Tuesday, October 17, 2006

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Prospects for Fascism in America

It’s now cliché for radicals to make links between US policy and Nazi Germany (it’s just really easy). Some take the analogy further, claiming that fascism in all its glory is fully integrated into American culture— with death camps soon to come. To some extent the various predictions are credible; the historical correlations are often unshakable. Sometimes however, the fascist bogeyman is revealed as exaggeration, or simply paranoia. Underestimating the drive and desperateness of those pushing the fascist agenda in the US is of course dangerous, with much of the population making this mistake; on the other hand, a common, tactical error many radicals make is in overvaluing the resources, organization, and receptiveness these groups have attained, often leading to demoralization and inaction. Exposing fascist tendencies in the US, their future prospects as well as limitations will be the goal of what follows.

Before a talk about fascism can begin, a proper definition is helpful; in order to keep things simple: fascism is capitalism in crisis. Whenever this cultural abomination rears its head it’s at the beckon of the controllers of finance and industry, who, facing unfavorable conditions and shrinking profits, compensate by using their power to shift the direction of the nation-state to meet their changing needs. The instigators of fascist thought are the most farsighted and prominent businessmen and politicians, the elites who understand the changing economy and its adverse effects on commerce, able to proscribe a fitting social remedy. In using this historically tested definition, one can state with confidence that there is no serious difference between the basis of the fascism of the Nazis and that of current US policy— with the neocons acting as vanguard. And because the neocons are the most advanced layer of corporate thought, they demand a certain degree of subservience from the other elite groups; how else can the general cowardice and collusion of the Democrats be explained? However, the difference between a government’s fascist foundation and its social accomplishments are not unimportant matters.

Fascism requires a radical departure from the societal status quo, thus becoming a complicated maneuver for the elites to pull off. The Social fabric of a nation ridden with class-conflict is always delicate, especially in the turbulent economic times that fascist-orientated groups come into prominence. The difficulty increases when one considers that fascism is the expressed interests of the corporations and banks— pushing their agenda requires the rest of society take a back seat or be herded to the war front; this creates tension and revulsion, a tougher balancing act is hard to imagine. The forms these conflicts have taken in history have been numerous, mixing different doses of propaganda and repression, always yearning for that most effective of combinations. Thus far, the politicians of the US have been uninspiring chemists.

Undoubtedly, 9/11 proved to be a suspiciously convenient pretext for unleashing the countless fascist policies long-planned and demanded by the upper echelons ( for the sake of time, lets just say that that day was full of ‘inconsistencies’) The extremely useful propaganda that resulted from 9/11 scared enough Americans into accepting 2 ½ wars (counting Lebanon); but we have been told that more war is on the way, and the elites are clear out of maneuvers, there’re incredibly off-balance to say the least.

The quagmire that is Iraq has been a difficult pill for our modern-day aristocrats to choke down. They’ve lost the war, but their plans require possession of that tiny, oil-filled country. As the death toll and enormous costs mount, so do the social consequences at home— sometimes silently, other times in explosions. The masses are a fragile bunch, reacting in wild, unpredictable ways; the lab-rats in the state PR department are frantically double-checking their mixtures, they’re working with untested elements.

As a result, many of the elites who were formally neocon cheerleaders— if only through their complicit silence— have made a sudden about-face. The signs are everywhere: the ruling-class is split. Many are making a run for the Democrats, hoping that they can prevent a social catastrophe while still staying on the ever-narrowing and hazardous imperialist path— the confessions of Colin Powell and George Tenet, the reemergence of Bob Woodward, all the new leaks, exposures, and scandals, just in time for the mid-term elections. The neocons are getting dumped.

How will the Democrats handle the new power thrusted upon them? They have been quite clear on the matter. After a year of prostituting themselves in the press to big-business, the elites have finally signed on, knowing their interests will be fully cared for. Although the power will shift on Capital Hill, the social situation remains as it was— critical; the masses are growing steadily angry and the demands of business are still unrelenting. The ‘liberals’ claim to have a better concoction to handle this deepening conflict, they are only fooling themselves.

The new strategy of the Democrat’s is simple: their making a giant leap to the right— and it couldn’t have been any other way. In times of crisis, the only proven way to juggle the demands of business while keeping everybody else prostrate requires an observance to the proscriptions of fascism. Thus, the Democrats are suddenly super-patriots, laden with xenophobia (anti-immigration and anti-Islam), warmongering, overly-concerned with morality and values, ad-infinitum. They’re attacking the right from the right. This is also why the mentally-defunct ‘war on terror’ is not only accepted, but broadcasted by the so-called liberals in an overtly-fascist attempt to cajole the masses. The only criticism of war from the Democrats is limited to the Republicans ‘bungling’ the war on terror— this subtle euphemism can only refer to the Republicans bungling the always delicate social balance: they’ve upset the masses and botched the elite’s goals.

The Democrats have their work cut-out for them. The foundation of fascist ideology revolves around nationalism— an ideology where everybody shares a common interest, class divisions are whitewashed. Anybody who’s seen the infamous Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will knows that we haven’t quite made it to Nazi Germany yet. The national consensus the elites have so eagerly sought is quickly crumbling, the US is as split as it ever has been, with the natural processes of capitalism widening the gulf. Distrust of government remains at an all time high; the elites have lost all credibility.
Hitler was much more intelligent than Bush Jr., enabling him to implement policies— beyond the above-mentioned tactics— that helped stifle class-conflict. Hitler flattered and pandered to the working masses, comparing their services to Germany to the heroic efforts of the military man; he created employment and improved the horrible conditions— if only slightly— of much of the country, while subsidizing recreational activities that served as diversions. The US government has only spit-on and devastated the working-class, creating discontent and tensions that will inevitably surface in volatile ways.

Following in Hitler’s footsteps are both Republicans and Democrats, as each group is equally zealous in destroying civil-liberties—- a basic prerequisite for any totalitarian society. Radicals have voiced the utmost disgust at the apathy of the masses in response to these measures. However, most people do not react to heavily-worded laws passed by Congress, they respond to events. The elites understand this fact better than the left, and have throughout history attempted to avoid big shocks to the system, opting for subtle changes in policy. Sometimes though— especially in times of crisis— the ruling classes are forced to make giant leaps. The present era is such a time. The enormous outrage that was voiced prior to the Iraq War has not disappeared, but is silently fermenting, waiting for an excuse to be unleashed. There is every reason to believe that such a cause will soon manifest, whether it be war, recession or depression, or more blatant state repression.

Even though the ruling class is confused and scattered, they have one thing going for them: their opponents are equally dumfounded and disorganized. Labor unions, an always critical organization in fighting the interests of the elites, are being decimated, thanks to the horrible bureaucratic deformation that constitutes their leadership, who constantly aide big-business in the destruction of workers wages and benefits. The continual weakening of labor— aided by the constant, reactionary court decisions of neocon judges— serves only to strengthen the side that favors the methods of fascism.

Not to be outdone, the leadership of the radical left, after a generation of scant social progress, continues to adhere to the proven ineptness of protest politics. Parades are arranged to ‘drive out the Bush regime’ or to ‘end war’— no parade has ever accomplished such a feat. Radicals bemoan the fact that few are interested in marching in rallies; do they not understand why? Rally after rally has been held, the soles of shoes have been worn thin while those in power pass more restrictive laws, prohibit gatherings, and go about their business unconcerned.

The bankruptcy of perspective on the left allows the right to take a deep breathe, gather its bearings, and try new, creative combinations of fear-manufacturing and disinformation. At this point, one can thumb through any number of left ‘radical’ publications and find a commentator jadedly searching for that ‘one big idea’ that will unite the scattered and directionless left. Such an idea has long been in existence, made possible by the actual conditions of our class-based society, where the overwhelming majority of the population already understands its common social interest, no matter how many professional politicians and radicals try to confuse the matter by directing their followers to dead-end reformism or ‘issue-based activism’— an idea as damaging to social progress as the current state of the trades-unions, where everybody vies for attention at the expense of everybody else.

The majority of citizens realize where they stand under capitalism— in opposition to the billionaires, Senators, and warmongers who are the most active in pursuing the fascist agenda. Again, fascism is capitalism in crisis, meaning, that the system cannot function in the ‘normal’ way, all the inherent iniquities and horrors sharpen, the world appears to have gone mad. Although there is an element of insanity in the actions of the elites, they feel obligated to take such risky adventures, blindly obedient as they are to the pursuit of profits. The only practical way to destroy the profit-motive that is marching us all to our doom is by socializing society’s wealth, and producing for human need rather than the demands of Wall Street. Being ‘against war’ and ‘pro-peace’ just isn’t enough; events are demanding a wider outlook.

As the right regroups and draws-up fresh plans, any number of outcomes is possible. However, any eventuality depends on the organization and action of the masses; if people are shown a political route they can be active in and inspired by, they will readily join. If no such alternative exists, a state of demoralization sets in and the right is quickly strengthened. During times of economic crisis, the masses desperately look for answers; if the left continues to offer nothing but the same tired ideas and slogans, the right will have a large, exploitable section of the population to work with.

Although the divisions within the elite afford some breathing time, it will not last. New pretexts for wars are being discussed right now, and if a change of strategy doesn’t happen soon, many will be caught unaware. In short, the left needs to wake up, look around, and see what’s actually happening; once a grasp of the situation is made, common-sense political conclusions inevitably follow— the fascist principles that unite the right shine light on the path the left must follow to oppose them; the right is forced to gather behind the unyielding demands of the profit-system, the rule of which the left must unite against.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dissecting the war on terror

After five years of post 9/11 government, U.S. foreign and domestic policy continues to be dominated by the all-encompassing ‘war on terror’. Events have since exposed this so-called war for what it is: a gross propaganda campaign used to suppress civil liberties and launch global war. It is of course impossible to declare war on a tactic of war, which is what terrorism is— a technique used by those incapable of defeating a regular army in open combat. The media propagandists cannot call the ‘insurgency’ in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Lebanon by its proper name, ‘occupation resistance’, because doing so would expose the imperialist nature of U.S. foreign policy, and undermine the fear that is produced and exploited by blaming U.S. casualties on ‘Islamic fundamentalists’, or as they are misnamed now, ‘Islamic-fascists’ (Orwell would be especially proud of the creativeness). This quick summary— however redundant— of the ‘inconsistencies’ of the war on terror, leads one to wonder how such a cultural abomination could exist in the first place. The following is an attempt to explain the history and evolution of government-sponsored propaganda campaigns, with the goal of placing the ‘war on terror’ in its proper context.

The best way to get to the heart of the ‘war on terror’ is by exploring its historical foundation; the development of such political charades has a long and squalid past. If history has taught us anything, it’s that barefaced democracy, under capitalism, is an unstable and fleeting occurrence. One needs only to reflect upon the great democratic revolutions throughout history to make the desired point. The first such revolution, the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of England, quickly evolved into an overly-democratic, popular movement, inciting the usually tepid lower classes— led by the Levelers— to action. To keep things ‘orderly’ enough to do business, the capitalists (the designers of every modern-day, democratic revolution), resorted first to a dictatorship, under Cromwell, and then required the assistance of the displaced monarchy— to give the illusion of a ‘higher authority’. Such a drastic measure became necessary, since the English masses became immune to the mighty-phrases of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ while remaining wage-slaves. The result is that we have, to this day in England, a House of Commons, for the supposed common folk, and a House of Lords, where the ancestors of royalty haughtily mix with their brothers-in-arms, the corporate-elite, in shameless undemocratic rule.

