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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/7/22

The Elections of 2022 --- On the road to Fascism

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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

Constitution of the United States, page 1. Capitalist, yes, but as amended a  heck of alot better than the fascist system the Repubs. are hoping to put in its place.
Constitution of the United States, page 1. Capitalist, yes, but as amended a heck of alot better than the fascist system the Repubs. are hoping to put in its place.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Constitutional Convention)
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Although the historical significance of the date "Nov. 7" is recognized less-and-less around the world, it certainly was one of the most significant dates in 20th century. For it was on that date (New Calendar) in 1917 that what is commonly called "The Russian Revolution" began. The intent was of course to establish some kind of "Workers' State" and some form of "socialism" in most of what had been for several centuries the Russian Empire. A variety of factors came together to make sure that neither happened. As regular readers of mine know, I believe that the most important one was what I have termed "The 75-Years War Against the Soviet Union."

And so, today marks the 105th anniversary of that historic event. But I think that this particular Nov. 7 marks an event that may well prove to be as important historically, if not moreso, than the one that occurred those 105 years ago. For it is the day before a U.S. election that may well mark the end of the beginning of the several decades march towards U.S. fascism by what has become the Republo-fascist Party, and thus the commencement of the final stages of the various processes, legislative, judicial, and administrative-at-the-states-level, that will lead our nation to it, after the 2024 Presidential Election. And if the U.S. goes fascist, who knows how many of, and how quickly, the other major capitalist powers around the world will do the same. (For the definition of fascism that I use, this time around see the end of the column, not, as is my wont, the beginning.)

As is well-known, capitalism is the socio-economic-political system that in whole or in part (see the Peoples Republic of China) that governs most of the world's major nations. On the economic side (as again is well-known; I am just summarizing it here), the means of production are privately held, with the primary goal of the holders being to produce "profit" (that is the "surplus value" beyond the costs of plant, equipment, supplies, raw materials, and labor [the surplus value mainly being derived from the labor of the laborers]) which is then used to expand the enterprises and provide income and wealth for the holders of the capital and the enterprises.

On the political/governmental side, historically several different forms of the state apparatus have been employed by the ruling classes in the capitalist countries. In the early, "mercantilist," capitalist nations of the 17th century, e.g., Holland and England (soon to become the United Kingdom), the governmental form was monarchy, in both nations slowly becoming more "democratic" over time. In the 19th century, monarchy was also the governmental form for such rising capitalist powers as the Prussian Empire and the Empire of Japan. Of course, at the same time "Constitutional democracy" made its appearance in such nations as the United States and certain elements of the British Empire such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

But then in the 20th century a new governance structure for a capitalist nation appeared, beginning in 1919 in the newly minted nation of Hungary, a product of the Treaty of Versailles, under Admiral Miklos Horthy, of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. It spread fairly soon, as is well-known, to Italy, Germany, Japan, and Spain. And while monarchy exists almost on an entirely ceremonial level in nations such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Holland, in terms of governance in these nations, it has no real power. So, for governance under modern capitalism there is constitutional democracy or fascism. But in either one, it is the economic ruling class, that is the owners and controllers of the means of production, distribution, transportation, finance, and exchange, which in the end determines under which form of governance they shall control the operations of the nation and the sources-control-and-maximization of their profits.

Now all of these nations have in common capitalism as the economic system. The most common governance system for them, as noted, is some form of "constitutional democracy." And so, what does that mean, at its base in terms of form and structure? Well, of course it is well-known, but just let me summarize it here. As James Madison (building on the work of others) set forth, there are three major functions of any government: the legislative, the administrative, and the judicial.

What are called the "parliamentary democracies" operate under an over-arching, hard-to-change-set-of-laws, that is a constitution (which may be written, as in the U.S., or unwritten as in the U.K. and Israel). Under its provisions the members of the legislative and the executive branches are in one manner or another elected by popular vote. Then, with certain exceptions (such as in the United States in which certain judges are elected), the judges are appointed by the executive and legislative branches by one mechanism or another.

Historically under capitalism, in most cases ruling classes have been able to maintain control of the political-economy of their respective countries through the use of parliamentary democracy. The principal exceptions in major capitalist countries came, as noted, in the 20th century, with Italy, Germany, and the Empire of Japan leading the way. But now, right here in River City, as I and many other observers have pointed out and described, we have one of the two principal political parties leading the way towards a fascist future. (See my column immediately preceding this one and other ones of mine referenced in it, discussing these historical developments in some more detail.) So why this particular column, at this particular time?

As noted, I, and many others to be sure, have come to the conclusion that it is tomorrow's election which will seal the doom of the nation, not the Presidential election of 2024. The latter will just be the capstone of the long-term process that has been undertaken by the Republo-fascist Party (that is unless the Democrats can somehow pull off a series of major victories tomorrow, all around the nation). That is because the Republo-fascists have developed a method for enabling the fascist takeover of the state apparatus in their nation that is historically unique. Horthy was appointed by an outgoing king. Mussolini was also installed by a king. Hitler was appointed Chancellor by a democratically-elected President. Franco won a civil war. In contrast, the Republo-fascists will take power by subverting the electoral process on a grand scale.

