Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Of Two minds, Two Views: Roads Leading To The Same Destination.

Of Two minds, Two Views: Roads Leading To The Same Destination.

Devolution Or Revolution; That Is The Question?

(A Thank You To Tom Finnell For The Heads Up On The Devolution Piece)

We need to take a good look at ourselves and make a fundamental decision: “Are we going to restore this nation, or are we simply going to complain until our conquest is complete and our surrender defacto?

“…accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed…”

-Thomas Jefferson-

How Much more will it take, or are we simply incapable of standing up for ourselves, manipulated by fear and too cowardly to risk that which is necessary… our lives.

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

-Samuel Adams-

“Perhaps You Can Judge The Inner Health Of A Land By The Capacity Of Its People To Do Nothing ..."

--Sebastian de Grazia--

“Before all else, be armed.

Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed.

Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.”

-Niccolo Machiavelli-

Devolution: 20 Predictions (June 23, 2009)
of two | Charles Hughes Smith

As cities, counties and states default on their obligations and unemployment insurance runs out, devolution sets in.

While some see a collapse of society in our future, right now I see devolution, not revolution. Devolution is both the process of degeneration and the surrender of governmental powers from central authorities to local authorities.

Devolution will take many forms. The key driver behind devolution is simple: there's not enough money to fund the status quo, so something has to be cut, axed, trimmed or devolved. Examples already abound: the number of school days in the year are reduced to shave expenses, two-times-a-week trash pickup is cut to once a week, etc.

The key constraint on devolution is also simple: the status quo power structure must be left intact. Nobody will willingly surrender their power, so devolution means services and front-end expenses will be cut in order to protect back-end administrative powers.

Thus public union bosses won't be suffering any big cuts in pay or benefits, and neither will their municipal and state administration counterparts. (Of course there will be symbolic cuts for PR purposes, but nothing deep.) What will be cut is part-time librarians, custodians, county park staff, etc.--the powerless people who actually serve the public.

As the states run out of money, they will surrender some limited powers to local authorities as a mechanism for ridding their budgets of certain costs. As cities and counties go broke, then they will devolve some modest authority to non-profit groups or volunteers.

As laid off workers' unemployment insurance runs out (yes, even the extensions run out as the states' UI funds drain to zero) then their lifestyles devolve/degrade: first, eating out and vacations go, then new clothing, then the second car, then college, then the house, and so on.

Devolution is a painful process, but the State (all government at all levels) and the Plutocracy (owners of capital and productive assets) vastly prefer devolution to revolution because devolution doesn't threaten the current status quo/Powers That Be at all.

Devolution depends on humanity's innate ability to habituate to nearly anything.Thus humans somehow adapt to concentration camps, bitter cold, intolerable heat, mind-numbing work, etc., especially if the new environment is introduced over time in stages.

Thus the middle class household might actually respond with an anger deep and hot enough to become political if their middle-class lifestyle was taken away in one swoop. But devolution insures that the process is akin to the famous analogy of the boiled frog: if the temperature of the water is increased slowly enough, the frog never notices (or so the story goes) that he is being boiled alive.

The middle class household forced to sell everything and move (surreptitiously) into a storage locker or into an RV will feel a shock of recognition that all has been lost, and that perhaps forces beyond their own personal decisions might be at work: forces which benefitted from Federal bailouts, for instance, in a way they can never hope to. (That $150 billion transferred through AIG to Goldman Sachs would have funded a very large national unemployment insurance pool.)

But if their middle class life is taken away from them over time, in pieces, they will habituate to each loss without any political enlightenment; they have fully internalized the MSM propaganda (and recall the mass media is owned by less than 10 global corporations) that the "problem" is their own, not "the system's."

A revolution occurs when great numbers of people realize that the system benefits the Powers That Be, not the citizenry, despite the PTB's constant assurances that this is the very best system on Earth.

So the surest way to secure one's lofty privileges and powers is to convince the people who have lost everything that it's all their own fault; if they were just smarter, possessed more degrees, had better judgment, weren't hooked on anti-depressants, etc., then they would be jolly, wealthy, etc.

In a similar fashion, local government will attempt to manage the degeneration of their services in such a way that the public does not realize it's being boiled. If the trains and buses all stopped running, people might be angry enough to turn off their TVs and demand some actual, real political change. But if services are slowly degraded over time, the public will sigh and habituate to it.

Meanwhile, the police chief, mayor, union bigwigs, et al. will be driving by in their chauffeured vehicles, making sure "the little people" are swallowing the devolution whole. The politicos' Masters, the Plutocracy who fund their campaigns, will fill their coffers at election time as long as nothing rocks the boat. If the citizenry gets restive, then the politicos will find their funding drying up (Heaven forbid!).

Here are some random devolution predictions for the coming year or three. Many are already visible, so the "prediction" is simply a recognition of a rising trend.

1. Listings on craigslist announcing the selling/giving away of the entire contents of storage lockers will rise.

2. The number of people living in storage lockers "illegally" will rise.

3. Citizens with numerous outstanding traffic tickets will abandon their vehicles when "booted" (locked) by cities as the cars are worth less that the fines due. Cities will start auctioning/scrapping hundreds of abandoned vehicles.

3. The dumping of abandoned clothing, furniture, old computer equipment, etc. on sidewalks and public parks/byways will increase dramatically.

4. Homeless camps will appear in parks and locales which were previously considered off-limits to such public poverty.

5. The number of citizens cited/arrested for unpaid moving and parking violations will rise; judges will begin dismissing the amounts due as the citizens before them have no means of paying the huge fines.

6. Government at all levels will devote increasing resources to revenue collection; new laws giving the State (all levels of government) new powers to stripmine private assets will be passed with strong support from government-dependent special-interests.

7. Government at all levels will assign domestic intelligence assets to the search for additional tax revenues; these actions will be strictly secret.

8. A major sports franchise or two will declare bankruptcy.

9. Spontaneous protests (over evictions, reductions in service, etc.) will increase both in frequency and in the number of participants.

10. Tourism will devolve to visiting relatives and/or car camping; hotels and restaurants in tourist-dependent locales will start closing in ever increasing numbers. Only the top 10% "high-caste" professional and government-technocrat class will be able to travel overseas.

11. Cities and corporations which were previously considered immune to the "recession" will declare losses and huge layoffs.

12. Houses which were snapped up in 2009 for $350,000 on the basis that they once sold for $550,00 will be auctioned for less than $200,000 in late 2010.

13. Local governments outside of the Rust Belt will start aggressively taking over abandoned houses as banks fail and ownership of the properties becomes ambiguous.

14. Local government fines, fees, permits and other business-related licensing will plummet, decimating what was once considered a "safe" revenue stream.

15. State and local government services will rapidly devolve: twice-a-week trash pickup will devolve to once a week; fire stations, libraries and schools will be consolidated; other services will become sporadic.

16. State and local government hikes in fees to use parks, park downtown, drop junk at the dump, get a building permit, etc. will backfire: people will stop going to parks, stop shopping downtown, start dumping junk at night on quiet streets now that the dump is too expensive and start remodeling without permits. Contrary to government expectations, revenues will actually drop faster after all these fees are raised.

17. Church/temple/mosque attendance will rise, as will participation in church/temple/mosque events.

18. Major rock/pop concert tours will be cancelled due to low ticket sales; acts which were "guaranteed to mint millions" wll be forced to cancel their tours.

19. Veterinarians will demand cash to examine pets; people will increasingly be unable to pay for costly procedures for their pets (teeth cleaning, hip replacements, chemotherapy, etc.). Vets will consolidate/close their doors.

20. State/county attempts to openly raise taxes will increasingly trigger tax rebellions and demonstrations; the trickle of residents leaving high-tax states and counties will grow to a flood.

Bonus prediction: California's current deficit of $24 billion will widen by another $10 billion in 2010. What was once considered "impossible"--state default on bonds, pensions and much else--will come to be viewed as inevitable.

The political propaganda which infuses every moment of our lives tries to maintain an artificial distinction between our Tweedledum and Tweedledee political parties: The Dees are all for using the power of the State (all government) to "help the little people" while the Dums are all for unleashing the power of free enterprise, a.k.a. the 1% who control the capital and 2/3 of all productive assets in the nation (the Plutocracy).

The truth is that the State and the Plutocracy are two sides of one coin; each rules with the support and complicity of the other. The distinction drawn between them is a useful distraction, somewhat like drawing a distinction between professional sports teams who swap players in the off-season. "My team" is an abstraction which serves the goal of enriching its owners; "fan" loyalty draws smirks from everyone in the know even as they proclaim "fan day" and "fan appreciation day." (The crosstown rival team is of course "the hated enemy.")

As we watch devolution in action over the next few years, observe how it is managed so the hapless frog won't jump from the pot. That is what they're counting on, of course; a devolution passively accepted by a media-duped, gadget-addicted, self-blaming, depressed, drugged-out populace.

Put another way: devolution is what happens while the Delusionol (tm) wears off.

Black Quill Letter No.3 : The Black Quill Letters No.3: When Fascism Comes To America: It will All Seem "Normal".


Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street. It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. But it will all seem “normal”.

All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses. It will all seem “normal”.

But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons. But it will all seem ““normal””.

The change in America is taking place as I write, and Sinclair Lewis prophetically said” “That when Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” And when it happens, somehow; it will all seem “normal”.

To be sure, there will be factional conflicts among the elite, and a degree of debate will be permitted; but no one outside the privileged circle will be allowed to influence state policy. Dissidents will be marginalized—usually by “the people” themselves. Deprived of historical knowledge by a thoroughly impoverished educational system designed to produce complacent consumers, left ignorant of current events by a corporate media devoted solely to profit, many will internalize the force-fed values of the ruling elite, and act accordingly. There will be little need for overt methods of control. It will all seem “normal”.

The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name. Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace. In time, this will be seen as ““normal”,” as the chill of autumn feels “normal” when summer is gone. It will all seem “normal”.

Fascism is a political
ideology and mass movement that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community.[1] Many different characteristics are attributed to fascism by different scholars, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, authoritarianism, militarism, corporatism,statism, collectivism[2], anti-liberalism, and anti-communism. There are numerous debates between scholars regarding the nature of fascism, and the kinds of political movements and governments that may be called fascist. For further elaboration, please see definitions of fascism and fascism and ideology.

The term fascism was first used by
Benito Mussolini, and it comes from theItalian word fascio, which means "union" or "league", and from the Latin word fasces (fascis, in singular), which means rods bundled around an axe. The fasces was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of magistrates, and the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is very difficult to break.

Since the end of
World War II, there has been considerable stigma associated with fascism, and few political groups in the past 60 years have dared to openly identify themselves as fascist. Unlike other ideologies, fascism never generated a large body of dogma or political theory, and, most importantly, there have been no significant political texts written from a fascist point of view since 1945. Thus, nearly all works on the topic of fascist ideology have been written by non-fascist and anti-fascist authors, and it is often difficult to determine the fascist position on many important issues. The word "fascist" is often used pejoratively, a label used by people of all political views to draw criticism upon an opposing viewpoint. This has spilled over into debates concerning the ideological nature of fascism, with adherents of some ideologies trying to draw parallels between fascism and their own ideological opponents.

