Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bertram Gross' 1982 "Friendly Fascism," Fitting Book for the Obama Era of Corporate Politics and Managed Democracy

In 1982 professor Bertram Gross wrote "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America." It was a warning of how repressive politics could arise in the United States. It has become apparent in the 2000s that the United States has decisively moved in the direction that Gross forecasted.

Point by point, chapter by chapter, America has followed in that direction. All of that has followed in American unchallenged corporate power, political rhetoric, stage-managed manipulation of public opinion, Orwellian subversion of words' meanings, all of this has happened. Before the books (first with this), lectures and film by Noam Chomsky on manufactured consent, Gross laid it out.

As Barack Obama has spoken and acted in his presidency, we have perpetuation of myths of American exceptionalism. He has used liberal rhetoric, but has acted as aggressively or worse in some areas than George W. Bush, in violating civil liberties, waging costly and deadly wars abroad. Collective action is necessary to challenge the direction of this kind politics and abuse of political power.

Take a look at this site giving very short, snappy selections from "Friendly Fascism," organized around chapters, such as this one on "Subverting Democratic Machinery."

The site author has a pithy, very appropriate quote for this age:
"As long as an economic system provides an acceptable degree of security, growing material wealth and opportunity for further increase for the next generation, the average American does not ask who is running things or what goals are being pursued." Daniel R. Fusfeld

In the age of Occupy Wall Street protests we see a populace no longer comfortable with the American economy. Thus, more people are upset with the status quo, are researching about it, and are taking action.

But buy and study the book, "Friendly Fascism." So much of what you observe today, you will find resonance in this book.
South End Press, reprinted, 1999. ISBN: 0896081494
The popular review link at goodreads

Killed over a movie ticket: How law enforcement hurts people with disabilities

How law enforcement hurts people with disabilities

A man with Down syndrome died in a confrontation with police. Officers need better training before more people die

On Jan. 12, Robert “Ethan” Saylor of Frederick County, Md., a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome and an IQ of 40, died of asphyxiation after a confrontation with three off-duty police officers. He was being restrained for attempting to see “Zero Dark Thirty” for a second time without a ticket. According to witnesses, Saylor’s last words included “it hurt” and “call my mom.”
Saylor’s ashes now sit in the family’s living room while the three officers continue their usual shifts. No charges have been filed.
Saylor’s death stands out as especially tragic, not only because he loved police officers. Despite testimony from Saylor’s aide that she told the officers to “be patient” and let her “handle it,” a local grand jury decided not to file criminal charges. In late July, the federal government finally took note and opened an investigation into whether police violated Saylor’s civil rights.

This slow-moving process reveals something disturbing: Our law enforcement system often fails to protect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and, in some cases, is complicit in their abuse.

Read on in the original article: