This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011


While most Americans are just waking up to the fact that they no longer live in a democracy, citizens of other nations with little or no tradition of democracy are demonstrating the power of non-violent resistance to authoritarian rule. In the face of much more danger than US citizens would risk for simply taking to the street in protest against the fascism of their government, hundreds of thousands of determined patriots from North Africa to Iran to China are demanding the right to freedom and justice.

In the United States, resistance is just beginning and remains disorganized and fractious. While over one hundred thousand demonstrated in Wisconsin over the weekend, the government of Michigan has declared open war on the worker. Although support is coming in from around the country and around the world, no clear national strategy for victory has emerged. Grass roots organizing is a necessary but not a sufficient condition in the struggle against fascism. For a revolution to succeed, there must be a political strategy to achieve the goals of the movement.

Perhaps it is the longstanding illusion that the American system of checks and balances would ensure that we would never have to fear our own government that makes the average American blind to the fact that corporate control over government is by definition fascism. People who have never known real freedom do not take it for granted. As a government becomes more dependent on lies to sustain a veneer of legitimacy, those who have never been under the illusion that they are free find it increasingly easier to convince their fellow citizens that they must take their fate into their own hands.

China is a special case because the internet has been much more tightly controlled there than in any other nation. Organizing has been much more person to person and is undertaken at great risk due to the history of the Chinese Communist Party of violent repression against freedom fighters. The United States has become complicit in these crimes against the Chinese people. The international corporate terrorists who control the government have an insatiable appetite for cheap labor to produce the dangerous and shoddy products that are all the working American can afford to by, at Walmart prices.

For those still under the illusion that the Republican Party is responsible for all of the suffering of the middle class in the United States, it is educational to ask where the President and Democrats in Congress have been during the assault on American labor. Candidate Obama promised to put on his walking shoes and march with workers if their right to collective bargaining was challenged. Now that he is not running, he has yet to catch up to within shouting range of the angry protesters who demand justice from a Party whose national leadership has largely abandoned them.

China is just another example of plutocracy, crony capitalism dressed up as a democratic movement of the People. There is no longer any illusion that the CCP is serious about stopping corruption when they stay in power by giving special privileges to Party members. As the Chinese people become more aware that the promises of wealth that a quasi-capitalist system will bring are lies, the bribery and repression grow ever worse. 

The response of the US Congress has been to cut funding for Voice of America in China, leaving China to pay for its own propaganda on the virtues of the “Chinese model” so popular with authoritarian corporatists  in the western world who see any plutocratic regime as a welcome ally in their war on democracy. At least one Republican senator had the integrity to protest this blatant collusion with Chinese-style fascism. The VOA is a bipartisan propaganda machine designed to influence the thinking of Peoples of the world toward the fascist vision of the international corporate terrorists who are the Puppetmasters of the Us government.

In a rigidly controlled society such as China where any dissension is treated with violent reprisal, the only liberty possible is the freedom of thought. The Falun Gong are waging nonviolent asymmetrical warfare against the CCP as Soldiers For Peace .are doing throughout the world. Outnumbered by billions of Chinese suffering from a collective Stockholm syndrome, their only weapon is the truth. They are risking their lives to convince their fellow citizens that freedom is more important than life itself. This is a conviction once shared by most Americans, who remembered the sacrifices of those who fought for the freedom they have now come to take for granted. While these rights may be God-given, they can be taken away by men of evil intent if they are not jealously guarded.

The Falun Gong numbers an estimated 100 million Chinese practitioners. Only ten years after Tiananmen, they peacefully petitioned the government for redress of their grievances against the corruption of local officials. With the memory of the slaughter of thousands of the still fresh in their minds, ten thousand protesters lined up to present their petitions to the office designated to receive them. They were within walking distance of CCP headquarters, from which word came that their demands would be met, after which they peacefully dispersed.

Of course the assurances were false. The response to this courageous demonstration of the will of the People was a program of eradication of practitioners of Falun Gong.  It is doubtful that the demonstrators expected anything else, given the recent history of violent reprisal against dissent.  The purpose is obvious only to those who understand the reason that patriots have always been willing to give their lives in defense of freedom: Life is not worth living if you choose to submit to slavery.

Tens of thousands of Falun Gong have died to make the point that in the most repressive society, the spark of freedom stays alive when men and women remember that they always have a choice to accept slavery or live as free people, regardless of consequences. If their sacrifices seem futile, consider whether the Jasmine Revolution would have occurred without their example, or whether 89 million Chinese would have officially renounced Party membership had the Falun Gong not shown to them that a People united can live free, if they have the courage to act according to their beliefs.

