Tag Archives: FDR

Why Capitalism is a Form of Fascism

“The liberty of democracy is not safe
if the people tolerate the growth of
private power to a point where it
becomes stronger than their democratic
state itself. That, in its essence, is
fascism–ownership of government by an
individual, by a group.”
–Franklin Roosevelt

FDR spoke those words during the 1940s when the world’s safety and peace were threatened by fascism. World War II was the crucible by which the world’s fate would be decided. Thank God, democracy won out. But FDR knew the cataclysmic danger Nazism presented. All Americans acutely felt the threat that fascism posed, and we knew that, for true democracy to survive, we had to fight the threat, not only abroad but here at home. So far removed from those dangerous yet unifying times, Americans today have a hard time comprehending that the threat is still with us. Only now it comes from within. There is a small group of wealthy men, mostly white, middle-aged and Republican, who are trying to own the government. To bend democracy to their benefit and theirs alone. They despise the poor, minorities, women, homosexuals…in fact, anyone who is not white, middle-aged, male and unimaginably wealthy is abhorrent to them. They are sometimes invisible or unrecognizable, because they don’t come at us with the SS, a blitzkrieg, or the Luftwaffe, like Hitler did, but their intent is just the same–control of the government. Maybe it is capitalism itself which is the enemy, for the capitalist system closely mimics the fascist model FDR decried. A powerful few at the top own the government.

“Nonsense,” say my conservative acquaintances. “We all have a say in democracy.”

“Some have more say than others,” I reply. “Just ask the Supreme Court. The ultra-rich can buy as much of the government as they like now. They can spend the kind of money on candidates and elections that the little guy cannot. They have inordinate influence over the processes of government.”

“Then get rich yourself and buy your own congressmen,” the conservative says. “It’s America; anyone can get wealthy.”

“That is not possible under our system,” I say. “That’s like saying we can all win the lottery. That can’t happen. Only one person wins the lottery. The capitalist system works only if there are a privileged few at the top and many at the bottom. For every billionaire, there are hundreds of millions of poor people. For every one person at the top, there are hundreds of millions at the bottom. Capitalism does not allow for every man to be a king. Only a few. And the rest of us are at the mercy of the few. That’s how capitalism works.”

“Then get rich yourself and rule the country,” says the right-winger.

“Democracy should not be about the richest ruling. It should be about every person having a say,” I respond.

“That’s democracy; that’s not capitalism,” says the conservative. And therein is the conundrum. Capitalism and democracy are mortal enemies. One thrives at the suppression of the other.

What would FDR think of America today? He would be outraged by the ultra-rich using their immeasurable wealth to buy Congress, mostly by pouring money into Tea Party coffers, but also by buying the truth. Fox News is their propaganda arm, spewing lies and misinformation daily. On the radio, like Goebbels once did, Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck, and other propagandists sway the uninformed and stir the worst fears of the common man. It’s an old formula.

We can still vote, but even that privilege is being manipulated by Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression. Like the Nazis, these people are ruthless and will not stop until they own everything. If their America comes to pass, we will see widespread poverty, the proliferation of sickness and disease, the end of public assistance, Social Security, public education, health care for the old and needy, and an intolerant, gun-riddled age of violence.

It is not an international war; it is a domestic war. A war where one side has all the wealth and most of the politicians, judges and weapons. Still, we must be fight on as FDR and brave Americans did when we defeated another form of fascism decades ago. If for no other reason than to honor the memory of one of our wisest presidents.



JFK Conspiracy Fact #1: When They Killed Kennedy, They Killed America


America was once a great country, and its leaders understood that to keep it from falling into the hands of a petty, greedy, narrow-minded, regressive few, we had to be vigilant and forward thinking.  FDR, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy all took this responsibility quite seriously.  However, every President since Kennedy has abrogated his duty; to the point where, slowly over time, our greatness has eroded.  America has become a government of the rich, by the selfish, and for the few.  Congress shuts down the government to prevent the sick from getting access to health care.  Social Security and Medicare are endangered. The NRA and a small handful of rich right-wingers buy and sell politicians like cattle.  Schoolchildren are slaughtered and we raise not one finger to prevent its recurrence.  Climate change and evolution are dismissed.  Science is denigrated.  Progressive thinking is derided.  War and the threat of war are constants.  It was not always this way.
FDR was keenly aware of the external and internal threats to democracy.  He used government for good purposes: to defeat world fascism and lift us out of the Depression.  He also stood guard against internal threats. His cabinet and appointees were extensions of this vigilance.  In 1936, William Dodd, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, wrote a letter to President Roosevelt in which he stated, “A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime….A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there. Propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the institutions of our government compel them to comply with the provisions.”
Roosevelt used his powers as President to stop fascist infiltration of the U.S. economy. On the 20th of  October, 1942, he seized the assets of the Union Banking Corporation. The shares of the bank were owned by Prescott Bush (father of George H.W. Bush and grandfather of George W. Bush), E. Roland Harriman, and three members of the Nazi Party. Under the Trading with the Enemy Act, the government took over the Union Banking Corporation and the Silesian-American Corporation, a company that had been managed by Prescott Bush and his father-in-law George Herbert Walker.

