A Recipe for Fascism

American politics, as the midterm elections
demonstrated, have descended into the irrational. On one side stands a
corrupt liberal class, bereft of ideas and unable to respond coherently
to the collapse of the global economy, the dismantling of our
manufacturing sector and the deadly assault on the ecosystem. On the
other side stands a mass of increasingly bitter people whose alienation,
desperation and rage fuel emotionally driven and incoherent political
agendas. It is a recipe for fascism.

More than half of those identified in a poll by the Republican-leaning
Rasmussen Reports as "mainstream Americans" now view the tea party
favorably. The other half, still grounded in a reality-based world, is
passive and apathetic. The liberal class wastes its energy imploring
Barack Obama and the Democrats to promote sane measures including job
creation programs, regulation as well as criminal proceedings against
the financial industry, and an end to our permanent war economy. Those
who view the tea party favorably want to tear the governmental edifice
down, with the odd exception of the military and the security state,
accelerating our plunge into a nation of masters and serfs. The
corporate state, unchallenged, continues to turn everything, including
human beings and the natural world, into commodities to exploit until
exhaustion or collapse.

All sides of the political equation are
lackeys for Wall Street. They sanction, through continued deregulation,
massive corporate profits and the obscene compensation and bonuses for
corporate managers. Most of that money-hundreds of billions of
dollars-is funneled upward from the U.S. Treasury. The Sarah Palins and
the Glenn Becks use hatred as a mobilizing passion to get the masses,
fearful and angry, to call for their own enslavement as well as to deny
uncomfortable truths, including global warming. Our dispossessed working
class and beleaguered middle class are vulnerable to this manipulation
because they can no longer bear the chaos and uncertainty that come with
impoverishment, hopelessness and loss of control. They have retreated
into a world of illusion, one peddled by right-wing demagogues, which
offers a reassuring emotional consistency. This consistency appears to
protect them from the turmoil in which they have been forced to live.
The propaganda of a Palin or a Beck may insult common sense, but, for a
growing number of Americans, common sense has lost its validity.

The liberal class, which remains rooted in a
world of fact, rationalizes placating corporate power as the only
practical response. It understands the systems of corporate power. It
knows the limitations and parameters. And it works within them. The
result, however, is the same. The entire spectrum of the political
landscape collaborates in the strangulation of our disenfranchised
working class, the eroding of state power, the criminal activity of the
financial class and the paralysis of our political process.

Commerce cannot be the sole guide of human
behavior. This utopian fantasy, embraced by the tea party as well as the
liberal elite, defies 3,000 years of economic history. It is a chimera.
This ideology has been used to justify the disempowerment of the
working class, destroy our manufacturing capacity, and ruthlessly gut
social programs that once protected and educated the working and middle
class. It has obliterated the traditional liberal notion that societies
should be configured around the common good. All social and cultural
values are now sacrificed before the altar of the marketplace.

The failure to question the utopian assumptions of globalization has
left us in an intellectual vacuum. Regulations, which we have
dismantled, were the bulwarks that prevented unobstructed brutality and
pillaging by the powerful and protected democracy. It was a heavily
regulated economy, as well as labor unions and robust liberal
institutions, which made the American working class the envy of the
industrialized world. And it was the loss of those unions, along with a
failure to protect our manufacturing, which transformed this working
class into a permanent underclass clinging to part-time or poorly paid
jobs without protection or benefits.

The "inevitability" of globalization has
permitted huge pockets of the country to be abandoned economically. It
has left tens of millions of Americans in economic ruin. Private charity
is now supposed to feed and house the newly minted poor, a job that
once, the old liberal class argued, belonged to the government. As John Ralston Saul
in "The Collapse of Globalization" points out, "the role of charity
should be to fill the cracks of society, the imaginative edges, to go
where the public good hasn't yet focused or can't. Dealing with poverty
is the basic responsibility of the state." But the state no longer has
the interest or the resources to protect us. And the next target slated
for elimination is Social Security.

That human society has an ethical
foundation that must be maintained by citizens and the state is an
anathema to utopian ideologues of all shades. They always demand that we
sacrifice human beings for a distant goal. The propagandists of
globalization-from Lawrence Summers to Francis Fukuyama to Thomas
Friedman-do for globalization and the free market what Vladimir Lenin
and Leon Trotsky did for Marxism. They sell us a dream. These elite
interpreters of globalism are the vanguard, the elect, the prophets, who
alone grasp a great absolute truth and have the right to impose this
truth on a captive people no matter what the cost. Human suffering is
dismissed as the price to be paid for the coming paradise. The response
of these propagandists to the death rattles around them is to continue
to speak in globalization's empty rhetoric and use state resources to
service a dead system. They lack the vision to offer any alternative.
They can function only as systems managers. They will hollow out the
state to sustain a casino capitalism that is doomed to fail. And what
they offer as a solution is as irrational as the visions of a Christian
America harbored by many within the tea party.

We are ruled by huge corporate monopolies
that replicate the political and economic power, on a vastly expanded
scale, of the old trading companies of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Wal-Mart's gross annual revenues of $250 billion are greater than those
of most small nation-states. The political theater funded by the
corporate state is composed of hypocritical and impotent liberals, the
traditional moneyed elite, and a disenfranchised and angry underclass
that is being encouraged to lash out at the bankrupt liberal
institutions and the government that once protected them. The tea party
rabble, to placate their anger, will also be encouraged by their puppet
masters to attack helpless minorities, from immigrants to Muslims to
homosexuals. All these political courtiers, however, serve the interests
of the corporate state and the utopian ideology of globalism. Our
social and political ethic can be summed up in the mantra let the market decide. Greed is good.

The old left-the Wobblies, the Congress of
Industrial Workers (CIO), the Socialist and Communist parties, the
fiercely independent publications such as Appeal to Reason and The
Masses-would have known what to do with the rage of our dispossessed. It
used anger at injustice, corporate greed and state repression to
mobilize Americans to terrify the power elite on the eve of World War I.
This was the time when socialism was not a dirty word in America but a
promise embraced by millions who hoped to create a world where everyone
would have a chance. The steady destruction of the movements of the left
was carefully orchestrated. They fell victim to a mixture of
sophisticated forms of government and corporate propaganda, especially
during the witch hunts for communists, and overt repression. Their
disappearance means we lack the vocabulary of class warfare and the
militant organizations, including an independent press, with which to
fight back.

We believe, like the Spaniards in the 16th
century who pillaged Latin America for gold and silver, that money,
usually the product of making and trading goods, is real. The Spanish
empire, once the money ran out and it no longer produced anything worth
buying, went up in smoke. Today's use in the United States of some $12
trillion in government funds to refinance our class of speculators is a
similar form of self-deception. Money markets are still treated, despite
the collapse of the global economy, as a legitimate source of trade and
wealth creation. The destructive power of financial bubbles, as well as
the danger of an unchecked elite, was discovered in ancient Athens and
detailed more than a century ago in Emile Zola's novel "Money."
But we seem determined to find out this self-destructive force for
ourselves. And when the second collapse comes, as come it must, we will
revisit wrenching economic and political tragedies forgotten in the
mists of history.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

© 2023 TruthDig