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<nettime> Re: Fascism in the USA (digest) [marston, wang, brozefsky, von
nettime digestive system on Thu, 5 Jun 2003 19:23:05 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: Fascism in the USA (digest) [marston, wang, brozefsky, von seggern]

Table of Contents:

   Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1179                                                   
     J-D marston <mars0139 {AT} umn.edu>                                                  

   Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA [3x]                                           
     Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>                                            

   Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA?                                               
     Dan Wang <danwang {AT} mindspring.com>                                               

   Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA [3x]                                           
     John von Seggern <johnvon {AT} digitalcutuplounge.com>                               


Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 14:08:08 CDT
From: J-D marston <mars0139 {AT} umn.edu>
Subject: Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1179

I guess I'll be bold enough to say that the first step would be to
discontinue using AOL as your point of contact.

And on your varying points.. I don't particularly think you can collapse
the state/economic/social conditions of varying "environments" into the
broad, uninstructive, and purposively vague term "mass media". Its utterly
contemptous to say that conditions exist in uniform at all the geographic
locales you've mentioned. Furthermore, the tools of violence are not passe
or unused in the plutocracy's attempt at mediating the political desire of
constituents to "their" favor. Besides, fresh water is not a splinter
discourse of masssss media 


> Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 12:52:01 -0400
> From: Newmedia {AT} aol.com
> Subject: Mass-Media RULES!!
> So, I'll ask you the same question I asked Brian -- Can you imagine a way
> "fight" the system (which *is* itself mass-media) which does not *use*
> mass-media?
> Best,
> Mark Stahlman
> New York City


Date: 04 Jun 2003 23:49:45 -0500
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA [3x]

"nettime digest" <nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net> writes:

> Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 12:13:50 -0400
> From: Newmedia {AT} aol.com
> Subject: Are You Well-Informed?


> As my "Fascism" note points out, people are filled with all sorts of
> STUPID "feelings" everyday which they get from MASS-MEDIA.
> Typically, the average person's "fear" or "elation" (or whatever
> other mood you prefer) about the WORLD situation have *no* basis in
> reality -- by DESIGN.

An ACLU executive lives in a different political reality then me, and
most readers of this group.  Her experience of reality, in terms of
the threat to her personhood posed by the current administration, is
very different than much of the US.  I am sure she is well-informed on
the topic.  

Other people very well informed on the topic are raising a stink.  The
National Lawyers Guild here in Chicago is spending a tremendous amount
of energy publicizing the effects of the Patriot Act and representing
arrestees.  Local ACLU reps are doing the same.

Some have become well-acquainted, perhaps more than well-informed,
with Civil Liberties as they happen.  The large Palestinian and
Pakistani communities in Chicago are being isolated, locked-down, and
threatened by the city.  They have had prominent community members
arrested and deported.  The residents of Cabrini Green live under
constant police occupation.

Those people have different feelings about civil liberties in the US
than the ACLU executive.  This is not by design of mass media.  My
experience with mass media in the US is that minimizes the threat to
our civil liberties, the victims of their violation.  People are
working very hard to get any coverage of the Patriot Act, or press for
the families of deportees and arrestees.

> So, I'll ask you the same question I asked Brian -- Can you imagine
> a way to "fight" the system (which *is* itself mass-media) which
> does not *use* mass-media?

There are as many ways to do that as there are struggles.

Narco News, Zapatistas, AIM, Bolivarian Circles, Indymedia, thousands
of community organizations, National Lawyers Guild, to name a few I

Communities develop their own information distribution channels.  Web,
paper, television, xerocracy.  They have to combat mass media, co-opt
it when possible.  Mass media is formidable.  Even if you get the
journalists on your side, the editors chop it.  Public venues for
television are being defunded.  Deregulation solidifies the grip.
Still, much is gained, world-wide resistance grows.

Mass media is a critical thread in the fabric of globalization. Its
role -- maintaining ideologies.  Global financial structures, central
banks, reserve currencies, petrodollars play roles too, and economists
call them globalization.  Globalization cannot be essentialized to the
rule of one of these forces.  For this reason, our struggle can not be
essentialized into a fight against one of them.

- -- 
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: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 15:27:27 -0500
From: Dan Wang <danwang {AT} mindspring.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA?

Mark Stahlman is probably right...the "average citizen" could be described
as participating in a fascist regime in many other countries. But Brian H
asked about his home country, so here's another report...

> At what point would one then have to conclude that the United States - and
> not just its current government - has become effectively fascist?
> real test. If a majority, or even a preponderant minority of American
> citizens are collectively willing to go through all the rituals of
> bellicosity and superpatriotism, but unwilling to demand investigation
> into the facts which are supposed to have made those rituals necessary,
> then one would have to very seriously ask the question whether a fascist
> society is not emerging in the USA.

Emerging, or ever-present?

Surely you recall the yellow ribbon orgy that accompanied the "allied
victory" in 1991? And the awful truth of the polls that then reported a
slight majority of Americans "being open to" the outlawing of public
anti-war activities?

