Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fascism, Anyone?

It's been a long, long time since I posted. Thanks to Jamie and all who participated in the "Bible and Politics" sojourn on this site over the summer.
Here's another Common Dreams piece worth the read as the term fascism gets tossed around in the political discourse of the moment.
Although the article does a fine job of reminding us of what fascism really looks like, I'm not sure the word has a lot of use anymore. It's historical precedent is lost to most folks and it has become like the "H-bomb" of calling someone "Hitler." It stops conversation and ends education -- although Lewis Lapham's recent piece in Harper's may be an exception.
Rather than calling the present powers-that-be fascist, would it be more useful to show people precisely how the interests of the people are being subverted to the interests of corporate power? That may be the definition of fascist, but calling Wal-Mart fascist doesn't move the political conversation anywhere when the vast majority of folks feel that they are living on an economic edge that makes finding "always low prices" feel more like a matter of survival than a matter of politics.
Of course, as Roosevelt knew amidst the rise of German and Italian fascism, fear itself is the fertile ground in which fascism's seeds are planted. Toiling in that ground is crucial if we are to move beyond a politics of fear into something more hopeful.

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