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Henry A. Wallace's Warning of American Fascism

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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.

-Henry A. Wallace

In this dark period of the American experiment when the cats feet of creeping fascism grow louder by the day it is important to look to our history for those who offered up warning signs of what was to come. I would like to recognize former Vice President Henry A. Wallace for his outspoken warnings of the potential for the rise of American fascism. In retrospect and on careful analysis of the post WWII years we have seen an incremental process in which these fascist elements have slowly executed their plan to seize the country.

The creation of the CIA, the McCarthy years during which the real left was beaten back and degraded as a political force, the gradual and growing influence of the military industrial complex, the creation of a massive, well-funded infrastructure of think tanks and media shills, the hijacking of religion, the dumbing down of Americans through incessant propaganda, the destruction of the quality of education available in public schools, the erosion of worker’s rights as well as globalist ‘free trade’ pacts that would facilitate the looting of the fascist oligarchs and finally the stripping away of American civil liberties by a rogue administration who seized power illegitimately have seen that Wallace’s warnings went unheeded.

While this essay is primarily about Henry A. Wallace it is also about American fascism and the dangerous period that we are currently crossing the threshold into with an economy that is a house of cards, an imminent escalation of the war of aggression and the coming ‘pre-emptive’ strike on Iran, the capitulation of the Democratic party and the ever present fear that permeates the land and is stoked by the agents of fascism sets up the perfect situation for the final element: a demagogic leader with powers consolidated in the executive branch. Just look at the Republican presidential ‘debates’ of a several months back when torture and fear mongering dominated the discussion and the only rational individual on stage was ridiculed, marginalized and mocked while a television character named Jack Bauer was oft invoked along with what is now our divinely bestowed upon status as a righteous avenger torture state. While John McCain was the only one who spoke out against the vile practice he has since thrown with the rest for the sake of political expediency and only continues to pander to the worst Americans among us, the authority worshippers of the GOP base so I have little hope that a McCain presidency will be anything less than a continuation of our long slide into sorrow and historical infamy.

I would strongly recommend that people take a look at Naomi Wolf’s excellent article for The Guardian entitled Fascist America, in 10 easy steps which removes all doubt as to the very dark road that we as a nation are headed lest we draw upon the wisdom of those from the past who tried to warn us, men like Henry A. Wallace.

The Danger of American Fascism
By Henry A. Wallace

The New York Times, Sunday 09 April 1944

On returning from my trip to the West in February, I received a request from The New York Times to write a piece answering the following questions:

What is a fascist?
How many fascists have we?
How dangerous are they?

A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.

The perfect type of fascist throughout recent centuries has been the Prussian Junker, who developed such hatred for other races and such allegiance to a military clique as to make him willing at all times to engage in any degree of deceit and violence necessary to place his culture and race astride the world. In every big nation of the world are at least a few people who have the fascist temperament. Every Jew-baiter, every Catholic hater, is a fascist at heart. The hoodlums who have been desecrating churches, cathedrals and synagogues in some of our larger cities are ripe material for fascist leadership.

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.

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.

The European brand of fascism will probably present its most serious postwar threat to us via Latin America. The effect of the war has been to raise the cost of living in most Latin American countries much faster than the wages of labor. The fascists in most Latin American countries tell the people that the reason their wages will not buy as much in the way of goods is because of Yankee imperialism. The fascists in Latin America learn to speak and act like natives. Our chemical and other manufacturing concerns are all too often ready to let the Germans have Latin American markets, provided the American companies can work out an arrangement which will enable them to charge high prices to the consumer inside the United States. Following this war, technology will have reached such a point that it will be possible for Germans, using South America as a base, to cause us much more difficulty in World War III than they did in World War II. The military and landowning cliques in many South American countries will find it attractive financially to work with German fascist concerns as well as expedient from the standpoint of temporary power politics.

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

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