Fascism


"As Primo Levi warned, "Every age has its Fascism"... Democracy, Levi pointed out, can be undermined by "Withholding or manipulating information, polluting the judicial system, and paralyzing the school system, by encouraging in many subtle ways nostalgia for a world in which order reigns supreme"" (Frederika Randall. "The Irresistible Rise of Berlusconi." The Nation, June 21, 2004: 25).


Fascism argues that modern America is fascist
Mussolini's definition of Fascism


"I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism...

"It is true that the use of force and the scapegoating of fringe groups are part of every fascism. But there was also an economic dimension of fascism, known in Europe during the 1920s and '30s as "corporatism," which was an essential ingredient of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s tyrannies. So-called corporatism was adopted in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and was held up as a model by quite a few intellectuals and policy makers in the United States and Europe...

"Mussolini in 1934, praising his fascism for its ability to break worker unions, disempower workers and transfer huge sums of money to those who controlled the money rather than those who earned it...

"...so many Americans and Europeans viewed economic fascism as the wave of the future during the 1930s...

"In Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel "It Can't Happen Here," a conservative southern politician is helped to the presidency by a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. The politician - Buzz Windrip - runs his campaign on family values, the flag, and patriotism. Windrip and the talk show host portray advocates of traditional American democracy — those concerned with individual rights and freedoms — as anti-American. That was 69 years ago....

"So it is important for us to recognize that, as an economic system, fascism was widely accepted in the 1920s and '30s, and nearly worshiped by some powerful American industrialists. And fascism has always, and explicitly, been opposed to liberalism of all kinds...

14 characteristics of fascism:

  1. "Powerful and Continuing Nationalism... Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays

  2. "Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights... The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc...

  3. "Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause... The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc...

  4. "Supremacy of the Military... Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized...

  5. "Rampant Sexism... The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
  6. "Controlled Mass Media...

  7. "Obsession with National Security... Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses...

  8. "Religion and Government are Intertwined...

  9. "Corporate Power is Protected... The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite...

  10. "Labor Power is Suppressed...

  11. "Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts...

  12. "Obsession with Crime and Punishment... Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power ...

  13. "Rampant Cronyism and Corruption...

  14. "Fraudulent Elections...

"...it mirrors the social and political agenda of religious fundamentalisms worldwide. It is both accurate and helpful for us to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism...

"Still another way to understand fascism is as a kind of colonization. A simple definition of “colonization” is that it takes people’s stories away, and assigns them supportive roles in stories that empower others at their expense. When you are taxed to support a government that uses you as a means to serve the ends of others, you are — ironically — in a state of taxation without representation. That’s where this country started, and it’s where we are now" (By Rev. Davidson Loehr, First Unitarian Church of Austin. "SERMON: Living Under Fascism." Source: UUA News and Events. http://www.therightiswrong.us/fascism.htm).


Person A: "Whoah. Listen to this definition of fascism I found in the American Heritage Dictionary."

Person A: ""A system of government that exercises a dictatorship fo the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."

Person B: "Why, that sounds sort of like what we have in America today, what with the one-party extreme right wing government where most of the departments are headed by corporate lobbyists and ex-CEOs of large corporations and all -- and everyone's all super-patriotic and everything, always mocking Europe and the UN" (Darrin Bell. "Candorville" cartoon.)


Concerning the Nazi youth movement, "Stargardt observes that "with their dichotomy between good and evil, their appeal to feeling and their demand for mortal commitment, Nazi values could have been designed for adolescence"" (Nicholas Stargardt. "High price of survival." Guardian Weekly, May 26, 2005: 27).


Colby Glass, MLIS