Anyone can call someone else a name. People call others Fascists or Nazis all the time on the Internet. People who have these little backwoods militia are often called Nazi-wannabees or actually in some cases call themselves Nazis. But the fact is that the term “Fascist” has a specific meaning. While Nazis were Fascists, many Fascists exist and existed who were not Nazis.
A good idea is to take the term “Fascist” and examine it and see if what most people generally characterize as “Fascist” can be linked to the behavior, not the rhetoric (because talk is cheap, especially political talk) of the Republican Party. Many of the characteristics of a group or an individual are not by themselves an indication of the whole. But taken all together, they become something that is recognizable as the definition of the word. So let’s see what fits.
Nationalism. Fascism is characterized by a feeling of overarching nationalism. People who take a point of view that does not coincide with mindless…incessant…patriotism are considered disloyal. People who, for example, called French fries “Freedom fries” when the French accurately stated that there was no serious cause to go to war with Iraq are considered sensible. People screaming for war, when there is no need for war…that kind of false patriotism…that is what characterizes Fascism.
Ignoring Human Rights. Subordinating of all our rights to some false need to protect society from an unidentified or fantasized enemy is a typical Fascist trick. Creating a strawman and then setting the removal of our civil rights against the need for protection from an enemy that really does not exist. Hitler claimed the rest of the world was out to get Germans, when in reality people simply wanted to be left alone.
The creation of false enemies. Making false accusations about who is or is not an enemy. Creating political positions against the false enemies that citizens are bound to adhere to or else they themselves are “collaborators.” The Jews were falsely accused by Nazis for example of all kinds of ridiculous things, none of which were remotely true. An example is the Right Wing claiming that individuals are parts of secret or dangerous groups, using emotional but currently almost meaningless terms like “Marxists.”
Control of the message. In whatever way possible, Fascists need to disseminate their propaganda. To do this they gain control over the media. The Nazis did it by force. Today it is done simply by having wealthy Right Wing investors buy up the media to control the message. The whole point is to slant every situation so that it favors the point of view of the Party. The truth does not get to the people.
Domination of the society by a military segment. Combining industry, politics and actual military leadership to build and strengthen the military in society beyond all necessity. This is done by having one political party authorize more funding for weapons and increased staff levels. They become essentially the war party.
The use of fear as a political tool. Fascists rely on fear to motivate people to support them. The most famous example is of the Reichstag fire, set by Nazis and blamed on the Jews and Communists. Fear of other countries, of economic collapse, of plague or personal safety–virtually anything that can be demagogued is fair game in a Fascist state.
Alignment with corporations and heavy industries. Fascists line up quickly with corporations because the combination of big industries, central government, the military and religion is the very essence of Fascism. Some major industrialists are always most eager to provide the money while government provides the contracts to industry and the military protects the mutual investment.
Attacks on labor unions. Fascists hate labor unions because labor unions are merely organized people. Labor unions cannot be manipulated. Assuming they are honest, they work for the people, and not the stockholders of large corporations. One of the principal goals of Fascism is to reduce the power of labor, thereby reducing the power of the workers and automatically enhancing the power of the owners of the economic aristocracy.
Anti-Intellectualism. The academic lifestyle is a danger to Fascism. Intellectuals seek their own answers. They are not easily manipulated by propaganda. The scientific method relies on facts, not propaganda. Academics and thoughtful people do not readily accept simple lies. Fascists do not want people who question anything.
Political corruption. The Fascist system survives on the theory that there is one party, one political philosophy, one group of people to be served—not the public but a slightly different group—the voters who are either like you or who can be persuaded easily that your policies make sense. Not everyone but only those who adhere to your Fascist political program. So anyone, good or bad, who is part of your group, your Party, is preferable and given preference over other qualified candidates for the job in question.
That leads to the last thing, which is election fraud. In order to elect people to get a specific political post over those whom the public likes better, it is necessary often to rig elections. There are innumerable ways to do this, but the fact is that within Fascist groups, because elections are everything, because political power is what sustains Fascism, everything must be controlled. Fascism is a form of totalitarianism. Fascists want complete control and that is what they work towards.
