An increasing amount of people in the USA are calling Guiliani a Fascist. Often, they refer to his own infamous words:
“We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”
Does that really make him a Fascist? What is a Fascist to begin with?
Here is the wikipedia definition:
Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests inferior to the needs of the state, and seeks to forge a type of national unity, usually based on ethnic, cultural, or racial attributes. Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, authoritarianism, militarism, corporatism, collectivism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, and opposition to economic and political liberalism
Without entering into the endless debates about the nature of the various historical versions of Fascism, I think that any non-controversial wikipedia definition reflects the current usage of the word, and that this definition should be therefore accepted (some definition of Fascism by Benito Mussolini can be found here)
There can be little doubt that Giuliani-type Republicans are nationalists, that they favor a “unitary executive” (authoritarian presidential rule), that their policies are highly militaristic, that they are totally dedicated to the preservations of any and all corporate privileges in the USA and want to expand them. They are also collectivists (look at their record on civil rights), they have no issues with being allied with dictators (the house of Saud, Mubarak or Musharraf are just some current examples among many others) and they are not only anti-communist, but even virulently anti-socialist and anti-liberal. But do they really oppose economic liberalism? I would argue that yes, very much so.
The Guiliani type Republicans are always in favor of truly huge government spending on the military and on the bloated and inept US intelligence/security community, they also like multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts for the Carlyle Group, Bechtel, Halliburton, Lockheed, etc. and they are always the ones who make the US deficit skyrocket. None of that can be called “economic liberalism”.
For all their rhetoric about freedom, market economy or democracy, it sure seems that Guiliani type Republicans are the real thing – Fascists in the exact definition of the word who match each and every criteria of the definition. But I think that it would be wrong to focus too much on the Guiliani type Republicans as pretty much the entire political elite in Washington shares their values. Guiliani is just cruder and more open about his views, but the rest of them read exactly from the same script.
The only place where this is openly discussed in the USA is the Internet which abounds in many articles on this issue, here are just some examples:
- Clues that your country might be turning into a Fascist state
- Are we there yet – Fascism in America
- Sowing the seeds of Fascism in America
- The dawning of Fascism in America
- Nazification of Germany vs Nazification of America
- War corporatism: the new Fascism
- Neo-fascism in America
- Fascism anyone?
- It’s the corporate state, stupid
- The coming of US Fascism
- We now live in a Fascist state
This small sampling of articles (with very different level of quality) only shows that the idea of a new American Fascism is being discusssed in the USA outside the coroprate media.
I would add a number of small personal observations I have made since returning to the USA six years ago:
1) Anywhere you go in the USA “patriotic” flags and bumper stickers can be seen. On cars (some up to 7-8 flags), buildings, commercial buildings and, of course, on advertisements (hey – “patriotism” sells). My wife’s aunt had to live under Hitler’s rule for a while during WWII and, according to her, there are far more US flags in the USA then swastikas in Nazi Germany
2) In Russia there the expression “siloviki” or “silovye ministerstva” have been coined. Loosely translated, they refer to any government entity with firepower. Well, the US corporate media constantly glorifies the “American siloviki” in special TV shows (“Cops”), commericals, movies, commentaries, etc. Since an average American spends something like 4-6 hours each day watching the telescreen, he/she is constantly bombarded with such propaganda.
3) Nationalism (“America – love it or leave it!”) is rampant, as is xenophobia towards the AYErabs, Ragheads, Eurotrash, Gooks, etc.
4) Paranoia is all over the public discourse with endless mantras about all sorts of horrible people out there which the public needs to be protected from. The list includes, but is not limited to, the following: terrorists of course, but also narco-terrorists, pedophiles, communists, hippies, pot-smokers, anti-Semites, sexual predators, Internet pornographers, hackers, cyber-terrorists, Islamo-fascists, Chinese spies, etc.
5) The President has now aquired a truly monarchical stature and in the minds of many the President is the Commander-in-Chief, the leader. He is not seen as the servant of the public anymore but rather as the embodiment of the nation and the protector of the people (take a look at the billboard pictured here, and read about its origin here)
6) Congress has turned into what can only be called the US Imperial Senate. With very few exception, US Congressmen and Senators are so totally subservient to the Neocon agenda that they would have made Caligula proud.
7) With the exception of the free and independent media (almost exclusively Internet-based), the US media would have made Goebbles blue with envy.
While Guiliani is no less Fascist than Mussolini was, he is no more Fascist than Hillary or Obama. In fact, only Ron Paul and Mike Gravel are, among the currently declared 2008 presidential candidates, the only ones which are not genuine Fascists. Since their chances of making it to the nomination of their parties are exactly zero, nevermind being elected President, I would say that US Fascism is alive and well, and it is here to stay for a while.
Nonetheless, and in the meanwhile,
Have a thoughtful Memorial Day!