The image of the jackboot on a human face aside, Italian corporatist fascist ideology - like the Sorelians and integralists of John’s piece - was also very much articulated as a “third way” between unfettered capitalism and class revolution from below.

One often neglected factor that fuelled this discourse - but one the fascists themselves often talked about to buttress their legitimacy - was the social and economic transformation occasioned by the late-19th/early 20th c. science-based 2nd industrial revolution (electrical and chemical, as opposed to the British factory system and the textiles, iron and coal model of Marx’s 1st ind. rev.).

As the argument went, the massive capital requirements of the 2nd not only saw the expansion of the joint-stock company (thus further institutionalizing the separation of ownership/shareholding from management, with ownership being the “predatory capitalist”), it also gave rise to the figure of the modern engineer/industrial manager, necessary for the smooth operation of the new industrial order but at the same time, they argued, having no vested financial interest in it. He was the embodiment of “the third way”, whose only interest was “efficiency”, and who therefore transcended both the imperative of capitalist profitability and the disruptive class politics of the labouring masses.

If one reads the political content of engineering journals of the period (as I gritted my way through a couple millennia ago) this self-fashioning of the industrial engineer as a “third way” political protagonist was a core feature of post-WWI authoritarian discourse across Europe, although at the time “fascist” was simply the Italian term to describe it. And although this specific ideology began evolving in the context of the pre-WWI corporate changes in mass production techniques, the wartime mass mobilization, centralized industrialized planning and state intervention in the economy provided the necessary final elements for a fuller concept of a fascist state to develop (part of this process also involved the international traffic in not only technology but also organizational principles derived from the changing factory system - discussions of American Taylorism, Technocracy, and “the engineer as manager and social arbiter” - the “transcender” of class politics - were everywhere in fascist “reform” discourse).

Anyway, some other considerations to toss in hopper of the “third way” politics of the period (although admittedly not relevant to understanding the Compact types who, as John suggests, are mostly just fabricating incomprehensible excuses to feel persecuted by the demon of liberal democracy).

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I’m teaching modern French history next Fall and would like to assign your essays. Please contact me.

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Hi John,

I can't wait to read this. Are you familiar with the journal Telos? It has (or had) some of the same right/left issues that went well beyond its infatuation with Schmitt.

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Much of Israeli politics belies this being at all universal, but I have to wonder to what extent masculinist appeals roll off my back for the simple reason that 'being told I was a man' at thirteen years of age was on each occasion silently acknowledged as farcical by teller and listener both.

As for the journal, its longing for a liberality without liberalism surely would find its natural mate in that Gnosis that would reveal to its authors the True National Will without the petty, effeminate, book-keeping of counting votes.

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