Fascism has come to Wisconsin! I do not use the term lightly, nor do I mean “something like” fascism is involved, nor do I think I am using the term inappropriately. I mean what we are seeing in Wisconsin is a genuine full-blown attempt at a fascist coup. Consider, first, this definition of fascism from an online dictionary:
“often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”
You cannot deny that Governor Walker has been acting in a dictatorial manner, insisting he will not compromise or even negotiate over his attempt to do away with collective bargaining. Is this not an attempt at “severe economic and social regimentation? He is not asking his opponents to return from Illinois, but ordering them to do so. He is forcibly suppressing opposition by unconstitutionally fining them for their absence, and even ordering the police, or perhaps special “goons,” to find and arrest them and forcibly return them to Madison. He has also tried to shut down the capitol building and in at least one instance has had a duly elected official roughed up by the police for attempting to enter his own office in the capitol building. These seem to me to be clearly Fascist tactics ordered by someone who fancies himself to have dictatorial powers.
Consider also the following perhaps more classic definition of fascism:
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
It is no secret who is behind this attempt to do away with collective bargaining, the billionaire Koch brothers and presumably other of their corporate cronies. Labor unions are virtually the only meaningful opposition to complete corporate control of our political system. If they can be destroyed, the state of Wisconsin aligned with these corporate interests, a dictatorial governor in power, what would you have if not a merger of state and corporate power, a Fascist state?
What is happening in Wisconsin is precisely what we have been cautioned about from the very beginning:
“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” Thomas Jefferson
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group,”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
It is not surprising that Fascism is attempting to come to Wisconsin and America. It would seem to have been perfectly predictable, at least to some:
“Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans.” John T. Flynn.
“No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.” Buenaventura Durruti
“Fascism will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a bible.” Sinclair Lewis.
“We seem to be a long way off from the kind of Fascism which we see in Italy today, but we are not so far from the kind of Fascism which Mussolini preached in Italy before he assumed power, and we are slowly approaching the conditions which made Fascism there possible.” John T. Flynn.
“The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the U.S. are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.” Edward Dowling.
Is it not the case that for years now the rich have become even more rich and the middle class has been disappearing? Is it not also the case there have been stirrings of dissent, demands to tax the rich, to do away with corporate welfare and increase corporate taxes? The gulf that separates the one or two percent of the population at the top from the rest of us is the largest now it has ever been, and still the Republicans continue to try to get more and more from the middle class, and that class is just now seemingly going on the offensive. The answer to this threat seems to be the rise of Fascism. “Fascism is capitalism in decay,” Vladimir Lenin.”Fascism is nothing but capitalist reaction,” Leon Trotsky. And who are those who might most easily be described these days as wrapped in a flag and carrying a bible?”
Does it not appear the conditions are more than ripe for a Fascist movement to appear? This development is most easily seen at the moment in Wisconsin but it is a more nationwide movement than that. It has been building for some time now as Republicans, certainly since the Clinton administration, have been willing to more and more employ tactics far more common to Fascists than U.S. politics as usual. Recall that during the vote count in Florida the counting was interrupted and stopped by a mob of shouting (brown shirted) Republicans. And there was also developed what I call the technique of “roviation,” the deliberate attempt to slime and slander opponents without mercy and in any way possible, far in excess of previous political tactics. There was also their unprecedented attempt to shut down the government. And of course they went after President Clinton with the most extreme and unprecedented attack on his private life that had nothing to do with his politics or performance in office. They roviated John Kerry with the slimy Swiftboaters, and now they are attempting to bring down President Obama with the same underhanded (and in this case, racist) tactics. So determined are they to succeed they are willing to throw our country into chaos, make sure unemployment stays high, and refuse to cooperate in any way to help get our nation out of a severe crisis. I submit this is the work of those who are perfectly willing to see us become a Fascist country with them fully in control. The following quote seems to me to be probably even more relevant now than when it was first written:
“The American Fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism,” Henry A. Wallace. Sound familiar?
There is no doubt in my mind that free-market capitalism in the U.S. has failed miserably. Nor is there any doubt that the wealthy and the giant corporations will resist any attempts at meaningful change. It is obvious we need a form of social democracy in which there are controls over unbridled greed and corruption, the wealthy will have to pay a greater share, and corporate power curtailed. We are, in that sense at least, seeing the decay of capitalism.
The only definition of Fascism I have seen that (I think) has so far eluded Wisconsin would seem
to be that of Upton Sinclair:
“Fascism is capitalism plus murder.”