By Pervez Dastoor
Fascist! A word that is thrown around all too commonly in today’s political debates and partisan quibbling that is common among the cable “news networks.” A flip of the channel on any night to CNN, FOX, Headline News or other similar programs reveals time slots devoted to the latest celebrity scandal or any other unimportant story. When not emphatically debating the latest celebrity DUI or child-custody battle, you will frequently see a story or hear a media talking head propagate the fear-mongering about hoards of radical Muslims swimming across both oceans to destroy the very fabric of the North American homeland. Wouldn’t that be an impressive feat of stamina? But these individuals will not be referred to as just fanatics, terrorists or Islamists, but instead the newest trend “Islamofascists.”
Huh, did I miss something? Do these people who spew out rhetoric with that term even consider what fascism stands for or actually means. After all, would you not think that “esteemed” members of the media and their “expert” guests would actually understand what they are saying? Is that too much to ask? Unfortunately, yes. Not only do these individuals not use the term in a proper manner, they purposely distort the term in order to evoke thoughts of fear and insecurity.
So what defines a fascist society? Often times, fascism is subconsciously linked to the grainy black and white pictures of marauding Wermacht and SS troops from the 1940s. However, this shows a mental normalness which is incorrect. While Nazism did have fascist overtones, Nazism is not a form of government. Nazism is political ideology implemented through the use of a fascist government system. It is this system that needs to be understood and not the policy employed through it. This is vital since any form of government – yes, including a democracy – can be operated through a fascist structure. It is not exclusive to a dictatorship. As this article will show, you may be surprised by the results of the analysis.
Now, you reader, may argue that “who cares what the actual meaning of the word is, because it has taken on further societal overtones and inferences which society and it’s people now attribute to the word.” However, this does not do justice to the reality of the word or the reality of the world we live in today. You see, if we were to associate the word Fascist with Nazi, then we consciously set ourselves up to be oblivious to actual fascist tendencies which do not exhibit the racial or genocidal image that one has of Hitler’s master race. In order to analyze the events of the world today, we need a clear understanding of the true nature of Fascism, separate from its societal inferences. When this is done we see surprising results.
So what is fascism ? Lawrence Britt, writing in Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2, summarizes fourteen common traits of a fascist society.
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4. Supremacy of the Military
5. Rampant Sexism
6. Controlled Mass Media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
9. Corporate Power is Protected
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections
I recommend a read of his article to gain a deeper understanding of each point. While I wholeheartedly agree with the above delineation of a society crippled by the thrones of fascist power, I differ in the analysis as to how a government becomes fascist. I would to key in on Britt’s point number “9. Corporate Power is Protected.”
My argument comes at the issue from a different point of view. Instead of considering the above as traits of fascism, I believe that in fact, the fascist structure of government is what enables these attributes to manifest themselves. That fascist structure of government begins with the co-option of corporate and government interests becoming one in the same. This is the primary transition in the nature and operation of the government apparatus. Corporate power is not so much as protected; it is one in the same as government power. Hence the government is an extension of the corporate powerbrokers in society. Let me elaborate.
It begins with the unfettered control of government by corporate and business interests which leads to the detriment of the well-being of the many for the benefit of the few. Once the corporate and money powers have co-opted government, they are then able to work with government officials – who may have their own self-interested motives and ideologies – to instill policy that meets Britt’s thirteen other points.
So, fascism begins to manifest itself at the point when corporate interests highjack the operations of the government. Yes, business and government have and always been intertwined, it would be naïve not to think so. Yet, while intertwined in history there was a degree of separation and distinction between the functioning of each body. Each worked separately but in mutual respect of the other and would lend a helping hand to the other party. They mutually serve to promote each other. When working within the appropriate checks and balances, this enables a capitalist society to prosper and grow. After all, this is not fascism but capitalism at its very definition. In order for a society and its people to continue to be free and prosper the government must let economies thrive. However, in order for a society and its people to be treated equally and with justice, the government is needed to legislate and regulate the capitalist system so that it does not ultimately devour itself through its own desire for continual wealth. This is the act of mutual balance that is needed in a strong and healthy capitalist system.
A fascist government is one which is terminally ill with an incurable cancer. In a fascist society this system of mutual balance has completely and utterly collapsed to the point where government is not functioning as the representative of the people, but the security guard for the corporate interests. So if “experts” can throw around the word “Islamofacism”, let me make up a term “Corpofascism.”
So what happens when corporate interests rein supreme? We get a government system that exhibits the following:
1. It is a system where business interests and motives are held supreme over the interests of the public – usually leading to detrimental impacts on the public good.
2. It is a system where government has compromised every ounce of its duty, in order to serve the interests of the power brokers and money men through the legislation of laws and policies which benefit the rich and the corporations over those of the society.
3. It is a system where members of the government and the business community are indistinguishable from each other. Thus leading to patronage and cronyism beyond the normal expectations of a government official.
