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What Is/Isn't Fascism? Is The US On The Brink?

There have been many postings saying that the US is headed towards fascism, comparing Bush to Hitler, ect.
I have seen the arguments many times; Bush is Hitler, the USA is a Fascist state, the Republicans are Nazis.

I have yet to see any intellectually honest assertion of those sorts that is able to stand up to even the lightest of scrutiny.
In most cases terms are misused.
Many people who accuse America or Americans of following in the footsteps of Mussolini like to somehow equate "Capitalism" with America and then equate Capitalism with "fascism".
America is not a Capitalist nation. The term "Capitalism" was first coined by Marx to describe the functions of the mercantilist Imperial systems of Germany and France. While he is right that mercantilism as practiced at the time was antithetical to liberty and equality the use of the term today is nearly farcical. Today it is little more than a straw-man, an exageration that is easily refutable.
The US is a more-or-less Laissez-faire economic system/government system. A Free-market better describes the USA rather than the term Capitalist does.
A: Free-Market: Business governed by the laws of supply and demand, not restrained by government interference, regulation or subsidy.

Marx, much like his contemporaries ( Excluding the followers of Adam Smith and John Locke) made the mistake of assuming that Mercantilism was the final state in economic evolution. Marx's theories on labour and value are largely derived from the mistaken assumption of Mercantilism-as-good-economic-policy.
Fascism makes this same mistaken assumption. Rather than devolving all relationship towards property to a world-wide community Mussolini and Hitler sought to harness business to an ethnic or national desire and benefit.
The USA, on the other hand , did away with the mercantilist assumptions upon its birth as a nation and has rarely revisited them since.

Economically the USA is nothing like a Fascist State (for that matter neither was Pinochet's Chile).

Another Common accusation I see is that the USA tries to supress public speech that runs contrary to the Status Quo. This might SEEM to be true in a few circumstances but since it is not applied from the top down, nor in a regular fashion I fail to see any connection to the Fascist Suppression of freedom of expression. Combine this with the seeming inability of those who violate the speech rights on behalf of the govenemnt to get away with such suppression without repurcussion striesk me as good evidence that no such fascistic tendency exists on behalf of the USA government.

If Noam Chomsky can get away with a quarter of a century of vitriolic criticism of the USA and its government then I must assume that the Government habours no fascistic tendencies.

I think the primary problem most peoplehave is defining a totalitarain or dictatorial regime. Most people assume any such regime must be A: Fascist or B: Communist. I must say that the history of the 20th century lends credence to these assumptions. But one must ask if the national character of the USA lends itself to tyranny. I should think not. Furthermore if the US government did, indeed, sink to the level of a totalitarian regime what form of familiar tyrannies would the USA assume?
Theocracy? Fascism? Populism? Communism? Plutocracy? or some other as yet unknown form?

I do not think any of the above or any form of dictatorial regime would sit well with the populace as evidenced by our constantly changing political landscape. The Citizens of the USA have long grown comfortable with the freedom afforded to them by their form of governance and to accuse them of being lead by "Hitler" is a slap in the face of every voting member of the electorate.

whatever 14.Mar.2004 23:13

actually paying attention

another straight white guy weighs in with pseudo-intellectual posturing. ho hum.

wake the fuck up and look around. it ain't as good as you tink it is, bucko.

If you want to know what fascism is, then ask an expert.. 15.Mar.2004 01:59

carl panzram

Benito Mussolini said: "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

Free market my ass! Jesus fucking christ, do you have even one lonely thought inside your fearful head that you can call your own?

No corporate subsidies, multi-million dollar tax breaks, protective tarriffs? If you think that's an accurate description of the US, then you are truly a moron.

If you vote Republican or Democrat you are collaborating with fascists - prime example of the merger of state and corporate power.

Anyone ever try tracing the ever-repeating spider web job swapping between members of the Defense Department and the military and the executive and consulting positions in the top defense contracts corporations and their subsidiaries.

You know, the original article here could be quite a compelling argument. A compelling argument that television has succeeded in producing millions of virtually thoughtless marionettes, repeating whatever illogical jargon they learn in mind training school.

And suppression of freedom of speech? Anyone ever here of the COINTELPRO program - assassinations, massive imprisonments - and yes, we are talking about top down - a hierarchy of power, the preferred method of organizing among the cowardly humans who think like dogs.

Remember - they had elections in the Soviet Union - we all learned in school. Only thing was, you could only vote for members of the Communist party.

Now let's think back to Mussolini's definition of fascism: "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

Well, any half-literate moron is wise enough to know that both the Republicans and Democrats are both simply the tools of the business elite - tools that are interchangeable, other than some different faces now and then.

So we have elections too - just go ahead and vote for one of the two american fascist parties! Merging state and corporate power for over two hundred years and counting!

None of this is new. Shit - study American history since 1492. The same thing, over and over again...

And remember: History and our instincts tell us that the quite collaborators are to be despised most of all...

