The 35th annual Chaos Communication Congress Conference on Technology, Society, and Utopia (35c3) took place at the Leipzig Conference Center in Leipzig, Germany between Dec 27 and 30. As the event opened, a banner reading “Antifaschistische Aktion” was displayed in the reception hall — which seemed to symbolically designate the event as an Antifascist Action.
The Real Story at 35c3
During the event, a workshop called Wallet.fail was hosted by Dmity Nedospasov, Josh Datko, and Thomas Roth. The team exposed security flaws in cryptocurrency hardware wallets, including the Ledger Blue.
Elsewhere, lectures focused on the American-corporate surveillance state. For example, A lecture given by Frederike Kaltheneur, Data Exploitation Programme Lead at Privacy International, and Christopher Weatherhead, a hacktivist jailed several times for his involvement with Anonymous, was titled “How Facebook Tracks you on Anonymous.”
— Julio (@juliocesarfort) December 27, 2018
While exploiting security flaws in hard wallets may seem newsworthy, the bigger story is the presence of the Antifascist flag reading “Antifaschistische Aktion.” The phrase translates into English as “Antifascist Action.” The flag at 35c3 was designed similarly to the flags used by antifascists resisting Nazis in Europe before and during World War II.
Worries about an American fascist surveillance state may be warranted.
Fascism is centralization of a government’s political-economic authority taken to its extreme. When the Leader assumes complete control of the State, totalitarianism appears, but when the People believe the Leader represents the State, fascism begins to develop.
Postmodern French Philosopher Giles Deleuze and Felix Guitarri, a psychoanalyst, state that there are two forms of fascism:
- Micro-fascism includes the People of the State. In fascism, individuals no longer identify as individuals; they identify as part of a collective. There is no “I.” There is only “We the People.”
- Macro-fascism includes the Fascist Leader and Party which seizes control of the State. The Leader is believed to be the representative of the State by the People. For the Fascist People, the State is God, and the Leader is the State’s Pope.
In Nazi Germany, the individuals living in Germany stopped identifying as individuals. They identified as the People of Germany. Hitler became the Leader of Germany and, therefore, was like a God to the German People. His Nazi government was acting as Hitler determined, so the Germans became Nazis. They identified themselves with the Leader and his Party. Swastikas were publicly displayed, ceremonies were performed in honor of Hitler, and German culture became defined by Nazi symbols, beliefs, and ideology.
Fascist theorist Robert Paxton defines five stages of fascism, which are amended below:
- Fascists movements are created, ideologies are defined, and parties are formed.
- Fascist parties begin to root themselves into political power.
- Fascists acquire full political power.
- Fascists exercise political power within the State.
- Fascism either:
- Fully radicalizes itself within the State through the full centralization of Leader’s power within the culture, or
- Ultimately fails when the Leader’s power fails to fully centralize within the culture.
Fascism succeeds when the Leader controls the government, military, banks, treasuries, schools, prisons, and all other institutions of the State. A centralized ideology of the State must radicalize itself within the People. Everyone must believe the State is the rightful authority of the State, that the Leader represents the State, and that they are each a part of the State as the People of the State.
Cryptocurrency is a Threat to Fascism
Decentralized cryptocurrency threatens fascist centralization. If the currency used by the People is decentralized, the Leader’s authority will face difficulty reaching full cultural centralization. The radicalization of fascism may become less possible.
When individual persons use Bitcoin, Litecoin, or similar cryptos in place of national fiat currencies, economic decentralization begins. When a national economy and the political authority of the State are dependent upon each other, economic decentralization also reduces the possibility of political centralization by a single Leader or Party.
In America, for example, the economic power to issue currency to the United States Treasury, centralized banks, or other certified depository institutions resides with the Federal Reserve, a non-profit company. The political power of the United States is connected to but distinct from the economic power of the Fed.
Centralization of economic power and political authority together could catalyze centralization of political-economic authority by that Party. This could begin if the power of the U.S. government and the Fed were both seized by a Fascist Party acting on behalf of the American People. Such centralization might expand elsewhere throughout culture leading to the radicalization of fascism within the State.
If enough of the American population began using decentralized cryptocurrencies in lieu of the dollar, this dystopian scenario could be avoided. By itself, this might not lead to the failure of fascist radicalization in the State, however.
In the same way, symbolically designating conferences such as the 35c3 as Antifascist Actions is unlikely to stop the radicalization of fascism by itself, but it is still one form of resistance. Taken together, the mass adoption of cryptocurrency and the symbolic designation of events as Antifascist Actions may be integrated with other forms of antifascist practice to successfully cause the failure of fascist radicalization within the State.
Do you think fascism is a real threat in the contemporary world? Can cryptocurrency prevent this threat from arising? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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