Monday, June 24, 2013

New Fashion Fascism?

Very little in the news is uplifting these days, the best at present is that Edward Snowden has not yet been arrested and was reported yesterday to be en route to a country where he could be granted political asylum. We'll discover exactly where he's headed soon enough, but where are we, as a country, headed? Although, as has been acknowledged before here in posts and comments, blanket surveillance of the population of the USA and elsewhere by our government didn't come as an absolute surprise; recent re-revelations have opened up valuable new conversations on the topic and have kick-started more writings on "where we'll be headed" if nothing changes.

Is there a "new fascism" either already in place or on the rise here in the USA? Our view of what fascism means is coloured by what we know of history, comparatively recent history from the 1930s onward. I've seen, from time to time around the net lists of "symptoms" of fascism - many are easily identifiable in today's USA, but I'm certainly not qualified to make a confident diagnosis. As in physical disease, certain symptoms can mask other problems, or the same set of symptoms combined in different proportions might be evidence of some other, still serious, ailment.

A good, reliable, starting point to understanding what's what is investigative journalist John Pilger's article: There's a New Fascism on the Rise, and the NSA Leaks Show Us What It Looks Like: The power of truth-tellers like Edward Snowden is that they dispel a whole mythology carefully constructed by the corporate cinema, the corporate academy and the corporate media.
Snowden’s revelation that Washington has used Google, Facebook, Apple and other giants of consumer technology to spy on almost everyone, is further evidence of modern form of fascism – that is the "abyss". Having nurtured old-fashioned fascists around the world – from Latin America to Africa and Indonesia – the genie has risen at home. Understanding this is as important as understanding the criminal abuse of technology.
I liked this comment from the long thread beneath Pilger's excellent piece - it's from William W. Haywood:
The US form of fascism does not look exactly like any thing we have seen so far, and why should it? There has never been a nation like the US. There is no exact form of fascism, either! Fascism is based on taking control of a nation's economy like an aids virus compromises an immune system. The fascists mutate into a form we don't readily recognize to get their work done. It doesn't attack from the outside but learns how to unlock the defenses of our democratic system using the power of wealth. This is what you see when a fascist form of government has taken control: first, it starts to prey on the citizens and institutions that once kept it democratic, and then it reverts to a full blown disease that destroys its host. This is the phase we are entering now.

An offshoot - and a dangerous one - is brought to our attention by a article from "Digby"
This Really is Big Brother: The Leak Nobody's Noticed

SNIP: Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.....................President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.
The program could make it easier for the government to stifle the flow of unclassified and potentially vital information to the public, while creating toxic work environments poisoned by unfounded suspicions and spurious investigations of loyal Americans, according to these current and former officials and experts. Some non-intelligence agencies already are urging employees to watch their co-workers for “indicators” that include stress, divorce and financial problems.

And, from Bernie Sanders:

I found, among my drafts a list a commenter at Common Dreams, some months ago, provided on a topic touching on fascism in the USA - this is a list of "symptoms" by commenter "Jimbo.  "Jimbo"   set out to illustrate to readers that in the USA we are on the edge of a precipice, likely at any time to fall into a 21st century version of a fascist nation, albeit fascist with a pretty bow on top, a smartphone, i-pad, and a large-screen TV attached - initially. The commenter presented a list of evidential facts to support the premise. (I'm confident that the author of the comment would not object to my spreading the word, blanket permission was given another individual to do so.)

The List (slightly condensed here, for brevity's sake)

Some of the achievements during Obama's "Lesser Evilism Reign of Terror Traveling Road Show." The list is not exhaustive and covers only recent history:

Obama and the Democrats' Fascist Maneuverings:

Executive Order to create a Cat Food Commission stacked with anti-Social Security / Social Program corporatists.

White House opposed bringing back Glass Steagall.

WARS fully funded and EXPANDING- see AFRICOM.

Trillion dollars given to friends and campaign contributors on Wall Street.

Military Spending INCREASED.

Trillion+Dollars given to the Health Insurance Industry.

Killed possibility for a REAL “Public Option” or REAL Universal Health Care for at least another generation, and begin the “Entitlement Reform” defunding of Medicare (-$500 Billion).

Blocked ANY re-regulation of BIG BANKS and Credit Cards.

Protected the Bush War Criminals and Torturers from JUSTICE.

Expanded Drone Assasinations.

Reinforced the worst Police State provisions of the Patriot Act.

Expanded government surveillance.

EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) killed in the crib

Free Trade Job Off-shoring.

Supports De-regulation (see: Clinton & Death of Glass-Steagal)

NDAA / Expansion of Government Power.

Bernanke, Geithner. Holder.

Monsanto @ FDA.

Linking Social Security to the Deficit via the Payroll Tax “Holiday”

Crackdown on Occupy movement via Homeland Security.

