Twenty-First-Century Fascism

Globalization of trade and central banking has propelled private corporations to positions of power and control never before seen in human history. Under advanced capitalism, the structural demands for a return on investment require an unending expansion of centralized capital in the hands of fewer and fewer people. The financial center of global capitalism is so highly concentrated that less than a few thousand people dominate and control $100 trillion of wealth.

The few thousand people controlling global capital amounts to less than 0.0001 percent of the world’s population. They are the transnational capitalist class (TCC), who, as the capitalist elite of the world, dominate nation-states through international trade agreements and transnational state organizations such as the World Bank, the Bank for International Settlements, and the International Monetary Fund.

The TCC communicates their policy requirements through global networks such as the G-7 and G-20, and various nongovernmental policy organizations such as the World Economic Forum, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bilderberger Group. The TCC represents the interests of hundreds of thousands of millionaires and billionaires who comprise the richest people in the top 1 percent of the world’s wealth hierarchy.

The TCC are keenly aware of both their elite status and their increasing vulnerabilities to democracy movements and to unrest from below. The military empire dominated by the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) serves to protect TCC investments around the world. Wars, regime changes, and occupations performed in service of empire support investors’ access to natural resources and their speculative advantages in the market place.

When the empire is slow to perform or faced with political resistance, private security firms and private military companies (PMC) increasingly fulfill the TCC’s demands for the protections of their assets. These protection services include personal security for TCC executives and their families, protection of safe residential and work zones, tactical military advisory and training of national police and armed forces, intelligence gathering on democracy movements and opposition groups, weapons acquisitions and weapon systems management, and strike forces for military actions and assassinations.

The expanding crisis of desperate masses/refugees, alienated work forces, and environmental exhaustion means an unlimited opportunity for PMCs to engage in protections services for the global elite.

Estimates are that over $200 billion a year is spent on private security employing some fifteen million people worldwide. G4S is the largest PMC in the world with 625,000 employees spanning five continents in more than 120 countries. Nine of the largest money management firms in the world have holdings in G4S. Some of its more important contractors are the governments of the UK, the US, Israel, and Australia. In the private sector G4S has worked with corporations such as Chrysler, Apple, and Bank of America. In Nigeria, Chevron contracts with G4S for counterinsurgency operations including fast-response mercenaries. G4S undertakes similar operations in South Sudan, and has provided surveillance equipment for checkpoints and prisons in Israel and security for Jewish settlements in Palestine.

Another private military contractor Constellis Holdings—formally Blackwater and Triple Canopy—is a leading provider of security, support, and military advisory services to the US government, foreign governments, multinational corporations, and international organizations. Constellis is managed by an all male board of directors including billionaire Red McCombs; John Ashcroft, the former attorney general; retired admiral Bobby Inman; and Jack Quinn, a leading Democratic advisor who served as chief of staff to vice president Al Gore and as counsel to President Clinton.

Hundreds of private military contractors now play an important role in TCC security in the evolving 21st century neo-fascist corporate world. Capital will be free to travel instantly and internationally to anywhere that profits are possible, while nation-states will become little more than population containment zones with increasingly repressive labor controls. For these reasons, PMCs must be understood as a component of neoliberal imperialism that now supplements nation-states’ police powers and could eventually substitute for them.

The trend toward privatization of war is a serious threat to human rights, due process, and democratic transparency and accountability. The US/NATO military empire sets the moral standards for denial of human rights by using pilotless drones to kill civilians without regard for international law in various regions of resistance to empire. Labeling dead civilians as insurgents and terrorists, the complete lack of due process and human rights belies any standard of governmental moral legitimacy. This lack of moral legitimacy in turn sets standards for private military companies to operate with much the same malice in the shadow of the empire.

The globalization of PMC operations alongside transnational capital investment, international trade agreements, and an increasing concentration of wealth in the TCC means that the repressive practices of private security and war will inevitably come home to roost in the US, the European Union, and other first-world nations.

