Do You Want Fascism to Come to the U.S. Sooner, or Later?

THE DUOPOLY WATCH | Steven Jonas, MD, MPHpale blue horiz
Special to The Greanville Post | Commentary No. 58A: “Do You Want Fascism to Come to the U.S. Sooner, or Later?
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In my most recent column, “The End(s) of Capitalism,” I discussed the factors that indicate that capitalism is (finally) coming to the end of its useful life.  They are, in no particular order of importance: over the last century or so, the capitalist ruling classes in most countries have managed to destroy for the most part any semblance of working class consciousness and any semblance of a militant trade union movement; in terms of its ability to produce and produce sustained growth, without fiscal or monetary stimulus (and in some cases event that doesn’t work) capitalism is running down; chronic, residual, unemployment is becoming common in many capitalist countries; the wealth and income gap (gulf) is becoming ever wider (as highlighted by a capitalist [on the liberal side] economist, Joseph Stiglitz), but with no significant political or mass-based opposition, the capitalists just keep on concentrating both, reducing thereby the amount of capital available for new investment; capitalist potential for making profit is becoming increasingly financialized, which reduces employment; and then there is CAR: Computerization, Automation, and Robotization, which reduces available employment and thus the workers’ share of the surplus value produced by their work.  And this is only a partial list.

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Britain has seen the rise of UKIP, while the Continent has its own ultra-right formations on the move.TaylorHerring via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Now eventually, this is going to lead to worker revolts of some kinds.  However, they will likely be quite some time in coming because of the growth of the “anti-immigrant” movements in so many capitalist countries, certainly including, with the rise of Trump, the United States.  Examples include the United Kingdom Independence Party in Great Britain, the Front National in France, and the openly anti-Semitic Jobbik Party in Hungary (which was the home of the first fascist state, established by Admiral Miklos Horthy in 1919).

Over the last century or so, the capitalist ruling classes in most countries have managed to destroy for the most part any semblance of working class consciousness and any semblance of a militant trade union movement…

It is difficult to know how many, if any, of these far-right parties, which certainly have major elements of fascism (see below) in their ideologies and programs, presently have any direct connection to a majority of their respective national ruling classes, and/or have been consciously created by them.  However, they are certainly very useful at this stage of history to their respective ruling classes, for they serve extraordinarily well to distract significant elements of their respective working classes from the real source of their difficulties — that is, of course, capitalism and its natural outcomes resulting from its exclusive foci on producing profits and more capital — to focus instead on “immigrants” and “others” who are different, instead of focusing on class struggle.

Trump rally: Haunted by the ghost of Taxi Driver.
Trump rally: Echoes of Taxi Driver. Many profoundly alienated whites are flocking to his banner, but who created the conditions for such a disaster if not the treacherous liberals?akahawkeyefan via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

The Trumpist Republican Party in the U.S. is a prime example of this.  Over the last 40 years, with a policy that can be encapsulated as “Reaganism,” the Republican Party has been the primary political representative of the U.S. ruling class, (although, please do not let us exclude the Democrats from responsibility as well).  It has established and led the policy and program agenda of which has led to misery for so many members of the white working class, from the destruction of the trade unions to the massive export of capital and with it deindustrialization, massive tax cuts for the rich and a steady decline in funding for various government agencies on which significant sectors of the working class depend, like the Veterans Administration.

But through his well-known combination of racism, white supremacy, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and increasingly anti-immigrant rhetoric, even to the extent of putting a prominent leader of the Far Right into a top leadership position in his campaign, Trump has been able to build a significant base of support in the white working and petit-bourgeois classes for what would appear to be a conventional election, under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution.  But further, if you listen carefully to his rhetoric Trump is also moving in the direction of establishing a fascist state (or at least attempting to, of the 21st century sort of course, now, were he to gain power.

To wit, fascism can be defined as:

“A politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who run the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political, religious, and ideological opposition to it; the massive and regular use of hate, fear, racial and religious prejudice, the Big Lie technique, mob psychology, mob actions and ultimately individual and collective violence to achieve political and economic ends; a capitalist/corporate economy; with the ruling economic class’ domination of economic, fiscal, and regulatory policy.”

The closer we get to the election, the more Trump is attracting major elements of the ruling class.  They may not like his style, but they surely like his policies when it comes to further corporate and individual tax cuts, fracking, opening up Federal lands to energy exploration and exploitation, the elimination of as much environmental and economic regulation as possible, further expanding the military-industrial complex, the increased use of force in dealing with problems in the nonwhite communities which would include strengthening the prison-industrial complex, further emphasizing “differences” in dealing with non-white communities, curbing the media, conventional and social, and so on and so forth.  Obviously they don’t like his stated anti-globalism in both the economic and military spheres, but they most likely think that his mind can be changed on that.  Obviously not only are they are willing to look past Trump’s racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, mysogny and etc., but even the fact that “The Trump Organizations’ Foreign Business Ties Could Up-End U.S. National Security.”