Whistleblowers, a-la Bradley Manning & WikiLeaks attacked

Shielded BP for its Gulf Disaster

Pushed through the Trans Pacific Partnership

Expanded Military Involvement in Africa

Education plan boosts privatization, victimizes teachers

Put Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations.

Indefinitely imprisons detainees without charges

Promotes the Militarization of Mexico

Supports the Permanent War Budget

20,000 Airstrikes in President Obama's First Term Cause Death and Destruction From Iraq to Somalia.

Signed the NDAA into law - making it legal to assassinate Americans w/o charge or trial.

Initiated, and personally oversees a 'Secret Kill List'.

Waged war on Libya without congressional approval.

Started a covert, drone war in Yemen.

Escalated the proxy war in Somalia.

Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan.

Maintained a presence in Iraq even after "ending" the war.

Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan.

Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries.

Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.

Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia.

Opened a military base in Chile.

Signed the Patriot Act extension into law.

Deported a modern-record 1.5 million immigrants.

Continued Bush's rendition program.

Sent U.S. troops to Niger to set up drone base

Warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, Indefinite detention
without charge or trial, Targeted killings of suspects by drone,
without any pretense of due process (even if they are US citizens).
These are not opinions these are ordinary facts- if it smells like fascism.............

From elsewhere a down-to-earth view of our plight and the difficulties we face in addressing it, by commenter "Nevada Liberal" (I've stupidly lost the source)
You would have to elect 218 Alan Graysons to the House. 60 Bernie Sanders' to the Senate. And Elect Dennis Kucinich as President in order to stop this thing you profess not to like. Off the top, 50% of the Nation would vehemently disagree with me. And, even if you could do that, it would still take you.....????.....10 - 20 years to turn the Supreme Court to that ideology, if you could maintain power that long???? You starting to kinda sorta get a feel for where we are at folks. Until then, keep calm and carry on.
(Nevada Liberal)

OR....if an opportunity should arise the more pro-active route would be

If fascism is indeed the disease we face, it will prove to be terminal to our way of life. Whereas socialism and capitalism might prove, with much sincere and determined effort from both sides, to become workable bedfellows in government, that other "ism" - fascism - is good for nothing and nobody in any civilised and humane society.


mike said...

I think the labeling of the USA's type of governance has become complicit with other industrialized nations' governance into a new version of multi-national over-sight.

The UK was recently indicted by Snowden as being a primary leader of surveillance, procuring even more private data than the USA ( The banking fiasco has its roots in the UK, as well.

China and Russia have interesting global ties, too. While the general public views these two countries as adversarial, their dominance, clout, and influence on the world's stage can't be ignored. Their relationship to the USA's and other free-world-democracies may be enigmatically more amenable than displayed through the media.

I suspect the G8 government-summits and the G20 financial-summits that are always on display are in reality the new governance and dominion of a global empire. It will require each member-country to transition toward fascism as a means for the citizens to forfeit independence as an individual nation and move toward a union of nations. The indications that this is succeeding is very evident. Governmental reform of many countries, in the names of military security and financial stability, is trending toward an increase in authoritarian qualities.

I think that the USA is increasingly aspiring to a fascist style of governance, but hasn't reached a critical level of authoritarianism to truly call it fascism...not yet, anyway. Wiki states that fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - maybe this new era will be called militant financial globalization elitism

Twilight said...

mike ~ The UK and USA are hand-in-hand on this - yes, I agree.
The old idea that the UK is the 51st state isn't too far off the mark these days.

The union of nations I used to envisage in a "peace on earth" context was nothing like the one that seems likely to emerge if the powers that be have their way.

Like you, I don't believe we're there yet - not quite, though whether there can be anything (other than maybe drastically accelerated climate change) to stop the momentum, seems very doubtful.

"militant financial globalization elitism"? MFGE - I can think of alternative definition for the first two letters! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with all you say in this post, Twilight. However, the conduit to propel this "fascism" was chosen sometime in the past, someone whom the press and people would not be able or want to question. That man sits in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I know I sound like an alarmist or a crazy birther, but I am neither. Obama, the person, the politician, his murky past,umdisclosed personal documents,alliances that would sink any other politician in a New York minute ? Let's not forget the illegal way the Democrats stuck a knife in Hillary's back to carry his sorry ass over the finish line. Barry is doing the bidding of people promoting this "fashionable fascism" in return for a comfortable retirement. I do take enjoyment in watching China and Russia treat him with such disdain. I wish Cameron wasn't so "wobbly". Astrologically, I hope Saturn in Scorpio does its' job and secrets will be revealed. I have this transit in my 12th and secrets have been revealed, fortunately to my benefit.

Chomp said...

All the data point to a new form of Fascism, not as vulgar or noisy, perhaps more attentive and careful, but of the same very nature indeed ...

It is one of the exits of the Great World Crisis we’re all in: Fascism, as it was in the Thirties of last Century ...

And Fascism won’t function again ...

