PROJECT DEMOCRACY'S PROGRAM -- THE FASCIST CORPORATE STATE
Bukharin's idea was most emphatically that buying and selling would by themselves lead to industrialization: "First, if commodity turnover grows, this means that more is produced, more is bought and sold, more is accumulated: this means that our socialist accumulation is accelerated, i.e., the development of our industry." (Cohen, p. 179) It is not surprising that Bukharin's factional adversaries ridiculed him as the Soviet Manchester school of political economy. The essence of his argument is that even under a communist dictatorship, Adam Smith's invisible hand is still at work. As Bukharin's repeated references to the mysterious role of the market in guaranteeing development make clear, he was a cultist of the "magic of the marketplace.
Out of this irrationalist, eclectic mix of Malthusianism, fascism, physiocratic doctrine, and Bolshevism, there emerged an approximation of the zero-growth, post-industrial ideology of the type later associated with the Club of Rome:
"Capitalist industrialization--this is the parasitism of the city in relation to the countryside, the parasitism of a metropolis in relation to colonies, the hypertrophic, bloated development of industry, serving the ruling classes, along with the extreme comparative backwardness of agricultural economics, especially peasant agricultural economics." (Cohen, p. 170)
If Project Democracy is not destroyed, the world will shortly be dominated by a clique of fascist Bukharinite irrationalists in Moscow, whose hegemony shall have been validated by a New Yalta accord with their counterparts, the Bukharinite corporatists of the United States.
Israel as a corporate state
One of the hallmarks of Project Democracy's demagogic public face is its glorification of the State of Israel as an exemplary democratic nation. The present head of the National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman, writing with Irving Howe in the introduction to a collection of essays entitled Israel, the Arabs, and the Middle East, asserts: "The survival of Israel is a major priority for everyone who cares about democracy; it should be a special obligation for people on the democratic left to speak out--passionately yet not uncritically--in behalf of the social innovations and achievements of Israeli society...." (p. 1) The same neo-Bukharinite Gershman, in his The Foreign Policy of American Labor, goes on to say: "American labor's relationship with Israel and its labor movement, the Histadrut, deserves separate treatment. This relationship has been of such an intimate nature for so long that one labor journalist, writing in the wake of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, observed that 'no comparable relationship has ever flowered between U.S. unions and any other nation at any time. Gershman adds: "American labor leaders generally express their support of Israel in terms of labor solidarity and democratic ideals. The Histadrut is universally admired within the American labor movement and Israel is viewed as a model society." (pp. 63-64)
A model society? If so, then Project Democracy has chosen for a model a country whose founding fathers included a substantial number of professed admirers of Mussolini, a country which has no constitution, whose party structure is highly authoritarian, where 90% of the land cannot be bought because it is owned by a consortium of international financiers, and where a very large fraction of the working people find that the boss they work for and the union that is supposed to defend their interests are identical.
The corporatist character of Israel is rooted in the Histadrut, the labor federation that was founded in Palestine in 1920 during the British mandate. If viewed as a trade union, the Histadrut counts upward of 1.5 million members, equivalent to 80% of the workforce, more than one-half of the entire adult population, and three-quarters of the total voting population. The Histadrut therefore exerts the dominant influence on questions of collective bargaining in Israel, and negotiates the contracts for the employees of the government and the state sector with the finance minister. The Histadrut has always been controlled by the leadership of the Labour Party.
The Labour Party's control of the Histadrut is facilitated by a hierarchical system of voting, which is also typical of the Israeli political parties. The characteristic feature here is that each level of representation elects the next highest level, and so forth. Whatever can be said of this system, democratic it is not.
In 1981, more than 825,000 Histadrut members elected 1,501 delegates to the 14th Histadrut convention. The Histadrut council, elected by the convention, had 501 members; the executive committee, elected by the council, had 195 members. The executive committee meets regularly and is parallel to a Histadrut parliament. From it emerges the central committee (42 members), which can be likened to the Histadrut government. [note 5]
All of the key positions of power are in the hands of the Labour Party.
But in addition to being a trade union, the Histadrut is also the capitalist for more than one-third of the entire Israeli economy. In its role as entrepreneur, the Histadrut is in fact the largest single employer in the entire country. The only difference is that when Histadrut is acting as employer, it calls itself Hevrat Ovdim, which is constituted as a holding company. In the words of Noah Malkosh of the Histadrut: "In the case of the economic enterprises owned directly by the collective membership of Histadrut, Hevrat Ovdim is incorporated as the Histadrut holding company, and in this way is able to control their policies." "The Convention and Council of Histadrut are the highest policy-making authorities of Hevrat Ovdim. On the completion of general Histadrut business those organs sit specifically as organs of Hevrat Ovdim. In the same way the executive committee of Histadrut is constituted as the executive of Hevrat Ovdim, and sits in this capacity when matters relating to the labor sector of the economy arise for decision." (Malkosh, pp. 62-63)
The Hevrat Ovdim economic enterprises include Sollel Boneh, which carries out 20% of the building activities in the country and employs more than 17,000 workers. Then there is Koor, with 100 industrial firms, 100 commercial firms, and 50 financial firms including pension funds. Koor is Israel's largest heavy industrial firm and largest exporter, and is listed among Fortune magazine's list of the 500 largest companies in the world. Other Hevrat Ovdim companies include Bank Hapoalim, Shikun Ovdim, Hasneh, and others. Histadrut also owns companies providing service to the cooperative economy, including Hamashbir Hamerkazi, the central wholesale society of the consumers' cooperative movement, which runs a chain of department stores. Histadrut controls Tnuva, the central marketing agency of the agricultural settlements, which is linked to a chain of supermarkets.