Add to this Trump’s inherent authoritarianism (a major factor why the religious right is so attracted to an obviously areligious person), and the fact that apparently without knowing it he is doing Mussolini impressions all of the time, a Trump Presidency, with a supine Congress and Supreme Court (with his appointments making it that way) and the U.S. could well come to fascism very soon and very quickly.

However, in terms of fascism and the threat that it may well come to the United States, Trump is not sui generis.  History has shown us that when capitalist ruling classes are faced with serious threats to their control of the State, they turn to fascism to maintain it.  And so, if Trump loses and Hillary Clinton becomes President, the likelihood that the U.S. ruling class will have to turn to fascism in order to maintain its control will only be pushed down the road.  It is this understanding that should, in my view, inform how one votes in the upcoming election and who one roots for to win.  That will be the subject of the third column in this series, upcoming.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JonasSteve-BOND1

Senior Editor, Politics, Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books.  In addition to being Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post, he is: a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement; a “Trusted Author” for Op-Ed News.com; a contributor to the “Writing for Godot” section of Reader Supported News; and a contributor to From The G-Man. He is the Editorial Director and a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine.us.  Further, he is an occasional Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter, BuzzFlash Commentary, and Dandelion SaladDr. Jonas’ latest book is Ending the ‘Drug War’; Solving the Drug Problem: The Public Health Approach, Brewster, NY: Punto Press, available on Kindle from Amazon at  http://www.amazon.com/Ending-Drug-War-Solving-Problem-ebook/dp/B01EO9RGKO/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461783388&sr=1-4&keywords=Ending+the+Drug+War

His most recent book on US politics is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel (Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY), and available on Amazon.


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10 thoughts on “Do You Want Fascism to Come to the U.S. Sooner, or Later?

  1. A weakness I sense in Jonas’ otherwise vigorous analysis is his suggestion that closure in the march toward fascism in this country would be merely “pushed down the road” by a Clinton victory instead of at least considering the very real possibility it could thrive and succeed albeit through slightly different political means.

  2. I agree with Cameron’s comment, to which I would add that Clinton appears to believe that nuclear war with Russia is inevitable (and, by implication, ok).

    The police state is an inevitable accessory to total corporate control, as well as to unwieldy increases in population, as President Putin stated recently.

  3. What a fraud!
    I knew this oped was bogus from the title alone.

    The fact is we already have fascism in the US, and it was brought here by the Democratic-Republican Fascist Duopoly Party, Inc.

    When people like Jonas blame ONLY the Republicans or ONLY the Democrats, then HE TOO is part of the problem.

    I don’t know if Jonas is that naive or just another propaganda stenographer for the oligarchy. Either way, he does real harm by misleading the people.

    Obviously, GreanvillePost is a member of the MSM. Critical thinking is advised.

  4. I enjoyed and agree with the article but (picky picky) I do wish that there had been more proofreading and fine-tuning before it was posted.

    For example you write: “But further, if you listen carefully to his rhetoric Trump is also moving in the direction of establishing a fascist state (or at least attempting to), of the 21st century sort of course, now, were he to gain power.”

    For example, I would change this to: “But if you listen carefully to his rhetoric, Trump would move, or attempt to move, to establish a 21st century type of fascist state should he gain power.” OK, so I’m an annoying geek, but I mean well! ;-)

  5. Let’s see:

    Corporations and Big Wall Street Banks actually run the U.S. for the Deep State psychopaths. The Electoral College, not the voters, elects the President. Congress mostly obeys its wealthy donors and lobbyists for Big Business. The Supreme Court is chosen by the President, not by citizens.

    Militarism abroad and at home is venerated, even in police uniforms (with their military-grade weapons).

    The military budget consumes more than 54% of the discretionary budget.

    The 16 Intelligence Agencies spy on all of us all the time.

    The nuclear weapons part of the Energy Dept.’s budget plus the military part of NASA’s budget, added to the Pentagon’s budget and the 16 Intelligence Agencies and the Dept. of Homeland Security spend more than one TRILLION dollars each year.

    The U.S. is now at war (illegally) in at least 7 countries, none of which actually threaten the U.S.

