John Hall, former member of Congress from upstate New York, defined fascism: “I learned when I was in social studies class in school that corporate ownership or corporate control of government is fascism…Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Beginning with the claim that corporations are people and carrying that forward to allow corporations to spend as much money as they wish to control their government constitutes but one of the roots of fascism we need to destroy.

The wealthy elite individually or through corporate contributions provide most if not all the funding for both the National Democratic Party and National Republican Party. This single ownership shatters the myth of a two-party system. The United States is alone amongst so-called democratic parliamentary systems whereby the party leaders are selected solely on their ability to raise campaign money for their colleagues. For example, Marian Currinder reveals in her book, “Money For the House,” the Democratic congressional campaign following the 2008 cycle asked members to contribute $125,000 in dues and to raise an additional $75,000 for the Party.

Senior politicians with committee places were expected to raise more - in some cases $500,000. This money comes from the wealthy elite who, of course, expect something in return and they almost always get it. Thus, corporations control the entire political apparatus from choosing who can and cannot run for President to selecting the House and Senate leaders and committee chairs.

One of our most respected political scientists, Sheldon Wolin, points out, “The traditional understanding of democracy is that it is a system by which citizenry delegates power to the government, and hence the latter only has such powers as are delegated to it…Can the citizen relearn the demands that democracy places on its highest most difficult office - not as commonly supposed, on the office of the presidency, but on that of the citizen.”

When did we delegate to our government the authority to establish an empire with more than a thousand bases in over 85 countries? When did we delegate to our government the authority to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? We never have, in fact polls demonstrate a desire to cut military spending and to establish a single-payer health system. Neither is possible in our fascist country because the only voice that matters is that of the wealthy elite.

Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party candidate for President in 1948, wrote an article for the New York Times in 1944 called “Dangers of American Fascism.” He defined who the fascist is and what the fascist wants. “A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions, or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence toward his ends. The supreme god of a fascist to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a military clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion or a political party…But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power…They demand free enterprise but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, THEY MAY KEEP THE COMMON MAN IN ETERNAL SUBJECTION.”

Today they have nearly attained their final objective in America and will meet their objective if we don’t engage in the struggle to reverse fascism. The fertilizers relied upon by the fascists are fear, hate, prejudice, military power and deceit.

Dr. Lawrence Britt identified the 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism in an article written May 28, 2003. They are: powerful and continuing nationalism; disdain for recognition of human rights; identifying enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause; supremacy of the military; rampant sexism; controlled mass media; obsession with national security; religion and government intertwined; corporate power is protected; labor power is suppressed; disdain for intellectuals and the Arts; obsession with crime and punishment; rampant cronyism and corruption; fraudulent elections with help from the judiciary.

I can associate at least 10 of the defining characteristics of fascism with the rampant racism in our country. We have been fed the deceit that racism is a thing of the past. The media then informs us subtly which groups we must fear and hate. We have yet to learn one simple truth i.e. people are people. There are good people and not so good people. We must learn to respect people and not to prejudge people. When we prejudge people we harbor the insane idea of hating people we’ve never met.

We call ourselves a nation of immigrants. This is true but what is not mentioned is the genocide committed by the immigrants. This reality is ignored in our schools, thus it has been swept under the rug so everybody can ignore it. We not only stole the land Indigenous people lived on, today we continue to repeat the madness, especially in the mining and agriculture sectors.

When we discovered the Indigenous people were not about to submit to a lifetime of slavery, we began to kidnap Africans and bring them to America to be sold like cattle and subjected to more than 300 years of slavery. How many generations is that - 10-15-20? As a nation we still refuse to acknowledge our wrong doings and have never thought of apologizing for our shameful offenses.

On the other side of the coin every immigrant group coming to America also experienced prejudice and discrimination. However, they usually lived in the same area, were able to help new arrivals with jobs, loans to start businesses, help with learning English. Essentially following the principle of each one help one. Every immigrant group has had this opportunity, except Indigenous and Blacks.

The Indigenous people were hunted mercilessly until they could no longer resist due to hunger, sickness and sheer exhaustion from facing the most modern weaponry of the time. Money was given to “settlers” for killing Indigenous people. Then the Indigenous people were placed in open air prisons; tortured for speaking their own languages; tortured for practicing their traditions; and their religious ceremonies were outlawed.

It is no different today as we witness what is happening at San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff Arizona. The San Francisco Peaks are a sacred site, no different than the Vatican. Yet entrepreneurs have decided to build ski resorts on the sacred Peaks using recycled wastewater to make artificial snow. The courts have refused to recognize the Indigenous people’s claim of the spiritual significance of the Peaks. The United States government has broken each and every treaty negotiated with Indigenous nations. The Indigenous people have never had the same opportunity other immigrant groups were privileged to enjoy.