4. It is a system dominated by think-tanks and lobbying groups that influence politicians to act in the benefit of the industries and businesses they represent.
5. It is a system where politicians are corrupted and compromised through significant political contributions by big business (both under and over the table).
6. It is a system where the military, government and business are indistinguishable from each other. Succinctly described by Eisenhower as the “military industrial complex”.
7. It is a system where no distinction can be made between the overall policies and stances taken by opposing political parties within the Corpofascist system. The approach may differ, but the end result is the same.
8. It is a system with a domineering drive to reduce the scope of public services and the continued drive to privatize essential societal needs – health, education, welfare, etc.
9. It is a system where the public is inundated with propagandized rhetoric in order to distract them from the important issues. This maintains resistance to a minimum and enables the corporate interests to be served unabated.
Once a government structure begins to exhibit the above characteristics, it is safe to say that the government is now simply a tool – a very powerful tool at that – to serve the interest of the corporate masters. The checks and balances that once existed to keep government from falling into such a state have effectively been overwhelmed and defeated. The system is effectively broken and replaced with a Corpofascist operating racket.
Once this has occurred the government is used by the business and corporate interests not to further the advancement or well-being of the people, but instead to further the profit making abilities of the corporation. Laws and regulations are passed which benefit business by the same people that only months or a few years ago were commanding figures in industry and business. These “public citizens” now passing legislation were once minions serving as officers or directors for large multinational corporations. Their allegiance does not lie with the commoner, but with the industrial elites to whom they once belonged or to whom they owe their election financing. These same individuals maintain close business relationships and once their terms in office are complete frequently return to serve with the same corporations that they did before office or that they generously assisted while in office. The entire system is structured as a self-perpetuating revolving door that continues to perpetuate the corporate benefactor.
Maintaining the System
But certainly you say that such a corrupt system would be noticeable to the good citizenry of any nation and that they would rise up and demand more of their political masters. They would protest, use the power of their vote and demand a change to the way things are. Oh really? Well, a cursory application of the traits of a Corpofascist society reveals that this isn’t the case. And the reason is because the public is effectively disengaged and distracted from the truth through an ingenious use of a variety of means. This is where I will bring into my analysis Britt’s remaining points.
The Corpofascist government and its handlers know all too well that their power is only derived by the ability to distract the citizenry from the true nature of the racket they are operating. Therefore they employ a number of tools that do just this. These aren’t haphazardly applied, but instead carefully crafted to achieve the results of the corporate state.
It begins with the creation of an enemy upon which to blame all of the country’s problems and to distract the unknowing public from the actual events that are occurring in the echelons of power. These are the scapegoats to blame for all the state’s problems. This enemy is all powerful, all evil and just about ready to strike at the innocent children of the citizenry.
This enemy must be confronted. Alas, a call to arms is made using nationalistic and patriotic overtones that would make even a Nazi giddy with joy. The call to defend the homeland, to snoop on your neighbours and to serve your country becomes the heralded and virtuous duty of the citizen. Such indoctrination can only be completed by the complicit corporately controlled mass media which spews half-truths and utter lies on the television in order to whip the masses into fervor. Those who say that the media is separate and free from the government, forget that the government is not free and separate from the same corporations that control and own the media outlets.
To confront the enemy usually includes two further traits of a fascist society:
- the use of military power to attack, invade and “liberate” the threat.
- a curb on the domestic freedoms and civil liberties of the governments domestic citizenry in order to contain and monitor dissent.
In its thirst for power and growth the Corpofascist state indulges in the patriotic use of the nations military to secure access to regions, resources and access points that are critical to the profiteering of the business. Innocents on both sides of the military adventure endure the wrath of war while the corporate masters sit back in their air-conditioned offices. Countries are invaded, innocent women and children of brown skin (usually – let’s be honest) are considered “collateral damage” while their husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles are labeled as “terrorists.” Soldiers of the invading force, believing in the nobility of their mission – as a result of the lies they have been fed by their military and corporate masters, are brought home in body bags or on stretchers with arms and legs missing. They and their families suffer the continued mental and physical scars of a war to which they see no purpose.
Human rights, foreign and domestic, are flaunted by the Corpofascist state. In order to denigrate the worth of the people they are bombing wild stories of incomprehensible evil are spun and attributed to the enemy. Extraordinary measures, renditions and torture are employed to fight the enemy all in the name of preserving security. The Corpofascist state citizen is confronted with a perception of a government that is there to protect and genuinely take care of its citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth, but the veil of benevolence must be cast to get the citizen to capitulate their moral and intellectual fiber to the Corpofascist state.
When the veneer of goodwill is removed and dissent within the society begins to stir, the domestic populace is subject to strategies of harm reduction. Dissenters are characterized as unpatriotic, terrorist sympathizers and the all too common anti-semitic. Domestic criticism is quelled and laws are passed by the society to clamp down on citizen protests. The domestic police force is increasingly militarized in order to scare and confront the citizenry. Instead of serving and protecting the people they serve and protect the interests of the elite and the business powers.