Denial is no excuse. Educate yourself. Don't look the other way. Don't be a coward.

Shoreliner, you are a prostitute apologist for the Fascists!! 15.Mar.2004 06:05

sard

and your pseudo-intellectual posturing, like that of newt gingrich and the rst of your fucking asshole gang of thugs, is transparent and obvious. You honky racist sexist imperialist bastard, you think that you will any way diminish what is coming to you and your ilk by playing with words and attempting to redefine reality like your whores in the media do? We will get you and them and throw the lot of you devils before the firing squad.

Diebold and Rockefellar agree 15.Mar.2004 06:40

USA is not fascist

Free enterprise and government laisse-faire? What are you smoking? We have the industrial military complex running our electronic voting systems and a privately held federal reserve banking cartel controlling our economy and you call that what? Free enterprise, Ha!

free market??? 15.Mar.2004 08:31

tsalagi red

You're nuts, man. And your whole spiel is bullshit. Marx was not talking about "mercantilism", he was talking about industrial capitalism, a term he did not invent, by the way.

I do think, however, that the term fascism for what exists in the u.s. today, is a bit overblown. We are not nazi germany, and we are not mussolini's Italy, or franco's spain. We are rapidly headed that way, but let's understand that the kind of repression in those societies was far greater than we have. "Fascism" is a powerful word, and we should be careful with it.

Finally, I didn't know there were so many people of color on indymedia. I always though you all were honky males. But I see from so many posts, that I must have been mistaken. Will wonders never cease! as my mother used to say.

Fascism is hard to define 15.Mar.2004 10:52

BadPenny

Fascism, like revolution, and feminism, is one of those things that is very challenging to define. In the end, we all end up defining it in a way that is at least slightly different from the way everyone else defines it. For my part, I found Roger Griffin's introduction to his book, Fascism, to be exceedingly helpful in coming up with an intelligent way to understand what fascism is. I am going to go ahead and post a synipsis of how Griffib defines fascism here:

Griffin defines fascism as a "genus of political ideology whose mythic core, in its various permutations, is a palengenic form of populist ultra-nationalism." This mean that fascist movements do not necessarily share common ideological components, but share only the common notion of a "mythic core," which is the vision of a national crisis necessitating the birth of a new order. Griffin points out that the idea of a rebirth (palengenesis) of a nation implies that the nation is "an organism with its own life cycle, collective psyche, and communal destiny, embracing in principle the whole people."

Griffin goes on to discuss ten points that either derive from, or otherwise relate to, his assertion of "palengenic ultra-nationalism" as the fascist minimum. The points are as follows:

1. Fascism is anti-liberal

2. Fascism is anti-conservative

3. Fascism tends to operate as a charismatic form of politics. i.e. by rejecting both liberalism and conservativism, both rationality and tradition need not be relied upon.

4. Fascism is anti-rational. Reification of nation, celebration of myth, repudiation of rationalism

5. Fascism is socialist. Rejuvinating the national community transcends class conflict, intent to harness the energies of capitalism in a new order so they cease to be exploitative and enslaving.

6. Fascism is totalitarian. Expunging decadance necessitates a centralized total state.

7. Fascism recieves social support from all socio-economic strata, this doesn't imply universal support, but rather that the appeal is not limited to any particular class or interest.

8. Fascism is xenophobic, this doesn't mandate eugenics of genocide, but the quality of ultra-nationalism predicates a disdain for those seen as being outside the national character.

9. Fascist governments will often support the rise of other fascist governments

10. Fascism has a quality of eclecticism. Multiple ideas for what the new order should be, some completely incompatible with others, will all collude on the strength of the percieved need for a new order.



I suggest that anyone who can should read this in Griffin's words. I think that using his definition, one is compelled to say that the US does not currently have a fascist government, but one is also given pause by how many categories on this list the current government seems to fit into.

Overall, the debate might be meaningless anyways. Whether you choose to label the government as fascist or not, you can still see it is bad. It doesn;t matter if you have a name for the devil or not, you still want to keep him out of your life.

Reverse Racism 15.Mar.2004 11:07

?

> another straight white guy weighs in with pseudo-intellectual posturing. ho hum.

> I always though you all were honky males.

Reverse racism is still racism. You'd be ashamed of yourselves, if you had the sense.

To BadPenny 15.Mar.2004 12:58

You're wrong, the US Government does meet these criterion

What are you talking about? Of course the US meets the points on this Grifin list. The only questionable one is 5. The rest very clearly applies to this administration.

fascism? 15.Mar.2004 15:58

this thing here

you want some fascism? then watch very very closely these things...

- your rights. are they being tailored? are they being "adjusted" and degraded bit by bit? i.e., the patriot act. and personally, i'm looking for the right wing in this country to use a criminal offense of any kind, whether felony or misdemeanor, as an excuse to first strip citizenship from a person, and then and thereby, strip them of any and all rights. i sense in the right in this country an urge to equate "enemy combatant" with "common criminal". stay alert on this one...

