الجمعة، 13 أكتوبر 2017

A Comparison between Communism, Fascism and the New Deal

       During a 2016 democratic presidential debate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was asked to name two leaders, one American and one foreign, that he admires and would influence his policies if he wins, for the American he answered “Franklin Roosevelt.” “And kind of—that’s what I see our campaign is about right now,” Sanders added after he talked about Roosevelt’s policies. The other then presidential candidate Donald Trump called Sanders a communist multiple times. “ I never thought we would see the day in our country when a communist is the leading Democratic [candidate].We are gonna have a communist against an entrepreneur,” said Trump in front of a rally of his supporters. Trump, also, was accused of fascism when he retweeted a Mussolini’s quote that says “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” All these three incidents show how these three terms, Fascism, Communism, Roosevelt's New Deal are still relevant in the realm of politics today. However, the overuse of these terms made them lose their original meanings. In this paper, I am going to use three points of comparison to compare the three terms: the type of economic problems they faced, how they handled these problems, and the ultimate form of economics they tried to achieve. 

        The first difference is the type of problems these ideologies came as a response to. It is true that they all come to respond to the problems of capitalism, but their understanding of these problems are different. The New Deal became in time of crisis in capitalism which is the era that is known as the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt first used the term “new deal” in his acceptance speech in 1932.The collapse of Wall Street in 1929 is considered by many scholars as the onset of the Great Depression. President Herbert Hoover, who preceded Roosevelt, did not do much to handle the crisis. The reason behind that is that capitalism was seen as having a self-correcting mechanism that any government intervention would make the situation worse not better. Therefore, the New Deal came to oppose the laissez-faire economics which is against any type of government intervention no matter how bad the situation is, but the New Deal was not against capitalism per sa. The case of Communism and Fascism is quite different. It is true that Karl Marx used the term “crisis” during his criticism of capitalism, but he meant another meaning than the “crisis” that led to a “new deal.” “If the interval in time between the two complementary phases of the complete metamorphosis of a commodity become too great, if the split between the sale and the purchase become too pronounced, the intimate connection between them, their oneness, asserts itself by producing - a crisis,” says Karl Marx. The crisis he is talking about is a cyclical crisis that is inherent in the structure of Capitalism regardless of the time and place. Moreover, the New Deal was largely influenced by the ideas of John Maynard Keynes who although was an interventionist, it is incorrect to call him a socialist or a communist because he never advocated for the takeover of means of production by the government. Communism and Fascism, on the other hand, are opposed to the structure of capitalism itself, so it is not a reaction to temporary crisis. In fact,both fascists and communists look at economic crises as proof of the inherent flaw of capitalism. 

       The second difference is the way they dealt with the problems that led to their existence in the first place. Economics of fascism is simply to “fuse socialism with nationalism”. First, both Mussolini and Hitler came from a socialist background. While Mussolini was a member in the Italian Socialist Party, Hitler stayed a member in the National Socialist Party until his last day. In 1933, according to Mussolini himself, “three-fourths of Italian economy, industrial and agricultural, is in the hands of the state.” By 1933, Italy became second after the Soviet Union in terms of public ownership of industries. Fascists, beside using classic socialist arguments against capitalism,implemented their policies of nationalization in the context of putting the state in charge of everything and minimizing the role of the individual. However, socialism in the fascist sense is different than socialism as defined by communism. Fascist socialists opposed international socialism in which the working class over the globe unites against the bourgeois. Because race and nationality played a major role in fascist ideology in both Germany and Italy, there was not a room for such internationalism. An average Nazi, for example, though believer in socialism defined by state ownership of the means of production, would have a hard time cooperating with jews socialists to which he looks down. The other difference is the concept of class collaboration which is a milestone in the fascist thought.On the contrary to class struggle which is a central idea in the communist thought, fascists think that all classes should get behind the fascist powerful state to achieve prosperity and stability that would be in favour of all classes. Thus, class hierarchy can be positive, therefore fascism “affirms the irremediable, fruitful and beneficent inequality of men,” according to Mussolini. Nevertheless, there were many similarities among the three in the way they handled the problems they faced, their stance on foreign trade, which was more or less similar, can be an example. Fascist economics pursued a policy of economic self-sufficiency, this was clear in Italy more than Nazi Germany. The German Nazis, after they realized that full self-sufficiency was virtually impossible due to the lack of raw materials,adapted a policy of limited foreign trade with specific countries that were under the German influence. The Communist Soviet Union was quite similar in that manner, as late as 1985 the imports and the exports were equal to only 4% of the GNP each. The FDR’s New Deal chose the same path but for different reasons and with less degree. Both fascists and communists seeked for self-sufficiency because they expected economic sanctions and trade war due to their hostile foreign policies. FDR, on the other hand, did not have choice but to focus on the domestic depression that was trying to deal with. Roosevelt famously stated that “the sound internal economic system of a nation is a greater factor in its well being than the price of its currency in changing terms of the currencies of other nations” (Dallek 54). However,that was not an ideological concrete position, because in 1934, FDR signed the Reciprocal Tariff Act which allowed him to negotiate with foreign countries for reducing their tariffs in return for reducing the tariffs on their commodities in the United States.

