America has long had a traditional, easy to recognize, fascist political culture. This is the right wing of the republican party where coded statements are delivered to gin up the base, hide from the media and their political opponents and threaten specific demographics. The targets change sometimes going from “Reds” to “Queers” to “terrorists” but while committed members of the right wing of the right wing earnestly believe those groups pose a threat the managers of the reptile fund tend to care more about ginning up hysteria and votes (or suppressing votes for their opponents) than specific notions of who or what poses a “threat.”
If they have to call out environmentalists or feminists and then switch to Muslims or Jews it doesn’t matter to them. At the far right of course are the Klan and assorted neo-Nazis who of late have made a return to the wobbly and gelatinous heart of the republican party. Bereft of sufficient numbers and intelligence to generate enough votes to truly gain power they remain like a cancerous carbuncle on the face of the GOP. While Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan and his spineless cadre insist its not cancer and it’s really normal to have a Hitler mustache growing in the middle of your forehead the fact remains that the unpleasant but not quite fascist center holds.*
The other brand of American fascism has long been rumored to exist but has only lately burst onto the stage. This is the rude love child of Wall Street deregulation and the colonization of Civil Liberties by lawyers operating as the agents of the corporatists with their thousand page contracts that strip individuals of their rights while pushing their own rights based on the “idea” that corporations are people.
This is where you see famous actors, on the eve of the premier of some blockbuster or another, make a comment that’s critical of some politician or a war, and within 48 hours issue a retraction. Why? Because some clause amid those 1,000 pages says something to the effect of the party of the first part shall not make any public comment that in any way damages or may potentially cause economic harm to the party of the second party hereafter the company or corporation. Translation: you forfeit your first amendment right to speak freely when you work for us. Or don’t work for us but because of deregulation we are a monopoly and own everything or at least have a finger up the ass of everything so either we own you or maybe you can go get a mcjob…at 7/11…and starve.
Add to this a corrupt media which is itself a series of wholly owned subsidiaries of larger corporate entities and add to that the maelstrom of social media which is itself not a natural phenomenon like gravity but a series of corporations that are inside and also define the same corporate gulag as the entertainment empires and the banks and the politicians and you have a machine that both eats itself and eats the world.
And in this gladiatorial thunderdome what emerges now is that it is simply enough to be accused of anything (right now it’s sexual harassment but wait and that will change) to find that you’ve lost your job, lost your agent, lost your reputation and soon enough your ability to earn a living.
This is going to get worse before it (if ever) gets better.
Nations crumble under the toxic clouds of fascism and they never completely heal. Lives are lost, souls are bruised beyond redemption and everywhere the blood dimmed tide is set loose.
Reviews of the numbers of people victimized by sexual predators stagger the imagination. It reeks of the systemic and the ways in which corruption and evil become, banal. Notice though that with each passing day the number of people accused of something, grows and so does the number of people who have lost their livelihoods based only on an accusation.
The metaphorical image, the symbol, most used, is of some group forced into a uniform; perhaps a red robe with a white hat and this we understand is a sign for an idea. It says to us that before our very eyes and with our silent complicity a group of citizens will be transformed from human being to property.
Consider that idea is focused now on one traditionally marginalized and victimized demographic. And then take a moment to consider where the arrow will point next.
Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again And don’t speak too soon For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’ For the loser now will be later to win…
Ominous yet hopeful the words of the bard are themselves prone to change their meaning.
Make no mistake. Just because fascism tends to look like something recognizable from a film or a documentary doesn’t mean it can’t adapt; that it’s not a shapeshifter.
It’s still fascism. It’s still the mob dispensing rude sham justice.
And it’s still a catastrophe and a circular firing squad.
And everywhere the blood dimmed tide is loosed.
See the link below and consider that the agency, Dystel, Goodrich & Bourret, represents a woman accused of having been a madam for high-end “escorts.” In other words, whores and pimps yes, but that’s where they draw the (hypocritical) line.
*And yes, quite obviously the republicans often have help from fellow travelers in the liberal wing of the party who call themselves democrats but who, when it’s politically expedient, vote for things like mass incarcerations on the basis of ethnicity, mass surveillance, or executing American citizens based on what they claim is secret evidence and all of that is done while sucking on the firehose of money from billionaires and Wall Street pirates.