Sunday, September 5, 2010

The F word: the rise of reactionary social and political forces in the US

As the economic conditions globally and in the US worsen, distinguished progressive thinkers and writers, including Sheldon Wolin, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Walden Bello, and Matthew Rothschild are all warning about the emergence of the pre-conditions for an authoritarian, even fascist revival in the US.

Sheldon Wolin's 2008 masterpiece Democracy Inc describes what he calls inverted totalitarianism, a form of managed democracy in which state and corporate power are co-joined and citizens marginal. Wolin argues that democracy is now managed by 'guardian groups and interests' (including the political class, political parties, their allies and funders) and that government operates to advance and protect the economic and political interests of corporations and the market.

Hedges and Chomsky have been warning about the political implications of the rise of the religious right, the power of the military-industrial complex and the American empire, growing anti-Islamic and racists movements and the massive growth of unconstrained corporate power. In these forces Hedges and Chomsky see the rise of a uniquely American tendency to a 21st century form of fascism.

Now Walden Bello and Matthew Rothschild add their voices, pointing to the potential for the rise of  reactionary social and cultural political programs that harness growing popular disenchantment  and anger at the worsening social and economic circumstances in the US.

But its not just so called "lefties" raising these concerns. Similar views are being expressed by military authorities in Europe and the USA. The German magazine Der Spiegel quotes German military reports warning of the risk of ideological and political extremism arising from the possible collapse of the  global economy and coming crises in oil markets due to peak oil and the collapse of oil availability.

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