Corporatism (or Corporate Fascism)—A term often first attributed to Benito Mussolini of Italy in the early 1900’s defining the complete merger of the corporations with the nation state. Also, often referred to as just Fascism. Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt wrote an article about fascism (“Fascism Anyone?,” Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism.
Duopoly—a term which defines complete control of an industry or an activity (i.e. government) by just two entities. In the present case of the two parties involved, Democratic and Republican, the situation represented means that these two parties completely control the entire political system and do everything possible to exclude other parties which may provide competition or alternatives. This is made illegal in the business sector by antitrust law. It should be noted that there is one U.S. Senator out of 100, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has declared himself an “independent”!
In this election cycle of 2012, we are being reminded again of how totally dysfunctional our political system has become. In the four years since Barack Obama was elected, he has proven the old adage, “The more things ‘change’ the more they remain the same.” And Albert Einstein told us long ago, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” One must conclude that the American political system which controls our government is insane and Americans are insane to keep supporting it!
FACTS SUPPORTING MY THESIS:
Why does this situation exist and how does one arrive at this conclusion which any observer paying attention can readily make? Let’s begin with a few FACTS:
1. At the time of the last presidential election (2008), income/wealth inequality had reached a level not experienced since 1929, just before the Great Depression.
2. Since the Great Recession and the financial collapse of 2008, huge amounts of money (in the trillions of dollars) were channeled, first by the Bush administration and then continued by Obama, to bail out the money changers, the big banks on Wall Street.
3. The result was huge job losses (perhaps as many as 9 million) at the depths of the decline, with large increases in the poverty rates, much larger numbers of people on food stamps, millions of homes in foreclosure or distress, etc. There was a total neglect and failure to establish a public works program as FDR had done and a complete failure to provide serious support for “Main Street” and the average citizen. The “stimulus” was too small as Nobel economist Paul Krugman had warned given the size of the financial collapse.
4. Obamacare was passed with no support from the Republican Party, but it was also a huge gift to the pharmaceutical and the health insurance industries. With the abandonment of both a single payer system or a public option, there were no effective cost controls and, thus, per capita healthcare costs, which are nearly twice those in other industrialized nations already, are likely to continue to increase much faster than the rate of inflation. Continuation of this path will lead to a collapse in our healthcare system for all but the very rich.
5. The basic social safety net which began during the time of FDR, including Social Security, and later Medicare and Medicaid, are under constant attack in the name of reducing the deficit. Obama’s response was to cut the payments into these systems by giving the public a “payroll tax cut” (advertised as a cut for the Middle Class), furthering endangering these systems. The corporate fascists want to funnel this money into privatizing everything and funnel the money to Wall Street bankers. Obama set the stage for the latter to occur while the Democratic Party was patting itself on the back and the Republicans were laughing all the way to the bank.
6. Congress and the administration have refused to tax the rich and begin to return our tax system back to a time when these income/wealth disparities were much lesser and there was a growing Middle Class. Oh sure, the Democrats like to “talk” about it and, of course, the Republicans want to openly cut taxes for the rich more. But neither political party wants to “Do” anything about it because they are owned by the corporatists. The Social Security system is simple to rescue and strengthen with a few changes including raising the cap on applied contributions above earnings of individuals earning about 100 thousand dollars each.
7. Congressional job approval ratings have recently been as low as 10%, the lowest in several decades. As recently reminded by some, Khadafi’s approval rating in Libya was even 14% and I’m certain the approval ratings of many dictators and leaders in countries that we would like to invade or attack with our drones is much higher than that of our Congress. After all, the corporatists want to get their hands on the resources of these other countries and announce they are defending freedom.
8. Obama has continued Bush’s policies of diminishing our basic civil rights (the Bill of Rights). That has included renewal of the Patriot Act, wireless wiretapping, and perhaps most ominously, passage of the NDAA with its indefinite detention powers even for Americans. He has added to that by claiming the right to assassinate those residing in foreign countries even if they are American citizens! These are all powers which would be demanded by a fascist state to halt any resistance to their policies even if protests are peaceful.
9. The Supreme Court gave a big boost to corporate fascism by its ruling in Citizen’s United in January 2010 which declared corporations as “persons” and allowed them to give unlimited amounts of money to support candidates for election in the name of “free speech”. Congress has refused to support a “disclose act” and, thus, corporations and wealthy individuals can do this in secret. The corporations and the corporatists were given a blank check to spend as much as they needed to gain control.
10. Thus, in my view, the system has become nearly totally corrupted. It is immoral, unethical and just awaiting its certificate of approval by an ignorant, uninformed and unknowing American public. Will it occur? I guess we’ll have to observe, won’t we? But I’m pretty sure Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and other founders of this nation would not approve.
