Friday, April 24, 2009

Confronting American Fascism

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.

In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware

of the change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

Justice William O. Douglas

The Douglas Letters: Selections from the Private Papers of Justice William O. Douglas


“American Fascism?” Really? YES. REALLY. “American FASCISM.”

If you lived in a fascist dictatorship, how would you know it? Do you think you’d be able to recognize it before police in swat gear began roaming the streets, or would you be able to recognize it when your politically active neighbor disappeared from society? Would you recognize it when your rights to move freely about and talk to whomever you wished were taken away, such as when laws were passed and technologies developed that accomplished those abrogations? How about if your country was dragooned by its leaders into waging an unconstitutional war for the sake of empire building instead of defense? Or would you need to be told that fascism was here by Oprah, or someone reading the nightly news on network TV, or someone satirizing the hallmark political events that demonstrate fascism on The Colbert Report? Would you expect to be told by someone on National Public Radio -- or any radio program -- that fascism was here? You’d be waiting a long time, if you did.

In fact, if you were waiting to be told that your country was controlled by fascists, you’d probably hear a lot from the fascists themselves about how they have the power to take control of government and society at any time they choose but haven’t yet, or about how they exist in small, insignificant -- albeit, growing -- numbers, or not at all. You wouldn’t hear from the fascists in control of our society that they are, indeed, fascists simply because they know that if you did, you would join with the many of us who are their victims and oppose them -- and that, together, we would have world-wide support to do so. Thus, they have clever ways of disguising themselves. The lies that mask American fascism are proof of its existence; they don’t exist for no particular reason.

What is Fascism?

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

Copyright © 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Company

Reproduced by permission from The American Heritage Dictionary,

Second College Paperback Edition

If we apply this definition of fascism to the institutions around us, and if we acknowledge the fact that we must do this for ourselves because those in power are not going to do it for us, we can begin to see the events that evince fascism which happen all the time. Thus, we have a fool-proof way of recognizing fascism.

The truth is, America today is as fascist a country as it can be because Americans like fascism just as much as anybody else does. Some of us, like others in distant countries and times, believe good business involves providing products and services that exploit the needs and desires of people. But some among us, like others in distant countries and times, would rather exploit actual people for profits instead -- people whom those in power view as different, inferior and inconsequential. They create businesses with profit mandates that require harming others, or ones that operate without regard to whom they harm -- and do so with government sanctions, such as laws that tell them to operate with this profit-first mandate and policies that grant them subsidies and tax breaks when they do. Today, even companies that are run corruptly get support from government when that corruption drives those companies into the ground. We’re told financial insurer AIG lost billions of dollars when it couldn’t make good on its policies to support the failing banks that it had insured -- and then the U.S. government gave it billions of dollars so that it wouldn’t fail, billions of dollars which were then transferred to foreign banks. If this isn’t a clear example of the control of wealth wielded by the world’s banking cartel, I don’t know what is. It’s wealth transfer from the poor to the rich, plain and simple.

People profit from fascism -- even students, who are grandfathered into this system when they show promise of supporting it, or culled if they don’t. After all, what student do you know who spends upwards of $120,000 on an education does so just to throw it away? Bribery is just as effective a tool of coercion as is extortion. These are the ways in which fascism is perpetuated -- except by those of us who refuse to be coerced or extorted to uphold it.

Fascism is back, and its legions are stronger than ever. You wanted to be told, and so now you have been. But don’t take my word for it. Look around you. This website is not designed to be the definitive resource on American fascism, but, instead, one of many catalysts for change -- a starting point for dialogue about these critical issues.

Fascism in government. A dictatorship occurs when the ruling classes deny the rights to self-government and self-determination to the class or classes they rule. Among other things, dictators strip those they rule of their civil rights. They may do it judicially, through the government, by such means as suspending habeas corpus just as the Military Commissions Act did in America in 2006 for any person the United States government deems an “Enemy of the State.” Or they may do it extra-judicially, by developing and sanctioning the use of the means by which civil rights, such as free association, are undermined and activists are socially exterminated. Among the civil rights dictators deny those they oppress is the right to vote. That right has been undermined in America in many other ways than simple voter fraud, not the least of which is limiting the field of viable candidates to only those chosen by our rulers.