The Histadrut runs the country's largest sick fund, the Kupat Holim, with 3 million persons insured and 29,000 employees, plus pension plans and social welfare funds. One-third of the country's hospital beds are in Histadrut hospitals. Histadrut owns the newspapers Davar and the Jerusalem Post.
Finally, the Histadrut controls the cooperative economy, including the kibbutzim and moshavim with 21,000 workers, and Egged and Dan, which move 80% of the passengers inside the country. As Arian sums it up, "The economic power of the Histadrut is a major factor in the Israeli economy. When it and the government are controlled by the same group, the potential political and economic power is awesome--and that was the case between 1948 and 1977." (p. 30)
If the resulting structure is compared with the features of the Italian fascist corporate state summarized above, a striking similarity obtains. For a very large part of the Israeli economy, labor and capital are indeed joined in organic unity, through the same executive committee alternating its existence as Histadrut the trade union with that of Hevrat Ovdim the mammoth group of companies. For those who work for Hevrat Ovdim, and they are the majority of all Israelis who work, the boss and the shop steward are ultimately the same titanic entity. For those who work in the state-owned third of the economy, the picture hardly changes. Their employer is the government, which has generally meant a government dominated by the Labour Party or at least including it, and their trade union representation is the Histadrut, ultimately under the control of the same Labour Party. Even in the third of the Israeli economy that is privately owned, wages tend closely to follow the standards that obtain in the Histadrut sector. If, in addition, we consider that the worker whose boss and union are the Histadrut also depends on that same power center for his medical insurance and his pension, the totalitarian force that confronts each such individual in the society is plainly manifest--and indeed "awesome.
Apologists for the
Histadrut are of course uncomfortably aware of the problems posed by "Labour
Zionist ideology." Malkosh writes:
The question is often posed: how can the worker in the Histadrut- owned enterprises be assured of adequate trade union protection, when his employer is also his trade union?
The answer given is as follows:
In the case of a dispute within a Histadrut plant, what is involved is a temporary failure of the federal machinery of Histadrut, rather than a genuine conflict of interest. The ruling of the executive committee is binding, whether it favors the mangerial interpretation or the trade union interpretation or, as is more likely, produces a practical compromise fully acceptable to both. Both sides have their spokesmen in the Histadrut executive, and in that forum, they find themselves governed by the most authoritative interpretation of the body of legislation approved by the whole membership of Histadrut.
(Malkosh, pp. 79-80)
Malkosh goes on to say that what is really important about Histadrut is its characteristic ideology: "A correct picture of normal labour relations within Hevrat Ovdim must deal with the philosophic foundation of the labor sector. Economic objectives apart, the foremost purpose of Histadrut's economic operations is to develop a form of industrial democracy." "Histadrut envisages the development of a democratic structure within its economic enterprises, comparable to the democratic spirit pervading all other branches of its activity." This structure has now been created, so that each Histadrut member now votes not only for the national convention, for the city or regional workers' council, the trade union council for each craft or profession, but also for the workers' committee in the place of employment.
It should be stressed again that Israeli parties are all based on so-called "indirect representation." The members of the Labor Party in 1979 elected a national convention of 3,000 delegates, which chose a center of 880 members, which in turn elected a leadership bureau of 61 members, which then selected an even smaller executive body. One student of Israeli political affairs finds that the country's governing process is an excellent illustration of what he calls the "iron law of oligarchy." (Arian, p. 118) His conclusion is that "Israeli political life, as exemplified by its parties, its organizations, the Knesset, and the government is highly oligarchical and hierarchical.
Israel has no written constitution. The Knesset was convened in 1949 as the constituent assembly to produce a constitution, but no progress was made on this point. The place of the constitution is to be filled by the accretion of a series of precedents, in imitation of the British model. As a result, there is no Bill of Rights, and the relations among the various branches of government are determined by mere statutory law. Israeli statutory law shows substantial influence from the law of the Ottoman and British empires.
Israel's landlord is yet another very powerful organization, in many ways a monopoly. This is the Jewish National Fund, or Keren Kayemeth. The Fund traces its origins back to a proposal made by Theodore Herzl at the Fifth Zionist Conference in Basel, Switzerland: "A fund must be established by the Jewish people of the world to redeem the soil of Eretz Yisrael." Today the Jewish National Fund owns about 90% of the land inside Israel's 1967 borders. According to the rules of the fund, this land cannot be sold, but only leased for 49-year cycles, after which the lease must be renegotiated. According to the fund, this is an expression of the Mosaic law, which it says discourages "large, monopolistic land holdings." Since 1960, the Jewish National Fund has been designated by the government as the sole agency for land development in Israel, and the land is under the administration of the Israel Lands Authority, a government agency. As a result, the Israeli government administers the quasi-totality of the land in the country, which can be leased for usufruct, but not bought.
