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Oh, no! Fascism!

By Al Schumann on Tuesday August 11, 2009 12:13 PM

Grateful acknowledgment to Jay Taber for providing this link.

America, it seems, is on the brink of fascism. Certified futurist Sara Robinson gives the alert in the link provided above. Eh... whatever. Historically, the effort to set fascism in motion is the panic-stricken response of an entrenched, wealthy elite that's facing a strong challenge to its power from a democratic social movement. There is no such challenge at this time. The entrenched, wealthy elite are getting everything they want from the Democratic administration in power. There is no challenge to that process from within the Democratic party. The useful idiot health care hecklers from the party of permanent, unappeasable resentment are providing cover for another massive looting, sold to the public in complete sentences by a rhetorically gifted salesman. The hecklers are, if anything, a gift from heaven. A collegial courtesy. Very little nutpicking need be done to make them all look deranged. While the rubes are gawking at the barking mad wingnuts, the insurance industry is happily toting up future returns on their wise investments. Any principled, nuanced opposition to that from the few real conservatives is not going to be heard. The left, needless to say, has already been evicted from the debate.

I'm hardly breaking new ground, or conceding anything to Robinson's argument, when I acknowledge that the Republican base consists of authoritarian followers. They'll work overtime for increases in private privilege and increases in the police powers of the state. They live in perpetual moral panic over trivia. They are highly vulnerable to white collar crime and the least stable of them make good recruits for thuggery in support of it. This has been studied in great detail by, among others, Jay Taber. It is a sad irony that this research performed in pursuit of the public good is being used to form the propaganda basis for the moral panic of another set of authoritarian followers, the merit stooges of the Democratic Party, who are also highly vulnerable to white collar crime, who are differentiated from the Republican base by the conviction that thuggery in support of it is A) the sole prerogative of the state, provided the state is managed by Democrats, and B) should be done through humanitarian wars managed by Democrats.

The state characteristics of fascism that were so troubling to Democrats during the Bush regime are still in place. The Patriot Act and Patriot II, affirmed by Barack Obama when he was a senator, are not going to be repealed. The torture hierarchy is not going to be prosecuted. The occupation of Iraq continues on the Bush plan, with a withdrawal to the "enduring" bases. The overseas contingency operations are on the rise and the war in Afghanistan is spilling over into Pakistan. The racist war on drugs is still popular. The power to police the internet is being increased. The secretary of state and the vice president are still rattling sabers. Private privilege remains lavishly funded and, now, also gets to speculate directly with tax payer money. Etc. etc. So, fascism? Oh no indeed. Perhaps we're supposed to take comfort in the complete sentences.

Comments (41)

The last certified futurist I encountered was on Italian late night TV. By phoning in your credit card number, she could read your future over the airwaves from a set of Tarot cards.

Where exactly does one get certified as a futurist?

Is it just me, or are the Sara(h)s who drop their aitches all raving molehill humpers?

According to her bio here http://www.cognitivepolicyworks.com/who-we-are/ one can be certified as a futurist at the University of Houston. As she resides in Vancouver, B.C., I assume that is an online degree program. Reading the info at the links she provides at the bottom of her article, a futurist is a valuable credential in public relations consulting. Branding, framing, and marketing for "practical progressives" and "real people" are some of the services she and her associates provide. Back in 2006, we had a discussion about her milieu on the noted UFO Breakfast Recipients blog.


For the curious, the UH program details are here


What prompted discussion of Ms. Robinson's milieu three summers ago was an article http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/08/tunnels-and-bridges-part-ii-nothing-to.html she wrote about finding common ground with people like the town hall disrupters.

I managed to salvage some UFOBR discussions, including the one about Ms. Robinson's 2006 article, here http://www.publicgood.org/reports/pdf/americanpsyche.pdf Unfortunately, the original UFOBR posts are no longer available.

Fascinating. They're fascists, but we can build bridges to them.

