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From the Left: Fascism is becoming mainstream

TNH Columnist

Published: Friday, December 6, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 03:12

In a previous column, I opened with Sinclair Lewis’ quote that “when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” It is something that I think should be reiterated here because it is disturbingly true. We are sitting passively aside and allowing racist, nationalist, sexist and openly fascist rhetoric to be used in mainstream American discourse; our apathy has allowed truly dangerous rhetoric to become normative and conventional. We have allowed these sentiments to enter mainstream debates under the guise of “liberty” and “freedom” - terms, which serve in actuality only as overly romanticized illusions that try to legitimate the truly imperial beliefs that many people are conditioned into thinking.

Of course, no one can blame people for having a degree of internalized hetero-normative nationalism, especially when the corporate media is constantly bombarding us with waves of capitalist and patriarchal propaganda designed to induce manufactured consent amongst the masses.

Fundamentalist conservatism. Uncompromising traditionalism. “Free market” dogma. Reagan worship. Militant homophobia and systemic sexism. Never-ending war. Consolidation of corporate power. Secret money influencing politics. The erosion of the New Deal and slashing of the social safety net with the neoliberal machete.

Is American fascism so unrealistic a possibility? Or are there already undercurrents of it in mainstream, establishment politics?

It bothers me to think that there are people who think that war is justified. Are we going to continue to think that needlessly killing countless human souls is necessary because two parties can’t come to a resolution over a socially constructed ideological conflict? No, we should never think that war is an appropriate solution to anything. It only generates more animosity, more hate, more hostility. Bombing for peace, drone striking for democracy and imperially colonizing for liberty - these are all contradictions. War will never be able to be a means through which one can bring about lasting, genuine peace. 

War is the most fundamental symptom of capitalism because material scarcity pits parties against one another and reduces all human relations to violent jealousy. It – and all the social constructs that attempt to justify it – strips humanity of any chance for productive cooperation and tells everyone that some other demographic is to blame. And then, when that group is an oppressed minority struggling to survive inside a structurally abusive system, the oppression will not even be noticed because it will have been phased in gradually over time. It will be normative, accepted and part of everyday culture.

 Since the fascist experiments in Europe during World War II (and those outside Europe that tried to emulate them – Pinochet in Chile, etc.), mainstream American debates have been tainted with their hyper-patriotism. One is no longer allowed to critique the government; to do so makes one “un-American.” One can no longer oppose their country’s war (or, in the case of the U.S., “wars”) without being called a spineless traitor. And one certainly cannot propose even moderate economic reform without being called an anti-capitalist parasite.

We may not have a political system that is as openly totalitarian as the fascist police-states throughout the 1900s, but have do have something much worse: a strict, puritanical culture that does not tolerate open philosophic dissent.  We have allowed the ruling political and financial elite to place a boundary around what is allowed to be said  – anything that even questions the structural integrity of the system is thrown out the window. Fascist nations need war to feed and drive their military-industrial complex. War is the means through which fascists drum up a nationalist fervor via “rally around the flag” rhetoric  – it only serves as a tool through which power can be increasingly removed from democratic, publicly-accountable institutions and centralized in inaccessible corporate boardrooms.

There has been a perverted marriage between corporate CEOs and politicians ever since the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court case; indeed, it bares a disturbing similarity to the famous Mussolini quote wherein he said, “fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” What is even more disturbing is how Mussolini’s views are part of the American mainstream  – think of the 2012 DNC, wherein President Bill Clinton said that the country should “focus on the future, with business and government working together.” The spirit of fascism is alive and well in American politics, but it lies hidden just beneath the surface.

Or maybe it’s beginning to shift from being hidden - think of the establishment of Golden Dawn offices (the Greek nationalist and neo-Nazi party that arose in response to their crushing public debt) in New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The fact that their far-right institutions explicitly stating their racist jingoism growing across our country worries me daily.

Open your eyes and realize that there are hegemonic power systems all around you. There are totalitarian cultural values that mentally enslave each and every one of us, all of which need to be resolutely cast off in order to create a political environment that is conducive for progressive growth and creative development. Do not be afraid to point out totalitarian power structures and call for the revolutionary abolition - we must do everything we can to crush the fascist embryo growing in our country before it’s too late and we wake up in a dystopian police-state.

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5 comments

glen broemer
Sun Jan 26 2014 08:57
If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth, right? the Democrats' great accomplishment is producing the political equivalent of a Rodney King video, clearly demonstrating the lies of the right, the right Hilary Clinton correctly identified as a vast conspiracy. Confirm by examining Central District of California Cases, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L --though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of their day to day assaults, a few month time slice indicative of a decade of assault, and 9th Circuit 11-56043.
Typically operating through puppets--including puppets in the judiciary--the right wing has for decades been committing crimes and trying to classify them to cover them up, a move explicitly forbidden by the Code of Federal Regulations. The right has accomplished its political objectives by presenting a fraction of the evidence to judicial officials who, having seen the pattern dozens of times before, could not help but realize that they were being presented with incomplete and inaccurate information. With either the willfully blind approval or the willful ignorance of the judiciary the right has killed & stolen several of my pets and routinely shoot energy weaponry at me and my pets, despite my calls to the police, the FBI, Congress, and despite my petitions in court. There is really only one solution, and that's to disempower them politically.
Max
Mon Jan 6 2014 22:58
Dan, just so you know- Obama used drones. Sorry.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-personnel-evacuated-from-yemen-after-al-qaeda-order-to-attack-is-revealed/2013/08/06/2c984300-fe88-11e2-96a8-d3b921c0924a_story.html

Anonymous
Mon Dec 9 2013 08:11
"It bothers me to think that there are people who think that war is justified. Are we going to continue to think that needlessly killing countless human souls is necessary because two parties can't come to a resolution over a socially constructed ideological conflict? No, we should never think that war is an appropriate solution to anything. It only generates more animosity, more hate, more hostility. Bombing for peace, drone striking for democracy and imperially colonizing for liberty - these are all contradictions. War will never be able to be a means through which one can bring about lasting, genuine peace."

Last time I checked Germany was the most economically and politically stable European country since the end of WWII. Same goes for Japan.

.....next argument.

Anonymous
Fri Dec 6 2013 23:40
Great article and very true.
Anonymous
Fri Dec 6 2013 16:26
I have been called "unpatriotic" because I happen to disagree with Obamacare. I don't see you flaming your party for those kinds of comments when it is in opposition of the democratic agenda.

The door needs to swing both ways Mr. Fournier. Maybe one day you will realize that once you are outside the altruistic philosophical thinking machine called "college." A good example of a comparison between college theory and real world practices is best exemplified in the movie "Back to School" when Rodney Dangerfield starts asking questions in the economics class. You should watch it and perhaps try to learn something from it. Maybe then, your articles will have more substance than "if we lived in a world of sunshine and lollipops, it would be like this........ and that's why we should!"





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