Americans need to see that the present military buildup of China is a reflection of the failed ideology on which the repressive system of Chinese communism is based. No democratic nation has ever declared war on another. If the communist government of China had lived up to the democratic ideals of Sun Yat-Sen, it would not have to defend itself from its own people or from western imperialists. In 1911, Sun Yat-Sen became the first and only democratically elected president of China. Popular with the People, his government and democracy itself was brought down by the greed of the warlords of the early 20th century.

The selfishness of these local powerbrokers kept China divided and weak, making the nation ripe for exploitation by the West. Many sold out to the international corporate terrorists of the day only to find that their trivial powers were no match for the Japanese Imperial Army at the dawn of the rise of modern fascism. It was this invasion from without that gave birth to the unity party of Chiang Kai-shek, which worked to mount resistance to Japanese Imperialism. 

The exultation of the Chinese people after the Japanese were expelled quickly evaporated as Chiang Kai-shek demonstrated the weakness of most men given the power to rule over others. His government became as corrupt as that which brought down the Emperor in 1911 and placed Sun Yat-sen in his short-lived position as the President of a democratic China.

In the wake of Chiang Kai-shek’s betrayal of his people, it took little time for well-organized communists to challenge his autocratic rule and drive him and his army to the island of Formosa. The civil war wasted millions of lives, as did the Cultural Revolution of Chairman Mao less than two decade later. Mao had been given a cult-like status by a People blinded by the illusion of democracy. It took the deaths of untold numbers of Mao’s political opponents to awaken the survivors to the fact that they had been deceived again. By then, it was too late to effectively fight the autocratic rule that resulted.

Fearing the power of communist promises of real democracy that seemed to inevitably lead to authoritarian rule, Western powers chose the corrupt autocracy of Chiang Kai-shek over the corrupt plutocracy of the CCP. The uneasy balance of power in Asia is maintained as everywhere by the international corporate terrorists who arm the Taiwanese and vow to defend it from aggression by mainland China.

With the rise of worldwide neofascism and the democratic reaction to it, the CCP is tightening the grip of its power over the people of China while simultaneously preparing to defend itself from attack by fascist forces.  While the corporatists in the West have been worrying about the growing economic power of the Chinese dragon that they have created, China has begun a military buildup that now threatens the western Empire. Far from seeing this as a threat, the Puppetmasters of the international military-industrial complex are salivating at the prospect of gorging themselves on the public trough, slopped by the taxpayers of the United States.

In realizing the failure of centralized control of agriculture and manufacture, the CCP has gradually abandoned any pretense of being a democratic communist state. In buying into the capitalist system, they have wasted the lives of millions who fought for freedom for their nation. The dependence of the CCP  on international corporate terrorists of the western Empire has rendered it fascist in that as in western nations, there is a reciprocal dependence between corporate powers and the government. China provides Americans a glimpse of what life in the United States would be if they surrendered to their fascist leaders. Fascists inevitably strip the People of their liberty in exchange for a false sense of security in a world that their greed has driven mad.

This then is the final war on fascism, whose command center is in Washington, DC. Only if Americans wake up to the peril to democracy will they, the Chinese or the other Peoples of the world who are dying to live free ever know true democracy. Union organizers in the United States must muster the manpower to put American workers out on the street demanding an end to corporate rule by abolishing corporate personhood through a movement to pass  a Constitutional amendment. 

Workers of the world must unite in this effort to educate the Peoples of the US and the world that it is not world socialism to be feared.  It is the threat of world fascism that we must recognize and confront together if the Peoples of the world are to collectively shape the New World Order that must come if human civilization is to survive this global civil war.

The purpose of introducing an amendment to make it illegal for international corporate terrorists to buy members of Congress and the White House is to make support for it a campaign issue in every subsequent Congressional election. This would mean that there will be collateral damage to those corporatist members of Congress who fail this litmus test. 

If this effort to challenge corporate control of the American government destroys the two party system, then that is the price partisan supporters of the corporate political duopoly will have to pay to end fascism in the United States. Only We the People can force the Meat Puppets in Congress and the White House to bow to the will of an America once more united in the cause of liberty and justice for all.

If you like this essay, you may enjoy BROKEN CHINA: THE PROMISE AND PERIL OF THE HIVE MIND, from the online book of essays Stop the Madness: The Diary of a Soldier For Peace in the War to Take Back America that is linked to this website.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


As we prepare to launch the final assault on the corporatocracy, it is worth considering the lessons of the last war on worldwide fascism. We were told that the great corporatist war known as WWI would end all war. Just in case that proved not to be the case, French generals decided that the best way to defend the Republic from future attacks on France by the German Empire was to build a trench to stop the primitive WWI tanks that were used in that war. As we learned when Panzer divisions rolled into France early in WWII, it is poor strategy to prepare to fight the next war using strategies designed for the last one. The Maginot line presented an illusion of safety much as the bulwarks of fascism in the Mideast have proven to be.

