For the past few years I’ve been saying in private how I think the nation is sliding towards fascism. I don’t like saying it, nor do I enjoy contemplating this thesis. It’s sickening to examine; yet if we are to remain free, we must have the resolve to do just that. So, I am heartened today to find Naomi Wolfe’s treatise on the subject, published by The Guardian (outside the U.S., of course).
It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable – as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.
Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.
Wolfe then goes on to list 10 steps, a “blueprint” she calls it, that leads a nation into fascism.
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
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. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law
She argues in detail that the Bush administration is engaged in ALL of these atrocities against our history and our people. We all need to judge for ourselves the merit of her claims. Personally, I feel that claims 4, 8, 9 and 10 are beyond reproach. And while I’m mad about all 10 points, number 8–control the press–is for me a particularly poignant issue. For instance, there is so little press coming out of Iraq. The only TV news organization with any credibility on the topic is Frontline on PBS, a program Newsday calls “Television’s last fully serious bastion of journalism.”