A Key Component of American Fascism is Already in Place

Thanks to Donald Trump’s increasingly hostile and race-baiting rhetoric, the topic of fascism -- what it is and what causes it -- is once again on the minds of many Americans.

And while Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican field should scare anyone who’s read about how Hitler and Mussolini rose to power, what’s even scarier is that one of the key components of American fascism is already in place, and has been ever since the Reagan Revolution.

That component is monopoly, something former Vice President Henry Wallace identified as the key to fascism in a 1944 piece for The New York Times.

American fascists, Wallace wrote,

"…claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective… is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection."


At the time Wallace was writing, the threat of fascism was very, very real.

The U.S. was fighting a two front war against Axis powers, and was just three years removed from a Japanese fascist attack on its home soil.

It was also just eleven years removed from the tense days of 1933, when Marine Corps General Smedley Butler exposed a plot by big business to overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt in a military coup.

That plot, the so-called Business Plot, was concocted by the very same rich men and corporations who Wallace said would support American fascism.

But luckily, thanks to the New Deal and Roosevelt’s trust-busting efforts, those forces had been kept in check, and would remain in check until the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

That act, which was signed into law in 1890, is our government’s most powerful tool against monopoly, and ever since Reagan threw it out the proverbial window, the monopolists -- Wallace’s American fascists -- have been on the march.

Almost every major industry in the United States is now controlled by a of handful giant multinational corporations.

When it comes to household products, for example, pretty much everything you can buy at your local grocery store is made by a subsidiary of Mondelez, Pepsico, Coca-Cola, or Nestle; either that or a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, or Unilever.

The same is true of the media. Six corporations -- GE, Newscorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS -- now control 90 percent of the electronic media. That’s a huge drop from 1983, when 50 companies controlled that much of the media.

Probably the worst example of monopolization, though, is in the airline industry. There are now just four major American air carriers, and almost half of the country’s 100 largest airports are dominated by just one carrier.

If you’re looking for a reason why ticket prices are still high even though crude oil prices are way down, this is it.

It’s all about monopoly. For these huge corporate conglomerates, it's "Heads I win, tails you lose" with both smaller businesses and consumers.

When big business controls the marketplace, they can set the prices, and in this post-Citizens United era, they can also legally bribe politicians to block regulations they don’t like or pass bills to help them consolidate themselves even further.

This kind of control of the few over the many is what scared Henry Wallace so much about monopolization, and it’s why he saw it as one of the key ingredients of American fascism.

When corporations can buy Congress and use their sheer size and influence to get what they want and box out competition, there is no free market at all.

And if you believe the old maxim that there is no freedom without economic freedom, there’s no democracy either.

Despite all its obvious problems, the United States is not a fascist state.

Not yet, at least.

That being said, Donald Trump is taking us in a very dangerous direction, and thanks to Ronald Reagan, he has fertile ground to work with.

The working ingredients of fascism are already there in our increasingly consolidated and monopolized economy.

That’s why it’s time to ditch the Reagan Revolution and start breaking up the big monopolies.

Having a healthy economy with millions of small- and medium-sized local businesses worked for decades, and it will work for us today, too, if we were to begin to break up all these functional monopolies.

It might also save us from fascism, which George Orwell called a “boot stamping on the human face -- forever.”

We need a president who will reverse Reaganism and start enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act like Teddy Roosevelt did. Pass it along.

Comments

The Glenn Beck Review's picture
The Glenn Beck ... 6 years 28 weeks ago
#1

The TPP is fascism on steroids. Hillary Clinton supports these corporate coups. And yet, if Bernie doesn't win the nomination, Thom will vote for her and her climate-destroying fracking and her militarism. Why? Just vote Republican.

Revolutionaries are saying Bernie or bust. http://BernieorBust.org

Old_Curmudgeon 6 years 28 weeks ago
#2

I’ve noted before that my studes were reading academic-literature ‘way back in the mid-‘70s that we were facing a specific-to-America Fascism. {This was back when the public’s furor screamed instead that we were headed into Socialism. Noop.} {Notice that this was prior to Reaganismo.}

waynesr9@yahoo.com's picture
waynesr9@yahoo.com 6 years 28 weeks ago
#3

Thom,

I know that you continually repeat that despair is not an option. Nevertheless, I am despairing. I watched the town hall that MSNBC aired which featured Marco Rubio. He denied climate change. He reached back into the past and made the suggestion that if you support Bernie Sanders perhaps your best choice would be to move to a country that has socialism, or the "America, love it or leave it" of the 60s. Ted Cruz wants to enrich the top 1% through his policies and not only that, but his father is telling the evangelicals that Ted should be king. John Kasich is the governor of my state and I have seen first hand how his regressive policies have devistated everyone except CEOs. His claims of greatness are simply not true. And my list of the agony Donald Trump would bring would be excessively long. I have been making phone calls for the Ohio Democratic Party and even though we have been given a list of likely Democratic voters, the apathy is terrifying. Thom, I am frightened that if we can't motivate our support, all will be lost. Sorry for dumping on you, but I needed to tell someone my thoughts.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 28 weeks ago
#4

There is not one individual with sufficient testicular fortitude to take on this conspiracy

Sadly, those who tried were assassinated

The only way to defeat this evil is by mass action

The wealthy are creating their own demise

U.S. Citizen's picture
U.S. Citizen 6 years 28 weeks ago
#5

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt

It is happening here.

