The Persian Gulf island of Bahrain was in shock last night after two days of an unrelenting military crackdown against the civilian population. There were reports of widespread violence by state security forces in conjunction with troops and helicopters from the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Unconfirmed reports put the number of dead to be at least 20, with hundreds injured and many people unaccounted for. “The death toll may be much higher,” said one pro-democracy activist, “because many of the injured were left to die in the streets. Ambulances were stopped from reaching villages where police, militia and army had attacked with Apache helicopters.”
Financial and fiscal austerity policies; the appeal of economic austerity to bankers; economic depression and war; post-WWII vs. post-cold war economic policy; government to government grants vs. commercial lending; the euro and dollar; privatization in New Zealand and elsewhere; social unrest; speculation and prices; criminalization of the economy; impoverishment of the US.
In the past, modern dictatorships have been established in a variety of ways. In 1919, in response to a short-lived communist revolution, the King of Hungary appointed the first modern civilian absolute ruler, Admiral Nicholas Horthy, who became the first fascist dictator in history. In 1922, after much maneuvering, Benito Mussolini organized the “March on Rome” by his unofficial “Black Shirt” militia. King Vittorio Emmanuel III acquiesced in replacing the sitting Prime Minister chosen by Parliament with Mussolini. By 1924, with the acquiescence of Italian ruling class, Mussolini had established himself as dictator and in fact coined the modern meaning of the word “fascist” to describe his form of absolute rule.