It is unique. By falsely charging that the elections are rigged against them, the Republo-fascists are already heavily into election-rigging themselves, again as their principal method for seizing power. Tomorrow's election will both be rigged themselves (using a variety of methods) and will put in place many additional tools for rigging the elections in 2024. Indeed what an historical irony it is that the Republo-fascists are evermore widely using the claim that "the elections are rigged" (by the Democrats, of course) to advance their own whole strategy for rigging elections and then seizing power. As previously pointed out (see the references above), this strategy has been underway and being gradually implemented ever since it was first put forth by a rightist Republican organization, the Christian Coalition in 1989, as "The 15% Solution" (as in the title of my book on the subject).

"Yes, Virginia, there really is a difference between the two parties." Yes, they are both capitalist, to be sure. But one wants to maintain capitalist constitutional democracy and the other, led by you-know-who (and see the whole series of books on the subject, beginning with those of Maggie Haberman and Bob Woodward), that clearly wants to establish an authoritarian system --- which folks like me call "fascism," whatever particular pseudo-democratic form it might take in this country.

The two lead editorials in the New York Times print edition of Nov. 7, 2022 spell this out very clearly. That of The Editorial Board discusses "What's at Stake in These Elections." What's at stake is indeed U.S. democracy itself, as the Republicans move towards undermining the democratic process in states ranging from Wisconsin, the most highly gerrymandered state in the nation, where the Republican candidate for Governor has openly said that if he is elected the Democrats will never win another election, to Arizona where the Republican candidate for governor has said that she will accept the results of the election only is she wins.

In the same Times issue, Ezra Klein spells out what it is that "The G.O.P. Has Made Clear What It Wants to Do if It Wins Congress." Of course, the list includes nothing referencing dealing with their two principal campaign issues, "crime" and "inflation," but rather a whole bunch of stuff that would attempt to tie up in knots the Biden Administration's remaining two years in office, or deal with issues upon which they couldn't possibly win given the Presidential veto, but sound good to "the base," like abolishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Further, the Repubs. are already broadly challenging absentee and early voting in this election, favorites of Democratic voters, and would go further with installing such measures nationally. The more states in which Republicans are able to win state and local elections the more they will able to control both the voting and the counting of votes in 2024. And right now, today, the Republicans' chance in those elections, even right here in New York State, are looking very good.

As I said last week's column, the original purpose of the founding of the Ku Klux Klan in 1867 was to prevent the newly freed former slaves from voting. A primary aim of right-wing forces has remained the same right down to the present time, even if the name of the Party leading the way is different. While, as noted, Mussolini was appointed by a king and Franco gained power by winning a civil war, the most overpowering fascist government in history, that of Nazi Germany, achieved power through, at its beginning in any case, Constitutional means, that is, as noted, by the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor of Germany by the elected President, Paul von Hindenburg.

As I have said previously (and I am saying it again because it must be repeated) the Republicans and their ruling class masters know that with the changing demographics of the nation over time, they will have an increasingly difficult time winning elections fair and square. So therefore, as noted (more than once in this column[!]) they are moving to the alternative for taking and maintaining power, through election rigging. President Biden, a Democrat and a supporter of capitalism to be sure, has been very strongly making the case for the protection of Constitutional Democracy. But the number of sets of ears upon which that message has fallen with effect, on both the Right and the non-Democratic Left, is a matter of conjecture. As said previously, unless there are some major surprises in tomorrow's elections, the Republicans will likely have taken several major steps towards victory for their version of fascism, whatever it will be, in the Presidential election of 2024.

Too many U.S., including numbers of folks on the Left who like to talk of the "Democraps," will miss (capitalist to be sure) Constitutional Democracy only when it's gone.

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Fascism is: --There is a single, all-powerful executive branch of government, in service of a capitalist ruling class that controls, for the most part, the functions of production, distribution, finance, and exchange. There is no separation of the principal governmental powers: executive, legislative, and judicial. There are no independent media. There is a single national ideology, based on some combination of racism, misogyny, religious bigotry and authoritarianism, homophobia, and xenophobia. There is a political party supporting the movement. There is a state propaganda machine using the big and little lie techniques. There may be a full-blown dictatorship, a charismatic leader, engagement in foreign wars, and the use of the mob/private armies to enforce governmental control."

(Article changed on Nov 07, 2022 at 9:25 PM EST)

(Article changed on Nov 07, 2022 at 9:25 PM EST)

(Article changed on Nov 08, 2022 at 8:16 AM EST)

(Article changed on Nov 08, 2022 at 11:25 AM EST)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY). As well as having been a regular political columnist on several national websites for over 20 years, he is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 37 books Currently, on the columns side, in addition to his position on OpEdNews as a Trusted Author, he is a regular contributor to From The G-Man.  In the past he has been a contributor to, among other publications, The Greanville PostThe Planetary Movement, and Buzzflash.com.  He was also a triathlete for 37 seasons, doing over 250 multi-sport races.  Among his 37 books (from the late 1970s, mainly in the health, sports, and health care organization fields) are, on politics: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022; A Futuristic Novel (originally published 1996; the 3rd version was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, sadly beginning to come true, advertised on OpEdNews and available on  (more...)
 

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