The French Revolution experienced similar problems. As the French masses got riled up by the liberating slogans the industrialists used to expel the monarchy, the new elite soon lost control of their brain-child. To bring the mass movement led by the Jacobins under wraps, an eventual dictatorship was necessary: those who once taught enlightenment ideals soon starting preaching the need of law and order, giving unswerving support to Napoleon.

The American Revolution was in some ways an exception, in other ways as typical as the rest. The colonies had an over-abundance of land and resources that enabled the elite (our pride founding fathers, almost all successful businessmen) to quell potential class-conflict through concession, not to mention an over-abundance of slaves to do the dirtiest work of profit-making. Part of government strategy to dominate the vast space was to grant free land to pioneers, who would gobble-up the life-blood of the indigenous peoples; it was the tremendous wealth of the unconquered country that allowed the elite to appease the lower classes— minus minorities of course—for a century or so, until the country was successfully ‘settled’. Soon thereafter, the inequality naturally produced under capitalism started to take hold, renewing ‘all the old crap’.

Every democratic revolution has experienced the same problem once it began: the inability for the new arrangement of society— that of owners and workers— to match the ideals of liberty, freedom, and equality that first spawned the changes. Once the new social system cemented itself, all the ancient forms of repression were resurrected out of necessity, due to the inequality that remained and in fact increased under capitalism; the myriad results from the various democratic revolutions consist of: constitutional monarchies, police-states, theocracies, two-party systems, and corporate domination of social life— real democracy under capitalism is, and has always been, an unrealizable goal. The various types of democracy-stifling governments are needed to create ideal business environments (especially low wages and corporate subsidies), while securing the extravagances of those who most benefit from societies inequity; most importantly, repressive state powers are needed so the ‘unruly elements’— the majority of the population— keep their demands limited and their mouths shut. Gigantic state forces, combined with creative indoctrination programs are needed to legitimize the fact that, in the U.S., one man has 40+ billion dollars while 40+ million people squander their lives in poverty.

A closer look on how this historic conflict has played out in American society sheds further light on the current situation, showing how and why social antagonisms flourish at certain periods, lay dormant at other times, requiring varying levels of state repression mixed with creative propaganda. After the industrial revolution’s belated triumph (the civil war), U.S. society finally fell victim to the social struggle that was familiar to the rest of the world; this radicalization of society was felt everywhere, culminating during the great depression. Unfortunately, the U.S. government was able to channel much of the social dissatisfaction into patriotism in general, and towards the ‘fight against fascism’ in particular. All social issues were abandoned, and national attention was directed at a war that was supposedly a fight for civilization. Although fascism did actually exist (as opposed to the alleged ‘Islamic-fascism of today), the actual purpose of the war was the suppression of civil unrest domestically, as well as the imperialistic longings of the elite abroad. The propaganda that sold the war always left out the actual causes of fascism, nor why fascist governments were supported by the U.S. and England until very late in the game.

After WWII came promises from the U.S. government to relieve the plight of the common man; the New Deal, which provided a meager safety net, was later supplemented by the economic expansion that took hold on an international level, enabling the capitalists to make significant concessions— pay-raises, pensions, and health-care— to their militant workers. Due to the expanded use of assembly-line manufacturing, Capitalism embarked on its largest period of growth ever, creating the conditions that allowed for a sustained class peace (in industrialized nations only)

Since the threat of fascism was extinguished, a new pretext for pursing corporate profits through military adventurism, also know as ‘imperialism’, was invented: the fight against communism. The American people at this point, fresh from a military victory and a giant increase in living standards (for the new middle class anyway), was ripe for the hyperbole. It should be noted that the ‘fight against communism’ was a step lower on the evolutionary propaganda-chain than the ‘fight against fascism’, not only because the ‘communist threat’ was vaguer and more nonsensical than its fascist ancestor, but because the U.S. government PR people had to compensate for the fact that in Vietnam, the U.S. was acting unilaterally (with a scant ‘coalition of the willing’) and facing a guerilla campaign with years of experience against foreign occupiers (now referred to as terrorism), supported by the majority of the Vietnamese population.

The U.S. population experienced a ‘great awakening’ during and after the Vietnam War. After the military defeat, a generally mistrust of government, mixed with a healthy dose of identity crises—something that happens to all imperialist populations after military defeat— invaded all corners of U.S. society. The ‘fight against communism’ propaganda was largely exposed; general political consciousness was on the rise; another trick promulgated by the elite was extinguished.

After the fall of the USSR the U.S. was the sole super-power in the world. There was absolutely no reason for U.S. taxpayers to maintain the gargantuan military budget that guaranteed U.S. corporate interests the world over. Americans, sensing the opportunity of social progress, started to demand changes. The elite would have none of it: enter the ‘the war on terror’.

To complicate matters for the ruling class, their international economic clout had eroded— due in part to the growing stature of Europe, as well as the rising industrial might of China and India. On an international level, the amazing corporate growth-rates experienced after WWII had ended, renewing the stagnant economic conditions that created the social upheavals of past generations. The ‘war on terror’ was a necessary venture that killed two birds with one stone: it allowed for the continuance of U.S. imperialism around the world, while distracting and repressing the social issues created by the worsening economic situation.

To better understand the processes of the ‘war on terror’, an inquiry into the authors of this new ‘crusade’ is helpful. As is known, the neocons are the masterminds responsible for the implementation and strategy of the ‘war on terror’; however, this savvy group did not spring from the brain of an evil genius like many stumped radicals seem to think; they were born from the same conditions that created their fascist ancestors in Germany, Italy, and Spain. The neocons came to prominence through the bankroll of corporate America; like the Nazis before them, they attracted corporate backing by advertising their uniquely aggressive foreign policy (see the writings of the PNAC), insuring that raw materials (especially oil) and markets would fall into the pockets of those corporations footing the campaigning bills; the neocons were guaranteeing them Iraq without the hindrance of international law, and all the war-profiteering that inevitably flowed from it. It was thus no surprise that Bush’s initial presidential campaign racked in a record amount of contributions, with hardly a finger lifted on his part.

To emphasize the deepening crisis that corporations continue to find themselves in, Bush’s original election platform should be taken into consideration. Nobody, especially the Republican corporate-sponsors, was under any illusions about what Bush would do if elected. Many Corporations had, after years of struggling profit-rates, decided on a more aggressive remedy for their problems. Thus, the same desperate mood of commerce that inspired those in the 30’s to support Mussolini and Hitler has reappeared again, prompting preemptive wars and all the necessary machinations of fascism used to justify them. It is no coincidence that Hitler’s frenzied ‘war against the Jewish-Communist conspiracy’ sounds all too familiar to those living under the ‘terrorist threat’.

Since fascism is a sign of capitalism in crisis, the interests of business versus wage-worker come into even sharper conflict, creating the need for the corporate-spokesmen (government) to resort to ever greater aggression, lies, and demagoguery; the confusion and fear involved in the often cartoonish ‘war on terror’ is a necessary policy— society has not suddenly become irrational and crazy, but hysteria and fear are the last remaining tools of government to foment war and mask social reality.

If in fact the ‘war on terror’ is a ploy by the elite to hide the class divisions of society, the specific propaganda techniques used to promote the farce should work directly to achieve these aims; as it turns out, the inner workings of the ‘war on terror’ abide by all the effective techniques employed by the earlier fascist regimes, adjusted only slightly for context. The goal is a subservient, class-blind society.

At its foundation, the ‘war on terror’ intends to give all Americans a common cause; this is done most effectively by promoting nationalism, or patriotism. These ideas inexorably lead to the historically useful ‘clash of cultures’ propaganda, which dual function serves to dehumanize the enemy while consensus building at home. A recent excerpt from a Bush speech epitomizes the ‘clash of cultures’ ideology:

“We face an enemy that has an ideology, they believe things. The best way to describe their ideology is to relate to you the fact that they think the opposite of the way we think.”—no typo here, it’s verbatim.

Thus, Islamic fundamentalists, or Muslims in general, are barely recognizable as humans, since the way they think is incomprehensible, making it all the easier to invade their countries and slaughter them. The goal is to create an atmosphere where there is no longer rich versus poor, but U.S. citizens versus their irrational terrorist enemies. Fortunately for the warmongers, the Middle East is dominated by a different religion, aiding in the ease of the ‘clash of cultures’ propaganda. Religion has always served fascist regimes well, since it serves the function of community building on a national scale, excluding all who pray under a different set of beliefs.

The goal of nationalism inevitably brings with it racism and scapegoating, directed at the groups disallowed into the culturally-defined ‘community’. Since imperialistic hostilities are directed towards Middle Easterners, anybody resembling one is a target. An adjoining topic that repeatedly emerges when nationalism is pursued is the ‘problem’ of immigration; suddenly, in the name of ‘protecting our borders’ from terrorists, immigrants have become yet another hapless victim of patriotism, where they are used to distract from the real social issues, while helping those in power to consolidate their constituency.

The most successful aspect of nationalism is fear-conjuring. This emotion is evoked so that citizens will discard their freedoms, forget their social position, and abandon their reason, placing all hope in a government that acts as both protector and neutral arbiter of interests. This tactic has been overused to such an extent in the U.S. that it need not be dwelled on; needless to say it functions in the same way as the above fascist techniques— it distracts from domestic concerns while creating a ‘national’ identity exploitable by a corporate-led, imperialistic government.

The above fascist formula is only effective so long as the real issues are distorted, and the listeners are preconditioned to accept outlandish claims based on bigotry, fear, and violence. This desperateness of corporate America increases daily, with the recent speeches of Bush and his henchman as proof; fomenting war against Iran has taken on ridiculous proportions, as the White House tries to make unrealistic links to any organization he groups together as ‘terrorists’, with the fascist regimes of Europe during WWII. Such an analogy, based on historical falsifications and intended to create more war, is not only highly ironic, but insane. The fervent demagogy in government is a reflection of the capitalists pulling the strings, who, facing stagnant growth and increased competition from emerging economies, have only their militaristic trump card to use in response. In taking the above into consideration, it is thus comprehendible how the ‘irrationality’ of the Holocaust had a very logical and conscious basis.

