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"As We Go Marching" is a three-part examination of fascism in Italy (part 1) and Germany (part 2). Part 3 ties things together with an examination of Franklin D. Roosevelt's so-called "New Deal." The book covers periods from the mid-1800's, the time of the respective unification of Italy and Germany, to mid-WWII. Briefly, neither Mussolini nor Hitler laid the foundations, let alone invented, the social-government systems that supported their regimes. Both systems of fascism, Italian and German, had roots in the early days of industrialization, with deep and powerful roots in the concept of syndicalism. Mr. Flynn opines that, absent certain events related to The Great War, neither Mussolini nor Hitler would ever have amounted to much more than minor political nuisances; but that someone else could very well have held power and governed via fascism through pre-existing government institutions. (eg, imagine a German Chancellor without the anti-semitism but still with the militarism.) The third part of "Marching" concerns the intellectual and systemic relationships between Italian and German fascism, and FDR's New Deals (there were at least three of them). Although the reader will learn a lot of Italian and German hisotry, the entire book concerns what FDR was doing to the United States in the 1930's. Mr. Flynn's view is through a lens of what had happened in Italy and Germany. In 1944, some critics called Mr. Flynn's publication of "Marching" treasonous. But I doubt they read the book before doing so. Mr. Flynn was labeled, in his day, as a "Roosevelt-hater," and summarily dismissed in polite company of the time. Many people worked overtime to discredit him and his books. But to this modern reader, Mr.Read more ›
John T Flynn was a business journalist who originally covered graft and Wall Street scandals in the 1920s and 1930s. Originally a supporter of Roosevelt, he came to believe the New Deal's compulsory cartels under the NRA was a betrayal of traditional 'trust busting' liberalism. He saw FDR's massive reliance on public borrowing and deficit spending, rather than fiscal reform, was dangerous. A former Nye Committee investigator, Flynn was involved in Nye's exposure of the role major banks and munitions makers played in President Wilson's march to war in 1918. Flynn believed the failure of the New Deal to bring jobs would see FDR turn to military spending as an economic cure. When this prediction eventuated, Flynn became a leading spokesman for the America First Committee. After the war, wrote one of the first exposes arguing FDR had prior knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack. Flynn stayed a committed "isolationist" after the war, believing the same pattern of was re-emerging in the then new Cold War.
This book was written in 1944. I read the 1973 reprint "Free Life" edition of the book. It includes an excellent preface essay by Ronald Radosh summarising Flynn's life and work and placing his ideas in a broader context. Radosh compares Flynn's analysis to that of Indian / British communist writer R. Palme Dutt whose "Fascism and Social Revolution: A Study of the Economics and Politics of the Extreme Stages of Capitalism in Decay" provides something of an interesting "odd couple" pairing.
"As We Go Marching" provides an analysis of fascism that looks beyond the biographies of Mussolini and Hitler, and even the histories of the fascist and nazi parties. Flynn is interested in the political economy roots of fascism.Read more ›
_As We Go Marching_ by John T. Flynn, first published in 1944 during the Second World War, and reprinted in The Right Wing Individualist Tradition in America series, is an attempt to come to grips with fascism by an opponent of the New Deal and a non-interventionist. Flynn, who began his career as a proponent of progressive economic policies, came to oppose Roosevelt's New Deal policies and the entry of the United States into the Second World War. In this book, Flynn predicts how these policies are leading in the direction of increasing militarism, socialism, and eventually totalitarianism and fascism. Flynn's understanding of fascism is in economic terms, an attempt to overturn the capitalist system through state borrowing and continued militarism (i.e. the state sanctioned continuation of perpetual revolution) and corporativism. While Flynn recognizes the defects in the capitalist system, particularly those that have led to the coming crisis, he believes that this system is far superior to that of fascism in which individual liberties are trampled upon. In this sense, Flynn may be seen as an advocate for classical liberalism against government intervention and the debt based economy.
This book traces the history of fascism as it developed in Italy and Germany and then turns its attention to the United States, where Flynn sees a creeping fascism. Against those who argue that "it cannot happen here" or who point to the various pro-German or outright Nazi groups in America at the time as the only fascist threat, Flynn argues that the fundamental basis for the totalitarian state is already established and that all that remains is for the President to claim for himself absolute power. Flynn begins by tracing the origins of fascism in the Italian state under Mussolini.Read more ›