(First published Memorial
this day that our nation pays tribute to its war dead, it is only fitting
that we examine what our young people are dying for today, and the kind of
tributes that history might reward them.
What has America become under the leadership of “Christian conservatives”
[sic] and the Republican Party?
Is it still the land of the free and the home of the brave? Does it still
welcome the Earth’s oppressed, her tired, huddled masses to its teeming
shores, if not by law at least in spirit?
Do the Democrats and Republicans still represent our nation’s two largest
constituencies --workers and management? Do the Democrats, in the words of
Gore Vidal, still bribe the masses, or have they become like Republicans,
ruling through coercion?
Are we still a nation, as we were before 1980, in which “religious” people
and clergy are worthy of being held in high esteem? Or have we become a
nation in which the views of such people are dangerous because of their
suspicious political activism and morally bankrupt worldviews?
One need only compare Pat Robertson to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to
consider the contrast.
We know what the Rev. King’s dream was by heart, but what about Dr.
Robertson’s? What’s his dream?
America is on the verge of not only becoming a one party national security
state (which it has been, arguably, for some time), but a national security
state with distinctively fascist
Mussolini defined fascism as the merger of corporate and government power.
That’s a rather broad definition, but fascism is, actually, a rather broad
ideology. Nazism was something of an anomaly that fell upon the margins of
mainstream fascism, and serves as a fascinating distraction from its
fundamental, universal tenets.
Spain under Franco, the Marcos’ Philippines and Indonesia’s Suharto are good
examples of how fascism can operate successfully for a while in various
cultural settings. Each regime, in cold political terms, was fairly
triumphant at maintaining its nation’s power apparatus for a generation
until collapsing under the weight of its own moral bankruptcy.
A method common to all fascist regimes, however, is to define a national
ideal that puts forward a particular type, or class, of citizen as a
measuring stick by which all other types (i.e.: losers) fall naturally
short. So you have the white hats vs. the black hats, cops and robbers,
cowboys and Indians, white folk bearing their burdens, the Galactic
Confederation vs. the Klingons circling Uranus (sorry), the chosen people
against their heathen oppressors, and so on, all waging war against the
enemy to maintain social order. The good guy never blinks and the seeds of
fascist mythology are sewn. In time, a superman emerges from the mud,
inseminating the culture that will grow its cult, making it personally
fruitful and fit for dominion over a world pregnant with opportunities.
The differences between good and bad people depicted by fascist societies
would be laughable if they weren’t so tragic, being always defined by
superficial traits like race, creed, class or sexuality. Hubris inevitably
leads the hero to overextend himself and suffer defeat much to the anguish
of those who’d been sucking his tit for their chemically enhanced, synthetic
With fascism, whackos rule the roost, stacking lies upon layers of
propaganda rooted in phenomenological misinterpretations of events (i.e.:
reality). The regime controls the average citizen, who’s too easily
manipulated, being severed from his or her political economic reality. In
such a society, truth has been forever extinguished. Only a drastic change
in the system that re-defines its form of civilization can offer
freedom-loving people any hope of behaving responsibly, as they could if
they were honestly informed.
Unfortunately, history reveals that failed fascist regimes (whose follies
ended tragically for their people, as they tend to be blind to long-term
consequences) pursued imperialistic agendas. However, it must be noted that
the most successful fascist regimes were commonly puppets of a larger
fascist establishment that extended beyond its own borders, making
imperialism a moot issue for many of them (e.g. Marcos, Augusto Pinochet in
Chile, Panama’s Gen. Manuel Noriega).
But past failures have not extinguished this tendency toward domination.
Rather, it has largely changed form and evolved into a more protean entity,
or force, that can be witnessed when one nation or group of nations extends
its authority through trade agreements that favor the common private
interests backing it. Rather than blitzkriegs, we observe NAFTA, CAFTA and
GATT. When this regime is attacked, the underpaid and underemployed enlist
for the fight, misunderstanding what they are actually defending.