We are facing unique challenges in preparing to dismantle the fascist New World Order the self-styled Masters of the Universe have been preparing for us since before the end of WWII. The battle lines were being drawn even as Nazi power reached its peak, before America awakened for the first time to the danger fascism posed to democracy in America as well as the world. Senator Prescott Bush was a known Nazi collaborator who spawned a future CIA Director and President and whose grandson merrily led us further down the path of fascism than any other President after WWII. To any thinking person aware of this history, this is no coincidence. 

As in any situation of asymmetric warfare, we are battling superior forces with our wits more than weapons. When senators, CIA directors and Presidents collude with the international corporate terrorists descended from the very corporate criminals who brought us WWI and WWII, we have a real job on our hands to overwhelm them despite their advantages in wealth and power. Fortunately, history has proven time and again that when a country is invaded there will always arise resistance to enslavement by the People who are under attack. Alexander the “Great” and the USSR learned this in Afghanistan, as the international corporate terrorists who control the United States government will learn soon enough. 

Just as the French resistance never gave up and inspired resistance in other nations to fascism, the people of the United States who are under assault by foreign invaders masquerading as American business leaders fight for their hard won freedoms. The French resistance also received material and moral support from other nations for its determined fight to eradicate fascism from its soil. Ultimately, the United States repaid its historic debt to France for their assistance in the American Revolution by using its military might to defeat the Nazis. In this war to stop the imposition of a fascist New World Order, the Peoples of the various nations must build a united front against fascism and war itself.

In this war to truly end all war, we must not make the mistake of planning to fight the last war in this, the final war on fascism. Many lessons were learned from the resistance to the Imperial war in Vietnam, but not all of the lessons apply to today’s situation. At that time, an entire generation of American men faced the prospect of going to war, prison or Canada if they did not resist. This forced our youth to develop strategies for peaceful resistance to the war, some of which would be useful today if there was more cooperative effort to advance the cause of ending war on behalf not only of the members of the military and their families on behalf of all living Americans born and those as yet unborn.

It was easy to get crowds of young men and women in the street to fight the Imperial war in Vietnam when young men were being forced to wage war for corporate profit. Every young man faced this threat of that generation faced this danger. Their girlfriends, wives and mothers faced losing them and many would not do so without a fight. In this day of a pseudo-volunteer military composed largely of economic conscripts, massive marches are not materializing and the rallies, protests and marches that are mobilized get little attention from the corporate media. Even many so-called progressives seem content to regard the war as a problem of “volunteers” who they are convinced do not deserve our support because they are fighting the wars of Empire that we are trying to end.

In the buildup to the Nazi attempt to make the world submit to Hitler’s mad vision communists, socialists, social democratic parties and workers made common cause in the struggle against fascism. They formed national and international alliances to forge political build a united front to fight the first war on world fascism. Without the internet and with a corporate media and politicians propagandizing of the dangers of communism and socialism, the effort was doomed to failure despite the brilliance of its leaders. Among these, no one stood taller than George Dimitrov, the author of the speeches that became the book Against Fascism and War.

While Dimitrov was utterly committed to a world Soviet despite the murderous excesses of Stalin, he saw as few do now that the only way to build a united front against war and fascism was to lay aside political ideology and fight together in the common cause of freedom for all. He had a dream that in an ideal world, communism would operate democratically for the good of all. I

n his wisdom, Dimitrov argued that communists must lay aside this ultimate aim as one that could only be chosen by free Peoples in a world where democracy was the norm. His strategy was to let each nation create a movement fitting their own society and stage of political evolution and for these national movements to work together to counter the plans of the several nations that first conspired to impose a fascist world order. He saw youth as having a special role in organizing among each other their own coalitions to bring the fight to those most threatened by the prospect of world fascism.

We face a situation today that is in many respects identical to that of freedom fighters in 1936, the year that Dimitrov gave his famous speech before the Seventh International Communist Congress. He was a respected figure for having fought and defeated the Nazi government in the court of world opinion. He was able to generate the international support that forced the Nazi government to drop the false charges that he was responsible for the burning of the Reichstag. It was his bravery that awakened the world to the fact that the Nazis themselves started as a pretext for the creation of a police state in Germany.  