Then there's this stunning piece of paternalism and silly assumptions:

"Individual RWAs relax when they feel sure of who we are and what we stand for, even when they don't agree with it. They are impressed by strength, and have contempt for weakness – especially in those who seek to lead them. They will not trust us as long as we're ambiguous about our values and commitments. But once we start using clear language and taking clear, bold stands for what we cherish, they may at least be impressed with our moral strength even when they don't share our principles. Once their trust is engaged, and they are convinced they are dealing with morally serious people who are strong in their own beliefs and values, it becomes easier to lead them away from black-and-white thinking, and toward greater willingness to think in more complex terms."


P.S. Seems old Sara is "a 20 year veteran of Silicon Valley." Now, there's the nub of it...


Al's point, I think, was that right-wing thuggishness is only a part of fascism -- in this case, more a bit of paid theater than populist anger. Another, bigger part of it is the "caring" authoritarianism of the DP, and the educated gentry who identify with it.

Should we turn out to the town hall meetings to counter the creeps, and keep them from intimidating our neighbors? I dont know, but it's hard to do it for a sold-out health plan.

...Should we turn out to the town hall meetings to counter the creeps, and keep them from intimidating our neighbors?

Where were my "neighbors" when the Secretary of State was making sure that my candidate wouldn't appear on my state's ballot?

Now they're gabbling at me about how fusion voting is going to solve all my problems. Yeah, just like it did in New York State.

Fuck my "neighbors." Sideways.

I was going to write about this very same article but I just couldn't stop laughing. I mean, is she really that worried about the handful of obese unemployed white men and leftover Bircher senior citizens that have been showing up to her party's canned health care events? Besides, I thought the Promise Keepers where supposed to have overthrown the government and set up a Christian theocracy by now.

Michael Hureaux:

It's a tough call, isn't it, hce? I suppose if the Obamian health care carnival comes to Seattle, and it looks like the right is rallying its brownshirts here to suppress a public meeting, that I would support and participate in an actual defense unit for the meeting, even if it weren't a "socialist" action per se. I don't see it as that far removed from defense of planned parenthood clinics, and I've never seen NOW or any boojwah women's outfit as being particularly militant enough. Given the increasing nastiness of the race-baiting coming from some sections of the rightie anti-Obama forces, I'd participate regardless of Obama's politics. We have to say no to the White Citizen's Council, whether they're in robes or not.

...We have to say no to the White Citizen's Council, whether they're in robes or not.

[shrug] And instead of interpreting your support as a sign that you deserve respect where your goals diverge from theirs, they interpret your support as a sign that you are a resource to be sucked empty and then discarded if you are unwilling to be wholly incorporated come election time.

It's the same thing that happens over and over again.

No, I'm sorry. I don't think that I can do this anymore. Not without some acknowledgment on their that Their Hero's machinations are as much to blame for the current Pro-Wrestling-style theatrics as the Right Wing is to blame.

There are two parallel counterrevolutionary confusionist tactics: the partial cooption of new values, and a deliberately anticultural industrially facilitated production (novels, films), the latter being a natural continuation of the imbecilization of young people begun in their schools and families.

It is no longer a matter of noting the increasingly massive use of commercial publicity to influence judgments about cultural creation. We have arrived at a stage of ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex. The complex operation of sales techniques has reached the point of surprising even the ad professionals by automatically creating pseudosubjects of cultural debate.

The abundance of televised imbecilities is probably one of the reasons for the American working class’s inability to develop any political consciousness.

--Guy DeBord, 1957


Mon, I was waiting eagerly for SMBIVA and friends to comment on this carnival of ironies heaped upon stupidities heaped upon ironies, and ya'll did not disappoint me.

That the belching birthers and the merit babies are all part of the same continuum indicates that we're in for something even scarier than fasces... like the heat death of the universe.


That said, I wish I had the fortitude to get beyond the house of mirrors and act on M Hureaux's posish... but I don't think I do.

