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As We Go Marching: A Biting Indictment of the Coming of Domestic Fascism in America Paperback – 1973
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A highly intelligent observer who saw the threat that the New Deal posed to traditional America.
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The book covers periods from the mid-1800's, the time of the respective unification of Italy and Germany, to mid-WWII. Briefly, neither Mussolini nor Hitler laid the foundations, let alone invented, the social-government systems that supported their regimes. Both systems of fascism, Italian and German, had roots in the early days of industrialization, with deep and powerful roots in the concept of syndicalism. Mr. Flynn opines that, absent certain events related to The Great War, neither Mussolini nor Hitler would ever have amounted to much more than minor political nuisances; but that someone else could very well have held power and governed via fascism through pre-existing government institutions. (eg, imagine a German Chancellor without the anti-semitism but still with the militarism.)
The third part of "Marching" concerns the intellectual and systemic relationships between Italian and German fascism, and FDR's New Deals (there were at least three of them). Although the reader will learn a lot of Italian and German hisotry, the entire book concerns what FDR was doing to the United States in the 1930's. Mr. Flynn's view is through a lens of what had happened in Italy and Germany.
In 1944, some critics called Mr. Flynn's publication of "Marching" treasonous. But I doubt they read the book before doing so. Mr. Flynn was labeled, in his day, as a "Roosevelt-hater," and summarily dismissed in polite company of the time. Many people worked overtime to discredit him and his books. But to this modern reader, Mr. Flynn offers a historical and logical, well written and consistent study of fascism, with a disturbingly accurate critique of FDR and his programs.
You will gain additional perspective by reading Mr. Flynn's "The Roosevelt Myth" (1948/rev 1956). This latter book utterly demolishes FDR and his four terms of office, like a fast freight train hitting a stalled pickup truck. "The Roosevelt Myth" should be required reading in every US history course. No, that is not quite right. What I really mean is that the legend of FDR the Great President and Wartime Leader cannot co-exist in any universe in which a single copy of "The Roosevelt Myth" remains unburned.
John T. Flynn -- a forgotten master from a different era.
This book traces the history of fascism as it developed in Italy and Germany and then turns its attention to the United States, where Flynn sees a creeping fascism. Against those who argue that "it cannot happen here" or who point to the various pro-German or outright Nazi groups in America at the time as the only fascist threat, Flynn argues that the fundamental basis for the totalitarian state is already established and that all that remains is for the President to claim for himself absolute power. Flynn begins by tracing the origins of fascism in the Italian state under Mussolini. In particular, he shows the conflicts that arose between various socialist groups who sought to abolish the capitalist system and conservative groups. While conservative groups often represented a reaction of the most heavily taxed, it became apparent that while they would not support the growth of public welfare projects that they would support an increase in militarism. In particular, militarism became a means to achieve full employment. In addition, rather than trying to achieve a balanced budget, the government became based upon a system of tax and borrow and spend. Another important point to note is the growth of syndicalism as a viable alternative to socialism. While socialism had sought for the state to seize control of the means of production, being little more than "state capitalism", syndicalism proposed the alternative that the means of production should actually be controlled by the workers themselves and the state composed of worker's counsels. The theory of syndicalism was advocated by Georges Sorel as the alternative to socialism and as an answer to the crisis in capitalism and was taken up by the young Mussolini. Indeed, Mussolini's system came to make use of syndicalism as well as militarism in its quest to achieve total dominance of the state. This apparent alliance between the forces represented by the far Left and those of the conservative Right was achieved under Mussolini who continued to tax, borrow, and spend his way to dominance. Flynn also turns his attention to Hitler's Germany. In much the same way, the economic system of Hitler's Germany can be understood. The new breed of economists came to deny the importance of a balanced budget while at the same time claiming that the debt was unimportant as an attempted cure for the depression. In particular, it must be noted that Germany's economy had been crippled because of reparations owed for the First World War. It was the Treaty of Versailles which Hitler came to use as a strong point which he rallied against. A second important point to note is the role of militarism (conscription even during peacetime) and imperialism as part of Hitler's fascism. These components along with the absolute rule of the dictator allowed for the creation of fascism in Hitler's Germany. Following this discussion, Flynn turns his attention to the most controversial component of his thesis. This is the rise of fascism in America brought about by similar forces and a debt based economy with a government operating on the principles of tax, borrow, and spend. In particular, Flynn shows how the executive branch has subtly usurped the powers of Congress allowing for the rise of a potential dictatorship. Flynn also shows how militarism, the draft, and American imperialism have made for a particularly dangerous concoction especially in light of the growing absolute powers of the executive. Flynn shows how Anglo-Saxon imperialism shares many of the same racialist underpinnings as fascist imperialism and has come even to reject the Teuton as racially inferior. This difference is particularly striking in light of the entry of the United States into the Second World War. While Flynn calls attention to the presence of pro-German or pro-Nazi forces in America at the time, he believes these do not constitute the greatest fascist threat, which arises from the government itself. In light of these remarks, Flynn ends the book with this chilling warning, "My only purpose is to sound a warning against the dark road upon which we have set our feet as we go marching to the salvation of the world and along which every step we now take leads us farther and farther from the things we want and the things that we cherish." In a time in which the nation again is involved in war, Flynn's warnings are particularly prescient.