American Fascism?

Right up front, let me say that as a kid growing up in the 1960’s, I acquired an aversion to putting labels on things. Communist…; Fascist…; Racist…; Anarchist…; Idealist…; …whatever the label, using it always seemed wrong, and using these labels seemed to imply a lack of intelligence or substance by the user of the label.

And so here we are, fifty years later, and the aversion remains. And, yet, I have heard the label brought up with increasing frequency, especially in the last year. Maybe, it is time I learned what fascism means? And, maybe I am not the only one who feels a bit ignorant about this term. So, I did some quick online research, and here is what I found…

File:Fascist symbol.svg

Fasces: the primary symbol on the flag of Mussolini’s fascist party.

  1. Italian leader Mussolini is the figure most associated with ‘Fascism’. He created the National Fascist Party, Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF), which ruled Italy from 1922 until 1943. Mussolini on Fascism (1932)
  2. At the risk of being too simplistic here, a key reason for the development of Fascism was that, in the 1920’s, political leaders needed to bridge the gap between socialism/marxism and capitalism. Unions had become extremely powerful, and there was a violent adversarial relationship evolving between wealth and labor. So, it made sense at the time that government would serve as a moderating force, somehow bringing peace out of the emerging chaos, and bringing the sides together. It also was handy that the political need created political opportunity, which Mussolini, Hitler and others were happy to use, to build their own power.
  3. The ‘fasces’ symbol signified a bundling of the individuals to have greater power, collected into a state. Again, considering the condition of the world when Fascism evolved, we should not be surprised that bundling people ‘together’ to cooperate and progress forward was likely a very positive idea in the early 1920’s.
  4. Over time, Fascism did acquire many negative aspects, mostly related to subordinating the rights and power of individuals. The message seems to be: “you are just one stick in the bundle, so trust what the bundle tells you and knock off these dissenting or questioning comments.” Notably, this same attitude is used today to silence (and eventually retaliate against) whistleblowers, such as those who speak up about safety problems or corruption, as can be found within the Av-Gov complex.
  5. Fascist states notably have many inter-related obsessions, including: national security, patriotic fervor, crime and punishment, and supremacy of the military. They also commonly have a disdain for human rights, tend to entangle government and religion, suffer rampant cronyism and corruption, and have been known to rig their elections.
  6. reverse side of the U.S. Mercury Dime, minted 1916-1945.

    Again, while Fascism has had a negative public perception for a long time, there was a time when it was positive, even in this country. The fasces were the prominent symbol on the reverse side of the U.S. Mercury Dime, minted from 1916 to 1945. (And, the torch on the reverse side of the Roosevelt Dime, minted since 1946, consists of a fasces, too).

  7. Another aspect of Fascism was that it facilitated a rapid and extreme concentration of power to a small group, which in time came to control the fascist regime. See what FDR said about Fascism in 1938 (a quote is posted below). 5-28-2003
  8. Mussolini’s PNF Fascist party (and its successor) is the only political party BANNED by the Italian Constitution; they wanted to ensure this monster would never be resurrected, so they wrote the ban into their Constitution.

So, that’s a quick (and admittedly amateur) summary of the origins and early application of Fascism, under Mussolini. Now, here is what President Roosevelt had to say to Congress, in April 1938:

President Roosevelt, addressing Congress on 4/29/38:

“…Unhappy events abroad have re-taught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people.

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.

“The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing….” 4-29-1938

And, today, we have former presidential candidate Ralph Nader calling on all of us to challenge Washington, and the powerful corporations who now run it:

Ralph Nader, in a Democracy Now interview, posted 6/5/2013:

“…It is not too extreme to call our system of government now ‘American fascism.’ It’s the control of government by big business, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined in 1938 as fascism,” Nader says.
“We have the lowest minimum wage in the Western world. We have the greatest amount of consumer debt. We have the highest child poverty, the highest adult poverty, huge underemployment, a crumbling public works — but huge multi-billionaires and hugely profitable corporations.
“I say to the American people: What’s your breaking point? When are you going to stop making excuses for yourself? When are you going to stop exaggerating these powers when you know you have the power in this country if you organize it?” 6-5-2013

…American Fascism?

Considering recent U.S. history, this seems like a fair assessment.

The evidence shows that FAA is a captured agency, serving first and foremost the powers within the industry. But, FAA is just one of many. Further evidence shows that many or most of our federal (and state) agencies are at least partially captured. All of these corrupt agencies need reform: full accountability and transparency, so every citizen can see inside these agencies. So the few rogue, self-serving managers can no longer hide and steal.

Now would be a good time to start.