ELECTIONS AND THE ELECTION OF 2012
Thus, the stage is set for the next chapter in this political tragedy to proceed. In 2010 with many of the things listed above already being put in place, and under the pretense of Tea Party supporters (actually co-opted by the fascists), the “Republican Tea Party” emerged and managed to elect a majority of their members to Congress and to elect a number of Republican Governors to put their plans in motion. This happened with the complicity, ineptness and total impotence of the Democratic Party. At the state level,(I first wrote about this early in 2011) this included Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and Maine at the least, and several others leaning in this direction. In effect, what these corporatist forces had done was to advance their plans for a corporate coup of all branches of government at the national and state levels. They were aided by huge infusions of cash by a few billionaires (perhaps most notably the Koch Bros. two of the richest persons in America with a fascist heritage) and large corporations working with Pacs, Super Pacs and with “non profits” designed for these purposes with Karl Rove as one of the principal “architects”. At the state level, an organization known as ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) funded by several large corporations began working full time to force government programs of all kinds to “cut” and funnel money to their corporate cronies to “privatize” as many things as they could. Incidentally, the term I have begun to adopt, the “Republican Fascist Party” was the name Benito Mussolini of Italy gave to his fascist political party he had been heading for many years and two years before his ultimate demise! One should not forget either that Adoph Hitler learned a lot from Mussolini even before this. Greg Palast has recently written a best selling book, “Billionaires and Ballot Bandits..” which describes how these same forces are rigging and buying our elections now.
Barack Obama emerged immediately after the 2010 election as an “enabler” or even a Trojan Horse for the fascists who had taken charge. While being continuously accused of being a “socialist” by his opponents he was quietly carrying out his actions to aid the corporatists. In the lame duck session, he agreed immediately to a continuation of the “Bush” tax cuts for the rich crying that he had been held “hostage” by the Republican Party, when in fact, he was behaving like Neville Chamberlain negotiating with Adolph Hitler to give up the complete mainland of Europe before WWII. The “Republican Fascist Party” which emerged from the 2010 election realized that they had encountered a very weak president. At that point, I wrote one of my first blogs of significance, “Obamanomics is Here; Houston we have a Problem!” At about that time, I also urged my new friend and colleague, Jill Dalton of NYC, to begin blogging and her first one entitled, “Is It Fascism Yet” was published in January 2011. Her work over the past two years has been recently published as an Ebook on Amazon. More on this will be said later.
Since the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has decided that the corporation is like a “person”, let me provide you with two deadly physical diseases and one mental disease which will apply to corporate fascism. These are diseases that may be compared with the “body politic”.
The first analogy I will use is one of the circulatory system, the flow of blood (money) within the economy. What happened in 2008 was analogous to a massive heart attack by Wall Street and the big banks accompanied by a stroke which also damaged the brain (government). Nearly 8 trillion dollars or more, equivalent to more than half of our annual gross domestic product (GDP) was removed from the system and the whole body suffered severely. Although the big banks received an enormous transfusion and an injection of blood, the arteries and the veins did not send it through the rest of the body. Thus, the organs began to suffer irreparable damage and the brain was not working from the stroke. The body is still in a critical condition, the heart is barely working and the brain is remaining near death, too. Michael Payne has recently written an article entitled, “Corporatism is Systematically Sucking the Lifeblood Out of America”.
The second analogy of corporate fascism which applies is one of a massive bodily malignant tumor. When the heart attack occurred and “Dr. Bush” and “Dr. Obama” presumably examined the body politic and they uncovered the fact that the tumor had metastasized and spread throughout the body. These “doctors” treated the symptoms but did nothing to remove the tumor. Thus, it is still active and spreading throughout the body infecting every part of the body politic. The limbs, arms and legs, as represented by the states are now cancerous and nearly fully infected as well.
The third analogy is in a category of mental disease. We have succeeded in electing officials into positions of leadership with no moral fortitude, little or no ethical rules and totally motivated to enrich themselves and achieve personal power. Many of them might well be labeled as psychopaths, psychotics, or suffering from other serious mental disorders. They present themselves as public servants in campaigns but as they are either millionaires or have access to millionaires, their values are achievement of personal power and wealth. Proof: Nearly half or more of Congress people are millionaires. No one who is a common person has any chance of being elected; corporate media has assured that. A requirement for candidacy is that you be proficient at telling lies better than your opponent. In effect, the inmates have taken over the asylum. Does anyone really expect these people to represent the common person?
Either of these diseases can and will kill us and kill our Democratic Republic. Needless to say, we need to get some entirely new “doctors” to take charge and do so immediately. They do not exist within the two party system. This is a crisis and it will continue if there are no competent doctors called in to investigate and treat the disease and end this corporate fascism as soon as possible. This is the basic imminent danger and the basic threat which is awaiting us.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR THE PEOPLE?
