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Customer Review

101 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars modus operandi of what brought unchecked power to Nazi Germany, March 10, 2007
This review is from: It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush (Hardcover)
Fascist Mussolini once described fascism as simply Big Government & Big Business working hand in hand.

Joe Conason describes Sinclair Lewis's book, "It Can Happen Here", extremely well. In the book the newly elected president with has advisor, seize upon an economic crisis to aggregate more & more power to the White House. The Adminstration proceeds to turn Congress into an advisory board, as they start appointing political hacks to the courts. Acting on the assumption that constitutional procedures are a dangerous hindrance to executive powers, the administration swiftly begins to dismantel them. The U.S. Government begins to conduct business in near total secrecy (controlling or, at best suppressing the media). The country is eventually bankrupted while the wealthy few at the top grow even more wealthy. Any citizen who dares to question the new order is brought before a military trbunal to answer charges of treason. The book ends with the utter suppression of dissent, the complete nixing of the Bill Of Rights, the establishment of labor & dentention camps, and the violent suppression of labor unions & political rivals.

The author gives us pertinent background to Lewis. For instance,Lewis had been married to Dorothy Thompson, who had been expelled from Berlin by the Nazis a year earlier and quickly became America's most outspoken critic of Fascism.

After providing an excellent backdrop to the rise of Hitler's power the author bring us to the present and not so perfect present/future:

Our very corporate style of government, most appropriate to a corporate state, where business executives and government officials can collude & pillage without concern for the troublesome checks and balances of a constitutional democracy. The White House imperative to remove protection for consumers, workers, & soldiers. Deregulate corporate management & subsidize corporate profits. Privitize Public service. Cut corporate and top-bracket taxes. Surrender public assets to private ownership.

A very prescient work. Imperative for a public that should and must understand the message:


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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 28, 2007 9:19:57 PM PDT
Enigma says:
"Fascist Mussolini once described fascism as simply Big Government & Big Business working hand in hand."

OH DEAR, could you please give us the source for this supposed statement because it goes completely against the known comments of Mussolini. In fascist theory (as in Communism) the State owns all; in practice, fascists are willing to co-opt and use big capitalists rather than immediately killing them. It is the antithesis of working together hand in hand, since it does away with private ownership.

Mussolini was a socialist and paid tribute to Marx and his ideology, neither would or did work hand in hand with business.

"Mussolini likes to affirm that Marx is his spiritual father." Mussolini y el Fascismo," in Que sais je. (in Spanish), page 31.

The last point is that there appears to be no understanding of what Fascist corporatism is. In Fascist Italy corporatism was an attempt to create a modern version of feudalism where the omnipotent lord was the fascist totalitarian state itself and the vassals were the corporatives (in this case they would be steel, agrarian, etc.) who could in turn hand out fiefs in their areas of control. The fief would be the ability to operate a business but remember the corporative could revoke that right at any time, you were in effect a salve to them and they were the slave to the state. This is NOT modern business corporations involved with government, the fascist government still owned everything but was allowing you the privilage of operating something under their rules.

I hope that it is only the reveiwer that is confused and not the author of this book, he has a considerable following and to put forward such prattle would be a dissapointment.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2007 6:33:18 AM PDT
Herb Reeves says:
Google "Mussolini Quotes" and you will find the citations equating facism with the merger of big business and government." There are two quotes expressing the same theme: "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."

I've been aware of this statement for more than 30 years, and it is certainly "known."

He also descibed socialism as "a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail."

In reply to an earlier post on May 25, 2007 9:32:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 25, 2007 9:34:38 PM PDT
Enigma says:
Dear Herb,

Hmmmm, google-ing quotes with no context or analysis is pretty lame. No Offense.

Analysis is the tool used to check what people say versus what they do. Mussolini, much like Hitler, was a master of propaganda. He would tell you what you wanted to hear and then do something else. In this case Mussolini sold Fascism to the common people by using this form of propaganda on them and they fell for it.

