"Friendly Fascism"

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Tue Dec 11 15:22:09 MST 2001

From: "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America" by Bertram Gross,
South End Press, Boston, 1980

"The Spirits of great events, stride on before the event/And in today
already walks tomorrow."
Johannon von Schiller

Arturo Ui, referring to Adolf Hitler:
Let none of us exult too soon,
The womb is fruitful
>From which this one crawled...
Bertolt Brecht
"The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui"

Looking at the present, I see a more probable future: a new despotism
creeping slowly across America. Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a
corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many
decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are
willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of
their institutional or personal greed...

I see at present members of the Establishment or people on its fringes who,
in the name of Americanism, betray the interests of most Americans by
fomenting militarism, applauding rat-race individualism, protecting
undeserved privilege, or stirring up nationalistic and ethnic hatreds. I see
pretended patriots who desecrate the American flag by waving it while
waiving the law...

As I look at America today, I am not afraid to say that I am afraid. I am
afraid of those who proclaim that it can't happen here. In 1935 Sinclair
Lewis wrote a popular novel in which a racist, anti-Semitic, flag waving,
army-backed demagogue wins the 1936 presidential election and proceeds to
establish an Americanized version of Nazi Germany. The title, "It Can't
Happen Here", was a tongue-in-cheek warning that it might. The 'it' Lewis
referred to is unlikely to happen again any place. Even in today's Germany,
Italy or Japan, a modern-style corporate state or society would be far
different from the old regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese
oligarchs. Anyone looking for black shirts, mass parties, or men on
horseback will miss the telltale clues of creeping fascism. In any First
World country of advanced capitalism, the new fascism will be colored by
national and cultural heritage, ethnic and religious composition, formal
political structure, and geopolitical environment. The Japanese or German
versions would be quite different from the Italian variety--and still more
different from the British, French, Belgian, Dutch, Australian, Canadian, or
Israeli versions. In America, it would be supermodern and multi-ethnic--as
American as Madison Avenue, executive luncheons, credit cards and apple pie.
It would be fascism with a smile. As a warning against its cosmetic facade,
subtle manipulation, and velvet gloves, I call it friendly fascism. what
scares me most is its subtle appeal." (pp. 1-3)

James Craven
Professor and Consultant, Economics
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. 98663
(360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
blkfoot5 at earthlink.net
*My Employer Has No Association With My Private/Protected
"I am aware that many object to the severity of my language;
but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth,
and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not
wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation. No! No!
Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm;
tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the
ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from
the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use
moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest--I
will not equivocate--I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single
inch--and I will be heard."
(William Lloyd Garrison, Abolitionist, on Slavery, 1831)

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