by Alison Despathy
Benito Mussolini stated that “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. “ He is also quoted as saying that “The definition of fascism is the marriage of corporation and state.”
The question is -What would Fascism look like today? Would we recognize it? Would it be reminiscent of Germany during WWII? Would the streets be covered with soldiers marching in unison under the leadership of a psychopathic dictator? Would the buildings and towns be plastered with propaganda? Would people be deemed “dirty and dangerous” such as Jewish people and gypsies were during WWII? Would they be placed in ghettos, and abused, experimented on and worked to death in factories and concentration camps?
Could fascism be stealth? Could it be hidden in plain sight, could it be sold to the people by manipulated means of offering protection, security, services, justice and aid? Could people be nudged through propaganda, social media, group think and psychological manipulation to experiment on themselves with new products or alter their thoughts and behaviors in ways previously unimaginable? Could governments today dangerously and even unknowingly introduce industry-driven agendas into legislation and falsely promote public-private partnerships – thus fascism – as the solution to all of the world’s problems? It seems this is indeed the case. This is currently in play and humanity is in danger unless we come together and identify the game.
If we think about Mussolini’s statements, we can extrapolate this out to the current day and it becomes blatantly obvious that we live in a fascist country, even a fascist world, in which corporations are utilizing both the media and the government to market products, ensure funding, control thought and societal and cultural norms, and grow and secure industries that are self-serving, take advantage of and actually harm the people, and create monopolies and more concentrated wealth.
Historically, this has always been the case – the rich and powerful work to secure and enhance their position. Why would we think it would be any different today? Taking advantage of people, using people for personal gain and resource extraction and seeking to control and manipulate the people and expand power due to insatiable greed, is an absolute constant throughout history. Do we think it just magically and perfectly ended- that this time is over, we know better now, people have learned? Or does this evil continue to change form and reinvent itself as the robber barons of the present day relentlessly strive to grow stronger, richer and more powerful no matter the cost, no matter how much damage, destruction and death they may leave in their wake? Unfortunately this appears to be the case.
Today fascism is often masked behind the buzzwords of justice, innovation, sustainability, protection, equity and the “greater good”. All of these are important concepts in their true form but it is important to acknowledge that fascism is nefariously wrapped in massive propaganda and marketing campaigns, word play, thought manipulation and even more dangerously- legislation. This collusion of government and corporate industries is ultimately predatory and destructive for the people.
The sooner we can recognize this situation, the safer humanity will be and the more of a chance we the people have to reclaim our governments and ensure that our elected officials are aware of these threats. Further, it is urgent that our legislators are dedicated to adamantly and fiercely upholding the Constitutional rights, civil liberties, and fundamental human rights of the people and creating real solutions for the problems we face. It is of paramount importance that legislators today are informed and educated regarding the reality of the fascist corporate agendas. They must be fully prepared to heavily research and identify legislation that enters the State House that is based on industry-driven solutions that feed corporate agendas, political ideologies and ultimately bring destruction and actual harm to the people, environments and economy in their self-serving goals for profit and power.
At all costs, legislators must ask themselves several critical questions when considering and voting to potentially enact laws and distribute money. These questions include: Who wrote this Bill and what is the source of this legislation? Who will this legislation ultimately serve? Is it a real solution for Vermont? Will Constitutional rights, civil liberties and fundamental human rights be infringed upon? This is absolutely imperative moving into the next election cycle. Will our elected legislators stand up for Vermonters and truly represent and serve the people and our state, NOT corporate agendas?
Hopefully through research, awareness, working with their constituents and asking these questions, legislators can work to identify the true nature of a bill and be hyper vigilant that they are not enacting legislation that will bring destruction and damage to Vermont and Vermonters. Legislators must be prepared and brave enough to say NO. Further, they must be constructive in creating real solutions for Vermont that serve the people, the environment and our economy.
Vermont Bill H.715 – the Clean Heat Standard was a prime example of dangerous industry-driven legislation that would serve corporate agendas and NOT Vermont or Vermonters. The Clean Heat Standard epitomized fascist legislation and sadly, even despite a massive outcry from the people of Vermont, 99 House Representatives voted in support of this Bill. Fortunately it did not pass the house this past session. A real question becomes do “global solutions” really exist or will real answers and solutions be found by the people in certain locations based on multiple variables and specific situations. Global solutions designed by corporate interests need to be heavily scrutinized and Vermont must seek answers that work here and will bring truly beneficial impacts without harm to the people and the environment.
Awareness around the fact that corporate global industries, with the help of both the mainstream media as an ideal marketing and propaganda tool and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), often funded by corporate industry, are the key ingredients that drive fascism in our country and our state today. Many industry funded NGOs today are responsible for lobbying for corporate agendas and crafting the actual legislation that serves the corporations and industries NOT the people.
Often and most disturbingly, many legislators do not recognize the nefarious nature of these bills. Many times these are sold under the guise of social and environmental justice. We all want social and environmental justice but we need real solutions that actually serve the people of Vermont and our environment, not false solutions based on corporate agendas and bottom lines.
It may not be obvious. It may not be easily recognized. But fascism is alive and present and is the most massive, current day threat to democracy, freedom and humanity. Now, more than ever, our legislators elected by and for the people are literally the protectors and the shield of defense for humanity from the global corporate predators.
Today fascism is more subtle and packaged more carefully to help justify its place and not stir controversy, questions or resistance but we must see through it and recognize it for what it truly is because it ultimately destroys the people and environments and serves to build the strength, power and profits of the current day, corporate robber barons.
We have been down this road, the Progressive movement at its heart stemmed from stopping the robber barons from taking advantage of the people. History repeats itself and as always it is up to the people to identify the problem, stand up and work together to protect and secure Constitutional rights and fundamental human rights and NOT be taken advantage of and abused by corporate greed.
The author is a clinical herbalist in St. Johnsbury.