Many diverse regimes have identified themselves as fascist, and many regimes have been labelled as fascist even though they did not self-identify as such. Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism and its core tenets. Since the 1990s, there has been a growing move toward some rough consensus reflected in the work of Stanley Payne, Roger Eatwell, Roger Griffin, and Robert O. Paxton.

Mussolini defined fascism as being a
right-wing collectivistic ideology in opposition to socialism, liberalism, democracy and individualism. He wrote in The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism:

Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.... Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number.... We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State.
(a version of the text is here).

Since Mussolini, however, there have been many conflicting definitions of the term "fascism." Former Columbia University Professor Robert O. Paxton has written that:

"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood 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."

Paxton further defines fascism's essence as:

1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions;

2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits;

3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts;

4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint;

5. fear of foreign `contamination."

Fascism is associated by many scholars with one or more of the following characteristics: a very high degree of
nationalism, economic corporatism, a powerful, dictatorial leader who portrays the nation, state or collective as superior to the individuals or groups composing it.

Stanley Payne's Fascism: Comparison and Definition (1980) uses a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism, including the creation of an authoritarian state; a regulated, state-integrated economic sector;
fascist symbolism; anti-liberalism; anti-communism; anti-conservatism.[6]Semiotician Umberto Eco also attempts to identify characteristics of fascism in his popular essay Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt.[7] More recently, an emphasis has been placed upon the aspect of populist fascist rhetoric that argues for a "re-birth" of a conflated nation and ethnic people.[8]

Most scholars hold that fascism as a social movement employs elements from the political left, but many conclude that fascism eventually allies with the political right, especially after attaining state power. For example,
Nazism began as a socio-political movement that promoted a radical form of National Socialism, but altered its character once Adolf Hitler was handed state power in Germany. Some scholars and political commentators argue that fascism is a form of socialist dictatorship similar to that in Soviet Union.[9]

The evolution of Fascism in a Democracy is the most insidious of political transitions, assembling many components from divergent intellectual, pop culture sources and fringe organizations that have fanatic devotees. Even in the face of warning, the words of the courier most often go without heed, and in fact, are frequently attacked as the ranting of lunatic alarmists; the evolutionary/transitional process, both by design of the usurpers and the climate of gradual acceptance isolates the messenger until it is too late. Everything seems rational; everything seems “normal”. Just look inside the following and tell me: Is this your idea of “normal”? From such sources is the stew being

Neo-fascism and religion
Christian Identity
Creativity Movement
Ku Klux Klan
National Alliance
Nouvelle Droite
American Nazi Party
Alain de Benoist
William Luther Pierce
George Lincoln Rockwell
International Third Position
National anarchism
National Bolshevism

And the Top Neocon Think Tanks

Project for the New American Century (PNAC)
Established in 1997 by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, PNAC's goal is "to promote American global leadership." Creating a blueprint for the US' current role in the world, PNAC's original Statement of Principles called for the US to return to a "Reaganite foreign policy of military strength and moral clarity."

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Founded in 1943, this influential Washington think tank is known as the headquarters of neoconservative thought. In a crucial speech in the leadup to the war in Iraq, US President George W. Bush said this to an audience at AEI: "You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds."

Jewish Intitute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)
Based in Washington, JINSA "communicates with the national security establishment and the general public to explain the role Israel can and does play in bolstering American interests, as well as the link between American defense policy and the security of Israel." Some of the strongest supporters of Israel's right-wing Likud Party in the already pro-Israel neoconservative circles are on JINSA's board of advisers.

Center for Security Policy (CSP)
CSP's 2001 annual report boasts of its influence saying it "isn't just a 'think tank' – it's an agile, durable, and highly effective 'main battle tank' in the war of ideas on national security." Securing neoconservatives' influence at the nexus of military policymakers and weapons manufacturers, CSP's mission is "to promote world peace through American strength."

The Hudson Institute

The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies

Ethics and Public Policy Center

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

Further Sources For Investigation

In his
original article, "Fascism Anyone?", Laurence Britt (interview) compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes. This page is a collection of news articles dating from the start of the Bush presidency divided into topics relating to each of the 14 points of fascism. Further analysis of American Fascism done by the POAC can be read here.

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.

September 11 Freedom Walk

New Majority Leader: Iraq War “May Be The Greatest Gift That We Give” Our Grandchildren

Headstones of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with the Pentagons war-marketing slogans

White House and the RNC are going to make a habit of using uniformed military personnel as props at Republican political rallies, despite the fact that it is a plain violation of military regulations banning politicization of the armed forces.

"You must glorify war in order to get the public to accept the fact that your going to send their sons and daughters to die." The inside story of the cozy relationship between big box office American war movies and the Pentagon


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.

We are now a torturing police state: Bush signing into law that will get rid of habeas corpus, allow hearsay evidence, and allow the President to determine what is allowable torture.

Bush Offers Himself Amnesty for Human Rights Crimes

Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses.

Guantanamo Judge: “I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ‘international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.”

Rumsfeld to approve new guidelines that will formalize the administration's policy of imprisoning without the protections of the Geneva Conventions and enable the Pentagon to legally hold "ghost detainees,"

US 'preparing to detain terror suspects for life without trial'

U.S. oks evidence gained through torture

July 1, 2003: U.S. Suspends Military Aid to Nearly 50 Countries: because they have supported the International Criminal Court and failed to exempt Americans from possible prosecution.

US has at least 9000 prisoners in secret detention

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.

Congressman: Muslims 'enemy amongst us'

SB 24, Ohio law to muzzle "liberals"

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has joined a conservative Washington think tank, where he will found and direct a program called "America's Enemies."

Sean Hannity creates weekly "Enemy of the State" segment on his new program

Fox radio hosts suggests putting liberal commentators and activists in concentration camps.

World history textbook used by seventh-graders at Scottsdale’s Mohave Middle School was pulled from classrooms mid-semester amid growing right criticism of the book’s unbiased portrayal of Islam

Rallies planned against 'Islamofacism': Event to 'unify all Americans behind common goal'


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.

If you haven't seen the Oreo flash animation yet, see it here (It puts things in perspective!)

Bush’s Domestic Program Hit List (What Priorities are important?)

Bush slashes domestic programs, boosts defense. Arlen Spector calls it "scandalous"

Funding for job training, rural health care, low-income schools and help for people lacking health insurance would face big cuts under a bill passed Friday by the House

Pentagon to spend 75 billion for three new brigades

Three cable channels now feed news, information and entertainment about the armed services into millions of living rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week: The Military Channel, the Military History Channel and the Pentagon Channel.


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. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

It's legal again, to fire gov't workers for being gay

Bush calls for Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages

Bush refuses to sign U.N proposal on women's "sexual" rights

W. David Hager chairman of the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee does not prescribe contraceptives for single women, does not do abortions, will not prescribe RU-486 and will not insert IUDs.

The State Department has awarded an explicitly anti-feminist U.S. group part of a US$10 million grant to train Iraqi women in political participation and democracy.


6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the 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.

FBI Acknowledges: Journalists Phone Records are Fair Game

Report shows U.S. government has been engaged in illegal propaganda aimed at its own citizens and the story gets only 41 mentions in the media

Free Press details recent governmental propaganda efforts, from faux-correspondent Jeff Gannon to paid-off pundit Armstrong Williams, and from the demise of FOIA to video news releases passed off as news.

See a Whitehouse fake news release here (opens realplayer)

US seizes webservers from independent media sites-

Bush's war on information: US editors forbidden to publish certain foreign writers-


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

Bush Aides ADMIT 'stoking fear' for political gain:

Bush adviser said the president hopes to change the dynamics of the race. The strategy is aimed at stoking public fears about terrorism, raising new concerns about Kerry's ability to protect Americans and reinforcing Bush's image as the steady anti-terrorism candidate, aides said.-

The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level.

GOP Ad These are the stakes-

Keith Olbermann: "The Nexus of Politics and Terror."-

Cheney warns that if Kerry is elected, the USA will suffer a "devastating attack"

GOP convention in a nutshell (quicktime) –

Rove: GOP to Use Terror As Campaign Issue in 2006


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.

Jerry Falwell cleared of charges that he broke federal election law by urging followers to vote for Bush

NC congressman proposes law making it ok to preach politics from the pulpit

Texas Governor Mobilizes Evangelicals

Family research council: Justice Sunday

Thou shalt be like Bush:
What makes this recently established, right-wing Christian college unique are the increasingly close - critics say alarmingly close - links it has with the Bush administration and the Republican establishment.

Park Service Continues to Push Creationist Theory at Grand Canyon and other nat'l parks


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.

The K Street Project is a project by the Republican party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995, by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and House majority leader Tom DeLay.

American Conservative Magazine: One U.S. contractor received $2 million in a duffel bag... and a U.S. official was given $7 million in cash in the waning days of the CPA and told to spend it “before the Iraqis take over.”

There are 6 Congressional Committees investigating the Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican Committee Chairman will call a hearing to investigate the whereabouts of 9 billion dollars missing in Iraq

Bush money network rooted in Florida, Texas: Since Mr. Bush took office in 2001, the federal government has awarded more than $3 billion in contracts to the President's elite 2004 Texas fund-raisers, their businesses, and lobbying clients


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.

Labor Department warns unions against using their money politically

President Bush Attacks Organized Labor: Bush attacked organized labor Saturday, issuing orders effectively reducing how much money unions can spend for political activities and opening up government contracts to non-union bidding.

March 2001:
President Bush signed his name to four executive orders on organized labor last month, including one that cuts the money unions will have for political campaign spending.

Congress and the Department of Labor are trying to change the rules on overtime pay, eliminating the 40 hour work week, taking eligibility for overtime pay away from millions of workers, and replacing time and a half pay with comp days.


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 is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

The A to Z guide to political interference in science

Bush's new economic plan cuts funding for arts, education

Artists from all over the world are being refused entry to the US on security grounds.

A group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisers to past Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes

Freedom of Repression: New ruling will allow censorship of campus publications


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

The 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006

The United States has now become the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-8 times the rate of other industrialized nations.

American Gestapo is here: "There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.'"

America: secret jails, secret courts, secret arrests, and now secret laws

Snitch-or-Go-to-Jail bill will make pretty much anything short of reporting on everyone you see for doing just about anything a jailable offense. With minimum sentences, up to and including life without parole.

The problem with Gonzales is that he has been deeply involved in developing some of the most sweeping claims of near-dictatorial presidential power in our nation's history, allowing him to imprison and even (at least in theory) torture anyone in the world, at any time

Police officers don't have to give a reason at the time they arrest someone, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a ruling that shields officers from false-arrest lawsuits.


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.

Bush Cronyism: Foxes Guarding the henhouse

Who's been indicted, named as a co-conspirator or convicted? The Grand Ole Docket tracks trial dates, court appearances and sentencing hearings for players in the current array of national political scandals.

