FOR DECADES patriotic political parties throughout Europe have searched for an alternative economic system to Capitalism and Communism. One answer was Distributism, on which the policies of the National Front are based. Another was the Corporate State. Here Michael Crahart explains why he favours the latter system.
(This article was part of a short series in Vanguard magazine looking at alternative economic systems. In the following issue Tom Acton looked at Distributism.)
AS NATIONALISTS our concerns are not just national sovereignty, national defence and relations with other states. We are also concerned with the internal order and solidarity of our nation, its integrity and its unity. A nation, however free from external domination, is nothing if racked with divisions and factions, fighting each other for wealth and power. A nation is a people united, and the stronger the unity the stronger and more effective the nation and its endeavours.
Such unity is lacking in a state obsessed with the hedonistic creed of individualism, made manifest in capitalism. Alfredo Rocco, the leader of the Italian Nationalist Party, said in 1914:
"Nationalism proclaims its incompatibility with economic individualism and the profound error of all the principles on which the latter is based. The attitude of the nationalist economy should be one of violent, absolute and unreconcilable opposition to the individualistic economy which rests upon principles antagonistic to those of the nationalist movement".
Individualism destroys the unity of the nation, it puts capital against labour, employer against employee, industry against industry and man against his fellowmen.
We as nationalists recognise that it is the things we share, our heritage, language, history and culture, that makes us the nation we are, it is this community of things which unites us into an identifiable group. Such sharing, especially when extended into the sphere of economic activities, requires sacrifices on the part of the individual. His actions are limited to those which do not harm the integrity and welfare of the nation, not, when all is said, a very unreasonable criterion.
However the question must be asked... What have nationalists offered to ensure national integrity? The answer, unfortunately, is not much.
Joe Pearce, in his book National Doctrine, has this to say on social justice . . .
An individual must have ownership and control over the place where he lives.
An individual must have ownership and control of the place where he works.
An individual must have ownership and control of all other means of personal sustenance.
An individual must have real political muscle.
This modified individualism may solve some of the problems of unrestricted individualism. By a wider distribution of property and power some of the wider divisions in society may be made narrower, workers co-operatives make the division between capital and labour disappear.
But what about the divisions between industries and firms? Will they not, still, compete in a free market － dominated by greed and selfishness? No! Not all the divisions, which afflict our nation, will disappear.
Real freedom is one of inner liberty and it may depend on external restrictions. The essence of liberty is freedom to enjoy some of the fruits of life － a decent home and a job with good wages, reasonable working hours, happiness with family and friends and good health. Freedom is an inner condition it does not, or should not, refer to external relationships. Unrestricted external freedom brings social and economic chaos whereas real freedom comes by social and economic order in a word 'National Integrity'.
If one accepts that national integrity and unity are crucial to the survival of the nation and that capitalism and individualism are detrimental to that unity, then one must ask by what system may national unity be achieved and maintained? I believe that it is only by a complete rationalisation of the state that we will arrive at such a system.
We must reorganise the nation so that each section of society fulfils its function as a member of the whole, performing its separate task, and by doing such contributing to the welfare of the whole.
The nation will be united into an organic unity, like a human body each part distinct from another yet all with a part to play. The name of this system is the 'corporate state', and one can easily see why, corporate comes from corpus the Latin for body. So what exactly is the form a corporate state will take?
The wider base of the corporate state are the employers and the workers syndicates. In each industry two syndicates should be formed, one for employers and one for workers. All syndicates are organised locally and are part of a larger National Corporation for that particular industry. Elections will be held by occupational franchise - a steel worker will vote as a steel worker, a doctor as a doctor, a textile worker as a textile worker each within their appropriate corporation. They will thus elect the representatives of their trade as the president of their corporation.
The presidents of each corporation would meet, at regular periods, in a National Council of corporations. This would be a legislative assembly and as such would represent the individual more fully than the present form of democracy as the whole will be represented by their occupations. Under the present system nothing is stopping the electorate from electing a parliament consisting entirely of members of one profession. However unlikely this may be, and of course this is an exaggeration, a minature version occurs at every election.
Under a corporate system we would have a wider and a more technical representation.
The functions of the corporations will be to conclude collective contracts, the settlement of questions of wages and hours. Each corporation would have in association, 1) local labour courts to settle industrial disputes. 2) commodity boards representing the producer and consumer interests, with the responsibility to advise the executive on measures of economic protection to be taken.
The function of the national council of corporations would be to plan, regulate and direct the whole national economy and thus rebuild our ailing industry. In our present system we are offered the choice of laissez-faire capitalism or socialist state planning but within the corporate system both evils are avoided by a system which unites private industry under the aegis of the state.
The economist Einzig said of the corporate state, "The main object of the corporate state is the planning of production and the determination of distributing in accordance with changing requirements. Under the system of laissez-faire the factors determining production and distribution are, as a rule, allowed to take care of themselves".
God forbid that the state should intervene and violate the sacred rights of the individual, for such a trivial reason as National wellbeing. Of course such a system could not be described in full in the space provided and in any case it must be flexible enough to allow changes suitable to new situations.
However, I have attempted at giving a broad outline of the system which I believe supplies the only answer to modern economic problems. A system 'which will unite the nation like an army, give it the direction it needs to regain the status it deserves.