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It Can’t Happen Here?

 

 

            I borrowed the title of this essay from the novel by Sinclair Lewis that warned of the coming of fascism to America. Of course, most Americans first reaction is that this is an impossibility in the home of the brave & the land of the free but is it? Fascism per se, isn’t really what I wish to discuss. The recent headlines regarding the political, economic, social turmoil going on in Greece is what sparked the idea for this piece. It dawned on me that Greece is the home of what we like to refer to as Western civilization, whatever that term may mean when you consider that we, America, attempted the genocide of the Native indigenous people who lived here long before we came here. And we mustn’t forget our ugly history of building the prosperity of this nation on the backs of people our forefathers enslaved and treated worse or little better than farm animals.

cops in Greece obeying their corporate masters

 

            Sinclair Lewis was the first American to win the Nobel Prize and I would include him in a list of famous American muckrakers i.e. “…a group of reformers whose writings drew public attention to corruption in politics and business and to other social ills.” (Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia) In the spirit of muckraking, I am concerned that the breakdown of the social fabric in Greece can happen here in America as well and this isn’t meant to scare people but to hopefully inform and inspire my countrymen to get involved. Greece has been in a deep economic recession for several years and now is officially in an economic Depression. Some may argue that it couldn’t happen here because we are so powerful  or critical to the world economic system but I fear that this may be more the result of our hubris (arrogant pride or presumption) , that fatal defect in character that brought down the ancient Greek empire as well as the Roman empire and the British empire.

idyllic Greece

 

            When societies, like individuals, become so self-inflated with their sense of righteousness, military prowess, and knowing what’s right for everybody else e.g. America’s perpetual intrusion in other nation’s affairs & proclamations that we are bringing “freedom & democracy” to the developing world, you can trust that hubris is speaking. And our arrogance could very well be our downfall.

 

            In the overall analysis, the world-wide economic crash of 2008 was due to the intricate interconnectedness of the global economic system. It should now be common knowledge to us all that this crisis which has caused so much pain, suffering, & upheaval to people’s lives was the result of the unbridled greed & corruption of the financial elite e.g. bankers, credit rating agencies, investment firms, credit rating agencies, and numerous governmental agencies responsible for regulating and overseeing these institutions. But because politicians and corporate owners & C.E.O.s have developed such an incestuous relationship, we, the citizens of the world have been suckered and thrown into the gutter, like so much garbage. Our labor has become redundant and we are useful only as long as we are able to buy their products or serve in their military. There is an adage attributed to Italy’s infamous dictator, Benito Mussolini which goes “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

friendly fascists & Nazis i.e. friends to America's corporate elite

 

            You may accuse me of being an alarmist, an extremist, a fear monger, etc. but if I may remind you of the quote by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Hell, most Americans not only don’t remember the past, they never even learned it! And I speak as an educator who has worked for over 20 years in the public schooling system. Perhaps a brief review of what is going on in American politics would help to connect the dots in what I see as a creeping fascism here and which quite frankly scares the Hell out of me?

 

            First & foremost in the war of the corporatists against the public, and yes, I consider it a war when they are fraudulently kicking people out of their homes, stealing their pensions, taking away their health insurance, etc., is their major weapon which they use to confuse, distract, & manipulate the citizens of America i.e. FOX News, and the mainstream media to a large extent. FOX News lies to us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, every week of the year and year after year. If you watch it for say several days with a critical eye looking for bias, prejudice, dogma, etc., you will soon see a pattern or agenda that clearly represents and attempts to paint corporate America as our champion and anyone who dares to challenge corporate America is portrayed as the enemy of the United States. To be quite frank with you, I simply can’t stomach watching more than a few minutes at a time of FOX because it makes me nauseous.

 

            In the past couple of years, we have witnessed the Supreme Court granting corporations the right to “donate” as much money as they want to politicians which has effectively legalized the buying of politicians by corporate America. At least they used to have to sneak around the law to do this but not it’s right out in the open or I should say, blatant but the corporations and the politicians don’t have to disclose who gave them the money for their reelection campaigns. This is what is known as “Democracy” and also what we are forcing down the throats of many reluctant/resistant nations around the world with the assistance of our military forces and our mercenary forces such as Blackwater, Inc. We have also experienced the all out assault on public employee unions. Private employer unions have been almost totally squashed and now it’s time to silence public employee unions such as teachers’ unions, postal workers’ unions, nurses’ unions, etc. You see, unions are the archenemy of the corporate cockroaches because they stand in the way of ever greater profits for the greedy vultures. By the way, before I forget it, if you’d care to hear a much more eloquent argument of how fascism is creeping over  America I strongly recommend Naomi Wolff, a Rhodes Scholar—the highest or most prestigious scholarship a person can earn— and her book The End of America. I know that I said that fascism isn’t what this essay is about but perhaps I misspoke? Because fascism, or more succinctly, the greed of corporate behemoths is behind the economic cataclysm that is rocking our world and threatens to engulf us all, not just Greece and a few other countries that the power elite think are insignificant. 

Greece today, America tomorrow?