In practice, the Jewish National Fund is in the orbit of international financiers and money launderers. For example, the board of directors of the Jewish National Fund of Greater New York included as of 1983 Michael J. Lazar, since indicted by a federal grand jury in the Parking Violations Bureau scandal that continues to rock the administration of New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Lazar was the 1985 recipient of the JNF annual Tree of Life Award.
The Trilaterals' U.S. corporate state
From the moment of its inception about a dozen years ago, the operational network known today as Project Democracy has had as its goal the subversion of the United States constitutional order in favor of a one-party, totalitarian and corporatist fascist regime, combining the horrors of the historical precursors depicted so far. One aspect of these efforts by Project Democracy has involved the creation of an extensive and lawless invisible government, as has already been made clear in this report. But beyond all this, Project Democracy aims at definite changes in the structure of the government and institutions of the United States, of a kind so extensive that they could not be accomplished without a virtual obliteration of the Constitution. The starting point for this totalitarian plan was the Trilateral Commission, an organization created for the purpose of executing the policy of oligarchical and financier groupings making up the American, European, and Japanese branch of the broader East-West finance oligarchy known as the Trust.
The Trilateral Commission was founded in the wake of Watergate and the oil crisis of 1973, events which the future Trilateral commissars had connived to create. One of the earliest projects of the Trilateral Commission was a study on the "ungovernability" of modern democracy in an era of economic crisis and social upheaval. This project was directed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, then the director of the Trilateral Commission. One of the results of this project that later came into the public domain was a book entitled The Crisis of Democracy by Michel Crozier, Samuel P. Huntingon, and Joji Watanuki. It is to be assumed that the published version of this study and its appendices is a very diluted rendering of the discussions that went on among the rapporteurs and the Trilateral commissars. The Crisis of Democracy was a part of the agenda at the yearly meeting of the Trilateral Commission that took place in Tokyo, Japan on May 31, 1975. This was the same Trilateral meeting at which the former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, was presented by FIAT chief Gianni Agnelli, and appointed by the commissars to be the next President of the United States.
The starting point of The Crisis of Democracy is the collapse of such economic progress as had characterized the 1960s, and the advent of the post-industrial society. Brzezinski's introduction compares the atmosphere of 1975 with the early 1920s, when Oswald Spengler published his mystical Untergang des Abendlandes, The Decline of the West. The three authors start off their analysis by quoting Willy Brandt, as he was about to step down as German Federal Chancellor in 1974, saying, "Western Europe has only 20 or 30 more years of democracy left in it; after that it will slide, engineless and rudderless, under the surrounding sea of dictatorship, and whether the dictation comes from a politburo or a junta will not make that much difference." Then there is a quote fron an unnamed senior British official to the effect that if the United Kingdom fails to solve the problem of simultaneous inflation and economic depression, "parliamentary democracy would ultimately be replaced by a dictatorship." There is also a warning from Prime Minister Takeo Miki that "Japanese democracy will collapse" unless the confidence of the people in their political leaders can be restored. This is all related by the authors to the economic dimension of the crisis:
about the future of democracy has coincided with a parallel pessimism
about the future of economic conditions. Economists have discovered the
fifty-year Kondratieff cycle, according to which 1971 (like 1921) should
have marked the beginning of a sustained economic downturn from which the
industrialized capitalist world would not emerge until the end of the
century. The implication is that just as the political developments of the
1920s and 1930s furnished the ironic and tragic- aftermath of a war fought
to make the world safe for democracy, so also the 1970s and 1980s might
furnish a similarly ironic political aftermath to twenty years of
sustained economic development designed in part to make the world
prosperous enough for democracy." (pp. 2- 3)
"With the most active foreign policy of any democratic country, the United States is far more vulnerable to defeats in that area than other democratic governments, which, attempting less, also risk less. Given the relative decline in its military, economic, and political influence, the United States is more likely to face serious military or diplomatic reverses during the coming years than at any previous time in its history. If this does occur, it could pose a traumatic shock to American democracy." (p. 5)
In addition to these crisis factors, the study also points to dynamics considered internal to the political process which are generating instability:
"Yet, in recent years, the operations of the democratic process do indeed appear to have generated a breakdown of traditional means of social control, a delegitimation of political and other forms of authority, and an overload of demands on government exceeding its capacity to respond." (p. 8)
The study itself makes clear that the three Trilateral commissars are especially concerned about the economic demands made upon elected representatives by constituency groups which may contradict the austerity and primacy of debt service demanded by oligarchical financier factions.
