Thursday, November 11, 2010

The 14 Steps to Fascism, or, America This Way

"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. 


Constant Vigilance said...

I am surpirised you limited your comparison to just one of the northernmost American nations.

The Mound of Sound said...

No argument here. I had been hoping that readers might come to that comparison themselves. There are, among us, a lot who are very reluctant to draw those connections and yet it is instrumental in the severe decline of progressivism in the centre and centre-right.

LeDaro said...

"Rampant sexism." Look at Faux News. Quite often they seem to be selling sex than news. All those women in skimpy dress. You can almost see their pubic hair and nipples. What is that all about.

Anonymous said...

This particular comparison has been made numerous times over and over again, but so fucking what?

People will still go and vote. Which is a waste of time. Until and unless a voter a person has a choice, it means sweet fuck all. PR hasn't even been seriously discussed in this country, so why would I bother? As a transplant I have a voice, um, somewhere. Might as well go home. Thank goodness I have that choice. But no I won't be voting either/or.

crf said...

There is something missing from the list, and that is widespread interference by the state in free scientific enquiry. This was prominent in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and there is a lot of it in China.

Today there is a little (and that is still too much) interference in the US. But it isn't yet overwhelming. Free enquiry and respect for science and knowledge is still a feature of our society, but one that needs vigilant protection (including some threats that come from areas normally considered part of the political left).

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm not sure I agree CRF. The Republicans set to take over the house plan to go on a pogrom to take down climate scientists. They're plainly out to intimidate science and obscure the public's understanding of it. The full range of earth sciences are in for a drubbing for at least the next two years. These people have already been wildly successful at undermining the public's confidence in science.

Respect for knowledge? I don't see that either. When educated people are branded "elites" and elites are never to be trusted, there's not a lot of respect for knowledge. Just the opposite.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon 4:47. Your "why bother" attitude is troubling. The 'why bother' aspect to this is evident in what inevitably emerges from fascist government. It ruins nations and destroys peoples. Now, if you're okay with that all I can say is that makes you something of a sad case.

Don't be so jaded. Think this through. Throwing in the towel is no answer because that makes you complicit in this. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

crf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
crf said...

Mound, I note your example. One can see those hypothetical hearings turning out horribly, but we shouldn't get ahead of the present.

Granting those hearings, and other examples, interference in the US or Canada is still not nearly at the levels or depth seen in the dictatorships of the past or of today - where boundaries of allowed discourse were openly made known and enforced. And there is pushback against its nacient beginnings, in the scientific community, in the populace as a whole, and even sometimes in our decaying press.

Oemissions said...
Van Jones... !!!!

The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry Oem but there was no way I could get that url to open

Oemissions said...

ByronMac said...

When one anti climate change scientist can be referenced by the right as the truth , I have a hard time believing they(the gov't)still respect scientists. Maybe they respect Scientologists, their notion of reality is much easier to stomach!