The Declaration of Independence reads, "The history of [King George 3] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States." 230 years later we're in a similar plight with would-be King George 43. It's our turn to throw off the yoke of tyranny, to resist the rise of fascism.
The Bush Administration is inexorably becoming a totalitarian regime, where dissent is suppressed and the populace cowed by repressive controls. In Fascism Anyone? Laurence Britt lists 14 characteristics of fascist governments.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
President Bush gives his carefully orchestrated speeches to military audiences in arenas covered with patriotic symbols. His text is loaded with jingoistic phrases, "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." "To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor." His Administration argues that dissenters are unpatriotic, advocates of "surrender."
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
The Bush Administration has the worst human rights record of any Presidency in the past 100 years. Bush authorized torture and illegal eavesdropping on civilians. He abandoned the Geneva conventions and suspended basic rights for those designated as "enemy combatants."
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
After 9/11, President Bush used the struggle against Al Qaeda as an excuse to expand executive authority and pass the Patriot Act. The White House manufactured a climate of fear to convince Americans that the invasion of Iraq was in the national interest. For many, our "enemy" gradually changed from Al Qaeda to fundamentalist Muslims and then to "Arabs," in general.
4. Supremacy of the military/ avid militarism
While terrorism experts felt that the fight against Al Qaeda would require joint diplomatic, financial, intelligence, military, and police operations, the Bush Administration focused solely on the military. The White House painted anti-war voices as unpatriotic, appeasers.
5. Rampant sexism
The Bush Administration glorifies the culture of "machismo." Their policies treat women as second-class citizens - they intend to repeal Title IX. They are against contraception, as well as abortion. They are militantly homophobic.
6. A controlled mass media
Under the direction of Karl Rove, the Bush propaganda machine has been relentless. They subscribe to the maxim, "A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth." Aided by Fox News and the ubiquitous conservative talk net the Administration has ceaselessly fed the electorate the Orwellian Party line - "war is peace", "ignorance is strength."
7. Obsession with national security
This Administration has been the most secretive in recent memory. It hides vital information from Congress. Through executive privilege, restriction of the Freedom of Information Act, and unwarranted security classification, the White House restricts public access to vital information.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
The Bush Administration allied with Christian Fundamentalists. Jimmy Carter characterized their creed, "Since I am aligned with God, I am superior and my beliefs should prevail, and anyone who disagrees with me is inherently wrong."
9. Power of corporations protected
The Bush Administration changed tax laws to raise corporate profits and reduced oversight to increase their power. As a result, most of the proceeds from an improving economy have gone to corporations, executives, and shareholders.
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
The last five years have been the most difficult for organized labor since the beginning of the U.S. labor movement. In the private sector, less than 8 percent of workers are unionized.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
The Bush Administration is anti-intellectual and anti-science: supporting "intelligent design", restricting stem-cell research, and rebuking findings on Global climate change. Recently, it tried to subvert the Public Broadcast System.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment
George Bush espouses a dualistic, fundamentalist view of the world - The US is good while others are evil. As a result, he has ordered harsh treatment of suspects and prisoners captured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
In 2005, numerous instances of Bush Administration corruption were revealed: Presidential adviser Scooter Libby and House czar Tom Delay indicted. The appointment of Mike "Brownie" Brown as director of FEMA was an example of cronyism, at its worst.
14. Fraudulent elections
Suspicions persist that the 2000 presidential election (in particular) was stolen through a Machiavellian series of maneuvers in Florida, and other states.
In 1942, Woody Guthrie penned "All You Fascists Bound to Lose." When Guthrie wrote the song, Americans were fighting fascists who controlled most of Europe. Times have changed and now we're fighting them in the heartland.
This New Year's eve, after you've toasted your friends and sung a round of Auld Lang Syne , consider singing Guthrie's song of resistance as your segue into 2006.
I'm gonna tell all you fascists, you may be surprised,
People all over this world are getting organized,
You're bound to lose,
You fascists are bound to lose.
[One more time]
Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.