The kidnapped Africans, also, have never had the same privileges afforded to all other immigrant groups. I do not claim other immigrant groups had it easy, they didn’t. In comparison with Indigenous people and the kidnapped Africans their lives were a bed of roses with few thorns.

I will say for the past 120 years Blacks have been the most important progressive political force in the nation. In the 1890’s during the development of the People’s Party, much of the organizing was done by Farmer’s Alliances. There were only a few integrated Farmer’s Alliances due to racism of White farmer’s. Racism again prevented unity and still the People’s Party was effective in electing candidates to the House of Representatives and state legislatures.

During the teens (1910-1920) the greatest threat to fascism was the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Unlike the American Federation of Labor (AFL) the IWW organized along class lines regardless of color or nationality or gender. Appropriately their slogan was “An Injury To One Is An Injury To All.” The full force of the military and law enforcement were employed to crush the IWW. It was not by coincidence that the period of the IWW demise also marked a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the north as well as the south. The Klan committed unspeakable brutalities aimed mostly at Blacks and lynched at least 3256 Black Americans between 1885-1930.

Then during the Depression Blacks were crucial in the formation of Unemployed Councils which fought evictions, agitated for food assistance, agitated for jobs, and most importantly were a vehicle for those about to give up to regain a semblance of dignity. The rise of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) was due to its refusal to discriminate against Blacks, women, unskilled and semi-skilled workers and recent immigrants. The AFL was the opposite, still refusing to admit Blacks, women, unskilled and semi-skilled workers and recent immigrants. The AFL was always willing to fertilize the roots of fascism.

The period from the 1950’-1970’s is remembered as a period of great and dramatic dissent; of challenge to the existing order; of courageous organizing; and a period where we experienced democracy. The main impetus for this were young Black Americans. They were at the forefront in organizing against Jim Crow laws and attitudes. They engaged in very dangerous organizing risking their lives in order to make us all better people. They were the people that young Whites were influenced by. The Civil Rights Movement led by young Blacks made possible the anti-war movement; environmental movement; and even the counter culture. Without this courageous leadership none of these would have been possible. The absence of any movement today is due to the fascist backlash to their leadership. Remember, “none so fitted to break the chains as they who wear them.”

Thus beginning in the 1970’s it was necessary to wage war against young Blacks that continues even today. For example, the young founders of the Black Panther Party, students at Merritt Junior College in Oakland California, were well versed in the philosophy of democracy and revolutionary theory as expressed by the same French philosophers who influenced the likes of the American revolutionaries. In addition they studied and understood the philosophy of Marx and Engels and the preeminent analyst of colonial struggles, Franz Fanon.

In other words it was only through public education that made possible the analytical foundations of the Black Panther Party. This ability to think; to analyze and to organize their community frightened those who are intent on bringing fascism to America. The only reason I am able to write these words is I received essentially the same education: an education that emphasizes critical thinking. The fascists began their efforts to destroy critical thinking as a fundamental part of education as a reaction to the leadership skills demonstrated so effectively by young Blacks in the period of the Civil Rights Movement.

The FBI also did its part organizing assassinations of Black and American Indian Movement (AIM) leaders; framed leaders of both races resulting in long term imprisonment of the leaders (many are still in prison today); and nearly destroyed the Black Panther Party and AIM through COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program). COINTELPRO is still active today. This began the period whereby it is a crime to be young and Black. A crime which all Blacks are meant to suffer the consequences.

Our public education system is under attack. It is in the forefront of the merger of corporate power and state power. We have gone from teaching the youth how to think to teaching how to pass a test that deemphasizes thinking in favor of rote learning. The current administration is happily leading the fight to turn education into a profit driven enterprise leading the race to the bottom. Today’s students are mere commodities no different than wheat, rice, gold or cattle.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel (Obama’s former chief of staff) along with Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan are leading the fight to destroy the Chicago Teachers Union and turn the schools into private for profit non union enterprises. The ultimate goal is to stifle intellectual curiosity and replace it with corporate friendly indoctrination. We will not produce young Black leaders or young Indigenous leaders through rote learning. Again,”none so fitted to break the chains as they who were them.”

Mark Twain remarked at the height of the gilded age (late 1800’s marked by nearly identical levels of corruption as today), “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class, except Congress.” The deceit proffered by the corporate owned media and the corporate congressional criminal class is the lie that young Blacks and immigrants constitute a criminal class.

This demonization satisfies the necessity of imposing fear and creating scapegoats to fertilize the roots of fascism. The weapon used by the fascists is drugs. Nixon started a war on drugs which was revived by Reagan and continues today. If lowering drug use was the goal, it has been a monumental expensive failure. If the reason was to hide the war on young Blacks it has been a success. The local nightly news features the war on young Blacks as we watch well-coiffed news anchors highlight Black crime, reinforcing the notion that all Blacks are criminals.