We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Coming of the American Behemoth: The Origins of Fascism in the United States, 1920–1940

Click here to access a synopsis of a book by Michael Joseph Roberto, its author, posted on Monthly Review. (Edited for clarity at 2:52 PM CT.)
Most people in the United States have been trained to recognize fascism in movements such as Germany’s Third Reich or Italy’s National Fascist Party, where charismatic demagogues manipulate incensed, vengeful masses. We rarely think of fascism as linked to the essence of monopoly-finance capitalism, operating under the guise of American free enterprise. But, as Michael Joseph Roberto argues, this is exactly where fascism’s embryonic forms began gestating in the United States, during the so-called prosperous 1920s and the Great Depression of the following decade. [my emphasis]
Yes, the USA began gestating (def. #2) fascism during this period. After our masters in the ruling capitalist class gained so much confidence from their success in WWI involving our young men and women to go overseas to fight in order to insure the success of, and secure their loans to, Britain and France. During and after the war they went on a rampage against any dissident groups using the passage of the onerous Espionage Act of 1917 which they will likely use to put away Julian Assange in a solitary confinement cell for the rest of his life.

However, the birth of quasi-fascism came in 1941 as I explained in these posts: here and here. He splits hairs by writing:
This book is a necessity for anyone who fears America tipping ever closer, in this era of Trump, to full-blown fascism.
The only difference between quasi-fascism and "full-blown" fascism is that many of us still maintain a delusion that we are ruled by some form of democracy. The difference is the difference between overt fascism and disguised fascism. Some difference! It's far more cost-effective to delude people than to threaten them with violence. This delusion has been accomplished by our masters' control over every ideological institution including most especially print and electronic media, education, and Hollywood films. Because of this delusion they had no problem with the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, a number of Black Panthers, students at Kent and Jackson State colleges, etc. Following the false-flag project of 9/11 they insured and reinforced their success by militarizing their police forces, installing 24/7 surveillance of us, censorship of alternative views, and establishing the legal framework of fascism by the passage of the Patriot Acts in case their propaganda campaigns are not successful. I am comforted by his contention that we don't have "full-blown fascism". (sarcasm)