This theme dominates the chapter on the United States contributed by Samuel P. Huntington, who at various times has been a manager of the Harvard Center for International Affairs, the international network associated with Henry Kissinger. Huntington writes according to the canons of empirical social science, but the basic dictatorial intent nevertheless shines through. He describes the two great leaps in the expenditures of the U.S. federal government, the Defense Shift of the 1950s and the Welfare Shift of the 1960s. He concludes that after these two shifts had vastly increased federal spending, the student revolt of the 1960s plus Watergate combined to produce "a substantial increase in government activity and a substantial decrease in governmental authority. By the early 1970s Americans were progressively demanding and receiving more benefits from their government and yet having less confidence in their government than they had a decade earlier." "The expansion of government activities produced doubts about the economic solvency of government; the decrease in governmental authority produced doubts about the political solvency of government." (p. 64) Reading ex contrario, it emerges that Huntington's ideal government would be an authoritarian regime capable of imposing drastic austerity. His problem is his despair that the U.S. government will fill the bill.
Increased government spending is leading to high deficits, even as public confidence in government declines, says Huntongton. He is especially concerned about the "decay of the party system," with the decline in clear party identification by the majority of the citizenry, the rise of split-ticket voting, and a decrease in party loyalty from one election to the next. As for the political parties themselves, Huntington's finding is that "the popular attitude towards parties combines both disapproval and contempt." (p. 87) Huntington also sees a decline in the mass base of the parties, plus a decline in the power of party organization. This raises the spectre of a successful political challenge to the power of people like the members of Trilateral Commission: "The lesson of the 1960s was that American political parties were extraordinarily open and extraordinarily vulnerable organizations, in the sense that they could be easily penetrated, and even captured, by highly motivated and well- organized groups with a cause and a candidate." (p. 89) Had Huntington been writing today, he would have crystallized his fears on this score with a single word: "LaRouche.
Huntington is willing to explore the alternative that the political parties may have to be done away with: "It could be argued that political parties are a political form peculiarly suited to the needs of industrial society and that the movement of the United States into a post-industrial phase hence means the end of the party system as we have known it." "In less developed countries, the principal alternative to party government is military government. Do the highly developed countries have a third alternative?" (p. 91)
Huntington sees the entire government in crisis, with congressmen falling prey to the rising expectations of their constituents while the presidency is in decline. Part of the latter problem is that a presidential candidate needs to assemble an electoral coalition of voters in order to win the White House, but must then assemble a governing coalition of various power brokers. Huntington views the two processes as perhaps antithetical.
The recommendations that conclude the analysis of the crisis in U.S. democracy include such pablum as "moderation in democracy," more authoritarianism, and the need for greater apathy on the part of the population. "Democracy is more of a threat to itself in the United States," writes Huntington.
The real conclusions reached by the Trilateral Commission were doubtless more far-reaching, as can be inferred from the appendices of the book. When the Crozier-Huntington-Watanuki study was presented to the commission, it was introduced by Ralf Dahrendorf, the head of the London School of Economics. The chief threat running through Dahrendorf's remarks was that Huntington had neglected corporatist elements in his prescription. Dahrendorf's argument deserves to be quoted at some length:
"Democratic governments find it difficult to cope with the power of extraparliamentary institutions which determine by their decisions the life chances of as many (or in some cases more) people as the decisions of governments can possibly determine in many of our countries. Indeed, these extraparliamentary institutions often make governmental power look ridiculous. When I talk about extraparliamentary institutions, I am essentially thinking of two powerful economic institutions-- giant companies and large and powerful trade unions.
The greater demand for participation, the removal of effective political spaces from the national to the international level, and the removal of the power to determine people's life chances from political institutions to other institutions are all signs of what might be called the dissolution of the general political public which we assumed was the basis of real democratic institutions in the past. Instead of there being an effective political public in democratic countries from which representative institutions emerge and to which representative institutions are answerable, there is a fragmented public and in part a nonexistent public. There is a rather chaotic picture in the political communities of many democratic countries.
My main point here is that as we think about a political public in our day, we cannot simply think of a political public of individual citizens exercising their common sense interests on the marketplace, as it were. In rethinking the notion of the political public, we have to accept the fact that most human beings today are both individual citizens and members of large organizations. We have to accept the fact that most individuals see their interests cared for not only by an immediate expression of their citizenship rights (or even by political parties which organize groups of interests) but also by organizations which at this moment act outside the immediate political framework and which will continue to act whether governments like it or not. And I believe, therefore, somewhat reluctantly, that in thinking about the political public of tomorrow we shall have to think of a public in which representative parliamentary institutions are somehow linked with institutions which in themselves are neither representative nor parliamentary. I think it is useful to discuss the exact meaning of something like an effective social contract, or perhaps a "Concerted Action" or "Conseil economique et social" for the political institutions of advanced democracies. I do not believe that free collective bargaining is an indispensable element of a free and democratic society. I do believe, however, that we have to recognize that people are organized in trade unions, that there are large enterprises, that economic interests have got to be discussed somewhere, and that there has got to be a negotiation about some of the guidelines by which our economies are functioning. This discussion should be related to representative institutions. There may be a need for reconsidering some of our institutions in this light, not to convert our countries into corporate states, certainly not, but to convert them into countries which in a democratic fashion recognize some of the new developments which have made the effective political public so much less effective in recent years.
For a reader who has followed the exposition up to this point, not much comment is necessary. Despite his very explicit disclaimer, Dahrendorf is indeed talking about a covert and overt institutional transformation toward a corporate state. We have seen several previous attempts to accomplish exactly what he is proposing here. One was D'Annunzio's Consiglio dei Provvisori, and another was Mussolini's Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni. But the Trilateral Commission still needed a means of transition to corporatist rule. It was momentarily to propose it in the form of Project Democracy.
