Monday, February 27, 2012
OCCUPY THE LANGUAGE
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
There is a debate going on in the progressive community that has received little commentary from the alternative media: Does the use of such terms as “fascism” and “revolution” undermine our credibility or do alternatives such as “managed democracy” and “transformational change” obscure the urgent necessity for coordinated action to overturn the corporate economic and political power structure of the US and the world?
Propaganda depends on the use of emotionally evocative language to penetrate the overwhelmed consciousness of citizens under siege. The corporate media and politicians use fear to control confused Americans by directing their anger at those with whom they should be uniting in the common cause of liberty and justice for all. This is how the corporatocracy keeps us divided rather than uniting to struggle together to establish a government of, by and for the People.
Only when we find a way to overcome the great divide between the self-identified Left and Right will we establish a system of government that will be a model for other nations struggling to achieve democracy. Use of emotionally powerful language designed to elicit positive feelings of empowerment and common purpose has a place in our strategy.
The first step in achieving the level of consensus needed to radically transform American political consciousness is for those of us who understand what America has become and what it aspires to be to agree on the content of the message. How we express it should depend on who we are trying to reach in any given context. When speaking with each other we should avoid euphemisms that mask the reality of what we are up against. If we cannot be frank with each other then we risk confusing a just-awakening American public with a watered-down explanation of the constitutional crisis we face.
The word “fascism” is emotionally laden. When used to describe America’s corporate controlled government, there is a risk that people who accept the myth of American exceptionalism will reject our message outright. When speaking to general audiences about the need for a constitutional amendment it is preferable to use the term “special interests” to identify who pose the true threat to democracy that those on the Left and Right both perceive. It is useless to debate those who believe that unions have too much power over the electoral process that they are wrong. The winning strategy to start real debate is acknowledging that neither organized labor nor corporate CEOs ought to have the power to determine who will represent all of us.
The arguments over the word “revolution” are more complex. The term can be used in an inflammatory way that undermines the common goal of a nonviolent, democratic Revolution. The corporate media and politicians use the phrase to denote the “Second amendment solution” that “leaders” of the Tea Party use to keep ablaze the anger on which their popularity depends.
Most Americans accept what they were taught in school that the Founders established the a democratic government through a constitution that is treated with the reverence of the Bible. The thought of ordinary farmers giving their lives so that the last, best hope for Mankind might take root obscures the fact that when the Revolutionary War was over only 10% of citizens had the right to vote.
Under the original constitution only white men with property could vote. Democracy has remained an ideal. The struggle to realize it has defined American history. From the Civil War to the fight against the Robber Barons led by the union movement to women’s suffrage, Americans have sought to create a more perfect union where liberty and justice might be enjoyed by all. At each step, reactionary economic elites have sought to contain and reverse those gains. As Americans have lost sight of the stated goals of the original Revolution, we have crept ever closer to the line that divides fascist societies from democratic ones.
To end the Civil War and finish the Revolution, Right and Left must unite to free the American government from the grip of international corporate terrorists who control it.
Transnational corporations have no allegiance to the US or any other nation or its Peoples. Overturning a system of corporate privilege must be our goal if our children are to be free of the grip of global fascism that our parents and grandparents fought and died for in wars from the American Revolution to WW II. That makes ours an international struggle in which we must try to enlist all who have hope and a willingness to struggle together to save human civilization.
Posted by Rick Staggenborg, MD at 11:04 AM