The 99 percent of us without wealth and private police power face the looming threat of overt repression and complete loss of human rights and legal protections. We see signs of this daily with police killings (now close to a hundred per month in the US), warrantless electronic spying, mass incarceration, random traffic checkpoints, airport security/no-fly lists, and Homeland Security compilations of databases on suspected resisters.

Each time we look past the crimes of the empire we lose a portion of our integrity of self. Ignoring repression becomes part of continuing compromise in our daily lives leading to a moral malaise and increased feelings of helplessness. We must stand up and demand democratic transparency and the international enforcement of human rights. Unless we collectively challenge the empire, we face a world that is evolving into a new dark age of neo-feudal totalitarianism unlike any previously known.

For a longer footnoted version of this report see here.

More articles by:

Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and President of Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored. He wrote his dissertation on the Bohemian Club in 1994.

Weekend Edition
March 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Roberto J. González
The Mind-Benders: How to Harvest Facebook Data, Brainwash Voters, and Swing Elections
Paul Street
Deplorables II: The Dismal Dems in Stormy Times
Nick Pemberton
The Ghost of Hillary
Andrew Levine
Light at the End of the Tunnel?
Paul de Rooij
Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Coming in Hot
Chuck Gerhart
Sessions Exploits a Flaw to Pursue Execution of Meth Addicts
Robert Fantina
Distractions, Thought Control and Palestine
Hiroyuki Hamada
The Eyes of “Others” for Us All
Robert Hunziker
Is the EPA Hazardous to Your Health?
Stephanie Savell
15 Years After the Iraq Invasion, What Are the Costs?
Aidan O'Brien
Europe is Pregnant 
John Eskow
How Do We Live With All of This Rage?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Was Khe Sanh a Win or a Loss?
Dan Corjescu
The Man Who Should Be Dead
Howard Lisnoff
The Bone Spur in Chief
Brian Cloughley
Hitler and the Poisoning of the British Public
Brett Wilkins
Trump Touts $12.5B Saudi Arms Sale as US Support for Yemen War Literally Fuels Atrocities
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraqi Landscapes: the Path of Martyrs
Brian Saady
The War On Drugs Is Far Deadlier Than Most People Realize
Stephen Cooper
Battling the Death Penalty With James Baldwin
CJ Hopkins
Then They Came for the Globalists
Philip Doe
In Colorado, See How They Run After the Fracking Dollars
Ali Mohsin
A Disheartening Week for American Death Penalty Opponents
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Armed Propaganda
Binoy Kampmark
John Brennan’s Trump Problem
Nate Terani
Donald Trump’s America: Already Hell Enough for This Muslim-American
Steve Early
From Jackson to Richmond: Radical Mayors Leave Their Mark
Jill Richardson
To Believe in Science, You Have to Know How It’s Done
Ralph Nader
Ten Million Americans Could Bring H.R. 676 into Reality Land—Relief for Anxiety, Dread and Fear
Sam Pizzigati
Billionaires Won’t Save the World, Just Look at Elon Musk
Sergio Avila
Don’t Make the Border a Wasteland
Daryan Rezazad
Denial of Climate Change is Not the Problem
Ron Jacobs
Flashing for the Refugees on the Unarmed Road of Flight
Missy Comley Beattie
The Age of Absurdities and Atrocities
George Wuerthner
Isle Royale: Manage for Wilderness Not Wolves
George Payne
Pompeo Should Call the Dogs Off of WikiLeaks
Russell Mokhiber
Study Finds Single Payer Viable in 2018 Elections
Franklin Lamb
Despite Claims, Israel-Hezbollah War is Unlikely
Montana Wilderness Association Dishonors Its Past
Elizabeth “Liz” Hawkins, RN
Nurses Are Calling #TimesUp on Domestic Abuse
Paul Buhle
A Caribbean Giant Passes: Wilson Harris, RIP
Mel Gurtov
A Blank Check for Repression? A Saudi Leader Visits Washington
Seth Sandronsky
Hoop schemes: Sacramento’s corporate bid for an NBA All-Star Game
Louis Proyect
The French Malaise, Now and Then