Obama and Neosyndicalism

It is finally sinking in: Fundamental structural change is what Barack Obama and his merry band of Czars have in mind for America. But what particular label to put on that change remains controversial.

The right initially opposed Obama, and the left supported him, on the mistaken belief that he is a socialist. His green jobs czar openly described himself as a communist, and Obama himself was mentored as a youngster by Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the CPUSA. Some media arms of both the right and left are now describing Obama's authoritarian corporatist proclivities as fascism.

Mussolini described fascism as, "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State". Not entirely differing from Obama except that in Obama's case, he seems to despise the particular state he wishes to rule.

The left has disparaged conservatives as Fascists for the last 50 years or so. And while Fritzsche describes fascism as right-wing populism, originally the word in Italian political history stretches back to the 1890s in the form of fasci, which were radical leftist political factions that proliferated in the decades before World War I. The adoption of this term by the Fascist Party reflected the previous involvement of a number of many fascists in radical left politics.

But in practice Mussolini, whom we now most associate with fascism, held labor in a subservient position to the corporations. In Barack Obama's America, labor's new prominence stands in strong contrast. In the later nineteenth century, when socialism and communism were vying to revolutionize life, a third almost forgotten strain of thought found idealistic adherents: Syndicalism.

Syndicalism, for those not familiar, is one of three ~isms that flourished in the latter part of the nineteenth century, as models of revolutionary economies to replace the existing order. Syndicalism relies on trade unions which exchange goods among each other as the basis of social and economic structure. The local syndicat communicates with other syndicats through the bourse de travail (labor exchange), which handles management and the transfer of commodities.

Syndicalism was soon overshadowed by the violent radical anarcho-syndicalists, and has never lasted long when tried.

But it does sound a bit like the way Obama and the Democrats want to set up a "Health Care Exchange" does it not? Considering the key role labor unions played in getting him into power, the favored treatment the UAW has received in the GM bankruptcy, including taxpayer billions for retirement benefits better than most Americans receive, and the massive expansion of the SEIU to come, when it organizes health care workers in giant new government-run bureaucracies, the argument for something called neosyndicalism gets stronger.

Syndicalism has a few alterations from the loins of which it emerged. Both socialism and communism (in practice, if not in theory) are centered on the nation state as the primary entity shaping policies. Syndicalism revolves around extra-national trade union groups. With Obama's internationalist outlook and his outreach to Islam, a non-state actor in the world, and his visible political alliance with another  non-state actor, General Electric, a multinational corporation, Obama's policies can fairly be said to have a neosyndicalist shading.

His selection a vast array of internationalists in an ever growing multitude of czar positions is another indicator. Perhaps most starkly depicting Obama's global redistribution aims is his only bill authored as a U.S. senator, the Global Poverty Act (S.2433) which would allow the U.N. to set foreign assistance levels to come out of American coffers. In effect, making the U.S. Treasury as the de facto slush-fund of U.N. largesse.

It is all too easy to get caught up in the intricacies of all the various "isms." What is crystal clear is their commonality of using collectivist priorities in an effort to stamp out any vestige of individualism.
It is finally sinking in: Fundamental structural change is what Barack Obama and his merry band of Czars have in mind for America. But what particular label to put on that change remains controversial.

The right initially opposed Obama, and the left supported him, on the mistaken belief that he is a socialist. His green jobs czar openly described himself as a communist, and Obama himself was mentored as a youngster by Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the CPUSA. Some media arms of both the right and left are now describing Obama's authoritarian corporatist proclivities as fascism.

Mussolini described fascism as, "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State". Not entirely differing from Obama except that in Obama's case, he seems to despise the particular state he wishes to rule.

The left has disparaged conservatives as Fascists for the last 50 years or so. And while Fritzsche describes fascism as right-wing populism, originally the word in Italian political history stretches back to the 1890s in the form of fasci, which were radical leftist political factions that proliferated in the decades before World War I. The adoption of this term by the Fascist Party reflected the previous involvement of a number of many fascists in radical left politics.

But in practice Mussolini, whom we now most associate with fascism, held labor in a subservient position to the corporations. In Barack Obama's America, labor's new prominence stands in strong contrast. In the later nineteenth century, when socialism and communism were vying to revolutionize life, a third almost forgotten strain of thought found idealistic adherents: Syndicalism.

Syndicalism, for those not familiar, is one of three ~isms that flourished in the latter part of the nineteenth century, as models of revolutionary economies to replace the existing order. Syndicalism relies on trade unions which exchange goods among each other as the basis of social and economic structure. The local syndicat communicates with other syndicats through the bourse de travail (labor exchange), which handles management and the transfer of commodities.

Syndicalism was soon overshadowed by the violent radical anarcho-syndicalists, and has never lasted long when tried.

But it does sound a bit like the way Obama and the Democrats want to set up a "Health Care Exchange" does it not? Considering the key role labor unions played in getting him into power, the favored treatment the UAW has received in the GM bankruptcy, including taxpayer billions for retirement benefits better than most Americans receive, and the massive expansion of the SEIU to come, when it organizes health care workers in giant new government-run bureaucracies, the argument for something called neosyndicalism gets stronger.

Syndicalism has a few alterations from the loins of which it emerged. Both socialism and communism (in practice, if not in theory) are centered on the nation state as the primary entity shaping policies. Syndicalism revolves around extra-national trade union groups. With Obama's internationalist outlook and his outreach to Islam, a non-state actor in the world, and his visible political alliance with another  non-state actor, General Electric, a multinational corporation, Obama's policies can fairly be said to have a neosyndicalist shading.

His selection a vast array of internationalists in an ever growing multitude of czar positions is another indicator. Perhaps most starkly depicting Obama's global redistribution aims is his only bill authored as a U.S. senator, the Global Poverty Act (S.2433) which would allow the U.N. to set foreign assistance levels to come out of American coffers. In effect, making the U.S. Treasury as the de facto slush-fund of U.N. largesse.

It is all too easy to get caught up in the intricacies of all the various "isms." What is crystal clear is their commonality of using collectivist priorities in an effort to stamp out any vestige of individualism.