Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Authoritarianism in America

I, personally, don't like to use the word "Fascism" because it is an inflammatory term, with a tendency to be misused as a knee-jerk reaction ("Islamo-fascists" anyone?), but this article by Stan Goff makes an excellently argued case that American Fascism is on the rise. Fascism is both an economic & political system, involving centrally planned capitalist corporate rule for the benefit of the elite, as well as a culture. One dominant aspect of American culture, is indeed militaristic, patriarchal, and racist.
Fascism traditionally employs either a master-race or master-culture narrative. This narrative is reinforced for troops on the ground in Iraq by the circumstances. The role of occupier is the role of dominator, and as the Stanford Prison Experiment proved dramatically, this dominator role very quickly translates into the dehumanization and objectification of the dominated. On the ground, at the infantry level, wars of domination in every instance become race wars.
What is especially interesting is his demonstration that many forms of oppression are intimately linked. He shows how economic insecurity helps to promote the sort of white supremicist, anti-feminist, and frankly racist reactions that are becoming more and more acceptable these days. It is "safe" for people to fire off vicious anti-Muslim and anti-Arab epithets, for example, or to put down feminist women (In fact, the comments on the article were peppered with statements like this one blaming anti-feminsm on "the weary perception that no matter how much you give women what they want, they won't be satisfied.")

I think it is so important for all of us on the Left to show, and to experience, solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters who are fighting against the many forms of oppression. One of my pet peeves is the term "identity politics", a phrase used only in a derogatory manner to delegitimize real struggles as if they are squabbles or rivalries.

Women and children everywhere are disproportionately bearing the brunt of war and poverty; the most devastating impacts of environmental destruction are borne by poor third world countries; immigrants and/or aboriginal populations form an underclass in many Western countries; racist societal structures cause disproportionate AIDS rates among black people ... I could go on. The point is that each of our little struggles is part of the great striving for a just world, against a domination-based society that enriches the few with wealth and power.

More reflection, solidarity

1 comment:

DBB said...

Have to have a link to this if you mention authoritarianism.