The appendix to The Crisis of Democracy also contains a series of formal concluding statements by the Trilateral Commission at the close of debate on the ungovernability report. At a certain point, the text turns toward question of workers' self-management, co-determination (Mitbestimmung) as practiced in the Federal Republic of Germany, and the need for new modes of organization to alleviate the tensions that characterize post-industrial society. At that point, a new heading is introduced, as follows:
"7. Creation of New Institution for the Cooperative Promotion of Democracy"
The effective working of democratic government in the Trilateral societies can now no longer be taken for granted. The increasing demands and pressures on democratic government and the crisis in governmental resources and public authority require more explicit collaboration. One might consider, therefore, means of securing support and resources from foundations, business corporations, labor unions, political parties, civic associations, and, where possible and appropriate, government agencies, for the creation of an institute for the strengthening of democratic institutions. The purpose of such an institute would be to stimulate collaborative studies of common problems involved in the operations of democracy in the Trilateral societies, to promote cooperation among institutions and groups with common concerns in this area among the Trilateral regions, and to encourage the Trilateral societies to learn from each other's experience how to make democracy function more effectively in their societies. There is much which each society can learn from the others. Such mutual learning experiences are familiar phenomena in the economic and military fields; they must also be encouraged in the political field. Such an institute could also serve a useful function in calling attention to questions of special urgency, as, for instance, the critical nature of the problems currently confronting democracy in Europe." (p. 187)
With that, Project Democracy was unleashed against the world.
In the final discussion that followed Dahrendorf's remarks, the task of the new institute was made clearer. One participant suggested that Dahrendorf's idea of associating non-parliamentary groups with the parliamentary process ought to be seen in relation to international political systems, and not just in a national framework. At the close, "one Commissioner [Was it David Rockefeller?] expressed his support 'very concretely' for the proposed institute for the strengthening of democratic institutions." (p. 203)
Transforming the political parties
Project Democracy is thus by pedigree an international fascist- corporatist organization designed to supplant democratic constitutional republics with veiled and overt fascist regimes. It is a kind of bankers' Comintern--the Comintern of Bukharin, to be sure. As some of the citations adduced here suggest, it appears that one of the first tasks contemplated for the nascent Project Democracy network was the fomenting of coups d'etat in Western Europe, as was also indicated by abundant empirical evidence manifest at that time.
What is the nature of Project Democracy's planned institutional transformation for the United States? Project Democracy intends to complete the evolution of the Republican and Democratic parties, especially the Democrats, away from their previous status as mass- based political machines responsive to the demands of constituencies and regional and local interests. Under the pretext of increasing the cohesion and responsibility of the parties, they are to acquire dictatorial control over the votes and opinions of elected officials, as for example, congressmen. The two parties are to become increasingly remote from the citizenry, and subjected to an increasingly authoritarian top-down control. Candidates are to become more and more like party functionaries, and are to be chosen by a tiny group of party leaders acting in synergy with the finance oligarchs. This will include presidential candidates most emphatically. Primary elections are to be gradually abolished in favor of a fascist-corporatist smoke-filled room.
The specifically corporatist dimension of such a system in evolution from authoritarianism to totalitarianism is provided by the merger of the AFL-CIO top bureaucracy with the fused Democratic and Republican National Committees and fundraising apparatus. Despite the decline in the relative weight of trade unions in the U.S. workforce, the AFL-CIO is still by far the largest membership organization in the United States. This kind of troika is accurately reflected on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy. The AFL-CIO, by virtue of its close interfaces with the State Department, the Agency for International Development, the Labor Department, the Commerce Department, the Special Trade Representative, and the intelligence community, is virtually a government agency, precisely in the way that Bukharin wanted trade unions to be. By closely controlling the financing of candidates, access to the media, party endorsement, candidate debates, and the related election apparatus, the backers of Project Democracy think that they can in effect choose the Congress and choose the President.
In this proposed silent putsch by Project Democracy, the RNC/DNC/AFL-CIO lockstep would acquire sovereignty over the U.S. federal government, in much the same way that the Soviet Politburo and Central Committee Secretariat control the Soviet Council of Ministers and Supreme Soviet. For Project Democracy, it is much more convenient for sovereignty to be located in an informal combine of private organizations, which cannot be subjected to government oversight, Freedom of Information Act demands, or financial audit and accountability, but which can and do receive large amounts of official government funding, as well as the largesse conduited through Oliver North's Swiss bank accounts.
At the same time, Project Democracy is well aware of the value of maintaining a facade of respect for constitutional forms during the time in which the passage from authoritarianism to totalitarianism is being negotiated. It can be recalled that it took Mussolini some three years to go from head of the government to dictator, and still longer for the full institutional panoply of the totalitarian state to be set forth. In that transition, the suppression of opposition political groups and publishing enterprises was carried out gradually by squadristi and secret police. Today, these functions are assigned to the William Welds and the Oliver Revells. In the meantime, Project Democracy will find ways to denigrate and vilify the United States Constitution, even while going through the pretense of celebrating its anniversary.