We have the benefit of history and looking at his true actions to find out what he really did.

I think the bigger question is why are you still falling for Mussolini's propaganda when history shows he did almost the exact opposite??????????

Perhaps and in depth study of the policies of Mussolini might help rather than being an internet Google wizard; just a suggestion.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2007 2:42:41 PM PDT
John says:
So basically, the US isn't fascist because the business interests are more in charge, rather than being controlled by the state. Even if fascist isn't the right word, I don't think the people who founded our country would approve of replacing democracy with the new corporatism/neoconservatism/kleptocracy, or whatever label you want to use for the right-wing authoritarianism desired, and often practiced, by Bush and Republican leaders. Of course no one's saying the US is a fascist country, or its democracy has been completely subverted. But certain modern "conservative" politicians definitely have fascist qualities and will lie, cheat, smear, bribe, or do nearly anything in order to stay in power and make money for themselves and their business buddies. America isn't safe from nationalist style fervor, seen during the run up to the Iraq war, and I think we need this warning that it "can" happen even if it doesn't or hasn't yet.

Fascism itself is very hard to define. There have been only a few (and short-lived) fascist movements in recent history. Ideologies can evolve and change, and a political system is rarely run the exact same way its founders/ideologues described it (for example, there never has been pure laisseiz faire capitalism, or communism as Marx described it). I personally think fascism (if looked at more than just WW II italy) is more of a mindset and psychology injected into politics than a strict formula that determines what is fascist and what isn't.

And while it's common for people on the right to claim fascism and nazism are "leftist" or socialist movements rather than the accepted view of it as an extreme right wing ideology, it isn't supported by facts or history. In the Great Depression, there actually was a fascist plot by certain businessmen to overthrow FDR, who would describe fascism as the private ownership of government by the few (this isn't well known or taught in popular history books but just google it if you want, there were hearings in congress about it and it's pretty-well documented, although it was hushed up and no one was charged). They recruited a marine general named Smedley Butler, but fortunately he was a patriot and blew the whistle on it. Before the holocaust and the crimes of Nazism became known, fascism really was seen in america just as the domination of government by big business. Certain business leaders at this time actually admired Mussolini for his supposed efficiency through breaking up unions and the like. Lots of people left and right believed in strange things at the time, and to be fair again it wasn't known then even to its supporters the atrocities fascism ultimately would lead to. Hitler used the term socialism (as in national socialism) but it's well known he hated socialism and he just used the term to gain popular support. Again both communism and fascism are oppressive, and often evil ideologies, but it's just inaccurate to claim that fascism is based on marxism or is somehow a left-wing ideology.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2007 12:32:50 PM PDT
Enigma says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jul 8, 2007 6:44:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2007 6:46:25 AM PDT
J. A. Geary says:
Excellent review. Debating whether or not the current state of US government is "fascist" in the classic sense or something else is a waste of brain cells. A jackboot is a jackboot is a jackboot. Oh dear, indeed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2007 2:09:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 22, 2007 1:51:25 AM PDT
panopticon7 says:
i'm fascinated by the burning right wing need to post so much bloated verbiage just to avoid saying how they hate dissent from their pathological and panicky urge to acquire hegemony. i mean, really--equivocating the definition of "state"--as if egalitarianism somehow magically oppresses and authoritarianism somehow magically liberates; i think this is the most hilarious bit, this clumsy attempt at an orwellian re-labeling of their own elitism as populist, and egalitarian progressive movements as repressive and authoritarian, when without socially oppressive authoritarianism, their wet dreams of total dominance simply can't be realized. that re-labeling really only works on themselves, of course. but it's truly twee, truly precious. and oh, dear: "Fascism is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production.... Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied - the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society...The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone...."--from Fascism (Fascismo) by Benito Mussolini (Enciclopedia Italiana 1932)

oh, me: "The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its CORPORATE, social, and educational institutions, and all the political, economic, and spiritual forces of the nation, organised in their respective associations, circulate within the State."-Benito Mussolini, 1935, The Doctrine of Fascism, Firenze: Vallecchi Editore.

