Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brownshirts Dressed in Blue?

I wrote the article below on 2 September 2004 after the police corralled hundreds of people and held them on a rat infested pier until the RNC was over. We have continued to deteriorate to the point that we now have candidate's thugs beating up any opposition. And the right is praising them! I see little difference between being Bushwhacked in 2004 and living in the Obamanation today, except that the wars and torture and giveaways to the rich are even wider, more brutal, and more blatant.

Brownshirts Dressed in Blue?
Steve Osborn

I have observed the Republican fascist takeover of our government with great trepidation, as I am a student of history. The parallels with the Germany of the 30's are frightening. The Weimar Republic was under attack and the economy was failing. They could have balanced the budget, but chose not (or were not allowed) to tax the wealthy Junkers, the owners of most of the agriculture and heavy industry of Germany. Instead, the burden fell on the middle classes.

Hitler had written his plan for Germany and the World in Mein Kampf and there was little of freedom in it. The Nazis had a small minority in the Reichstag, but there was a large organization of thugs known as the SA, or Brownshirts. These stormtroopers protected Hitler’s rallies by driving off or beating up on the opposition. They destroyed polling booths and drove off opposition party voters at the polls, stole ballot boxes, and generally brutalized any opposition. Hitler made a pact with the army Officer Corps and the Junkers, that the army would be rebuilt and supplied. They would be given free rein. The Junkers would not be taxed or their profits reduced by the Nazi government. They poured huge amounts into the Nazi coffers, which was used to fuel a propaganda machine unmatched until today.

The Nazis finally won and took power. Hitler quickly suborned the Reichstag into a rubber stamp congress for his programs. He used a phony terrorist act (The SS set fire to the Riechstag Building and blamed it on the communists) to clamp down on the people, for their own security of course.

“Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of freedom of expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permitted beyond the legal limit otherwise prescribed.”

No, that is not a quote from the PATRIOT ACT, it is taken from a decree “for the Protection of the People and the State” (AKA the Enabling Acts) issued on 28 February 1933, the day after the Reichstag fire, suspending the seven sections of the Weimar constitution which guaranteed individual and civil liberties. It was described as a “defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state.”

Once the Nazis had consolidated their power, newspapers or radio stations expressing opposition were either shut down, or the Brownshirts destroyed their presses and offices. As the newspapers were suppressed, they were “bought” by Nazi propagandists. Soon, all that one heard or read in Germany was the Nazi’s “fair and balanced” viewpoint. Soon, it was death or a concentration camp for those who disagreed or even listened to another viewpoint. Labor unions quickly came under fire and were abolished. The various churches who tried to protest were silenced or outlawed. Pensions were erased and labor laws were abolished. New ones were substituted which left the workers with no right but to do what they were told. Then came the book burnings and an attempt to erase anything that did not agree with the Nazi view of the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not equate Bush with Hitler. Bush doesn’t have Hitler’s charisma, nor is he anywhere close to as intelligent. I am just trying to point out that the United States is poised on a slippery slope and the lesson is there to be read in fairly recent history.

In both Italy and Germany, the government and big business were closely tied and business had the right to unlimited profit. The government passed laws against organized labor and repealed any laws that guaranteed worker’s rights. Pensions were repealed and the funds returned to business and government to use as they wished. Both governments invented foreign enemies that “threatened their existence.” The people were expected to approve any measure that protected them from those enemies. People who protested these policies were automatically classified as traitors or enemy agents. They were tried, often in secret tribunals, and executed, or just disappeared, often to a concentration camp. Ethnic groups were singled out as scapegoats and persecuted, often winding up in concentration camps. The above description is only a thumbnail sketch of what happened, but one can get the idea.

The result in each case was a nation whose citizens were bombarded with only one point of view until they came to believe it, who marched lock step with their leader right into the abyss, dragging millions of innocents along with them. In four years, we have gone from a respected nation that worked with the world to try to make it a better place, to a nation hated and despised for being a bully, a liar, a killer, a torturer and a gross polluter, raping the environment for private profit and greed.

I would like the United States to be remembered as something better; as a nation of law and empathy and respect; as a nation with a marvelous Constitution and Bill of Rights that is a model for any emerging nation. Watching the actions of the NYPD suppressing the people exercising their First Amendment rights, while the major “fair and balanced” media ignored it, made me realize how fragile these freedoms and that Constitution have become under the Cheney/Bush regime. These latter day Brownshirts are rapidly gaining power. We the People are rapidly running out of options and we had better exercise them at the polls before it’s too late.
930 words
2 Sept. 2004

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