Friday, December 9, 2016

Why President Elect Trump Does Not Represent Politics As Usual (Part I: COMMONALITIES OF FASCIST REGIMES)

No one, ever, wakes up and says, "I think I'll become an alcoholic today."  Alcoholism comes on slowly, taking us unaware, until we find ourselves unable to resist its inexorable grip.  In a similar way, this is how Fascism overtakes societies.  No democratic society makes a deliberate decision to give up freedom in favor of Fascism.  It comes on slowly.  We make compromises in favor of what seems to be the greater good.  The compromises then become larger and larger until we find ourselves inextricably tied up in more than we bargained for.

These small, baby steps have been happening in the USA for a long time.  I won't go into details to support that statement. Those who choose not to see, would not believe me anyway, no matter what evidence I present.  Let me merely say, "He who has eyes, let him see, and he who has ears, let him hear."  The USA is well on its way to becoming a Fascist state.  This is not a "Democrat" or "Republican" thing, either.  In a future blog post, I will show how policies of both major political parties have failed to staunch these tendencies.

Moreover, Trump is not an anomaly.  He is a logical result, merely taking a tendency one step further.   But he is, indeed, extreme.  This is why his election does NOT represent  "politics as usual."  The water has turned from tepid to hot. It's time to take notice, and stop it, before it's too late.



No one wants to hear that, including me.   But, if you are willing to be honest, take a hard look at these characteristics I've compiled below, with characteristics of Fascist regimes.  Judge for yourself where the USA falls on this scale.  Whether you believe me now, or not, it is important for all of us to know the following signs of the slide into Fascism, and resist wherever we find it:  


COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCIST REGIMES


  1. POWERFUL AND CONTINUING NATIONALISM
    1. Fascist regimes begin by identification of a common enemy that is used to unite the populace.  
    2. Fascist regimes equate dissent with treason.  Rejects individualism in favor of the State.
    3.  Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. 
    4. Under the common call of "patriotism," flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
    5. Encourages a cult of superiority based upon nationalism 
  2. OPPOSED TO LIBERAL / MODERN  INSTITUTIONS AND THOUGHT
    1. Characterizes progressive thought or development of ideas as a descent into depravity, including 
    2. RAMPANT SEXISM
      1. Under fascist regimes, the State is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family as an institution. 
      2. Traditional gender roles are made more rigid.  
      3. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are seen as a threat and suppressed
      4. Idealization of "machismo" sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and heroism into the sexual sphere.
  3. RELIGION AND GOVERNMENT ARE INTERTWINED 
    1. Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion.  
    2. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tents of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s  policies or actions.
    3. Normal functioning of religious institutions are subverted to service of the fascist cause.
  4. IDENTIFICATION AND TARGETING OF SCAPEGOATS 
    1. Fascist regimes identify an enemy that must be defeated, and incite the population to be unified against that enemy
    2. The people, particularly those in lower socioeconomic groups, 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.
    3. Incites fear of those who are "different," characterizing them as posing a threat to this society
    4. Obsession with a "plot"
    5. Plays upon sense of grievance and humiliation 
  5. NEUTRALIZATION OF THOSE WHO CHALLENGE THE REGIME
    1. Fascist parties infiltrate the "opposition" in order to identify and weaken the perceived enemy
    2. Fascist leaders harass those who are opposed to the project 
    3. Fascist leaders target key individuals for emasculation or elimination (political, economic, physical) 
    4. LABOR POWER IS SUPPRESSED:  Because the organizing power of labor is often the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or they are severely suppressed.
    5. DISDAIN FOR THE RECOGNITION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
      1. Fascist regimes place certain categories of people outside the normal concept of due process or "how we treat others."  This is a key use of the word "terrorist"
      2. Fascist regimes create gulags that operate outside the rule of law and / or norms of how we treat prisoners
    6. DISDAIN FOR INTELLECTUALS AND THE ARTS
      1. Fascist regimes tend to promote and tolerate open hositility to higher education and academia.  
      2. This is because to justify otherwise unconscionable actions, the action must be taken without reflection or intellectual justification (Umberto Eco) 
      3. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested.  
      4. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked. 
      5. Employs an impoverished vocabulary in order to circumvent critical reasoning 
  6. CORPORATE POWER IS PROTECTED
    1. The industrial and business aristocracy 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. Hence, there is also 
  7. RAMPANT CRONYISM AND CORRUPTION 
    1. Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. 
    2. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
  8. IDOLIZATION OF THE MILITARY
    1. Even where there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disporporitonate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected.  
    2. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
    3. Fascist regimes install and develop a police force that is willing to brutalize resisters
    4. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy 
  9. OBSESSION WITH CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
    1. Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. 
    2. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. 
    3. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations. 
    4. The police apparatus prevents, controls, and represses dissidence and opposition, even by using organized terror
  10. FRAUDULENT ELECTIONS
    1. Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. 
    2. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. 
    3. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
  11. CLAIM OF A UNIFIED WILL OF THE PEOPLE AND HENCE A MANDATE TO GOVERN, by a PARTICULAR POLITICAL LEADER
    1. The People, conceived monolithically, have a Common Will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual. 
    2. As no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the Leader holds himself out as the interpreter of the popular will (though truly he dictates it). 
    3. Fascists use this concept to delegitimize democratic institutions they accuse of "no longer represent[ing] the Voice of the People."


_________________


Sources:



Britt, Lawrence, "The 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism," Free Inquiry¸ Spring 2003 (based on review of facist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini  (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and “several Latin American regimes).



Eco, Umberto, Etermal Fascism (http://www.pegc.us/archive/Articles/eco_ur-fascism.pdf )

Levin, Josh, "How is America Going to End?  Five Steps to Totalitarian Rule," Slate August 6, 2009. 


Mayer, Milton, They Thought They Were Free:  The Germans 1933 – 45 (University of Chicago Press 1955)   

Mussolini, Benito, "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1932) 
 http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm

Payne, Stanley G.  A History of Fascism, 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Press, 1995.

Wolfe, Naomi, "Fascist America in Ten Easy Steps," The Guardian April 24, 2007.


(And, of course,) Wikipedia, "Definitions of Fascism"  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_fascism#cite_note-25

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!