Making Sense of the Abramoff Scandal

In preparation for upcoming Congressional hearings, Bush Administration firing federal attorneys and appointing ringers without Senate confirmation via the patriot act.

If Bush's pick is confirmed, that will mean the five top appointees at Justice have zero prosecutorial experience among them.

Iran-Contra Felons Get Good Jobs from Bush

Big Iraq Reconstruction Contracts Went To Big Donors

Bush Wars -- Crooks Get Contracts : The main companies that were awarded billions of dollars worth of contracts in Iraq have paid more than $300 million in fines since 2000, to resolve allegations of fraud, bid rigging, delivery of faulty military equipment, and environmental damage.

US Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) lost track of $9 billion

"Contracting in the aftermath of the hurricanes has been marked by waste, corruption and cronyism"


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.

A couple of election workers have been convicted of rigging a recount in Ohio following the 2004 election

Rolling Stone does some investigative and rather exhaustive digging into public documents and says we’re almost guaranteed the 2004 election results were massively rigged

Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings

Conyers hearing in which Clinton Curtis testifies that he was hired to create hackable voting machines (.wmv)

The Republican Party has quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide private defense lawyers for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to keep Democrats from voting in New Hampshire.

The Conyers Report (.pdf)

No explanation for the machines in Mahoning County that recorded Kerry votes for Bush, the improper purging in Cuyahoga County, the lock down in Warren County, the 99% voter turnout in Miami County, the machine tampering in Hocking County

Less access than Kazakhstan. Fewer fail-safes than Venezuela. Not as simple Republic of Georgia. The 2004 Elections according to international observers.

This picture is what stopped the ballot recounts in Florida shortly after it seemed that legitimate President Gore had a lead. The "citizens" started what was later called "the preppy riot". Screaming, yelling, pounding on the walls, these "outraged citizens" intimidated the polling officials to halt the court mandated recount. A closer look reveals who they really were. They were bussed and flown in at Republican law makers expense. Some even flew in on Tom Delay's private plane.

If Mussolini defines fascism as "the merger of corporate and government power" what does that make the K Street project?

Related Articles:

"Now and Then"- Part 1 A 3 part series by W David Jenkins III on the similarities between America now and Germany post Reichstag fire-

"Now and Then"- Part II: The Propaganda Machine-

Now and Then- Part IIIHitler's Playbook: Bush and the Abuse of Power-

It may sound crazy to some, but the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism.-

Is America Becoming Fascist?-

Eternal Fascism:

Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt-

The Danger of American Fascism:With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.-

Sheila Samples: Freedom To Fascism -- A Bumpy Ride: Republicans don't seem to realize that they are no longer individual members of a coherent "party," but are merely part of a mean-spirited and dangerous movement that is threatening to sweep away democracy as we know it.-

Germany In 1933: The Easy Slide Into Fascism-

The Brownshirting of America:
Bush’s supporters demand lock-step consensus that Bush is right. They regard truthful reports that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was not involved in the September 11 attack on the US – truths now firmly established by the Bush administration’s own reports – as treasonous America-bashing.

Fascism then. Fascism now? When people think of fascism, they imagine Rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don't see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare.

What is Fascism? Some General Ideological Features

Hello. You are now living in a fascist empire

Neo-fascism in America : Too many people believe fascism is only about goose-stepping, jack-booted Nazis. Too many people believe that American democracy is so strong that fascists could never take control of America. If you are sympathetic to those views, I invite you to consider the possibility that you are mistaken.

It is in times of fascism rising that armies of ignorance are once more resuscitated from the bowels of a society bordering on the edge of mass psychosis. The America at the dawn of the twenty-first century is no exception...

Republican Party Brown Shirts: "The Wide-Awakes": The organization was known for virulent anti-Catholicism, secretive rituals, and a military-style organization complete with "officers" and units.

Harper's Magazine: We Now Live in a Fascist State

They Saw It Coming: The 19th-Century Libertarian Critique of Fascism

Victims of Creeping Fascism: We are witnessing nothing less astonishing than the demise of the American experiment. 12-20

The ten phases of a Bush scandal. 12-22

America is headed for a soft dictatorship by the end of Bush’s second term.

The Rise of Fascism in America; A Little Repeat Reminder and Review

Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street.

It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed.

Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses.

But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons.

The change in America is taking place as I write, and Sinclair Lewis prophetically said” “That when Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name.

Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace.

In time, this will be seen as ““normal”,” as the chill of autumn feels “normal” when summer is gone. It will all seem “normal”.

Since the 1970’s, American businesses have grown larger and more monopolistic, helped along by deregulation, the repeal of anti-trust laws, and a steady transformation from manufacturing to capital management (dare I say, “capital manipulation”?).

As Paul Bigioni puts it in his excellent essay entitled
The Real Threat of Fascism”: “If we are to protect ourselves from the growing political influence of Big Business, then our antitrust laws must be reconceived in a way which recognizes the political danger of monopolistic conditions.”

Bigioni continues by emphasizing that “Antitrust laws do not just protect the marketplace, they protect democracy.” It is well to remember that conditions like these led to fascism in both Germany and Italy in the 1930’s, and Bigioni points out that the transformation toward fascism occurred in both countries while they were still liberal democracies.

In America, since at least 1971, the rich have gotten much, much richer and the poor have become poorer and far more numerous, largely because our government now sees its primary function as serving the interests of Big Business and its Big Money.

As of 2003, according to a Congressional Budget Office report, the top one percent of households in America accounted for 57.5% of America’s wealth, up from 38.7% only twelve years earlier. And this does not take into account the last three years of the Bush tax-cuts. In the U.S. today, there are 374 billionaires, approximately 25,000 deca-millionaires ($10,000,000-$999,000,000) and 2.5 million millionaires; and this does not even take into account the wealth of corporations!

Under such conditions, competition is minimized or thwarted, and capital is exalted over labor, the consummation of Marx’s contention that “Capital is dead labor.”

In every industry, huge monopolistic cartels dominate the playing field, following the spate of mergers and acquisitions throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. To cite just two examples: (1) Four media giants (AOL-Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, and Rupert Murdoch’s NewsGroup) control everything we read, view, listen to, see at movie houses, and do at entertainment parks. Just four conglomerates, which have oh so much in common with one another, produce (for profit) every newspaper, magazine, major internet site, movie, cd, dvd, television program, and so on.

The pressure to stay within fairly narrow bounds of covering and the fear of losing one’s job should one “think outside the box” is detailed succinctly in Danny Schechter’s March 27, 2006 column the title of which is taken from a line Edward R. Morrow utters in the movie “Good Night and Good Luck”: “
The Fear is in the Room: Inside our Unbrave Media World”; Robert Fisk’s March 19 column, “The Farcical End of the American Dream”; and Bill Gallagher’s March 28th column, “There is No ‘Good News’ in Iraq."

To note one other example: if Wal-Mart were a country it would have the 19th largest economy in the world!

Do not be hoodwinked by labels here: there was nothing “socialist” about Hitler’s National Socialist Party, despite his clever employment of terms such as “volk” (the people or the folks), “heimat” (homeland), or the solidarity sounding “ein land” (one country)! Likewise, there is no genuinely human freedom in the free market, despite the intoxicating rhetoric of the neo-liberals. Bigioni quotes Thurman Arnold, the head of the Anti-trust section of the Justice Department in 1939:

“Germany, of course, has developed within 15 years from an industrial autocracy into a dictatorship. Most people are under the impression that the power of Hitler was the result of his demagogic blandishments and appeals to the mob. . . Actually, Hitler holds his power through the final and inevitable development of the uncontrolled tendency to combine in restraint of trade.” And in another address, Arnold told the American Bar Association that “Germany presents the logical end of the process of cartelization.”

And, of course, every cartel needs a strong leader, a commander-in-chief with an iron fist, And Arnold says that Hitler filled that role, but that if it had not been Hitler, it would have been someone else. (Americans today might draw an analogy: if it were not George W. Bush, the first M.B.A. President, who would serve as the front-man for Big Business, it would be someone else.)

Bigioni writes, “Compulsory slave labor was the crowning achievement of Nazi labor relations.” By analogy, Employment-at-Will, the outsourcing of manufacturing and even service jobs, and the rejection of a living wage, is the crowning achievement of American labor relations. (See, for example, Harold Meyerson’s article, “Three Ideas to Radically Reorder Economy” (Providence Journal, March 24, 2006) and Princeton University Professor Alan Blinder’s article in the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs.

The disappearance of union jobs, outsourcing and downsizing has been the crowning achievement of American business relations over the past 30 years or so. The other factors contributing to what Bigioni calls “the fascist trajectory” includes low taxes, various forms of corporate welfare, the decimation of small businesses, and the ability of corporations to discharge obligations to employees, to the environment, and to the country as a whole.

In short, the United States is suffocating from the deleterious effects of Big Money interests in virtually every arena, from public political processes to the privatization of much of what belongs to all of us. Corporate advertising secures the pernicious effects. From time to time, one hears a call for public financing of elections, for truth in advertising, and for more regulation and oversight of lobbying activities, but on the whole, Americans seem glib about the way things are, supposing that this is the only way they can be.

The status quo breeds resignation in the citizenry, and this resignation, too, is in large part an effect of Big Business and its Big Money. It keeps ordinary folks and their common sense away from the political arena, which might otherwise force a change in the way things are done. Big Money does everything it can to sour people on political participation, so that the little guys who just don’t know what’s best for themselves or the country will leave matters of governance to the professional ruling class.

To formalize this relatively recent reality, it would seem necessary to reword our Constitution to reflect those entities called “corporations,” which have now been deemed “persons” and whose capital is now regarded as a form of “speech.” (See, for example, Jeffrey Kaplan, “
Uncivil Liberties: ACLU Defense of ‘Money=Speech’ Precedent Undermines Democracy.”) The United States has become a country “of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation.”

Public financing of elections and campaign expenditure limits are shouted down as communism or socialism, in a manner very similar to Big Money’s cries of “class warfare” when the population at large objects to additional giveaways to the richest few Americans. Big Money (representing a small, elite class) does everything in its power to prevent the American people from awakening to the fact that what it is seeing really is class warfare: warfare that is being waged from the top down, against the poor and what we used to call the “middle class,” which are now subsidizing Big Money interests that control the political agenda and its legislative processes.

The influence of Big Money on U.S. elections cannot be underestimated. (See, for example, Greg Palast’s “Jim Crow in Cyberspace” in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, the work on election fraud by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, and the recent articles by Warren Stewart “
Do You Know How Your Vote Will be Counted?” and Fred Grimm “Election Official Hammered for Telling the Truth”. The problem with the role of money in a supposedly democratic country is not restricted to the many and all-too regular scandals—such as the Abramoff affair or the conviction of Randy “Duke” Cunningham—nor is the problem restricted to the corruption that has ensnared elected officials and exposed lobbyists as little more than bribes makers and bagmen.