Fascism in the banking system. That Thomas Jefferson was one astute cookie. This is what he said about a private banking system such as the one under which our money is now controlled -- the Federal Reserve: “If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency . . . the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property, until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” But in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson created the wholly unnecessary private banking cartel, the Federal Reserve Bank. He’s said to have regretted this decision the remainder of his life, but it is we who have been suffering from horrors wrought by this hydra-headed beast.

Fascism in science. Writing in Trust Us -- We’re Experts! (2001, Jeremy P. Tarcher) researchers and authors Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber trace the growth of military research contracts from the cold war era to the present day, noting that as of 1998, these research contracts represented 53% of our country’s GDP. There’s been a great deal of discussion about the politicization of science -- particularly, that which has taken place during the reign of various Republican administrations -- in the last three decades, but fascism owes its allegiance to the business party, and the business party consists of both Democratic and Republican members of Congress, a bipartisan Congress that has funded this explosive growth in military research and its concomitant stranglehold on the dissemination of accurate scientific data through “predetermined” outcomes.

Fascism in industry. You may believe that it’s understandable, given the country’s recent “war on terror,” for American companies who wish to do business with the government to agree to subject their employees and potential hires to security clearances by the government similar to those that actual government employees go through. But this is just the very last way in which industry leaders assure their dominance -- by assisting the fascists within government in their co-opting of the civilians who work for them into systems that promote government’s military objectives. Any way in which industry aids, supports, works with or otherwise promotes a military dictatorship -- such as the one in which we now live -- represents fascism.

Fascism in health care. You have to get permission from the government to do everything today -- to travel, to speak to people, to use your money -- even to live free of disease. There’s really not that much more to say about fascism in health care, except that you get “health” care if and only if the government says you do. That’s fascism because health insurance companies are government-”regulated.” It's also bioslavery.

Fascism in charitable giving. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I love the work of comedienne, Kathy Griffin. Watching “My Life on the D-List” is one of my guilty pleasures. I’m horrified sometimes by the things she says and does, but I can’t stop watching Ms. Griffin because that horror is fascinating. Sometimes I wonder, though, if she knows anything about the important causes she champions, such as AIDS research, and the dubious way in which the charitable industry operates. I suppose she could be a disinformation specialist, too, but, giving her the benefit of the doubt, I think she ought to find out more about the one cause to which she most often asks her friends and others to donate and the American fascism in the health care system that makes the research on it which her charitable giving enables look more like the means of oppressing people rather than helping them. For all we know, it’s not legitimate research, but the guise of legitimate research, that she’s promoting.

Fascism in the mass media. “The real three branches of the government are the military, corporations and Hollywood,” declares Steven Hyde, budding anarchist in the hit TV series, “That 70s Show.” Oh, indeed. Just look at Oprah, busy telling you to read your life away while she promotes elitism around the world. That’s why you never hear about American fascism on her shows or in her magazines. Or about the bioslavery it’s spawned. If Oprah wasn’t the elitist promoting the myth of American superiority in all its forms that she so clearly is, the books you’d see her promoting would be Gen. Smedley D. Butler’s (USMC) War is a Racket, in which he discusses the military campaigns he conducted in the late 19th and early 20th century in Latin America and the Caribbean simply to pacify opposition to U.S. expansionism (which is to say, illegally, since our constitution provides for the use of military only on the grounds of defense).

What Keeps Us From Recognizing and Talking About American Fascism?

We, the people, don’t recognize American fascism for what it is because our collective American consciousness has no reference for it, and that’s because those institutions that control our collective consciousness do not allow information about American fascism to reach us. “We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright light of publicity during those years. But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries,” private banker and Council on Foreign Relations member David Rockefeller said at a June, 1991, speech to the Trilateral Commission (Maxwell, Jordan: Matrix of Power: How the World Has Been Controlled by Powerful Men Without Your Knowledge; 2000, The Book Tree). Something about the notion of a world government sounds like a great idea because we assume that, since an American is touting this mission, the resulting world government will emulate the best policies and institutions of American government, doesn’t it? We naively believe we’ve overcome that prejudice and ignorance of certain of our forefathers which gave rise to government policies such as the concentration camps we call Indian reservations and the genocide of Cherokee citizens from Georgia. We forget, too, that America wasn’t founded to be a world government, and we forget that to our shame.

