Recent letters to the Duluth News-Tribune editor have
accused earlier letter writers of not knowing their history. The
letter writer of August 19 also alluded to a book entitled Liberal Fascism, which is one of
the recent American right-wing Rovian/Limbaughesque efforts to distract
attention from the legitimate, obvious and overwhelming similarities
between the far right-wing politics of the current Republican
Party and the far right-wing politics of World II-era Italy and
Germany (and Japan, for that matter). That letter-writer needs to go
back to the history books himself and learn about the history of European
fascism -- which is very good advice for the rest of us as well.
Fascism, in the various definitions outlined
in reputable textbooks, encyclopedias and dictionaries is a
right-wing (not left-wing!) ideology of negativism which attempts to
destroy liberalism, socialism, communism, true democracy, egalitarianism and
labor unionism. It also tends to be ultra-nationalist, racist, sexist, corporatist
As a political and economic system in Mussolini�s
Italy, fascism combined elements of corporatism, totalitarianism, nationalism
In Hitler�s Germany, political and economic fascism was
welcomed by the big money corporate interests that were afraid of the power of
the trade union movement. German fascism (Nazism) spawned
thuggery, street fighting (the infamous Brownshirts and SA) and routinely
disrupted, by intimidating and shouting down their anti-fascist
opponents, any attempt at open-minded public discourse. Election fraud was
rampant and there was an obsession with national security issues.
Two good places to start learning the forgotten
history of fascism are with Dr. Laurence Britt�s 14 points of fascism found
at here and with more at Wikipedia.
German Nazis literally smashed leftist printing presses
(and got away with it, with the right-wing Gestapo looking the other way) and
had anti-fascist activists (such as poets, artists, authors, union
activists and assorted nonviolent resisters -- many of whom were
Jewish) arrested, imprisoned, tortured and often executed. The Nazi
Brownshirts shouted down liberal legislators in the Reichstag (before
beating them, imprisoning them and burning down the building).
They used total press censorship as part of
a powerful and extensive network of right-wing propaganda
machinery, with ultimately total control of Germany�s mainstream
media and the outlawing of any alternative press.
Nazism was totalitarian, ultra-nationalistic,
militaristic, anti-Semitic, racist and it unashamedly tortured members of its
opposition. Alarmingly, it also co-opted German Christianity and turned it into
a punitive, pro-violent, virulently anti-Semitic religion (with swastikas
hanging from many pulpits) which then obediently went along
with Hitler�s military recruitment efforts, concentration camps and
the brutal invasion and occupation of sovereign nations.
Fascists like Hitler and his Big Business backers hated
liberals, socialists and the left-wing workers� rights movement, and they
successfully broke the unions just in time for Hitler�s war industry boom
that ultimately resulted in full (though not well-paid) employment and
Germany�s overwhelmingly powerful military machine.
The use of the words �socialist� and �workers� in the
name of Hitler�s political party (National Socialist German Worker�s
Party [NSDAP] from which the term Nazi was derived) was a token concession
to the leftist inclinations of voters such as poor farmers, the
under-employed and poorly paid workers and the many impoverished people who had
suffered so much under the hyperinflation, joblessness and
hunger resulting from the German militarists� gamble that started, and
then lost, World War I. The use of those two words turned out to be a
cruel joke that has confused many who haven�t taken the time to learn the
sobering facts of world history, especially the history of European
Though Hitler is dead, his spirit seems to be alive and
well. Fascism is, by definition, an extension of far right-wing politics
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks
like a duck, it�s a duck.
Fascism is a right-wing, anti-liberal ideology and should be
recognized as such.
There is no such thing as liberal fascism.
Dr. Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth,
MN, a member of Veterans for Peace, a peace and justice activist, and opposes
fascism in all its variations.