        Another comparison that can be made is the way they thought of the ultimate system of economics, their stance towards the concept of the state intervention for example. First, there has to be a distinction between Communist ideology and the Communist Soviet Union and other communist countries. The difference is simply that, according to the communist literature, when Communism is achieved state would be nonexistent. Thus, when the “Communist Soviet Union” is mentioned, what that really means is that the officials of the Soviet Union were adherents of Communism,but the achieving of Communism as stateless system in the Soviet Union was far from the truth. In 1961, during the 22nd congress of the Communist Party, Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's successor, promised to achieve Communism in 20 years. Therefore, Communism, the ideology, is pursuing a stateless society in which classes had disappeared. This is very different from what fascists’ concept of the state is. In fascism, the state is the highest entity to which all other entities in the society including businesses subordinate. It is true that both Communists and Fascists were using central planning model for their economies, but they had different reasons for that. While communists were looking at state control of the economy as an intermediate stage before achieving stateless communism,fascists were looking at state’s intervention as necessary for the fabric of society. The New Deal, on the other hand, had different position than both fascism and communism. First, the extent of state intervention in the economy in the New Deal was far less than that of communism or fascism. Second, it was limited by the time of crisis, namely Great Depression. Once the economy became healthy again, these massive interventionist policies seized to exist. To sum up, among many, three comparisons can be made among fascism, communism, and Roosevelt's New Deal- the historical context in which they surfaced during, their proposed solutions for the problems they faced, and their vision of the ultimate form of economics. These distinctions are very important to modern politics in which these terms are thrown right and left. Unfortunately,these terms became insult words in the English-speaking world, and the current debates became about the meaning of these terms instead of debating their ideas and their successes or failures. A real understanding of the 20th century debates and the extent to which the policies failed or succeeded is vital to any serious debate in the 21st century.


Works Cited 
Dallek, Robert. Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945. Oxford University Press. 1995.


الثلاثاء، 5 يوليو 2016

?How 'radical' was the American Revolution

                                            


          First of all, we have to agree on the meaning of the terms that we are going to use. I am using the term 'radical' in the meaning that is assigned to it by Merriam-Webster which is "favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions." Thus, the proper opposite of it would be the term 'conservative,' that is, to conserve the "existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions." Secondly, though it is arguable, I am going to the use traditional timeline of the revolution that marks its beginning at 1765 and marks its end at 1783. To answer the question whether the American Revolution was intended to make a radical change in the political institution or not, we have to agree on criteria upon which we classify a revolution. I am going to use these three criteria to decide whether any revolution is a radical or a conservative-a revolution is radical when It changes the existing structure of the state( i.e. from kingdom to republic), it causes a radical change in the socio-economic system such as ending slavery or feudalism, and it changes the rulings elite. Some scholars might disagree with these criteria, and have their own criteria, but in this case it is not a historical dispute, it is merely semantic dispute. In addition, these questions are simple concrete yes-or-no questions, so they are not down to the personal opinion of the scholar. The American Revolution was not radical because it did not meet these requirements or even any of them. 


  The American Revolution ended the monarchical rule of Great Britain over the colonies and established the American republic, but still, it did not change the structure of the already existing state for multiple reasons. First, the colonies were already more or less far away from the direct rule of the British crown. In fact, the revolution was sparked because Britain wanted to change the status quo after the Revolutionary War. The Revolutionary War costed Britain many losses, and it was meant to protect the American colonies, so the British decided that it is common sense for them to increase their influence and control over the colonies including imposing taxes. Hence, the American Revolution was meant to conserve the existing confederations of the colonies and restore the status quo that was there before the war. The words 'conserve' and 'restore' are far from the word ‘radical’. Second, the Revolution was not meant to overthrow the rule of the crown at its very beginning. The revolution started because of a relatively small dispute over the taxes that were imposed by Britain over the colonies, but it evolved over the following years. If the revolution was meant to change the structure of the state from monarchy to republic, we would have found evidence in the literature of these years supporting that, but we found the opposite of that. In 1765, the Stamp Act was issued by the British Parliament over the colonies, requiring them to have all their papers stamped in Britain. It was meant to have extra taxes, but the colonies refused it and sent the Declaration of Rights and Grievances to the British king, Louis III. In the declaration, the colonists appealed to their rights as Englishmen reminding the king that their ancestors who immigrated to the colonies were Englishmen with full rights.” That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects, within the realm of England" (Shi, and Mayer 119). Therefore the American Revolution did not start to overthrow the kingdom and establish a republic, but actually to assure that the colonies are part of the kingdom. However, that did not continue the next years when the colonists discovered that the separation was inescapable.

          What I mean by a "radical change in the socioeconomic system" is a sudden change in the ladder of classes that is caused by revolution. Such radical change occurs only because of a conscious decision of the revolutionaries, unlike the normal social mobility that happens spontaneously and slowly. Some scholars use the phrase-"all men are created equal," to support their argument that the American Revolution was radical. It is true that this line was used later during the debate about abolishing slavery, but if the American Revolution was intended for social reformations, these reformations would have taken place directly after the revolution. The United States Constitution implicitly made slavery legal, in Article 1 Section 2, it states-“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned Among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other Persons" (U.S. Constitution. Art. I, Sec. 2). Only in 1865, this clause has been amended and slavery was abolished.  