The liberating ideals of the enlightenment that inspired the battle-cries of the past democratic revolutions have evolved into the present-day manufacturing of fear and hate; the dominating interests behind both epochs are the same, only the capitalist system itself has changed. With this in mind, it must be asked: what new source of inspiration can rally humanity towards social progress? Many radicals think that the answer lies in crawling backwards through time, to the eras of capitalism where exploitation was less blatant, and not as repressive. This perspective, inspiring nobody, is especially worthless to those who never achieved satisfaction under the rule of capital, i.e., the majority of humanity. A truly worthwhile principle is something naturally intuited, but disregarded by professional economists as ‘utopian’: the social ownership of society’s wealth. This idea is creating revolutionary conditions all over Latin America, where thanks to the under-education of the people, demands of socialism are stirring the sleeping masses awake. Thanks to the rapid impoverishment within the United States, similar conditions are being created, where equally unrealistic demands are starting to appear.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Troop Question

As the shaky ceasefire between Lebanon and Israel lumbers on, the European governments expected to ‘enforce the peace’ have been stuttering and stalling in the face of actual commitment. It was France who took the initiative originally, who as head of UNISFL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), promised 3000 troops. After analyzing the situation further, an about-face occurred, and the troop level was reduced to 400 non-combatant personal. Italy saw opportunity and declared itself the replacement, promising 2000 troops; France, not to be outdone, reasserted leadership responsibilities, but with 2000 troops this time; Italy was then, thanks to its charitableness, awarded France’s old job as head of UNISFL. After all this, the seesawing attitude of the rest of Europe continues. These governments are demanding more definitive ‘rules of engagement’; they’re curious about the prospects of actual fighting, and are rightfully scared of being viewed as a foreign occupier in Hezbollahland. Bush is intent on seeing that his backfired war-effort is partially salvaged, and has insisted that Europe “hurry up” with military aide, since the U.S. has none to spare. It may be prudent to examine why Europe— who views Israel and the U.S. with apt distrust— is both eager and terrified to help them pursue their interests. Note: a working assumption will be that ‘humanitarian reasons’ is a sophistic answer, meant to lure citizens into obedience.

To really get into the heads of Europe’s leaders, a quick look into their rise to power is necessary. Much of Europe is a step ahead of the U.S. in regards to the school of ‘lesser evil’ politics, since Americans, who after being bipartisanly swindled into the Iraq war, will naively rely on the Democrats to get them out of it. The current leaders of Italy, France, Germany, England, et al, were all alternatives to the ‘truly dangerous leaders’ further right (keep in mind that Tony Blair is the Labor Party head, supposedly ‘left’ of our Democrats— whatever that means now-a-days). Jacque Chirac, who enjoys popularity levels as low as Bush, was given the combined support— like Kerry in the U.S.— of different ‘radical’ groups and parties; his domestic policies— installed to conform to ‘economic reality’— sparked a mass movement with the energy to potentially tear the roof off of French society. Needless to say, the governments of Europe are as alienated from public opinion as their transatlantic rival.

Europe is also having problems— like the U.S. — in the economic growth arena. Competition from the countries paying their workers slave-wages has had the same effect on Europe as the U.S., prompting the unpopular domestic measures that all European governments have unanimously agreed on. What Europe cannot agree on— besides a common currency— is everything else. The conflicting interests of the corporations within the various nations of Europe will never allow full unification: the continent remains divided politically, economically, and militarily. The individual nations are thus subject to domination by the larger world economies, and are reduced to fawning gestures towards the U.S. in the hopes of a handout, such as donations of cannon-fodder to Lebanon.

Europe needs Lebanon for the same reasons the U.S. does— market access, raw materials, rebuilding contracts, etc. Likewise, European governments are dominated by the same corporations that control social life in the U.S. — war manufacturers, oil, steel, and auto interests, banks, etc; These European interests, in reflecting the need for profits to expand, are willing to support U.S. aggression as long as there is meat to be plucked from the bones of the Middle East, no matter how slim the pickings.

Unfortunately for Europe, they are in no position to build a military capable of insuring the needs of their corporate backers; the U.S. escaped WWII industrially unscathed, and was able to use the ‘fight against communism’ to scare Americans into accepting a truly sinful military budget. Since the fall of the U.S.S.R, the elite needed a new threat to mask the harsh realities of imperialism— enter the buffoonish ‘war on terror’.

Both Europe and the U.S. have found a common interest, based on the fact that neither can compete with the emerging economies in producing wealth ‘the old fashioned way’, i.e., by making things; militarism is their trump card, enabling them to secure raw materials and markets, while monopolizing the energy reserves they can use as leverage against their competitors. What prevents Europe from mobilizing militarily is the same thing keeping them from committing troops to Lebanon, namely, the social consequences; no population likes paying for shoddy military hardware when the money could be going to schools; similarly, nobody enjoys having their sons shot in a foreign country when it could be otherwise. The governments of Europe, already facing intense hostility from within, are caught in the same bind as the U.S. – the conflict between the military demands of business and the emotional outbursts of their citizens.

It’s difficult for a government to act warmongerish when it’s unpopular; with the recent actions of the U.S. acting as proof. So as not to open Pandora’s Box by declaring a draft, a variety of measures have been adopted to squeeze every ounce of life out of those already fighting overseas. In a span of a week, two more signs of military desperation were announced: the recalling of 1,200 Marine Corps inactive reservists, as well as the tour extension of the US Army’s 172nd Stryker Brigade. These recent actions are consistent with the calling up of Reserves, the National Guard, as well as ‘stop loss’ or ‘stop gap’ procedures that have detained soldiers indefinitely past their contractual duties, wrecking havoc on their lives and affecting millions of their family members at home. It is these unsupportive measures that have allowed U.S. troops to fall victim to demoralization and the physical and mental breakdown consistent with military occupation.

It may be redundant to mention that all the ‘conflicts’ the U.S. is involved in are unwinnable. The Afghan insurgency is gaining strength (with Europe now thirstily leading the ruckus), Hezbollah will not be disarmed (eventually leading to more warfare), and Iraq is, more than ever, in anarchy; the New York Times reported a record 3,438 civilian deaths in Iraq last month, in conjunction with 2,625 exploded roadside bombs. Instead of admitting the obvious, both political parties are skillfully avoiding the issue through talk of new strategies, tactics, and accusations. Bush, for his part, reaffirmed that “we’re not leaving so long as I’m the president.” This statement, aside from being horribly anti-democratic, makes the unthinkable idea of a draft seem inevitable. The possibility of a draft increases again when one considers that many Democrats are still parroting the ‘rebelling General’s’ demands for “more troops”— this, when there are none to be found. Further credibility towards draft speculation occurs in lieu of the so-called opposition party’s opposition to anti-war candidates. If an anti-war Democrat happens to appear on a primary, an outpouring of aide is given to the opponent. The two-party system, having a monopoly of Democracy in the U.S., and knowing it cannot compete globally in any other fashion, is eschewing popular opinion rather then face the frightening consequences of a military withdraw, meaning, the abandonment of the U.S.’ global position as sole superpower.

The social consequences of a draft would immediately conjure up a resistance far more powerful than the likes of the Vietnam War. Political awareness— for much of the country— is far greater than previous generations, thanks in no small part to Vietnam. Distrust of government has crept out of the underground and into popular culture, where movies like Fahrenheit 9-11, V for Vendetta, and Syriana have— regardless of their artistic merit or political conclusions— raised the consciousness of millions of Americans. One example of this cultural shift was captured in a recent NY Times poll, revealing that half of Americans see no connection between the Iraq War and the so-called ‘War on Terror’; this after perhaps the largest propaganda campaign in earth’s history. However, one shouldn’t discount those in power; they are akin to a diseased and aching horse that refuses to go to pasture. When a draft is eventually called, it will most likely be under a different name; the Selective Service System has already talked openly about a “targeted draft” to enlist those who have the “special skills” the army is short on; as of now, only language and computer skills have been mentioned. The potential for wider needs, including human muscle, is easily imaginable.

The uneasy alliance between the U.S. and Europe is based on the shared interests of the crisis-ridden corporations at their helm; only this explains why both continents are attacking the status of workers, social services, promoting the intellectually-challenged ‘War on Terror’(always without any investigation into its causes), and consequently, destroying the freedoms that enable effective protest. The profit-crisis also explains why on an international level, corporations are lining up behind the lunatic right-wing political groups that best express the interests of the stock-exchange, rather than the vast majority of the population. This too is why the U.S. Democrats are unwilling to challenge the Republicans on any important issue, even though a half-wit would be perfectly capable of pointing out the blatant lies, the breaking of international law, and obvious war crimes. As the corporate-driven governments of the U.S. and Europe continue their maddened drive for profits, the people at home financing the wars with tax dollars and bodies turn to cynicism and hate. Large sections of the global population have the shared mindset of a powder keg, while the elites carelessly play with fire.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Coming Repression

If one listens closely to those directing U.S. foreign policy, accusations, infighting, and panic are clearly audible. If one listens closer still, bursting seams can be heard. The U.S. corporate-ruled elite are in a crisis they can’t escape from; what this means for the public is easily discernable, if one only listens.

The bickering between the policy-makers has a solid foundation. By now, it should be clear that the heyday of U.S. economic domination has run its course. The upper-classes no longer enjoy the spectacular productive advantages they had for the first fifty years after WWII; however, no one in power ever goes down without a fight. The continued outburst of U.S. militarism is merely a reflection of a decadent elite, hell-bent on maintaining the status quo. At this point, keeping things orderly requires turning the world upside town.

Take into consideration the recent insubordination of at least eight U.S. military Generals. The most vocal of the rebels is Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Iraq. No one has been more critical or public in their denunciations of Donald Rumsfeld, who is accused of poor strategy, not having a “plan for the peace”, not authorizing enough troops, and not listening to the Generals sound advice (keep in mind that all the Generals accept the atrocious ‘war on terror’ propaganda, as well as the legitimacy of the Iraq War in the first place). A particularly revealing criticism from Batiste is that “America is not mobilized for war”; this statement, more than any other, reveals the true scope of the emerging crisis.

The General was rightfully shocked upon returning from Iraq— where both the Reserves and National Guard are extended to their limit in massive operations— to find the majority of Americans busying themselves with leisure activities and petty distractions. What did the General expect to see? One can only guess. Being ‘mobilized for war’ does imply many things however. It means that the country supports the war not only morally, but enthusiastically. It implies that Americans are willing to continue warfare by using all of society’s resources, while sacrificing in other areas of social life. It assumes that the population expects more war to come, and is prepared to send oneself, or one’s children to die. It begs to be asked: why, after three wars (counting Lebanon), and more war to come, are Americans not in a state of ‘war preparedness’? This enormous contradiction has been brewing since Afghanistan was invaded, with each new war bringing the discrepancy closer to resolution via explosion.

The disparity between the General’s realistic military advice and Bush’s seemingly naive war-policy has a logical foundation. Unlike the military, who view operations from a number-crunching, get-the-job-done perspective, Bush & Co. understand the social consequences of warfare. War in America is now, more than ever, a dirty word— only to be used as a last resort. The history of civilization has shown that unpopular wars lead to civil unrest, revolt, and revolution. The White House knows this, and cannot rely upon brute force to coax the masses into fighting. In an attempt to please their corporate superiors, while not stirring up American society too much, the White House PR folks decided upon the catchy ‘War on Terror’ as a solution.

Bush has only been successful in waging wars because he ignored his Generals, and kept the public in the dark. U.S. citizens do not understand the international significance of the continued aggression, nor the level of carnage carried out in their name. Americans see the ‘war on terror’ for what it is— a joke; much like the highly-touted war on drugs, war on poverty, or whatever large issue the government tries to tackle through theatrics, but ignores in reality. To the dismay of the Generals, Americans are desensitized to such jargon, and are unable to bridge the connection between the ‘war on terror’, and an actual war. This propaganda success of Bush’s is beginning to turn into a problem— the Middle East has been harder to dominate than previously thought, what was to be a simple ‘shock and awe’ procedure now requires a broad, traditional war, meaning, actual acceptance of reality from U.S. citizens.

