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Henry A. Wallace's Warning of American Fascism

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Fascism is a worldwide disease. Its greatest threat to the United States will come after the war, either via Latin America or within the United States itself.

Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after "the present unpleasantness" ceases:

The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination against other religious, racial or economic groups. Likewise, many people whose patriotism is their proudest boast play Hitler's game by retailing distrust of our Allies and by giving currency to snide suspicions without foundation in fact.

The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

Several leaders of industry in this country who have gained a new vision of the meaning of opportunity through co-operation with government have warned the public openly that there are some selfish groups in industry who are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage. We all know the part that the cartels played in bringing Hitler to power, and the rule the giant German trusts have played in Nazi conquests. Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself.

It has been claimed at times that our modern age of technology facilitates dictatorship. What we must understand is that the industries, processes, and inventions created by modern science can be used either to subjugate or liberate. The choice is up to us. The myth of fascist efficiency has deluded many people. It was Mussolini's vaunted claim that he "made the trains run on time." In the end, however, he brought to the Italian people impoverishment and defeat. It was Hitler's claim that he eliminated all unemployment in Germany. Neither is there unemployment in a prison camp.

Democracy to crush fascism internally must demonstrate its capacity to "make the trains run on time." It must develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels. As long as scientific research and inventive ingenuity outran our ability to devise social mechanisms to raise the living standards of the people, we may expect the liberal potential of the United States to increase. If this liberal potential is properly channeled, we may expect the area of freedom of the United States to increase. The problem is to spend up our rate of social invention in the service of the welfare of all the people.

The worldwide, agelong struggle between fascism and democracy will not stop when the fighting ends in Germany and Japan. Democracy can win the peace only if it does two things:
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Speeds up the rate of political and economic inventions so that both production and, especially, distribution can match in their power and practical effect on the daily life of the common man the immense and growing volume of scientific research, mechanical invention and management technique. Vivifies with the greatest intensity the spiritual processes which are both the foundation and the very essence of democracy.

The moral and spiritual aspects of both personal and international relationships have a practical bearing which so-called practical men deny. This dullness of vision regarding the importance of the general welfare to the individual is the measure of the failure of our schools and churches to teach the spiritual significance of genuine democracy. Until democracy in effective enthusiastic action fills the vacuum created by the power of modern inventions, we may expect the fascists to increase in power after the war both in the United States and in the world.

Fascism in the postwar inevitably will push steadily for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and eventually for war with Russia. Already American fascists are talking and writing about this conflict and using it as an excuse for their internal hatreds and intolerances toward certain races, creeds and classes.

