On Alternet’s site, I read the following piece by Sara Robinson and her fears concerning the potential of a Tea Party led move toward fascism.
In August 2009, I wrote a piece titled Fascist America: Are We There Yet? that sparked much discussion on both the left and right ends of the blogosphere. In it, I argued that — according to the best scholarship on how fascist regimes emerge — America was on a path that was running much too close to the fail-safe point beyond which no previous democracy has ever been able to turn back from a full-on fascist state. I also noted that the then-emerging Tea Party had a lot of proto-fascist hallmarks, and that it had the potential to become a clear and present danger to the future of our democracy if it ever got enough traction to start winning elections in a big way.
In the article, Ms Robinson provides a quote from the scholar Robert O. Paxton, who wrote in his book, THE ANATOMY OF FASCISM
(Fascism is)…a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Despite the right’s attempts to equate fascism with socialism and liberal ideals, it is evident to more rational observers that the modern American ‘conservative’ movement is tracking much more closely with the formative period of European fascism, both the Italian and the German versions.
An important aspect of the fascist movement’s success in Italy and Germany, according to Dr Paxton, was the complicity of the ruling elites in both nations. There were fascist groups in other countries in the dire days that followed World War I, but the political systems and the ‘elites’ of those other nations did not support these nascent movements and they remained annoying but not very dangerous entities even during the Great Depression years.
Are we seeing the same thing in America today? Are the billionaires and politicians collaborating behind the scenes to destroy democracy? With the misguided decision in the Citizens United case, multiple interests with unknown sources of funding have been pouring cash into the 2010 election campaigns, producing a flood of attack ads against, not only progressive, but also moderate and conservative Democrats.