To emphasize the political character of military decisions in regards to ‘mobilization’, a quick look into the realm of Bush’s lackeys, the Democrats, is in order. The Democrats, seeing no way to criticize Republican policy, since they agree with it, can only bicker about ‘tactics’. In almost every case these tactics involve a more aggressive ‘war on terror’, but with less troops. The Democrats tout technology and ‘rapid deploy forces’ (special forces, commandos, etc) as a cure to the gigantic blunder that is the Middle East. These amazing cure-alls, if ever put into practice, might have a temporary pacifying effect on the U.S. public, but would not change anything as far as death, destruction, and outrage in the Middle East is concerned. More technology simply means more indiscriminate killing, combined with less accountability. Thus, The Democrats are flaunting the interests of the corporate elite, with a populist twist.

In a desperate attempt to ‘mobilize’ the U.S. for war, Republicans, Democrats and the ever-flattering media have gone to lengths few would have expected. To help sustain the feeling of fear needed to maintain such aggressive policies, fake terror plots continue to gain enormous media attention, even though evidence has shown the plans to be either completely without merit, or the work of government agents involved in the grossest forms of entrapment. The media has continued to stand by in total complicity. Like 9/11 before them, every bit of new evidence of an alleged terrorist plot seems only to support the skeptics. As of now, the recent London Terror Plot fits the same bill: no bombs have been found, and many of the ‘suspects’ were completely unable to perform the act, since they either had no airline tickets or passports. After every such ‘discovery’, politicians and the media automatically glorify the successes of restricting civil liberties and global war; Bush quickly interpreted the charade as a “stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists.”

The terror alert couldn’t have come at a better time for those experiencing three political disasters— Iraq, the war in Lebanon, and the defeat of Joseph Lieberman by a virtually unknown anti-war challenger (Ted Lamont). The British authorities revealed that the U.S. demanded the plot be ‘exposed’ a week in advance, no doubt to turn public attention away from the harsh spectacle of losing wars and the defeat of a prominent pro-war Senator. The spectacle was made complete by Dick Cheney’s lecturing the people of Connecticut— in light of the Lieberman defeat— on the necessity of war, while Bush made it a point to inform the public that it was Hezbollah who suffered defeat in Lebanon, in defiance of all reliable testimony.

The war in Lebanon is a case-in-point example of the intensified desperateness of the ruling classes. The media and politicians were caught in a frenzy denouncing the ‘terrorist group’ Hezbollah (a political and military organization with seats in parliament and broad public support), who they blamed for forcing Israel’s hand in destroying the entire country of Lebanon. While the massacre was taking place, and with the U.S. sadistically opposing a stop to the slaughter, the media uncritically echoed the vague, Orwellian “sustained peace” rationalization put forth by nearly every politician; Condoleezza Rice was given the unpleasant task of selling this sound-bite abroad, and lost all credibility when she justified the war as “the birth pangs of a new Middle East”. Perhaps the pinnacle of outrageousness came from ‘progressive Democrat’ Howard Dean, who denounced the Iraqi Prime Minister by calling him an “anti-Semite”, merely because he condemned Israel’s obvious war crimes, though in much more delicate language. In government new lows are being achieved daily.

What must be emphasized is that this tragic-comic state of affairs will continue to be a foundation for further war and atrocity— the ridiculousness of fake terror plots, not to mention the silly ‘war on terror’ in general, are the last bulwarks the government has against its citizens; all other tactics in waging aggressive war have been used and exposed.

Fortunately, the U.S. public— like the people of Iraq— has proven harder to pacify than expected. Politicians are finding it difficult to maintain their careers while doing the dirtiest propaganda work expected of them (see Joseph Lieberman); after popular journalists write a war-mongering piece, they are flooded with accusatory letters. The repeated attempts of the media to boil blood have been met with vicious outrage, directed at the authors, rather than the ‘terrorists’. Proof of the rising consciousness of Americans was gauged in a poll by Ohio University; according to the study, more than a third of the American public (rightly) suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 attack, or took no action in stopping them in order to wage war in the Middle East. This shocking statistic reveals the utter distrust Americans have of their government, making the new terror scares all the more redundant.

The end result is that government and the media have been irreconcilably distanced from public opinion. The Democrats are reduced to using the ‘support our troops’ and ‘stay the course’ rationalizations for war, while the Republicans appear all the crazier and fascistic in their fear-conjuring. Public opinion has been suffocated and spit-on. If further repressive laws are passed in light of the latest terror threat, as they seem likely to be, it will show the shallowness of U.S. democracy; if such police-state policies are passed based solely on fear, and with absolutely zero evidence, democratic rule will have been severely destroyed—what vestiges are left after 9/11 anyway.

As the gulf widens between truth and fiction in everyday political life, those exposing the lies of government appear increasingly radical, while those who advance the government’s deceptions – or stand by complacently (the Democrats) — look all the more conservative. Society is being quickly polarized. The witty humor of John Stewart’s The Daily Show can now be correctly deemed a threat to the existing government; Stephen Colbert’s ‘routine’ at the White House Correspondents Dinner was a damning critique of Bush’s falsifications. As events rapidly unfold, and the lies of government increase to keep pace, exposing them grows into an intolerable menace. We can expect the already frightening attacks on the press and dissident groups to increase— and that just for beginners. The internet cannot continue to coexist alongside such a diseased and bloated government. The proposed ‘two-tiered’ system of internet use may be instrumental in destroying much of the threatening material available today, though less subtle methods of mass censorship seem all but inevitable. In order for such a crisis-ridden elite to sustain themselves, truth must be abolished; it is this fact that lies behind the recent attack on civil liberties, and is the same process that has marked the deterioration of freedoms in every repressive regime in history.

The inconvenient truth is that the U.S. elite cannot give up the wealth of Iraq; too much investment has been made, and doing so would only open the door for foreign competitors to seize the void, outdoing U.S. corporations in securing massive oil profits and markets— leaving Iraq would be tantamount to abandoning America’s position as the sole global superpower. Iran is of course on the to-do list as well. To execute and maintain this bi-partisan strategy, extensive repression will be necessary. One shouldn’t underestimate the savvy nature of those in power; they understand perfectly well the importance of the masses in their policy-making. They also realize how they’ve failed in ‘mobilizing’ the U.S. population thus far; this doesn’t mean they will simply concede. Any number of extraordinary plots or imminent disasters could play out, perhaps fulfilling the need for “a new Pearl Harbor”, as envisioned by the Neo-Cons in the Project for a New American Century. The last disaster was only good for three wars. Although speculating about catastrophe is never practical, in this case it seems appropriate, especially since our government’s magic hat is empty— they’ve only one card left to play.

The wide gulf between truth and fiction in our society is a clear reflection of the interests of the super-wealthy who finance the media’s fabrications, in distinction to the working-class people expected to sacrifice themselves to the war machine. The slowly-mounting inequities in society are reaching a boiling point, prompting reaction and distraction from politicians, who by pursuing their own interests, are hastening the conflagration. When a rat is backed into a corner it will fight ferociously for survival; the corporate giants of the U.S., unable to maintain hegemony through ‘normal’ business practices, are using the only tools they have at their disposal.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Why Democracies evolve into Dictatorships

It took only six years with Bush Jr. as President to give birth to a new generation of radical political activists, journalists, and commentators, whose main concerns are subjecting the insane policies of the President to exposure and condemnation; this, it seems, constitutes the foundation for nearly the entire realm of real political opposition in the U.S. The strategy here is limited to educating people about the destructive policies of the Republicans and hoping that in response, a protest or political movement will evolve powerful enough to either reform or displace those in power. Education of course, is absolutely crucial in transforming any dissident organization into an entity capable of action and results. However, by focusing only on the policies of the Republicans, without explaining the larger framework from whence they came, political education is greatly hindered, limiting the potential for effective action.

Undoubtedly, the neo-conservative movement is treated with mystical awe by those responsible for criticizing it. Liberal commentators continue to respond with hysterics or dumfoundedness at the ability of Conservatives to destroy civil liberties while thus far waging three preemptive wars (yes Lebanon is a U.S. war). It should have been clear by now— with the media and Democrats suppressing or supporting the most blatant atrocities engineered by the Republicans— that larger forces are at play.

Historically speaking, the transition from democracy to dictatorship has appeared in various forms, including military coup, civil war, election tampering and ‘emergency’ situations requiring ‘special’ powers— with Bush’s growing authority fitting into the latter two categories. Although dictatorial forms differ radically in their appearance, at bottom there remain essential common features.

A dictatorship cannot be formed from the heavens; there must be in every instance a background of interests and groups that aide the regime by finances, apologetics, or aggressive support. These interests too have a historical background, originating from their position as beneficiaries of the economic arrangement of society. Dictatorship has been, with few exceptions, performed in the service of a minority; these dictatorships have always represented the interests of the financial elite. By limiting the definition thusly, we are able to make connections with the fascists of Italy, Japan, and Germany, to the century-old dictatorships of the neo-colonial world.

It is in the interests of any ruling class to maintain government control by Democratic means, since the effort in maintaining order is less taxing, and the ease of channeling discontent through compromise and concession is increased. It must be asked then: why do these groups, who already contain tremendous wealth and prestige, trouble themselves by resorting to the barbaric and complicated policies that are implied by dictatorship, rather than keeping the less-conflicted relationships that are found under a more democratic government? We must dismiss the shallow answers of ‘greed’ or ‘insanity’ out of hand, especially when there are much more sensible answers.

To the dismay of the ruling classes, the social conditions of society change in a way they have no control over. As corporations follow the rules of profit-making, they inadvertently create at the same time an ever-widening polarization of wealth. As the rich get richer, and the poor poorer, social conditions gradually change, until the exploited classes suddenly start making demands, or begin acts of ‘anarchy’,i.e., strikes, protests, factory occupations, and rebellion. Social inequality in the U.S. has had staggering increases in the last 10 years, to the point where there are now (realistically) 45 million people living in poverty, 2 million in prison, and with the processes of a profit-based globalization and harsher criminal penalties in place, the numbers will inevitably rise.

A dictatorship is thus the necessary evil born out of the natural processes of capitalism. Heightened executive powers are needed to suppress civil unrest, create social stability, and insure the industries essential to the ‘nations’ economy are not disrupted by strikes; destroying civil liberties that allow protest, organization, and freedom of expression are timeless policies in combating a disgruntled populace.

Explaining dictatorship as a result of social inequality is especially relevant to third-world nations, where ‘order’ is needed to ensure that the countries are ‘stable’ enough to be used as a source for markets and raw-materials for their colonial masters; however, this explanation cannot be applied across the board.

For industrialized nations, the causes of dictatorship become more complex. In addition to social polarization, 1st world nations are also involved in constant economic and regional expansion— a phenomenon easily traced to the interests of the capitalists pulling the strings. A government is only as powerful as the corporate might behind it; the interdependence of nation-state and corporate interests is revealed by the fact that both are ruled by the same laws of the market, meaning, that at bottom, each are governed by the processes of either expansion and growth, or stagnation and decline. In the same way that stagnation in the corporate world equals recession or depression, so too are these principles reflected by the mediators of financial interests— the nation-state. For a country to be in decline means that its global influence is waning; it has lost influence over foreign nations, preventing the exploitation of raw materials and favored market access for manufactured goods, or rather, the country in question is unable to supply the basis for the corporations within its boundaries to dominate globally— thus, the goals of the nation-state and the corporation cannot be separated.