The TPP would take us on a path beyond fascism towards direct corporate rule.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 28 weeks ago
#6

Sorry!

WHERE are those, like FDR, that have any interest in "we the people"?

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 28 weeks ago
#7

The liberty of democracy is not safe

And, part of the issue is... a weird system whereby congress can screw a president because of his skin colour... that is flawed... to be polite

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 28 weeks ago
#8

The Corpse media, a PBS channel of all things, "Nightly Business Report," reported tonight that the economic outlook is becoming dismal because of the possibility that Democrats may gain power in the next election. The report also showed the economic outlook to be much more positive when projections indicated the Teapublic Party would maintain majority control.

However it wasn't reported what a dismal economic outlook truly means, in conservative speak that is..... nope, that wasn't mentioned, so I'll do it......The economy will continue to work well for the 1% at the expense of the 99% if the Teapublic candidates hold on to their seats. If Bernie wins, the 1% will still remain very wealthy, but will have to share economic gain with those who create it......those being the 99%.....and according to the report, that would be a dismal turn of events.

The media has to a great extent lead us down the road to Fascistville....misinformation works very well for the wealthy, but is no less than a dagger in the backs of the working class. That the Teapublic Party still exists is living proof of this. Ask anyone why they would vote conservative? You'll never get an answer based on economic reality, an economy that works for the vast majority.

Conservative......I picture someone hopelessly trapped in their own fear and ignorance, someone controlled by slick billionaires and Fox News, and always on the wrong side of history. I see the Confederate South!

Liberal....someone who desires economic and social justice for all, always on the correct side of history.

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 6 years 28 weeks ago
#9

Election day should be a long holiday weekend as well as pervasive absentee ballots available for everyone, facilitating an accurate representation of the will of we the people.

richinfolsom 6 years 28 weeks ago
#10

Richinfolsom

Racism is alive and well in the halls of Congress where the Senate is hosting the political humiliation of the twice elected President of the United States. In fact, it appears the President has appeared to surrendered to the republican racially motivated coup de tat in violation of their oath to defend and protect the Constitution (and their duties set forth therein.)

Where is the outrage?

Elections have been turned into 'Survivor' reality TV shows and sanctioned by the complicit moderators unwilling to call out the racist, hateful, speech and calls by the billionaire that violence is a sign of strength.

Where is the outrage?

Cruz and Rubio hate the United States. Cruz says he will abolish the IRS. Rubio says he will do away with the EPA, who needs clean drinking water? They hate the black man in the White House. They hate government though they seek the most powerful job.

Where is the outrage?

An estimated 90 people die each day because of gun violence in a time when the NRA and the paranoid supremacists are busy buying millions more weapons in anticipation of their delusional belief that the black man is coming to take their rights and their guns.

Where is the outrage?

Fascism has raised its snake head in our politics of lies and deception by the media estate and the religion of internal war. Black America has long predicted these days of oppression in our economic, educational, criminal justice, and political injustice.

Where is the outrage?

Larry Taylor's picture
Larry Taylor 6 years 28 weeks ago
#11

The media has been treasonous in this election campaing. Luckily by taking money out of politics we can shorten the campaign season. Why not start the campaign in June, selections in August, Election in November. For now, we should NOT protest at Trump rallies, he just uses it to get stronger with his base. And I use the term "Base" literally. When he has nobody protesting, the people will start turning on each other.

KCRuger's picture
KCRuger 6 years 28 weeks ago
#12

Calling Trump a fascist might make you lefties feel good, but the fact is if Hitler never committed genocide or invaded other countries, he would have been right. He would have been serving the country that elected him. That is, in fact, their job, if they choose to do it properly. The kow-towing I see to people who want to allow an invasion of the U.S. is ridiculous.

I just voted for Bernie.

RRHolch's picture
RRHolch 6 years 28 weeks ago
#13

We hear all kinds of talk about Donald Trump(DT) these days. But without his supporters DT would be nothing. If you think about it, how could anyone vote for a snake oil salesman with a permanent bad hair day who doesn't believe a word that comes out of his own mouth? Shouldn't we really be questioning the judgment and mental capacity of those people who have so far been treated like they are normal voters. I think it's time to showcase the real problem here. The ignorant, racist, moron, knuckle draggers who think Trump can be the competent leader of a nuclear power. You may be thinking this idea is not very tolerant.

“Don’t get so tolerant that you tolerate intolerance.”

-Bill Mahr

So with that I mind I propose a new joke genre like polish jokes and blonde jokes of the past.

We can make up jokes about Trump Supporters and

we can have fun doing it.

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