Realizing the design
The following examples will document the ongoing attempts to realize this design.
Project Democracy as the Trilateral Comintern.
Samuel Huntington, as Harvard professor and director of Kissinger's Center for International Affairs, appears to have found a special niche as scorekeeper for Project Democracy's series of international coups. In a recent volume entitled Global Dilemmas, there appears Huntington's essay, "Will more Countries become democratic?" Huntington, the theorist of democratic ungovernability, starts off with a ringing endorsement of Project Democracy: "The Reagan administration moved far beyond the Carter administration's more limited concern with human rights and first launched 'Project Democracy' and 'The Democracy Program' to promote democratic institutions in other societies, and then persuaded Congress to create a 'National Endowment for Democracy' to pursue this goal on a permanent basis. In the early 1980s, in short, concern with the development of new democratic regimes has been increasing among academics and policymakers." (p.253) Huntington is in touch with Freedom House, another node of the Project Democracy network, and cites Freedom House's yearly survey of how many people live under democratic conditions around the world. In January 1984, for example, Freedom House found that 36% of the world's people were living in democracies, a level that was about equal to that of 10 years earlier. This corresponded to 52 free countries. Huntington prefers to describe democracy as "polyarchy," a neologism coined by one of his fellow academics. For Huntington, democracy is most highly correlated with Protestantism. The article concludes with a hit list, leading off with the "bureaucratic-authoritarian" regimes of Ibero-America, including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. Then come the East Asian "newly industrializing" countries, like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Then come the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and El Salvador. In general, Huntington concludes that "the limits of democratic development in the world may well have been reached." (p. 276)
In early 1975, Nicholas von Hoffman devoted his column in the Washington Post to revelations that certain prime financial supporters of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party have a "hidden agenda for American politics ... a planned economy ... state capitalism ... fascism without lampshade factories." Hoffman stated that the then-President of the United Auto Workers, Leonard Woodcock, was "willing to surrender the economic planning to the megacorporations." In March 1975, Challenge magazine carried an article entitled "The Coming Corporatism," by R.E. Pahl and J.T. Winkler. The article stated in part:
"Corporatism is a distinct form of economic structure. It was recognized as such in the 1930s by people of diverse political backgrounds, before Hitler extinguished the enthusiasm which greeted Mussolini's variant. The fact that our blinkered political vocabulary now sees the alternative pure forms of economy as simply "capitalism" or "socialism" is a consequence of the fact that the Axis powers lost the Second World War.
This "corporatism" is a comprehensive economic system under which the state intensively channels predominantly privately owned business towards four goals, which have become increasingly explicit during the current economic crisis: Order, Unity, Nationalism, and "Success."
Those, then, are the four aims. Let us not mince words. Corporatism is fascism with a human face. What the parties are putting forward now is an acceptable face of fascism; indeed a masked version of it, because so far the more repugnant political and social aspects of the German and Italian regimes are absent or only present in diluted form.
The same year saw the creation of an Initiative Committee for National Economic Planning with a press conference attended by Woodcock, Robert Roosa, and Wassily Leontieff. Among the sponsors of ICNEP were J.K. Galbraith and Robert McNamara. At the same time, officials of the Swedish, German, British, and Italian parties of the Second International were expressing the idea that, whereas in the last depression, the financiers had turned to fascist mass movements to impose corporatism and austerity, this time the social democrats could survive by showing that they were the most efficient agency for corporatist austerity.
Corporatism in 1988.
Signs are multiplying that with the present acceleration of economic collapse, corporatist agitation may become more widespread. One harbinger of such a trend is the highly ideologized candidacy of former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt. In declaring his candidacy for President, Babbitt proposed a "gain-sharing" plan under which he claimed that by 1996 "two-thirds of American workers would directly share in the profits and losses of their own business." When asked whether such a policy were not a return to corporatism, Babbitt answered that he preferred to call it "competitiveness" or "futurism," and later admitted that he was not sure of the meaning of corporatism. Babbitt's candidacy is designed to expose broad strata of the population to various parts of the Trilateral ideological inventory.
The 1980 presidential candidacy of Trilateral Commission member Rep. John Anderson was also a vehicle for spewing out Malthusianism and anti-constitutional propaganda. Anderson's platform charged that despite the advent of post-industrial society, the Republicans and Democrats were still too "consumption-oriented." The platform stated: "The traditional parties were reasonably effective mechanisms for distributing the dividends of economic growth. But during a period in which the central task of government is to allocate burdens and orchestrate sacrifices, these parties have proved incapable of making the necessary hard choices. We are prepared to tell the American peopple what we must do, and allocate the burden in a manner sensitive to both economic efficiency and social equity." Babbitt's current rhetoric is strikingly similar.
Cutler vs. the Constitution.