The most common error about fascism is the assumption that a democratic
republic, by definition, can’t be fascist. But the reality is it becomes
fascist once the government abandons or ignores its most deeply held values,
and the common person no longer has any real say in what their government is
In a society that has adopted fascism, consciously or not, the ruling elite
is petrified that if the people beneath them (i.e.: the brutes) were allowed
the necessary reforms to improve their lot in life, they would seek revenge
on those who’d previously exploited them. The people seriously outnumber the
privileged who manipulate the economy, legal system and governmental
policies to work in favor of the status quo. They have reason to be afraid,
South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a miraculous
exception to the rule thanks to the moral integrity of Archbishop Desmond
Tutu and President Nelson Mandela (both of whom are harsh critics of
America’s aggressive foreign policy).
The Bush regime’s characterization of its enemies as terrorists and
barbarians at the gates of civilization is an attempt to justify its own
brutality. By dehumanizing the enemies of American global domination as
terrorists and calling them evil, the mass of people under the sway of a
fascist regime can accept its moral justification for human rights abuses at
home and abroad. The losers are deserving of what they get in the minds of
most people, who commonly feel no responsibility for what is done in their
names and interests. Like Pontius Pilate, they have washed their hands of the
blood that’s staining them. In many cases, they accept fascism as a primal
form of justice commonly referred to as social Darwinism.
Yet this isn’t the America that many Americans know and love. Our friends,
family and neighbors -- most of them -- are not bloodthirsty Nazi whoremongers
who actively endorse the slaughter of savages on the other side of the
world. They are, however, oblivious fascists. How did what dawned with the
“Reagan revolution” evolve into a nation on the verge of becoming a fascist
republic? Rather than persuasion, reason and other lawful methods,
propaganda was deployed in the name of all that was holy and sacred.
Right wing propaganda was successful because it was so difficult for the
average person --usually a good, humble Christian -- to recognize. A
colleague brilliantly likened the situation to fish swimming in water, they
aren’t aware of it until the liquid their breathing begins to boil. Fascist
propaganda creates a belief among the nation’s “good” citizens that “bad”
behavior among the underprivileged is somehow a mixture of genetics and
cultural inferiority, representing innate flaws and/or social deficiencies
unique to their group (explaining its social status), rather than being a
natural reaction to tyranny.
Fascist propaganda succeeds in a democratic republic when the majority feels
its bad behavior is justified by its innate superiority over those it’s
brutalizing. Few people think of slaughterhouses and the inhumane treatment
of livestock while eating their meat in large quantities.
Among the most common warning signs that a nation is becoming fascist are:
characterized by a tension between labor and management, or markets.
erosion of a particular
segment of the population’s civil rights and economic security,
particularly the debunking of artists, intellectuals and non-violent
spiritual leaders of all stripes who can defeat fascism through the power of
their hearts and minds.
* Discontent among
minorities and the white middle class that is evolving into hateful
relationships that are dividing them as they fail to perceive their common
enemy. This is manifest in get tough on crime and anti-immigrant attitudes.
The ruling elite understands that if it can divide those beneath them, it
can send the lower classes on a very competitive race to the bottom and thus
further its own status. The reality is, however, that no one within such a
system can behave with enlightened self-interest, since they have
surrendered, for whatever reason, to what they perceive as their nation’s
unstoppable historical processes. Simply put, they are products of their
place in time and feel quite comfortable with it. Discontent and dissidence
seem as absurd as cursing the weather, or damning the whole outdoors because
of a few bugs. In other words,
apathy and ignorance
regarding the real issues at play is rampant.
Greed is the
nation’s primary motivation—it
needs what the oppressed have to offer (cheap labor, natural resources,
time, space, sex and pleasure; it is how it pursues its happiness, or
manifest destiny, probing the globe’s back alley exotica with a five-hour
hard-on -- needing to go to the emergency room).
intimidation and outright
censorship of journalists and others who try to disseminate information
harmful to the regime’s fascist agenda is commonplace.
Such undesirables face slander, libel, theft and destruction of personal
property, social humiliation, personal injury, death and even the
terrorizing of loved ones (a mafia tactic), after which they are subject to
a historical revisionism that attempts to disgrace their family’s legacy.
Government and business are
merging into a single political economic unit
that instigates an increasingly hostile partisanship between those who would
coerce the people and those who would bribe them to retain their elite
status. Political disunity makes a show of democracy while the real power
game is occurring privately behind closed doors (“executive session,”
Republican-run “control boards”). The inconsequential bickering is pointed
to as “democracy at work.”
trashing of dissident
artists, intellectuals and spiritual leaders evolves into a patriotic duty,
because they’re immoral heathens or amoral atheists. To not toe the
party line is equated with treason. You are either for the greatest power,
or against it, in the
leadership’s black and white world.
