Friday, 7 February 2020

THE MEANING OF TOTALITARIANISM

The aim of a totalitarian dictatorship or regime is to subsume to itself all aspects of social life, of civil society, and to subordinate them to the preservation of the regime. To this end, totalitarian regimes use the twin tools of propaganda and terror to destroy the natural solidarity that exists between human beings as congenital "social animals" (St. Thomas Aquinas, animal sociale) and "political animals" (Aristotle's zoa politika) that are incapable of surviving physically and mentally except in civil society. The first and highest priority of totalitarian regimes is to destroy each and every bond of solidarity between human beings so that they may be isolated through propaganda and terror and thus be easily controlled, regimented and dominated by the Party Dictatorship.

Because, as we have explained recently, capitalism is founded on "the market", and this market depends first and foremost on the establishment of a "labour market", capitalism has to guarantee the "formal legal freedom" of its labour force so that individual workers are "free" to sell their labour power in the "market" for a wage to highest capitalist "employer". This means that apart from competition for work between workers there is also competition among capitalists for workers! It is this overall "market competition" that ensures that (a) workers are forced to sell their living activity in return for a wage, (b) they do so as individuals not as a class, (c) they have universal suffrage and representation in government through parliamentary democracy, (d) workers as consumers have a say in what is produced and when and how, and finally (f) that capitalists in competition with one another offer the most disciplined and "rationalised" organisation of the productive process.

It is this binary process of socio-political Demokratisierung and industrial-productive Rationalisierung that best encapsulates and defines capitalist society - and therefore also distinguishes from totalitarian autarkic command economies such as the Chinese Dictatorship.

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