What is Fascism?

I’m so tired of defending my understanding of social democracy. The way many people tell it, all forms of socialism are bad, citing the U.S.S.R., China and Cuba as examples; they’re all somehow inherently totalitarian oligarchies.

However, if we follow this logic, how are we to view the United States? The U.S. is supposed to be a “representative democratic republic,” not a corporate oligarchy (fascist plutocracy). This is what it has become nevertheless, and it has become one of the biggest bullies in history. The U.S. is an imperialist corporate oligarchy, well on it’s way to becoming totalitarian in it’s own right. I understand it hasn’t reached that point yet; it hasn’t begun to wage war against its own citizens in earnest, although it has been very aggressive abroad–whether or not it was necessary for any reason other than profit.

It is also clear that the U.S. was never really democratic, at least not for everyone. It was always an imperialist bully.

Shall we conclude that all democratic republics are inherently imperialist corporate oligarchies just because the U.S. is? Keep in mind that the Soviet Union and China count as democratic republics, because socialism is a form of democracy. They are obviously not corporate oligarchies although they are totalitarian (or were, in the case of the U.S.S.R.). No form of democracy is inherently totalitarian. If anyone wants to contest that and say that fascism is democratic too, they should know that no form of government where only a few hundred people or so have most of the power is democratic–far from it.

It is absurd to say the Soviet Union was fascist because there was nothing at all “corporate” about their system. “Totalitarian” is the correct word. Those who wish to change the definition of fascism should say so before they declare that certain totalitarian regimes, ones founded on socialist principles, were fascist; otherwise a social democrat will ask them what the hell they are talking about.

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

Official Portrait of President Fascist Crony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. is showing signs of becoming totalitarian; Ronald Reagan opened the way for corporate fat cats to take over and they have done a fine job of it. It was quite easy to subvert the democratic process once those pesky regulations were lifted, too, because U.S. citizens had been primed for it early. Just ask all the people who were oppressed over here from the very beginning; as far as the United States government was (and many of its citizens were) concerned, some of those people were spoils of war; now just about everyone other than our true leaders can be called a “commodity.” Yet, this does not mean it is becoming socialist, any more than a socialist regime becomes capitalist when it moves into totalitarianism.

Most people who insist that socialism is synonymous with fascism will often be adamant that capitalism is synonymous with democracy, which simply isn’t true. Democracy doesn’t have to be capitalist, socialist, communist, direct, representative, corporatist, or totalitarian. It can be any of these except corporate or totalitarian.

This is a special case, now. Corporatism is not necessarily totalitarian, but it isn’t democratic either. Even if a corporate state does not reach the excesses of World War II Italy, it tends to make life difficult for hard-working people and people who want to work. And they thrive on turning those people against each other. This is close enough to totalitarianism to make it a threat to democracy.

Let’s examine the definition of fascism a little closer, just to be clear. Wikipedia has this to say:

Hostile to liberal democracy, socialism, and communism, fascist movements share certain common features, including the veneration of the state, a devotion to a strong leader, and an emphasis on ultranationalism and militarism.

Totalitarianism is an extreme form of nationalism (i.e., Nazi Germany), and fascism is a form of totalitarianism that caters to the will of large corporations (i.e., their allies in Italy). It is “hostile” to socialism and communism–hostile to working people. And it is hostile to democracy as a whole (although it isn’t the only system like this).

This is not the only source for the definition. Merriam-Webster’s does make it sound like nationalism in general, but I would still argue the point and say it is just one kind of nationalism. Of course, for one of the examples of fascism, it quotes Anne Applebaum from the New York Review of Books who says:

On one side stood Hitler, fascism, the myth of German supremacy; on the other side stood Stalin, communism, and the international proletarian revolution (25 Oct. 2007). (Fascism, Merriam-Webster.com)

Clearly indicating how they were both totalitarian and yet completely different in almost every other way.

Another source is the leader of WWII Italy himself, Mussolini. [Edit] This quote of him saying that fascism is a melding of corporate interests with the state has been disputed. However, he has said:

The Socialists ask what is our program? Our program is to smash the heads of the Socialists. (Benito Mussolini, Wikiquotes)

Something that is hostile to socialism is obviously not socialism. And socialism is a long way from being “corporate.”

Socialism isn’t the enemy. It isn’t inherently totalitarian. A system founded on democratic principles only becomes totalitarian when the people in charge have too much power and will do anything to keep it.

The enemy of the people of the United States, and much of the world today, is corporate, obsessed with profit and ownership. That is fascism. It is unequal, unfair, and very, very undemocratic.

Saying “life isn’t fair” is also just an excuse to abdicate responsibility to the human family. Nature is indifferent, seemingly cruel, but humankind is capable of fairness, and this is all the more reason to be as fair as possible in all of our interactions.

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What Do I Believe?