The activities of the present-day United States are a case in point. The U.S. has been compensating for its declining economic position with military adventurism to control the vast oil reserves of the Middle East. Proof of this assertion can be candidly found in the writings of the now-infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC). In their ’Statement of Principles’, it says:

”We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations”

Advocating this perspective gave the Neo-cons immense credibility within the world of big-business, who responded with record-setting campaign contributions and— in an important first step in destroying Democracy in the U.S— managed to get Bush ‘appointed’ President by the Supreme Court.

The aggressive foreign policy of the Republicans, which has found unanimous reception throughout most sections of the ruling-elite, has created immense dissatisfaction and opposition from the majority of the population. To deal with this hostility, the repressive measures detailed in the Patriot Act and illegal NSA spying program have been used to monitor, intimidate and quell protest.

Much of the same measures used to deal with third-world resistance are used likewise to handle the political opposition in the United States. Aside from having a virtual monopoly on Democracy by disallowing third-party candidates from the ballot, there are other clever tactics being employed.

The Orwellian ‘War on Terror’ has proven to be the most effective strategy that both parties continue to use in order to install fear, destroy civil liberties, and promote war. The government has effectively applied the especially-vague term ‘terrorist’ to apply to political opposition groups. Organizations like Green Peace, Food Not Bombs, and Independent Media have been— in different localities— placed on the ‘terror watch list’. This is not some random mistake, but a deliberate attempt at intimidation, revealing— aside from preemptive war— one half of the motive for the ‘war on terror’. The new ambiguous war-slogan has reached such ridiculous proportions that environmental protest-groups are called ‘eco-terrorists’, while drug traffickers are ‘narco-terrorists’— the potential for the euphemism is seemingly unlimited. In fact, the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that we are told that any criticism of the government’s policies is equal to helping the ‘Islamic fascists’.

Behind the conservative shift of nearly every industrial country in the world is the worsening profit-crises suffered by their respective corporate managers. Since the short-lived ‘tech boom’, there has only been desperateness and uneasiness voiced by international commerce, who has successfully been treading water by forcing slave-wages on the emerging economies of China and India, and thus creating the need to reduce wages and benefits everywhere. Once again, the profit-crisis is yet another inherent feature in the processes of capitalism, which creates ‘lack of demand’ –or excess supply— by constantly lowering the wages of workers to increase profit, while continuing to flood the markets of the world with products. This process takes on an especially-dangerous character when the competing industrial nations are facing the same problem, while trying to increase their positions by acquiring— by any means necessary— the worlds last remaining key-resources and markets.

Society is not, nor has it ever been, an independent arbiter of interests. Corporate profit rates— depending heavily on the impoverishment of their workers— are often used to measure the economic health of a nation. In times of economic growth and social stability, Democracy seems like a fine thing, even if there are broad layers of society who suffer from generational poverty or the horrors of homelessness. Although the world—and especially the United States— experienced unprecedented growth after World War II, these conditions have reached their natural limit. The conditions that created the foundation for class and international peace have turned into their opposite.

Exposing the policies that are destroying our freedoms while yelling ‘this cant be happening’ can raise political consciousness to a considerable extent, but it cannot direct discontent towards a sustainable solution. Impeaching Bush or defeating reactionary congressmen will not alter the current course of events undertaken by the bi-partisan agreement on militarism and war. It also seems incredibly naïve to think that the Democrats— many of whom are Ivy-league graduates and multi-millionaire businessmen— are ignorant of the motives of their so-called rivals; the Democrats are not simply ‘uninformed’ about the nature and basis of imperialism, nor can they be persuaded to take a radical path— the party itself is based solidly on the same corporate foundations as their nominal oppossition. This demands an independent strategy. Any course, if it is to be effective, must be based on the interests of the majority of the population, in stark contrast with the minority who benefit from the profit-system. The interests of the wage-earner, in comparison to that of the stock-holder, are elaborated and promoted by the program of international socialism.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The real significance of Lebanon

The war in Lebanon is not 'business as usual'. It is not simply about Israel repressing its neighbors by expanding its boarders—this is not 1982. Nor is this Vietnam, or the countless other ‘skirmishes’ the U.S. has been involved in over the last century. The ante has been raised.

Starting with Afghanistan, the current war in Lebanon can be counted as the third aggressively-waged war led by the United States, since Israel can not act unilaterally over such a large issue, and American diplomacy has shown the world who is actually pulling the strings.

Aside from the fact that these new wars are full-scale invasions into sovereign nations, there are other characteristics that distinguish the aggressions from previous U.S. military action. In the 20th century, the defining feature of U.S. global policing was limited to ‘the fight against communism’, i.e. helping squash third-world independence movements. Most of these conflicts began either as offering assistance in controlling colonial rebellions (Vietnam), maintaining post WWII treaty-lines (Korean War), or helping long-time dictatorial allies in suppressing their populations (Latin America). Much of these actions were justified internationally either because of the ‘victors spoils’ perspective that began after WWII, or the long-held tradition of the Monroe Doctrine, allowing the U.S. to act however it pleased throughout Latin America without attracting international protest. The new middle-east wars are a sharp break from the status-quo, with the U.S. using its unchallenged global position in initiating a preemtive war doctrine to grab raw-materials and markets at the expense of its transatlantic rivals, creating global tensions that could quickly escalate and burst asunder.

Such an aggressive foreign policy has not been witnessed since the events leading up to World War II, where the League of Nations dissolved amid the imperialistic wars of Italy, Germany, and Japan. As it stands now, much of the Middle East is under U.S. control, occupation, or threat of military attack. Once Lebanon is completely destroyed as anything resembling an independent nation, there will be little barrier between the U.S., Syria and Iran. The ranting and provocations from our politicians and media make such events seem inevitable

Iran remains the conflict most capable of leading to World War III; the country serves as a major trade partner and energy supplier to Russia, China, and Europe, all of whom will not sit idly by as we attempt to stifle their independence. Vladimir Putin, while begrudgingly accepting the misinformation behind the Israeli offensive, noted that Israel “seems to be pursuing wider goals”. The global competitors of the United States are not fooled by the latest flood of propaganda, nor are they naïve to the actual intent of the so-called ‘war on terror’.

Europe’s reaction to American aggression has been jumbled and vacillating, reflecting the continents current status as a region of politically-conflicting interests. Aside from a common currency, Europe has been unable to fully unify economically, politically, or militarily. As a result, its international clout is limited to the strength of its individual nations, all of whom seek shelter from powers greater than themselves.

Europe understands its wretched position in world politics, and keeps this in mind when responding to the intrusion of the U.S. into its backyard. If a European country publicly denounces the war and reveals its true purpose, the backlash would be severe and undermine its already unsteady position; Europe’s reaction to the recent U.S. wars of aggression is proof of this. After Bush’s infamous “either your with us or against us” speech, the world has been on high alert. Afghanistan was given away with hardly a murmur, 9/11 was fresh on everybody’s mind, and the propaganda against Bin-Laden was accepted without question.

Iraq proved to be a harder sell. The French protested, saw their lead inspire nobody, and later swallowed their pride and rhetoric. Germany, also objecting nonchalantly, was clandestinely aiding the American military— adjusting itself to the changing landscape. Because it saw few options to act independently, Germany has chosen to attach itself to the coattails of U.S. imperialism, cementing the relationship only recently when it appeared in solidarity with the U.S. in justifying the brutal non-ceasefire policy towards Lebanon. It appears that Germany, along with Britain and Israel, has evolved into an axis of power with the U.S. and its hegemonic policies as leader.

France too has involved itself in the mess of Lebanon, co-authoring a UN resolution with the U.S. that destroys Lebanon’s independence while simultaneously appeasing Bush— this after the initial French ‘demand’ for an immediate Israeli ceasefire. France has once again been unable to create an oppositional force to U.S. expansion, retreating instead to the role of dejected scavenger, eager to gain access to the corpse of Lebanon.

Like the League of Nations before it, The United Nations is now threatened with extinction. The purpose of the U.N. is to make sure all the big powers are content; it’s a place for them to work out deals and avoid stepping on each others toes. Much like in the real world of national politics, the UN is realizing that democracy becomes meaningless when one person— or country— has all the wealth. The U.S. has voiced open scorn for the U.N., enacting policies to hurry its downfall. Once this collapse occurs (perhaps after the next war) all the cards will be on the table; the nations opposing U.S. expansion will no longer have a venue, or a reason to handle things with discretion or tact. A fitting analogy comes to mind: when it was clear that Hitler could not be appeased or contained in his regional ambitions, the media organs of the opposing countries begun telling the truth about his conquests; we can expect such a reaction from the countries unbound to the U.S. for their survival, i.e. Russia, China, much of Latin America, and whoever else decides to jump ship.

Domestically speaking, the U.S. situation is bleak. Citizens see their leaders rejecting the possibility of a ceasefire by using Orwellian double-speak. They see the so-called opposition party continue to parrot the flimsy ‘war on terror’ propaganda to create more war abroad, while destroying civil liberties at home. Americans understand the mess their military has caused and the real possibilities of more war in the future; the energy and passion of the original Iraq War protests is still alive and gaining power as it ferments. Another explosion is only a matter of time. The countries aiding U.S. expansion also have unhappy populaces; this, in conjunction with an increasingly recessive world economy, creates conditions not seen since the first half of the century, i.e. the era of fascism, revolution, and war.

The Origins of Fascism: Then and Now

It’s not uncommon to hear a left-leaning person denounce the Bush administration with a barrage of Nazi-related epithets. The slurs are typically blurted out in anger with little thought to evidence or validity. In fact, whenever analogies are made linking a person or current event to either the Nazis or Holocaust, accusatory responses of ‘exaggeration’ and ‘slander’ are usually justified; it is indeed immature to randomly compare anything to the machine of Nazism that took the innocent lives of so many. While taking this into full consideration, the following is nevertheless an attempt to make some unpleasant connections.

Contrary to what many historians claim, Fascism does not appear out of thin air. There are economic and social conditions that, appearing repeatedly throughout history, have led to the possibility of tyranny and atrocity. The fascist nations of Italy, Germany, Japan, and Spain are often explained simply as phenomenon of irrationality: charismatic leaders hypnotized the masses into behaving like zombies while willfully contributing to the most horrific crimes. This myth conveniently dilutes the past behind a veil of banalities, leaving the slightest comprehension of a crucial era of history impossible. It is hoped that in explaining the historic and ideological origins of fascism, and showing where they are relevant to the present day, a better understanding of social processes can be gained, and in consequence, a means to combat the current degeneration of the United States. There can be little doubt that such an understanding is essential in determining if a public is well informed and involved in shaping its future, or otherwise reduced to the mentality that was once shared by all ‘good Germans’.

