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Is the US a fascist state?

(141 Posts)
glasnost Mon 03-Oct-11 21:07:26

Fourteen Defining
Characteristics Of Fascism
By Dr. Lawrence Britt
Source Free

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

From Liberty Forum

On the basis of this is the US a fascist state? And the UK? Italy undoubtedly is.

mousesma Mon 03-Oct-11 21:17:04


glasnost Mon 03-Oct-11 21:21:18

Ooh ta for that considered insight. If you'd refuted any of the points that would'v'e been more interesting. Next!

obamaiswrong Mon 03-Oct-11 21:31:21


I'm gonna say... no.

But it wouldn't be a massive leap to get there. For either the US or the UK.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, or something. IIRC.

Disputandum Mon 03-Oct-11 21:35:04


Disputandum Mon 03-Oct-11 21:48:39

And it's not doctor Lawrence Britt. He was a corporate executive who wrote a novel about extremism and then the opinion piece you have posted here - it became a sort of email chain letter about 10 years ago and over time adherents started adding 'doctor' (and referring to him as a political scientist).

KatharineClifton Mon 03-Oct-11 21:54:35

Yes. Not because of the stuff in the OP but because it kills it's own citizens.

Although, an interesting project would be to grade each US state on each of those indices, and rank them in order of fascist-ness. You'd need to have a lot of spare time on your hands though...

KatharineClifton Mon 03-Oct-11 22:00:40

I think Number 5 is applicable to all nation states. Are the women of Rwanda equal? No.

glasnost Mon 03-Oct-11 22:05:48

Where do you get your info from Disputandum?

If you look at each of these 14 points the US in particular post 9/11 adheres to them all. (The fraudulent election though was obviously the one that preempted 9/11 in November 2000 when Bush didn't actually win).

Disputandum Mon 03-Oct-11 22:07:32

How so katharine?

The blackshirts used to tie troublemakers who opposed Mussolini to a tree and make them drink pints of castor oil before forcing them to eat a live frog...of course the SS went much further than that to keep order.

We're not seeing that sort of thing in the US quite yet are we?

KatharineClifton Mon 03-Oct-11 22:08:08

9/11 wasn't a tipping point glasnost. Foreign policy has always been corrupt. Just look at the shock doctrine experiments in Latin America.

KatharineClifton Mon 03-Oct-11 22:09:42

Because Democrats aren't tied to trees and fed castor oil and frogs doesn't make the USA not fascist. As you well know.

meditrina Mon 03-Oct-11 22:14:30

The points do not include the key ones - treatment of dissenters and an independent judiciary, a vigorous multiparty democracy, and police actions limited by law, and freedom of speech. Nor do they have a weighting for the relative importance of the points - a free press mitigates so many of the other areas.

glasnost Mon 03-Oct-11 22:20:29

How folkloristic Disputandum. I particularly liked the frog touch there. The US doesn't need frogs when it's got the Patriot Act, mass surveillance of its own citizens, drones, corrupt congressmen and Supreme court judges, Fox (faux) News, more military spending than any other nation, more incarcerated persons than any other nation, more wealth disparity than any other developed nation, capital punishment, black sites, extraordinary renditions, enhanced interrogation, engagement in and initiation of more wars than any nation ever, the list goes on now does it?

What free press meditrina? CNN, ABC, FO(AU)X News? NYT? There's no mainstream press in the US unbeholden to corporate interests.

glasnost Mon 03-Oct-11 22:24:12

I agree Katherine viz the US having pursued a nefarious foreign policy for aeons but I feel post 9/11 it's become a repressive state within its own borders too as I've had occasion to witness recently.

KatharineClifton Mon 03-Oct-11 22:29:21

Like it wasn't in the McCarthyite era, and many other eras post 9/11. The internet is the only thing which has made a difference. There is more information available to many more people. And yy to media! The NYT is perhaps the most dangerous as the bias is more hidden.

KatharineClifton Mon 03-Oct-11 22:29:47

I meant to write 'many other eras pre 9/11'

Disputandum Mon 03-Oct-11 22:39:04

You have experienced the US as a repressive state recently Glasnost?

What, like Nigeria in the '80s?

Or did they just, like, stop you guys from holding up traffic on the bridge?

glasnost Mon 03-Oct-11 22:43:55

An improvement on the frogs Disputandum but still doesn't quite cut it in explaining why the US hasn't become fascistic in protecting and furthering its corporate uberlords' interests.

Disputandum Mon 03-Oct-11 22:43:55

And whilst the Patriot Act is controversial it is a long way from transferring all legislative powers to the President.

mousesma Tue 04-Oct-11 07:37:11

Can't believe I am justifying this silly question with a proper reponse but here goes.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - you can have that one, but it's not compulsory and is sometimes riddiculed my main stream US satire Team America, Simpsons to name a few

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - yes a bit, it's getting better under Obama but too slowly.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - same in most developed countries I think to distract from cock ups in local policy. Counter arguments can still be heard in main stream media though.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Again I think most countries guilty of this, India for example has terrible poverty yet spends a fortune on their nuclear weapons program

5. Rampant Sexism - No more than anywhere else. There are women in top government and legal positions. It's much easier to be taken seriously as a professional women in the US than in Italy for example. Abortion is still legal as is homosexuality and divorce. Don't confuse the US government with the fundamental right wing Christians that live in some parts of it

6. Controlled Mass Media - The press is still free and can and does openly criticise the government.

7. Obsession with National Security - Yes but is it different anywhere else.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - No it's not again you are confusing the US goverment with the fundamental right wing Christians that live in some parts of it.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - Yes but that is the price of captialism, when everyone is dependent on big business to prop up the economy and pay into pensions etc. then they will hold you to ransom.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - I don't know how the unions in the US work so can't comment.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Not sure this is true. The Arts thrive in the US including Indie films, music etc.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - The police do not have unlimited power there are some abuses of power but they are not endemic

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Not true in current administration

14. Fraudulent Elections - US still has free elections if they didn't the Repuclicans would still be in power.

So overall yes the US has some policies which could be considered Fascist i.e. Patriot Act but does not score highly enough to be a facist state. I think many of the qualities you have listed describe elements of the extreme right wing religious groups in the US but not the current administration.

BelfastBloke Tue 04-Oct-11 08:17:19

Good responses, mousesma. I'd disagree on a couple, but you've basically given a fair assessment.

You also said it was a silly question, mousesma. I don't think it's a silly question, because vigilance is required, and the US does have a number of tendencies towards fascism, as outlined above. But as you have outlined, it also has many facets where it just doesn't apply at all.

People are always too quick to describe 'the US' as crazy/fascist/fundamentalist/stupid etc etc just because some person, or even some state, does/says something stupid.

The OP's list is a bit vague and silly, but useful as talking points, I suppose.

Disputandum Tue 04-Oct-11 08:42:25

Mousesma - good response, particularly in regards the fact that several points do not apply to the current administration; Britt himself has said that it was intended as a criticism of the Bush administration and not of the US generally.

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