Fascism: An American realityLarry Pinkney
Jul. 06, 2006
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The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word fascism as "a philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism." Moreover, and most importantly, it also defines fascism clearly and succinctly as "oppressive or dictatorial control." There are those who will sarcastically say that the political/social situation in and with America is not "that bad," when in fact things are far, far worse.
Whether or not one chooses to define this increasingly all-encompassing suppression of people in America as authoritarian, totalitarian or fascist is a ridiculously moot point for the overwhelming majority of people who have lost or are losing their already limited freedoms, their livelihoods and their very lives to the organized repression of this hypocritical, cynically racist and genocidal American state apparatus. The organized and sustained political, economic, social and cultural repression being waged by the American state against its own citizens and persons globally is nothing short of fascism.
At this precarious period in history, with repression intensifying on all levels, quibbling about whether or not America is technically fascist amounts to intellectual masturbation. The fact is that the internal and external repressive policies of the United States of America have already destroyed -- and continue to decimate -- millions of people inside America and throughout the world. Especially is this true with respect to the vast majority of people of color in the ghettos, reservations and barrios of the U.S., as well as in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean and elsewhere.
Contrary to the well perpetuated myth, fascism is not limited to storm troopers blatantly goose-stepping down streets and alleyways, engaging in bloody search and destroy missions. Germany's fascism under Adolf Hitler differed from Italy's fascism under Benito Mussolini, but they were both fascist nation states. Fascism has different forms, all of which are equally deadly, all of which must be identified, seriously resisted and stopped.
Complacently insisting that the organized state repressive apparatus of, in and by the United States must not be defined as fascism is incredibly dangerous, especially at this point in history. It's a bit like quibbling with a person who is in the death throes of drowning that he is not actually drowning but merely suffocating! No matter how it is defined, the person is dying, and immediate action is needed to save his or her life!
Whether it is defined as blatant fascism, benign fascism or so-called creeping fascism, it is still fascism; and if left unchecked, the end result is precisely the same: total and utter disenfranchisement under an authoritarian, repressive state apparatus. The urgency of this reality in America cannot be overstated.
The enormous internal and external destruction of peoples and cultures around the world caused by the fascistic policies of the United States -- cloaked in a mythical democracy -- have wreaked more havoc, misery and destruction upon peoples nationally and around the world than the blatantly fascist regimes of World War II Germany and Italy combined. Notwithstanding the over 100 million Black people who had previously been murdered as victims of Europe and America's African "legalized" slave trafficking, it should be remembered that many years subsequent, Adolf Hitler, in his published book "Mein Kampf," made it quite clear that the idea for waging the horrible genocide against Jews and other so-called "undesirables" had been borrowed from none other than the earlier genocide waged by the United States against the indigenous -- so called "Indian" -- peoples of America.
Ironically, many pundits of that 1930s era confidently and incorrectly argued that due to Germany's achievements in culture, politics, the arts and technology of that period, the unthinkable could never happen there. Obviously, they were wrong. Nevertheless, the enormous horrors inflicted by fascist Germany and Italy upon the world pale by comparison to those carried out by the much larger, deadlier and far more sophisticated United States of America, whose internal and external "news" and information propaganda machine would make the former fascist German and Italian propaganda machines green with envy.
Thus, to compare the contemporary United States, or any of its leaders, to the former fascist leaders Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini is utterly missing the point, as the U.S. is much, much worse, and its global power is far more encompassing and devastating.
It is important not to be fooled by the feigned surprise on the part of some at the limited, tip-of-the-iceberg revelations about U.S. torture, internal spying by the U.S. government and corporations, the militarization of the judicial process, massive national voter disenfranchisement and the demonstrated de facto contempt by the U.S. government and corporations for the Black victims of Hurricane Katrina, etc. Substantively, virtually none of these systemic practices are new but now are integrally part and parcel of an increasingly blatant form of American fascism.
No matter what individual may be the nominal "leader" of the United States, or what political party -- Republican or Democratic -- is in power, fascism has undeniably become an American reality. No matter what name or under what guise America cloaks its fascist policies, the undeniable fact is: America's own style of fascism is a reality here and now.
It is no wonder that Austrian born Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrated no compunction or inhibition whatsoever in repeatedly and openly expressing his "admiration" for German fascist leader Adolf Hitler before going on later to become the Republican Party's governor of the state of California (see "Events Related to Schwarzenegger.")
Moreover, there is no sustained and overwhelming outrage and incensed repudiation of Schwarzenegger from the leadership of either the Democratic or Republican parties regarding his arrogant and chilling admiration for a fascist leader who was directly responsible for the dehumanization and murder of millions of people. A distinctly American version of fascism has taken root in this nation, and has created a political climate wherein politicians can openly embrace with admiration past fascist leaders without seriously jeopardizing their own political careers.
Furthermore, other than as an increasingly obvious propaganda tool to further its global hegemonic objectives, America's cynical racism and hypocrisy has made a meaningless mockery of words and phrases such as democracy, legality, freedom, fair judicial process and justice. This is a reality which most of the peoples of the world outside of the United States have already acknowledged.
Attempting to minimize the precariousness of the political situation in this nation by denying the reality of fascism in America does not change or stop it. Maintaining, like ostriches, the denial of fascism's active, significant existence and role in the American body politic, actually strengthens its stranglehold on the people of this nation and world. Only by removing our heads from the sand, facing up to, organizing against, resisting and struggling for systemic change here and now is there the real hope, for ourselves and for people around the world, of stopping and dismantling this fascist onslaught. Indeed, we can ill afford to do otherwise.