* The trust in
pseudo-science, the moral certainty informing historical revisionism, the
destruction of public records and property, and arcane legalism are
generating profound misunderstanding among the public that promotes
fascism’s public image and wins approval in the hearts and minds of the
people. Yet, people aren’t really stupid. We have unconscious minds capable
of telling us some pretty big things. People who buy a tree anticipating
sweet fruit, will often try to talk themselves into not accepting the fact
that what they taste is sour. However, their subconscious minds won’t let
them kid themselves. Mental illness increases among the oppressed yet
patriotic population due to this problem, which is called
Most “citizens” are pathologically detached from their environments, deluded
and alienated from reality, and enframed by the political economic culture
whose ruling elite easily manipulates them.
Fascism has grown in influence in the United States by substituting the
white man’s oppression of black people, Amerindians and women, which legally
lasted until 40 years ago, with the oppression of people of conscience
today. In this manner, America’s mythological common man democracy is
segueing into a fascist dictatorship that justifies its power by the fact
it’s waging a war against an abstract noun: evil. Of course, no one with the
ear of power is willing or able to try driving this point home.
Dr. Lawrence Britt outlines 14 defining characteristics of fascism, 13 of
which the U.S. possesses:
1) Fascist regimes nurture
ubiquitous patriotism and
often include flags being flown everywhere, national symbols being pinned,
tattooed, painted, sewn or woven into and onto various surfaces and
textures, and political pageantry propped up by popular slogans.
for human rights.
3) Defining a
to unite the “people.”
spending is disproportionate to social spending
even when domestic problems are numerous and widespread. Military service
becomes not a job, but an adventure to which one can escape from the quiet
desperation of one’s lower class life. Combat is profound and glorious.
“God” is on our side, obviously, as the homeland is the greatest, most
powerful nation in the history of the world.
5) Mass media, which is corporate-owned, is greatly limited by government
enforced corporate restrictions on content. They are also run by people
whose ideologies are sympathetic to the aims of the ruling elite (see
Venezuela), since they are the ruling elite.
disinformation and propaganda are commonplace.
6) The entire nation, it is reported, is
obsessed with national
7) Government and
religion are finding ways to congregate for the purpose of social engineering
Bush’s faith-based initiative, and funding to fight AIDS in Africa).
power is protected.
Nearly everything is incorporated or up for sale or sponsorship.
9) The influence of
10) Artists and
intellectuals are disdained
11) The middle class, feeling threatened and experiencing cognitive
dissonance, projects its anxiety outward as an
obsession with crime and
I’m not talking Dostoevsky, more like Jerry Bruckheimer). Fascist regimes
empower law enforcement to police the people by any means necessary. And the
people, most of whom are hoodwinked, willingly ignore police abuse and the
violation of civil rights as their patriotic duty. Fascist regimes always
employ national police forces with virtually unlimited power to secure the
homeland and maintain the status quo.
cronyism and depravity.
The only one of Britt’s characteristics of fascism that the US lacks is
rampant sexism, which has found a new voice in
the belief that homosexuality and other sexualities which are not strictly
heterosexual and intended for making babies, is a sin. So if Britt were
willing to accept this slight variation, the U.S. would be at least on the
verge of becoming fascist, if not already there, on every count.
Upon Ronald Reagan’s election to the presidency in 1980, America’s executive
branch of government assumed a corporate libertarian ideology, though Jimmy
Carter’s presidency had set the stage by pushing for tightened domestic
spending while stressing higher personal
responsibility, something that caused Ted Kennedy to oppose Carter in the
primaries, angering the President to the point of an uncharacteristic
outburst: “I’m going to kick his ass [in the primaries],” which he did.
When President Clinton took office in 1993, the Reagan revolution morphed
into the Contract for America, which fueled the Republican takeover of
Congress in 1994 and Clinton’s swing to the right, which couldn’t prevent
his eventual impeachment -- a huge distraction from very real national
security concerns. After eight years of failing to topple Clinton, the
Republicans gained control of the White House after Bush was selected by a
5-4 vote of a perilously “conservative” Supreme Court.