(See Geov Parrish, “
That Old-Fashioned Corruption,” and Katrina vanden Heuvel’s, “Annals of Outrage I, II, and III) It is, rather, that money, as John McCain famously said, “is the mother’s milk of politics” (at least in the U.S. political system.) The need to raise money at every level, from city to state to federal offices, pollutes and perverts the democratic process.

The corruption is bipartisan; at present, the Republican Party enjoys greater favor with the corporate paymasters than does the Democratic Party, but both parties are “on the take”. It does little to assuage one’s concern for democracy that one party gets 55-60% of the paymasters’ money and the other only 40-45%. In a country that prides itself on being democratic, private money peddles its influence across the political spectrum.

To cite one illustrative example, Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen, an energy industry watchdog, reports that Big Oil and Gas doled out $55 million to various campaigns for legislative and executive seats since 2001. And why not, ExxonMobil alone made a profit of $36.1 billion in 2005, the most profit ever recorded by a U.S. corporation in a year, and a rate of return on investment of 46-59%. And what did these donations buy the industry? Among other things, when the executives of the top five oil and gas companies were called before Congress to testify about possible price-gouging and the prospect of a windfall profits tax, the five company representatives were not required to testify under oath!

Big Money and the future of Democracy in America

I suspect that everything just recounted is entirely by design: not by the design of our framers, but by the design of Big Money interests. The role of money ensures that only the wealthy and well-connected have any chance of influencing the political process or holding elected office at a significant level.

In the 2004 election campaign, 549 people each raised $100,000 for Bush’s re-election, and John Kerry, too, relied on big donors on his side of the political equation. Thus, it was not by sheer coincidence that, in the 2000 presidential campaign, voters were given a choice between a Yale graduate, whose father had been President and whose grandfather was a Senator, and a Harvard graduate, whose father was a Senator.

And in the 2004 presidential contest, the choice was even more narrow, between a multi-millionaire Yale “Skull and Bones” man and a billionaire Yale “Skull and Bones” man. Nepotism, like corruption, discourages most good Americans from participating in elections, to say nothing of running for office!

If in 1968, I had hung a poster on my bedroom wall that read: “Wanna Be President of the United States? First Find $25 Million”! Today, that wouldn’t buy a Senate seat or even a New York City Mayor’s job.

We should be either shocking or disgusting to realize that John Corzine spent $63 million for a New Jersey Senate seat, and Michael Bloomberg spent $70 million to become the mayor of New York City. With rumblings that he is considering a run for the Presidency we need not worry about being hounded for contributions by Mr. Bloomberg. He can foot the bill himself, and should he run you can rest assured that he won’t have to; there will be freely volunteered contributions to curry later favors.

Corporations give money to both parties in staggering amounts, and what they do not give directly to their favorites, they spend on advertising to shape the public mind. The result is a net loss both for the public good and for democracy. It costs the corporations only a small fraction in contributions for what they gain through their wheel-greasing.

Do you wonder how much the oil and natural gas lobby paid to secure that $9 billion in windfall profits that they stand to gain from the Bush administration’s plan for “royalty relief”. And that million dollar donation by the UAE to the Bush library in Crawford was surely just a down-payment on the ports deal they hoped to get!

It seems quaint nowadays to reflect back on the corporate culture of the 1960’s. John Kenneth Galbraith wrote the following description in his1967 book, The New Industrial State, as quoted by Paul Krugman in his excellent October 20, 2002 New York Times Magazine article, “For Richer”:

“Management does not go out ruthlessly to reward itself---a sound management is expected to exercise restraint. . . With the power of decision goes opportunity for making money . . . Were everyone to seek to do so . . . the corporation would be a chaos of competitive avarice. But these are not the sort of thing that a good company man does; a remarkably effective code bans such behavior. Group decision-making insures, moreover, that almost everyone’s actions and even thoughts are known to others. This acts to enforce the code and, more than incidentally, a high standard of personal honesty as well.”

Does anyone believe that such a self-policing culture exists today? If the corporate scandals of the 1990’s taught us anything, it is that corporations no longer even aim to stay in business, a goal that used to temper their penchant for excess and bridge-burning. The cases of Enron, Tyco, Adelphia, WorldCom, Global Crossing, and many more perpetrators, should have made abundantly clear that there is no limit to corporate excess or insatiable greed, and, in the absence of federal and international regulations, it is usually the stockholders and the public at large who end up underwriting the thefts, cleaning up the pollution, and dealing with the displaced workforce.

Most of this is not new. In fact, the seeds of corporate rule over America were sown by the 1971
Powell Memorandum.” And we need only think back to the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980’s, to recall another half a trillion dollar boondoggle that taxpayers had to underwrite.

There have been plenty of books written about such scandals (see, for example, William S. Greider, Who Will Tell the People?, Arianna Huffingtom, Pigs at the Trough, Jim Hightower, Thieves in High Places, and David K. Johnston, Perfectly Legal, for starters.) Yet despite the recurrent malfeasance, little has been done to curb corporate excesses and outright frauds.

What is more, trans-national corporations need have no allegiance to the United States of America. They have offices in many countries and on many continents, and most of them have already shipped their profits offshore to avoid the patriotic duty of paying their fair share of U.S. taxes.

Remembering President Eisenhower’s Warning

Several commentators have recently reminded us of General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s January 17, 1961 farewell address, warning of the threat posed by the “military-industrial complex”. Usually omitted from discussions of President Eisenhower’s warning is the less well-known fact that, until the final version of the speech, Eisenhower used the phrase, “military-industrial-congressional complex”. He is said to have deleted the reference to Congress from his final version to avoid offending legislators.

But President Eisenhower regularly referred to “the triangle” and even to “the iron triangle” consisting of the military, the industries that profit from war, and the Congress, which is charged with declaring war, appropriating funding for wars (and everything else the federal government spends money on), and for exercising oversight functions of various kinds.

According to University of Washington Emeritus Professor of engineering, public affairs, and social management, Edward Ward Wenk, Jr.: “These three cornered fellowships coupled hungry defense contractors, ambitious military officers whose promotions rested on husbanding new defense systems, and members of Congress eager to steer new funds and job opportunities to their district.”

Eisenhower might have added “educational institutions” to the list, since universities conducted research for the Manhattan Project and institutions, such as UC Berkeley, which managed the Los Alamos laboratory (which produced the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) from its inception until last year, when the University put Los Alamos on the auction block and Bechtel secured the management contract.

President Eisenhower’s speechwriter—whom Professor Wenk revealed to be Malcolm Moos—recalled that Eisenhower feared a “pathological influence of the military-industrial coalition beyond a healthy arm’s-length relationship, especially if the national psyche was prodded artificially by fear. A future chief executive might exploit political energies of the coalition to further a narrow and dangerous agenda” (Italics mine).

Professor Wenk, who served in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and who was the first incumbent in the post of science advisor to Congress during the Eisenhower administration, draws this conclusion in his March 17 article, “
Ike’s Warning Reverberates Today” by saying: “I see coalitions increasingly entrenched. Failed weapons systems are seldom canceled. Auditing is cursory for moving and feeding troops; malperformance is accepted in the fog of war, and penalties for fraud uncollected. . .” “Influence of coalitions also has grown with the cost of political campaigns. Members spend half their time raising funds, rather than forging policy. . . In the absence of strong vigilance, their concern about a corporate state hatched by stealth might yet happen.”

Indeed, it has already taken place, repeatedly!

It appears glaringly obvious these days that Congress has failed miserably in its oversight, appropriation, and war-declaration functions. This lack of oversight is apparent not only with respect to the Administration’s reckless adventure in Iraq, but also with regard to the passage of the Patriot Act (and its renewal), the muted response against policies condoning torture, the suspension of Habeas Corpus, the practice of “extraordinary rendition”, the warrantless wiretapping on American citizens, and the insuring of free and fair elections with verifiable ballot-counting.

What we have now is a military-industrial-Congressional complex indeed…a real foundation for Fascist formulation!

I nonetheless, really believe that “most” public officials begin their careers with a desire to serve the people and to make America better. I do not believe that members of Congress, or members of state legislatures, for that matter, run for office merely to enrich themselves. No, I think that most of them begin their political careers as genuine and sincere people. But the systemic role of money, as I have said, pollutes and perverts processes and people.

It is a bit like boiling a frog. If you drop the frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out of the kettle; but if you drop the frog in lukewarm water and slowly increase the temperature, the frog will neither jump out of the kettle nor croak anymore. And that is just what happens to far too many of our public servants and to the citizenry as a whole.

It is ironic that Big Business tries to insure that government stays on the sidelines and pursues laissez faire policies, until Big Business needs the government (usually aided by the U.S. military) to make some country or region “safe” for its business interests.

From making Cuba safe for the United Fruit Company, to securing access to Persian Gulf oil and South Asian gas, Big Business is always ready to have the government protecting its interests. One notes again and again, however, that such security is paid for by taxpayers, while the profits go straight into the corporate coffers.

But beware, Big Business; for as Bigioni warns: “Just as monopoly is the ruin of the free market, fascism is the ultimate degradation of liberal capitalism.” It’s sort of like be careful of what you wish for…

But then again the drift downward will be in a comfortable proper patriotic, flag wrapped, Christian, Family Values fog will all seem so “normal”…except, sooner of later the fog lifts and reality become clear. Its sort of like mowing the lawn on a hot summer day and having one or two too many beers. You lay down on the sofa for a few minutes with a fan blowing on you to cool down, and sleep comes quickly, a sleep broken by the rudeness of your neighbor ringing your door bell to report you left you mower running and it is now at rest against the side of his house….

Or you’ve had a good party with friends and your pitchers of Martinis were good and gone, and you awake to find yourself on that sofa again, and as you stumble in the Martini haze through the darkened house, you discover the bedroom door locked. You don’t know what you did, but you know you are in trouble, and at that moment you don’t know what you are going to have to do.

The arrival of Fascism is like that, seductive, intoxicating, and comfortable because your leaders have assured you that they are strong enough and have the answers to keep you safe and happy, and then comes the political hang over that can last for generations!

I on the other hand have no question as to where I stand, for the following words are, and will be, my refuge and resort when everyone has failed and the Fascist Flag Flies; I will be on the other side ready to begin anew the fight to regain what we all once knew before we succumbed to the intoxication, woke up in a fog pondering: “What do we do now, or as was written on the original book jacket of Sinclair Lewis’s, “ It Can’t Happen Here: “What will happen when Dictatorship comes to America?”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.”

Reposted From:

This the last posting here of requests to attend sham political theater protests gathering here in Washington or elsewhere along with calls to sign yet another letter or petition of protest. It is a waste of time and you, my readers, damn well known it. The call for “action: on Thursday sounds more like an invitation to picnic or a liberal political button and badge fair.

Enough is enough; this nation is in the midst of a managed depression attempting to build a new economic order having permitted, greed, deregulation, corporate criminality, congressional incompetence, collaboration and a good old fashioned sell-out of this nation to lead us to the ruins surrounding us. Today the stock market plunged once again on the news that the World Bank estimates of the destruction of the world’s economic wealth was near double its forecast and there is more and worse to come.