For one to comprehend how Fascism first materialized, a quick review of the social atmosphere of its birth is necessary. Europe, like most of the world at the beginning of the 20th century, was in a state of constant flux and social upheaval due to an international economic expansion—the 1st round of globalization. The end result from this change of worldwide economy was depression, war, and tyrannical governments. In response, the average worker became increasingly militant, organizing over basic demands for improved conditions and sometimes, insurrection and revolution. Perhaps the epitome of this era was the Russian revolution, where for the first time the working-class took political power into its own hands. After the revolution in Russia, the upper layers of society trembled at the thought of such a happening in their own countries, immediately putting their publications to work in creating anti-communist hysteria. It must be pointed out that at the time of its inception, soviet Russia was antithetical to the bureaucratic totalitarianism later to be known as Stalinism, and was in many ways a democratically progressive form of government, expressing the interests and ambitions of the working classes— especially in Europe. Two of the principle worker parties in Europe, the Social Democratic Party and Communist Party, had variants of Marxism as their philosophical foundations. These two parties were instrumental in organizing and spreading the radical ideas that were the basis of militant mood of the masses, as well as the hardened contempt from the world of business; it is under these conflicting forces that Fascism came to the forefront, promising order by repressing the ‘unruly elements’, i.e. anarchists, communists, unionists, activists, and dissidents in general.

The likeness of Italy and German fascism is revealed in the names of the hired thugs that were the party’s original members: the ‘black shirts’ of Italy, and the ‘brown shirts’ of Germany. The similar names were not merely the result of dress, but also because of the mutual duties preformed by the two groups; the goal of these activities was the systematic destruction of the labor movement flourishing at the time. In Germany, the brown shirts attacked union meetings, disrupted speakers, and denounced all labor activities as Bolshevistic. As the criminal enterprises proved themselves effective at union busting and small-scale mob intimidation, more industrial magnates added them to their payroll— because it was a time of mass protest, general strikes, and factory occupations, the owners of industry were desperate to regain their previously unchallenged status. German industry had been forced into making repeated concessions to workers as the result of unions and opposition parties; as a result, the companies had been struggling in the international market, trying to maintain profit-rates among recession and competition. To insure its survival, German industry resorted to the above criminal tactics, creating what was in effect a class war.

As the economic crises deepened, so too did the pockets of fascist organizations. Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party (a name of immense contradiction) soon found itself evolving from a hole-in-the-wall men’s club consisting of fanatics and petty criminals to a party of considerable influence. Eventually, the services performed by the henchmen became regular salaried positions. As resources increased the groups developed into professional mercenaries with official uniforms and unchecked powers, often trained by military officers. From what began as a group of thugs before 1930, turned into a highly disciplined terror organization, eventually adding to its duties the breaking up of worker demonstrations, planned assassinations, and instigation of street battles— the more complex work of ‘extermination’ was to happen only after the Nazis had complete control of government.

It would have been impossible for the Nazi party to become influential without the support of German industry. One reason why business decided to prop up Hitler was the Weimer Republic’s overly democratic nature. This means that the working class political parties were gaining considerable power at the expense of profits, preventing a political program that would insure the continued dominance of corporations over workers. The Nazi party was only able to rise above the many other fascist organizations because Hitler’s charisma was able to impress steel magnate Fritz Thyssen, a fact much more important than his sway over his small but eager group of constituents. In his book “I paid Hitler”, Thyssen details his involvement with National Socialism and explains how he involved Germanys other industrial tycoons. With considerable financial backing, Hitler was then able to shower the country with Propaganda, traveling extensively to utilize his speaking skills and spread the Nazi party principles of fear and revenge. After the Nazi party gained power, their supporters were rewarded for the contributions, Daniel Guerin writes in Fascism and Big Business:

"The economic policy carried on by the 'National-Socialists' nevertheless completely justified the confidence which the big industrialists had placed in Hitler. Hitler has in every other respect carried out their policy. He has destroyed the workers' organisations. He has introduced the 'leadership principle' in the factories. He has brought about an expansion of heavy industry in Western Germany by means of an immense rearmament programme and has brought the firms enormous profits” (1)


After becoming large enough to be recognized internationally, the fascist regimes of Italy and Germany soon gained credibility and praise from the United States and England for their unceasing effort in controlling rebellion. The industrial countries were particularly afraid of having the economic giant of Germany becoming the second Communist nation, and thus approved of the fascist ‘Anti-Comintern’ alliance against Russia; this was in fact the justification Britain gave in financially supporting Germany’s rearmament.

Hitler was a master politician in the sense that he realized and exploited the conflicts of interest between different countries. Though neighboring France wanted nothing less than Germany to be rearmed, Hitler’s harangues of defeating Bolshevism attracted the combined support of the USA and England. Not only were Nazi articles regularly published by Hearst-owned newspapers and magazines in America, but the party was consistently commended by the highest ranking politicians of the western democracies, since their countries suffered equally from the illness that was the working class. Winston Churchill was an especially keen admirer of both Mussolini and Hitler; the following exhibits his fondness for the fascism of Italy:

"…If I had been an Italian I am sure that I should have been whole-heartedly with you [Mussolini] from the start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism. I will, however, say a word on an international aspect of fascism. Externally, your movement has rendered service to the whole world. The great fear which has always beset every democratic leader or a working class leader has been that of being undermined by someone more extreme than he. Italy has shown that there is a way of fighting the subversive forces which can rally the masses of the people, properly led, to value and wish to defend the honor and stability of civilized society. She has provided the necessary antidote to the Russian poison. Hereafter no great nation will be unprovided with an ultimate means of protection against the cancerous growth of Bolshevism." (2)

This exceptionally candid appraisal of fascism highlights the priorities shared by even the most Democratic of countries; England and the USA both considered the fascist option of government a legitimate response to the ‘instability’ that is the result from the incessant demands of the working class. This is in essence why fascism exists in the first place— the defining characteristics of fascism have their origins in creating stability amidst economic turmoil, blurring class interests through patriotism and fear, widespread terror and repression, and removing civil liberties that allow freedom of protest and organization. This formula has proven successful in enabling the status quo to survive among turbulent times in countries around the world throughout the 20th century. It was only after Hitler encroached on the economic interests of England and France did Fascism become the dirty word it is today.

Fascism attempts to hide the class nature of society by focusing on certain, essential values; the historically most effective of these have been fear, racism, and ethnic and religious nationalism.

The German form of nationalism was based on Aryan pride, a racist fear of ‘foreign conspirators’ (communists), and the easily exploitable Jewish minority. The German public’s acceptance of discrimination toward Jews was a cultivated phenomenon that served the fascist political interest. Although Anti-Semitism had existed in Europe for centuries before Hitler came to power, the Nazi regime gave it an invigorated purpose. Hitler skillfully used people’s prejudices against Jews to amplify his already fervent anti-communist propaganda, creating the belief that communism was a doctrine created by the Jews to take over the world. Because many of the notable German Marxists were in fact Jews, it is not impossible to imagine that Hitler believed his conspiracy theory; his account in Mein Kamp on the subject appears sincere:

“As I calmly and clearly deepened my knowledge of Marxism and thus the effects of the Jewish people, destiny itself gave me the answer...”

"...The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle of Nature and sets in its place the eternal privilege of power and strength of the mass and the dead weight of its numbers. It therefore denies the value of the human personality, contests the significance of nationality and race, and therewith withdraws from humanity the basis of its existence and culture. As a foundation of the universe this [doctrine] would bring about the end of any intellectually comprehensible order. And thus as in this the greatest recognizable organism, the realization of such a law could result only in chaos and, ultimately, death for the inhabitants of this planet”. (3)

Consequently the words ‘Jew’ and ‘Communist’ became inseparable; this propaganda helped portray many of the working class organizations as a foreign, Jewish element, making them automatic targets by the fanatic patriotism that was the basis of ‘National Socialism’. The ‘Jewish-Communist conspiracy’ became the banner under which Hitler whipped up hysteria and fear, vowing to protect good Christian Germans from the bloodthirsty Communist Jews. The media fully participated in pushing this angle, providing unlimited amounts of derogatory editorials and cartoons that depicted Jews as dangerous, sub-human plotters. The ancient customs of Judaism, coupled with the semi-feudal communist state of Russia, were used to symbolize the problem of a ‘clash of cultures’ that the industrialized Christian country of Germany served as the counterbalance. The ‘clash of culture’ propaganda was instrumental in dehumanizing the populations that Germany was eventually to attack or imprison.

A more abstract ideological theme of fascism is the notion of conservatism. Although the majority of fascists are conservative in the political-religious sense of the word, a thoroughly fascist regime will often take the idea of ‘conservatism’ to another level; the conservatism of the fascist countries in Europe sought to return to an era when they were respected world powers. Mussolini and Hitler had as their constituents former military and royal families who shared this belief— the case being especially true for Germany, where the once powerful Hohenzollern Empire was now disarmed and paying war reparations. This fascist idea of returning to a golden age is most eloquently stated by Mussolini:

“...For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence. Peoples who are rising, or rising again after a period of decadence, are always imperialist; and renunciation is a sign of decay and of death. Fascism is the doctrine best adapted to represent the tendencies and the aspirations of a people, like the people of Italy, who are rising again after many centuries of abasement and foreign servitude.” (4)

Thus, by this definition, a regaining of past prestige implies the use of military aggression. This aspect of fascist ideology was especially attractive to the nations steel and war manufacturers, who profited immensely from the rise and conquer mentality.
To emphasize how the conservative idea of ‘renewal’ and profit-making become inseparable in a fascist government, an important artifact of Nazi history is worth revisiting, first analyzed in Trotsky’s essay, Hitler’s Program. Before Hitler became Chancellor he authored an ‘open letter’ to then Chancellor Franz Von Papen, the notorious political representative of German industry. In his ‘open letter’ (written for Germany’s elites) Hitler outlined the need for Papen to adopt the Nazi program to achieve the aims of the ‘nation’, i.e., the industrial classes. Hitler argued that Germany could not achieve its aims of rejuvenation and growth through democratic and legal means due to the restrictions of the treaty of Versailles, but only through the uniquely aggressive foreign policy of the Nazis.

Four months after the letter was published, The Nazis political support dropped dramatically; this was most likely due to an upturn in the economy that made Hitler’s constituency (the middle classes) more optimistic and less receptive to demagogy. However, the ruling classes had taken Hitler’s letter seriously, and rather than have political power shift again to a government less receptive to their needs, Hitler was ‘appointed’ Chancellor, so as to execute the ideas put forth in his letter. It is no surprise that Papen soon became an integral member to the Nazi party as an adviser and ambassador, where he used his international connections to strengthen German advancement. (5)

After Hitler became chancellor, an incident happened that forever changed the course of world history. This was the burning of the Reichstag building (German Congress). As the building was still ablaze and before any investigation could begin, Hitler declared it the work of communists and set the stage for what was to become the waging of wars and the destruction of the constitution (it is now believed that Nazi provocateurs were most likely behind the blaze). The following day, President Hindenburg signed into law the suspension of the sections of the constitution that covered basic civil rights as a “defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state”. The decree included restrictions or removals of fundamental rights of ranging from free expression of opinion to more liberally granted search warrants. Although the directive was supposedly based on fighting criminal or conspiratorial organizations, legitimate political organizations were the typical targets.

