Henwood vs. Cockburn

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Tue Nov 16 06:50:46 PST 1999

>>> "Christine Peterson" <quintanus at hotmail.com> 11/16/99 12:16AM
The trip to fascism is really short. Because we compare Hitler to the devil so frequently, that makes it seem like fascism is unobtainable or still many steps beyond anything that any of the current US political parties could move into. My grandfather opposed it, not that they would let him vote, but my family just described how they really were told nothing about what was really going on until the very last months. The living conditions of people weren't so much different than anything they had experienced before under the kaiser and previously. the hitler youth was not that much different in substance than boyscouts and the flag salute and pep rallies. The people, not that they voted the nazis in, had not embraced 'naziism' as anyone understands it today. But at the same time, I'm not sure that there is a checklist of predictive signs for fascism that one can confidently avoid. german americans or american germans are really wary of weird third party people - old west germany could never elect someone like Jesse Ventura or a bad actor - but embracing 'moderates' can lead to some pretty horrid foreign policies being committed overseas. Isn't what has happened to Zaire and Indonesia and Central America and Lebanon and Iraq kind of ranking up there with Germany and poland?


Charles: I agree with what you say here. My "overly" cautious posture toward the militia or other American groups that don't have all the same characteristics as the original fascists is exactly because, as you imply, if fascism were to come to the U.S. , it would be a unique American form of fascism and not identical to that in Italy or Germany. That's why I look at the history of American fascist types, for example the KKK or the Confederates. And importantly, these American fascistic types were against centralized government, the opposite of the European fascists. In other words, the militias' focus against the federal government specifically ( overlooking state governments seemingly, as in Michigan) is exactly the characterisitic that we might expect in a unique American form of fascism.

It is also important that you point out that our hindsight of the Nazis puts us off of our guard. It makes us look for full blown fascists or the Devil, as you say. What we know about their result was not known nor probably dreamed of by most people in Germany. Afterall, the Italian Fascists didn't get anywhere near as bad as the Nazis. When the Nazis first got in , the vast majority of Germans did not think that they were going to carryout the worst mass murder and war in the history of humanity. They just seemed like sort of very vigorous patriots to most people, probably. Similarly, the militias are "patriots". In this regard, the militias are less threatening than the explicit fascists like the KKK and neo-Nazis, and could "slip in" where as the latter would be less likely to do so.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that the biggest mass murderer in the world today is the U.S. imperialist military. As we speak, genocide is being committed against Iraq. The count of Iraqi dead will start to approach the order of magnitude of that of the Nazi holocaust against the Jews if it is not stopped soon. And the stupidest part is that the American people think they can just murder 10s of thousands of people without some of the survivors taking revenge in some way some time. Of all those dead and ruined, don't you think that some orphan might grow up and conclude that their life has been ruined by this country, and make their life mission revenge ? The law of revenge or kharma is not ended. And it will be some poor, regular folks like you or me who gets it, not the big cigars who perpetrate it. Terrorists are not born , but made by oppressors.

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list