Here Thar Be Monsters!
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There are two primary defining aspects of fascism. One is that State and Corporate interests converge, such that the State becomes the enforcement arm of Corporate hegemony, while Corporations enforce State interests at the level of their employees, meaning the rest of us, though things like loyalty tests and tax compliance.
Each scratches the other's back. The State enacts protective legislation and relaxes regulations that benefit Corporate interests and enforces these things at the point of a gun under the 'color of law'. Government agents become little more than private police working at the behest of Corporate oligarchs.
Meanwhile, Corporations serve the State by enforcing tax laws at the level of your paycheck, forcing you to surrender your rights and privacy in order to obtain and keep a job. You are forced to swear oaths of loyalty through immigration forms. You are required to surrender bodily fluids and submit to psychological tests in order to receive economic benefit. Corporate interests also control mass populations through credit and other economic weapons at the behest of the State.
The other defining aspect of fascism is a legal system that is so burdensome and intrusive that every citizen is breaking some law at every moment of their lives. Granted, the laws are arbitrarily enforced. You can break some laws for years without reprisal, but if the State decides one day that you are a threat, then it can easily dig up piles of major and minor infractions that you had little idea existed.
This second aspect of fascism is the most insidious. Laws in most countries are so byzantine that even the legislators have no idea what is in them. They are simply rewarded or punished with favors to enact them. The legislators, for their part, don't care much because they enjoy a certain amount of immunity in their positions.
A hallmark of this aspect of fascism is constant and all-encompassing surveillance. Everything the citizen says, does and thinks is recorded. If at any point the citizen becomes a threat, the State can prove multiple infractions of little-known laws that on their face, seem contradictory and even ridiculous. No one will defend the individual out of fear that the same treatment will be applied to them.
At some point, the average citizen becomes aware of the system that has sprung up around him. At that time, he must make a choice to remain within the system, thus surrendering his morals and ethics, or step outside of it and live as an outlaw constantly looking over his shoulder. A few will realize that there is no difference between the two choices, but most will come down on the side of supposed caution and try to remain within the system.
Over all of this is a surveillance system that documents every little infraction from birth to death. If at any time the citizen chooses to fight back, the State can simply bury him in a hail of arbitrary charges for things that no one knew were illegal. Even if the citizen puts up a good fight, the State can simply manipulate the system to impoverish the individual through extended legal proceedings, ultimately crushing dissent by attrition. The citizen can find no one to stand up for him because everyone is afraid that the same treatment will befall them if they speak up.
Ultimately, fascism is the most devious form of government ever devised. Because it uses economic weapons, it affects the most basic needs of the individual. Because it can outlaw literally anything, the individual is made into a criminal for doing nothing more than living. He can be jailed for collecting rain water or his children taken away for holding bake sales. His right to travel can be switched off with a simple note on his government records.
In the end, we all become Josef K in a Kafka-esque nightmare so bizarre and horrifying that the system strikes fear into even those who administer it. The system takes on a life of its own and will finally begin to eat its own.
At this point, it finally begins to unravel, as everyone realizes that there is no safe harbor in such a system. But by the time this happens, it has eaten the life out of generations of human beings and thoroughly destroyed innocence and trust.
Fascism takes root through ignorance and thrives in denial. We give purchase to it when we think, "It can never happen here." We fertilize it by thinking, "It is NOT happening here."
This evil is so pervasive that one begins to think there is no way to fight. No true. In fact, the best weapon against it is so simple as to be incredible. It's called 'shunning'.
We must shun the system and all its trappings. We must shun the electoral process. It is vital that we realize this sham is worthless as a means of change. It is nothing more than a way to get us to buy into our own destruction. It gives the system legitimacy, even though it is completely illegitimate.
We must vilify its apparatchiks and turn them into pariahs. If a known government agent walks into a restaurant and sits down, people should get up and move away. We should hide our children from police as if they carry an infectious disease. We should not associate with anyone employed by the system, to the point of breaking friendships over it.
We should avoid the courts at all costs. We should not pray and plead in the system's holy rooms, but rather find creative ways to settle our differences outside those vile halls.
En masse, we should stop renewing licenses and registrations. We should extract ourselves as completely as we can from any and all control functions of the State. We should stop using the mega-banks and only use small, local banks whenever it is unavoidable. We should stop buying products sold by mega-corporations, and support only local shops and manufacturers.
Most importantly, we should ridicule the system at every turn. The one thing fascism can not abide is for the citizenry to not take it seriously. When people stop fearing it, it withers and dies. It can not stand up to satire and mockery. This was used to great effect against Joe McCarthey.
Or, as Orwell warned, we can live with the boot of tyranny stamping on our faces for all time.
Fascism is running rampant throughout the world right now. We don't recognize it because we are looking for Hitlers and Musolinis, and the Nazi trappings and logos. But fascism morphs and changes with its surroundings. It will take on the veil of whatever environment it is in. It wraps itself in you flag. It dresses itself as your neighbor. It shakes hands and kisses babies and looks for all the world like the most harmless thing, until you cross it.