The people who founded the United States of America were not imperialists. They came here to create a society, first, that was not characterized by nationalistic -- never mind supranationalistic -- priorities. The belief in individual freedom is what informed their ideals for a government -- not the belief that empire solved anyone’s problems. Gov. John Winthrop, the first governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, said that Boston -- one of the first sites in confederated America to become a hub for international trade -- was to be “a city on a hill,” a “beacon” to the world; a new “Athens;” a city of learning, freedom and commerce. The first Americans had no designs to take over the world, no aspirations of world domination; they believed deeply that the world would flock to them and their country because what they had to offer was so tantalizing -- freedom. For nearly 200 years, that was the case.

President George H. W. Bush hailed the new supranational sovereignty to Congress also in 1991. “ . . . a new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom and the rule of law. Notice what’s missing: no life; no liberty, as the founding fathers conceived of it; no pursuit of happiness. In fact, Bush wants none of the self-evident truths with which Thomas Jefferson and his peers agreed their creator had endowed all men for any other nation or nation’s people, and because he espoused this new system of government in the American Congress, not only is he a traitor to America, but you can be sure he doesn’t want those same self-evident truths for Americans, either. He is not the same type of man -- a man of ideals -- as those who created our nation. He is an Imperialist. He should have been tried for treason after this announcement, or at least when the Queen of England knighted him (in return for which he pledged to her his allegiance). He is a fascist.

The Council on Foreign Relations (the “CFR”) is a privately-held institution that was founded in 1921 by bankers, merchants and industrialists for the purpose of lobbying Washington for legislation that would benefit their domestic enterprises and the world-wide expansion of same. It became the first “think tank” to advise Congressional members and pursued its agenda to promote American influence around the globe by, among other things, funding social science research principally in the area of economics. Now there are many such think-tanks, the number and influence of which make representative government impossible. Over the past century, the CFR has funded numerous research projects, the objectives of which share a common goal of social engineering. To shield their true objectives, the CFR publishes references to its research and promotes the profiles of its expert members in publications such as those cited above to create an impression of legitimacy and respectability. These references are invariably placed in stories about government policy-making -- in particular, stories about U.S. economic policy and U.S. foreign policy.

Those who own the means by which our collective consciousness is formed -- the mass media -- are, themselves, corporations whose board members and executives are members of organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations. They benefit from your not knowing what their cabals do to oppress you and to perpetuate their enterprises because if you’re not aware of what they’re doing, you’re not a threat. Their cooperation with private bankers and world governments is necessary to keep you ignorant of the social engineering accomplished by their collusion. They sponsor government propagandists; it’s not just because the fascists in power don’t sanction an honest and open discussion about them and their misdeeds that we don’t see the fascism by which we are all controlled. We don’t recognize it for what it is because we’ve been conditioned to think of it as something else, usually the historical problems of another country, or, when we see it here, either corruption or incompetence. As we can see, the labels we are given -- as much as the one we avoid using -- distract us from seeing fascism for what it is.

“Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.”

Hermione Granger, speaking on the return of “The Dark Lord”

from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Scholastic)


One of the reasons Americans don’t talk about the institutionalization of fascism throughout American society is because there are so many fascists among us. There always have been, it seems. Books such as Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, Gen. Smedley D. Butler’s War is a Racket, and John Perkins’s Confessions of an Economic Hit Man are replete with both historical and contemporary examples of American fascists and their endeavors here and abroad. The curricula vitae of some of the most prominent of American industrialists and contemporary capitalists truly do read ‘like [a] demon’s resume.’ These people live among us, and perhaps some of us feel it impolite or even dangerous to condemn their behavior, no matter how contemptible that behavior may be. This may be the most easy-to-understand reason Americans don’t talk about the fascism in which we live: fear of reprisal. Those of us who have personal experience with the oppression wrought by the fascists among us are well aware of the many ways in which those who oppose the fascists are persecuted and even murdered by them.

