Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Barry Weisberg

The Fascist Menace in the United States and How to Fight It

Chapter I: Introduction: It Can Happen Here

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode!

–Langston Hughes

In America today, all men and women are compelled to choose between democracy and fascism and to act on that choice. There is no middle road.

The remaining democratic rights of the working people are threatened by powerful economic interests which seek to destroy the existing democratic form of government, and on us ruins erect a fascist state. The barbaric murder of over two dozen Black children in Atlanta, the rise of the New Right, resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and fundamentalist zealotry and book burning signal the growing reaction. The essential democratic rights and living standards of the working people, achieved over decades of struggle, are being swept away.

Hand-in-hand with fascist violence, repression, reaction and decay at home, goes the militarization of the country and the threat of a new imperialist world war between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

For millions, the entire system of capitalist democracy has lost its appeal. No other conclusion can be drawn from the fact that one out of every two people refused to vote in the 1980 presidential election and that Reagan won office with a mere 27% of the vote.

The dark clouds over America foreshadow not merely more repression and less democracy. The long-cherished illusions about American democracy have been exposed, and the very method of rule itself is changing in response to the all-round crisis faced by U.S. imperialism.

These illusions have been shattered by a long series of events which demonstrate the utter lack of genuine democracy in America. Behind the illusion of government “of, by and for the people” lies the reality of dollar democracy; democracy only for the rich and powerful. Democracy of a kind which depends upon private ownership of the factories, fields and natural resources. Democracy which maximizes the profits of a few and the misery of the many.

The myth of “free elections” is giving way to a different form of rule. Today monopoly capital utilizes both persuasion and coercion. Though it does not rely exclusively on the despotism of force, it has effected the force of despotism none the less. Because of the crisis of American imperialism, the most reactionary, interventionist sections of monopoly capital have unleashed a wave of reaction to turn back the clock on all social progress. The political, economic, social, ideological and military foundation for a fascist state is today being laid; a state which abandons dollar democracy in favor of a reign of open terror.

Fascism is not inevitable. It was not inevitable in Germany and it is not inevitable in the U.S. We can prepare to defeat the twin danger of fascism and imperialist war by mobilizing now to fight each and every measure of the regime which is preparing the foundation for fascism.

But to wage this battle, the danger must be seen accurately, without ignoring its gravity or exaggerating its pace. The repression and fascist terror which exists in America today cannot be equated with the open reign of terror of a fascist state.

The trial of the Pontiac Brothers, the largest civilian death-penalty case in U.S. history, points out the extent of injustice perpetrated by the American “justice” system. The breadth and strength of the fascist movement and its increasing unification and organization cannot be denied. But recognizing this, we must also recognize that neither the objective nor subjective developments of U.S. imperialism have yet required a change in the form of rule. In the main it is the “priest”–the power of persuasion–which still holds the social fabric together, while the “hangman” waits ready in the wings, called out when it is necessary to quell the flames of rebellion.

The danger of a fascist state arising in the U.S. does not come primarily from the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazis. They have existed for decades. It comes from Wall Street, which controls the White House and directs the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis, and is preparing its own American road to fascism.

The nature of the fascist menace, which is reflected in the election of Ronald Reagan and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, cannot be understood merely as the policy of Ronald Reagan or as the outcome of the growth of the Ku Klux Klan. It is not Reagan or the Klan who are ushering in fascism. It is the crisis of American imperialism which is ushering in Ronald Reagan and the Ku Klux Klan. They have arisen and prosper because they serve the interests of imperialism in crisis and decay. They represent the attempt of U.S. imperialism to find a way to “Make America Great Again”. Reagan’s “New Beginning” is a time-worn attempt to try and prevent the massive contradictions of world imperialism from reaching their inevitable conclusion.

The danger of fascism resides precisely in the fact that many of the basic contradictions of the world imperialist system have matured and developed to the point of undermining the ability of American imperialism to rule at home through the illusion of democracy, and abroad, through the myth that America stands for freedom around the world.

Inflation, stagnation and unemployment are persistent. The defeats in Vietnam, Iran, Nicaragua and the impending defeat of U.S. policy in El Salvador all serve to undermine the power and authority of American imperialism, challenging its world hegemony.

To “Make America Great Again”, the foundation for a fascist state is being prepared for the day when dollar democracy is insufficient to maintain capitalist rule.

Our task is to recognize the unfolding events for what they are: preparations for fascism and war. The view that “it can’t happen here” must be shattered.

That is the goal of this pamphlet: to analyze the nature of fascism, examine how it is unfolding in the U.S. and to discuss how the twin menace of fascism and war will be defeated through a struggle for complete democracy – a new kind of democracy.

Like all historical developments, fascism can be understood by examining how it first arose, how it developed, and what forms it takes today. Therefore, we begin with a discussion of the relationship of fascism to imperialism and the origins and development of dollar democracy.