A leading part in the Trilateral-Project Democracy effort to overthrow the Constitution is played by Lloyd Cutler and his Committee on the Constitutional System. Cutler had begun assaulting the Constitution in late 1980, when he published an article urging "changes in our Constitution" in Foreign Affairs. There he argued that the present form of government is ill-suited to facing difficult choices of the kind that it is increasingly called upon to make. Cutler's remedies of 1980 included limiting the President to a single six-year term, to make him more remote from political demands; concurrent terms for President, Vice President, Senators, and Congressmen, to increase the chances that the same party will dominate in all these offices; and the ability of the President to dissolve Congress and call new elections as a way out of a deadlock of the executive and the legislative branches.
In January 1987, the Committee on the Constitutional System took the same point of departure: "Changes in the Constitution should not be shunned, however, if critical modern problems cannot be solved by other means." The CCS indicated among the signs of strain in the present order "the mounting national debt, fueled anew each year by outsized and unsustainable deficits that defy the good intentions of legislators and Presidents." Part of the cause is attributed to factors which "weaken the parties and undermine their ability to draw the separated parts of government into coherent action." For the CCS, the "weakening of the parties in the electoral arena has contributed to the disintegration of party cohesion among the officials we elect to public office." The decline of party cohesion and party accountability is the main point addressed by the CCS proposals for "strengthening" the parties.
Among the remedies offered are a policy of packing Presidential nominating conventions with party nominees and office holders, optional or even obligatory straight-ticket voting, and public financing of congressional campaigns with the party getting half of the take to assure "cohesion." The CCS is for federal elections every four years, permitting members of Congress to serve in the cabinet, easier ratification of arms control and other treaties in the Senate, presidential appearances in Congress to answer questions, a shadow cabinet for the party out of power, and a mechanism for dissolving Congress in the event of a deadlock.
It is evident that these measures would amount to the introduction of a parliamentary system, in which congressmen would be subjected to the merciless discipline of party whips. In such a parliamentary system, the party that wins a majority also elects the executive, an idea that has been repeatedly proposed by former Sen. J. William Fulbright. Although the resemblance to the British parliamentary system is marked, it should be recalled that the Israeli Knesset is, if anything, a more extreme or "pure" form of parliamentary arrangement. The Cutler proposals to subvert the separation-of-powers and checks-and-balances features of the U.S. Constitution are simply a blueprint for exactly the tyranny that the framers of the Constitution sought to rule out. The sympathies of Cutler and his Trilateral co-thinkers go out to Israel, where there is no constitution.
Chairman Kirk the Totalitarian.
As the 1988 presidential elections approach, the signs of party dictatorship in the election process multiply. In March 1986, after the victory of two associates of Lyndon LaRouche in the Illinois Democratic primary elections for lieutenant governor and secretary of state, New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he called for the abolition of primary elections, and the choosing of candidates by the party leadership. Later, Fabian Palomino, a political aide to New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who directed the operations of throwing "non- endorsed" Democratic candidates off the September primary ballot, was quoted as saying that "the best primary is no primary."
Chairman Paul Kirk of the Democratic National Committee and Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf of the Republican National Committee are acting together increasingly to police the presidential election process. Kirk and Fahrenkopf more and more resemble the duumviri of a single party, like Stalin and Bukharin during the middle 1920s. Is there a dime's worth of differnce between Kirk's Democrats and Fahrenkopf's Republicans? Comparing the Carter and Reagan administrations, we observe a remarkable continuity on such policies as Volcker austerity economics and support for Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, to name just two. The direction is clear: Apart from the activities of a maverick like LaRouche, America is well on its way to becoming a one-party state.
Thus, the Kirk-Fahrenkopf tandem have arrogated to themselves the organization of the 1988 presidential debates, a matter that up to now has been handled by the individual candidates in negotiation with the League of Women Voters. Kirk and Fahrenkopf reply that they are seeking to "institutionalize" the debates and strengthen the role of the parties in the political process. Kirk has announced his intention to exclude the LaRouche campaign from consultation and debates, and it is clear that third-party candidates will have no chance.
Kirk has also announced a set of "rules" for the 1988 presidential contest, and says he will enforce obedience to this code on the candidates. We thus have the singular spectacle of the party chairmen, who used to be relatively anonymous hacks, now disciplining a gaggle of presidential aspirants like a classroom of unruly schoolboys. Future Presidents must first be taught to obey.
The idea of concentrating a very large number of state presidential primary elections on a single day (like the so-called Southern Super Tuesday of March 15, 1988), is also a step away from federalism and toward a one-party state. The traditional February to June "long season" of primary elections gave a determined outsider the ability to parlay an early success into later momentum through an extended series of almost weekly engagements. "Super Tuesday" means that big bucks, like those provided by Impact 88, the consortium of Democratic money-bags, will be at a premium from the outset.
At the same time, there is an effort to de-emphasize the primary contests altogether. Since the candidate will be chosen by the party bosses anyway, why traipse through the proverbial thousand living rooms of such places as New Hampshire and Iowa? This is the advice of former Virginia Gov. Charles Robb to Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn. Robb recommends a kind of institutional campaign, waged in Nunn's case from the chairman's seat of the Senate Armed Services Committee, thus guaranteeing maximum media visibility and virtually no contact with the vulgar masses. In the same way, it may be that former Sen. Howard Baker's disclaimer of presidential ambition after his assumption of the post of White House chief of staff is disingenuous to the degree that the White House may be seen as the "bully pulpit" for running for the presidency.
