Are Fascist regimes true to their followers? Do they support the working class? In the beginning they voice concern for the poor but end up finding and favoring billionaire friends.
Fascist movements in Italy and Germany arose mainly due to the economic turmoils faced by their working class population after World War I. The sentiments of nationalism and anti-socialism paved ways for authoritarian leaders like Mussolini and Hitler coming to power with the promise of economic transformation, restoring order and the lost glory of their past. They ultimately drew support from a broad range of social classes, including industrialists, landowners, and the middle class.
The industrialists became supporters of Fascist leaders as their hatred for socialism will do them good. Communism is a threat to properties and profits of industrialists. And, the support of authoritarian leaders can give them stability during economic hardships especially against foreign competition.
Socialism as the facade
Starting his career as a socialist, Mussolini destroyed trade unions in Italy, reduced taxes for businesses, enforced wage reduction, and reversed an eight-hour work law.
Hitler from the National Socialist German Workers Party also abolished free trade unions. His anti-capitalist measures allowed only non-Jewish capitalists to keep their business to keep their wealth.
From Ford to BMW
Henry Ford was a vocal anti-semite of his times. He used his newspaper The Dearborn Independent to widely circulate a conspiracy “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, that the Jews are planning to take over the world.
Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, which was the highest award that Nazi Germany bestowed upon foreign nationals.
Siemens had a large factory in the town of Auschwitz, which was located near the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. The factory produced electrical equipment and other goods, and made use of forced labor from the nearby camp.
BMW, which was also a major German industrial firm during the Nazi era, had a factory in the town of Dachau, which was located near the Dachau concentration camp. The factory produced engines for military aircraft, and made use of forced labor from the nearby camp.
Degesch, was another German company that produced insecticides and other chemical products. During World War II, Degesch played a role in the Holocaust by producing Zyklon B, a poisonous gas that was used in the gas chambers of Nazi concentration and extermination camps.
Thiel, Adani, Icahn, the list is endless
In 2016, one of the surprising speaker names in the Republican National Convention was the name of Peter Thiel who endorsed Donald Trump for presidency.
At the event, Peter said “Nobody in this race is being honest about it (American Economic Decline) except Donald Trump. When Donald Trump asks us to make America great again, he is not suggesting a return to the past. He is running to lead us back to the bright future.”
According to an article on Forbes, there were 133 uber-rich donors, who make up 14% of America’s billionaires, who donated to Trump’s election campaign in 2020.
The recent Hindenburg Report on India’s billionaire Adani about stock manipulation has put the Modi government in limelight for favoring the billionaire with public projects to such an extent that the billionaire amassed $100 billion in the last 3 years from 2020 to 2023.
Fascist economic policy believes that it’s not the job of the government to protect individual rights and welfare; not even those of the middle-class devotees of the regime. What is important is the welfare of the Fascist state.
Rather, fascist economic policy tends to view individual rights and freedoms as being subordinate to the interests of the state. Their policies favor the industrialists and military to keep the state strong and not its subjects – read that again – not even its devoted followers.
History repeats itself
In conclusion, despite the initial promises of economic transformation and restoring order to society, fascist regimes ultimately favored the interests of industrialists and the military over the welfare of their citizens.
From Mussolini to Hitler, and from Ford to BMW, history has shown us that fascism and its economic policies tend to view individual rights and freedoms as being subordinate to the interests of the state.
The support of billionaire friends at the expense of the working class is a pattern that continues to this day, as seen in the recent examples of Thiel, Adani, and Icahn. It is important for us to remain vigilant and aware of these trends to ensure that history does not repeat itself.
To be continued…