Under the guise of defending the nation, Hitler soon asked congress to give him emergency powers so he could adequately deal with the ‘Communist conspiracy’. Sadly, even members of the so-called opposition in congress were fooled, or simply submitted to the charade. Under the deceptive name of the ‘enabling act’ the constitution was trampled over and the legal framework of a dictatorship was set up. It must be noted that at the time, few realized the repercussions of the law. It wasn’t until later when, Hitler’s pronouncements became more outlandish and unpopular, did many discover suddenly that there was no check to his powers, and that the word dictator was appropriate.

Along with the increasing power of Hitler came the many bogus legal justifications to fool the public. So as to not alarm their supporters, the Nazi party clothed its hegemony in Democratic finery, gradually consolidating its power until further pretension was superfluous. Only Nazi sympathizers were appointed to key positions or ruled over important decisions. One ingredient of this judicial rearrangement was the introduction of military tribunals to deal with those deemed to be part of the ‘world conspiracy’. William Shirer explains the setting up of the ‘Peoples Court’:

… It consisted of two professional judges and five others chosen from among party officials, the S.S. and the armed forces, thus giving the latter a majority vote. There was no appeal from its decisions or sentences and usually its sessions were held in camera. Occasionally, however, for propaganda purposes when relatively light sentences were to be given, the foreign correspondents were invited to attend… (6)

Along with the attack on civil rights came the end of Habeas Corpus, due to a new legal term called Schutzhaft, or ‘protective custody”. The end to this fundamental right enabled Hitler to arrest thousands of people in giant sweeps that he justified along the same bogus lines.
After President Hindenburg died on August 2, 1934, Hitler’s title became Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor. The ‘temporary’ powers that he acquired to handle the countries ‘emergency’ enabled him to consolidate his control over the entire country. One of the essential ways these emergency powers helped strengthen Hitler’s powers was by the merging of the federal policing agencies known as the Gestapo and SS; the name of the new super-agency was called the Reichssicherheitshauptamp (RSHA). This extremely secretive and highly financed organization had at its disposal differing federal and local police agencies, and was used primarily to destroy any political opposition within Germany and the occupied territories. It was the organ also used to implement the ‘final solution’ that was to be the systematic destruction of the Jewish people. As soon as a territory was occupied by the Germans, the RSHA went into action by killing or imprisoning anyone who resisted occupation or could be characterized as a leader. It is no mistake that the first inhabitants of the concentration camps were intellectuals, Communists, Anarchists, Social-Democrats, and trade-unionists. The RSHA, through various methods of terror, managed to effectively pacify much of the potentially unruly population.

Although the megalomania and ultra-racism of Hitler helped to distinguish the Nazi brand of fascism from the many other varieties, the processes at play that created the phenomena were the same as in the many other countries that suffered from the cultural abomination.


American fascism

There can be no doubt that the United States is undergoing a transformation of sorts. With this transformation has come a mixture of reaction involving deep resentment by large sections of the population. The basis of this dissatisfaction most likely comes from a changing and ailing economy, and all the evils that come with it. The economy of the US is in fact a microcosm of the international situation, where corporations are desperate to attract international investment in the ever-changing world of a finance-dominated globalization. As Bush begun his first term, the promise of the technology boom had faded, and a slump had firmly established itself. Rather than bowing to economic reality, the President strove to compensate by aggressive wars, the dismantling of social programs, and unheard of debt.

Bush’s solution to the sluggish profit-rates of his corporate sponsors has also been an agreement to the virtues of capitalist-style globalization that, like war, comes with a disgruntled populace. Virtually every section of the economy has had substantial job loss due to trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA; the manufacturing sector leading the way with 2.9 million lost jobs in the last five years (7). The processes of this profit-driven globalization have created a polarization in America unknown since the 20’s— While a record number of millionaires have been created, there are 40+ million Americans living in poverty, with over two million in prison. Instead of improving, these figures will likely worsen as heightened interest rates and free-trade agreements have their continued effects.

The reality of the situation, though already bleak, has been largely shielded from the publics view, chiefly thanks to incredible government borrowing that has enabled the President to continue his aggressive policy without the predictable upheavals that come from a more major recession, or worse. The situation will invariably worsen once the debts start getting paid; thus far, two of the major indictors of the economy, the trade deficit and national debt, are well beyond the level of concern, and are merely waiting for their existence to force itself upon an unsuspecting public.

A sinking, debt-ridden economy and an intensifying anti-war sentiment is the swampy ground on which the current administration stands. Bush has made it clear however, that he will not yield to popular opinion, and the media and leading Democrats have echoed the perspective of what is now a completely alienated class of elites. For liberals, the intolerableness of the situation has not resulted in a full comprehension of the problem; the ‘this can’t be happening’ attitude is perhaps demonstrative of many who vehemently oppose the direction of the country, but either disregard or misunderstand the previous eras that have produced similar results, leading one to conclude that the emerging crisis is without cause or explanation.

Many on the left continue to ignore the above economic explanation of events, opting instead for more simplistic answers. The current fad is to blame the state of affairs on so-called ‘neo-conservatives’. This group is often portrayed as a small band of fanatical ultra-rightists who— through conspiracy and wit— have weaseled their way into the highest echelons of power. This story, like the charisma of Hitler, or the hypnosis of Rasputin, seems all too mystical of an explanation. A more reasonable answer involves revealing what aspects of ‘neo-conservative’ policy found reception and sponsorship from the upper-strata of American business and politics, and why.

In an effort to explain this, it will be useful to examine the now infamous document many consider to be the manifesto of the neo-con movement: the ‘statement of principles’ from the Washington think tank Project for a New American Century (PNAC). The numerous contributors to this document consist of high-ranking Bush appointees, governors, high-ranking military officials, Ivy-league intellectuals and media tycoons, i.e., representatives from a powerful section of the ruling class.

The PNAC made its debut as an organization primarily concerned with critiquing the policies of President Clinton, and in the process, promoting their own political agenda; official letters were published with the purpose of explaining to the upper classes— as opposed to the general public— why the Democrats foreign policy was bad for business. These letters often focused on the Presidents non-aggressive foreign policy, particularly where ‘American interests’ were concerned (Iraq being always the most mentioned issue). Clinton was criticized because he was not forceful enough, leaving the expansion of US interests in stagnation. In fact, the PNAC perspective clearly expressed the interests of Americas leading financial institutions; corporations are forever in need of expansion, since investments and profit demand it—the PNAC, and now the Republicans in general, are simply the mouthpiece of this desire.

This is the first and most important connection between the Republican and Nazi parties— their relationship to the economy is the same: both are champions of corporate interests. The PNAC critique of Clinton is thus reminiscent of Hitler’s ‘open letter’ to Papen as mentioned above, since it was meant to sway the corporate oligarchs to abandon the ‘ineffective’ policies of a political party in order to adopt a more reactionary course. The following excerpts from the PNAC Statement of Principles are particularly revealing:

"…We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council."

And, in the ‘open letter’ to Clinton:

"...We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk." (8)

Although the latter paragraph successfully blurs the meaning of ‘U.S interests’ to include national security, the words ‘vital interests’ make the actual intention clear. The main point in the first quote is to ignore UN unanimity, i.e. international democracy, in order to insure the expansionist business interests of the United States. This was the same argument Hitler gave to Papen on why Germany should ignore the legality of the Versailles treaty in favor of an expansionist policy.

The reception by the elites to these ideas of the Republicans has been clear, and is best displayed by a shamelessly submissive media and a totally discredited ‘opposition party’. The abovementioned ailments of the economy have produced a largely bipartisan agreement among the ruling classes in favor of a more aggressive imperialist strategy. The Democrats, who have been unable to criticize the President in any meaningful way, since they agree with the basic tenets of his program, have been reduced to lamenting about how Bush ‘mismanaged’ or ‘bungled’ both the war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq— as if either endeavor had a legitimate basis. Such a weak appraisal to such inexcusable and widely unpopular policies helps to illustrate how wide the chasm is between the interests of a population and those that decide its fate. The ‘unity’ that has been sought by politicians since the trade center attacks is simply the shared perspective of various factions of business in regards to militarism and aggression.

As mentioned above, fascism is often explained as an ideology of renewal, a resurrection of declining culture, with military expansion offered as the cure to the social ailment. The neo-con philosophers have clung tightly to this important precept that is uniquely compatible with the need of corporations for new markets, raw-materials and the crushing of competition. Much of the language used by the PNAC is eerily similar to that of Mussolini in his quote above concerning fascist rejuvenation — the PNAC saw Clinton’s reduction in military spending and not-aggressive-enough foreign policy as a sign of economic, national and cultural deterioration, allowing America’s position in the world to languish, the ‘statement of principles’ says:

”We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations” (9)

As the ideological basis of Conservative thought has a fascist element, so too does its methods of attracting support and maintaining allegiance. One of the basic tenets of fascism that applies to the current administration is a chauvinistic nationalism. The trend of both the media and politicians to exploit and cultivate this emotion has been increasingly vulgar since the Trade Center attacks. Nationalism is invaluable during times of war, when public opinion is needed to support aggression and quell protest. The trade center catastrophe has been used to conjure a patriotism unknown since WWII, creating a means to push through the aggressive foreign policy long desired by the Republicans.

Although questioning the government’s role in the September 11th attack is entirely reasonable, given the suppression of any legitimate investigation, a simple mention of the similarities between the Bush administrations response to the attacks and the reaction of Hitler to the Reichstag fire is in itself daunting. Like the Reichstag fire, the immediate reaction to the Trade Center attack was an assault on civil liberties; the Enabling Act of Germany and the Patriot Act of America have both resulted in an immense increase of Federal powers, especially the executive branch. Like Hitler, Bush has been given emergency powers to deal with a formless, external threat. These powers have been repeatedly abused to ignore new laws passed by congress (the McCain Torture Act), and used also to justify the obviously illegal NSA spaying program.

The Patriot Act remains in clear violation of the 4th amendment, as it destroys much of the legal barriers that existed to protect a citizen’s right from illegal search and seizure. A wide variety of private information about any citizen can now be obtained with little, if any oversight. In addition, new breeds of judges are being produced that willingly submit to this new executive power, carrying with them a new judicial philosophy known as the ‘unitary executive’— a perspective shared by all those who seek placements in federal courts. Although the ‘unitary executive’ philosophy was first debated in the Federalist Papers 200 years ago, its current usage is the most horrific of misrepresentations. The idea was originally meant for times of emergency, when the President would need to maneuver quickly in case a ‘real’ army was invading. This idea is now being expanded upon to include instances our founding fathers never dreamed of. One example of the accommodating spirit of the unitary executive philosophy is its apologetic approach to what are known as ‘presidential signing statements’. When signing approval to a new law, Bush has used the signing statement to clarify his personal interpretation of the act. Often, Bush’s signing statement blatantly contradicts the intention of the law, the dual result being a severe weakening of the legislative branch and the increasing subservience of federal judges.