We have squandered, trashed the economic growth of the entire 20th century and now we are being massaged with the words “The New Normal”…a cute way of saying our way of life has been lost. We are mortgaging the future have squandered the past while right wing politicos want nothing of the necessary solution. Left to their devices they would fashion a new future of the world where labor would become near early Industrial Revolution sweat shop slaves to paper pushing corporations. They would do nothing to make healthcare a right for all people, nothing to lift the burden of educational costs in America, do nothing to rebuild the infra structure of this land, leaving repairs as necessary born of disasters.

Neither side of the aisle has any real interest in the enforcement of the highest laws of this land or the observance of any moral code. Patriotism and religion are but political buzz words to hammered on the anvils of hate in the service of misdirection driven by fear. The arming of America is driven by hate and fear, on the right the fear of being driven from power and held accountable by a gun toting pitch fork wielding mob of revolutionists, in the center the armed citizen fearful of his government and his neighbor, fearful of criminal attack of his/her person or invasion of his/her home in the face of ever overwhelmed policing powers of this nation; and on the left, those who have wrapped themselves in the flag of our forefathers prepared for the social disintegration of this nation and the onset of a Jefferson predicted Revolution.

Couple that with a large portion of this nation drugged with the political cool aid served up for so many years, cowering in personal fear and ass-bared denial “Ostrich Syndrome” retreat from the growing reality, and you have a nation staring at a growing Melanoma Cancer on its arm fully believing that miraculously it will stop bleeding at the margins and heal of its own accord. That is a picture of a nation of fools and cowards awaiting the destruction and/or diminution of their lives. The downward spiral of an eroding quality of life may not have slapped you in the face yet, but rest assure, that given a bit more time you too be swallowed up in the corrosion and collapse, buried in the debris of poverty and broken families, despair and suicides.

It can’t happen here? It is happening here! It is time to wake up, grow up and deal with reality in a manner appropriate, and yes some will die if anything we hold near and dear is to survive the world wide social disintegration with which we are confronted.

On an International scene as we wail over Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, genocide in Africa and Latin America, harbor the desire to smash North Korea; what we have are the ingredients of a conflagration that will be known as World War III, inevitable nuclear in content and from which a new world will emerge from the glowing ashes that remain.

The draft will come again, sides will be chosen and civilizations will be destroyed because we are simple not willing to put everything down and demand that this nation be returned to us on our terms and that the folly-filled business as usual politicians of DC go their merry childish ways because we will not occupy the streets of this nation’s capital willing to stay until justice is done, wrongs are righted, and legislation is enacted to correct the course of law and order, provide for essential societal services to citizens and bring the corporations of this world as contributing members of the family rather than tolerate them as criminal thieves, killers and rapists of the fabric of this nation. Forget the notion that they are too big to fail and embrace the truth that we are too big to be stopped! It has all gone too far; we have all been too compliant, passive, proper and pretentious.

We have permitted the Corporate Political Machine to become a monolithic behemoth able to withstand every complaint, ever accusation as it simply grinds forward and grinds the truth and justice into dust, and us with them. We are but a manipulated annoyance not taken seriously and certainly without the credentials of power. We are an annoying noise in the night that the Congress merely ignores by closing the doors and windows to silence us. The media considers us unimportant the public views us with hostility and the establishment fosters those perceptions. We find respect and validation only within our choir.

Sometimes you are encouraged about our country's future when you see something like this. Specifically, there is an annual contest at Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term: This year's term was: "Political Correctness." The winner wrote:

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

R. J. Wiedemann LtCol. USMC Retired.

We all know that Bush and Cheney should stand trial, among others, at The Hague. We all may oppose the death penalty, but deep in our hearts we harbor the belief that those who live by the tools of war, must die by the rules of war. They live by exception; I would sentence them by exception.

We all know that there are members of Congress who should be sent to prison. We all know that there are Corporate/Finance Industry and Real Estate Executives who should be stripped of every cent they own and spend their remaining days in either orange jump suit or silly stripped pajamas in sleazy prisons.

We know that, and they are going to get away with every perverse, criminal act against the citizens of this world if we don’t simply stop the machinery that places them above the laws we are obligated to honor and observe. Enough is enough. What is coming may be to ones liking but you will have no one to blame but yourselves. I will no longer be a party to the sham.

What is it that sustains people in this great charade when they know the reality of the outcome and they know the reality of what must be done?

Is life so selectively precious that it is for others to risk their lives for us and we salve our consciences with having spoken out against evil while not risking anything by not lifting a finger against that evil? Are we then not assigning to ourselves the exalted status of intellectual leaders, warriors of words only, droning voices not true activists who would risk all for principle and integrity of belief, for if we are; we are mere hypocrites and demagogues of the left, no better than the right!

We honor not our forefathers by our speech; we dishonor them by our inaction, dishonor them in our failures, and dishonor them in our pretenses and political theater.

I am through with such people.

Where have all the protesters gone?

by Suhail Shafi

Where have all the flowers gone

Long time passing

Where have all the flowers gone

Long time ago

Where have all the flowers gone

Young girls picked them everyone

When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn

This popular rhyme from the 1960s penned by the legendary Pete Seeger may have a hauntingly familiar melody and spirit for many in the peace and antiwar movement. Within a few lines where flowers and young girls, young men and graveyards are conveniently interspersed, the song captured both the heart ache and the hope for change felt by millions of people yearning for a break from the Vietnam War. And throw in the antiwar protesters protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan following the footsteps of those protesting Vietnam and Indochina, and one can be forgiven for wondering when, if ever, they will ever learn.

To understand why the anti war movement, in its most conspicuous of manifestations may well be a dying breed, one need not look any further than a few hard statistics on the number of people protesting.

Seeger may have a hauntingly familiar melody and spirit for many in the peace and antiwar movement. Within a few lines where flowers and young girls, young men and graveyards are conveniently interspersed, the song captured both the heart ache and the hope for change felt by millions of people yearning for a break from the Vietnam war. And throw in the antiwar protesters protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan following the footsteps of those protesting Vietnam and Indochina, and one can be forgiven for wondering when, if ever, will they ever learn.

To understand why the anti war movement, in its most conspicuous of manifestations may well be a dying breed, one need not look any further than a few hard statistics on the number of people protesting. The first major antiwar rally outside the heart of power in Washington, on the National Mall was held two months prior to the invasion of Iraq, on January 16’th 2003. According to the respected online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the organizers of the first major march in Washington estimated the rally attracted some 200,000 protesters during the run up to the invasion, while a similar rally in San Francisco attracted anywhere between 150,000 to 200,000 protesters.

The culmination of the antiwar efforts came scarcely a month later, on February 15. On what was described by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest protest in human history, between six and ten million protesters took to the streets of some 800 cities in nearly sixty countries across the globe. The weekend of the 15’th and 16’th of February was, by all accounts, towering days in history when galvanizing world public opinion against the impending Iraq war manifested itself as people power on a scale and magnitude never seen before, possibly even during the Vietnam War era. The staggering level and depth of opposition to the war in Iraq was as much a testament to the skills and verve of the global antiwar movement as it was a reflection of deep seated worldwide opposition to the military plans of the Bush administration. New York Times writer Patrick Tyler had it right when he said the massive protests worldwide proved there were ''two superpowers on the planet – the United States, and worldwide public opinion’’.

The six years since the Iraq invasion have seen any number of things change, governments come and go, as well as a humanitarian and social crisis in Iraq precipitated in the aftermath of the invasion. Before the eyes of the world that protested the war vigorously, Iraq was invaded, its government overthrown, its dictator executed, its social fabric shredded by seemingly relentless sectarian strife, close to two million of its people internally and externally displaced, and, worst of all, up to a million Iraqis losing their lives in the ensuing mayhem. It has also witnessed eroding popular support for the Iraq war in the United States. For instance, a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in March 2003 showed some three quarters of Americans supported US military action against Iraq.

By contrast, in December 2008, an ABC News/Washington Post poll interviewing about a thousand US adults nationwide indicated a significant majority – 64 percent - believed the war in Iraq was not worth fighting. The result of six years of chaos, widespread violence, declining American prestige, and perhaps most significant of all, the failure to account for Saddam Hussein’s much dreaded Weapons of Mass Destruction seems have led to a dramatic sea change in American public opinion towards the US led invasion. The election in 2008 of Barack Obama, who opposed the invasion from the very onset, the political risks associated with such a position during the run up to the war notwithstanding, seemed to personify this antiwar sentiment.

By stark contrast, the precipitous decline in fortunes of President Bush’s Republican party, and the defeat of its Presidential contender, war veteran John McCain, seemed to represent a blow as much to the gun ho military action of the Republican Party as it did to the neoconservative ideology of its intellectual elite. Most Europeans, Asians and Middle Easterners were dead set against the Iraq invasion, and in many cases were willing and determined to protest against it from day one. More Americans, it seems, have since followed suit.

In an environment where the moral and intellectual reasoning of the Iraq war seems to have largely become discredited in the eyes of US and global public opinion, the antiwar movement may benefit from reflecting on why this negative sentiment toward the Iraq foray has not led to an invigoration of the anti war movement. The ultimately discomforting paradox during the six years since the invasion, at least from the vantage point of the anti war movement, is that the more public opinion across the world turns against the Iraq war, the fewer the number of people willing to take to the streets to oppose it and call for an end to the occupation. On the sixth anniversary of the invasion, on March 2009, for instance, the number of people protesting on the footsteps of Capitol Hill measured a modest 10,000 – a far cry not just from the enormity of the prewar masses, but also from the 500,000 who chose to show up as recently as January 2007 at a Washington antiwar rally sponsored by United for Peace and Justice.

How does one account for this disturbing paradox? At a recent Washington protest against the continuing siege of Gaza, I asked an elderly protester what she thought of the declining numbers. ''Protest fatigue’’ – protest fatigue, catchy term coined by at least one antiwar campaigner. In other words, people getting sick and tired of protesting, gathering in the streets, waving placards, and shouting antiwar slogans. For at least some people, though, the whole experience of protesting and rallying can be an inherently exuberant and empowering one – standing shoulder to shoulder with any number of men, women and children – united in the pursuit of a single goal can be one of the most thrilling things one can be involved in, as any anti war protester can attest.

There may be another less comforting explanation; one psychologists refer to as learned helplessness. In an environment of relentless subjugation, people learn to be passive and train themselves to be helpless, even when opportunities exist for them to extricate themselves from pain and suffering. In other words, at least some anti protesters, overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering, death and destruction wrought on Iraqis and Allied forces alike, genuinely believe there is nothing they can do in their capacity as activists, nothing that can be done by ordinary people to end the war, so protesting in their minds is deemed ultimately futile.

