Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.
- Benito Mussolini
Personally, I have found the overuse of the term "fascism" in my lifetime reprehensible. It is not "fascism" when your teacher won't let you get out early to see your friends. It isn't fascism when Walmart stops carrying some music label. Not every act of potentially capricious authority is fascism.
But some things are. And, as folks tend to forget, fascism has always been built from the ground up as partnerships between public idealogues, authoritarian movements, and corporations who have used those movements to protect and maximize their profits in return for funding and legitimizing the otherwise very unestablishment face of the movement.
In other words, whether we're talking Germany, Italy, Ethiopia, or the Klan, frankly, fascism has always had roots in the kind of people we these days call trailer trash. This has made for a very useful dynamic in the eyes of the monsters who have served as fascism's architects. The low-class, usually unemployed thugs of bottom-of-society movements have made very useful shock troops to undermine groups like farm worker unions that threaten the profits of corporations. And the quiet but increasingly public support of those corporations has provided material resources and a much-needed veneer of respectability to the otherwise socially rejected masses of those authoritarian movements. All while the least honorable among the media take their funding from the corporations while inflaming the conflict and then reaping the increased revenues from getting to feature the very violence and hatred that they helped build in the first place.
Any of this sound like what we're seeing now with the "birthers", the "teabaggers", the health insurance industry/Big Pharma, and FOX?
If you still have any doubts, I suggest that you read this piece on the recent appearance of activities in America, like the disruption of our ongoing town halls, that have always in the past been leading and reliable indicators that a country would soon be suffering a fascist regime.
I thnk that the article actually, in some ways, understates the problem. I have said from 2002 on that the TSA was designed from the get-go as a training ground and then reserve of brownshirts. Minimally-screened, recruited largely from the unemployed and underemployed, given arbitrary and intrusive powers "justified" by a fear-based logic that was made both sacrilege and dangerous to question, they have continued, with an expanding mandate, almost no supervision, and minimal training in jobs that get them used to treating the public as hostile adversaries to be controlled, questioned, and kept within ill-defined and non-negotiable limits.
Every day that somebody holds a TSA job they are further conditioned to make a trustworthy goon who will follow the unexplained and possibly counterintuitive orders of The People In Charge. They are already building adversarial dynamics with, well, real cops. The cops find them contemptable. Undertrained, puffed up, poor, and posturing. The TSA employees find the cops arrogant, uncooperative, questioning of the limits of their mandate and jurisdiction. If push comes to shove, TSA staffers will have been hardened by years of public displeasure and frustration. Trained to demand unquestioning obedience from the public, where even a joke about their techniques or concerns are considered grounds for arrest and detention.
Make no mistake. The "birthers" and their ilk are dangerous. A clear and present danger to our democracy and basic rights and principles. But if we're to look at this honestly, we need to stay vigilant about the armed, staffed, equipped army of fascism-ready bully-boys who walk our streets and control our rights of way right this very minute.
This is NOT a drill.