"Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism
because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
- Benito Mussolini
Mussolini's notion of fascism is becoming well and truly implanted in the United States. America's "bought and paid for" Congress is a manifestation of the merger of state and corporate power. The Roberts U.S. Supreme Court and, in particular, its ruling in the Citizens United case granted judicial sanction to this marriage of interests. The recent mid-term elections and the vast amounts of money and muscle thrown in to skew the result by prominent multi-billionaires like the Koch brothers is a plain expression of fascism at work. So too is America's far right, corporate media that keeps a population befuddled and misled.
But what is fascism really and why should we care? Professor Laurence Britt analyzed traits common to the notable fascist regimes in 20th century Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Chile and Indonesia. He came up with a shortlist of 14 features of modern fascism:
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
5. Rampant sexism.
6. A controlled mass media.
7. Obsession with national security.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
9. Power of corporations protected.
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent elections.
That pretty much sums up 21st century America. You see in today's Tea Partiers the very same sort of maniacal morons that once succumbed to fits of apoplexy at rallies in public squares in Bavaria. The mindless rage fueled by fear, frustration and bitter anger.
Missing from the good professor's commentary on fascism is the inevitable devastation it leaves in its wake. Lord knows it has certainly filled hundreds of graveyards in Afghanistan and Iraq and seems poised to add even more soon in Iran.
On this special day it's good to remember that our fathers and grandfathers fought, and in their droves died, to free the world from the poisoned grip of fascism. We do them no honour if we become complacent to this same scourge ourselves.