In response to the gibberish of Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, Thom Hartmann wrote an excellent article, “No, Actually This is What a Fascist Looks Like” on Truthout about fascism as an ideology.
We’re seeing fascism at work in the Republican Party’s policies, tactics and attitudes toward women, minorities and labor.
You may have heard that Mackey compared Obamacare to fascism, then walked it back because, in his words, “there’s so much baggage attached to it.”
Mackey’s comments are consistent with the far right’s distorted messaging over the past few years, exchanging charges of facism and socialism in the name of demonizing of President Obama, the Democrats and anyone within their own ranks who they perceive as “the enemy.”
Either the far right’s leadership doesn’t know what it’s talking about or it intentionally deceiving the under informed voters that make up their base.
My money is on the latter given what fascism really is, how it works, and the extremes to which its proponents will go to achieve it.
As Hartmann explains:
fascism is corporate government – a Libertarian’s wet dream. It’s a government in which the Atlas’s of industry are given free rein to control the economy, just how they’re regulated, how much they pay in taxes, how much they pay their workers.
Compare that with the Republican Party’s policy objectives and it becomes self-evident whose policies are more consistent with fascism.
De-regulation of corporations while increased regulation of human beings. Attacks on Unions, and the rights of workers. Supporting an end to the minimal wage, not to mention attacks on programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The party policy conforms to the aforementioned definition of fascism. Catch phrases like “small government” provide cover to preserving corporate control over the economy and how corporations are regulated (if they are regulated at all. The philosophy doesn’t not, however, apply to Republican policies governing individuals. They favor the most intrusive forms of government restrictions over women’s reproductive health, civil rights for the LGBT community (like marriage) workers rights i.e. union membership among others. In short, when they talk about “liberty” the phrase is used within the context of corporate rights and interests, vs. the rights and interests of individuals.
The appearance of consensus within the Republican Party is a result of fear, rather than a genuine endorsement of the party line. Republicans who recognize the extreme nature of the party’s policies and oppose them will inevitably be primary challenged by the militantly right wing, Tea Party. The worst of the worst crimes in today’s Republican party is a real or imagined “collaboration” with the Democrats. Among those who are targeted for Tea Party challenges.
That super liberal, Lindsey Graham for “collaborating” with the Democrats.
Saxby Chambliss is too liberal for the Tea Party because he voted in favor of the fiscal cliff bill.
Of Republicans who were previously Tea Party challenged, Orin Hatch was the one who managed to survive by proving his “conservative” credentials.
We also see intimidation in other forms, like workers forced to attend Republican Party events and donate to the Republican Party. CEO’s threatening their employees jobs if the “wrong” candidates win.
While there are laws against this sort of intimidation, such intimidation happens especially during periods of economic hardship and high unemployment. Perhaps this explains why Republican are so adverse to policies that would create jobs, especially good paying ones.
The extremes to which the far right will go to kill democracy and established a corporatist regime are evident, with tactics during elections, the manner by which they govern; and the manner by which they treat woman and minorities.
During the last presidential election, we saw efforts to suppress the vote in Republican controlled states like Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They used everything from voter registration fraud, to reducing voting times, and voter ID laws. As an extra measure, people most likely to vote for the Democratic Party faced voter intimidation groups like “True the vote”.
Following the election, the RNC failed to persuade the Supreme Court to overturn a court order protecting minority voters from voter intimidation. Republicans endorsed gerrymandering as the political doping method of choice in a recent report. Several Republican controlled governments in traditional blue states are using gerrymandering to rig the electoral college and thereby guaranteeing that Republicans and only Republicans will control the legislative and executive branches of government. Of course that means de facto control over the judicial branch as well.
Then there’s the manner by which they govern at the state and federal levels. One glowing example at the state level is seen in the post election emergency financial manager bill passed in Michigan after voters repealed the previous incarnation. We see it in Congress as Republicans are willing to throw the national and global economies under the bus to impose ideals that the people rejected in the 2012 election. We said no to subsidizing the rich on the backs of seniors, children, students, along with the poor, the working and middle classes.
We also see the uglier, authoritarian side of fascism with gun militants threatening the lives of law makers who disagree with them.
In short, the “libertarians” in today’s America, resort to violence or threats of violence when they don’t get what they want. Some of the “libertarians” have called for civil war. Of course, violence is not an exclusive feature of fascism. Rather, the violence is indicative of the extent to which some will go to impose fascist policies. Lawmakers who voted for Obamacare were threatened. Death threats are all too commonly used by the “pro-life” movement.
We see it in threats to impeach president every time he does something the authoritarian “libertarians” don’t like. The most recent example is a set of policy proposals to address gun violence..
Ultimately, gun militants are advocating civil war and other forms of violence in opposition to any regulation that could hinder the gun manufacturer’s profits and political influence. Guns over people is about preserving political power and profits over human life. In the final analysis, this is the latest example of preserving corporate control over how they are regulated – or more precisely preventing any form of regulation that gets in the way of profit.
Finally, the manner by which women and minorities are treated. We see it in policies that attack women’s reproductive rights; the “radical” concept of women earning the same wages as a man for doing identical work. We see it in the race baiting that Republicans don’t even try to disguise any more. Collin Powell spoke on this very well during his Meet The Press interview a week ago.
I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed. The country is changing demographically. And if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble. And so, when we see that in one more generation, the minorities of America, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans will be the majority of the country, you can’t go around saying we don’t want to have a solid immigration policy. We’re going to dismiss the 47 percent. We are going to make it hard for these minorities to vote as they did in the last election. What did that produce? The court struck most of that down and most importantly, it caused people to turn out and stand in line because these Republicans were trying to keep us from voting. There’s also a dark– a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party. What I do mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the president is shuckin’ and jivin’, that’s a racial era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well, he said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with it Birther, the whole Birther Movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the Party? I think the Party has to take a look at itself. It has to take a look at its responsibilities for health care. It has to take a look at immigration. It has to take a look at those less fortunate than us. The Party has gathered unto itself a reputation that it is the party of the rich. It is the party of lower taxes. But there are a lot of people who are lower down the food chain, the economic chain, who are also paying lots of taxes relative to their income and they need help. We need more education work being done in this country. We need a solid immigration policy. We have to look at climate change. There are a lot of things that the American people are expecting and the Republican Party, as they get ready for the next election, really has to focus on some of these issues and not ignore them. Everybody wants to talk about who’s going to be the candidate. You better think first about what’s the party they’re actually going to represent.
We see it in measures to exclude woman and minorities from the political process, be it by suppressing our votes or excluding us from policy discussions.
We see it in a political party that couldn’t see anything wrong with holding a discussion on minority outreach at a plantation. We see a political party who deep sixed the Violence Against Woman Act because it contained provisions to protect the LGBT community, along with Aboriginal and Immigrant women because in their minds, these are people who deserve to be beaten.
During their retreat at a plantation, Republicans were advised to stop talking about rape because their views tend to alienate women. In other words, the problem in their minds isn’t policies that discourage women from reporting rape, or prevent resources to prosecute the cases that are reported. From the Republican perspective, the problem is transparency.
We can expect the same sort of evasiveness when it comes to Republican policies on women and violence against us as we did with Mitt Romney’s history at Bain Capital.
The Republican Party’s ideology is not conservatism, nor is it libertarianism. It’s time to call it by its proper name: fascism.
Image from Cognitive Dissidence
Updated: See also The 14 points of fascism.