Filed Under: Opinion, Politics | Posted: 03/10/2011 at 7:29PM
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Are the Republicans and the far Right leaning toward fascism? That sounds like a radical question, and certainly not all Republicans are fascists, but let’s consider past and current historical events.
We need to start with a little history. Benito Mussolini is recognized as the father of fascism. When asked how he would describe his movement Mussolini responded, “Fascism should more appropriately be called “Corporatism” because it is a merger of state and corporate power”. Political scientists have long described fascism as a blend of state and corporate power propped up by authoritarian nationalism. Given Mussolini’s other comments on authoritarianism and nationalism, it is doubtful he would have objected to this characterization.
Without a doubt, Adolf Hitler was inspired by and replicated in his own early rise many aspects of the fascist movement.
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting the Republican Party has a master plan in which they are plotting to build gas chambers to kill all the Muslims, socialists, and gays. However, Republicans have been behaving much like the Fascists and Nazis movements during their early rise to power. Essentially, I am suggesting the Republicans and far Right-wing are taking the first few pages out of the Fascist Party playbook.
Consider for example the famous poem by German theologian Martin Niemoller. Niemoller was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp Dachau. After the war, Niemoller spoke frequently of Germany’s collective responsibility for Nazi atrocities. As a pastor, he persuasively preached about the need for the German Protestant Church’s "Confession of Guilt." Niemoller wrote several books over the course of his life. However, his untitled poem is by far his most memorable writing:
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me–
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
In another version of the poem, Niemoller added schools and the press to the list of people the Nazis went after before going after the questioning theologians, like Niemoller. It is no coincidence that the Nazi Party took the same course Benito Mussolini took the Fascist Party to power. At first, Hitler nearly idolized Mussolini and went about replicated him.
Mussolini was the son of a school teacher and devout socialist. As a young adult, he first followed in his father’s footsteps and even became an editor to a socialist newspaper. However, after Mussolini enlisted as a junior officer in the Italian Army, during the World War I, Mussolini came home to build a political party that embraced the rich industrialists and eventually brutalized the very same socialists he once knew as friends and allies.
Once again, I’m not saying that the Republicans are like the Nazi’s or the Fascists in their grand plan toward a “final solution”. However, what I am arguing is that they are embracing some of the same ideological beliefs and tactics that two of the most dangerous political movements the world has ever seen. What I am saying is the Republicans, Tea Party, and other elements of the far Right are creeping toward fascism. What I am also saying is that American’s need to seriously look back history in order to avoid repeating it.
Fox News, radical Right-wing radio, and extremist’s blogs have been purposefully misleading their sheepeople. They are have been propagandizing the flock to believe liberals and liberalism is related to fascism. A recent revisionist history book titled “Liberal Fascism” became a best seller amongst Right-wing ideologues. All the while Fox News stars and talk radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Glenn Beck, along with a host of Tea Party speakers, have been sinisterly misquoting Niemoller’s profound poem with absurd quotes like, “First they came for the rich, and I did not speak out because I was not rich, Then they confiscated the property owners, Then they took away our right to bear arms, but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t armed.”
I don’t know what is more perverse, the fact that the extremist Right-wingers are flipping history and Niemoller’s poem on its head, or the fact that the very folks misquoting history are all rich, property owners stockpiling guns?
Clearly demonstrated, and contrary to what the crazy Right-wing has been saying, Fascism is simply another word for “corporatism.” It is the empowerment of militant, rich property owners over minority groups like Socialists, unionists, teachers, and press. It is a movement that demonizes liberals and religious minorities, while propping up ardent militant nationalism.
So I ask you, does this sound anything like what we are seeing in America today? To repeat myself, I’m not saying Republicans are plotting out sites for mass graves. However, Republicans and the far Right-wing in America have been involved in an onslaught of verbal and violent attacks on socialists, unions, and minorities. The radicals on the Right have attempted to paint our school teachers and the press as simple pawns of “Chairman” Obama.
All the while, the malicious Republicans have been cozying up to Adolf Coors and the Koch brother billionaires. In return for political power and personal wealth, the Right-wing showers favors on their benefactors by providing them with massive tax cuts, corporate welfare, and revisionist history telling. All the while, the Right has been recently engaged in an overt attack on the middle class, school teachers, trade unionist, and are now holding hearings in Congress on Muslims. It should come as no surprise, since Barack Obama became president, the nation is experienced a dramatic uptick in hate groups like the Aryan Nation and other Christian White supremacy movements, including the Ku Klux Klan.
Imagine an America where the Commander and Chief manufactures a crises, declares a state of emergency, and then replaces all the democratically elected officials with corporate shills that support his own personal ambitions. That is how soft-core fascism works. That is also what has now been permitted to happen in Michigan, thanks to the corporate shill Repugs. Are the Republicans and the far Right-wing leaning toward fascism? There is certainly reason to believe this might be true. Nonetheless, only history will tell us if the Republicans will ultimately abandon democracy for the absolute power a fascist/corporatocracy.