Chomsky: Corporate Fascism Clarified

Exactly as I said this spring, in an essay titled, Sinking All Ships (Except Our Own), Chomsky is saying, as well, what by now should be obvious to all: the business elite are using a virus scare to vastly increase their already stratospheric wealth, and much more ominously, their already dangerously excessive power.

Never under-estimate the power-hungry few.

Yet, the people keep making the same mistake – they underestimate their own power, while simultaneously underestimating the ruthlessness of the power-hungry. The results are always disastrous, and grim.

This is a warning.

(See my essay, Importing From China, for an important update.)

Chomsky further clarifies fascism, as well.

I prefer my definition of fascism, I have to say, which is based on Mussolini’s definition – and he should know, since he invented it: fascism, he said, should properly be called corporatism, because it is the merger of the business elite and the state. And of course, that is exactly what has happened over the past 50 years, culminating in 2020: the business elite and the political elite, the corporate oligarchy and the state, have merged.

That is fascism. We no longer live in a democracy. We live under a new global empire of neo-feudal, crypto-fascist corporate oligarchy – an empire of the super-rich billionaire class, which is giddily and greedily devouring the poor, the middle class, and the planet, while proclaiming themselves the saviours of humanity, and the great benefactors of human health and wellbeing. The obscenity of their narcissism, egomania, infantile grandiosity, their self-deceit and their lies, and sheer sociopathic behaviour, should be shocking, and intolerable to all.

(Read my other recent essay, What Is Fascism?)

Chomsky says fascism is where the political elite control everything, including the business elite. That’s not what Mussolini said, to my knowledge. In any case, Mussolini’s definition is more useful, it seems to me. If you have authoritarianism (and we do in most nations now in 2020), and you have a merger of the business elite and the state (also unquestionably a fact in most nations today), then you have fascism.

Who has the upper hand in the marriage between political elites and business elites, I think, is of secondary concern. It is the merger of business and the state, combined with authoritarianism, which defines the essence of fascism. And only someone who is steeped in deep denial, or who has been living under a rock for the past 40 years, could fail to spot it.

Under fascist Italy or Germany, the political elite ruled an authoritarian regime, with the tight merger and full support of the business elite. It is very similar to China today: in the merger of business and the state, the political elite are in charge, with the full support of both the Western and Eastern business elite, of course. In the West today, it is the mirror image: in the merger of business and the state, the business elite are in charge. To me, it is worse than splitting hairs to say that these are radically different systems. They are not. They are mirrored systems, deeply wedded to each other, though in dangerous competition simultaneously; and they are both authoritarian, anti-democratic, elite-ruled neo-feudal societies. I prefer the short hand term of fascism for both, though it is clear they represent two different versions of essentially the same thing: which is, authoritarian elite rule, moving swiftly into totalitarian oligarchy.

Frankly I don’t think you or anybody is likely to be quibbling over whether “the new normal” should be better called fascism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism or oligarchy, when you are taken to a labour camp, and a jackboot is stomping on your face.

This is not a US problem. This is a global problem. It must be re-asserted. Trump is a tin pot dictator. The problem is much bigger than Trump. He is a pawn of the billionaire crypto-fascist oligarchy, which is now the global empire ruling the world – the same corporate oligarchy which rules most nations, most governments, all the major political parties, the global economy and financial system, and virtually all the major media today – including of course the Big Tech “social media”, since the Silicon Valley oligarchs are equally gleeful in their new-found power.

Until we unseat, dethrone, and remove from power the billionaire corporate elite, we can forget about any real change being possible. We can forget about things like justice, freedom, constitutional rights, peace, environmental sanity, or a future, for that matter, to say nothing of health, until we remove the billionaire oligarchs from power.

We must understand this, or kiss our future, our health and wellbeing, our democracy, our rights and our freedoms goodbye.


August 4, 2020


Chomsky looks very different with a beard. And he has aged dramatically this year – maybe because, as he said in an interview earlier this year, he is haunted by the memories of the first wave of fascism, during his childhood: which is being echoed now.

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