President Eisenhower, though a Republican, supported social safety programs. He wrote a letter to his brother Edgar on Nov. 8, 1954, which read in part: “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”  Hunt and his Texas oil cronies financed the murder of John Kennedy and supplanted him with their own oil-friendly, warmongering President, Lyndon Johnson.
JFK also actively stood for progress and peace, and against the takeover of America by wealthy interests.  Four of his prominent speeches illustrate this–
April 27, 1961: Following the Bay of Pigs, a flawed operation concocted by the CIA to trap the President, Kennedy spoke out against secret organizations: “Secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society.  There is a very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning…there is a monolithic, ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence.”  This was a direct shot at the CIA and its culture of secrecy.  He also put on notice those organizations whose members had accumulated undue influence over government agencies and, by extension, the American people.  Organizations like Skull and Bones, Bilderbergers, Freemasons, the Council on World Affairs, et al, had infiltrated all spheres of the government.

America since then:  Two Skull and Bones presidents have presided over unnecessary wars which greatly profited their crony defense contractors.  The CIA has operated clandestinely without oversight in foreign and domestic matters, enriching its corporate sponsors by overthrowing socialist and democratic governments around the globe; subverting the free press; drugging its own citizens; conducting illegal wars; and siding with totalitarian regimes.
June 10, 1963:  In a speech delivered at the American University commencement, JFK declared his intent to end the Cold War, not win it.  He advocates for world peace and says, “ What kind of peace do I seek?  Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.  Total war makes no sense in an age…when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would by wind and water and soil and seeds travel to the far corners of the Earth…every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace should…examine his own attitude towards the possibility of peace with the Soviet Union…Both [the U.S. and USSR] are devoting to weapons mass sums of money which could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty and disease…if we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”
America since then:  The Cold War lasted another quarter century, and JFK’s vision of world peace never came about.  Since November 22, 1963, war and the threat of war have been constants in American life.
To sum up, Kennedy envisioned perpetual peace; what we got after his death was perpetual war.
September 2, 1963:  Speaking with Walter Cronkite about Vietnam, JFK said, “In the final analysis, it’s their [the South Vietnamese] war; they’re the ones who have to win or lose it.”  Just weeks later JFK issued National Security Action Memo (NSAM) 263, calling for total American withdrawal from Vietnam in his second term.
America since then: Three days after JFK’s death, Lyndon Johnson rescinded NSAM 263 with his own National Security Action Memo (NSAM 273) which laid out the rationale for the Vietnam War.  The war lasted 12 years and cost 58,000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives, and billions of American dollars.
October 22, 1963:  In a speech praising scientific advancements and research, JFK, in an age where political charlatans were ridiculed for denying or condemning scientific fact, lauded Americans’ “…wholehearted understanding of the importance of pure science…”  Kennedy encouraged scientists to find ways to “…protect land and water, forests and wildlife, to combat exhaustion and erosion, to stop the contamination of water and air by industrial as well as nuclear pollution, and to provide for the steady renewal and expansion of the natural bases for life.”
America since then:  Scientific research and discoveries are condemned as anti-religion (evolution) and anti-free enterprise (carbon emissions have caused climate change).  Politicians and corporations with blatant agendas bully their way into public discourse, and are not denounced by media for what they are—regressive, ignorant, and greedy.
When they killed Kennedy, they killed his vision for America—peace, progress and an age of enlightenment.  Fifty years on, we’ve seen the America that the plotters wanted—hatred for science, constant war, denigration of social programs for the old and the needy, and protection of the rich and greedy—come to pass.
“When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. They said to one another, Here comes this dreamer! Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’ Then let us see what will become of his dreams!” –Genesis 37:18-20