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Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA [5x]
nettime's digest on Wed, 4 Jun 2003 14:02:37 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA [5x]

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   Re: <nettime> Greetings from Fascist Park, NJ digest [flagan, newmedia]         
     Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>                                            

   Re: <nettime> fascin' USA digest [porculus, nemedia, desrenards, hettinga]      
     Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>                                            

   Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA                                                
     human being <human {AT} electronetwork.org>                                          

   Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA?                                               
     Newmedia {AT} aol.com                                                                

   Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA?                                               
     Are Flagan <areflagan {AT} transcodex.net>                                           


Date: 04 Jun 2003 01:13:44 -0500
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Greetings from Fascist Park, NJ digest [flagan, newmedia]

nettime_nation <nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net> writes:

> For whatever it's worth, I had dinner with the president of the ACLU the 
> other night and she wasn't even close to being terrified.  And, she's pretty 
> plugged in regarding personal liberties, as you might suspect.

I assume you mean Nadine Strossen.  She's the head of the ACLU, a law
professor at the New York Law School, a heavy on the speaking circuit,
a public figure, an author, a U.S. citizen, making more then 100k

> Perhaps the people you know "personally" aren't particularly well informed?  

Mark, you should try to be less dismissive.

You may want to consider that someone like Nadine Strossen is treated
differently by police and the state than many of the readers here in
the US, and certainly around the world.  Being terrified is not an
issue of being intellectually correct or well-informed.  For me, or
Wade Tillet, or my non-citizen neighbors, or my Palestinian neighbors,
there is no press coverage, no lawyer friends, no expert knowledge of
civil rights and experience practicing law, perhaps no friends to post
the greatly increased bond the State of Illinois has said it will
charge repeat offenders arrested as anti-war demonstrations, or even
the ability to speak english.  

In the more extreme counterexample, she is not likely to be held for
months, incommunicado and in solitary confinement, or to walk into an
INS office and not come back out, hoping that the immigrant rights
activists who took down her name and some contacts while standing
outside the office can track her down.

Considering her position, experience, and social circle, I would
hazard to say that her personal level of comfort is not representative
of the majority of the US.

- -- 
Sincerely, Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
No war! No racist scapegoating! No attacks on civil liberties!
Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism: www.chicagoantiwar.org
Peace and Justice Teach-In, May 31st  www.chicagoteachin.org


Date: 04 Jun 2003 00:47:45 -0500
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> fascin' USA digest [porculus, nemedia, desrenards, hettinga]

"nettime's_skeptical_inquirer" <nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net> writes:

> Fascism is the name for a particular political-economic
> system/movement and certainly does *not* mean "repression" or even
> "authoritarian" in some generallized sense.  You should read Bert
> Gross' "Friendly Fascism" for a thorough account of how "fascism" is
> perfectly consistent with Frankfurt School "anti-authoritarianism."

My dictionary says authoritarian, hierarchical government.  Other
definitions focus on the relation between capital and the hierarchy.
Still others on the growth of paramilitary or non-state based

>From the book you mentioned:

     "Despite the sharp differences from classic fascism, there are
     also some basic similarities. In each, a powerful oligarchy
     operates outside of, as well as through, the state. Each subverts
     constitutional government. Each suppresses rising demands for
     wider participation in decision making, the enforcement and
     enlargement of human rights, and genuine democracy. Each uses
     informational control and ideological flimflam to get lower and
     middle-class support for plans to expand the capital and power of
     the oligarchy and provide suitable rewards for political,
     professional, scientific, and cultural supporters."

I think this is rather descriptive of the state of affairs here in the
US.  Brian's query was focused on the revelation that the US and UK
administrations lied to justify the invasion of Iraq, and wether a
backlash from the public will provide some hope that the fascist
tendencies above do not reach a point of no return.  The economic
deterioration of the US is fertile ground for mobilizing people behind
the capitalist state.

> As things currently stand, Bush WILL be re-elected in 2004 -- which
> will only prove that the DEMOCRATS are largely
> bankrupt/dis-credited/out-of-favor as an opposition party.

I am not convinced the 2004 elections are going to be the determinant
of wether the trends Mr Gross describes above intensify with ever
increasing repurcussions to those who resist them.  Regardless of the
executive, the state will face the same challenge.  Global economic
decline, intense resistence from the occupied and developing regions,
and growing domestic anger.  Their character may change slightly, but
they will have the characteristic's Mr Gross identified in both
classic and friedly fascim.  In this sense, I think it is safe to use
the term fascism, historically.

