Mussolini, the first and probably most important theorist on fascism, said we shouldn't even call it fascism-we should call it corporatism, because it is the linking of the political and military power of the state to the corporations. The Bush-Cheney economic policy has made the rich much richer and the poor much poorer. Their energy policy was written by swindlers like Kenneth Lay. Their tax policy benefits the very rich and leaves deficits for our children and grandchildren. The links between corporations, government and the military are made manifest in Cheney's connection to Halliburton. He's still on their payroll, and, in exchange, Halliburton got an $18 billion no-bid contract to supply the military and steal oil from Iraq.
second element of fascism is total war. Bush’s War on Terror is a war
against anyone who disagrees with us. It is a war to transform the world in
our image. It was a war against the people of Iraq because that was unfinished
business and potentially embarrassing, similar to the unfinished business of
the Versailles Treaty and the humiliation of Alsace-Lorraine for Hitler’s
Germany. The public justifications of the war claiming, “Saddam Hussein
was a threat to his neighbors” and “there are weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq,” have been exposed as lies. But according to Bush, Saddam Hussein
was a bad man and we are good, and this is justification enough to kill thousands
of Iraqis, watch a thousand of our own troops die and waste billions of dollars.
A third element of fascism is fear of the other. After 9/11 the world stood
with us against the insanity of religious fanatics. Somehow, in two years, Bush
has turned that so completely around that U.S. athletes are booed at the Olympics,
and the world condemns us as a bully and aggressor. The nations of the world
wanted to be our friends, and Bush has turned almost all of them into our enemies.
This creates a bunker mentality for Americans and reinforces the paranoid delusions
of fascism. We are taught to hate and fear Arabs because they all want to kill
us, feminists because they are the reason our children are sexually promiscuous,
gays because they are the reason our marriages are falling apart.
A fourth element of fascism is the official endorsement of a fundamentalist
religion. It was no accident that Bush at first called the war against Arabs
in the Middle East a crusade. His political base of fundamentalist Christians
does not doubt that this is a holy war against the infidel. Any kind of violence
and brutality is permissible because God is on our side. Therefore, our bombing
and slaughter of innocent women and children must be pleasing to God. We are
not accountable to the United Nations, to the World Court, to the millions of
people throughout the world who have marched and demonstrated against our unchecked
aggression. We are only accountable to our narrow conception of a Prince of
Peace who loves warriors.
These trends are creating an American culture that is fascist.
Defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights:
Another clear manifestation of this move towards fascism is the severe and constant
attack on civil liberties. American
citizens and foreign nationals have been detained for over a year without being
charged with committing a crime. Freedom of dissent is being seriously discouraged
by FBI agents knocking on the doors of people who were planning to go to New
York City to protest the Republican Convention. Freedom of the press seems to
mean the freedom to print Department of Defense handouts. The failure of the
press to seriously question the justifications for the Iraq War and its inability
to take this Administration to task for its failure to catch Osama bin Laden
and the other ringleaders of the September 11 terrorist acts shows how subservient
the majority press is to the Republican Party and George Bush. The freedom to
speak openly to friends has been seriously damaged by the Patriot Act, which
allows wiretaps and undercover surveillance without proper judicial oversight.
Freedom of association has been compromised for Arabs, and freedom of religion
has been limited for Muslims.
Attacks on minority groups in America are attacks on all of us. If one group
is not free under our Constitution, then all groups have their freedom compromised.
It is not too late to step back from this horror.
John Kerry and John Edwards:
There is a choice in this election. Bush represents a monolithic and fundamentalist
fascism that uses a crucifix as a club (the French fascist party in the 1930s
was called The Cross of Fire) to beat down Muslims, women seeking control over
their own bodies, and gays seeking social justice. Kerry is by no means in favor
of radical change, but he is in favor of a pluralistic society that would tolerate
social and cultural differences. He is a bourgeois liberal. He doesn’t
have the vision of Ralph Nader or David Cobb of the Green Party, but he has
one thing they don’t have—the potential to beat George Bush. He
is the lowest common denominator, but his election would stop the most horrific
advances of fascism and allow room for civil discourse.
Attack the Enemies of Peace and Justice:
Does this sound too shrill, too hysterical? Isn’t fascism too strong a
Read the handwriting on the wall.
there were doubts about the direction Bush is marching this country, they should
have been dispelled with the trial balloon sent up by Tom Ridge, the head of
Homeland Security. He wondered out loud if there were any legal or constitutional
problems with canceling the fall elections in the case of a terrorist attack.