    The U.S. operates more than 800 military bases in foreign nations to protect and expand its corporate/Wall Street interests and influence, and has “Special Ops” teams in at least 130 nations.

    Police shoot to kill, especially if the suspect is a Black man.

    “Free Speech Zones” are now set up for major protests, such as at Hofstra University, site of the First 2016 Presidential “Debate” (Entertainment).

    People who exercise their free speech rights by burning the U.S. flag or sitting or kneeling during the martial, slave-oppressing “Star-Spangled Banner” are vilified, if not arrested or otherwise punished.

    Corporate media control the information we all receive so that the U.s. Empire is never exposed as the imperialist hegemon it actually is, when that media is not distracting us with brain-numbing “entertainment”.

    We are constantly reminded that the U.s. is “the greatest country in history” and the “exceptional” and “indispensable” nation which stands for freedom and democracy, as our taxes are used to drone assassinate people abroad and support oppressive governments whom our corporate-backed “leaders” tell us are vital to our “national interests” no matter how many people those governments torture and murder.

    In actual practice, only the 2nd Amendment is considered so important (“sacred”) that its lobbyists (the NRA) cannot be confronted, while the 1st and 4th Amendments are alive only on paper, as Edward Snowden has shown.

    Speaking of whistle blowers, President Obama has prosecuted more whistle blowers using the Espionage Act than any previous president, while the war criminals of preceding administrations as well as the banksters who committed fraud and crashed the economy in 2008 go free and get even wealthier.

    U.S. citizens can be killed by drone assassination (and have been) or spied on and jailed without their habeas corpus rights according to recent presidential fiats by Bush and Obama.

    So what is this talk about fascism “sooner or later”?

    Wake up! It’s here NOW!

    1. Well said @ redpilled. Fascism is here, has been here AT LEAST since Reagan’s time, probably before that. When the Kennedys and MLK were killed… but people kept going to sleep. Neither one of these corporate-chosen candidates will deter fascism; will only further it until – when the majority of people FINALLY start waking up – far, far to late – we’ll be part of the next gulag, or there will be a nuclear war. If TPP is passed (and it will be) that will be the end of life as we know it on earth and we will see the dire effects within 5 to 10 years. Either way, we’re screwed. I wonder how bad it will have to get before a revolt, but with technology as it is, their weapons are so advanced we cannot win unless we develop telekinetic powers and link up!

  6. I enjoy your writing, but I have to disagree with this thing you said that the opposite candidate will delay fascism, since she and Bill have done all they could to help further fascism and death of the working class. That said, I don’t CARE anymore if Trump wins – not if it means voting for Hillary! They both will blotto life on earth, and reduce the 99% to death or slavery anyway; through further rape and pillage of earth and fouling its waters and cutting its forests and killing everything that way – or through nuclear war.

    As futile as it seems, all we have is our critical thinking and our hearts. What’s left to do is to try to help First Nations, aboriginals, and young people act as if there is a “future” – and I hope that there is. They, at least, are trying to solve the world’s problems through direct action and innovation and boots on the ground, unlike our oligarchic overlords who wish we’d all drop dead or kill each other off.

    So let’s “act as if” we can do some good and get busy. “Elections” are a fraction of the picture. Most important, IMO, is to get third parties on the ballot. the 2-as-1 corporate party hate us.

    As hopeless as I feel, I align with those who have hope; someone has to have it. And we will work as if there will be something left to hope for, and do what we can to alleviate suffering now. What else is there to do.

  7. Just a few brief responses to the comments on my column, in order. Cameron, indeed you could be right, in terms of content although not form. Elsewhere I have referred to this possibility as “Constitutional fascism.” To Ms. Stryker, the same. Mr. Glover has written an important article, to which I certainly refer our readers (and perhaps Mr. Greanville would consider re-publishing it on TGP). To Mr. Schmidt, I suggest he take a look at the series of columns that I have published on TGP, precisely under the sub-title “The Duopoly Watch.” Ms. Talbott is absolutely right: my columns can ALWAYS benefit from further careful proof-reading. Unfortunately, my Dad, Prof. Harold J. Jonas, who was long ago described by my senior editor at WW Norton as producing “the best damned proof-reading” he had ever seen, is no longer with us. As for Redpilled, nothing for me to disagree with, except how one defines “fascism” (and see the column for mine). The situation in the U.S. he describes is certainly factual, as it is for Bruce. Again, thank you all for your comments. The third column in this series, on “The Lesser of the Evils” conundrum, will be out shortly.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The article by Paul Glover was published yesterday, and it is here: http://www.greanvillepost.com/2016/09/28/opeds-why-liberals-vote-for-fascists/

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