So what does this political situation have to do with economics? Everything.
Free market ideology -- a belief in the necessity of perpetual economic
growth -- has been cuddled by what can only be described as a fundamentalist
religious fervor. Adherents are wide-eyed, ignoring the big picture and
possessing faith in the forward march of their eternal
These ideologues view government’s role as being the supplier of the
infrastructure from which private, commercial interests that finance the
careers of public officials may benefit.
These folks believe that greed is a natural human quality and a good
motivator, that acting on the desire to do better than one’s neighbor (i.e.:
competition rather than cooperation) is the highest form of self-expression,
and that the feverish rivalry to consume the most leads to a real
meritocracy, and that it is pragmatic, or prudent, to elevate these values
to attain utilitarian ends.
Corporate fascists view globalization and free trade as historically
inevitable, and believe it’s in the best interests of oppressed people
everywhere to accept the “new world order.” How
conveniently we have forgotten that slogan from Bush 41.
Corporate fascists make no room for shades of gray or ambiguity, as they
instinctively seem to operate in a world of black and white extremes where
the only things in the middle of the road are dead liberals.
Corporate fascists are the extreme right wing of the corporate class, which
consists of wealthy investors, corporate managers, financial brokers,
lawyers, public relations specialists, consultants and mainstream news media
These individuals profit from advancing the rights of corporations. They are
also bound by an
ideology that favors business over government while releasing commercial
interests of any economic accountability regarding the public costs of their
These corporate fascists, or corporate libertarians, back their ideological
agenda with significant financial resources, injecting a Machiavellian ethos
and moral philosophy to advance their private political economic interests.
The rights of common folks play second fiddle to those of elite financial
stakeholders, and regular people are powerless to make their government hold
corporations accountable for the public good.
Americans are easily the most violent, militaristic people on Earth.
Ironically, that makes us -- the inhabitants of that shining city on the
hill -- barbarians.
According to the German pacifist politician Karl Liebknecht’s 1907 lecture,
“Means and Effects of Militarism,” patriotism signifies “a constant
readiness to pitch into the exterior or the interior enemy whenever
commanded to do so.”
A state of utter stupidity among the people enables the fascist regime to
lead them like a
shepherd to the slaughter; they’re sheep defending the interests of the
status quo. The silence of the lambs is deafening.
“War against the foreign foe requires men,” said Liebknecht, “war against
the foe at home, slaves [and] machines.”
Militarism supplies corporate libertarianism, or fascism, with a submissive
workforce shackled by political economic exploitation and the frustration of
not being able to do much to alter its situation without great hardship.
Militarism also created the corporate military-industrial complex, which
during the cold war developed a system of propaganda that it used to
saturate the whole of public and private life with patriotism, preachers,
teachers, popular journalists, neurotic literary figures like Ayn
Rand, and prestigious military leaders like Colin Powell, Stormin’ Norman
Wayne, Patton and Rambo, that served to successfully brainwash hundreds of
young people to enlist in a military comprised, for now, of volunteers. Each
of these archetypes, or cultural memes, served to veil the colluding parties
with a perverse, polluted halo.
Militarism is the most Machiavellian system in human history. Mass
consumption justifies the services and productions of corporate libertarian
institutions, and militarism is the vilest fuel informing that ethos.
“Good” or “real” Americans are threatened and cajoled into maintaining their
consumption habits while traumatized by various crises, and volunteer to
kill for the privilege of covering their overhead expenses, both now and in
The military, meanwhile, is seen as the prime generator of technology and
scientific advancement in its vast influence over the nation’s industrial
resources thanks to their tactical significance.
Much needs to be done if America is to once again find itself steering on
the course toward ever-greater human freedom and dignity. Fortunately, the
first thing that needs to happen may have already begun.
