- A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. (Webster's)
- Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and social interests subordinate to the interests of the state or party. Fascists seek to forge a type of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, racial, or religious attributes. The key attribute is intolerance of others: other religions, languages, political views, economic systems, cultural practices, etc. Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, statism, militarism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, corporatism, populism, collectivism , and opposition to political and economic liberalism. (Wikipedia)
We saw what happened when fascist governments gained tremendous power in the middle of the 20th Century. We need to be equally afraid when we see our own government curtailing the Constitutional rights of its' citizens, critics of the government are called "unpatriotic" and fired(or kicked off the air), when the government can spy on us, get our medical records, and even our library reading list at will and without a court order or our knowledge. When we see accelerated discourse about the "illegal immigrants" and fear of an increasing population of foreign-born in our country, when we want to build high walls to keep people out, and when we want to push our religion, politics, and multinational corporations on the rest of the world at the point of a gun, we should have no doubt that we are becoming a fascist nation.
In the mid-20th Century we saw the symbiosis of corporations and fascist governments. As corporate political power has expanded to such an extreme, a fascist government and powerful multinational corporations can now build themselves into a feeding frenzy of power.
And - most worrisome - when we deny the development of fascism as a possibility because "we are the best society, the best nation" - "under God" - and shouting "USA-USA-USA" - that should make us stop and shudder deep within our souls.
Sinclair Lewis said: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross".
But even though most Americans do not see us moving towards a fascist state, the underpinnings of fascism are making them very uncomfortable. Americans want to move back to a government that doesn't torture, make war, and spy on its citizens. Americans want to move back to a government that cares for its people, that is tolerant, that is helpful. A government that takes all opinion into account and that can be criticized without lashing out. That is the promise - or at least the expectation - from Obama, and that is why voters are turning away from Romney and Giuliani who promise more of the same - "increased military and reduced taxes" (read reduced public services) and who cannot even view issues such as immigration with compassion. This November marks either the turning of the fascist tide, or the beginning of a very terrible time for the world. We can - and we must - make a difference.