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the rise of american fascism

Introduction

the rise of american fascism

The rise of American Fascism is traced in this post following the decline of American organized labor, the erosion of individual rights, wanton attacks on voting rights, and the legitimacy of free and fair elections. While this is not a complete list of the rise of Fascism in America, it is a beginning accounting that all citizens, Democratic or Republican and even non-affiliated citizens as a trend that must stop if our democratic republic is to survive this organized attack.

The United States has long been regarded as a bastion of democracy, championing individual rights and the principles of a free society. However, since the 1960s, a growing undercurrent of American fascism has emerged, driven by government policies and Supreme Court decisions that have gradually eroded organized labor, undermined individual rights, and attacked the integrity of elections. This essay aims to trace the rise of American fascism by examining key policy decisions, court rulings, and their impact on the decline of democracy.

The Decline of Organized Labor: The Rise of American Fascism

Organized labor has historically played a vital role in advocating for workers’ rights and economic equality. However, a series of government policies has contributed to the decline of labor unions, weakening their influence, and eroding the collective power of workers.

One of the early blows to organized labor was the Taft-Hartley Act, enacted in 1947. This legislation was a response to perceived abuses by unions and imposed restrictions on their activities. The act prohibited closed shops, which required workers to join a union, and allowed states to enact right-to-work laws. These measures weakened the ability of unions to effectively represent workers and bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Another significant blow to organized labor came with the Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959. This legislation aimed to address corruption within unions but also imposed burdensome reporting requirements and increased government oversight. While combating corruption was a legitimate goal, the act had the unintended consequence of stifling unions’ ability to advocate for workers’ rights, further eroding their influence.

Erosion of Individual Rights: The Rise of American Fascism

A hallmark of democracy is the protection of individual rights and civil liberties. However, in recent decades, there has been a gradual erosion of these fundamental principles, facilitated by an expansion of executive power and key Supreme Court decisions.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the USA PATRIOT Act was swiftly enacted in 2001. This legislation aimed to enhance national security but granted the government sweeping surveillance powers. The act allowed for warrantless wiretapping, increased information sharing between intelligence agencies, and the collection of vast amounts of personal data. The expansion of executive power under the guise of national security threatened civil liberties, infringing upon privacy rights, and undermining the balance between security and individual freedoms.

Supreme Court decisions have also played a significant role in the erosion of individual rights. In the landmark case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Court ruled that corporate spending on political campaigns is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment. This decision opened the floodgates for unlimited campaign contributions, equating money with speech and amplifying the influence of wealthy individuals and corporations in elections. The decision undermined the democratic principle of “one person, one vote,” tilting the balance of power in favor of those with significant financial resources.

Another pivotal Supreme Court decision was Shelby County v. Holder (2013), which struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act had been instrumental in combating racial discrimination and protecting the voting rights of minority communities. However, the Court’s ruling invalidated the formula used to determine which states and localities required federal oversight of their voting laws. This decision weakened crucial safeguards against voter suppression, allowing states to enact restrictive voting laws that disproportionately affected minority communities, thereby undermining the democratic ideal of equal access to the ballot box.

Attacks on Voting and Election Legitimacy: The Rise of American Fascism

The erosion of democracy has been further compounded by deliberate attacks on voting rights and the legitimacy of elections. These attacks take various forms, including the implementation of voter ID laws, gerrymandering, and the spread of disinformation.

Since the early 2000s, numerous states have introduced strict voter ID laws, claiming that they are necessary to combat voter fraud and ensure the integrity of elections. Critics argue that such laws disproportionately impact marginalized communities, including racial minorities, low-income individuals, and the elderly, who may face difficulties in obtaining the required identification. These laws effectively restrict access to the ballot box and undermine the democratic principle of equal representation and participation.

Gerrymandering

 the manipulation of electoral boundaries to benefit a particular political party has long been a strategy employed by both major parties. By drawing district lines in a way that concentrates or dilutes the voting power of certain communities, politicians can secure electoral advantages. Gerrymandering undermines fair representation and distorts the democratic process by enabling elected officials to choose their voters rather than voters choosing their representatives.

The rise of social media and the spread of disinformation

The rise of social media and the spread of disinformation have also had a profound impact on elections and the perception of their legitimacy. Foreign actors and domestic entities have exploited social media platforms to disseminate false information, sow discord, and undermine public trust in the electoral process. These disinformation campaigns erode confidence in the democratic process, creating a breeding ground for conspiracy theories, polarization, and the delegitimization of election results.

In Conclusion

The rise of American fascism since the 1960s has been fueled by a series of policy decisions and Supreme Court rulings that have systematically undermined organized labor eroded individual rights, and attacked the integrity of elections. The Taft-Hartley Act and the Landrum-Griffin Act weakened labor unions, limiting their ability to advocate for workers’ rights. The expansion of executive power and Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United v. FEC and Shelby County v. Holder eroded civil liberties and voter protections. Additionally, voter ID laws, gerrymandering, and disinformation campaigns have further eroded democracy by suppressing the vote and undermining public trust. It is crucial for citizens to remain vigilant and actively work to safeguard the principles of democracy and protect individual rights to prevent further erosion of democratic institutions. By promoting transparency, reforming campaign finance laws, ensuring equitable access to the ballot, and strengthening protections against disinformation, the United States can reclaim its commitment to democracy and the preservation of individual rights.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

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