Fifteen months ago, on Scott Leffler’s morning political talk radio show
“Dialog,” I predicted that if Bush went ahead and invaded Iraq unilaterally
it would not only cost him the election, but the Republican nomination. I
felt then that there had to be enough decent human beings left in the GOP to
ensure it was capable of cleaning its own house. And recently, there are
some indications they may be ready to do that [forgive me, for I was naïve,
The 9/11 Commission along with Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, chairman of the
Senate Armed Services Committee, along with a few others, like Senate
majority leader Bill Frist, R-
Tennessee, are pressing ahead with serious investigations into the Bush
regime’s handling of
national security. Even neoconservative spokesperson William Kristol has
expressed reservations over how the war in Iraq is going. As things worsen,
and they most likely will, the Republican Party will be defined by how it
responds to the situation.
Another fissure that seems to be widening on the right is between secular,
conservatives and religious ones. The battle resembles a snake pit, and like
most snake pits, it’s occurring in dark, isolated corners around the
country. The hope is each side will weaken the other enough for moderates to
regain control of the party.
Like it or not, Alexander Hamilton was partly right when he said the
business of America is business. Business people need representation in our
government, and if they’re fair and honest they deserve fair and honest
representation. That means the Republican Party needs to grasp this
fundamental fact and start filling the void, or someone is going to snatch
the reins of power from its snarling teeth.
The Democrats, on the other hand, have shown few signs of being a party
capable of doing it. That isn’t to say they wouldn’t be a vast improvement
over the Republicans. If they were true to form, they would bribe the
American people with a slew of changes that would make us only half as
fascist as we are today [Howard Dean was still the frontrunner].
So the first phase of r/evolution would involve internecine warfare
resulting in the reformation of the Republican Party, and the people turning
to the Democratic Party to fill the void.
The success of this phase will be measured by how much power the Democrats
are able to seize from the Republicans in 2004. Bush’s defeat, of course, is
required for advancement down a less warlike path.
If this phase is sufficiently successful and the Democrats rule the
executive branch, and find themselves within striking distance of taking
over Congress, the midterm-election in 2006 would mark phase two.
Considering that those who favor personal responsibility and freedom, and
profound political-economic reform, are moderately successful and take over
the Senate, and with a moderate Democratic Senate and liberal President,
curbed by a Republican House of Representatives that is moving ever closer
to the middle, the stage for phase three will be set in 2008.
The country will either want even more of what’s being offered, about the
same, or less. The people will, as always, decide [again, sorry for my
naïveté]. If phase three is successful, and we leftists are given an inch,
we should strive to fairly gain a mile, and continue pushing ahead for ever
greater personal freedom and responsibility, as well as fundamental
corporate reform, so the system will continue r/evolving. That, in and of
itself, is the fourth and final stage.
R/evolution is the peaceful, democratic path toward necessary reform.
If Bush somehow
manages to “win” re-election, America will become the world’s second fascist
“democratic republic” after South Africa, but the first such state to ever
be a “hyperpower.” Simply put, it will change everything forever.
Maybe that’s a good thing.
The Bush regime is, in effect, a fascist entity that isn’t capable of
competing for power fairly or surrendering it peacefully. They and their
followers have way too much to lose, as they face numerous indictments on
various charges, including war crimes and lying to Congress should they find
Before describing the two possible scenarios I see for civil war, I must say
in the strongest terms possible that I do not endorse any violence unless
one is defending their lives or protecting the ones they love. I do not
endorse killing to protect property, reputation, personal liberty or any
other rights for one’s self. I only endorse the most radical forms of
disobedience imaginable against fascism to guarantee their protection. One
must be willing enough to die for a cause before one can justify killing in
its name. Don’t be shocked, that’s what we ask our military to do every day.
The ultimate goal is to simply reduce the amount of killing, then keep it at
a minimum. In other words, to wage a “civil” war. This war will be violent,
but the violence will be minimized through an ethical strategy that weighs
how many lives will be saved by killing a certain, individual person. A
slippery slope? Yes, but forbidding the killing of “unpatriotic” civilians
not directly employed by, or in support of, the government would provide
some traction. In other words, targets of terrorism would be restricted to
those responsible for horrendous injustices (please note that’s plural) and
The nightmare scenario is that a legitimate terrorist -- one whose belly
literally aches because of how the average American consumes more in one
year than his entire family, and feels in his bones how the ever-increasing
space needed for that consumption requires evermore colonization -- is
force-fed the fact that the American people are ignoring the consequences of
their behavior and really want Bush as their fearless leader.
