THE THIRD STAGE: BEING THERE: Mussolini’s original definition of fascism is corporate merger with the state. In light of congressional house uglies – this is a digest of two strong articles on how to make positive citizen response in the current potentially dangerous situation. The author Sara Robinson is a respected researcher on the subject. May be some tips you can use. All the best, j
A deliberate, committed institutional partnership has formed between America’s conservative elites and its emerging homegrown brownshirt horde.
The “Teabag Movement” was created out of whole cloth by Koch Brothers financed astroturf groups like Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks and Tim Phillips’ yAmericans for Prosperity, with massive media help from FOX News. The nonsense-issue Birther fracas is openly ratified by congressional Republicans. Armey professionally-produced a field manual that carefully instructs conservative goon squads in the fine art of disrupting the democratic governing process. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner applauds and promotes the disruptions.
This is the sign we were waiting for — the one that tells us that yes, kids: we are there now. America’s conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country’s legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America’s streets, sanctioning physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won’t do their political or economic bidding.
This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Mussolini fascism begins. It’s also our very last chance to stop it.
The Road Ahead
We’ve arrived. We are now parked on the exact spot where our best experts tell us full-blown fascism is born. Every day that the conservatives in Congress, the right-wing talking heads, and their noisy minions are allowed to hold up our ability to govern the country is another day we’re slowly creeping across the final line beyond which, history tells us, no country has ever been able to return.
How do we pull back?
FASCIST AMERICA: ARE WE THERE YET? by Sara Robinson http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/08/09-5
7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat. Sara Robinson, Campaign for America’s Future http://www.alternet.org/story/141929/
The most insidious part of fascism is that when it’s obvious to everyone that these people are dangerously out of control, it’s too late to do anything about it. We can still change our minds, and spend our future elsewhere, but we are now actively choosing. Things are happening now that set a course we may be unable to alter.
How do we turn back? A few basic principles:
First: Teabaggers must not win. When a bully learns that intimidation and threats work, he does more. The longer he goes without penalty, the worse he gets. Do nothing, and he takes over. With a colossal conservative investment in organizing and directing teabaggers, we’d be stupid to believe that this will go away. Having a taste of power and publicity, these newly empowered mobs will try to see what else they can muck up.
Our choice is stark: knock them back before the cost is higher.
Second: Think nationally, fight locally. Conservatives run this fight as a national campaign, but the terror that fuels fascism is always intensely, intimately local. Fascist goon squads recruit from the neighborhood, built on people we know. That’s where they have to be stopped. This is why the best tactics involve community-level action. Anybody who sits this out because they assume D.C. will handle it shouldn’t be surprised when they get “special treatment” from longtime neighbors, or find their car vandalized.
Winning means getting out and defending community standards and boundaries while they’re still there to be defended.
Third: Use nonviolent resistance — leave heavy lifting and rough enforcement to police. The only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them, but that doesn’t involve eye-for-an-eye. The right wing is looking hard to make a case that they’re innocent victims of the “left”. The Nazis used victim-blaming to tremendous effect to build their party. We must not give our proto-brownshirts any basis to make the same kind of argument.
It’s about the moral high ground. Our choices must be consistent with our values: civil discourse, free speech and the rule of law. Bullying is illegal and intolerable.
Fourth: Make sure media gets the story right. Teabaggers run out of power if the media turns off their cameras, but this nefariously incited drama is a real ratings-booster. Left alone, the media (local news in particular) turn hate and fear mongers into cultural heroes. The best cure is good speech: documented, spread widely; a coordinated rapid-response letterwriting to local press; keeping reporters well-fed with news of concerned nonpartisan citizens working to keep control of democratic discourse in the face of organized thugs trying to suppress it. The media are watching, make sure they see it all.
Fifth: Support legislators who don’t show fear. The Democratic leadership knows that these noisy, scary people don’t represent the 73 percent of Americans who support health care reform. The GOP runs the risk of being marginalized as the Party of No and the Moonbat Crazy. If you’ve never attended a public meeting, start. Your congressperson’s Web site lists his or her schedule, or a number to call to inquire.
That’s a first step. Do more. Write. Call. Visit your local congressional office and tell staff how you feel about health care reform, teabaggers, your legislator’s courage. If they’re stressed, encourage them. A constituent in the office counts. One visit or call is good. More is better. Contact at least once a week supports their public service.
Sixth: Shut down the hate talkers. Teabaggers come straight out of right-wing talk-radio audiences, mainlining raw emotion and toxic misinformation: “death panels!” “kill your granny!” “Join the “resistance!” Cut off this endless torrent of lies and fear-mongering to power down the whole movement. Basic recipe:
- Record their shows.
- Note intimidation, threat, or incitement to violence against a named target.
- Note every advertiser.
- Write a polite letter to the CEOs of sponsors, toss in choice quotes and ask if they want their product identified with them. This works extremely well — and quickly — at local and national levels. Lost dollars talk.
Finally: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Conservatives invest a lot of money and effort to build a mass movement aimed at destroying democratic government — and they’re not going to let up as long as Democrats are in control. This is our new reality — and it comes straight out of Chapter 6 of Hitler’sMein Kampf. They intend to keep the outrage junkies high with never-ending, made-up reasons to act out. Which means that even if we win this round, we must push back against the bullies, over and over, for the next three to seven years.
[Note: The Koch Brothers’ father Fred financed Hitler’s Nazis!].
There are only two outcomes: get very good at spotting and stopping attempts at a brownshirt takeover the minute they crop up; or they get very good at public intimidation and keep ratcheting it up toward violence and goon rule.
That’s how it’s going to be for the rest of this administration. The sooner we resign ourselves to the zero-sum nature of this fight, the sooner we can get on with getting good at it.
Sara Robinson is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future and a consulting partner with the Cognitive Policy Works in Seattle. One of the few trained social futurists in North America, she has blogged on authoritarian and extremist movements at Orcinus since 2006, and is a founding member of Group News Blog.
Read the full story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/141929/
LAST WORDS FOR NOW:
Terry Pratchett – The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, 1988 – We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don’t stand up to experimentation, Buddha’s own words must be rejected.