Fortunately, we can jam the delinquents without defending the "merit babies". As an illustration, we once intervened in a ruckus by white supremacists rallying resentment against brown-skinned immigrants by back-grounding the leadership of the brownshirts, as well as the arms-length white collar social entrepreneurs.

Long story short, the brownshirt bigot had a felony conviction on file at the courthouse for having repeated sexual intercourse with his nine-year-old foster daughter. Likewise, the white collar behind-the-scenes choreographer had a courthouse file from his divorce that revealed non-support of his developmentally-disabled child while he and his new girlfriend lived in a posh new condo.

Need I say that by getting these public records into print media we were doing the Lord's work? Of course, one doesn't always get so lucky, but you never know until you look.

Here's a sweet example http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/8/11/16566/1592#here of applied research in action by Bruce Wilson.


love it when the comment cages here growl at
a hysterical cheer leading numb skull
who ???
"people like Chip Berlet and Dave Neiwert
and Fred Clarkson ..."

seems the hegel for these titans
vividly dated historian "Robert Paxton"

does this sound like our type of wingnuts???

".... obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity..."

see a sizeable org along these lines???

" .. a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites "

is this the direction of the far right ???

" abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

hey hegemons don't need a real topsy turvey party

only small outfits playing one
on cabel news
and talk radio

a nation like russia ???
now that's a different story
maybe ...some day


mass media produced " imbecilization" of the prolery ???

i don't subscribe
to any of the brainwash schools
of muted class struggle

but then i would like to know why uncle tortures folks???
they know it don't work as official justified

they figure the terror state
i guess if its terrific enough
induces futile gestures
of retaliatory fight back
by rootless double dome marginalia

gestures that quite nicely
freak the hearts and minds
of the middle ballast
of a successful modern society


oh ya
and state acts of virile terror
like james bondage torture
plays well
among the angst-ed up
bored frustrated
shamefully corporate cowed
dom-nat yahoos

hard hat humanism
by i p blood

Thanks to Mr. Dawson for the Cyrano's Journal http://www.bestcyrano.org/ link!


"I thought the Promise Keepers where supposed to have overthrown the government and set up a Christian theocracy by now."

they did. it collapsed into factions in 1997. all that's left of their once mighty empire is three square blocks of a denver suburb.

Linda J:

Let the brownshits prevail! SOMEONE needs to kill Obamacare. Why should I lift a finger, when they've got it covered?

By the way, Michael, McDermott is having a healthcare summit this very evening in Seattle. Go with God -- but don't forget he's invisible.


Historically, the effort to set fascism in motion is the panic-stricken response of an entrenched, wealthy elite that's facing a strong challenge to its power from a democratic social movement.
Alright, you've convinced me. We need to be ever vigilant lest such a movement ever arise, whereupon we shall strangle the viper in its cradle. Of course, something can't be right if people are putting vipers in cradles in the first place.


Jay: thanks for quoting Debord. He does raise the question, can we overthrow spectacle within spectacle? What does it mean when spectres fight each other?

Michael Hureaux:

I don't know, you guys. It's pretty weird that Dave Lindorf and some other folks out there have more faith in making common cause with the right wing dingalings at these meetings then they do with the idea of going to those meetings to try to figure out what sections of the labor movement are awakening and which ones we can make common cause with. I'm well on board with not having much use for Jim McDermott or any of the "democrats", but I think we ought not to toss out the idea of a common labor defense before we're sure it's played out. Right now, much of labor is with the democrats, but not all.

As for the DeBord quotes, they were written in 1957, long before the spectacle began to function on the premise that it's possible to hang platinum barbed wire in the nurseries everywhere. We'll see whether the farce can really hold. People can't live on bullets or anti-depressants.

Sara seems oblivious to the fact that if this bullshit "reform" were being pushed by President McCain, she and her brethren would probably have claimed to be foursquare against it right from the start-- reversing roles with the "brown shirts."

