A Brief History of Fascism in the United States

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German-American Bund summer camp Long Island, New York – 1939

“We could become the first country to go fascist through free elections.” William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Generally we avoid using forms of the word “fascism” in polite company, and until recently, a person citing parallels between Nazi Germany and the current United States would invite elevated eyelids along with the outworn charge of sounding like a “conspiracy theorist“. The current electoral cycle seems to be changing that, so I will trust that now is the right time to convey some ideas I’ve been marinating regarding fascism in my US Homeland. The ruling plutocrats are clearly ferrying the ship of State along that current, so if fascism is destined to be a part of our lives, perhaps we should quit pretending we can’t see the ugly elephant in the room and somehow respond to it.

In discussing fascism as it exists in the United States, an accurate definition is in order. If we can see past lurid images of swastikas, jackboots, and death camps, we might realize that some elements of fascism, such as presumed racial and religious superiority, have existed in the US since its inception and are more pervasive than we have so far acknowledged. While the historical racism responsible for the US slave trade, the ongoing genocide of American aborigines, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazism all reflect symptoms included in the fascist impulse, I am using the term “fascism” in its post-World War 2 context, which involves the rise of the Corporation as amoral tyrant.

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