I'm ashamed that I even have to bring up this subject. The next Bush Administration will be far more intolerant because they will have virtually no opposition to do what they please, which is close, but not there yet, to a dictatorship. Because President Bush was reelected, AND the because the Supreme Court is in the "Right"'s pocket, AND because the next Bush Administration will have stronger support from his Party in Congress, AND because a good number of States have Repubican govenors, AND because the "Black Box Voting"
machines have totally corrupted voting on a massive national scale, the US Government will soon be a Proto-Fascist Country. What is necessary to complete a Fascist agenda in the US and the end of Democracy, or what can be done to avert the destruction of our Democracy ?
If this country continues and expands the use of electronic voting without paper trails, takes away the option to use paper ballots, and continues to not count every vote, and insure that all citizes votes are counted then the country; and allows private companies to control the electorial vote processing on machines with voter fraud designed into them at the start, then we'll be well on our way to becoming a Fascist nation. The next election is in 2006, "The Rise of the Machines" has come about in an unexpected way, and Govenator Arnold Swartzanegger may get the Constitutiona Amendment he needs to be allowed to play a "Terminator" in the real World. If the law that mandatesblack box voting is NOT challenged, then they will become ubiquitous, there will be even more massive voter fraud and data diddling, giving one party 60+ votes in the Senate. Then, one party can stop all debate on legislation in its tracks. If President Bush gets a chance to choose several Supreme Court Judges, what little hope that they will be any impediment to Totalitarian rule.
Is it worth fighting the good fight to stop Fascism from gaining a firm hold on American Politics ? If you want any kind of Democracy left the answer must be YES ! So, what can be done ? Ralph Nader is close to challenging the use of electronic voting machines in New Hampshire, which will trigger voter recounts in several states. One way to get information on urging him to this is Randi Rhodes web site to get the information needed to fax him. Also, theThe Black Box Voting Website details what's wrong with these machines.
What is Fascism ?
- Powerful and continuing expressions of Nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, is always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity are often common themes in expressing this nationalism. It is usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign, unusual, or unorthodox, that borders on xenophobia.
- Disdain for the importance of Human Rights. The regimes devalue human rights as being of little or no value, and consider them to be a hindrance to realizing the ruling elite's objectives. The population is brought to accept these human rights abuses through the clever use of propaganda, marginalizing, and usually demonizing those groups, classes, races, political parties, religions, secret societies, individuals, etc. being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation (lying). One cannot depend on any Rights in the law, or those the regime endorses whether written or oral, because they aren't real - they don't actually exist or are simply ignored when one tries to use them, rely on them, or get them enforced.
- Identification of enemies to be used as Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice - relentless propaganda and disinformation - were and are usually effective. Often the regimes would incite "spontaneous" acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes, and dissenters, and criminals were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.
- The supremacy of the military and avid militarism. The ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it (The Military/Industrial Complex). A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling power elite.
- Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime legitamizing cover for its abuses.
- A controlled Mass Media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.
- Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting "national security", and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous. Paramilitary organizations may be created by the elite to intimidate, bully, beat up, and murder its enemies and have the cooperation and the aid of the police.
- Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and proto-fascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the Faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.
- Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of "have-not" citizens. Elites have classes of investments that pay far better return than those the public are allowed to buy. Corporations and businesses stay in private hands, but the Corporate State takes control over the what and how much can be made, what they produce and sell, who they can hire and the wages the workers will get, what materials and supplies they can use, and who they can do business with.
- Power of Labor is suppressed or eliminated. Since Organized Labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice or a crime. The State may decide the company one works for, what professions or jobs they can perform, where they may live, and what routes they may take to go to work. These restrictions are often enforced by internal passports or ID Cards. Concentration camps were created to enslave and exploit political prisoners, and immigration controls strengthed to control immigrants or guest workers as temporary serfs, for cheap labor.
- Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed, restricted or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.
- Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police and prison guards were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power, and more restrictions on "civil liberty.
- Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
- Fraudulent Elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition and minority voters, destroying, disallowing or just not counting legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite. Those who control counting the votes control elections. Fascism is not necessarilly a one party system. If the dominant party always wins and the opposition parties have no input on how elections are run, or who counts the ballots, then its effectively a one-party State.
Does any of this ring alarm bells ? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a Constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils ;-> Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.
How Now White Shirt Fascist ?
Fascism isn't nationalism, or fraudulent elections or rampant corruption, or secrecy, or government working with corporations, or a demand for "Law and Order", distain for intellectualism, or even all of the above in normal moderate amounts, it's merely a tendancy towards an extreem expression of it. The road to Fascism is a continuum which ends in a condition of absolutism and totalitarianism. There are several ways that societies work their way towards it, and those countries experience it in different ways.
The NAtional Socialist German Worker's Party, the Nazis (pronounced "nazzies" in Britain, and "natzies" in the US) were only one example of Fascist Politics, but they gained alot of their power through the existing election and appointment process. Once they had a majority in the Reichstag and their Leader appointed as Chancellor by Hindenburg. Then a convienent terrorist incident, the Burning of the Reichstag, gave the appointed Chancellor an excuse to pass the Enabling Acts that gave him a temporary dictatorship with which he used to transform German society to a Tolitarian State. In his rise to absolute power he employed the SA, a gang of ruffians in "Brown Shirts" which intimidated voters through mass marches and massive thuggery, and the dreaded SS, the Nazi's private police. There are those that said,"If only I spoke up !", but that was the quick road to a severe beating or a stay in one of Hitler's resort camps -- and would have made absolutely no difference. Once in Power, the Nazis didn't care what the common 'man in the street' thought. But the single thing that cemented his iron rule was the secret deals with the army and the junkers - the manufacturing and hereditary nobility classes. Fascism is a dead end product of extreme nationalism, as Communism is an extreme dead end product of socialism.
Other historic examples of Fascism were Mussolini's "Black Shirts" and General Franco's Spain, and Toto's Japan. It is not because they were the "Axis" that made them Fascist, but how those ruling things melded their governments and private sectors into Corporate States. Communism, though a totalitarian ideology, isn't Fascist, mainly because they sought to replace private property with state ownership, rather than state control -- same difference though !! The Communists and the Nazi's were not opposites on the political spectrum, they were both at the totalitarian extreme, and both political systems had global designs for the subjugation of humanity.