Malema the "Fascist": A comment

Isaac Mpho Mogotsi says NEHAWU should be mindful of Georgi Dmitrov's definition of the concept


The first time I came across it, I was deeply shaken and startled by the allusion of the Austrian-Hungarian economist, Friedrick Hayek, regarding his preference for a variant of fascism, contained in his classic, "The Road to Serdom." 

In this clarion defence of freedom, Hayek stated that, if he had to choose a system of fascism to live under, he would choose the British one. This is because of Britain's well-developed traditions of parliamentary democracy, and Britain's long history of industrial development.

The first time I came across this allusion, I was angry with it. And angry with Hayek. 

Why would anyone, let alone a celebrated economist, think there is even a benevolent fascism, I thought to myself, let alone that one could agree to choose to live under any form of fascism.

Given the rapid deterioration of SA's political and industrial environment at the moment, and given the ease with which elements in the SA white community, and some SACP members and some COSATU unionists attach the term "Nazi" or "Fascist", or "proto-Fascist", to Julius Malema, I have been made to think a lot about what Hayek intended by his allusion.

Were he alive as a white man in South Africa today, would Hayek be made to think about whether Julius Malema or Jacob Zuma represents a variant of SA fascism? Or would he join many white South Africans, some unionists and some SACP members in viewing only Malema as a "Nazi" or "proto-Fascist", as the trade union NEHAWU did the other day?

As an inquisitive mind, would Hayek ask white South Africans what their answer would be if made to choose between Malema "the Nazi" or Zuma "the Nazi", as a form of an allusion?

If their unanimous answer is that they would find Malema "the Nazi" much more frightening and dreadful, would Hayek ask them to explain the difference between the Malema "Nazism" to Zuma "Nazism"?

Would Hayek remind these SA whites and some SA political activists of the definition of Fascism as provided by the world's foremost authority on Fascism, the man Adolf Hitler persecuted and used as a propaganda excuse to unleash his fascist terror in Germany in the early 1930s, the man who later led the Third Communist International (ComIntern) and who masterminded the concept of anti-Fascist Popular Fronts across Europe and the world, in response and opposition to the growing threat of Adolf Hitler's fascist conquests, namely, Bulgaria's great Communist leader, Georgi Dmitrov.

Would Hayek further remind them that Dmitrov defined Fascism as the rule by the most reactionary, the most retrograde and the most barbaric segment of big bourgeois capital? Yes, not the rule of dirt-poor workers, not of intelligentsia, not of the unemployed, and not of the petty bourgeoisie? But of big bourgeois capital, whose interests Adolf Hitler and his Nazis were serving with their atrocities, class wars, repression, conquests and the Holocaust extermination?

Would Hayek finally ask white South Africans, what variant of black fascism would serve big white capital best in the context of SA, and in line with Georgi Dmitrov's definition of Fascism? Malema "the Nazi" or Zuma "the Nazi"?

What would he make of their answer? Would he himself be able to choose one variant over the other? Would his choice be as well-founded as was his choice of British fascism over any other form of fascism in the world?

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