- when corporations become powerful enough to be a kind of government. i.e., they control the decisions you make simply by their pervasive, omnipotent spread in a particular market ("i hate this food/car/product, but there's no other choice"), and their ability to write laws and rules with impugnity in their interest. look for corporations teaming up with the government in order to provide a service or do some task: collecting private records, providing security, doing research, etc.

- when the government becomes increasingly authoritarian, and claims that "national security", or an "external threat", or "war", or "some future event" gives it the power and the legal justification to go after citizen's rights and "tailor" them. look for the government to team up with corporations and industries in order to protect the corporations and industries from the citizens. for an example of what i'm talking about, look for laws such as the recently passed "cheeseburger" law, which protects an entire industry from any legal recourse by citizens. yes, frivolous lawsuits are a problem, but not EVERY SINGLE lawsuit is frivolous, and laws like this one make no distinction. and this protective inability to make a distinction is THE priveledge granted to corporations in return for their campaign contributions. look for the car industry getting the same priveledge, or the chemical industry. you see, in corporatism, it is the government's duty to protect corporate interests from the people.

so, to sum up, watch your rights real closely and pay attention to the relationship between business and government. when they start getting a little too chummy chummy, watch out.

and in my opinion, i really think that this will not happen in a single stroke. i think that this will happen bit by bit over time. events in recent years are simply a few of these many bits and pieces, starting to pile up.

people who think fascism will never happen in america, or couldn't happen in america, are stupid pawns. it will fall on your head one day suckers, and you won't know what the fuck just happened. and no, a country does NOT have to look and behave like an exact copy of nazi germany to be utterly and completely fascist.

Definitions 15.Mar.2004 21:05

Montag. fourfiftyone@ziplip.com

Firstly, althought there are fascistic elements in the US it is certainly not true fascism. We are moving in that direction though. When Mussolini speaks of "Corporations" he doesn't mean at all what we think of. There is no direct equivalent in our national experience for what he means. Maybe if there were some overt deliberate merger of the NLRB, the Department of Labor, the assembled corporate elites of a given industry (say, steel), AND the unions affiliated with said industry, but converted into pro-corporate bodies that actually oppose workers and only exist to keep them in order, then maybe we would have organs comparable to the fascist concept of "Corporations". It's a far broader and qualitatively different use of the word than what americans usually think of.

Secondly, despite what I just wrote, I think it DOES make sense to speak of the US as a corporatist society, insofar as all sectors of government and economy, both of which include the mainstream media, are bound up together to keep the engines of expansion in good working order.

Thirdly, it might not be particularly conclusive to cite Mussolini on the subject. Although Italy originated the term "fascism" it did not carry the ideology/practice to its full dimensions. In other words, although Mussolini came up with the word "totalitarianism" Italy was not truly, fully, that. To see the full potential put into action we have to look at Nazi Germany. There fascism was extended fully, and the Movement itself was supreme; not simply "the State", as we find in Mussolini's words.

Fourthly, and possibly most important, I want to make it clear that in spite of everything above, I feel that our corporatist plutocracy is just as dangerous as actual fascism, and that it should be just as opposed as the real thing. Not least because it CREATES the social conditions and political precedents for true fascism. We have this fear that if we distinguish the US from true fascism, then we are somehow being apologists for capitalism and the Pax Americana. Not so at all.

Educate and organize.

A little more 15.Mar.2004 21:21

Montag

I'm not saying the earlier commentator is necessarily drawing a causal link, it just occurs to me generally that simply because one is a sexist racist classist does not mean they are not a true intellectual. On the contrary, many intellectuals/artists/scholars/etc supported fascism, or laid the groundwork for it - Joseph de Maistre, Nietzsche, Gabriele D'Annunzio, FT Marinetti, Oswald Spengler, Salvador Dali, Ezra Pound, George Bernard Shaw, DH Lawrence (the latter two are a bit questionable), and on and on.

This is not of course an anti-intellectual point, a typical fascist (and Leninist-Stalinist) route. Other intellectuals have been on the front lines against fascism, back when some of them acted instead of just writing books, etc. They were the ones who were able to see the human and the beautiful behind the words and philosophies, who were able to recognize that there is no way books can encompass all of the human experience.

Those who can do that while they plow through a dense work, who want to look into this more, should get a copy of Ernst Nolte's "Three Faces of Fascism". Also I recommend Roger Eatwell's "Fascism" for a quicker but less in depth read.

POLYGRAPHS for JUDGES 28.Nov.2008 09:24

OPERATION GREYLORD

Why is a police officer required to take drug testing and polygraphs when corruption is evident , while judges are ABOVE THE LAW ....... THE BAR has created a judiciary that is clearly for sale . SELF-REGULATION of lawyers has undermined judicial integrity and abolished neutrality . WE HAVE THE BEST JUDGES THAT MONEY CAN BUY .