I wrote yesterday how President Obama has ties to President Lincoln in that they both came from the same state and are dealing with slavery. I found the irony in a black man of recent African descent attempting to reinstitute slavery kind of humorous. The parallels to be drawn in today’s post aren’t so funny.
The term fascism describing an economic and government system has a fairly specific meaning that has been lost in the pejorative name-calling we call politics. Most of the subjects in this most mighty of jurisdictions (chuckle chuckle) wouldn’t even know they are increasingly living in a fascist state. But some key aspects of fascism include trends that are progressing right under their noses.
Yesterday, President Obama relieved GM CEO Rick Wagoner as the government levied its increasing control over the company. Centralized control of the economy is a hallmark of fascism. In the past year, under both the previous and current administrations, the government has garnered extensive control over private companies – not regulatory control; ownership-like control – with bailouts. With historic examples of fascism, these kinds of coups of control in the economy are associated with forceful dictates of a dictator. In reality, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy may not have felt much different than the political atmosphere in the US today.
A surge of popular support has also made President Obama into the locus of a cult of personality, yet another hallmark of fascism utilized by most (if not all) dictators. This development helps to mobilize the populace in a surge of nationalism or some other group identity. In fact the word in Italian means “bundle” and also likely springs from a Latin phrase for a bundle of sticks with an axe, signifying the power of a magistrate. This popular support is vital to the establishment of fascistic (and other totalitarian regimes) structures. As demonstrated by the post yesterday, this mobilization of the population is not only a result of massive popularity, but a specific call to action – such as a call to national service. – especially for the youth of a nation. Sound familiar? Combined with the cult of personality surrounding Bareich Obama the following couldn’t possibly be in any way similar to the Hitler Youth (from Jim Bovard’s article linked to yesterday):
“The GIVE Act views military-style regimentation as a model for the nation. Its National Civil Community Corps would seek to “combine the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service.” This reminds some critics of Obama’s declaration last July: “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that is just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the military.”
A final pillar of fascism is the suppression of dissent and one-party rule. Well, we have a two party system, you say. But, like the dynamic tension of Bokononism and the government of San Lorenzo that banned it (though actively practiced it) in Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, the two major parties are essentially the same group. This same group has tastelessly and without the guise of secrecy suppressed any outside competition or dissent. Just ask any third party – or even outsider candidate inside of THE PARTY – if the political system is open.
Do all of these correlations suddenly render the United States a fascist nation? No. It has been on the road to fascism for a long time; there was nothing sudden about it. Compared to our historic examples of Italy and Germany, we are in a pretty gentle fascism. These examples made faster transitions as the economic conditions were worse. As the American economy continues to slide, we may see the current fascism get harder and more absolute as more and more frightened people flock to the personality cult clamoring for rescue and hope.
I know how redundant it can be to point out irony in politics. There are entire cable television shows built around exploiting the irony and hypocrisy that flows from the cornicpia of the absurd, Washington D.C. But every now and then a particularly absurd offering trickles from the swamp and I can’t help but point and laugh.
President Obama has been an effective catalyst for absurdity due to his image of freshness and hope in the media multiplied by his proclamations of what people wanted to hear. Sure, he meant to end these pointless wars, and he meant to save the economy and make everybody’s financial worries disappear forever, and he meant to reduce corruption in government, etc., etc.. To the politically cognizant the failure to actually achieve – or even attempt to appear to achieve – these lofty goals is far from ironic. The continued portrayal of change even as the wolf disrobes from his sheepskin robe isn’t even ironic. Irony is not found in the media, but in the details (a telling statement as to the state of the media, IMO).
The glow from Obama’s media-bestowed halo has dimmed a little and his sandals are taking on water after a stint of walking atop the water. To some, especially those who have been successfully disillusioned of the simplified-to-the-point-of-falsehood story of Lincoln found in indoctrination history texts, the endless comparisons of Obama to Lincoln could have foretold the eventual outcome. The best correlation between the two, so far in my book, is the link to slavery. No, I’m not talking of Obama’s blackness; I’m speaking about his push for “voluntary” national service, which would be required of all capable youths. Lincoln was known for his Emancipation Proclamation, fabled to have freed all the nation’s slaves (though, in reality he only freed those in the North), whereas Obama, elected partially because of white guilt over centuries of injustice to the black population – the most obvious being slavery – wishes to enslave (reads as “involuntary servitude” in the framework of this farcical government) the youth of the country. Obama is in no way the first to do this since the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment; every President who instituted the military draft has blazed the trail for him.
Jim Bovard has written an article highlighting the doublespeak of “service” as implemented by politicians. Like most things, it is not indicative of the entirety of volunteers or the effectiveness of all programs inside of AmeriCorps; rather, it is indicative of the taint that comes with all things political, especially the unearned money of government and the useless non-productive leeches attracted to it.
On a related note, here is a video of more irony as it relates to color and slavery (video here):
Elections are nothing more than lopsided compromises. There is usually something that people will find to try and take away from the experience that doesn’t make them feel like a powerless tool. It has started early this time, just like everything else in this round of the rat race. As the Demoligcratic Party’s primary race drags on at the public expense (what’s next, publicly-funded elections for Fraternal Order of the Moose officers?), the nugget of dignity that people are holding up to justify their making a choice between bad and worse is the fact that a black man and a white woman are in the running for the nomination for the presidency. “We’ve come so far,” they say. How far toward what?
In the beginning, women and blacks were among the most oppressed and exploited class of people in America. There was also the poor white immigrants and, below them, the poor brown and yellow immigrants. While women and blacks have gained traction in the exploitation machine, they have achieved this progress by treading on those yet below them. So does progress mean privilege is expanded and there are more hands on the reigns of the political machine? As long as the goal is expanded exploitation of producers by the political class, then praise be to progress! If the goal is to remove privilege and achieve liberty for all, then more boots on our necks is not progress.
The candidates give lip service to the “progress” and oppression their race or gender have endured, then promptly fight to become the gears that crush and oppress. The institution of oppression is the same; changing the face, color, or gender of the institution won’t change its nature. To vote for real change, vote with your economy and your non-vote. The time has come to stop compromising for further oppression and start smashing the institution of oppression. The time is long overdue to smash the state!