The ground is well prepared for neofascism to fill the void left by class war wrought by neoliberalism, says Chomsky.
Neoliberalism has reigned supreme as an economic philosophy for nearly half a century. But neoliberal policies have wreaked havoc around the world, reversing most gains made under managed capitalism after the end of the Second World War. Neoliberalism works only for the rich and the huge corporations. But the failures of neoliberalism extend beyond economics. They spread into politics as the processes of social collapse bring into play menacing forces with promises of a return to lost glory. This is the basic thrust of neofascist movements and parties in today’s world, and it is neoliberalism that has created the conditions for the resurgence of right-wing extremism, as Noam Chomsky explains in the exclusive interview below for Truthout. Meanwhile, protests have become far more widespread in the era of late capitalism, so the struggle for an alternative world is very much alive indeed!
Chomsky is institute professor emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and laureate professor of linguistics and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. One of the world’s most-cited scholars and a public intellectual regarded by millions of people as a national and international treasure, Chomsky has published more than 150 books in linguistics, political and social thought, political economy, media studies, U.S. foreign policy and world affairs. His latest books are Illegitimate Authority: Facing the Challenges of Our Time (forthcoming; with C. J. Polychroniou), The Secrets of Words (with Andrea Moro; MIT Press, 2022); The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power (with Vijay Prashad; The New Press, 2022); and The Precipice: Neoliberalism, the Pandemic and the Urgent Need for Social Change (with C.J. Polychroniou; Haymarket Books, 2021).
C. J. Polychroniou: Noam, since neoliberal policies were implemented more than 40 years ago, they have been responsible for increasing rates of inequality, destroying social infrastructure, and causing hopelessness and social malaise. However, it has also become evident that neoliberal social and economic policies are breeding grounds for right-wing radicalization and the resurgence of political authoritarianism. Of course, we know that there is an inherent clash between democracy and capitalism, but there is some clear evidence that neofascism emerges from neoliberal capitalism. Assuming that you agree with this claim, what’s the actual connection between neoliberalism and neofascism?