And I'm sorry, but seeing somebody write with a straight face that Democrats are handling this with their "usual elan" was almost enough to make me splatter the keyboard with my half-digested lunch. Good God.

...Right now, much of labor is with the democrats, but not all...

I'm sure you're correct, Mike H. I'm sure that's also true of every other activist group you could name. Feminists, anti-racists, take your pick. Yet when push comes to shove, somehow at the end of the day it all ends up being, once more, about lying down one more time for Democrats. Anyone who refuses is marginalized. Where was Little Miss ZOMFG!FASCISM when Greens and other Left-leaning indies were being forcibly ejected from Obama's stupid hearings in D.C.? If only the protesters on the Left had said something cruel about a dying Michael Jackson as they were being thrown out... maybe then these "progressive" yahoos in Blogland could've stirred themselves to give a fuck.

Ms. Robinson, like other yuppie Democrats who gain a platform by wrapping themselves in human rights garb, is a menace, not because she is credible, but because with a national media megaphone she perpetuates misperceptions and contributes to the noise, when what is needed is thoughtful, honest discussion.

There aren't many places where that takes place, but slowly, partly due to stalwart blogs like this one, new recruits and old hands have a venue for education, mentoring, and offering a considered perspective to alternative media.

If the human rights industry in the US wants to maintain any credibility, they are soon going to have to confront the reality of the Obama betrayal. Pro-democracy, by definition, is anti-fraud; covering for the colossal frauds of Obama and the Democratic Party, by ommitting the subject from discussion on their websites or by censoring comments critical of Obama, won't get them off the hook. Obama's health care, warfare, and bank bailouts are crimes against humanity; pretending otherwise is unconscionable.


Well said, JT. The thing I feared most (and predicted over a year ago) about Obama's election was the precise know-nothing paleotrog vs. knee-jerk gliberal "spectacle within the spectacle" (as someone here nicely put it) we're getting in king-sized doses right now.

Michael Hureaux:

Yo, Ms. Xeno. Who knows from correct, it's all just semi-educated guesses at this point. But what I do know is that every period before uprising looks a lot like our own, extreme atomization of the public, with a handful of what are called "active" elements parading in isolated pockets, and all of these playing for the attention of the Whigs and the "democrats" before the early "republican" party figured out a hybrid that could win power and,unwittingly for the most part, force an escalation of the slavery question. Check out the history of U.S. micro-sects in the ten years before the U.S. Civil War, or the decade and a half before the emergence of the CIO- which, in its cutting edge years, organized vast swaths of the unorganized. or the isolation of various components of the Civil Rights movement in the decade and a half before Montgomery. They all had to dance a dance as akward as our own, but there did come qualitative change, if just for a brief period. Maybe that's all we get, I don't know. But I do believe we're going to see a a storm in the break if we keep our noses to the ground and our powder dry, as said Cromwell.

"We need to make absolutely sure that the media get the story right."


Partial Transcript of Sara Robinson's call to Fox News Channel:

Fox: Fox News, how may we help you?

SR: Hello, this is Sara Robinson.

Fox: Hello.

SR: I'm a 20-year veteran of Silicon Valley, you know...


this is the true face of modern fascism: http://tr.im/wq5w

read it aloud to the end and get an emancipated pony

Mike H., wherever this uprising starts from, I'm guessing it won't be here in San Francisco-Lite. Your odds are probably better someplace like Detroit.

Too many people here who could serve as case studies for whatever's wrong with Lady Sara. :/

Michael Hureaux:

Got to have a hobby, I suppose mine is the hopeless cause. But things can flare up where they are least expected to, and sometimes do, even in San Francisco lite, wherever that is, Ms. X.

Regarding the Public Good report American Psyche linked above, I separated out the subsection on Liberalism in a 2006 post here:


News flash to Howie Dean: They just compromised the compromise, bro.


Now, Dembot "activists" and Silicon Valley veterans: Onward to the defense of the compromised compromise (until it itself gets compromised)!

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