Chomsky warns of fascism risk in America

At a recent speech, Chomsky said he remembers the sound of Hitler’s speeches and how the Nazis went from 2% of the vote to taking over two years later. He hears the rage of the Tea Partiers and others and says “the level of anger and fear is like nothing I can compare in my lifetime.”

“Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error,” Chomsky said.

Their attitudes “are understandable,” he said. “For over 30 years, real incomes have stagnated or declined. This is in large part the consequence of the decision in the 1970s to financialize the economy.”

There is class resentment, he noted. “The bankers, who are primarily responsible for the crisis, are now reveling in record bonuses while official unemployment is around 10 percent and unemployment in the manufacturing sector is at Depression-era levels,” he said.

And Obama is linked to the bankers, Chomsky explained.

All true, but how does that lead to a fascist takeover? I’m just not getting the inevitability of the process or even particularly alarmed about the anger. I saw much worse in the 60’s and we survived that.

The SEC filing fraud charges against Goldman today was a needed first step. But there need to be many more filings, including criminal charges. Frog-march a few hundred investment bank criminals to prison after stripping them of their assets, and I guarantee the anger in the country will start to dissipate. Remember, in the S&L debacle of the 80’s, thousands of people went to prison. That’s what needs to happen again. But if the companies just get fines, the anger will continue to escalate and things might get crazed. (But that still doesn’t mean fascism is coming)


  1. He has a valid point – you are assuming the same people are angry now that were angry in the 60’s. In the 60’s it was the liberals that were angry and they were angry about the war, racism and inequality. They rebelled and forced the government to change itself.

    The Tea party crowd are from the right and a lot of them are from the religious right. They aren’t against the wars and they are blaming the left instead of their own party and leaders for the ills they are suffering. They don’t want to fix the government – they want to take it over and force the rest of us to live by their rules because they are right and the rest of us are wrong.

  2. “Frog-march a few hundred investment bank criminals to prison after stripping them of their assets”

    That will not be sufficient unless they are accompanied by hundreds of current and former Democratic and Republican officials and the leadership of the ruling criminal-political class.

  3. I agree with Cheryl. Let us never forget that that fringe wacko Hitler got elected by a majority vote, propelled by desperate and angry average Germans (they were burning their money for fuel, it was so worthless). Hitler gave them someone to blame. He told them what they wanted to hear. Then, after he got elected, he seized total control.

    I’m not frightened by the rank-and-file tea partier, who has legitimate grievances and isn’t entirely sure who has screwed him (turns out it’s pretty much everyone including the party he thought represented his interests).

    What scares me is the would-be leaders trying to jump out in front of the parade, molding all that anger into a weapon. And the folks who dismiss the tea partiers because everything is just fine now that the golden boy is in the White House, so quit your whining, thank you very much.

    Extremism is growing on both sides, but each only sees it in the other.

    • Well, you didn’t jack-shit out of the ignorant assholes when their golden boy was in the white house. I was not more than an hour ago asked ‘Thom why don’t you like teabaggers?” — “I don’t dislike teabaggers…”, nor DJ as a combat vet do I dismiss teabaggers… I just think they’re a little late to the party. This shit’s been goin’ down and I’ve been bitchin’ about it since Nixon. And they’re just waking up to it, stoned out of their brains on Ambein, Prosaic, Viagra and glued to crotch shots on the CNN/Faux Opinion channel? Pu-leaze.

      Pretty much everyone having an ale standing in the circle we’ve been having an ale standing in for nearly thirty years shook their heads in vigorous agreement.

      But then again, this is Oregon, where we tend to think before…

      • Sorry, Ten Bears, if you took my comment personally, you were not who I had in mind. I was thinking of so many of my liberal friends. Tea partiers are not the only ones stoned on Prozac, Ambien, Viagra, and reality TV. And that’s no accident.

        “Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they’ll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it’s the sand of the coliseum. He’ll bring them death – and they will love him for it.” –Senator Gracchus about the emperor, in “Gladiator”

  4. Well, the 60’s had cities burning, assassinations, bombings. We’re nowhere near that (yet)

    But if the Left doesn’t start to organize on the very real anger and justifiable grievances out there, then the right will own it by default

  5. Facism was historicaly brought in by the ruling class during a huge economic crisis, when big business, ie the ruling class was severly threatened, and felt that their time was up, as in the early part of the 20th century. The ruling class at this point in time has republican light under Obama, and they do not need to resort to facism at the moment. They would much rather carry out their agenda under bourgeois democracy, which is much easier than resorting to facism. They are also not being threatened by a very strong labor and/or socialist movement here in the US, as they were threatened in the 1920s and 30s in Germany.
    If there were to emerge a very large working class socialist movement that would truly threaten the ruling class and their capitalist system only then would they resort to facism, but for now they are very content with the Repulicrats, whether it be Obama or some other capitalist politician…
    By the Way Some members of socialist alternative were at the latest tea party rally in Boston…

    Also some of this topic about facism was discussed on the Socialist Alternative Radio program on the download link blow…

    And the Tea party Rally was discussed on the download link below…
    I also have these programs posted on my blog…

    • The Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that its chief financial backers owe their family fortune to the granddaddy of all their hatred: Stalin’s godless empire of the USSR. The secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation of Soviet oil industrial complex.

      Unsurprising, as the playbook is seventy-five years old. The late US senator Prescott Bush, George W. Bush’s grandfather, was a director and shareholder of numerous companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany. The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism. Though later “sanctioned” for violation of The Trading With Enemies Act, no punitive prosecution of the law was ever undertaken.

      These are what bankroll Sarah Palin’s Tea Party, luxury hotels, wardrobe, private jets, baby-sitters, policy tutors, consultants and big speaking fees.

      • Somehow, the biggest unsurprise here is the phrase, “oil money.” Hmm.

        OTOH, my rancher neighbor who is a TP sympathizer doesn’t get “bankrolled” by anyone. Nor did he fly to Boston for the party– he was working.

  6. No one from Socialist Alternative flew to Boston, The members who went to the Tea Party live there, and they all work, that is the ones who have not been laid off lately…

    Ten Bears you are believing in a lot of conspiracy theories it seems. Understanding capitalism and how it works does not need to be understood through any conspiracy theory…

    • I don’t believe anything. OK, I believe DJ’s tongue was firmly in cheek when he closed his last post, but then again I’ve been reading ‘DJ’ for a number of years now.

      Think of it as a five hundred, or perhaps thousand, year anthropological study, of which I’ve but participated, chronicled, for only thirty years. I am, afterall, an academic. And there’s nothing ‘conspiratorial’ when so thoroughly documented.

      To conspire is to breath together

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