Observers have pointed out that in the run up to the Iraq war, opposition and despair at the prospect of the US invasion was most marked in the Middle East. And yet, anti war protests comparable to those in the Western world were conspicuous by their near absence on the Arab street. One could easily create parallels between the American anti war protesters who feel protesting achieves nothing, and millions of Middle Easterners wary yet passive towards the excesses and injustices of US foreign policy with respect to their part of the world – parallels that transcend radical differences not only in culture and identity but also in ideology and worldview.

Why are the legions of antiwar activists growing smaller and smaller? Where have all the protesters gone? What explains their disappearance from the world’s cameras? Apathy? Vindication of their opposition to the war? Learned helplessness? Or is it hope, confidence, and a belief in the ability of human perseverance to end all wars?

Whatever the amalgam of factors that account for the smaller crowds opposing the Iraq war, whatever the success of the antiwar movement in building itself up from a scratch and mobilizing millions for peace in a remarkably short time, the movement will have to go through at least some element of introspection. The ultimate danger facing the antiwar movement is not just that it may disappear off the radar screen of the world’s headlines, but also that as worldwide public opinion, the touted second superpower becomes increasingly relevant, those advocating peace and justice may simply become irrelevant to the world’s policymakers and opinion makers alike.

The Ostrich Never Saw The Man, The Gun Or The Bullet That Killed Him!

“The anti-war movement has hit rock-bottom because of its failure to challenge this particular president, an imperialist with charm, a warmonger with a winning smile. “

First Black President Defeats U.S. Antiwar Movement

The arrival of the Obama administration has crippled the U.S. anti-war movement, which has neither the fortitude nor political depth to confront imperialism with a Black face. The Out of Iraq caucus on Capitol Hill might as well call itself the Out of Action caucus, since it can’t figure out a way to respond to President Obama’s expanding military budgets and wars.

National anti-war organizations cling to the fiction that Obama is really seeking a military withdrawal from Iraq. “The anti-war movement has hit rock-bottom because of its failure to challenge this particular president, an imperialist with charm, a warmonger with a winning smile.

“Obama pretends he wants peace, and anti-war members of Congress pretend to believe him.” In the streets, on the2009campuses and on Capitol Hill, the anti-war movement is no longer moving anywhere. It has been crippled by the Obama Effect, the deep and wide delusion that imperialism with a Black face is somehow – something else. When a movement disbands itself without coming even close to achieving its objective, that is a defeat. We can now definitively state that, for the time being, the U.S. anti-war movement has been defeated – not by Republicans, but by Barack Obama’s Democratic Party.

A recent article in The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress, relates a meeting among staffers for Out of Iraq caucus leaders Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey. They were supposed to come up with a response to President Obama’s announcement that he would immediately send 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, with lots more to come. Obama is determined to leave at least 50,000 troops in Iraq for an open-ended period of time under the guise of “training” the Iraqis, and is rapidly merging Afghanistan and Pakistan into one theater of war, called Af-Pak. Clearly, the Obama administration is expanding its war in Af-Pak, and has no intention of ending the U.S. military presence in Iraq – ever.

The staffers for the Out of Iraq caucus leaders spent two hours trying to come up with a position. They failed. For all intents and purposes, the Out of Iraq caucus has ceased to function. Black Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters have at times shown great courage in the face of stupendous odds. But they will not confront Barack Obama, even when he expands the arenas of war, claims that combat soldiers are merely trainers and advisers, and pushes through a war budget that is bigger than any of George Bush’s war budgets. Obama pretends he wants peace, and anti-war members of Congress pretend to believe him. “The anti-war movement has hit rock-bottom because of its failure to challenge this particular president.”

Another Capitol Hill publication, the Congressional Quarterly, recently ran an article on the low demonstration turn-out and money woes of the anti-war movement. A March 21st rally at the Pentagon drew pitiful numbers of demonstrators, only 3,000 according to police. Organizers claim they can’t raise money these days, and have been forced to cut staff. A spokesperson for ANSWER, the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition, said the peace movement is seeing the impact of the “promises the Obama campaign made.” Outgoing United for Peace and Justice leader Leslie Cagan says her money people aren’t giving because “It’s enough for many of them that Obama has a plan to end the war and that things are moving in the right direction.” But Obama has no plans or intention to end his wars except on imperialism’s own terms – which means never-ending war, just like under Bush – a basic truth that United for Peace and Justice refuses to recognize or admit. ANSWER organizers also fail to confront the Obama White House head-on.

The Congressional Quarterly article concludes that the anti-war movement is suffering from the results of “its own success.” That’s absolute nonsense. The anti-war movement has hit rock-bottom because of its failure to challenge this particular president, an imperialist with charm, a warmonger with a winning smile. Obama has whipped them, but good. And they will stay whipped, until they stand up like men, like women, like leaders.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Activists Have So Far Failed To Construct A Real American Antiwar Movement

By Tony Logan

NOT MY TRIBE - 5/18/2009 10:35AM MDT
Despite the grass roots sentiment against all the bloodshed that Bush and now Barack Obama are engaged in, activists in the US have ever failed to construct a real Antiwar Movement. Do you consider that to be a harsh judgment on my part? Then please consider the fact that the US is moving towards the end of what will a decade long occupation of Afghanistan, and yet there has not been one antiwar demonstration, on even a local yet alone a national level, that has focused on opposing this!

As Barack Obama escalates US war making further and into one more new country, Pakistan, the misleaders of the so-called US ‘Peace’ Movement remain totally silent and inactive about it.

Further, there never was any public antiwar reaction to the occupation and demolishing of Somalia, the Israeli destruction of Lebanon in 2006, and also the US moves against Russia with its Georgian adventure at big time war starting, that boom-a-ranged back into the faces of the Republican Klan, absolutely not because the ‘Peace’ movement ever did or said anything in opposition to that war in Southern Ossetia. And even with the issue of blatant US use of torture, the opposition to government terrorism remains scant and ephemeral.

The US public is utterly demoralized and unaware of its own power, thanks to ‘Peace’ misleadership itself, which seems to believe that only tiny groups of religiously motivated New Agers can come together and only for the most milquetoast reasons. Let me illustrate with the local PPJPC (Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission) andtheir PPJPC May calendar of inactivity. Look at it and weep! They simply plan to not mobilize themselves against THEIR President. Sad to say, the national groups they affiliate with are about on the same wave length, too.

Instead of being leaders, the misleaders who call themselves ‘Peace’ activists are leaders in public apathy and not challengers of it. Instead of smashing the War State, they seem to want to be junior partners to it. They are about as alternative as National Public Radio, KRCC, and The not so Independent are here in the local area. In short, they are not opponents to war making at all.

Without an end to the permanent War State of our American ruling class, there will be no economic or political stability to build a future for us in America. In fact, without an end to this constant construction for the War machine, the Earth is headed for a Dead End. We are currently just sleep walking toward oblivion and there simply is no way to sugar coat that basic fact. Wake up, American Antiwar Movement. You have to organize yourselves, because, People… nobody else is going to do it for you. Join and work with Coloradans for Peace here in Colorado Springs.

Along with the Civil Rights campaigns of the 1960s, one of the most divisive forces in twentieth-century U.S. history. The antiwar movement actually consisted of a number of independent interests, often only vaguely allied and contesting each other on many issues, united only in opposition to the Vietnam War. Attracting members from college campuses, middle-class suburbs, labor unions, and government institutions, the movement gained national prominence in 1965, peaked in 1968, and remained powerful throughout the duration of the conflict. Encompassing political, racial, and cultural spheres, the antiwar movement exposed a deep schism within 1960s American society.

A small, core peace movement had long existed in the United States, largely based in Quaker and Unitarian beliefs, but failed to gain popular currency until the Cold War era. The escalating nuclear arms race of the late 1950s led Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday Review, along with Clarence Pickett of the American Society of Friends (Quakers), to found the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) in 1957. Their most visible member was Dr. Benjamin Spock, who joined in 1962 after becoming disillusioned with President Kennedy's failure to halt nuclear proliferation. A decidedly middle-class organization, SANE represented the latest incarnation of traditional liberal peace activism. Their goal was a reduction in nuclear weapons. Another group, the Student Peace Union (SPU), emerged in 1959 on college campuses across the country. Like SANE, the SPU was more liberal than radical. After the Joseph McCarthy inspired dissolution of Communist and Socialist organizations on campuses in the 1950s, the SPU became the only option remaining for nascent activists. The goal of the SPU went beyond that of SANE. Unwilling to settle for fewer nuclear weapons, the students desired a wholesale restructuring of American society. The SPU, never an effective interest group, faded away in 1964, its banner taken up by a more active assemblage, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

SDS formed in 1960 as the collegiate arm of an Old Left institution with an impressive heritage-the League for Industrial Democracy. Jack London had been a member, as had Upton Sinclair, but the organization had long lain dormant until Michael Harrington, a New York socialist, revived it late in the 1950s as a forum for laborers, African Americans, and intellectuals. Within a single year, however, SDS was taken over by student radicals Al Haber and Tom Hayden, both of the University of Michigan. In June 1962, fifty-nine SDS members met with Harrington at Port Huron, Michigan, in a conference sponsored by the United Auto Workers. From this meeting materialized what has been called the manifesto of the New Left-the Port Huron Statement. Written by Hayden, the editor of the University of Michigan student newspaper, the 64-page document expressed disillusionment with the military-industrial-academic establishment. Hayden cited the uncertainty of life in Cold War America and the degradation of African Americans in the South as examples of the failure of liberal ideology and called for a reevaluation of academic acquiescence in what he claimed was a dangerous conspiracy to maintain a sense of apathy among American youth.

Throughout the first years of its existence, SDS focused on domestic concerns. The students, as with other groups of the Old and New Left, actively supported Lyndon Johnson in his 1964 campaign against Barry Goldwater. Following Johnson's victory, they refrained from antiwar rhetoric to avoid alienating the president and possibly endangering the social programs of the Great Society. Although not yet an antiwar organization, SDS actively participated in the Civil Rights struggle and proved an important link between the two defining causes of the decade.

Another bridge between Civil Rights and the antiwar crusade was the Free Speech Movement (FSM) at the University of California at Berkeley. Begun in December 1964 by students who had participated in Mississippi's "Freedom Summer," the FSM provided an example of how students could bring about change through organization. In several skirmishes with University President Clark Kerr, the FSM and its dynamic leader Mario Savio publicized the close ties between academic and military establishments. With the rise of SDS and the FSM, the Old Left peace advocates had discovered a large and vocal body of sympathizers, many of whom had gained experience in dissent through the Civil Rights battles in the South. By the beginning of 1965, the antiwar movement base had coalesced on campuses and lacked only a catalyst to bring wider public acceptance to its position.

That catalyst appeared early in February, when the U.S. began bombing North Vietnam. The pace of protest immediately quickened; its scope broadened. In February and again in March of 1965, SDS organized marches on the Oakland Army Terminal, the departure point for many troops bound for Southeast Asia. On 24 March, faculty members at the University of Michigan held a series of "teach-ins," modeled after earlier Civil Rights seminars, that sought to educate large segments of the student population about both the moral and political foundations of U.S. involvement. The teach-in format spread to campuses around the country and brought faculty members into active antiwar participation. In March, SDS escalated the scale of dissent to a truly national level, calling for a march on Washington to protest the bombing. On 17 April 1965, between 15,000 and 25,000 people gathered at the capital, a turnout that surprised even the organizers.

Buoyed by the attendance at the Washington march, movement leaders, still mainly students, expanded their methods and gained new allies over the next two years. "Vietnam Day," a symposium held at Berkeley in October 1965, drew thousands to debate the moral basis of the war. Campus editors formed networks to share information on effective protest methods; two of these, the Underground Press Syndicate (1966) and the Liberation News Service (1967), became productive means of disseminating intelligence. In spring 1967, over 1,000 seminarians from across the country wrote to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara advocating recognition of conscientious objection on secular, moral grounds. In June, 10,000 students wrote, suggesting the secretary develop a program of alternative service for those who opposed violence. A two-day march on the Pentagon in October 1967 attracted nationwide media attention, while leaders of the war resistance called for young men to turn in their draft cards. The movement spread to the military itself; in 1966, the "Fort Hood 3" gained acclaim among dissenters for their refusal to serve in Vietnam. Underground railroads funneled draft evaders to Canada or to Sweden; churches provided sanctuary for those attempting to avoid conscription.

Perhaps the most significant development of the period between 1965 and 1968 was the emergence of Civil Rights leaders as active proponents of peace in Vietnam. In a January 1967 article written for the Chicago Defender, Martin Luther King, Jr. openly expressed support for the antiwar movement on moral grounds. Reverend King expanded on his views in April at the Riverside Church in New York, asserting that the war was draining much-needed resources from domestic programs. He also voiced concern about the percentage of African American casualties in relation to the total population. King's statements rallied African American activists to the antiwar cause and established a new dimension to the moral objections of the movement. The peaceful phase of the antiwar movement had reached maturity as the entire nation was now aware that the foundations of administration foreign policy were being widely questioned.

As the movement's ideals spread beyond college campuses, doubts about the wisdom of escalation also began to appear within the administration itself. As early as the summer of 1965, Undersecretary of State George Ball counseled President Johnson against further military involvement in Vietnam. In 1967 Johnson fired Defense Secretary McNamara after the secretary expressed concern about the moral justifications for war. Most internal dissent, however, focused not on ethical but on pragmatic criteria, many believing that the cost of winning was simply too high. But widespread opposition within the government did not appear until 1968. Exacerbating the situation was the presidential election of that year, in which Johnson faced a strong challenge from peace candidates Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy, and George McGovern, all Democrats, as well as his eventual successor, Richard M. Nixon. On 25 March Johnson learned that his closest advisors now opposed the war; six days later, he withdrew from the race.

As with the bombing of North Vietnam in 1965, which had touched off an explosion of interest in peace activities, another Southeast Asian catalyst instigated the most intense period of antiwar protest early in 1968. The Tet Offensive of late January led many Americans to question the administration's veracity in reporting war progress and contributed to Johnson's decision to retire. After Tet American public opinion shifted dramatically, with fully half of the population opposed to escalation. Dissent escalated to violence. In April protesters occupied the administration building at Columbia University; police used force to evict them. Raids on draft boards in Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Chicago soon followed, as activists smeared blood on records and shredded files. Offices and production facilities of Dow Chemical, manufacturers of napalm, were targeted for sabotage. The brutal clashes between police and peace activists at the August Democratic National Convention in Chicago typified the divided nature of American society and foreshadowed a continuing rise in domestic conflict.

The antiwar movement became both more powerful and, at the same time, less cohesive between 1969 and 1973. Most Americans pragmatically opposed escalating the U.S. role in Vietnam, believing the economic cost too high; in November of 1969 a second march on Washington drew an estimated 500,000 participants. At the same time, most disapproved of the counterculture that had arisen alongside the antiwar movement. The clean-cut, well-dressed SDS members, who had tied their hopes to McCarthy in 1968, were being subordinated as movement leaders. Their replacements deservedly gained less public respect, were tagged with the label "hippie," and faced much mainstream opposition from middle-class Americans uncomfortable with the youth culture of the period-long hair, casual drug use, promiscuity. Protest music, typified by Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, contributed to the gulf between young and old. Cultural and political protest had become inextricably intertwined within the movement's vanguard. The new leaders became increasingly strident, greeting returning soldiers with jeers and taunts, spitting on troops in airports and on public streets. A unique situation arose in which most Americans supported the cause but opposed the leaders, methods, and culture of protest.

The movement regained solidarity following several disturbing incidents. In February 1970 news of the My Lai massacre became public and ignited widespread outrage. In April President Nixon, who had previously committed to a planned withdrawal, announced that U.S. forces had entered Cambodia. Within minutes of the televised statement, protesters took to the streets with renewed focus.

Then, on 4 May, Ohio National Guardsmen fired on a group of student protesters at Kent State University, killing four and wounding sixteen. Death, previously distant, was now close at hand. New groups-Nobel science laureates, State Department officers, the American Civil Liberties Union-all openly called for withdrawal. Congress began threatening the Nixon administration with challenges to presidential authority. When the New York Times published the first installment of the Pentagon Papers on 13 June 1971, Americans became aware of the true nature of the war. Stories of drug trafficking, political assassinations, and indiscriminate bombings led many to believe that military and intelligence services had lost all accountability. Antiwar sentiment, previously tainted with an air of anti-Americanism, became instead a normal reaction against zealous excess. Dissent dominated America; the antiwar cause had become institutionalized.

By January 1973, when Nixon announced the effective end of U.S. involvement, he did so in response to a mandate unequaled in modern times.

Though the first American protests against U.S. intervention in Vietnam took place in 1963, the antiwar movement did not begin in earnest until nearly two years later, when President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered massive U.S. military intervention and the sustained bombing of North Vietnam. In the spring of 1965, "teach-ins" against the war were held on many college campuses. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organized the first national antiwar demonstration in Washington; 20,000 people, mainly students, attended.

As the war expanded—over 400,000 U.S. troops would be in Vietnam by 1967—so did the antiwar movement, attracting growing support off the campuses. The movement was less a unified army than a rich mix of political notions and visions. The tactics used were diverse: legal demonstrations, grassroots organizing, congressional lobbying, electoral challenges, civil disobedience, draft resistance, self-immolations, political violence. Some peace activists traveled to North Vietnam. Quakers and others provided medical aid to Vietnamese civilian victims of the war. Some G.I.s protested the war.

In March 1967, a national organization of draft resisters was formed; the Resistance would subsequently hold several national draft card turn-ins. In April 1967, more than 300,000 people demonstrated against the war in New York. Six months later, 50,000 surrounded the Pentagon, sparking nearly 700 arrests. By now, senior Johnson administration officials typically encountered demonstrators when speaking in public, forcing them to restrict their outside appearances. Many also had sons, daughters, or wives who opposed the war, fueling the sense of besiegement. Prominent participants in the antiwar movement included Dr. Benjamin Spock, Robert Lowell, Harry Belafonte, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Encouraged by the movement, Senator Eugene McCarthy announced in late 1967 that he was challenging Johnson in the 1968 Democratic primaries; his later strong showing in New Hampshire was seen as a major defeat for Johnson and a repudiation of his war policies.

The Johnson administration took numerous measures to the antiwar movement, most notably undertaking close surveillance and tarnishing its public image, sending speakers to campuses, and fostering pro-war activity. Many administration officials felt foreign Communists were aiding and abetting the movement, despite the failure of both the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI to uncover such support.

In 1965, a majority of Americans supported U.S. policies in Vietnam; by the fall of 1967, only 35 percent did so. For the first time, more people thought U.S. intervention in Vietnam had been a mistake than did not. Blacks and women were the most dovish social groups. Later research found that antiwar sentiment was inversely correlated with people's socioeconomic level. Many Americans also disliked antiwar protesters, and the movement was frequently denounced by media commentators, legislators, and other public figures.

By 1968, faced with widespread public opposition to the war and troubling prospects in Vietnam, the Johnson administration halted the bombing of North Vietnam and stabilized the ground war. This policy reversal was the major turning point. U.S. troop strength in Vietnam would crest at 543,000.

The antiwar movement reached its zenith under President Richard M. .Nixon. In October 1969, more than 2 million people participated in Vietnam Moratorium protests across the country. The following month, over 500,000 demonstrated in Washington and 150,000 in San Francisco. Militant protest, mainly youthful, continued to spread, leading many Americans to wonder whether the war was worth a split society. And other forms of antiwar activity persisted. The Nixon administration took a host of measures to blunt the movement, mainly mobilizing supporters, smearing the movement, tracking it, withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam, instituting a draft lottery, and eventually ending draft calls.

Two long-standing problems continued to plague the antiwar movement. Many participants questioned its effectiveness, spawning dropouts, hindering the organization of protests and the maintenance of antiwar groups, and aggravating dissension over strategies and tactics. And infighting continued to sap energy, alienate activists, and hamper antiwar planning. The strife was fanned by the U.S. government, but it was largely internally generated.

In the spring of 1970, President Nixon's invasion of Cambodia and the Kent State shootings (followed by those at Jackson State) sparked the greatest display of campus protest in U.S. history. A national student strike completely shut down over 500 colleges and universities. Other Americans protested in cities across the country; many lobbied White House officials and members of Congress. Over 100,000 demonstrated in Washington, despite only a week's prior notice. Senators John Sherman Cooper and Frank Church sponsored legislation (later passed) prohibiting funding of U.S. ground forces and advisers in Cambodia. Many labor leaders spoke out for the first time, and blue-collar workers joined antiwar activities in unprecedented numbers. However, construction workers in New York assaulted a group of peaceful student demonstrators, and (with White House assistance) some union leaders organized pro-administration rallies.

Despite worsening internal divisions and a flagging movement, 500,000 people demonstrated against the war in Washington in April 1971. Vietnam Veterans Against the War also staged protests, and other demonstrators engaged in mass civil disobedience, prompting 12,000 arrests. The former Pentagon aide Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. Meanwhile, the morale and discipline of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam was deteriorating seriously: drug abuse was rampant, combat refusals and racial strife were mounting, and some soldiers were even murdering their own officers.

With U.S. troops coming home, the antiwar movement gradually declined between 1971 and 1975. The many remaining activists protested continued U.S. bombing, the plight of South Vietnamese political prisoners, and U.S. funding of the war.

The American movement against the Vietnam War was the most successful antiwar movement in U.S. history. During the Johnson administration, it played a significant role in constraining the war and was a major factor in the administration's policy reversal in 1968. During the Nixon years, it hastened U.S. troop withdrawals, continued to restrain the war, fed the deterioration in U.S. troop morale and discipline (which provided additional impetus to U.S. troop withdrawals), and promoted congressional legislation that severed U.S. funds for the war. The movement also fostered aspects of the Watergate scandal, which ultimately played a significant role in ending the war by undermining Nixon's authority in Congress and thus his ability to continue the war. It gave rise to the infamous "Huston Plan"; inspired Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of the Pentagon Papers led to the formation of the Plumbers; and fed the Nixon administration's paranoia about its political enemies, which played a major part in concocting the Watergate break-in itself.