Samuel Huntington, in his recent book American Politics, develops a perspective for the future development of the American political system in the framework of conflict between increasingly authoritarian and ultimately totalitarian state control, on the one hand, and an underlying American value system and world-outlook-- which he calls the "American Creed--on the other. In Huntington's view, there is no doubt that the regime will become more oppressive: "An increasingly sophisticated economy and active involvement in world affairs seem likely to create stronger needs for hierarchy, bureaucracy, centralization of power, expertise, big government specifically, and big organizations generally." (p. 228)
But this will conflict with the ideological American Creed, based on liberty, equality, individualism, and democracy and rooted in "seventeenth-century Protestant moralism and eighteenth-century liberal rationalism." (p. 229) Something has to give, says Huntington. On the one hand, there is a possibility that the American Creed could be junked, and "there are some signs that values are changing." "In the 1960s and 1970s in both Europe and America, social scientists found evidence of the increasing prevalence of 'postbourgeois' or postmaterialist' values, particularly among younger cohorts. In a somewhat similar vein, George Lodge foresaw the displacment of Lockean, individualistic ideology in the United States by a 'communitarian' ideology, resembling in many aspects the traditional Japanese collective approach.
Huntington predicts that the conflict between individualistic values and the centralized regime may explode early in the coming century specifically between 2010 and 2030, in a period of ferment and dislocation like the late 1960s: "If the periodicity of the past prevails, a major sustained creedal passion period will occur in the second and third decades of the twenty-first century." At this time, he argues, "the oscillations among the responses could intensify in such a way as to threaten to destroy both ideals and institutions." (p. 232) Such a process would be acted out as follows:
"Lacking any concept of the state, lacking for most of its history both the centralized authority and the bureaucratic apparatus of the European state, the American polity has historically been a weak polity. It was designed to be so, and the traditional inheritance and social environment combined for years to support the framers' intentions. In the twentieth century, foreign threats and domestic economic and social needs have generated pressures to develop stronger, more authoritative decision-making and decision-implementing institutions. Yet the continued presence of deeply felt moralistic sentiments among major groups in American society could continue to ensure weak and divided government, devoid of authority and unable to deal satisfactorily with the economic, social and foreign challenges confronting the nation. Intensification of this conflict between history and progress could give rise to increasing frustration and increasingly violent oscillations between moralism and cynicism. American moralism ensures that government will never be truly efficacious; the realities of power ensure that government will never be truly democratic.
This situation could lead to a two-phase dialectic involving intensified efforts to reform government, followed by intensified frustration when those efforts produce not progress in a liberal- democratic direction, but obstacles to meeting perceived functional needs. The weakening of government in an effort to reform it could lead eventually to strong demands for the replacement of the weakened and ineffective institutions by more authoritarian structures more effectively designed to meet historical needs. Given the perversity of reform, moralistic extremism in the pursuit of liberal democracy could generate a strong tide toward authoritarian efficiency. (p. 232)
Huntington then quotes Plato's celebrated passage on the way that the "culmination of liberty in democracy is precisely what prepares the way for the cruelest extreme of servitude under a despot."
The message is clear: sooner or later, all roads lead to Behemoth.
Fascism as an aftermath of defeat. Nous sommes trahis! cried the French in 1870 as they recoiled from defeat in war. For the Germans of 1918, it was the Dolchstosslegende, the stab in the back of the fighting army by the surrender of the politicians. For D'Annunzio and Mussolini, it was the vittoria mutilata, the inability of Orlando to impose Italy's territorial and colonial demands in the imperialist haggling of Versailles. Each of these reproaches, whatever their historical merits might have been, became vital factors in engendering mass fascist mentality and mass fascist movements.
Parallels exist between such figures as Oliver North and the arditi who accompanied D'Annunzio to Fiume. According to former National Security Council director Robert McFarlane, "Lt. Col. Oliver North's experiences in the Vietnam War may have led him to secretly channel proceeds from the Iran arms sales to the Nicaraguan rebels while he was an NSC aide," according to an article published in the Washington Times in March 1987. The article quotes McFarlane, interviewed while recovering from a suicide attempt, as follows:
"For people who went through that, and Colonel North surely did, you come away with the the profound sense of very intolerable failure. That is, a government must never give its word to people who may stand to lose their lives and then break faith. And I think it's possible that in the last year we've seen a commitment made to human beings in Nicaragua that is being broken.
As we have seen, the filibustering expedition of D'Annunzio to Fiume was a kind of dress rehearsal for Italian fascism. In post- World War I Germany, it was a similar kind of filibustering activity, the military campaigns of the Baltic Freikorps against the Bolsheviks, that created a significant part of the fascist potential which later aggregated in the Nazi Party. For the fascism of Project Democracy, the close historical parallel is the filibustering in Central America around the Contra war.
1) See Ralph H. Bowen, German Theories of the Corporate State, p. 2
2) Finer, Mussolini's Italy, p. 499
3) G. Lowell Field, The Syndical and Corporative Institutions of Italian Fascism, p. 137
4) Cited in Stephen Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution, p. 30
5) Asher Arian, Politics in Israel, p. 206