It should also be evident that exhibitions of the native brand of fascism are not confined to any single section, class or religion. Happily, it can be said that as yet fascism has not captured a predominant place in the outlook of any American section, class or religion. It may be encountered in Wall Street, Main Street or Tobacco Road. Some even suspect that they can detect incipient traces of it along the Potomac. It is an infectious disease, and we must all be on our guard against intolerance, bigotry and the pretension of invidious distinction. But if we put our trust in the common sense of common men and "with malice toward none and charity for all" go forward on the great adventure of making political, economic and social democracy a practical reality, we shall not fail.
After Germany and Japan were defeated in World War II and the reviled FDR was finally dead the fascist/corporatist right in America went about the business of mounting a withering campaign against their true enemy – an egalitarian society in which individual prosperity trumped corporate profits and robber barons. As I stated above this was a gradual process but it was essential to first sow the seeds of discontent by poisoning the discourse. As Wallace stated in his New York Times column that I included above (obtained via Truthout): "American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.". In this sad and sorry era of reich-wing message control and full spectrum dominance provided by the goose-stepping mouthpieces of corporatism and fascism in the mainstream media he has become nothing less than a modern day prophet. He was intimately familiar with a particularly vile piece of work named Father Charles Coughlin. Coughlin was a raging demagogue and tool of the fascist oligarchs who took to the airwaves to foment hatred for FDR and The New Deal (often referred to as the “Jew Deal” by the miscreants inspired by his ravings) by utilizing such successful right-wing tactics as Jew baiting, attacks on Communists and general rabble rousing to fan the flames of discontent that were sweeping a country ravaged by the grossest excesses of looter capitalism that resulted in the Great Depression.
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Father Coughlin was the prototype for an overweight, mean-spirited loser of a gasbag named Rush Limbaugh who would rise from obscurity nearly a half century later. Limbaugh, like Coughlin would capitalize on the misery of others by tapping into the anger and alienation of those who were ravaged by the farm crisis by taking advantage of the desperate victims in order to offer up convenient scapegoats (liberals, minorities, women and gays) to poison the heartland and become a political kingmaker. The ultimate success of Limbaugh and the crowning of George W. Bush eerily parallel Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here where the rise of a conservative southern politician was facilitated by the virulence of a radio demagogue and the implementation of a flag wrapped authoritarian regime who brought fascism to America long before it officially became known as The Homeland.
In fact it was Lewis who was responsible for the quote: "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross". The fascists do their homework, Joseph Goebbels was a huge fan of the extremely influential father of public relations Edward Bernays whose contributions to the big lie that capitalism and democracy are one and the same can't be understated - for an excellent look at the influence of Bernays on American society there is an outstanding BBC documentary entitled The Century Of The Self by British filmmaker Adam Curtis available that I would strongly recommend. You can find this on the internet as it will never be shown on American television for obvious reasons. Only in this through the looking glass land of Orwellian proportion that is post 9/11 America does all of this become most ominous and more apparent.

But I digress….

After serving one term as Vice President, Wallace was thrown under the bus by the moneychangers in the Democratic party and the ruling oligarchy for his outspoken views and vision for the future - especially after a Latin American tour during which he championed fair wages and good working conditions for those who would in the future be deemed dangerous by the filthy thugs who run the looter capitalist system and would be slaughtered by the thousands by U.S. supported goons but that is a story for another time.

He was replaced by Harry Truman, a man of contradictions who was the first world leader to use nuclear weapons on civilians, a man who launched a purge of ‘Communist sympathizers’ in the government ranks and kicked off the Cold War with the Truman Doctrine while also pushing for desegregation in the military, universal health care and the rights of labor with the Fair Deal. Truman also presided over a regime that served as a midwife during the birth of the state of Israel and created the CIA which would later become a veritable Gestapo for Wall Street. It’s really no wonder that Truman has been the president most often invoked by the pocket media in these troubled times (other than the hallowed ‘Gipper’) when the current crop of amoral charlatans and rank corporate and militarist whores seek to draw comparisons to a former president. The great and mighty unitary executive/dictator George W. Bush himself often tries to channel Truman (whenever it he isn’t talking to God or the Son of Sam’s dog or whatever other voice happens to pop into his head) when seeking justification for his global militarism and his domestic desecration of the Constitution.
Wallace, after being unceremoniously dumped as Commerce Secretary (a consolation position for the former V.P.) by ‘Give ‘Em Hell’ Harry ran as a Progressive party candidate in 1948 on a platform of ending segregation, giving voting rights to blacks and providing universal health care – that certainly didn’t go over with the American fascists seeking to reshape the post WW II world into a Gilded Age style paradise. He was of course denounced as a Commie, a dangerous leftist and a potential enemy of the nascent looter capitalist empire that having dispatched Hitler was now moving on to an even more challenging long-term enemy: the American working class.

Henry A. Wallace also accurately denounced the Truman Doctrine that laid the blueprint for state sponsored repression and murder that would accompany the Cold War and the ‘ends justify the means no matter how savage that the means may be’ policy of rolling back Communism both abroad and at home through subterfuge, sabotage, destabilization, intimidation, red baiting, blacklisting and ultimately torture and death squads as “the beginning of a century of fear”.

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Donn Marten is a free lance writer and consultant who resides in West Central Florida.

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