Returning to Ms. Lewis:
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A (MODERN ERA) FASCIST COUNTRY:
1. (Today’s version of) Fascism is commonly defined as an open terror-based dictatorship which is:
Reactionary: makes policy based upon current circumstances rather than creating policies to prevent problems; piles lies and misnomers on top of more lies until the truth becomes indistinguishable, revised or forgotten.
Chauvinistic: Two or more tiered legal systems, varying rights based upon superficial characteristics such as race, creed and origin.
Imperialist: Whereby elements of finance and capital are used to extend a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political domination of one state over its allies.
Though a dictatorship is the most common association with fascism, a democracy or republic can also be fascist when it strays away from its Tenets of sovereignty. In the 20th Century, many Fascist countries started out as republics. Through the use of fear, societies gave up their rights under the guise of security. Ultimately these republics morphed into Fascist states.
2. According to some scholars, traditional Fascism was an extreme measure taken by the middle classes to forestall lower-working class revolution; it thrived on the weakness of the middle classes. It accomplished this by embracing the middle-class’ love of the status-quo, its complacency and its fears of:
Generating a united struggle within the working class
Losing its own power and position within society
In a more simplistic term the people currently in control fear that if they allow equal rights and equal consideration to those being oppressed, they also will become oppressed and lose everything.
Generally those in power are of a smaller segment of society, but they hold the wealth and control of key systems like manufacturing, law, finance and government position, (e.g. the slave owners in the south prior to the civil war) and the oppressed vastly outnumber them, (the slaves during the same period)
In reality it is the oppressors’ fear of retribution by the oppressed that perpetuates fascism; for justification they dehumanize, demonize, strip them of rights, add new laws, restrict movement and attempt to control them by whatever means possible to prevent an uprising.
It is very common in a fascist system to have the oppressed referred to as sub-human, animals, terrorists, savages, barbarians, vermin or any other term designed to create justification for the acts of terror and fascism perpetrated on the oppressed. Via dehumanization society can then accept that the oppressed are incapable of thinking or acting in a peaceful manner or taking care of themselves, and thus society is exonerated from culpability in their own minds. Propaganda, not persuasion, logic or law, is the tool of fascism, though at times very difficult to spot. It specifically rides the fact that negative behavior is innate, (born with) rather than a logical behavior in response to oppression. Propaganda also empowers the oppressors with elitism racially, socially, intellectually and/or spiritually.
I think this is what was going on during the early stages of the American class wars nobody would admit were occurring. The majority of the middle class had no problems joining in the war on single moms, the elderly, the sick or disabled… you know, the “freeloaders, welfare queens and non-producers”. Hell, a lot of them still do today. The so called “welfare reforms” of the Clinton era were actually welcomed by most in the middle classes because they themselves had not been targeted. Yet.
it wasn’t until they began to realize that the REAL Masters of the Universe weren’t going to be satisfied with the slim pickings at the bottom of the food chain and that their own backsides were suddenly on the line that resistance to the Fascists suddenly became hugely important and the war cries about saving the middle class began to reverberate. The lateness of the middle class in realizing they were next on the menu and therefore on the wrong side of this war will definitely be a major factor in whether we win or lose this thing and if we don’t win, I WILL remind them of that at every opportunity. I remember my first angry impulse was to simply welcome the middle class to MY world and sit back and watch them be devoured the way people like me had been. I found out I couldn’t do that and have been trying to raise hell any way someone with my limited means can ever since but every once in a while when some astro turfed Tea Party twit gets really obnoxious… Ah well, moving on.
We needn’t pretend that Fascism in America is something new either. It may have made it farther on the road to it’s ultimate goal in the current century bu it’s been around a long time and it’s been trying for a long time. Henry A. Wallace, 33rd Vice President (1941-1945) and Progressive Party candidate for President in 1948 foresaw the emergence of Fascist rhetoric in the United States in the 1940s. His take on it:
The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia.
They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
FDR himself, as early as 1936 had this to say:
For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital-all undreamed of by the fathers-the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service. There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.
Moving closer to our modern era, in “The Rise of Fascism in America”, an Essay for Common Dreams in 2006, Gary Alan Scott provided us with the following chillingly accurate prediction of what life in the United States was going to be like less than six years down the road:
The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name. Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace. In time, this will be seen as “normal,” as the chill of autumn feels normal when summer is gone. It will all seem normal.
Anybody see anything in there we’re not looking at today? Six years ago may not seem all that long but consider that we were only halfway through the second term of our first openly fascist controlled president, we had yet to elect a black president and the economy had yet to take it’s ultimate plunge and the vast majority of us were glued to our couches in front of our big screen TVs watching a bunch of millionaires drive around in a damned circle..
If nothing else, hindsight should tell us that nothing that has happened since was the result of any “cosmic accident” or even unintended malfeasance on the part of our government or any of the new breed of “economic royalists” that now own virtually every person of significance in at least the legislative branch of that government and enough of the judicial branch to make their fiats stick.
The only accident that might have occurred in my estimation is that they may have pretty much lost control of their specially prepared base when a black man moved into the White House, got pushed too hard and let the collapse take place while their own guy was still in office instead of after the 2008 election when it might have made sense for the unwitting to blame the new president for it. Since then, they’ve done nothing but try to limit that president to a single term so that they can get the agenda back on schedule.
In the next installment we’ll bring you some of the warning signs that were there all along and that we failed to see because of apathy to the plight of the least among us. We’ll also talk about the manner in which organized propaganda plays a huge role through diversion of attention from the real issues and offer Dr. Lawrence Britt’s 14 Characteristics of (Modern Day) Fascism.
If you’ve made it this far, many thanks. Back later.