Is Bush a Fascist?
Some of you may answer that question with an immediate "definitely." But fascism is more complicated than simply an authoritarian state that spies on its citizens. Bush fits the social and political definition of fascism nicely, but as for the economic one, he isn't exactly in the same camp, at least not right now.
There's no doubt that the Bush administration, with its Patriot Acts and Homeland Security Departments, not to mention its extreme nationalism, is strongly authoritarian. The 9/11 attack is beginning to look more and more like an American Reichstag Fire. The INS has been picking on Arab descendants. Police brutality is on the rise. (Specifically, the G-8 Genoa protests were marred by extreme police abuse and a few cops forced political prisoners to sing Mussolini anthems.) And we cannot forget one of today's longest-standing injections of dictatorial law into the American political landscape: the war on drugs and Ashcroft's "crusade" against sick people.
Let's look at Fascism on several fronts. Fascism generally implies:
*An authoritarian government.
*A militaristic policy.
*The police state.
*Repression of political dissidents.
*Some form of economic corporatism often parading as "populism".
*Claiming to be a democracy.
We already looked at #1. Though the US government is still theoretically a democracy, it has been so convoluted by the mass media and corporate campaign finance that it cannot be reasonably thought of as genuine. Not to mention our tough law-and-order policies, the crackdown on youth, and our draconian drug policy.
Militarism: This one is obvious. Bush's militarism is reminiscent of the 1935 attack on Ethiopia by Mussolini.
Nationalism: "Support the President" "Anti-war is anti-American" etc. This one was easy.
Anti-leftism: Though not as blatant the Republicans have been badmouthing progressives for eons, calling them "commies," "socialists," "Godless," "devil worshippers," "sodomites," "heretics," "baby killers," and all the other familiar right-wing propaganda. Let's not forget the Vietnam war, the original September 11 in Chile, and McCarthyism, though these instances may have all been independent instances occurring within a non-fascist political framework.
Police State: Police brutality, anti-drug hysteria, violence at major protests, the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Department. This is another pretty easy one.
Repression: Like the above, repression is far more subtle than in the classical fascist states but it is on the rise. Perhaps suggesting that fascism is still in the making.
Corporatism: Believe it or not this is the one category where Bush and Mussolini are at the greatest disagreement. Classical fascists, while being strongly anti-leftist in their rhetoric, nevertheless supported socialized health care and deficit spending to boost the economy. (And Hitler called his party National Socialist...) They also grouped the economy into "corporations" which are nothing like American private corporations; Italian Fascist corporations were "public" i.e. run by the State, and were not business firms but rather bureaucracies designed to manage business firms. Mussolini was an ex-socialist who continued to oppose "capitalism" even after forming the Partita Nazionale Fascista in March 1919. Lots of democratic economists supported corporatism in the 1920s and '30s and even called themselves fascists without thinking of the word in terms of dictatorship.
Bush is not a corporatist in the same sense as Mussolini since he opposes national health care and hasn't talked about an industrial policy for ages. The military-industrial complex and conquest of the Iraqi oil fields is the closest Bush comes to Mussolinian economics. American farm subsidies and the CIA-assisted narcotics trade may also be elements of economic fascism. So is Bush's rampant deficit spending though this may not be for the same reason Mussolini and Hitler did it.
False Democracy: Our democracy has been being eroded for years and Bush uses the rhetoric of democracy loosely.
Genocide: No there is no explicit Nazi-style racialism or ethnic-cleansing in the Bush agenda. But racial profiling by police, fundamentalist-Christian ranting by politicians, and of course all the lives lost indirectly or directly by Bush's militarism and money-driven imperialistic colonialism have to qualify as something equivalent to genocide.
Bush shows many traits of fascism as is obvious above, even if some parts of his ideology and agenda go against the beliefs of Hitler or Mussolini. The United States is now about 35-40% fascist, up from 30% before 9-11 and only 20% before Reagan got into office.