an important part of the legitimating ideology of the bourgeois state, the preservation of personal liberty. At a time when the need for mobilization for imperial reinvigoration was becoming increasingly evident, however, such functions were less significant than a more subtle and general ideological process: the recreation of a national identity.

A famous bit of Nazi propaganda about America used during World War II was that America was a nation with no future because it was a nation with no past. As with all good propaganda, this statement contains grains of truth. However, it did not, nor could it, address itself to the hegemonic future of America. At a time when hegemony has come full circle until it resembles a horrible economic addiction, necessary to the metabolic life of America but destroying it as it is achieved, at a time when an already fragile nationality composed of hundreds of peoples divided along dimensions of origin, religion, and region is threatened, and at a time when class conflict is fueled by the precipitous decline of all classes, privileged, pampered, and cushioned as they may have been, American imperialism has created prerevolutionary and revolutionary conditions throughout its periphery. Central America, southern Africa, the Middle East are all aflame. Yet, as the necessity for the mobilization of the old coalition of rising and falling classes increases, they are found to be eating quiche and pizza, tacos and eggrolls. They drive about in Honda.,, and Toyotas, fueled by Venezuelan oil, wearing clothes made in China and Hungary, listening to radios from Japan broadcast music made by declasse Britons. If the erosion of nationhood is anywhere evident, it is always most so in the heart of empire. As long as cosmopolitanism is confined to members of the ruling class who know where their interests lie--and to their attendant intelligentsia who know where their interests lie--it is no threat to the life of the empire. When confusion about national identity permeates the masses of the center however, graduates of Harvard begin to remember the inability of Rome to field a native army and the result of imperial mercenaries. It is at such moments that the bourgeois courtship with "native" reaction begins, as it did in Weimar. In fact, this is a romance with itself, in that it is its own control over the production and dissemination of ideas which prevent the promulgation of realistic analyses of the world in a manner compatible with the intellectual development of the masses which it also determines.

Shining through the obscuring fog of the minutiae of events, organizations, and personalities which constitute the religious Right in America is an ominous fact. Today, the most widely distributed and frequently heard definition of the American experience, historical and contemporary, is that assertion which claims that America is intrinsically a "Christian" society. Not "democratic," not "just," not "civilized, "not "happy," not "progressive," --not anything else but "Christian." This cant is repeated in the White House and it is spread endlessly (but "neutrally") through the communications media. What does this "Christianity" mean when it emanates from Falwell and from the electronic pulpits of "Christian" television networks, thirty-six wholly owned "Christian" television stations, thirteen hundred "Christian" radio stations, and thousands of cottage-industry churches? What does it mean to the forty-five million self-defined fundamentalists and their fifty million fellow travelers of the airwaves (cf. Crawford, 1980:159161)? Does it mean love and mercy? Does it mean the lessons of the Sermon on the Mount? 1 Does it mean a specific ritual or style of worship? Does it mean church attendance? By and large, the answer to all of these questions is "no." it does mean a hazy self-affiliation with an undefined community of believers whose conviction is as certain as its object is unclear. It means Protestant Christianity as Niebuhr or Tillich meant it in precisely the same way that Begin means the prophetic tradition or Buber when he speaks of Judaism, and as much so as the Polish devotees of Pilsudski mean the Catholicism of Merton or Roncalli. The "faith" itself has as much theological content as Aryanism had scientific validity, and in practice, for many of its adherents, its content ends up about the same: subordination or the individual to the capitalist state, subordination of the world to imperialist designs, anti-Communism, anti-humanism, joyful suffering, and wherever possible, the suppression of the personal liberties which individual human beings have won through class struggle during the long travail of history. Where the flag of jingoists and the know-nothing nihilists once stood now stands the cross of Gerald L. K. Smith. Whether it can prevail or not is at this point in time a matter still in the balance. In the context of Beganism, the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, and the rehabilitation of the Vietnamese debacle through Dolchstoss theories and the shedding of maudlin crocodile tears over the plight of the former imperial soldiers, the question becomes more than an academic one for the people of the world as well as the citizens of the United States.