While overt action against dissenters is taken the mass populace is kept in a state of ignorance. The corporate media feed them dribble about insignificant events which would be better served to be written on toilet paper. Stories of non-events are pumped, exaggerated and continually reported on by “experts” and “respected” members of the media. Celebrity gossip dominates the airwaves as a way to distract the individual from their own lives and important events. This is just fine for the Corpofascists.
Political discourse and debate is drawn down to severe partisan lines, whereby perceived differences are introduced within the political parties, despite the fact that the overall goal – the advancement of the corporate interest – is still paramount. Issues of debate between the political parties in the respective house of government focus on “distracting issues.” While important issues in their own rights – abortion, gay-rights, women’s rights, minority rights, etc. – these bear no relation to the prevailing problem with the sick society. No mention is made or attention paid to the domineering influence of the corporation within all aspects of the society. Corporate interests at all levels are hidden, minimized or protected by the Corpofascists even though vital areas of the citizenry are impacted – food, water, health, education, civil rights, human rights, domestic policy, foreign policy, energy security, and on and on.
The facade of fair and free elections is propagandized to the public. The citizen is made to feel like their vote counts. Little do the people realize that the “nominees” and “contenders” within the electoral process have already been pre-selected by the Corpofascist masters – the business elite. Despite theres being nominal differences between political parties, the interests of the Corpofascist elite will continued to be served. Nevertheless, elections are still tampered with. Fraud, corruption, intimidation and other immoral methods are used move the elections in the way the masters want them to go.
And thus, the cycle maintains its continuance. More and further enemies – real and imagined, mainly imagined – are constructed, and the entire cycle perpetuates itself. This is the essence of living in a Corpofascist state. The perpetuation is not infinite as the weight of the corruption and demagoguery will eventually erode the system from within. It will be a classic case of the cancer killing the host and itself in the process. How long and how terrible the suffering of the people under the system is a matter of how much of a fight the beast puts as it is being destroyed.
Given the above analysis, one has to ask, does the term “Islamofascist” even make any sense. The simple answer is no.
The main reason is that by nature fascism is a form of government, not an incurrence of political ideology like Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism, Arabism or Islamism. Therefore, a non-stateless entity is incapable of being fascist by the very nature that a system of government is lacking.
So are there governments in the world today which meet the criteria for a Corpofascist state? Yes, of course. To varying degrees there are numerous nations across the globe that meet the criteria. Is it unexpected? Not at all. Is it worrying? Yes. However, I propose an increasingly worrisome proposal. A certain nation, the richest and most powerful in the world, founded on the principles of freedom, liberty and justice has succumbed to the sweet nectar of Corpofascism.
A cursory look at the operations and characteristics of the United States Government reveals that the good ole US of A meets each and every one of the criteria mentioned above. The United States is a great nation in theory and on paper; the great experiment in liberty, freedom and democracy. And it still can be. However, in actuality the once proud banner of freedom and justice has been hijacked. The USA is a thriving example of a Corpofascist state. I will not go into presenting detailed facts in this narrative. That is not my objective. My objective was to highlight the traits of a Corpofascist state in order to engage the reader to follow up and apply the criteria for themselves.
Nonetheless, a look at the application of the Corpofascist criteria against readily available information – out there in the public domain – would lead even a fleeting reader in agreement. The only problem is that majority of the American people are not aware of this.
The solution is not too late. There is still time to change, but time is running out and a shift in the public consciousness and awareness is imperative. The first step is becoming aware of the issues and realizing the problem. It is important to realize that the problem is deeper and is more than solely the cause of one administration over another. It is a pervasive problem that has clung itself at the roots of government. Informed citizenry must come together to make people aware about the depths of corporate influence and corruption within the American government. Focus must be paid to the root case (corporate influence) and this issue must be confronted head-on through activism, information programs, and ‘spreading the gospel.’ Only then can real change be brought into the system.
The ultimate goal is not to reach a state of utopia. No government system is perfect, to believe so would be irrationally naïve. However, there is a point in time where the threshold between the checks and balances of a society can only be stretched so far. The line has been crossed, and now it is time for individuals to exercise their social conscious and fulfill their obligation as a citizen. And this matters not only for the American people. Being the only superpower and current imperialistic nation in the world, the functioning of the American government apparatus has far-reaching consequences on the livelihood and lives of all individuals that inhabit the planet. Most will say that the fate of the world depends on it.
As President Eisenhower stated in his farewell address, Jan. 17, 1961:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.
May I add guard against the unwarranted influence of any industrial or corporate complex. Only then can the American dream of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” be achieved.
© Copyright – Pervez Dastoor, – 2007.
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Fascism (myspace blogs)
The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism (video link)
Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism By Dr. Lawrence Britt (same as the above video)
Fascism (dandelion salad posts)