Saturday, 25 April 2015

A distressingly familiar list in Abbott's Australia

So far in Abbott's Australia thirteen of the fourteen signs of fascism have become obvious elements in the national government's interaction with citizens and/or in the formation of government policies.

Fourteen Signs of Fascism*

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism—Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. 

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights—Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need".  The people tend to 'look the other way' or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. 

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause—The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. 

4. Supremacy of the Military—Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. 

5. Rampant Sexism—The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, 
traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy. 

6. Controlled Mass Media—Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or through sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common. 

7. Obsession with National Security—Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses. 

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined—Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions. 

9. Corporate Power is Protected—The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite. 

10. Labour Power is Suppressed—Because the organizing power of labour is the only real threat to a fascist government, labour unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed. 

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts—Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free-expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment—Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses, and even forego civil liberties, in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption—Fascist regimes are almost always governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions, and who use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections—Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against (or even the assassination of) opposition candidates, the use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and the manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

* Attributed to Dr. Lawrence Britt, a name which is possibly a pseudonym

* Photographs found at Google Images

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Thanks for sharing this list and provoking thought and discussion. I've seen this before and I have problems with some of its definitions, in terms of their inclusion or in terms of degree of severity.

The "supremacy of the military" for instance really means that society as a whole is regimented to the point that every neighbourhood has someone officially watching to make sure you tow the line, with the power to tow you away if you don't.

Corporate power is not so much protected as cooped and subordinated to that of the regime, and traditionally fascist states are opposed to free markets.

Religion, likewise, is not so much intertwined as it is exploited, although the description they give once you get past the sub-heading is more accurate.

Media control means that you cannot share posts like this. And elections are not just manipulated, but opposition parties are banned outright.

I really don't think we truly appreciate how much life sucks under fascist regimes, and I'm not keen on diluting our understanding of it. Having family that lived either under the Third Reich or the German Democratic Republic possibly colours my perceptions on this one.

I also think we don't need to call conservative governments fascist in order to condemn them. We can do that purely on their own terms. Only so bad is still pretty bad and the Abbott Government is appalling in many ways.