Concluding Observations: In his "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction," Marx penned some of his most eloquent words. Among them were these:

The object of this investigation has been to articulate the halo with the valley of tears and the illusions with the conditions requiring illusion. Toward this end, it was argued that imperialism must still be understood to be the political-economic fundament upon which rests the totality of human social relations in the advanced stage of the capitalist mode of production. Imperialism presents itself as a solution to the inexorable internal contradictions of capitalist social relations in the generative societies of the capitalist system. As such, it represents capitalism in its most predatory mode and as the ultimate expression of nationalism. Ultimately, however, the social order which capitalist nationalism creates becomes self-negating: it creates a system which is socially, economically, culturally, and politically international. This, as Lenin understood, was the dialectic of the modern world. As the fact of nations declined, the need on the part of the ruling class of capitalist society for nationalism increased. As the nation ceased to be the largest unit of production, the political interests of nations came to rest on ever less "rational" grounds. Once Argentinean beef came to feed European urbanites, or Irish woolens to clothe the gauchos, the community of interests of the producing classes no longer stopped at the borders drawn by kings and their wars. Yet, as imperialism passed through its many shake-outs and imperial mergers, it created, destroyed, maintained, and altered classes of individuals appropriate to its own processes. At that point in time where the entire capitalist world is united under a single imperial umbrella, the decline of the system means the decline of all its parts. Temporary advantages fade in the general tendency toward collapse. Under such conditions, imperialism (and the class which created it) either perishes quietly, or it rouses itself to renewed action. The only action which is possible is increased exploitation on the periphery. In one or more of numerous ways, this results in increased resistance at the point of exploitation and ultimately, the class wars of humanity spread and become more desperate. Yet, those class wars would be no contest were they merely one class against all others. The control over the means of production and dissemination of ideas which comes with class rule allows for ideological manipulation for the purpose of forming class alliances of objectively antagonistic classes. In a scientific sense, these class alliances are irrational.

Based on the erosion of nationality as an economic fact, its continued existence as a political fact requires an ideology which unites antagonistic classes within the same society against classes with objectively similar interests elsewhere. In a world of polyglot cultures, international markets, and highly "rational" means-ends calculations concerning international investment, the orienting principles for national chauvinist ideology tend toward the mystical. When and where the mysticisms of "race" and birthplace become inadequate for the mobilization of reactionary class coalitions, the essential mystification of human existence, religion, remains the sole or primary base for reactionary ideology. Although nationalistic religious ideology tends to subsume its somewhat discredited analogues, they usually are found together. The durability and vigor of religion directed to reactionary ends may be seen to be derived from several of its defining characteristics: of all the mystical pseudo-communities it is the most mystical-it consists of a community of belief in the essentially ineffable and the numinous, it cleaves social collectivities largely on the basis of ideas subjectively held and individually proclaimed, and its promises of relief from the "heartless world" of existence are by their nature unenforceable. Further, religion has associated with it methods of introducing into humans the structure of belief in the unverifiable. This mental structure can then be mobilized in the interest of ends other than the spiritual. Submergence of the individual in mass events of great emotion, the display of evocative icons, the indoctrination of children, and the claim that that which is material is epiphenomenal and that which is non-phenomenal is material all lay down psychological patterns which are easily manipulated when the proper stimuli are provided in appropriate circumstances. For these and other reasons considered in the body of this paper, religion emerges to be the dominant form of reactionary ideology in the current period. Given its actual and potential power, then, the question becomes one of whether it is sufficiently strong to propagate universally disastrous social relations to the point where the logic of imperialism ends in omnicide, a mode of "barbarism" the dimensions of which Rosa Luxemburg would have found unimaginable. This question is, at its root, a political one. Thus, it is responsive to self-reflective human action and therefore not amenable to prophecy; it is a problem to be overcome and not an equation to be solved. The progressive alternative to the rejuvenated irrationalism which is sweeping the world today is already in motion. Although the old poison of reaction is in a new bottle, the same antidote exists today as has existed for a century. Most simply, it is the practical knowledge that human beings create human relations. This is so whether they are aware of the process of creation or not. Further, humans must be provided with the means to understand that the relations which exist between humans are conditioned by a universal species character and not by a universal character devoid of species. The rendering of these insights into meaningful terms has always been the only legitimate goal for those humane individuals who have access to the process by which ideas are socially produced and disseminated. If this challenge is not met, then those who have failed to face it will simply suffer the same fate as those they have failed.

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The new religious Right in America shows an explicit non-denominationalism in its electronic "ministries." This is in and of itself a significant and suggestive break with the previous history of American Protestantism. It also resonates in a harmonious way with Szkolny's (1981: 10) description of the "subconscious Protestantism" of Polish Catholics, who reject church doctrine at will, adhering only to what he calls their "religious faith," a satisfyingly vague concept when it is devoid of Catholic dogma. Return

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