The incoming government sure is making an impression on people. Secrecy, lies, and misinformation are the order of the day, pointing to the very real fact we have a fascist government.
Many think that fascism can only take a hold via military coup d’etat, similar to how Pinochet did. However we quickly forget many fascist regimes are the result of “free and fair” elections.
I am no political science expert, nor history expert, by any stretch, but I feel compelled to write on the early warning signs that we may have a fascist government.
In 2003 Dr Lawrence Britt published Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism in Free Inquiry, a magazine published by the Council for Secular Humanists. Britt studied the fascist regimes of Hilter, Franco, and even Suharto, to find characteristics similar between difference fascist governments. There are other lists of characteristics by Umberto Eco, Dimitri Kitsikis, and the like, but I found Britt’s the clearest & most concise list.
Of the 14 there seems to be 13 that the new government has already checked off the list:
- Powerful & Controlling Nationalism: Abbott has always been a flag waver, and seems to not be letting up any time soon. If Tony could get away with wearing a Captain Australia suit he would.
- Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: A double whammy on this one: asylum seekers & the racial discrimination act are both in the sights of the Abbott government.
- Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: If there’s no clearer example of this it’s the Liberal party using asylum seekers as political fodder: remember the “refugees clog up our motorways” crap? We must also not forget the “Budget Emergency”, with “debt” being the enemy & the previous government being a scapegoat for a global financial crisis.
- Supremacy of the Military: We’re seeing a ramp up of military spending already, with a promise to take it even higher.
- Rampant Sexism: With a leader that thinks women do not have the intellect or ability to achieve roles of leadership is there anything more to be said?
- Controlled Mass Media: Whether through direct control, intimidation, or complicitity, Australia’s media were (and most still are) backing Abbott. If that’s not controlled media, then I don’t know what is.
- Obsession with National Security: Again we see asylum seekers used to backup the need for greater national security. All done under a veil of secrecy.
- Religion and Government are Intertwined: There is no doubt that Abbott & his front bench are intertwining their “Christian values” in government policy. Same sex marriage is a prime example of this.
- Corporate Power is Protected: The right for companies to sue over boycotts & demonstrations is a prime example of changing the legal landscape to protect corporate power
- Labour Power is Suppressed: The continual murmurs of scrapping the minimum wage, bringing back individual contracts, and scrapping the award come to mind. The productivity commission review is being used to justify it too.
- Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Remember when Abbott said “climate science is crap”? Just one of many examples of Abbott’s clear anti-intellectualism.
- Obsession with Crime and Punishment: This has always been central to the Liberal party platform, and while on its own wouldn’t be concerning, when combined with other fascist traits becomes a tool for oppression.
- Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: With the night of the long knives style axing of department heads, diplomats, etc, in favour of “mates”, and the ongoing expenses rorts, we can see this is firmly entrenched in the Abbott government.
- Fraudulent Elections: watch this space.
While this list isn’t definitive proof that the Abbott government is fascist, it is concerning. Yes, this list can be applied against Labor governments (most notably Rudd) & achieve similar, albeit slightly different, outcomes. As with any philosophical statements the truth of the matter can be far removed from what we perceive.
I don’t think every fascist grows up thinking “that’s what I want to be, a person who rules by intimidation and fear”, but we can’t excuse the pattern forming of a government heading toward fascism. The thought that it could “never happen to us” is the very reason why fascism takes a hold, especially in concocted “times of crisis”.
The only crisis we are having is an ethical one, with rights being ignored, documents that are in our national interest to be released being suppressed, and ministers stonewalling our media (if not outright attacking them).
We have made this bed Australia, let’s just hope we can survive three years of a government that is using plays from the fascist handbook.