Creeping fascism

January 9, 2008 at 1:00 am 8 comments

Kim photoA really fascinating piece from Alternet, which asks whether there is a similarity between the US and Nazi Germany. Do yourself a favour and read the whole article, but here’s a summary:

The burning of the German parliament building (Reichstag) took place on Feb. 27, 1933. In a journal by Sebastian Haffner (pen name for Raimund Pretzel who was a young lawyer in Berlin during the Nazi takeover and wrote a firsthand account), Haffner referred to the “sheepish submissiveness” with which the German people reacted to this 9/11 type event.

  • Haffner found it alarming that none of his colleagues or friends “saw anything out of the ordinary in the fact that, from then on, one’s telephone would be tapped, one’s letters opened and one’s desk might be broken into.”
  • The Bush Administration began eavesdropping on its own citizens seven months before 9/11.
  • the mantra of “after 9/11, everything has changed” has given Bush and his croneys license to spy illegally on its own citizens.
  • the Democrats were briefed in February 2001 on plans to snoop on American citizens without the court warrants required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 – did they knowingly acquiesce?
  • there may be contemporary parallels with Nazi Germany – the Nazi Party, after the Reichstag fire, only received 44% of the popular vote, but the Social Democrats and other parties who received 56% of the German peoples’ trust allowed the Nazis to take power. Haffner writes that:”They went along with everything: the terror, the persecution of Jews. … They were not even bothered when their own party was banned and their own members arrested.”

I found this a very interesting article (if not a warning) because the same sheepish submissiveness can be seen in our contemporary society. We don’t seem to be fully grasping that our civil liberties and privacy are being eroded; some of us don’t even seem to care. Opposition parties are perhaps caving in or being co-opted. But here’s a poignant warning from Haffner:

“There was not a single example of energetic defense, of courage or principle. There was only panic, flight, and desertion. In March 1933 millions were ready to fight the Nazis. Overnight they found themselves without leaders. … At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown. … The result is today the nightmare of the rest of the world.”

And perhaps we should all have a re-read of Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here – a political novel, which warned that political movements like Nazism could come to power in the US when people blindly and submissively support their leaders. Let’s recall the warning signs of fascism:

  • powerful and continuing nationalism
  • disdain for human rights
  • identification of enemies as a unifying cause
  • supremacy of the military
  • rampant sexism
  • controlled mass media
  • obsession with national security
  • religion and government intertwined
  • corporate power protected
  • Labor power suppressed
  • disdain for intellectuals and the arts
  • obsession with crime and punishment
  • rampant cronyism and corruption
  • fraudulent elections.

Then think about the current state of the US (and Australia to some extent). Scary.

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Entry filed under: Politics, Privacy, Surveillance society.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Robert  |  January 11, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    The parallels are clear Bush is the new Hitler. His criminal administration is the New Third Reich. It is time for the American people to wake up to what is happening to them and to put a stop to it. Let’s hope they do before it is too late.

    Reply
  • 2. james  |  January 12, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    this world is currupt since, humans started to pay tax, ? work all day work all night and give 20% of my hard earned money to the goverment ?

    this aint right

    Reply
  • 3. Roger  |  January 12, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    How many people need to die before we can call it a genocide? The U.S needs to be stopped.

    Reply
  • 4. J  |  January 12, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Well according to the World Health Organisation, there have been 151,000 Iraqi CIVILIAN casualties since the occupation ( It is not a war as war has not been declared since 1941 )

    Thats civilian, not military.

    If this was start trek, we would all be behing the bajorans helping them fight the cardassian scum.

    USA IS the cardassian scum.

    Reply
  • 5. bluto_108  |  January 13, 2008 at 2:27 am

    hold on a sec,

    whats Australia got to do with this. I know Howard was a lap dog to Bush,
    but now with Rudd at least we have a chance of being independent of
    that fascist country

    Reply
  • 6. thinkingshift  |  January 13, 2008 at 2:35 am

    I’m a tad concerned that the Rudd government is showing every signs of being as obsessed over national security and we know the media is controlled. But let’s hope that Rudd isn’t a lap dog of the US (whoever takes over from Bush).

    Reply
  • 7. treok  |  January 13, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Hey guys I am from the US. I dont agree with many of my contries policies and would love to see this trend reversed. And all of my friends feel the same. It isnt the US that is at fault but the NeoCons and the Mega Corporations that benefit from those policies. So dont hate all US Citizens because of what the powerful and rich are doing.

    Reply
  • 8. thinkingshift  |  January 14, 2008 at 1:58 am

    I think that anyone who seriously and dispassionately looks into the issues would not “hate all US citizens”.

    Reply

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