Another reason Americans don’t talk about the fascism all around us is perhaps out of ignorance. We have busy lives. Many of us cannot afford to feed, house and clothe our families unless we work two or three jobs. This state of affairs has only gotten worse in the last two decades. We don’t have the time to educate ourselves about the ways in which fascists have instigated a blitzkrieg of problems against us all to keep us occupied while they continue to destroy America’s constitutional republic. “A hungry people listens not to reason, nor cares for justice, nor bends to any prayers,” wrote the Roman philosopher, Seneca, who knew what he was talking about. Rome, we would do well to remember, imploded in on itself as it grew more militarized, more bureaucratically controlled and more polarized by class division -- when its middle class became dependent upon a state that drove its fortunes into the ground by waging expensive military missions around the world. It was a short-lived party for a select few at the top of the social hierarchy who believed their riches would last forever and that the populace would support their policies by not revolting as long as they were given “panem et circenses” (bread and circuses) -- in other words, just enough food to live on and entertainments that preoccupied them in whatever spare time they had (such as MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL, among other things, do today).

As long as government policies such as deficit spending enslave us with debt even our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be paying off while wealth is transferred from the poor and middle classes to the wealthy through unjust tax cuts and bailouts, we, the people, will be forced to scramble to maintain our falling living standards instead of organizing to create ways to improve them by fighting for rational economic policies and just tax burdens, among other things. That’s precisely why our government keeps us impoverished with these policies.

Perhaps another reason Americans never admit to America’s fascist past -- and the legacy of it in which we now live -- may be out of shame. There is a lot of American fascism about which to be ashamed -- about which we’ve done nothing -- and it is a shame that we mask with despicably jingoistic lies, such as, America is the “home of the free and the brave.” It’s our tragedy that we haven’t seen the interests of all the individuals in our community -- those with whom we live and work, side by side -- as aligned with our own but, instead, have allowed ourselves to be divided by issues of class and race and other prejudices which have fostered a “one for one and all for one” attitude in most of us; tragic, but not enigmatic, or even unforeseeable. Divide and conquer works. Things are just as the fascists in power like them to be, with us fighting one another for the last scrap of decent housing, the last decently paying job to be had.

Fascism has accreted because no one wants to acknowledge and talk about its existence for all of these reasons. It’s difficult to talk about the 800 lbs. gorilla in the room that ought not to be there, and that’s another reason we don’t see it; there’s just so much fascism around us, we’ve become accustomed to letting it, in all its manifestations, just wash over us. American fascism is omnipresent and the task of talking about it is daunting.

It’s time we started using the most appropriate word we have to describe that by which we are all oppressed -- fascism -- and stop bowing to all the pressures not to talk about it as such. Here is another good definition and example of contemporary American fascism.

Where’s Martin?

“First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Former Moabit prison inmate and (Lutheran) Pastor Martin Niemöller

Post-war Lectures on the Work of Germany’s Pastors’ Emergency League during WWII


People profit from fascism and those who engage in fascism like it because it’s profitable. What they don’t like is anyone who blows the whistle on their corrupt and oppressive activities. They’re turf protectors. There are many people in my own community -- public servants and private citizens; G_d-fearing and G_d-denying; members of oppressed groups and those who are not -- who would, upon hearing about my experiences in their community, literally and figuratively, jump on my bones and stomp me into the ground, saying, “Not in my church.” Or, “Not in my human rights agency.” Or, “Not in my peace organization.” Many of these people are employed by, do business with or are associated in some way with the people who have oppressed me and they’re not going to bite the hands that feed them by opposing those entities, perhaps fearing individual or collective punishment: firings or the withholding by those entities’ fiscal support. They’re not going to confront and expose the fascists in power in my city, particularly if they benefit from the enterprises of those fascists -- even if they benefit from them only indirectly. So much for living in an allegedly “liberal” community, “the people’s republic of.”

Instead of listening to the stories of people like me (and our numbers are growing daily), people in my community turn a deaf ear to us, naively believing our problems are not theirs. What they fail to realize, though, is that, eventually, fascists find a reason to go after everybody -- that it’s only a matter of time before they will find themselves in my position.