The religious belief's of Mr Bush, an obvious puppet, are even less
important.  Methodist, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholic, it would not

- -- 
Sincerely, Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
No war! No racist scapegoating! No attacks on civil liberties!
Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism: www.chicagoantiwar.org
Peace and Justice Teach-In, May 31st  www.chicagoteachin.org


Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2003 20:42:07 -0500
From: human being <human {AT} electronetwork.org>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA

  the post sent by Geert relates to the latest fascism posting
  by Brian Holmes and this is an attempt to demonstrate this.
  'the death of internet' was prefaced by questions such as:

 > It is not only nettime-bold that died, it is the Internet as a 
 > is there any way to make a distinction between 'objective'
 > circumstances and mass psychology here?
 > Is the collective psyche right? I
 > understand that many in the USA must feel depressed
 > (see fascism debate) but does it really make sense to portrayal
 > the Internet as a body that is sick  and in decay?...

  [the missing first ellipse was regarding the Register writer and
  Lawrence Lessig's approach, if they are to be believed...]

  writing, and erasing two or three times a small comment, it
  seems clear enough to state that 'the internet' may be a 'mind'
  that is sick and in decay. cognitive dissonance, maybe so. or
  many psychologies dueling en masse for predominance, the
  corporations organizations winning, whether for profit or not.

  though there is an aspect of a cultural.bomb similar to busting
  the hyperbolic bubble-chamber of how far advanced things
  are, far ahead of where things actually are, on groundplanes.

  thing about it is it is collective psyche stuff, it seems to me, USA.
  it is certainly a mindset, and a mindsharing (lifesharing) power
  projection, though it may be lit by candlelight, there is flickering.

  prior, it was submitted for review that Texas policies overtook
  US National policy, everywhere becoming a quadrant of the
  Texas Superstate. evidenced is the rollback in basic civility
  with obscure initiatives such as 'gun laws' in Minnesota, where
  one can now legally were an _unconcealed firearm, as would
  a gunslinger of yesteryear minus the old time Saloon culture,
  the duels, the wild (mid)west, the western movie being news.

  the quality of mind is also distinct, in that it is based on those
  values that are cherished in post-WWII 'greatest generation'
  suburban communities which can rationalize as 'out of site -
  out of mind' issues that are relevant to the cities which support
  them through taxes, roads, facilities for entertainment, culture.
  these American Settlements and their mentality has become
  an exploitable resource, as news caters to it with brain wash.
  that is where the surreality comes in, where direct lies are
  said by 'representatives' of a demographic and ideological
  community, sounding 'so reasonable' if only that was how
  simple things were, as simple as the suburban perspective.
  in the local paper today (startribune.com), the front page ran
  a story on speculation on Senator Wellstone's death, one
  person, an academic, wanting to sue another person, also
  an academic, for believing there was a coverup after the
  plane crash, which is theorized to have involved an electro-
  magnetic pulse weapon. that's the other side of the mind.

  have long felt that 'fascism begins in the heart' as when
  people turn away, or look the other way, when something
  significant is happening to the foundation of their lives,
  and that the 'benefit of the doubt' is oftentimes given to
  the conservative, best outcome will prevail mentality, it
  is this type of trait in thinking that is now being exploited,
  that some people are not pulling their fair share, and as
  many do not know who these others are, it is not in many
  ways connected (by the media) to more than statistics.
  politicians can openly lie, basing their rhetoric in a type
  of suburban middle-zone, where instead of dystopia it
  is considered a utopia, minus the negative realities of
  sprawl, economic and infrastructural subsidies, and a
  small mindedness that excludes many others. brains
  are being turned-off, not by LSD but by Bush's GOP.

  the internet 'body', if taking it offline as infrastructure,
  is probably doing pretty healthy, it would seem, maybe
  not the whole body as there is a shift from PCs to other
  platforms such as mobile phones, other applications,
  such as Instant Messaging, and the hardware even has
  an openness to it, it seems, with hacking novel devices
  to integrating new technologies in new ways. though,
  mentality-wise, one can get the new digital camera to
  take their photos, innocuous if it is in a certain realm,
  one may no longer be able to photograph the things
  they would otherwise, freely, without justification, and
  with authorization. someday maybe only dossiers on
  persons deemed suspicious will show the extent to
  which 'internet' data-mining of communications can
  be aggregated, cross-referenced, and related as data.
  a new type of 21st century .sig file, in every bit rotation.