Is American Success A Failure In Iraq?

by Michael Schwartz and Tom Engelhardt

"A Celebration of Real American Patriotism"

Book review by Phillis Engelbert

Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel
by Marty Jezer
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992.
345 pages.

Love him or hate him, it's hard to deny that Abbie Hoffman was one of the most colorful and influential characters in American history. A self-styled political celebrity, crafted (in his own words) "out of left-wing literature, sperm, licorice and a little chicken fat," Abbie helped shake the country out of its 1950s' complacency, spread the countercultural movement, and end the Vietnam War. Part comedian, part revolutionary, part community organizer, and part outlaw, he forced his way onto front pages and television screens, and into the American psyche. From
his early days of organizing hippies into an anti-Vietnam-war political force to his later incarnation as an environmentalist and mentor to student activists, Abbie employed a theatrical flair that titillated the imagination and empowered people to stand up and demand the impossible.

Author Marty Jezer, in Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel, gives a thorough treatment not only of Abbie Hoffman's life, but of the personalities and ideas that influenced Abbie's development. Jezer also carefully describes the changing political and social realities of the nation from the 1950s through the 1980s. A left-wing, pacifist author and reporter, Jezer was acquainted with Abbie in New York City's East Village in the late 1960s at a time when Abbie was organizing the Yippies (which Abbie alternately defined as Youth International Party or Yiddish Hippies)
into a countercultural force aiming to "blow the minds" of "straight America."

The book's readability is largely owed to its exciting subject matter, including descriptions of the following episodes from Abbie's activist career: protesting HUAC hearings in Berkeley, tossing money off the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange, marching against the Vietnam War, "levitating" and "exorcising" the Pentagon, protesting the 1968 Democratic Party convention in Chicago, turning the conspiracy trial of the Chicago Eight into a courtroom circus, organizing to save the St. Lawrence River while on the lam, and putting the CIA on trial for its crimes around
the world. Jezer also helps us understand how Abbie's manic-depression affected his public persona and ultimately led to his undoing.

Jezer, however, acts as more than a storyteller in Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel-he offers a thoughtful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Abbie's strategies and tactics over the course of three decades. His assessments help the reader understand how the decisions made by Abbie and his associates either propelled or hindered the peace movement. Taking Jezer's analysis one step farther, it's possible to apply the lessons of Abbie's successes and failures to the building and sustaining of an effective movement for social change today. Contained in this book
is a recipe for a movement that is positive, hopeful, fun, energetic, inclusive, unifying, and effective.

I highly recommend Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel to activists and organizers everywhere. Read it not once, but twice, lest you miss a nugget of wisdom.

Self-Actualization (What Makes Activists Tick)
One of Abbie's first and lasting influences was Abraham Maslow, a professor of psychology at Brandeis University (Abbie began his undergraduate career there in 1955). In Maslow's class, Abbie came to the remarkable realization that his own rebellious nature was not necessarily a sign of psychological disorder-as his high school teachers and relatives in McCarthy-era Worcester, Massachusetts, had stressed-but instead was a healthy form of self-expression. Maslow explained that rebelliousness becomes a psychological necessity when the status quo represses individual freedoms. That was certainly the case during the reactionary 1950s, when
American society exalted the false needs of status, wealth, and power, and de-emphasized the real needs of friendship, community, and creativity.

Maslow described a hierarchy of human needs, beginning with food, drink, and shelter. Once these needs were met, a person would strive for love and self-esteem. The next need on the ladder was self-actualization-which Maslow defined as "man's desire for become everything that one is capable of becoming." One way of fulfilling the need for self-actualization, and thus experiencing beauty, truth, and meaningfulness, was through altruism-or giving unselfishly. Maslow characterized self-actualized individuals as being "brotherly, cooperative, peaceful, courageous, and just."

Abbie looked up to Maslow as a hero and made self-actualization his personal goal. Abbie expressed his self-actualization desires in a letter to a friend, written in the mid 1960s, as follows: "I need the movement. I need it as much as I need the oxygen to breathe. I want to be with people who want to change things, really change things."

Maslovian theory also formed the basis for Abbie's beliefs and practices regarding the roots of social action. Abbie strongly advocated that activists be motivated by hope, love, and imagination-not guilt. He stressed that one needn't suffer in order to demonstrate one's commitment to a cause. "I believe that when one actualizes his inner potential," Abbie wrote, "he is rewarded. He feels better, he enjoys life, he is, in every sense of the word, FREE."

Capturing The Flag
Abbie Hoffman was a student of the American Revolution and a connoisseur of American culture.

He likened himself to the original American revolutionaries, especially Tom Paine and Samuel Adams-underground printers of leaflets rallying the colonists to rebel against the British authorities. He consistently cast himself and his missions in patriotic imagery. Abbie "understood that patriotic feelings could be used to create the common ground he saw as essential for a successful political fight," writes Jezer. "Patriotism is not necessarily a right-wing or divisive force in the United States, and [Abbie] believed that jingoistic flag-wavers could be challenged
and beaten at their own patriotic game."

Abbie's embrace of Americana was authentic, as evidenced in the following passage from his autobiography, Soon to be a Major Motion Picture: "Cornfields. Town meetings. Niagara Falls. Hot dogs. Parades. Red Sox double headers. America was built by people who wanted to change things. It was founded on strong principles. I saw myself as a Son of Liberty, riding through the night, sounding the alarm."

An example of Abbie's use of patriotic imagery came in 1968, when he was summoned to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Abbie dressed for the hearing in an American flag shirt. His plan, Jezer states, was "to wrap himself in the flag and create a visual portrait of antiwar protesters as patriots." The police arrested Abbie on the steps of the courthouse, ripped his shirt, and charged him with desecrating the flag. At his flag-desecration trial, Abbie explained that Revolutionary War patriots also wrapped themselves in the flag and
"expressed his belief that he and those who had protested in Chicago were closer to the tradition of the founding fathers than the members of the House committee." Abbie was convicted of the charge but it was overturned on appeal.

Perhaps Abbie's most creative and effective use of patriotic symbols came in 1983, when he served as an advisor to a Bucks County, Pennsylvania, citizens group called Del-AWARE. That organization was trying to stop the construction of a pumping station that would divert millions of gallons of water per day from the Delaware River, for use as coolant at a proposed nuclear power plant. Del-AWARE members occupied the pump construction site days before the building was to begin and dubbed the area Valley Forge II (George Washington and his men had crossed the Delaware River nearby). They displayed thirteen-star American flags and "Don't tread on me" banners, and labeled one large tree the "liberty tree." The protesters demanded that a referendum be held on the pump construction, arguing that the Revolutionary War had been fought so that people would have a say in decisions that affected their lives.

Three years later, while on trial for trespassing during a CIA protest at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Abbie explained his sense of patriotic duty to the jury: "I grew up with the idea that democracy is not something you believe in, or a place you hang your hat, but it's something you do. You participate. If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles and falls apart."

The Medium Is The Message
Another strand running through Jezer's book is Abbie's mastery of using the mass media to get out the movement's message. The challenges that Abbie and his compatriots faced with the media during the Vietnam War were much the same as those faced by peace activists today. "In the mainstream media," writes Jezer, "the [Vietnam] war was patriotic; victory was, as the administration promised, just around the corner; and the antiwar movement was irresponsible, unpatriotic, and of no political consequence....a marginal irritant that was undercutting the American resolve." General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam,
actually accused the peace movement of giving the enemy a political advantage. He told a receptive audience of newspaper publishers that American troops "are dismayed, and so am I, by recent unpatriotic acts here at home."

Abbie believed that rather than attacking the press, his time was better spent learning to use it. He devoured the works of futurist Marshall McLuhan to garner ideas about attaining positive media coverage. "Lacking the money to buy time for television ads," writes Jezer, "[Abbie] learned how to transform political protest into political theater and to cram powerful, attention-getting visual messages into the brief news bytes that the media allot protest stories."

Seeing that straight political messages were avoided or distorted by the media, Abbie infused his politics with popular culture and imagination. Among his attention-getting devices were guerrilla theater, music, bells, colorful props, and flowers. During the 1967 march against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C., Abbie created a media sideshow: a symbolic levitation and exorcism of the Pentagon featuring thousands of protesters banging on bells and cymbals and chanting "out
demons out!"

Of all the unorthodox tactics and qualities associated with Abbie, humor was his trademark. For instance, Abbie would stalk dignitaries at official functions; once in front of the cameras he would throw his arms around them and greet them. Other stunts including running a pig for president, claiming his heritage as long-lost son of judge Julius Hoffman (in the Chicago Eight trial), and doing tricks with a psychedelic yo-yo during public speaking gigs. While he was on the run from
cocaine-sale charges, Abbie threw a public birthday party for himself that featured an Abbie Hoffman look-alike contest.

Self-Criticism And Ability To Change.
Another of Abbie's strengths was his ability to critique himself and the movement, learn from his mistakes, and change the game plan when necessary. For instance, at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Abbie and other Yippie leaders employed confrontational tactics and disavowed the electoral system. "To many people," writes Jezer, "what happened in Chicago was not a confrontation between hawks and doves but a confrontation between those who upheld America's familiar, workaday values and an unruly army of young and irresponsible rebels who had no respect for those values. While opposition to the war was continuing to grow within the broader American public, opposition to the antiwar movement was even more
pronounced.... Having anointed the young as a revolutionary vanguard, [Abbie] no longer cared about communicating with ordinary Americans."

Just four years later, responding to criticism from fellow activists, as well as to changing times and political realities, Abbie and other Yippie leaders endorsed George McGovern for president and urged people to vote. In the 1980s, Abbie again broadened his perspective and started viewing everyone-even Republicans and war veterans-as potential allies. He learned to use culture not as a wedge between the generations and people of various political stripes, but as "a social glue that brought people together." His new vision of a better society offered something for everybody. According to Jezer, Abbie realized that "accepting people in the way that they saw themselves was the key to successful community organizing."

Abbie summarized the evolution of his political thinking before a student audience at Rutgers University in the mid-1980s as follows: "In the sixties we were so fed up we wanted to destroy everything. But you have to save America, not destroy it."

Lessons For The Movement
From his early days in the civil rights movement to his waning hours of instructing young organizers while battling an ever-debilitating depression, Abbie inspired people to overcome their fears and to believe that they could make a difference. He instilled in them the excitement of creating a new society and motivated them to take action.

In the book's conclusion, Jezer lists some of the many lessons that today's peace and justice activists can learn from Abbie Hoffman: "Pick your goal and move toward it; don't pick fights on issues you cannot win; keep your eye on the prize.... Celebrate your victories, learn from your defeats. Do the unexpected, keep the authorities guessing, maintain a sense of humor, and keep an open mind. There's no conflict between working inside and outside the system; keep a foot in both....Politics should be fun, but people are also moved by moral persuasion."

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