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Kid Berwyn

(16,251 posts)
Mon Jun 24, 2024, 12:07 PM Jun 24

The American Billionaires Who Fell In Love With Fascism Are Not the First [View all]

The American Billionaires Who Fell In Love With Fascism Are Not the First

The ultra-rich will happily march us into a dictatorship if we let them.

by Mike Lofgren
CommonDreams, June 24, 2024

“The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, this process of corruption spread in the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.” —Plutarch, Gaius Marcius (Coriolanus)

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt, April 29, 1938 (Message to Congress)

In Adam Tooze’s The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, there is a remarkable description of a February 1933 meeting that occurred shortly after Adolf Hitler was chosen as German chancellor. It is remarkable because it occurred almost a century ago, a prelude to one of the darkest chapters in world history. It is a period that has been thoroughly historicized; yet something about it is eerily familiar and up to date.

The newly installed Nazis summoned the oligarchs of German commerce and industry—Krupp, the heads of IG Farben and the largest steel companies, and others—to Hermann Goering’s estate outside Berlin so that Hitler could “explain his policies.” While the moguls expected a dialogue (in deference to their financial power), Hitler appeared late, addressed them at some length, and departed without answering questions.

The influx of contributions from big capital was a decisive factor in the Nazis winning the March 1933 elections, the last competitive election in Germany for the next twelve years.

The bargain, as Hitler’s underlings explained to the attendees, was this: he had just promised the oligarchs to bring parliamentary democracy to an end, smash the Communist Party, and destroy independent unions. There was to be an election the following month; the capitalists’ part of the deal was to pay up with very large political contributions. It was not a question of should they pay, they must pay; what better return on investment could the captains of industry possibly want?


Fast forward to 2024. In April, Donald Trump met with oil executives at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Floride. After hearing a complaint from one executive about supposedly excessive fossil-fuel regulation, Trump surprised the group with a blunt proposition: raise $1 billion and send him to the White House, and the oil industry will get everything it wants, from a repeal of tailpipe emission regulations to the junking of EV incentives. It would be a “deal” the industry could not pass up.



Harlan Crowe and his sculpture garden of fiends collection have worked to get these sons of bitches on the edge of respectability. If we want to remain the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, we can not let them arrive.
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