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Is Fascism A Real Concern for the U.S.A.?

Author: Sam Lucero, November 2005. © 2005, Samuel J. Lucero. All Rights Reserved.

Americans, living in the United States after the attack of 9/11 and during the war in Iraq, have given up a few rights to try to help our country stop terrorism. However, as we begin the fifth year since the twin towers fell, we have to ask ourselves: What is too much? How much are we willing to forsake in the name of the very thing that we are sacrificing: freedom. Abraham Lincoln said on July 4, 1861:

“Must a government of necessity be too strong for the liberties of its people, or too weak to maintain its own existence?” Clinton Rossiter, author of Constitutional Dictatorship, 1963, wrote, “Can a democracy fight a successful total war and still be a democracy when the war is over?” America is heading toward a future that has been shared by many other countries, and that future is:

Totalitarian Dictatorship by way of Fascism.

To determine whether America is becoming fascist, fascism must first be defined. Paul Wilkinson, in his in International Fascism puts it best when he says, “…reactionary ideologies compounded of virulent ultra-nationalism, exaltation of irrationality and, illegality, violence and dominant in the right wing coalition of the ‘national movement’ and fanatical anti-communism.”(27) The word fascism is a derivative of fasces, meaning bundles of elm or birch rods, bound with record and carried by lectors in Ancient Rome; the rods symbolized unity and authority. Fascism, peaking between 1930 and 1945, is “a wide variety of nationalistic and authoritarian movements”. (Wilkinson 27) Fascist ideology can easily be summarized as the belief in the supremacy of the national group over all other races and minorities, the total subordination of the individual to an absolute state under an absolute leader; the suppression of all independent secondary institutions; the rejection of the values and institutions of parliamentary democracy and their replacement by fascist dictatorships; total opposition to peaceful internationalism; a foreign policy of expansion and conquest as the natural ‘destiny’ of the nation (Wilkinson 29).

Fascism became a reality as a new type of socialism in 1914, constituted by Mussolini and the revolutionary syndicalists together with Corrandini’s nationalists. From 1902, throughout the period prior to World War I, Mussolini developed in the shadow of the revolutionary syndicalists. In Italy, fascism was viewed as an Intellectual Revolution. Fascist ideology was a rejection of materialism – liberalism, democracy and Marxism were being regarded simply as different aspects of the

same materialistic evil, and it is also a demonstration of economic frustration during a period of recession. The fascist ideology started in Italy around 1910-12, but did not materialize in mass form until after World War I. This movement was seen as the expression of national unity, and demonstrated the importance of unity of command, authority, leadership, and moral mobilization, the education of the masses and of propaganda as an instrument of power.

Lawrence Britt in Free Inquiry Magazine lays out the 14 characteristics of Fascism Powerful and continuing nationalism. “Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.”

Human Rights are disdained. Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of need. The people tend to ‘look the other way’ or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic, or religious minorities, liberals, communists, socialists, terrorists, etc. Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized; Crime and punishment are overemphasized. Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to

enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses, and even forego civil liberties, in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power.

Sexism is rampant. The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy. Intellectuals and the arts are disdained. Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and the governments often refuse to fund the arts.

Attempts are made to control public opinion in various ways. Mass media is closely controlled, sometimes directly by the government. In other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation or through sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common. National security is an obsession. Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses. Religion and government are intertwined. Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

Corporate power is protected. The industrial and business

aristocracies of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite. Labor power is suppressed. Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed. Cronyism and corruption are rampant. Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions, and who use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

Fraudulent elections are another unfortunate feature of fascist regime. Sometimes elections in fascist’s nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against (or even the assassination of) opposition candidates, the use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and the manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections. All of these features are common in Hitler Nazi Regime, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, Suharto’s Indonesia, and Pinochet’s Chile.

Although fascism regimes have not lasted long (Mussolini’s Fascist State 1925-43 and Hitler’s Third Reich 1933-45 being the most successful), they have exploited fears and prejudices. Real or imagined fears of a communistic take over, or even something as basic as economic frustration, are the problem addressed

by aspiring fascist regimes, and Fascism is their answer. This is how the average citizen would give up his/her rights for a more unified and moral government, and how liberties could be deferred to arrive at such an end.

All fascist movements, to some degree combine mass revolutionist strategies with reactionary ideologies compounded of active ultra- nationalism, exaltation of irrationality, illegality, violence and fanatical anti- communism (Wilkinson 28). Mussolini used the techniques of the mass movement with elegance and propaganda. According to Mussolini, man has existence only in so far as he is sustained and determined by the community. “Hitler was vastly more successful both in his use of mass revolutionist strategies, mass propaganda and party organization, and the control of mass communications media, nationalist symbolism and slogans” (Wilkinson 28). During the rise of fascism between the years of 1921 and 1928, the inherent problems and contradictions became apparent.

War is one of the forces that can most affect a country. After World War II, civil rights in this country became a big concern and forever changed the motive behind many laws created. After 9/11 many of our laws changed to protection laws, and unfortunately gave the president a lot more power then was normally granted to just one person. In a constitutional democracy, the laws assumed for war should be retractable and normality restored when the war is over. Wartime laws should only be created for this end, however the laws that have been created since WWII, that have granted the president more power during war, have not been retracted or even created to enable

their retraction. In the struggle to address the atrocities caused by terrorism and war, the American government has chosen to start legislating morals, such as same-sex marriages and instating ‘sin’ taxes. None of these laws are meant to be temporary. In this time of unrest, people turn to whatever gives them comfort. For some that may be God and religion, however, this is not true for all. The constitution states that there is not supposed to be a promotion of any specific religion, but our president is proactive in intertwining Christianity and government without a second thought.

Bush defenders say that he is

just trying to protect the US and that he is trying to bring about a more moral America, but nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the government has the power to instill

morals in the

question to ask would be: How can we be safe if the new national security system can not take care of its own people during a hurricane or even after the hurricane has passed? This is not the America I grew up with, it wasn’t the one I went into the Army to defend, and it sure is not the one that my grandfather was taken as a POW while defending in WWII. The question at this point is not will we become a fascist state but rather will we let it complete its mission.

A good

Author: Sam Lucero, November 2005. © 2005, Samuel J. Lucero. All Rights Reserved.

2005. © 2005, Samuel J. Lucero. All Rights Reserved. BIBLIOGRAPHY Bracher, Karl Dietrich, (1970) The German
2005. © 2005, Samuel J. Lucero. All Rights Reserved. BIBLIOGRAPHY Bracher, Karl Dietrich, (1970) The German

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bracher, Karl Dietrich, (1970) The German Dictatorship New York & Washington: Praeger Publishers Britt, Laurence, (2001) Fascism Anyone? Free Inquiry Magazine ( Broder, David S., (2000) Democracy Derailed New York, San Diego & London: Harcourt, Inc. Friedrich, Carl J. & Brzezinski, Zbigniew K., (1965) Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy

Massachusetts: Harvard University Press Griffin, Roger, (1998) International Fascism London, Sydney, & Auckland: Arnold Publishing

Press, Inc. Kershaw, Ian & Lewin, Moshe (1997) Stalinism and Nazism Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press Rossiter, Clinton, (1963) Constitutional Dictatorship New York & Burlingame: A Harbinger Book

Co-published by Oxford University

Author: Sam Lucero, November 2005. © 2005, Samuel J. Lucero. All Rights Reserved.

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