 

            In conclusion, I want to share a bit more of history with you. I seem to be some sort of freak of nature because I am blessed/cursed with a fairly good memory? Anyway, what we euphemistically called “The Great Depression” I learned awhile back was originally called “The Republican Depression,” because it was the great Robber Barons of the 1890s through the 1920s e.g. Rockefeller, Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, etc. who through their avarice and shortsightedness created the conditions for the collapse. They didn’t care for the public relations image and got it renamed “The Great Depression.” By the way, another little episode that may interest you is the fact that some of these same corporate cockroaches attempted a coup against Franklin D. Roosevelt because of his New Deal policies. How dare a president establish federal policies and laws to help the citizens of America? What an affront to the delicate sensibilities of the elite! Oh yeah, and did you know that many of our corporate powers that be before and during WWII as we were fighting the Nazis of Germany, the fascists of Italy, and Japan, were doing business with them and even sued the U.S. government for damages to their factories because of the war and won? Yeah, there is a whole hell of a lot that most Americans don’t know about our inglorious history and that’s why the bastards/whores at FOX News, etc. can pull the wool over the public’s eyes. War profiteering used to be considered illegal and even treasonous but in today’s world, it’s perfectly legal and simply business as usual. And as the middle class in Greece are sadly realizing as they dig through dumpsters looking for scraps of food, we too may soon find ourselves begging for bread as the French did before the French Revolution. Oh yeah, have you heard? Larry Summers, one of the main culprits in this world-wide economic tailspin, who was appointed by President Obama, whom by the way, I voted for, may be appointed to be the leader of the World Bank? Yeah, the hubris and the greed and corruption of the status quo are truly breathtaking and mind-numbing but hey, it can’t happen here! 

 

     Oh yeah, it can happen here and it is happening here. The so-called “austerity” measures that are being forced on Greece are being forced on us in America as well. The power elite have been very vocal and very clear about their goal of completing eliminating every last vestige of FDR’s “New Deal” and have been working steadily towards that goal ever since it was made into law. You see, “austerity” (sternness; moral severity; severe simplicity, e.g. of economies) is demanded by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) of Greece before they will “loan” them money to help bail-out their economy. It’s beyond perverse (deliberately or stubbornly departing from what is reasonable or required) for the IMF & the European Union to be placing these demands on Greece. The IMF, WTO (World Trade Organization), the World Bank, etc. are the institutions mostly responsible for the world-wide economic recession/depression. Do a little research on your own if you want to get a much wider perspective. And as for “austerity” were it not for the deadly seriousness of this subject it would be laughable because only those at the bottom of society are expected to sacrifice. The one-tenth of the 1% of those who truly are ruling the planet, are never forced to give up a god-damned thing. Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, perhaps the most powerful position in our economic system, was questioned by a Congressional committee a few years ago about his role in the economic collapse and he half-heartedly admitted he’d made a few mistakes on such mundance matters as the “free market” and “deregulation.” This man, an ardent follower of the goddess of greed is good, Ayn Rand, and who had such an enormous impact on U.S. economic policy over the past decades and was an advisor to noneother than Ronnie Reagan, the let them eat catsup as a vegetable in their free school lunches, says “Oops?” and as a result of his “mistake” millions of Americans lose their homes, their jobs, their self-respect?

 

     I say that Greenspan, Bernanke, Summers, Geitner, et al be thrown in the worst prisons we have in America for life with no chance of parole. Every banker, investment firm, credit rating agency, mortgage lender, securities investors, etc. around the globe who participated, profited, & produced the intricate web of schemes that caused this Depression should also be locked up for life. Why is it that the calls for “austerity” only apply to food stamps, unemployment, welfare, health care, public education, etc. but never to the welfare for the rich programs e.g. tax breaks, tax havens, govrenment subsidies, bail-outs, government grants for research & development, or in short, the military/industrial complex? The so-called “FOX News” and the mainstream minions for media moguls like Murdoch have deliberately been misinforming the American public about the Occupy Wall St. movement because they don’t want us to connect the dots and because they are whores for the wealthy and have sold their souls for wealth and prestige. They tell the gullible public who watch and read their “news programs” that the protesters are nothing but a bunch of dirty hippies who don’t have a job or refuse to work and just enjoy causing trouble. This is a blatant lie and clear proof of the propaganda system we are duped into believing is factual and objective. Here are a few of the goals of the Occupy Wall St. movement that is alive and well throughout this country:

 

Some protesters want, in part, more and better jobs, more equal distribution of income, bank reform, and a reduction of the influence of corporations on politics. ….

the goal of the protests is economic justice, specifically, a “transaction tax” on international financial speculation, the reinstatement of the Glass-Stegall Act and the revocation of corporate personhood.[28]

   (Ayn Rand, the goddess of greed is good, heroine to Republicans)

     These goals are what we in America and those suffering people in Greece and around the world all have in common. We are united in our pain, our daily degradation and humiliation, our hunger, our homelessness, our inability to do work that is personally satisfying, our helplessness as we or are loved ones slowly die from easily preventable diseases but because we have no health insurance we are forced to sit by with broken hearts, we are united in our sadness as we watch our beloved forests, oceans, lakes, rivers, our environment grows more ugly and deadly before our eyes, and we are united in our enforced ignorance. And if we remain ignorant whether innocently or willfully, and if we remain apathetic, and if we don’t unite, the corporate cockroaches will not stop until they have sucked every last penny out of this world and all we have left is a barren wasteland so poisonous and polluted that death would be a welcome relief. So please wake up my  fellow citizens, and speak up and join in the forming world-wide occupy movement to take back our rights as citizens of the planet because it can happen here!

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