Fascism in America – by Stephen Lendman
In 1932, Mussolini declared the 20th century a “Fascist century,” saying:
“It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the “Right,” a Fascist century.” He claimed it would “sav(e) Western civilization.” For what he didn’t explain.
Post-WW I, Fascim’s roots emerged. At the time, Western civilization was thought to be decadent, destructive, and in decline.
In his book titled, “The Decline of the West,” Oswald Spengler said “liberalism, democracy, socialism (and) free-masosnry” weakened it. Only fascism could save it.
In his essay titled, “Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions,” Mussolini said, “Fascism denies, in democracy, the absurd conventional untruth of political equality dressed out in the garb of collective responsibility.”
He called it the “complete opposite” of Marxist belief in class struggle as the driving force for social progress and justice. He said “(f)ascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.”
His definition applies now. Corporatism’s alliance with political Washington reflects his ideology. It’s been building for decades.
Huey Long once said fascism will arrive “wrapped in an American flag.” In his book titled, “Friendly Fascism,” Bertram Gross called Ronald Reagan its prototype ruler.
He described a slow, powerful “drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government,” Big Brother alliance. It leads “toward a new and subtly manipulative form of corporatist serfdom.” Its friendly face turns dark as hardline policies emerge.
In the 1930s, George Seldes saw it coming. He worried that New Deal policies would erode. In his 1934 book titled, “Iron, Blood and Profits,” he discussed a “world-wide munitions racket.” He cited WW I militarists and weapons makers in Europe and America.
“Merchants of death” he called them, promoting “imperialism (and) colonization – by means of war. (T)he healthfulness of the business depends on slaughter. The more wars,” the more riches.
His 1943 book titled, “Facts and Fascism” explained “Fascism on the Home Front” in Part One, called “The Big Money and the Big Profits in Fascism.”
In Parts Two and Three, he discussed “Native Fascist Forces” in industry and his day’s media. A shadow of today, they included only print and radio’s early days. Television was just an idea.
In his 1935 novel titled, “It Can’t Happen Here,” Sinclair Lewis also saw it coming in hard times, led by a charismatic, self-styled reformer/populist champion – a con man exploiting human misery.
He recounted Merzelium “Buzz” Windrip’s rise to power. His promise to restore prosperity equitably hid his alliance with corporatist interests and religious ideologues.
He capitalized on hard times to establish militarism and unconstitutional governance. He convened military tribunals for civilians and called dissenters traitors. He institutionalized tyranny, put political enemies in concentration camps, and created Minute Men paramilitaries to terrorize anyone opposing him.
He destroyed democracy, declared martial law, usurped dictatorial powers, circumvented Congress, and made himself supreme ruler.
During Roosevelt’s New Deal era, Lewis said indeed it can happen here. If then, why not now!
In his 2003 article titled, “Fascism Anyone?” political scientist Laurence W. Britt discussed its 14 comment elements, saying:
“These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share some level of similarity.”
In 2003 America, decades earlier, and today, it’s present, worrisome, and growing.
Elements of Police State Fascism
(1) “Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism,” including display flags, lapel pins, and other patriotic nationalist expressions, rally people for a common cause.
(2) “Disdain for the importance of human rights” and civil liberties, believing they hinder ruling elitist power.
(3) “Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause,” shifting blame for failures, “channel(ling) frustration in controlled directions,” and vilifying targeted groups for political advantage.
(4) “The supremacy of the military/avid militarism,” allocating a disproportionate share of national wealth and resources for it.
(5) “Rampant sexism,” viewing women as second-class citizens.
(6) “A controlled mass media,” in public or private hands, promoting power elite policies.
(7) “Obsession with national security,” using it as an instrument of belligerence and oppression.
(8) “Religion and ruling elite tied together,” portraying themselves as military defenders of the nation’s dominant religion at the expense of one or more others, deemed inferior or threatening.
(9) “Power of corporations defended,” for economic power, military production, and social control.
(10) “Power of labor suppressed or eliminated,” leaving political and corporate dominance unchallenged.
(11) “Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts,” because they represent intellectual and academic freedom, subversive to national security and political control.
(12) “Obsession with crime and punishment,” handling them by draconian criminal justice measures and practices.
(13) “Rampant cronyism and corruption,” power elites enriching themselves at the expense of others less fortunate.
(14) “Fraudulent elections,” manipulated for desired results by disenfranchising opposition voters or simply rigging the process.
All these characteristics describe America. It’s a democracy in name only. It’s run by powerful elitists for their own interests at the expense of all others.
In 2010, Noam Chomsky said:
“I’m just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler’s speeches on the radio, and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering” here at home.
At the time, Weimar German “was the peak of Western civilization and was regarded as a model of democracy.” How quickly things changed.
In 1928, Nazis got 2% of the vote. In 1930, millions supported them during growing hard times. Moreover, people were tired of favoring powerful interests and ignoring popular grievances. They lurched right for something better.
They succumbed to appeals about “the greatness of the nation, defending it against threats, and carrying out the will of eternal providence.” When workers, farmers, petit bourgeoisie, and Christian groups supported it, “the center very quickly collapsed.”
Echoes of that time “reverberat(e)” today, he stressed. “These are lessons to keep in mind,” especially as enactment of empowering military authorities to indefinitely detain US citizens without charge or trial draws near.
Provisions in both House and Senate FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act versions contain authorizing language. If enacted, anyone, including US citizens, accused of present or past association with alleged terrorist groups may be indefinitely detained in military prisons without constitutional protections.
Doing so institutionalizes tyranny. Political Washington’s about to enact it. No one voicing dissent will be safe, including OWS social justice protesters.
Demanding corporatism and democracy for the few be replaced by respecting everyone’s rights equitably may be criminalized. America will have reached rock bottom.
Occupy Wall Street.com says “the only solution is World Revolution” is right because nothing else tried so far worked.
Political Washington wants freedom and resistance destroyed. Preserving them won’t come easily or quickly.
A better world is possible. Going for it is goal one.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.