So…are the Republicans Fascists?
When Bush was elected, there was a controversy about his election. The Republicans on the Supreme Court voted to halt the election, stop counting the votes, when he was ahead. They certainly controlled that election.
Two years after he was elected, Bush lied about facts concerning Iraq and led us into war. In the politics of that event, large corporations were given huge contracts by the Republicans. There’s your corruption…but there was more to come. There was $19 billion dollars unaccounted for in Iraq by the very people appointed by the Fascists, Bush and Cheney.
There were other scandals, like the “Duke” Cunningham scandal and the “Bridge to Nowhere” scandal of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, and the Abramoff scandals and the ENRON connections to the Bush Administration and the Halliburton contracts and the 9 American soldiers electrocuted in their showers.
Then there is the problem of an additional $7.5 trillion spent by Republicans and nothing to show for it. Nothing. Some of it is undoubtedly in the two wars started by the Fascists, military contracting that was never supervised and graft beyond the dreams of avarice. Still other billions were given away in political deals like the prescription drug bill, said to enrich the pharmaceutical companies by hundreds of billions of dollars over ten years.
And what about media ownership? Is there anyone who does not know that Fox News Channel is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party? Does anyone not know that Roger Ailes, the former head of the Republican Party has them spewing out propaganda on an hourly basis from Fascist commentators like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, and others less significant but too numerous to mention?
Does anyone not know that Citadel, Clear Channel and other radio broadcasting networks have programmed sinister anti-Middle Class propagandists like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and G. Gordon Liddy…traitors to most working class Americans…to support the policies of corporations like the Koch Family Foundation, the Heritage Institute, and the Cato Institute and the pharmaceutical, oil, mining chemical and military contracting industries?
And where is the military? It is supposed to be neutral. But we have the evidence of numerous generals who have left the military only to join major corporations that contract with the military like Kellogg Brown and Root or General Dynamics. We know that many Generals have come out in recent years after they objected to unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over ten years, and said that while they had been…as they themselves admitted…part of the overwhelmingly Republican members of senior military staff, they were no longer because everything had gone wrong.
Does anyone think that the Republicans have not favored corporations, are tied to corporations and serve only corporations to the exclusion of other Americans? We already mentioned the prescription drug bill that did not address increases in prices of prescription drugs but merely loaded the increased cost onto the backs of the American people, while they still pay three and four times what other countries pay for the same drugs.
Does anyone think that a Republican was speaking out of turn when he said that the government “owed an apology” to BP Oil for the oil spill that caused billions of dollars of damage to the gulf? The removal of all restrictions on Wall Street by Republicans and the appointment of an anti-regulation head of SEC, Chris Cox, insured that that regulations would not be followed and that Wall Street would collapse. Republicans made sure that Americans would lose 40% of everything they owned and 14.9 million people would be put out of work. Why? When you’re a billionaire the bigger the spread between what you have and how much less everyone else has is like a raise.
And finally, has anyone noticed that we are on constant alert, even though not one terrorist has succeeded in killing on single American on American soil since 2001? But we are still taught to be afraid. We are still told by Republicans that we are in danger. We are still told that our country is about to collapse even though that is so far from the truth as to be laughable. We are told that Social Security will go bankrupt, even thought, if we did absolutely nothing, no one even 20 or 30 years from now or beyond would ever get less than 78% of currently projected benefits.
Lies, lies, lies. Lied into war. Lied into fear for our safety. Lied to about how much wealth the rich are amassing. Lied about how many jobs are being sent overseas. Lied to about how little the hugely wealthy corporations and billionaires pay in taxes. And lied to about how little effort it would take to put this country’s economy back together again.
Fascist lies. That’s what Fascists do. They lie to distract you from the truth. Just the way Hitler lied to distract Germans from the fact that he was killing 6,000,000 Jews and that Germany was about to be totally devastated and 5,000,000 Germans killed or starved or sent to Russian prison camps never to return. That is the kind of vision the Fascist Republicans have for the U.S.