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What Is Fascism (American Style)? 2 of ?

August 20, 2015

I’ve been neglecting this episode that I think is one of the most important in this novel: the possible establishment of a form of government that I’m calling Fascism (American Style).  (Page 1)

I was reminded to get back to it by the last sentences of Paul Krugman’s 8-19-15 blog entry, “Trump in a Box,” (NYTimes column, “The Conscience of a Liberal”). After briefly describing various political-social-economic positions, he notes that one is currently unfilled, an “unserved population” of voters who (and now I’m paraphrasing as I understand Krugman’s point) want a helpful welfare state but only for white people. He suggests that maybe “Trumpism” tries to step into that empty space. And then he says:

“But it’s also possible that we’ll see the rise of a movement that needs a better name. Hmm. How about National Social Democracy? Any problems with that?”

I don’t think Krugman would waste space or argument being only sarcastic; I think he’s reminding us that something like that happened in Germany in the 1930s, and he’s granting that it can happen here. [Note well that Krugman clearly is not suggesting that Trump is equivalent to Hitler, and neither am I.]

And I remembered, too, Thom Hartmann’s presentation (in 2004) of the 1944 speech by Vice President Henry A. Wallace about the danger of an American fascist government.

I tend to think Fascism rather than Nazism because of Mussolini’s “Italian Style” of fusion of Government and Corporations. Il Duce appropriated Giovanni Gentile’s definition (Enciclopedia Italiana), including: “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

However, American racist prejudice might be a more powerful factor in contemporary America than was anti-Semitism in ‘30s Italy.  (I don’t know much about the latter, but see, for instance.*)

My point is that leading American corporate monopolists would gain sufficient control of government, through their (probably Republican) Party, on all levels, to make governance one of their tools in service of their personal business interests.

I’ll be thinking (out loud) more about an American style of fascism.

*In 1492, when the Jews were expelled from Spain, the Republic of Venice allowed some of them to settle there, in the area of the “iron works,” the “ghetto” in italiano, but at the end of each day they were required  to return to that area for the night.

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