Eventually, the fascists who’ve destroyed America’s constitutional republic will go after us all -- unless, together, we do something to stop them. It is not a pointless exercise to wonder what might have happened to the Third Reich if people had spoken out against it sooner, more often, more loudly -- or to the innocent people in countries occupied by it who were enslaved and put to death. Less people surely would have died because, as the Final Solution has taught us, failing to act against fascism out of fear of collective or individual punishment only prolongs and magnifies the suffering of all as surely as it increases the absurdity of the mania that makes it possible. Collectively, we, the people, must stop cooperating with the fascists who control us -- all of them.

How Can We Get Rid of Fascism? The Short Answer is, ‘Through Personal Responsibility.’

Thomas Jefferson told us to be “ever vigilant” for the signs of the usurpation of our freedoms. Another eighteenth century politician and Irish warrior against British fascism in Ireland, Edmund Burke, famously said,

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

Edmund Burke

Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents


You have to take responsibility for your freedom. You have to educate yourselves. You have to start listening to the Cassandras among us; we have, after all, been right. Then you have to stop using your time to watch TV and movies, to update your facebook and your linkedin, to twitter and text, to load your iTunes and your Kindle, to follow MLB, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL, the Masters, Wimbledon, the French Open, Le Monde, NASCAR, La Tour de France and whatever other entertainments with which you sedate yourself. Watching The Jon Stewart Show or The Colbert Report does not make you a political activist.

You have to use your time instead to find out what’s going on in your communities -- your work community, your religious community, your neighborhood, state and country. If you work in the banking, science, health care, charitable giving, mass media industries or in the government, you have to make it your practice to see the fascism in which you, yourself, participate and choose to change that system -- to eradicate that fascism -- or choose not to participate in it. Doing either requires that you build consensus to make that change and resist that fascism. This is the only way to change any injustices you find. You have to risk speaking with your colleagues about fascism and “associating,” as Burke called it, to change it. You have to see your long-term interest in freedom aligned with the interests of those in your communities who are being oppressed by the practices of your government, or your corporation, or the industry in which you earn your living because when one of us is not free, none of us is. You have to stop being a tool of fascists.

Instead, you have to think of the needs of those in your national and world communities as your personal responsibility instead of deluding yourself that the incursions our country makes into them for seemingly virtuous reasons is not your business; quasi-public NGOs who sponsor things such as microfinance programs, as does the Soros Foundation, are suspect to our criticism when experts in microfinance tell us that these programs make the living conditions of those who participate in them only marginally better and will never improve their quality of living -- never lift them out of poverty, never allow them to become captains of the industries whose products and services the whole world craves, such as clean energy. Aren’t there enough problems in the world from which we might all benefit in solving that we can tolerate everyone's participation in the markets that may solve them? Why should only those who have ruled the markets until now be the ones to continue to rule it? What your government and the de facto leaders of it, such as George Soros, do is your business and you need to talk with your neighbors, families and others in your community to figure out ways to influence your representatives in our government to let them know that empire building is not a priority for America. As we can see, not doing this just gets us “world government” and consigns the American experiment to the pages of history. We -- the people -- are all in this together.

It’s a tough pill to swallow -- and I’m sorry about that -- but that’s what it means to be a patriot for freedom, to be an American patriot; you have to realize you already have skin in the game instead of deluding yourself into believing this fight against our fascist government, which is the de facto government of the world, isn’t your fight. And you have to start denouncing anyone who does not do these things as the fascist tools they are. They are the ones who have robbed us all of our freedoms.

Americans have done a whole lot of not associating to fight the fascism in our midsts for a long, long time and the pile of the unpitied sacrificed to our willful ignorance is only growing larger. The travesty that was the invasion of Iraq is but another in a long list of fascist incursions our country has made into others that should not have happened, and it happened because our Congress authorized it. Young Americans and young allies -- as well as more than a million innocent Iraqis -- have died because of Congress’s misdeeds, and now, Congress has all but assured that it is too late for many Americans to associate freely, which is why those of us who still can must do so to fight them. As inconvenient as it may be to demand the restoration of our liberty now, inconveniencing ourselves to do so is the only way to assure future generations of Americans do not become victims of fascism. Congresspersons who voted for the invasion of Iraq and those who voted for the militarization of local law enforcement have to be recalled and replaced, for example. History demonstrates that not taking away the tools fascists use -- the ability to make and use unjust laws -- ensures the annihilation of the open society.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Thomas Paine, speaking on the fascism of his day, “tyranny”

The American Crisis



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