The function of Congress is becoming strangely similar to that under Hitler’s reign. The Nazi party dominated the legislative branch, using it as a smokescreen to hide what was eventually a dictatorship; the trends mentioned above cannot be ignored as being dissimilar. Congress is quickly becoming an empty vehicle used to achieve the aims of the Bush administration, responding jovially to any shameless request made by the executive branch. When important legislative decisions need to be made, commissions dominated by Republicans (or subservient Democrats) are created to support or suppress them. The fact that even a long-time member of the establishment such as Al Gore has arrived at many of the same conclusions as mentioned here, though phrased more delicately, is crucial to accepting the criticalness of the situation. Gore says:

“… the President seems to have been pursuing policies chosen in advance of the facts -- policies designed to benefit friends and supporters -- and has used tactics that deprived the American people of any opportunity to effectively subject his arguments to the kind of informed scrutiny that is essential in our system of checks and balances” (10)

Hitler’s justification for a more concentrated executive power, a war against the Jewish Communist conspiracy, was as obscure and unimaginative as Bush’s asinine ‘war on terror’. Although there are groups who wish to harm to the U.S. government, avoiding a real discussion as to ‘why’, and solving the problem by a continuous global war against various sovereign nations has created a public debate limited to ignorance and hysteria. In not reporting the demands that groups like Al-quaida have issued, and instead creating false and irrational motives, the media and politicians have lead us to horrible conclusions; by claiming that the attackers “hate our freedom”, or whatever absurd slogan is used, one can only conclude that these groups are fanatical and incapable of reason. Both political parties have been aided by the media in cleverly extending these false conclusions to having a basis in religion, giving the impression that Islam attracts and breeds hate-filled ‘extremists’.

The newly cultivated racism in America is very much comparable to the hatred of Judaism that prevailed in Germany during Hitler’s era. In newspapers and magazines across the US, the dehumanization of Middle Easterners is unmistakable. These racist symbols range from the subtle—magazines showing Muslims praying while discussing violence and terrorism, to the more obvious—consistently printing degrading cartoons in publications around the country.

Caught in the xenophobic crossfire of the politicians are immigrants, who are suddenly viewed with suspicion and hate. The boarder issue is being resuscitated as illegal aliens become the targets of intensified discrimination. In juxtaposing the fear of terrorism with the popular anger over the economy, and channeling them both into the unrelated issue of ‘boarder protection’, the media has created yet another scapegoat for the many problems faced by the government.

This low-point of culture is inevitable once the objective of nationalism is sought. In order for a country to be ‘united’, an identity must be created that excludes certain groups, enabling a cohesive community to take shape. The ‘identity’ of the United States, as given to us by our representatives, consists of such key terms as “freedom loving”, “democratic”, and the super-ironic “peaceful”; because these terms are intended to separate us from our enemy, we are to assume that all Middle Easterners are warmongering and autocratic. Anti-Arab rhetoric is becoming so accepted that high-ranking government officials regularly appear and speak at functions where the speaker-list includes the likes of Ann Coulter, and other notorious racists. This systematic defamation allows for the same, underlying message of a “clash of cultures” that Hitler used so efficiently to foment war. The clash of cultures idea is now being used by politicians in the form of silly maxims such as ‘protecting our way of life’ — something that requires an aggressively waged ‘on-going war’ to achieve. Especially receptive to these ideas of nationalism have been the Christian fundamentalists, who remain the most cherished of constituents for the Republicans. The power this group has gained is further evidence of the fascist-orientated direction of the country, seeing as religion has played an important role in nearly every previous fascist government.

Perhaps the most tragic of similarities between the Nazis and the current United States government is the twin usage of barbaric tactics to achieve political goals. The systematic use of torture in US prison facilities has been shown to be equally gruesome to any crime committed by the Nazis, the only difference thus far being the number of victims. In fact, Bush is unique in that he is the first modern leader to openly argue in favor of torture, where as the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pinochet attempted to keep the embarrassing issue stowed away. Bush has made it clear through yet another ‘signing statement’ that despite the new Anti-Torture Law, torture will continue unabated. This torture has taken place exclusively inside US Concentration camps— undoubtedly an appropriate term to describe the phenomenon that is occurring throughout the world as tens of thousands of political prisoners have been held without legal recourse in various countries.

Like the Nazis, the Bush administration has worked strenuously in preventing any basic due-process for the thousands of ‘detainees’ held in different facilities. To retain the appearance of legality, the use of military tribunals are being employed that— similar to the Nazis— are the most lawfully farcical displays imaginable. One maneuver that is proving to be especially successful in continuing the judicial charade is the government’s insistence that the release of detainee’s names, as well as evidence supporting allegations against them, is impossible due to national security concerns. In an effort to manipulate the outcome of these trials the Bush Administration has issued guidelines for federal courts to accept regarding secret witnesses and evidence; because of this, many suspects are often denied the most basic of rights, including the name of their accuser, competent legal representation, and sometimes even the ‘alleged’ key evidence against them. By labeling anyone an ‘enemy combatant’, including US citizens like Jose Padilla, the Bush administration has reserved the right to detain a person indefinitely while ignoring all internationally recognized laws. The recent Supreme Court decision denouncing these tactics will shed further light on the direction that the executive branch is heading; if the courts decision is pandered to, but ignored, yet another step towards dictatorship will be made. As stated above, Hitler was able to imprison anyone he labeled a ‘communist conspirator’; the only difference in the present situation appears to be the label of the accused.

The domestic agency responsible for combating the ominous terrorist threat, as well as enforcing the anti-terror legislation is the newly created Department of Homeland Security. This organization marks the largest consolidation of power in United States history, with 22 previously independent agencies within five separate department’s now under one roof. The new department consists of over 170,000 employees, and now controls FEMA, the Coast Guard, the Immigration and Naturalization Services, Transportation Security Agency, among many others. As a pretext for the establishment of the 40 billion dollar a year monstrosity, politicians have claimed that ‘information sharing’ between agencies was largely responsible for the Trade Center attacks, while ignoring the more plausible though potentially incriminating evidence.

Now the FBI, CIA, and NSA can work together in handling domestic threats, and use technology and personal that were before reserved for complicated foreign surveillance and spying operations. Bush has called the effort “the most extensive reorganization of the federal government since the 1940’s”, something that should cause alarm bells considering that the same tired premise of a terrorist threat is being offered to justify the apparatus. This agency, with its all encompassing powers and its enforcing of repressive laws like the Patriot Act, has earned a characterization along the lines of the Nazi RSHA, or any other fascist government where incredible federal powers were needed to pacify an unruly populace. The Nazi police force had unimaginable authority in controlling German citizens; Bush’s new agency has the potential to be equally powerful, and reported abuses are already trickling in. It is becoming evident that the increase in Federal powers that was justified by a dubious war is being used to control the growing social problems mentioned above. It has been revealed that the Patriot Act has been used to monitor a variety of opposition groups; in 2005, The ACLU initiated a lawsuit claiming that the FBI was engaged in a systematic intimidation of antiwar and environmental groups. In addition, the word ‘extremist’ is now being gradually extended to include not only terrorists, but also protest organizations; just as Hitler linked communism to anti-Semitism, politicians and the media are now making connections between political dissidents and terrorism. This leap is perhaps the most revealing aspect as to the actual intentions of the ‘war on terror’. Activist and political groups like Green Peace, Independent Media, the Communist Party, and Food not Bombs are all peaceful organizations that have been declared by various FBI localities to be on the terror watch list. In addition, Protestors around the country are facing longer prison terms and steeper fines in order to deter and destroy any organized opposition. To add to the ridiculousness of the situation, environmentalists are now referred to broadly as ‘Eco-terrorists’, while drug traffickers are ‘Narco-terrorists’, making the whole concept of a ‘war on terror’ ever more trivial.

As the United States makes threats of further aggression, the likeness of political tactics used to justify the expansionist policies of the United States and Nazi Germany have become indisputable. William Shirer, in his Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, describes in detail the ways in which Hitler carefully invented justifications for military aggression; his explanations for attacking sovereign countries always involved protecting German citizens and interests. These tactics later became a crucial aspect of the Nuremburg Trial. The ways in which Germany’s foreign policy served as a pretext for aggressive wars was a main theme of the trial, and the high ranking German officials who helped initiate the lies that justified the aggressive wars were found guilty of war crimes. This later became the foundation for the Nuremburg principle against “preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression”

Three years after the Iraq war it has been proven that all the reasons for invasion were fallacious, as well as deliberately and methodically constructed. The same pattern of accusatory platitudes is now being given to prepare the public for a new attack on Iran. This illegal pattern of aggression is now firmly established as political doctrine, and is explained in full in the 2005 National Security Strategy documents, where a policy of preemptive strikes is patently reserved by the US military in obvious disregard of the above Nuremburg Principle.

It is unknowable how long the various countries of the international community will tolerate the invasion into their spheres of influence. It must be remembered that historians now claim that the countries united against Hitler’s advancements used the method of ‘appeasement’ to deal with his intrusion. Such is the current situation in the world. There are currently no countries capable of challenging the US military in any pursuit it chooses; the international community remains on high-alert in response to America’s recent expansion and can give only cries of protest while later groveling for imperialistic breadcrumbs — a process undoubtedly to be later known as ‘appeasement’.

To those who dismiss the conclusions made in this essay out of hand, there is likely no amount of evidence that could influence them on the matter. To many, the sacred reverence of the Holocaust disables one from making common-sense historical conclusions and instead, breeds the dogmatic acceptance of fascist ‘irrationality’ as the answer to a question too holy to investigate. To their credit, an across the board comparison of Nazi Germany and America would be incorrect. Just as the similarities mentioned here are largely irrefutable, so too are the differences; separate eras in history have at their core a variety of actors and processes that cannot be easily transferred across time, especially in regards to the exaggerated fascism of the Nazis. Sometimes, however, a definite likeness is ignored merely because of a conflicting label. Without using too much imagination, a worsening of the political situation in the United States can be envisioned, perhaps to the point where a more explicit Nazi analogy becomes acceptable— as of now a legal framework for a police state is all but complete.

The ‘Nazi analogy’ used in this essay will undoubtedly be accused of sensationalism, an allegation impossible to fully refute; if this is to be admitted, so too should the comparison’s usefulness for reasons of practicality and correctness. Because of the abundance of details regarding the government of Nazi Germany, a large base has been created from which to recognize patterns that transcend historical epochs, the above information being a testament to this fact. The biggest such example of history repeating itself is the United States’ recent evolution towards dictatorship; presently, there are no signs that this course will change. While the transnational profit crisis continues, Bush’s circle has made it clear that further aggression toward a still-invisible enemy is to be expected. In addition to this, we can expect the public response of outrage to be continually ignored, as well as further stimulated by the economies inevitable adjustment to reality. In response, the now gargantuan federal power, in the name of maintaining stability and defeating terrorism, can only be more repressive. Although the usage of the word ‘dictator’ or ‘police-state’ may now be immature, such phrases will become appropriate if the corporate-directed path of government continues unchecked. The forms this repression will take may or may not assume the same repulsive traits of Nazism, though the underlying processes, as well as their causes and general outcomes most certainly will.

Notes

1)Daniel Guerin, Fascism and Big Business
2) Winston Churchill, Speaking in Rome on 20 January, 1927 (from the essay, The Menace of Fascism, by Ted Grant)
3) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kamp
4)Benito Mussolini: What is Fascism, 1932
5)Leon Trotsky, Hitler’s Program, 1934,
6) Shirer William, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
7) Paul Craig Roberts, Nuking the economy, counterpunch MBG Information Services
8) PNAC, Statement of Principles
9) Ibid
10) January 16 speech delivered by Al Gore, New York University