The modern parallel is the thousands of engineers and others demanding a true accounting of the events of 9/11. President Obama quickly abandoned those in the government who like Van Jones joined the call to challenge the whitewashed report of the 9/11 commision. The corporate media did its part by smearing such patriots as paranoid conspiracy theorists. The nation is awakening to the fact that the United States government is continuing a pattern of covering up acts of treason that have been endemic in the US government and the intelligence agencies for decades. When the full extent of government and media collusion with fascists is widely recognized, the system of corporate control of the American government will inevitably fall like a house of cards built on quicksand.

The parallels with the modern “war” on terror with the war on communism are striking. Support for the Vietnam war was provided by a manufactured act of war by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin. It was much easier to make the American people dance to the drums of war after allowing an attack  that killed 3,000 Americans despite abundant evidence that the FBI and the office of the President had a great deal of advance warning of the plot. Today, Americans are too exhausted from the struggle to survive in an increasingly heartless economy and society that they cannot sort through the lies. They are only too ready to accept the simple “explanation” provided by a government clearly committed to war in the Mideast of corporate conquest. 

Corporate politicians with the deliberate complicity of a corporate media continue to pump out the propaganda that keeps Americans fighting themselves instead of the Puppetmasters of the American government. We can and must turn the tide of American opinion by reaching out to our confused countrymen as fellow Americans rather than adversaries. We all desperately want our children to live in a free, safe and happy future. We all know that today’s government is so corrupted by corporate money that it cannot and will not address the threats confronting America. 

When these problems are caused by the very Puppetmasters who control the United States government, the craven politicians who do not recognize their duty to all Americans will not risk their comfortable jobs by challenging their corporate patrons. They depend on corporate money to pay for outrageously expensive propaganda campaigns that keep them in office instead of trusting the People to reward them for their courage in challenging these interests. 

Only when American voters demand that their Congressional leaders put their interests over those of corporations will we see an end to fascism and a return to a government of, by and for the People.  This requires that voters in the United States begin to reject the phony distinctions between two parties that as a whole have been thoroughly corrupted by corporate money, as Dimitrov argued. In 2012 we must vote in every Congressional race for the best candidate, not simply for anyone who wins the endorsement of the party of the duopoly we have traditionally supported.

The fragmentation of the progressive community is legendary. The task of trying to organize them is often compared to the problem of herding cats. Many of the leaders of the Left are still fighting the last war and are reluctant to listen to the younger officers with new strategies and tactics who are itching to get into the fight but cannot do so without support from the Old Guard. The most hopeful of these are those youths who have grown up never knowing real democracy but who have from childhood been inculcated in the belief that all men and women are created equal. They are thus the natural leaders to build a movement where all voices are heard and every effort to build alliances are respected and supported.

Those of us who came of age in the turmoil of the 60s and 70s have developed the habit of viewing the struggle for democracy in America as a battle between the Left and the Right. We must abandon this notion if we are to accomplish our mission of ending fascism in America and the world. There will always be self-deluded Democrats, Greens and other political partisans who refuse to accept that the two-party duopoly must end and can only do so if these artificial distinctions are abandoned in favor of mutual assistance to any candidates who will put the interests of We the People over those of the corporate patrons of most of our current Congress.

There is a simple way to build a united front in the United States to end fascism in America and the world. It requires that all those working in their own way to further the goal of freedom in America rally around a central unifying issue. Every American knows that the government is in the hands of corrupt politicians put in place by propaganda campaigns paid for by the corporate Puppetmasters to whom they are then beholden. This is a direct result of corporate personhood, a concept with which millions of Americans became familiar in the wake of the Citizens United decision. This was such obvious overreach by the fascists on the Supreme Court that it was angrily opposed by nearly 80% of both self-identified conservatives and liberals.

If 80% of Americans agree that corporate control of government is the reason that our government does not work for us, then it should be obvious that this is the issue to build bridges between the Left and the Right to fight this fascistic marriage of corporations and government in the United States. The first order of business is to get progressives to understand that this is not just another issue but THE issue that must be addressed before Americans can move forward together to a future of the choosing of We the People and not the corporate Puppets and the Puppetmasters who run the government.

If leaders in the antiwar, pro-health care, pro-choice, environmental and other movements can be made to realize that there is a way to create a united progressive front, then they will soon see the necessity for reaching across ideological boundaries.  Building a united front against fascism will require focusing on the one issue that is attractive to all but the most self-deluded Americans. No one supports fascism but fascist and those who unwittingly support fascism but who stubbornly refuse to admit the fact. We can reach them if we offer our hands in a spirit of mutual concern for the well being of our children.