Considering the very real post-9/11 American thirst for revenge, one could
make the argument that a kind of fascist turn is happening, yes, but
surprisingly without the kind of social force associated with classical
fascism. We have a huge segment of apathetic Americans (never to be
underestimated) to thank for this slow motion hysteria.

Which isn't to say we're not onto something new, different, and worse...it
just kinda depends on where you are in the US.

I've to the Bay Area twice in the last six weeks, and in between those trips
spent a few days with a friend in St. Paul, Minnesota. In both places, the
anti-war signs and stickers present themselves commonly, and anti-war events
and organizing continue. You could say these places are pretty intensely
anti-war and anti-Bush. As is my Hyde Park home neighborhood in Chicago.

But I've been island-hopping. The sea is another story.

Fifteen miles outside of St. Paul, just over the Wisconsin border on I-94,
the overpass graffiti starts appearing. Rough stenciled messages in black
spray paint read "WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS." This message appears on a number
of overpasses, painted to face both east and west bound traffic. Driving
this route I also passed at least one very remarkable display: an old wagon
pulled out to the pasture's edge, right alongside the highway, and used as a
sign-sculpture. It was literally covered with signs reading "LIBERATE IRAQ."
Somehow, I get the feeling that erasing the spray-painted messages is a low
priority for the county clean-up crew. The region's usual anti-abortion
signs (sometimes branded with the name of a small local business) provide
the continuity with our pre-War on Terror days.

This is all to say that there exists a wide US urban/rural political gap,
which is itself overlaid by a US Northern/Southern divide. Both these sets
of fault lines have been twenty years in the making, at the very least.

The broad US Left (by which I mean a Left that includes only a few of the
national Democrats, but a still sizable population of activists, unions,
progressive minorities, consumer groups, etc.) is mostly without national
clout but still is very strong in pockets and on certain issues. Partly
because of its well-spaced urban concentrations, it is disproportionately
powerful and occasionally highly visible. Add to this the fact that an
important segment of the American Left comes from a priviliged class, and it
seems reasonable to believe that we're onto something beyond the brute
propanganda and simple repression of classical fascism. This is something
more like dissent management--using protest pens and predetermined media
tropes--instead of concentration camps. It is a difficult set of constraints
for activists to circumvent,and which may ultimately succeed not by its
repression of action, but rather by a repression of spirit, that is to say,
by breeding the kind of cynicism that would allow for a ruling cabal to have
their way.

But if this present American version of fascism/empire/whatever is more
dangerous (especially given the military might at hand), then it is also in
some ways very fragile. There are breaking points, all around us, and even
the supremely confident Bushies live in fear of their days as the living
emblems of "America" running out. (That is partly why they've been
relatively disciplined as a group.) The constraints imposed on the
opposition themselves contribute to the burgeoning contradictions...as the
political controls become increasingly brute and harsh, the contradictions
deepen and become increasingly obvious, which in turn builds skepticism. So
on that level alone, I have some hope.

Also, I'd argue that the racial heterogeneity of the US has the potential to
present a limit to the nation's fascist tendencies. African-American voices
still carry a kind of moral authority, and the Af-am population has
consistently polled 2/3 strongly opposed to the war. If the ever-growing
numbers of Americans of color can finally articulate their concerns on a
popular level using class terms (thereby speaking inclusively of the
majority of whites), then progressive power could grow pretty quickly. But
that's a big if, considering the post-Civil Rights record of racial issues
discourse, throughout which that moral authority has been wasted on the most
narrow of issues, or just plain misused. Also, on the level of the
demographic fault lines, increasing racial heterogeneity presents itself as
a potential break-through...Mexican-Americans moving into the Southeast,
Africans and Southeast Asians moving into small midwestern towns...these
people aren't automatically progressive, of course, but their presence alone
disrupts the ideologies of purism on which any full blown American fascism
will depend.

Brian is right in that there looms a crisis. Which way it'll go is not
entirely clear to me, and I agree with Brozefsky that the 2004 elections may
not prove definitive. A more obvious turn towards something closer to
classical fascism might be the reaction to the next terrorist attack, or the
national debate about something seemingly foreign policy unrelated, like
marijuana legalization, or arts censorship, or another enron..... For
activists, just to keep working on anything at any level is the point. Right
now, there hardly exists a contribution that is too small to be worth

Dan W. 


Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 21:00:38 -0700
From: John von Seggern <johnvon {AT} digitalcutuplounge.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Fascism in the USA [3x]

>So, I'll ask you the same question I asked Brian -- Can you imagine a way to "fight" the system (which *is* itself mass-media) which does not *use* mass-media?
Non-mass media?


- -- 
John von Seggern

producer - DJ - researcher

email  <johnvon at digitalcutuplounge dot com>
bio    <http://www.digitalcutuplounge.com/newsite/jvsremix.htm>
home   <http://www.digitalcutuplounge.com>
school <http://ethnomus.ucr.edu/jvs/bio.html>


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