In this case, this man or woman, or people, who have long said their
argument isn’t with the
people of the United States, people like the Palestinians, will see it
otherwise. Suicide bombers will board buses and subways in New York and Los
Angeles. Hotels will be leveled in Washington, D.C. We will be treated by
these people the same way the Russians are treated by the Chechnyans, and
the Israelis are by the Palestinians -- perhaps worse because we are the
evil empire. Southern California will resemble the Gaza Strip, but sporadic
terrorism will pop up everywhere and completely justify the government’s
Sharon-like, fascist response to a terrified American public. Whoever speaks
up in protest will be stoned by an angry mob, most likely their neighbors,
and the free world will economically isolate America, poising itself for war
-- against us. It will have learned its lesson of what it means to appease a
At this time it will be necessary for dissidents to go underground and form
many have already done so). They, like the French Resistance in World War
II, will have to be ready to collaborate with the forces of freedom to
overthrow the government. It will take brave men and women who understand
what freedom truly is; who realize that life is worse than death without it.
The rest, of course, will become a history that no one is left to study, and
most likely mean the loss of most animal life on the planet, which includes
us. We will have learned our final lesson.
Another possibility, one which I think is more likely, involves much less
bloodshed, but at least an equal amount of drama.
Though it seems unlikely, this is the biggest and best wild card of all
outside r/evolution, what begins in profound tragedy ends with real
American-style romance, and goes something like this:
The United States is hit by a major terrorist attack before the November
election. The Bush regime goes to Code Red, which is martial law. It then
takes over the national media, shuts down the Internet and postpones the
elections, using what happened in Spain as an excuse. The national media,
however, and thousands of bloggers, and perhaps millions of others, protest
and the results are ugly.
Word spreads among the population, and there are those among the ruling
elite who, for the first time, have a real crisis of conscience and see what
they’ve been aiding and abetting for so long through their misguided
tolerance and appeasement. They stand up on behalf of their fallen comrades,
perhaps even climbing on top of a tank in front of the White House.
And yes, to be clear, I’m talking about something of a holy war, in which
those imbued by the American spirit of personal liberty, secular truth and
fairness vanquish the devils of the Christian right, whose propaganda and
treachery, motivated by greed and arrogance, who believe their names were
written in the book of the saved before the Earth’s creation, who honestly
think they were chosen by God to have dominion over non-believers and the
entire, sinful world, are put in their rightful place.
A few well-placed bullets will make them digest the fruit of the seed they’ve
sown, as it always is in Nature. A few people will decide to kill some to
protect the freedom of many, irregardless of their own. One need not endorse
this to make it so.
So the choice may not be ours, as the opponents of democracy, as always,
wage a war against it. We may be forced to do what we must.
For the first time in our history, the battle for democracy is being waged
on our home soil against an enemy from within. But America is not
exceptional in this, it happens at one time or another to every nation.
There’s a season for every purpose under heaven, so they say.
What does make America exceptional, however, is that it is the battleground
for world ideas -- whether those in power here, right now, like it or not.
It is up to the American people, more than anyone else, to save the world by
The candidates I eventually vote for will be the ones I believe have the
fewest body bags attached to their names, not in the short-term, but in the
long run. It’s that simple.
Our nation will most certainly fulfill its own purposes, and the way our
future war dead are honored will define what those purposes were.
The question is: will they be heroes, victims or villains? Only time and the
American people will tell.
Obviously, Bush won. As time passes, however, stories about how Karl Rove
threw the election (making a terrorist attack unnecessary) may become more
prevalent. Reality, of course, will serve us by biting the regime in its
prideful, overweening ass.
My biggest mistake six months ago was underestimating how successful the
regime’s propaganda really was, and how many more people lead faith-based
rather than reason-based lives in this country. I also didn’t believe the
electoral fix was hardened in such concrete.
I think the opportunity for r/evolution has passed and ominous historical
forces are plunging us toward civil war.
Osama bin Laden’s aim of bankrupting America seems redundant. His real aim,
if he’s not still under the regime’s employ, might be to wake us up.
The giant, dreaming through a long night, is now facing its pre-dawn
writing is archived at
www.bastardpolitics.com. His first book,
from Apartment 5, is now available in many online
© Copyright Chuck
Articles by Chuck Richardson
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