Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Fascist Twist

Just as Nobel Peace Prize winner Carl von Ossietzky warned Germany and the rest of the world of the rise of fascism in his "homeland," so writers Gore Vidal and now Naomi Wolf warn us of internal dangers facing the USA.

I mentioned Naomi Wolf's The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot (Chelsea Green, 2007) not too long ago. Since then, I've read it through once.

In this concise, easily digested 155-page paperback, Wolf lays out how nations can be taken over by an internal group bent on authoritarian control. She raises serious red flags about a "fascist shift" occurring in the USA since 9/11/2001.

Here's the outline of her analysis of the descent into fascism -- in ten easy steps:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
5. Harass citizens' groups.
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7. Target key individuals.
8. Control the press.
9. Declare all dissent to be treason.
10. Suspend the rule of law.

More on this soon, I suspect.

Naomi Wolf is probably better known as a Third Wave feminist; The Beauty Myth (1991) is one of my favorites. In it, she simply argues that women should be able to dress the way they want (fashionably or slovenly), on their own terms rather than because of external/internalized pressures. I find that argument absolutely convincing -- with personal freedom to choose as its core value. Freedom is her main concern in The End of America, as well.

Gwen Stafani chooses her own fashion statements. You bet your sweet bippy!

Today's Rune: Fertility.

Birthdays: Carl von Ossietzky, Gore Vidal, Alvin Toffler, Eddie Cohran, Chubby Checker, Keb Mo, Al Sharpton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jack Wagner, Clive Owen, Gwen Stefani, Neve Campbell, Alanna Ubach. And happy birthday to Gloria Garza!


Erik Donald France said...

From the NYT 10/4/07 online edition. "The Bush administration had entered uncharted legal territory beginning in 2002, holding prisoners outside the scrutiny of the International Red Cross and subjecting them to harrowing pressure tactics. They included slaps to the head; hours held naked in a frigid cell; days and nights without sleep while battered by thundering rock music; long periods manacled in stress positions; or the ultimate, waterboarding.

Never in history had the United States authorized such tactics. While President Bush and C.I.A. officials would later insist that the harsh measures produced crucial intelligence, many veteran interrogators, psychologists and other experts say that less coercive methods are equally or more effective." See "Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations"


Charles Gramlich said...

The warning signs of fascism in that piece are rather frightening considering the state of things.

Pythia3 said...

Very frightening, indeed.
Also frightening is how similar the state of our nation (and the world, for that matter) parallels my personal universe.
Thanks for this post - it is very important for all of us to know and act upon.
Gwen - what a beauty.
And, I must read that book; The Beauty Myth.
Have a lovely afternoon, Erik.

JR's Thumbprints said...

The descent into fascism list sounds alot like where I work.