  The third criteria, that is required for a revolution to be called radical, is changing the ruling elites. Changing the ruling elites is a natural conclusion of many revolutions because these elites are responsible for the conditions that led to the revolution in the first place. But in the case of the American Revolution, the situation is quiet different. As mentioned before, the American Revolution started as a small-scale protest against the lack of representation then became a separatist movement. In separatist movements, the separatists usually stand behind their ruling elites because they want to represent themselves as a unified people in front of the country they want to be separate from. 


  In conclusion, historians have been debating about whether the American Revolution was radical or conservative, but this debate is actually semantic dispute. In order to get the things straight, we have to define our terms precisely. The criteria method I used above is the way historians are supposed to deal with such debates. Science, Social science included, is simply a scientist applying a method to a research area, so the result is supposed to be the same regardless of whom has done the research.


الاثنين، 23 يناير 2012

مراجعة لفلم In Time


تحذير:المقال يتضمن حرق لاحداث الفلم

اندرية نيكول مخرج رائعة "THE TRUMAN SHOW" يعود هذه المرة بفيلم اخر يدعو للتفكير والتأمل بل ويشجع على الانتحار! تدور احداث الفيلم في عصر تكون فيه حياة الانسان هي عملة البلد.حيث تمكن علماء الهندسة الوراثية من ايقاف عمر الانسان عند سن ال25 عام ومن يريد ان يعيش اكثر من ذلك عليه ان يعمل ليكسب المزيد من الوقت! في هذا العالم شرب القهوة ب اربع دقائق واجرة الحافلة بساعتين والعاهرة تعرض عليك خدماتها مقابل ساعة.
فنيا افلام الخيال العلمي تتطلب جهد مضاعف سيارات فائقة السرعة وتكنلوجيا فائقة التقدم والاصعب من كل ذلك  اظهار كل الممثلين بعمر واحد (25 عام).البطولة انقسمت بين الهدوء الممزوج بالجمال لاماندا سايفريد والهدوء الممزوج بالقوة لجستن تمبرلنك.المشاهد الفائقة في الفيلم هما مشهدين متشابهين الاول يجمع بين ويل سالاس(جستن تمبرلنك) وامه حيث يقترب وقت الام من النفاذ فتضطر للركض للحاق بابنها على امل ان يزودها ببضع الوقت قبل ان تفارق الحياة لكن عندما تصل الى ابنها يكون كل شي قد انتهى.



المشهد يتكرر بعد فترة وجيزة لكن هذه المرة مع حبيبة البطل وبنهاية سعيدة.


انها ركضة الحياة التي قد تنجح او تفشل.فلسفيا الفيلم يناقش موضوعين فيزيقي وميتافيزيقي الاول يختص بالاوضاع الحالية للنظام الاقتصادي العالمي فالفيلم ظهر بعد فترة وجيزة من احتجاجات حركة احتلوا وول ستريت والتي كان شعارها الاساسي:

فالفيلم يعيد طرح هذه الفكرة على طريقته فال1% هنا تسيطر على كل مُقدرات الناس اي كل اعوامهم وليس غريبا ان تجد جثة شخص مات بسبب انتهاء وقته.


الفيلم تعرض الى أُاسس الرأسمالية واننا بالفعل نعمل حتى نحصل على مزيد من الوقت لنعيش.اوليفيا وايلد تقول ان جميع من شاهد الفيلم اخبرها بذلك ففي مشهد معبر لها تتفاجأ ان سعر توصيلة الحافلة قد ارتفع الى ساعتين فتخبر السائق ان معها ساعة ونصف والطريق الى ابنها يستغرق ساعتين فيرد عليها السائق اذن عليكِ بالركض! أنه تجسيد واقعي لالية البقاء للاصلح احدى اليات نظرية التطور ينقد ضمنا مفهوم الدارونية الرأسمالية.
الموضوع الثاني الذي يطرحه هو اللغز الاعظم والسؤال الاعظم عن الحكمة من الحياة وماذا بعد؟ وهنا يقوم جون جليكي في سياق الفلم بعمل يطرح اسئلة اكثر مما يعطي اجابات فهو يقرر بعد 105 عام من الحياة انه اكتفى ولابد من نهاية ويقرر التبرع بما عنده الى شخص اخر شرط ان يعده باحسان استعمالها.الفيلم يستلهم فلسفة الانتحار فيقول أن النهاية حتمية فلا فائدة من المزيد.

اذن هي مناقشة جديدة حادة للدارونية الاجتماعية وبطريقة ناقدة رمزية قوية فالمسيطر على اوقات الناس يضع تاريخ ميلاد داروين لفتح خزانة الاوقات او خزانة الحياة.بعد مشاهدة الفلم تدرك انك تعيش ما شاهدته فقط ارفع الوقت وضع بدله المال.