This should have set off warning bells and sirens; instead, the monopoly lapdog
press shrugged it off as a bad idea. It should have reminded people of the burning
of the Reichstag. Historians now agree Hitler set fire to the Reichstag, blamed
it on the Communists and used that as the pretext to declare an emergency where
he suspended Parliament and civil liberties in the name of national security.
The world is expecting an October surprise. In an attempt to steal thunder from
the Democratic Party Convention, Bush engineered the capture of a low-level
Al Qaida operative just as Kerry was nominated to show that he was still the
guy fighting the war on terror. Everyone expects Bush to net some big fish sometime
in October to show how effective he is. But what if the October surprise was
a terrorist act that destroyed Congress? Would that justify canceling the elections
and declaring a state of emergency? It would be easy enough for Ridge and Bush
to pull off. They could get some right-wing kook like Timothy McVeigh to take
the fall, and then they’d blame it on the Arabs. And, besides, nobody
got that upset about the idea when they first floated it back in the summer.
Join the Popular Front Against Fascism:
In 1930 Hitler and the Nazis got six and a half million votes. The German Communist
Party got four and a half million. The Social Democrats got eight and a half.
The Communists and the Social Democrats could have formed a government, but
Stalin vetoed German Communist Party participation and said, “No.”
He wanted to let the Nazis have a turn and fail and “Then, next time it
will be our turn.” Of course, there was no next time. That was probably
the most tragic and costly miscalculation in history.
Stalin didn’t make that same mistake again. He directed the French Communist
Party to join with the Socialists and form a Popular Front government in 1936.
Further, he directed the Spanish Communist Party to help elect a Popular Front
government in Spain in February of 1936. These governments couldn’t resist
the rising tide of fascism and they were swamped. Ironically, even though the
Spanish and French governments were grounded in their local situations, it was
the obvious and heavy hand of Stalin that was used as the spectre to unite the
opposition. The sacred traditions of state and religion were at risk of being
destroyed on orders from a “madman in Moscow.”
was this same anti-Communism that led the American and British governments to
sit on the sidelines and let Germany and Russia fight World War II. It wasn’t
until Russia was obviously going to win and overrun Europe that the U. S. and
Britain invaded Normandy in June of 1944.
Stalin’s directives to form Popular Front governments had direct implications
for progressives in Minnesota. Radicals of all stripes had joined together to
form the Farmer-Labor Party in the 1920’s. By 1932 they had elected a
majority in the Minnesota State House and Governor Floyd B. Olson. At the 1934
Farmer-Labor Convention Olson said, “I am what I want to be. I am a radical.
I am not a liberal.” The Convention went wild and passed a platform that
began, “Capitalism has failed and should be abolished. We mean to establish
a Cooperative Commonwealth.”
In 1944 Roosevelt was concerned about carrying Minnesota in the Presidential
election. He personally appealed to the Farmer-Labor Association to merge with
the Democratic Party and not run a third party candidate that could drain votes
away from Roosevelt and deliver Minnesota to the Republican isolationist candidate.
This was clearly in Stalin’s interest as well. He desparately wanted the
United States to open a second front against Germany in Europe. So, with pressure
from both sides, the Farmer-Labor Association supported the Democratic Party
in the 1944 elections.
In 1946 the FLA merged with the Democratic Party to become the DFL. In 1948
Humphrey was elected to the U.S. Senate with a unified left behind him. Shortly
after that the Democrats purged the DFL of any leftist leadership. Humphrey
went on to talk about civil rights and sponsor every piece of anti-Communist
legislation ever introduced in Congress during his tenure.
The lesson in all of this is there is a time to join a Popular Front and there
is definitely a time to leave. Right now we’re dating John Kerry. We’re
planning on marrying him November 2. If he gets elected president, we’ll
go on a six-month honeymoon. But there are important stipulations in our pre-nuptial
agreement. Probably the most important is that the war in Iraq must end and
the troops must be brought home.
Because we support a Democratic candidate, that doesn’t mean we stop thinking.
It doesn’t mean we surrender our principles. We shouldn’t expect
too much from our political leaders. Above all, we shouldn’t really expect
them to lead. The people lead. The leaders follow. We shouldn’t stop the
political work we’re doing. Voting is only one small but important part
of political life. And we should never forget we are not alone. The rest of
the world is horrified at the direction the United States is headed. It sees
us as a greedy and murderous beast thirsty for oil and the treasures of the
world. It is our historic responsibility to tame this beast. Innocent lives
depend on it.
Che Guevara, while he was still in Cuba, once told a group of visiting Americans,
“How I envy you. You live in the heart of the beast.” ||