But perhaps, retruning to our exchange of opinions about your last and preceeding post, perhaps this fact will contribute to a fastening of the rhythm of the crisis we’re in ...

Even if it remains true that, without focusing on the issue of redistribution of the richness in the whole world, all our protests aboutr civil rights, though right and agreeable, won’t ever function.

In fact, that level of redistridution is crucial indeed ...


Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ I agree, the cooperation of the president, whoever he happens to be is part of the plan (at the moment we have a particularly disappointing example because he was able to sell himself so well in the beginning, to so many people). I hesitate to defend him - there's little admirable to defend, but there has to be a fear of following the exit of JFK, MLK and others to take into consideration. O has mentioned this, according to some:

See HERE -
He’s afraid of what happened to Martin Luther King Jr. And I know from a good friend who was there when it happened, that at a small dinner with progressive supporters – after these progressive supporters were banging on Obama before the election, Why don’t you do the things we thought you stood for? Obama turned sharply and said, "Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?" That’s a quote, and that’s a very revealing quote.

So....if that is true (we can't ever be sure) it does make sense - although why get himself into such a position in the first place? He must have suspected what was expected of a president - he was surely not that naive.

Twilight said...

Chomp ~ Redistribution of the world's wealth at present seems as unlikely as the arrival of little green men from some distant outpost of the universe.

I cannot imagine anything but the most horrendous catastrophe, planet-wide, making re-distribution even a possibility. Even then it'd depend on who survived and who didn't, which way events would turn.

Yes, as you said, perhaps current evidences of small uprisings here and there around the world, and the beginnings of protest here following recent reminders about what our government is doing, will hasten development of "the fever", and the unpleasantness it could eventually bring forth.

In other words it'll have to get worse before it has even an outside chance of getting better.

mike (again) said...

Re: redistribution of world's wealth

The "black plague" occurring in Europe in the mid 1300s managed to greatly alter the distribution of wealth, power, and politics. The wealthy land owners at that time were very similar to our current "one percenters".

"The aftermath of the plague created a series of religious, social and economic upheavals, which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover. The plague reoccurred occasionally in Europe until the 19th century."

"In the Wake of the Plague", written by acclaimed historian, Norman Cantor (2001), is a fascinating book detailing the events leading-up to the plague (energy shortages due to population increases and the over-cutting of forests!; animal husbandry due to the availability of pastures once forests were cleared, leading to a density of animals; accumulation of inherited wealth and consequent subservience; the regulation of power and politics as a consequence of the wealth distribution; and so much more). Likewise, he assesses the redistribution of wealth after the plague, which disrupted many royal gene lines and left many large, valuable tracts of land without ownership. This led to many families acquiring these lands and leaving poverty behind. Many "brands" that we know today would not have been possible without this redistribution (lots of vintage wineries!). The Renaissance Period probably would not have been part of our past, if not for the plague.

Cantor has received criticism for this tome, because of some of his hypotheses regarding the definition of the plague...he asserts it was a combination of anthrax (with deforestation came herds and animal husbandry on the open pastures) and bubonic plague.

I'm not sure which I would prefer, a massive population wipe-out leading to redistribution of wealth...or our current pre-fascist atmosphere, which will invariably lead us to some other form of altered reality.

mike (again) said...

I have no idea where to post this, so I chose right here! This is an old post from Planet Waves regarding Thema Mundi, World Chart...some interesting information:

Twilight said...

mike ~ Hmmmm - ve--erry interesting! Thanks for the information about that previous and easily identifiable cycle of re-distribution of wealth in history.

Yes, it's not a good choice, is it? New plague-like pandemic or new version fascism/totalitarianism/police state. :-(

We have little power over either eventuality though, so it'll not come down to our choice.....we'll simply be "sitting ducks".

Thanks for the link to Planet Waves and Thema Mundi world chart.
I'll read the article in full later - I do recall reading about this - maybe even on Planet Waves some time ago.

This topic, and the link, though always of interest, will coincidentally, be particularly linkable to the post I've just been tidying up for tomorrow, too. :-)

astroparadise said...

Great article and comment Twilight - you are right on the mark. Fascism (Pluto) amongst humanity (Uranus) is once again prevalent.

During the last Uranus-Pluto square, which occurred during the 1930's, fascism was growing and spreading across Europe. After the Uranus-Pluto square separated (which was before the end of the 30's), fascist leaders like Hitler and Mussolini emerged publicly and came into power. But the Uranus-Pluto square of the 30's was the engine for this state of affairs.

Do we learn anything from history, or do we repeat the same mistakes? Will the (largely unaware) masses allow this situation to happen again, or will common sense, and most importantly awareness, prevail and intervene before it is too late?

Twilight said...

astraparadise ~~ Thanks! :-) We humans are not usually known for our common sense, but we can always hope for improvement! Uranus/Pluto doesn't offer any easy lessons, we have been very bad students in the past.