Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Filled in guest post - Canadian fascist checklist

Taken without permission from - The 14 Characteristics of Fascism
by Lawrence Britt
Spring 2003
Free Inquiry magazine

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine's policy.

The 14 characteristics are:

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. - Hmmm, lets see. Demanding a portrait of the queen be placed in all embassies, suspending parliament for the olympics, and passing legislation that makes someone who prevents someone else from flying the Canadian flag on a balcony apartment building eligible for jail time? I think point one deserves a check

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. - By flatly refusing to allow one of the country's own citizens home from an illegal international prison where he has been tortured for crimes committed while he was a minor, check

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. Well, judging by the last seven years of attack ads and robocalls telling slander and lies to a sitting Liberal MPs riding five months after he won his seat in a majority government (as in, that seat is not up for grabs for at least four more years), not to mention the blocking of a legitimate democratically electoral coalition on the basis of scaring the population into thinking the "socialists and separatists" were dangerous, yes I accuse the Cons of treating all other parties as enemies by addressing them all with nothing but dirty tactics and epithets and I give them a check.

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. Hmm, do I even need to say anything. Let's just say the most expensive purchase that is about to be made in Canadian History ($36 billion) is for some jets that haven't even been built and won't necessarily function properly yet. It's from a quasi-private US government supported crony capitalist outfit Lockheed Martin, and against the public advice of several former top military brass and the private advice of the acting leadership, the government is pursuing this without opening the procurement to a competitive bid. They're going to need something to top all those Tim Horton's photo shoots in Kandahar. Plus the defence minister taking a military aircraft ($32,000 an hour) on a fishing trip. Check

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. The former Reform wing of this party was mostly made up of fundamentalist and evangelical "christians" and adhered to all of these values consistently and publicly. To get in government, Harper made them dial it down. I'll give them a half-check on this one since I know its how they want to act but abortion and gay rights are not seriously impaired or threatened in Canada at the present time.

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 sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common. Ha ha ha. Except for the CBC, which they would love to stop funding, the conservatives have a 24-7 partisan wackoff session with the Canadian media! They have two newspapers which are openly and loyally outright supportive (The Post-Canwest Chain and the Sun chain), a sometimes critical but mostly feeble and acquiescent highbrow daily (The Globe), and one supportive national magazine (Macleans), whose owners also own all three biggest private channels on TV (Global, CityTV, TVA, CTV, Rogers, Vidéotron) and all of the home phone, mobile, and cable and internet business in Canada. And as of yesterday, the most cash cow sports franchise on earth, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Are you f----- kidding me? Except for the hostile Toronto Star (read by a few million GTAians) and the mainly antipathic Quebec media (read by 8 million French people - guess what? The country has 26.5 million other people who've never looked at that stuff in their lives.), the Conservatives are very friendly with, and thus covertly control and influence, the vasy majority of this country's media - so check!

Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
There is an urgent need to merge our border and security apparatus with the United States for no other reason than complete stupidity since their legal system allows them to now do pretty much whatever the hell they want (Like torture you in Guantanamo Bay for watching youtube videos - see copyright legislation worming its way through congress). Plus all the "cracking down on illegal migrants" who, if they are indeed here, anyone has yet to experience difficulties with. Check

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. "God Bless Canada" after every election victory speech. I respond in my head to the Prime Minister every time - "Fuck off!" Check

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. Of course it is. Just ask any of the big five banks on bay street or give a call over to Suncor or Enbridge in Calgary. Check-er-oo

Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed . Well, ok its not that all the unions that got forced back to work (Air Canada, Canada Post, Fed Public Sector) are overpaid for doing either the physically draining or mind-numbingly boring work that they do, its just that the entities they are working for are broke, b. Air Canada and Canada Post would be bankrupted into oblivion the minute they lost their "crown corporation" status. So I would buckle down and carry on if I was them (which they have). But the government musing about making "the economy" an essential service? That earns them their ninth and a half "check"!

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. "Yes. Everyone who cannot afford an $11,000 taxpayer-funded junket to Boston to watch game 4 of the stanley cup final like the Prime Minister should just stay home listening to his friends in Nickelback or watch youtube videos of him singing Beatles songs" - check

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. See Greg Weston's article on from today about how the Conservatives created a $1 million lobbying watchdog and the RCMP is yet to enforce a single complaint that it has received, closing every single file without laying any charges. Even ones containing clear evidence of breaking the rules and wrongdoing. Not to mention this tough on crime omnibus bill fiasco, which is too depressing to even get into. Big fat check.

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and 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. Mines, oil, metals, wood, water. Whoever's taking all that stuff from us now, its their's for the taking and no one in power has any damn intention to alter that arrangement in any way whatsoever. The windfall to the Canadian public on that stuff, given its value, is a joke. Check.

Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections. The CPC is a beneficiary of A)At least 40 overrepresented, sparsely populated rural ridings, and another 40 overpopulated underrepresented urban ridings, and is guilty of at least 1 case of election fraud (the in and out scandal) which was settled out of court. The conservative party uses taxpayer funded propoganda (either direct mail or tax-deductible individual donations) to fund its powerful spin machine. Then the mainstream media gives a huge boost. But elections Canada is a very reputable bureaucracy that thus far has maintained its independence. We'll be generous with half a check.

Wow, let's tally it up. Final score 13 out of 14. Great job Conservatives! 92% You have officially received an "A" grade in your quest to transform Canada into a fascist state.

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