Once we have the attention of a critical mass of Americans across the political spectrum, we can all be part of a national effort to abolish corporate personhood through Constitutional amendment. If we are willing to work together, we can put forth candidates to introduce such an amendment into Congress while making a parallel effort to continue to educate the public by bringing petitions out on the street and to our neighbors’ homes calling for a Constitutional Convention. Although it is unlikely to happen and arguably unwise that it should, the educational value of such a national effort led by student groups is incalculable.

The biggest obstacle we face is the belief that passing a Constitutional amendment is too difficult to even attempt. This defeatist attitude is a slap in the face of every soldier that has ever died in defense of what he or she believed was liberty. Worse, it is a betrayal of our own children and every generation that follows them. If we can get enough people to reject the idea that war is inevitable, it will inevitably become unthinkable.

If we win this war on fascism, this will be the last war the world will know.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Every one of you devoted friends should consider himself the only person in the entire world who is wearing the luminous crown of divine teachings and the only one who holds in his hands the life-giving banner of the Cause of Baha'u'llah for the world of humanity; so that he may strive, with a firm resolution, unflinching determination, steadfast steps and hopeful heart, to tread his undeviating path in the chosen highway of God and, with a brilliant countenance and head held high, continue with an unwavering attitude to focus his radiant gaze on the golden horizon of the Cause of God.
With those words, the administrative order of Iran's long-oppressed Baha'i religious minority tried to prepare its membership for another bloody era in 1980. The earliest days of the Baha'i Faith in its native land had seen 20,000 martyrs, with practically every leader killed or exiled, by the time its age of martytrdom was declared over in the early part of the 20th Century. The restoration of Persia's monarchy had brought a new wave of oppression; Tehran's Baha'i temple was razed with official ceremony; but this bought them no credibility with the ayatollahs now leading the popular revolution.

It is impossible to overstate the intensely democratic form that Baha'i elections take. No one can mention any names, trade any horses, or advocate for any position. Wherever nine or more Baha'is live in any community, they gather once a year to pray and write names on secret ballots. Taking as many rounds as necessary, the assembly chooses a chairperson, a treasurer, and a secretary. Writings and prayer between ballots exhort each adult Baha'i to name the worthiest ones among them for the post in question. It can, indeed usually does, require much more time than your average voting experience in America.

The entire Baha'i administrative order mirrors this process of consensus. Baha'i organization subverts the ordinary lines of political geography: "clusters" of assemblies form communities. Regions overlap states. Alaska has its own "National Spiritual Assembly;" so do Sicily and Puerto Rico. Members of the highest international council -- the Universal House of Justice -- are elected regularly in much the same manner and mode as local assemblies. There are no clerics, and no administrative class. Merit is the order of a sober selection.

Before 1980 was over, all nine Baha'is in that photograph had been arrested and disappeared, never to be seen again. With astounding courage, the Baha'is of Iran immediately re-elected another National Spiritual Assembly. They, too, were arrested and executed -- and a third immediately elected in its place.

That assembly disbanded itself after the revolutionary government passed a law making Baha'i assemblies illegal. It was one of several repressive acts by the regime: Baha'is were denied state education, government jobs, or civic recognition of marriage. Baha'is in Iran resisted by not resisting. For the next three decades, Baha'is would see the heightened oppression of the revolution muted by the Iran-Iraq War, relaxed in the thermidor of Khatami's presidency, and returned to official policy in the Ahmadinejad years. By this time, an entirely informal -- and web-based! -- Baha'i education system had sprung up, and a highly-organized informal system to replace the assembly. From June of 2010:

— The trial of seven Baha'i leaders imprisoned for more than two years in Iran seems to have come to a conclusion after three days of successive court hearings.
The seven appeared in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on the morning of Saturday, 12 June and returned to Evin Prison shortly after noon.
All seven were convicted last August and sentenced to 20 years in prison for "establishment of an illegal administration." Calling themselves asyaran ("friends"), this simple coordinating group had committed the crime of providing basic community functions, like burial services and counseling. These convictions are ironic, as Baha'is created these informal arrangements to stay in compliance with the laws. Baha'i scriptures actually tell them to obey their national authority -- and they had been.

Yet even this repression has failed to end the Baha'i Faith in Iran. Indeed, it has obtained the opposite effect, kindling sympathy as the regime's popular support crumbles. Every Baha'i hanged, murdered, or imprisoned becomes a martyr of peaceful resistance instead of a warning to others. Every innovation by the state has engendered equal or greater innovation by the Baha'is, who continue to put their best and brightest forward without fear.