oh, my: "...the excellence of a representative DEMOCRACY compared with the misrule of kings, has rallied the opinions of mankind..." in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to P. H. Wendover, 1815

tooley, you're a smarmy pinhead, you know that?

there are so many deeply stupid things you spew concerning nazis that it is literally beyond the scope of this thread to fully address. the equivocation of chavez and hitler is bizarre; chavez was popularly elected and doesn't idly wander about his lush resorts spouting psychotic visions of vast cities and eugenic institutions while throngs of sweaty sycophants eagerly follow and improvise on the rambling content of his poisonous monologues--which is exactly and precisely how the nazi regime operated on a daily basis for twelve years when their indolent and uninvolved and unelected appointed leader rolled out of bed no earlier than the crack of noon.

the systematic murder of the disabled, the trade unionists, the sexual minorities, the communists, the socialists, the jews, the gypsies--any of this ring a bell? any of this suggest right wing radicalism yet? don't delude yourself that all of this is all there is that can be thrown at you--or that i'm the "first in history" to have done so or that it doesn't render irrelevant your convoluted framing of the issue. it does all of these things. and then some.

i don't know what planet you think you're on, but this isn't your local klan meeting--you're posting on the internet, man; you can't hide behind a wall of diseased noise machine mush and not expect to be fried. you really have no clear idea just how horrifically outgunned you are here, you really don't. you have no idea who is out here.

you're a bug.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2007 10:21:09 PM PDT
Enigma says:

Have you ever considered some sort of anger management classes or perhaps some medication? Why the invective and the nasty ad hominem attacks,?????????

Are you making up for your lack of facts and analysis with vitriolic volume??????

You mention Orwellian and then spew forth the masters of propaganda playbook as if they speak the gospel truth, sheez, talk about a gullible. Have you done no research, have you not looked up any facts, are you that easily swayed by propaganda and talking points that all you can do is spew forth revisionist history. As you alluded to, this is the internet anybody can read your incoherent drivel; you are simply an embarrassing yourself spewing forth platitudes of tripe. If this makes you feel good so be it, but don't delude yourself, your vision of history fits right in with belief that the earth is flat, and the sun revolves around the earth.

I truly feel very sorry for you, your quotes were brilliant and I will use some of them to help bolster my case. I especially liked

"The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its CORPORATE, social, and educational institutions, and all the political, economic, and spiritual forces of the nation, organized in their respective associations, circulate within the State."-Benito Mussolini, 1935, The Doctrine of Fascism, Firenze: Vallecchi Editore.

WOW, you see the word corporate and presto, copy and paste it, perhaps it might have been wise to read the quote, if you had your would have found that this quotes helps bolster my point, pure genius my man, pure genius.

And this little dilly,

"...the excellence of a representative DEMOCRACY compared with the misrule of kings, has rallied the opinions of mankind..." in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to P. H. Wendover, 1815

Ha Ha HA HA HA do you even know what a REPRESENTATIVE democracy is???????


You once again have unwittingly helped prove my point, just FYI; a representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principles of popular sovereignty by the people's representatives.

Duh, it's not a democracy it's representative form of government, the United States calls it a Consitituinal Republic.

I highly suggest that if you wish to insult me and then challenge my points, you at least read your copy and pasted quotes, if you did you would not come of as such a neaderthalic ignormaus.

Sad, truly sad but that is what happens when one is rulled by fear, anger and rage, these heated emotions override one's ability to comprehend simple facts and have intelligent discouse.