I guess that if I have developed anything like “religious convictions” (although I’d prefer not to call them that) over the years, they would be:

1. That God really does care about all of us, regardless of all the evidence to the contrary.

2. The Bible is a guide (an excellent guide, mind you, and the one that really speaks to my heart) to the Word of God, and not the Word per say. It is not the only guide. As it says in the Bible, God’s Word is in our hearts. There are too may interpretations and too many people insisting that theirs is the only correct one to perceive this differently.

3. A spiritual (and maybe somewhat linguistic) philosophy influenced by many–including my understanding of natural philosophy (science) and some pagan–sources, but mainly rooted in the historical recordings of the words of Jesus Christ, the historical context in which he lived, and his part in the rebellion against the established order of his time (including the priests in charge of the Temple of Jerusalem), and centered around John 1:1 and 1:14.

English: Resurrection of Christ

English: Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. I experience the spiritual presence of God through the bonds (especially unconditional love) and interactions (although God is certainly not the only thing I experience through general interactions) I have with the people closest to me (and anyone when it comes to interactions). In some way, something of God comes through everyone and everything, because they are part of God. Even the family dog (because Trouble really is no trouble at all, and she is a Godsend in many ways). Yes, that means I believe that other intelligent creatures are “people” too (but I am not here to discuss how intelligent other creatures are or are not).

5. Every living person has done wrong, in some way harmed others. It is, or at least seems, in our nature and it becomes too easy to make wrong decisions–even when our intentions are good–if we do not remain vigilant. Not everyone continues to do wrong; many people at least try to make right decisions as often as humanly possible.

6. A system that allows a very small number of people to gain and maintain more than 80% of the wealth, especially when that system disdains, ostracizes and demonizes anyone with little or no income or anyone who criticizes it, is hardly much different from a corrupt aristocracy.

6a. This same system, “corporatism,” breeds and nurtures rampant “bullyism” into all levels of our society, because of it’s overemphasis of the capitalist “spirit of fair competition.” The corporate way is to assimilate or crush all competition, and there is nothing “fair” about it. This principle is reflected in and woven into even the lowest levels of our society and culture.

What Conspiracy?

Bank Profits Soar, Wages Suffer Sharpest Decline in 60 Years

The front magazine cover art of Popular Mechan...

The front magazine cover art of Popular Mechanics’ March 2005 issue, displaying the article’s title. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(I apologize, but after rereading the Terms of Use on the TRNN web site, I’m not sure I can post the video on my blog).

 

If we accept that there is a power elite and that this power elite has divergent interests from the rest of us, then conspiracy theories are not extraordinary claims at all. There’s nothing extraordinary about the proposition that people who have power over others and who have divergent interests from them will secretly try to fuck those other people over. – Francois Tremblay on “The Prime Directive

Everyone keeps telling me I’m succumbing to conspiracy theories. They don’t get that I’m not talking about conspiracies, I’m talking about facts, things that are already out in the open that many people choose to ignore or are just too plain naive to see what’s happening. The conspiracy was over a long time ago, in the 1980s, when Reagan lifted the regulations that kept corporate fat cats from seizing control of the power.

Early on, some members of our government recognized that giving corporations too much power meant less freedom for everyone else and they took steps to prevent this from happening again (because it had already happened at least once before, with the Rockefeller’s oil empire). The government devised regulations for this, along with the historical precedent of breaking up the Rockefeller oil empire into several smaller, but separate, businesses. But now those regulations no longer exist, and the government insists on “bailing out” banks and big business instead of breaking them up.

And, during the Bush Administration, the government passed a law that makes “financial political contributions” (formerly called “bribes”) the same thing as “free speech.” Those who argue there is nothing wrong with this practice seem to ignore the fact that when all this money talks the people who have little or no money (the actual majority) do not get heard.

These are facts, not suppositions, not speculations, and not theories. I draw certain conclusions from these facts, and some of those conclusions might be suppositions and speculations, but many have me thinking, “What other conclusions can I possibly draw from these facts, anyway?”

What conclusion should we draw from the fact that corporate profits are soaring but the wages of the average worker have actually gone down? You tell me.

And what about those of us who don’t work (for whatever reason, in a position with no income)? I went job hunting in 2010, just before starting school at Towson University. I kept submitting applications throughout the semester and returning to those businesses regularly to check on them. To my surprise, some managers were annoyed that I had returned. In the past it was a sign of initiative and willingness to work. Now it just means you’re a pain in the neck at some businesses.

I never got a job. I also applied for jobs in school. Two interviews total, both at school, and no job. I had a recommendation from one of my English professors too, for the tutoring job. I did get lucky enough to land the awesome internship at Diamond Comics Distributors (woot!). Unfortunately, my past several weeks of job hunting, all including decent references, for low-level jobs that in the past had high turnover rates, have still resulted in no interviews, no call backs, no emails. So I not only question the declining wages, but wonder why I can’t seem to get one myself (a declining wage, that is, or any kind of wage).