VARIATIONS ON A THEME
Juggernaut, The Path Of Dictatorship, Albert Carr, 1939.
It is the purpose of every crisis-man to emphasize the national
unity underlying his regime---to represent his government as the
expression of the national will. Two dictators have been especially
successful in this respect: the late Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey,
and Oliveira Salazar of Portugal. Both have been portrayed to the world
as masters of peoples who have under their rule abolished the causes of
class strife. The misconception is encouraged by the fact that Turkey
and Portugal, lacking any large industrial proletariat, do not conform
to the social structure of the great European powers. Nevertheless,
at the every crucial point in these dictatorships, as in Mussolini's,
the elements of class conflict can be traced below the haze of national
FASCISM A LA TURQUE
After years of devastation and decreased production, the condition
of the masses was deplorable. Taxation in the cities particularly took
a vicious percantage of the common man's wages. Prices were exorbitant.
To make matters worse, in an effort to give point to his slogan,
''Turkey for the Turks'', Mustafa Kemal had sent away his foreign
financial advisers, and both he and Ismet were woefully ignorant of
modern financial techniques. For a long while they did nothing to defend
the Turkish lira in the foreign exchanges; and its decline, together
with their high-handed tariff and tax policies, helped to keep prices
of needed manufactured goods, largely imported from abroad, at prohibitive
levels. In addition, Mustafa Kemal retained the feudal device of rewarding
influential supporters with monopolies and concessions which took an
absurdly large proportion of the national income.
By 1925 the country's misery was once more finding expression in riots
and insurrections. At such times Kemal was at his best. Sounding an
appeal to patriotism, he savagely destroyed some thousands of rebellious
peasants and sheep-raisers in Kurdistan, while an attempt to assasinate him
gave him a pretext to purge his own People's Party of dissenters, wipe out
radical agitators, and strangle a strike of the Smyrna fig workers.
A vast spy system, and a vice of censorship that was tighter even than
Mussolini's control of the printed word in Italy, enabled him to suppress
opponents of all descriptions. How many thousands of liberals and peasant
workers died or were imprisoned is not known, but the numbers probably
compare with those of the Italian terror.
An excerpt from the beginning of the book:
The climax comes when a shimmer of white plumes and a waving of wild,
braceleted arms heralds the entry of the Lord of the World. ...A hundred
backward-moving priests precede him; a hundred bear his litter; a thousand
come behind. For this occasion he has been provided with gold hands and
feet. He has trumpeters and peacock fans and a Noble Guard. ...A Rajah,
with jewelled broom, sweeps the ground before him.
Juggernaut is ready to begin his drive. ...Men and women still
sometimes throw themselves under his sixteen wheels, or fall in his
path in the confusion. ...Juggernaut is so holy that he cannot be moved
backwards, even an inch. If he should...butt against a house, then the
house must come down. He may bring ruin as well as redemption in his path...
Pilgrims fight and cluster around the ropes. At the blast of a whistle,
the human horses pull. ... Juggernaut has begun his immemorial journey.
A group of priests are dancing on the platform above..gesticulating
and foaming at the mouth whilst the multitude prostrates itself in
adoration, throws showers of marigold and jasmine and money upon the
holy car. ...Slowly, slowly through his worshippers Juggernaut goes
forward, on such a tide of faith and ecstasy as I may never again witness...
I wonder...why these people...still bow down to Juggernaut.
---Francis Yeats-Brown, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
From Conclusion (page 432):
The first need of the recognized dictator is for some symbol which
will group behind him all those forces not actively opposed to him.
This symbol may take the form of an idealistic slogan---like ''Liberty,
Equality, Fraternity''---or ''To each according to his need, from each
according to his capacity.'' It may be the name of a dead leader, as under
Stalin's rule, when homage to Lenin united Russia. More frequently, however,
a living man is chosen as the symbol, to provide a point of common
identification for the entire people.
In dynastic governments, the king is, of course, the ideal symbol
for the purposes of the man who makes the coup d'etat ---as Louis XIII
for Richelieu, Alfonso for Rivera. Or the king may be strong enough to
make the coup himself---like Alexander and Carol. Where there is no king---
or where the real leader hungers for glory---the superior man may set
himself up in the chariot of Juggernaut---like Cromwell, Hitler and Ataturk.
Sieyes, himself superior to most French politicians, yet lacking in the
courage and personal magnetism necessary to become an idol, tried the device
of ''hiring'' a symbol in the shape of Napoleon, only to discover that
the puppet did not need him to move his arms.
In this way Juggernaut begins his triumphal progress, pulled forward
by willing believers, crushing all who stand in his way, with the blessing
of priests and the acclaim of the multitute.