Good luck to you and look into the anger management classes, they might really help.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2007 2:22:22 AM PDT
panopticon7 says:
aw. now, don't be all sore, beav.

it's ok. you're not the first to have been exposed like that. you won't be the last. sadly.

i know you can't fathom where it all went wrong. but i can help you. it started when you felt that your truncated brain was telling you the truth--that you were just smarter than other people, by golly--that you UNDERSTOOD more; that you were just, well, BETTER.

but, that diseased rot you call a brain?

it was lying, steve.

it was lying.

but onward--what exactly is it about the term "democracy" that you fail to comprehend? you claimed that our founders didn't view this as a democracy ... and yet ... lo, they did. representative democracy is a "republic"?

um. no. i don't think you'll find a town council agreeing that they are a republic. no, the definition of "democracy" is not affected by this qualification of representation.

a "constitutional republic" is, hey, what do you know--a liberal democracy! wow. it qualifies as a democracy after all! imagine that--the myopic reactionary got it wrong. again.

and i really think you should read your own posts, my obsessively pasting pathological puppet. first you say that mussolini never said he was in favor of corporatism. then, hey, no surprise--no surprise because you're a proven idiot--he did. oh, but, wait, you shrill, no fair, you splurt--you didn't include analysis--why, why, why, he didn't DO what he was said to have said he wanted done ... and yet ... he did.

OH DEAR! Here's a time-line that bears out the history that he really meant all that he ever said:

1914 Favored Italian intervention in WWI; expelled from Socialist Party

1915 Italy entered WWI on the side of Britain, France, and Russia; Mussolini joined the army

1919 Founded the Fascist movement

1922 Fascist "March on Rome"; Victor Emmanuel III appointed Mussolini prime minister

1924 Murder of socialist Matteotti

1925-26 Non-Fascist parties dissolved; opposition press silenced; secret police and political courts established

1929 Signed Lateran Accords with the Vatican

1935-36 Invaded and conquered Ethiopia

1936 Proclaimed Rome-Berlin Axis

1938 Promulgated anti-Semitic laws

1940 Italy entered WWII

1943 Mussolini arrested; Italy joined Allies; Germans rescued Mussolini

1945 Italian partisans executed Mussolini

aw, man, that hurts. i mean, there it is. history. no revisions. just ... what happened and when. no propaganda. no spin. just the facts.

painful! like acid! i don't really feel your pain, but i admit, i enjoy it.

hey, let's be honest here. well, let ME be honest here--we both know we're both not capable of honesty, right? right. but we both know you were called out. ad hominem? hardly. accurate description. and a nice full clarification of exactly why.

i didn't "challenge" your points. i demolished them. you had no points. you had spooge. and as soon as you were inconvenienced by fact, you shifted your stance. you blithered and bobbed about, hoping no one would notice you really have no idea what you're talking about--you don't offer ANYTHING OF SUBSTANCE!!! you just paste meaningless fragments and make declarations as if you think you're throwing conceptual bombs. but you're just lobbing wet marshmallows. hey. this isn't the playground and i'm not the little fat kid you extorted for his milk money and you don't have a super duper force field to protect you. you're a small man with a claustrophobic and frantic little brain and you would so like that others would fall for your co-opting of their ideas.

it's a cute rhetorical trick, but, you know what? i've seen it done. and you don't do it very well.

so, oh, yeah, do use my quotes. please do. feel free. share them wide and far. tell people what it all REALLY means! and then, please, oh please, post a copy of your hospital bill.

you're a worm.

you know you are!

and you're in the sun now. ow.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2007 1:25:08 PM PDT
Enigma says:
War will be called Peace
Black will be called White
Truth will be called Lies

Let's all live in the world of Panopticon7, all that is missing is the anger, hate and psychosis that fills this poor demented soul

Let's see a constitutional republic is really a democracy



Are you really that stupid? Your posts are great people must be laughing the %$@ off.

Your timeline shows, well, errrrr, ahhhh, NOTHING except you have no facts to back up your delusional statements. At this point, people are on the floor laughing very very hard.

And somehow you demolished empirical facts, history and all the evidence by how again????????

Oh yeah that's right though sophomoric ad hominem attacks.

Yup your are amazing, enjoy your 1 hour of free time out of the shackles of the straight-jacket so you can pound away furiously venting your rage and anger on the keyboard. Now back to the padded cell with you and be gone, psychotic one.
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