The immediate priority should be to attack the primary problem which has grown to disastrous proportions in our political system and is enabling and propagating the disease of corporate fascism! A primary focus of attention needs to be placed on breaking up or destroying the two party political duopoly. This is unlikely to occur in any kind of “normal” election because those who caused this problem and continue to promote it will not solve it. It must be done by actions of the people and here are some suggested or potential solutions, consistent with what others such as Chris Hedges has suggested in the first link and this one both published recently:
1. Support the Occupy movements which began in earnest in September 2011. Join them by attending and participating in their activities.
2. Encourage and participate in complementary movements like the environmental groups such as 350.org and Bill McKibben who will start his campaign to fight the fossil fuel corporatists the day after the election.
3. Refuse to support candidates for election, especially those from the two party system, and instead support and vote for candidates from alternate parties. In this context, note that Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, candidates from the Green Party were even just arrested for trying to enter the recent presidential debate at Hofsta! So does anything NOT think this country has become fascist yet?
4. Help to organize protests and demonstrations at the local level where you know that corporations have been pulling the strings to get their way to take advantage of the public and personally profit.
5. Support efforts of unions, including public unions, to protest and demonstrate against abuses being imposed upon them and a refusal of organizations to negotiate or provide input to decision making.
6. Do your part to awaken the masses to diminish ignorance and prevent the lies and misinformation being continually spread by the corporate media who are owned by the corporatists. In this recent post, I provide you with an ample list of progressive and independent authors and websites which address the basic problems and offer solutions independent of the two political parties.
7. Consider joining movements which best fit your concepts and beliefs to better the lives of the masses and promote an end to the enormous income/wealth inequalities which have been created.
This country has a crisis of major magnitude and it is basically one of survival of our Constitutional Republic. We have a totally unstable situation and the citizenry are becoming increasingly unhappy and intolerant of the leadership provided by elected officials and their government appointees. There is a growing consensus that we are not getting the truth from the corporate owned media and that alternative media is essential for communications. Many may not have yet made the connection that this corrupt influence is being driven by this corporatist influence which has only profit and power as its “God”. It is a catastrophic failure of unfettered capitalism and illegitimate corporatism as I have tried to describe it here. Large international corporations have no allegiance to this country or to the citizenry, only to themselves and their owners.
The ideas and suggestions made here all involve activity and participation but sitting at home watching “Survivor” or “Dancing with the Stars” instead of performing your civic duties won’t accomplish anything. Also, simply coming out every two or four years and choosing between the “lesser of evils” and not being informed of the issues won’t cut it. It is quite possible to be informed easily from the internet and sites like Facebook where you can share articles and discussion quite independent from the corporate media. This is a clarion call for action—doing and not just talking. It may not feel comfortable but it will prove necessary unless you want to live in a totalitarian fascist nation.
I leave you with two important recent references, a book and a film. The book, “Is It Fascism Yet” is by my colleague, Jill Dalton, and the film “Lifting the Veil” is an excellent one which covers many of the ideas I have tried to present here. Bless you, join the fight, and may God Bless America by giving us the tools and the strength we need to keep our Republic!
Is It Fascism Yet? [Kindle Edition]
Kindle Price: $4.99 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon
“LIFTING THE VEIL”: “The documentary film being made available on the Internet by Top Documentary Films entitled, “Lifting the Veil” is one of the most important ones for Americans to invest less than two hours in viewing. It is extraordinarily educational, describing how our system has been working, and addresses the most significant socioeconomic issues of our time including how our corrupt two party corporatist political system is dealing with those.
In straightforward language, some of the giants of thought on how our system has been failing have been blended with their speeches beautifully with scenes and music to demonstrate how democracy depends upon our participation, not just on voting every four years or less on the candidates who achieve the best corporate marketing image. U.S. citizenry has been continually brainwashed, fed lies and misinformation, all for private gain from those elected with only greed and power as their motivation. The misnomer and mislabeling of “public service” that these elected officials maintain is a lie. It is time we get out of a state of permanent denial.—Thomas Baldwin
Credits: The text here is all original but my study of this subject for the past four years was achieved by not only learning from the authors cited here, but many in the blog post I made of progressive authors and websites. Photos and images were approved by Jill Dalton, Tracy Knauss and those from the public domain.
Thomas Baldwin, Ph.D. has a doctorate in Physics and a Masters degree in Management. He has had long careers in both physics and management consulting including university appointments as a professor both at the Southern Illinois University and Colorado Technical University. He has been a corporate consultant to many well known large firms in project management and is current “officially” retired. In the last four years or more he has been focusing on applying his skills to better understand the political sector including socioeconomic conditions which are affecting our welfare and basic economic health.
From the archives: