Hartmann: Islamic Or Republican Fascism?


Richard Moore

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Reclaiming The Issues: Islamic Or Republican Fascism?

By Thom Hartmann

08/29/06 "Information Clearing House" --- - In the years since George W. Bush 
first used 9/11 as his own "Reichstag fire" to gut the Constitution and enhance 
the power and wealth of his corporate cronies, many across the political 
spectrum have accused him and his Republican support group of being fascists.

On the right,The John Birch Society's website editor recently opined of the Bush
Administration's warrantless wiretap program: "This is to say that from the 
administration's perspective, the president is, in effect, our living 
constitution. This is, in a specific and unmistakable sense, fascist."

On the left, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. specifically indicts the Bush administration
for fascistic behavior in his book "Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush 
and his Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy."

Genuine American fascists are on the run, and part of their survival strategy is
to redefine the term "fascism" so it can't be applied to them any more. Most 
recently, George W. Bush said: "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who 
will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."

In fact, the Islamic fundamentalists who apparently perpetrated 9/11 and other 
crimes in Spain and the United Kingdom are advocating a fundamentalist 
theocracy, not fascism.

But theocracy - the merging of religion and government - is also on the plate 
for the new American fascists (just as it was for Hitler, who based the Nazi 
death cult on a "new Christianity" that would bring "a thousand years of 
peace"), so they don't want to use that term, either.

While the Republicans promote the term "Islamo-fascism," the rest of the world 
is pushing back, as the BBC noted in an article by Richard Allen Greene ("Bush's
Language Angers US Muslims" - 12 August 2006):

"Security expert Daniel Benjamin of the Center for Strategic and International 
Studies agreed that the term [Islamic fascists] was meaningless.

"'There is no sense in which jihadists embrace fascist ideology as it was 
developed by Mussolini or anyone else who was associated with the term,' he 
said. 'This is an epithet, a way of arousing strong emotion and tarnishing one's
opponent, but it doesn't tell us anything about the content of their beliefs.'"

Their beliefs are, quite simply, that governments of the world should be 
subservient to religion, a view shared by a small but significant part of 
today's Republican party. But that is not fascism - the fascists in the US want 
to exploit the fundamentalist theocrats to achieve their own fascistic goals.

Vice President of the United States Henry Wallace was the first to clearly and 
accurately point out who the real American fascists are, and what they're up to.

In early 1944 the New York Times asked Vice President Wallace to, as Wallace 
noted, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How 
many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?"

Vice President Wallace's answers to those questions were published in The New 
York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of
Germany and Japan:

"The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are 
hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those.
The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States 
in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American 
fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels 
of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present 
the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into 
giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."

In this, Vice President Wallace was using the classic definition of the word 
"fascist" - the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have 
invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who 
wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: "Fascism should more 
appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and 
corporate power." Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed
credit for it.)

As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: "A system of 
government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through
the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent 
nationalism." (The US dictionary definition has gotten somewhat squishier since 
then, as all the larger dictionary companies have been bought up by 
multinational corporations.)

Mussolini was quite straightforward about all this. In a 1923 pamphlet titled 
"The Doctrine of Fascism" he wrote, "If classical liberalism spells 
individualism, Fascism spells government." But not a government of, by, and for 
We The People - instead, it would be a government of, by, and for the most 
powerful corporate interests in the nation.

In 1938, Mussolini brought his vision of fascism into full reality when he 
dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the "Camera dei Fasci e delle 
Corporazioni" - the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Corporations were still
privately owned, but now instead of having to sneak their money to folks like 
John Boehner and covertly write legislation, they were openly in charge of the 

Vice President Wallace bluntly laid out his concern about the same happening 
here in America in his 1944 Times article:

" If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and
power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists
in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow 
the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are
ruthless and deceitful. ... They are patriotic in time of war because it is to 
their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar 
wherever they may lead."

Nonetheless, at that time there were few corporate heads who had run for 
political office, and, in Wallace's view, most politicians still felt it was 
their obligation to represent We The People instead of corporate cartels. The 
real problem would come, he believed, when the media was concentrated in only a 
few hands:

"American fascism will not be really dangerous," he added in the next paragraph,
"until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate 
poisoners of public information..."

Noting that, "Fascism is a worldwide disease," Wallace further suggested that 
fascism's "greatest threat to the United States will come after the war" and 
will manifest "within the United States itself."

In Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel "It Can't Happen Here," a conservative southern 
politician is helped to the presidency by a nationally syndicated "conservative"
radio talk show host. The politician - Buzz Windrip - runs his campaign on 
family values, the flag, and patriotism. Windrip and the talk show host portray 
advocates of traditional American democracy as anti-American. When Windrip 
becomes President, he opens a Guantanamo-style detention center, and the 
viewpoint character of the book, Vermont newspaper editor Doremus Jessup, flees 
to Canada to avoid prosecution under new "patriotic" laws that make it illegal 
to criticize the President. As Lewis noted in his novel:

"The President, with something of his former good-humor [said]: 'There are two 
[political] parties, the Corporate and those who don't belong to any party at 
all, and so, to use a common phrase, are just out of luck!' The idea of the 
Corporate or Corporative State, Secretary [of State] Sarason had more or less 
taken from Italy." And, President "Windrip's partisans called themselves the 
Corporatists, or, familiarly, the 'Corpos,' which nickname was generally used."

Lewis, the first American writer to win a Nobel Prize, was world famous by 1944,
as was his book "It Can't Happen Here." And several well-known and powerful 
Americans, including Prescott Bush, had lost businesses in the early 1940s 
because of charges by Roosevelt that they were doing business with Hitler. These
events all, no doubt, colored Vice President Wallace's thinking when he wrote in
The New York Times:

"Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to 
democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the 
power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws 
designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists 
of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before 
the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after 'the 
present unpleasantness' ceases."

Thus, the rich get richer (and more powerful) on the backs of the poor and the 
middle class, giant corporate behemoths wipe out small and middle sized 
businesses, and a corporate iron fist is seizing control of our government 
itself. As I detail in my new book "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The 
Middle Class," the primary beneficiaries of this new fascism are the 
corporatists, while the once-outspoken middle class of the 1950s-1980s is 
systematically being replaced by a silent serf-class of the working poor.

As Wallace wrote, some in big business "are willing to jeopardize the structure 
of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage." He added, "Monopolists 
who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal 
opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic 
enterprise [companies]. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival 
growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself."

But American fascists who would want former CEOs as President, Vice President, 
House Majority Whip, and Senate Majority Leader, and write legislation with 
corporate interests in mind, don't generally talk to We The People about their 
real agenda, or the harm it does to small businesses and working people. 
Instead, as Hitler did with the trade union leaders and the Jews, they point to 
a "them" to pin with blame and distract people from the harms of their economic 

In a comment prescient of George W. Bush's recent suggestion that civilization 
itself is at risk because of gays or Muslims, Wallace continued:

" The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to 
immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by 
their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities 
of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth
of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It
may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning 
to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach 

But even at this, Wallace noted, American fascists would have to lie to the 
people in order to gain power. And, because they were in bed with the nation's 
largest corporations - who could gain control of newspapers and broadcast media 
- they could promote their lies with ease.

"The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion
of truth and fact," Wallace wrote. "Their newspapers and propaganda carefully 
cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against 
fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy."

In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism the Vice President of the 
United States saw rising in America, he added:

"They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty 
guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the 
spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which 
all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the 
power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the
common man in eternal subjection."

Finally, Wallace said, "The myth of fascist efficiency has deluded many people. 
... Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep 
people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human
beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to
violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial 
oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."

This liberal vision of an egalitarian America in which very large businesses and
media monopolies are broken up under the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act (which 
Reagan stopped enforcing, leading to the mergers & acquisitions frenzy that 
continues to this day) was the driving vision of the New Deal (and of "Trust 
Buster" Teddy Roosevelt a generation earlier).

As Wallace's President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said when he accepted his party's
renomination in 1936 in Philadelphia:

"...Out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new 
dynasties.... It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of 
these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over 
government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of 
legal sanction.... And as a result the average man once more confronts the 
problem that faced the Minute Man...."

Speaking indirectly of the fascists that Wallace would directly name almost a 
decade later, Roosevelt brought the issue to its core:

"These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of
America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power."

But, he thundered in that speech:

"Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of 

In 2006, we again stand at the same crossroad Roosevelt and Wallace confronted 
during the Great Depression and World War II. Fascism is again rising in 
America, this time calling itself "compassionate conservatism," and "the free 
market" in a "flat" world. The RNC's behavior today eerily parallels the day in 
1936 when Roosevelt said:

"In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their 
blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for."

President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace's warnings have come full circle.
Thus it's now critical that we reclaim the word "fascist" to describe 
current-day Republican policies, support progressive websites that spread the 
good word, and join together this November at the ballot box to stop fascist 
election fraud and this most recent incarnation of Republican-fascism from 
seizing complete and irretrievable control of our nation.

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author, and host 
of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show carried on the Air 
America Radio network and Sirius. www.thomhartmann.com

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