Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America (Forbidden Bookshelf)

Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America (Forbidden Bookshelf)

Language: English

Pages: 442


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A treatise by a White House insider on the root causes and inherent dangers of late twentieth-century American despotism written by a White House insider, with a new introduction by Chris Hedges

In 1980, US capitalist politics wore a “nice-guy mask,” a troubling disguise to cover up a creeping despotism in which the ultra-rich and corporate overseers were merging with a centralized state power in order to manage the populace. This immanent corporate authoritarianism threatened to subvert constitutional democracy. But unlike the violent and sudden usurpations that led to fascism in the days of Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese empire builders, this new “smiling” American breed of fascism was gaining ground through gradual and silent infringements on the freedoms of the American people.
First published over three decades ago, Friendly Fascism is uncannily predictive of the threats and realities of current political and economic power trends. Author Bertram Gross, a presidential adviser during the New Deal era, traces the history and logic of declining democracy in First World countries and pinpoints capitalist transnational growth and inappropriate responses to global crises as the sources of late twentieth-century despotism in America. Gross issues ever-urgent warnings about what happens when big business and big government become bedfellows—chronic inflation, recurring recession, overt and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of the environment—and simultaneously proffers a practical shift of perspective that could help US citizens build a truer democracy. He imagines an America in which heroes are no longer needed and the leadership is a group of non-elitists who “recognize the ignorance of the wise as well as the wisdom of the ignorant.”


















stay as they are, things will have to change.” A new world situation has been created by the growing economic and military strength of the communist nations, the new militancy of many Third World countries, the rather successful reconstruction—with American help—of capitalism in Western Europe, and the slow but steady internationalization of capital. Under these new conditions the breakup of the “Free World” empire would be a virtual certainty without sustained leadership by the American

Some of these companies have been brilliantly successful in helping public relations men project fountain pens as body images, automobiles as wives, mistresses, or mothers, cigarettes as symbols of masculinity and sexual potency, and ladies’ underwear as reassurance of femininity to working women who have taken over functions traditionally limited to men. In all such cases, the more scientifically valid the survey, the more it can do to help manipulate consumer opinion and guide consumer

help is provided by efforts to stop the symptoms. Rather, people can help each other in trying to deal with the causes of alienation, helplessness, and the loss of meaning in life. Ralph Nader’s whistle blowers, when confronted with wrong doing within their organizations, look for allies within and out side the organization and then act in accordance with principles of morality higher than mere bureaucratic loyalty. They may “suffer the consequences” personally; in return, they can retain—or

have laboriously developed a narrow concept of “productivity” which measures the amount of labor used to yield a given quantity of output, but excludes inputs of capital, energy and materials. If the input of labor goes down relative to output, that demonstrates the forward march of productivity, which has become a fashionable indicator of economic progress. Accordingly, most efforts to measure capital productivity, energy productivity, materials productivity, or “total productivity” (which would

strength will save themselves. Thus it was in Italy, Japan, and Germany when the classic fascists came to power. The crisis of depression, inflation, and class conflict provided an ideal opportunity for the cartels, warmongers, right-wing extremists, and rowdy street fighters to rush toward power. The fascist response was not worked out by some central cabal of secret conspirators. Nor was it a random or accidental development. The dominant logic of the situation prevailed. Thus too it was

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