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American Fascism

What did the Fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and Spain have in common? They consisted of a highly militarized state, backed by corporation and a wealthy elite, that rose to power through a false populism that exploited the public's fear of foreigners and "moral degenerates." This precisely defines the formula that Karl Rove designed to consolidate the Bush administration's power in the recent election.
American Fascism
By Sean Donahue,


AMERICAN FASCISM
"American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery."

-- Henry Wallace, "The Dangers of American Fascism,"
The New York Times, Sunday, April 9, 1944

"Third Worlders see it first," Buffy St. Marie sang on a recent album. And the first signs of the rise of Fascism in the U.S. could be seen in Colombia two years ago.

In 2002, Alvaro Uribe, backed by a narco-traffickers, multinational corporations, and unreconstructed Fallangists won Colombia's presidential election by exploiting middle class fears of guerilla kidnappings and urban car bombings. Uribe immediately launched a harsh crackdown on dissidents, workers, and campesinos, in the name of fighting terrorism and crime and making Colombia safe for investors. The Bush administration and its fellow travelers at the Miami Herald and similar daily rags praised Uribe for his dedication to imposing order in Colombia, and asserted that his critics were anti-democratic because Uribe was an elected leader. (1) In response, Hector Mondragon, one of Colombia's bravest and most insightful social critics, asked,

"Is it not Fascism because there was an election?
Weren't Hitler and Mussolini elected? What was
Hitler's popularity during the Holocaust? This is what
Fascism is like. Fascism is popular. The middle class
loves it. The enemies of the state are being
eliminated. The streets are being cleaned. And the
middle class applauds. The city has never looked so
good. The tourists can say what they said when they
went to Germany in 1937: 'Why do people speak so
poorly of the government? Germany has never been so
beautiful.' Or Colombia.'"

Or the U.S. What did the Fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and Spain have in common? They consisted of a highly militarized state, backed by corporation and a wealthy elite, that rose to power through a false populism that exploited the public's fear of foreigners and "moral degenerates." This precisely defines the formula that Karl Rove designed to consolidate the Bush administration's power in the recent election.

Pollsters and pundits cited "moral values" as the key issue for majority of Bush supporters in the 2004 election. The "moral values" these voters were talking about were a strict and exaggerated code of masculinity that emphasized men's control of their own sensual desires and of women's bodies. Abortion, contraception, and same sex sexual relationships (especially between men) represent deep threats to this "moral" order. This equation of morality with hyper-masculinity also creates a mindset that demands unquestioning support for the military. Civil liberties issues come into play here as well - those who resist controls on their behavior must have some sort of deviant desires that they want to be able to play out freely.

This hyper-masculine order is at the core of Fascism. "Sexual deviants" were among the first targets of the Holocaust. In Colombia, when right wing paramilitaries take over a region they instill fear and establish their dominance by launching "social cleansing" campaigns that target gays, lesbians, prostitutes, street vendors, the homeless and drug users - all people who in some way threaten a "moral" code based on strength and masculine self-control.

Fascism views dissent differently than more subtle, liberal systems of control. Traditionally on a domestic level the U.S. has operated primarily through exercising hegemony - creating the illusion of consensus around a dominant ideology to limit debate by drowning out or marginalizing dissent. If dissent grows too strong, its co-opted through subtle reform. Fascism replaces hegemony with totalitarianism, crushing dissent. Dissidents become the enemy. "You are either with us or against us."

The totalitarian desire to impose order and define the boundaries of acceptable thought meets the moralistic drive to suppress sensual desires in the war on drugs. As a former alcoholic and cocaine addict who ostensibly kicked his habits by accepting Jesus into his life, George W. Bush presents himself as the central figure in a morality play in which drug use is portrayed as a failure of self control that can only be remedied through accepting a rigid structure into ones' life. The user is defined as a sinner, and by extension therapeutic approaches to drug addiction are rejected on the theory that they fail to address the addict's moral failure. The fact that most of the drugs defined as illicit can create mental and physical states that can lead to testing and transcending sexual and ideological boundaries serves as evidence that using these drugs as a sin. Sugar, caffeine, and television, being drugs that aid in the institution of control, are of course treated differently.

With the second Bush administration, the rise of Fascism in the U.S. is nearly complete. We're now in a position of needing to resist its consolidation.

____________
NOTES

1. Uribe clearly won a solid and "fair" victory in wealthy and middle class enclaves. However, in the countryside and in poor urban barrios, armed factions controlled the voting. In guerilla held areas, the ostensibly Marxist FARC and ELN suppressed the vote. And in paramilitary controlled areas the right wing AUC threatened to carry out one killing for every vote for a candidate other than Uribe. The "opinion polls" frequently cited as evidence of Uribe's popularity in the U.S. and Colombian press are conducted by telephone or by internet - methods that clearly exclude the poor majority in a country where over 60% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.


American Fascism | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)
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this guitar kills fascists (none / 0) (#1)
by Charles Faris on Mon Nov 22nd, 2004 at 01:13:32 PM EST
(User Info)  http://homepage.mac.com/chasbaudelaire/iblog/B1541229392/index.html
bravo sean!
"none dare call it treason" indeed! thanks for calling it like you see it and thanks also for pointing out the sexual underpinnings of fascism. as i wrote in a recent comment to "walking: we ask questions" one basic method of resisting this fascist wave is to liberate ourselves sexually, and to come out of our closets...sinking into despair is what the right wing wants us to do, and this is why they have always come down hard on the sex and drug positive populations, from the swing kids to the hippies to the ravers. living good is the best revenge and also our best hope for maintaining good spirits, spreading a message of peace love and understanding (what's so funny?), and encouraging the youth to find life in expression rather than possession.

wilhelm reich sheds a lot of light on this as well in the mass psychology of fascism. for a quick synopsis try  http://www.notbored.org/reich.html.

--
"i always have a wonderful time, wherever i am, whoever i'm with."