  fascism is in the mind, moreso overtly than in the body-
  space, and it is wide-spread, like a blanketing of the
  populace inundated by televised and radiated news-
  perspectives, instructions on how to perceive, how one
  is to believe, act, what is right and wrong and moral,
  though it is completely ambiguous as it is almost to be
  experienced as a 'natural action', these large complicated
  structures and self-interest and sharing information and
  risks and rewards, there is very little being said as if one
  were to say it, they certainly would have some problems.
  that heartfelt, passionate, though rational, reasonable
  ascent towards a coproductive dissent, one that has
  a place to establish a basecamp for another version
  of the present momentum, has yet to be achieved due
  to splintered ideologies, that is, a mental-death-knell,
  that persons can justify waiting it out as it is not that bad,
  that the old model will be retained, in terms of thinking,
  even though it's an abysmal failure on all sides of the coin.

  that the internet populace cannot organize, online, with
  ideas as the system of exchange makes it ponderous if
  the balance can be shifted from power if truth is irrelevant.
  if this is about force, bodily space yes, yet also mentalities,
  and forces at work, there is a strong and cohesive force in
  power now that is absolutist in the USA and in leadership
  positions, stacking the deck for the future, and the response
  is a large number of small groups with much better ideas,
  thinking, heart, unable to coalesce into a compromised
  position from which to act in body-space and mind-spaces.

  this non-action, indecision, whatever it is, choice to do it
  in separated groups, is similar to the simultaneity of group
  dynamics online, there are networks but they are often not
  in relation, due to 'difference' and some type of ideological
  consistency or certainty. the group defines the ideas, not
  the individuals, possibly. or, there is something very complex
  about a diversity of thoughts that, possibly naturally, another
  type of fascist (loss of heart, care for another group or person)
  may occur, maybe not absolute but maybe it is a threat that
  is real, and that may stop things from happening that may
  otherwise, naturally, need to occur to counterbalance the
  rollbacks, at the same time, ceding some partial issues.
  it may be that words and language and media do not
  'mean' as much as they are supposed to inherent posses
  as deliverers of freedom, futures, ideas, determining lives.

  the fascism is multi-sided, it is here and there, easier to
  see over-there, it is more readily dangerous over there,
  but so too is inaction dangerous due to fascism in minds,
  where absolute realities of small groups have to prevent
  larger organizations of people, of greater diversity, from
  working together for the needed, necessary changes. it
  can be politicized, subjectivized, yet the culture bubble
  and its bust may make it more readily available the failure
  of the reigning ideologies and approaches to do what is
  said to be done in actions here and there. without that
  common agency, it is proposed, nothing can be changed.
  the internet is the best example of this failure of thought,
  to prevent its destruction by that of the force of power.

  and not just thought, it is people, people's minds, to not
  only stop but to use the power in a better way. yet this
  type of language may not be permitted in discourse for
  one reason or another, it too being 'surreal' to those who
  have some certainty that their way is the only way ahead.
  that's ego, built up of insularity of thought and lack of the
  debate of ideas outside the parameters of ideologies,
  which is like asking for people to reason through religion
  as to what is up with God and what God wants. the public
  mind, that internet which _still exists, is not pure, it is
  messy, except to those who cannot tolerate it, then it is
  unacceptable. ideas still exist, but to those who want to
  capitalize the networks primarily with mundane thinking.
  there is a chance to work together, to each their own role,
  yet that rhizome of plugs, and telephone cords into PCs
  has mindjacked many into further privatization of reality.
  can open source be 'open' if it is private? and to what
  extent can actions represent the public if it is distorted
  through inaccurate lens, making ideas into .net mirages.

  fascism begins in the heart. may grab hold in the mind,
  and probably right, it may then go body-snatching next.
  but it is predominantly in the mental atmosphere today,
  in the 'homeland'. yes, this is not ignoring the realities
  where it is primarily a bodily force, but first it has to set
  into the minds, so it is an unconscious act, it would seem,
  and it seems to be progressing with a rapid rate. one small
  piece of counterpoint to the 'inevitable' bodily aspect of
  a fascist tendency may be that there may be small groups
  who do go further, trying to solidify, yet the U.S. is (it would
  appear) less homogenized demographically so make an
  easy transition besides a minority fanatical politico-religious
  sect who just 'believe' it will all work out, as it is thus willed.
  there's going to be hell to pay for many decisions made to
  date, none of which have been accounted for by the current
  administration: consider, Enron, Halliburton, Wall Street,
  Justice Department, Environmental, Energy & War planning,
  Media control, Privacy and Civil Rights, Social Safety nets,
  lack of innovation, 'insurance as the main policy drive'...
  V.P. Dick Cheney alone, if an orchestrated campaign were
  to be held to investigate the Energy Task Force could bring
  the entire administration into deep review of their brining
  honor and dignity to the White House. Nothing is allowed-
  there have been no mistakes. consider that-- no mistakes.
  perfection. its never going to be allowed, it is only this way
  due to control, and it is stopping checks and balances, the
  reality-factor, from seeping into the mass mediated mind.



Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2003 16:52:11 EDT
From: Newmedia {AT} aol.com
Subject: Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA?


Thanks for taking up my first point, acknowledging the routinely inaccurate 
and a-historic use of the term "fascism" (which really refers to the early 20th 
century European ideo-twin to Bolshevism) but you seem to have not yet taken 
up my second, more important, point.

What "replaced" these Fasci-Bolshi ideo-twins after WW II?

It was a remarkable propaganda regime in which belief in *any* totalizing 
ideology was rejected -- along with "historic narratives," "moral authority," 
"meaning-in-life" and all the rest.  Of course, there have been various 
"reactions" against this wholesale abandonment of the earlier cultural mode -- what 
would you expect? -- but, ultimately, it's all a part of the same puzzle.  

We have all grown up in a culture where no one *really* believes in anything 
- -- by design.  Including not believing in not believing in anything, of 
course. PoMo is a cute word for it.

This incredible propaganda regime (technically, it's an "envrionment") relies 
on the "perfection" of many of the formal aspects of mass-media -- 
specifically in the medium of television -- and the widespread "agreement" on the use of 
mass-media to *program* the population.  This agreement is expressed in broad 
support for the fields of "Communication Science" and "Social Psychology" and 
is nicely summarized in Chris Simpson's "The Science of Coercion."

Thus, the basis of the "Mass Psychology of Fascism" was distilled into its 
underlying *cause* (minus the now discarded "fascism") and simply became "Mass 
Psychology" . . . or MASS-MEDIA (aka "consumer society," "The Spectacle," etc.)

As far as I can tell, this shift from ideological "fascism" to mass-media 
"anesthesia" is what Kermit meant when he referred to "Fascism of the mind" and 
has been the topic of many media/propaganda studies, including those from 
Ellul, McLuhan, and so on.

So . . . as long as you bring it up, current "Islamic Fundamentalism" is 
*not* a simple subsititute for Bolshevism, since all the "sides" in the matter 
have been altered and transformed by the mass-media environment!!

Instead it is -- to some degree -- another "reaction" to the 
"meaninglessness" (aka "Godlessness") of modern life.  Perhaps you can identify some other 
"reactions" against "popular culture" (and, therefore, mass-media)?  Perhaps you 
have a favorite?

What tends to complicate all this -- you knew that was going to happen -- is 
that most people in our culture cannot *imagine* a world which isn't dominated 
by mass-media (even though this environment is less than 100 years old) so, 
understandably, they often strive to *use* mass-media to get across their 
"points."  As you probably have observed, even those "reactions" -- including what 
we now term "terrorism" -- rely on the same mass-media which they profess to 

Blowing up the World Trade Center -- starting with NYC's premier television 
antenna -- was an act staged entirely for mass-media.

Or, demonstrating in front of television cameras to influence public 
"opinion," as another example.

Or, getting upset that the FCC has re-arranged the mass-media game rules 
(because it will limit "access"), for another.

Indeed, the facile use of a term like "fascism" itself might be just another 
ploy to manipulate people who are conditioned to respond to jingles and 

Can you imagine a way to "fight" the system (which *is* itself mass-media) 
which does not *use* mass-media?

That's the TRICK!!


Mark Stahlman
New York City


Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2003 15:37:13 -0400
From: Are Flagan <areflagan {AT} transcodex.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA?

Re: 6/3/03 5:57 AM, "Brian Holmes" <brian.holmes {AT} wanadoo.fr>:

> Anybody wanting a portrait of the upcoming breed of Gewaltmenschen
> (men of violence) just has to consider the figure self-portrayed in
> R.A. Hettinga's last post to nettime, the article "Come on over the
> water's lovely."

Yeah. I truly dug that dude, too. It was insider gonzo at it's most
insidiously dumb. A sort of travelogue in isolation: No food? I just had a
nice chicken and salad meal, passable even in my own cuisine judgment. No
gas? It's everywhere, man. Full service curbside. (Tip charitably if you're
a softie.) What war? I wasn't even armed but respectably and impressively
dressed in western suit-and-tie armor. What water problem? I got drunk on my
own lack of cholera. And so on and on.

It was of course inspired by the good doctor himself but void of any sort of
insightful or even twisted diagnosis. When, for a comparative example, he
wrote the obituary of Nixon, H.S.T remarked that it gave him little pleasure
to point out that the man was a crook, but it gave him some pleasure to
report that he had always maintained that the man was a crook.

My bet is that this particular swimmer wears tight, shiny Speedos below a
pot belly.

- -af


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