To All Concerned Americans: Will it be r/evolution or civil war?
By Chuck Richardson
Memorial Day, 2004
On this day that our nation pays tribute to its war dead, it is only fitting that we examine what
our young people are dying for today, and the kind of tributes that history might reward them.
What has America become under the leadership of “Christian conservatives” [sic] and the
Is it still the land of the free and the home of the brave? Does it still welcome the Earth’s
oppressed, her tired, huddled masses to its teeming shores, if not by law at least in spirit?
Do the Democrats and Republicans still represent our nation’s two largest constituencies—
workers and management? Do the Democrats, in the words of Gore Vidal, still bribe the
masses, or have they become like Republicans, ruling through coercion?
Are we still a nation, as we were before 1980, in which “religious” people and clergy are worthy
of being held in high esteem? Or have we become a nation that the views of such people are
dangerous because of their suspicious political activism and morally bankrupt world views?
One need only compare Pat Robertson to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to consider the
We know what the Rev. King’s dream was by heart, but what about Dr. Robertson’s? What’s
America is on the verge of not only becoming a one party national security state (which it has
been, arguably, for some time), but a national security state with distinctively fascist
Mussolini defined fascism as the merger of corporate and government power. That’s a rather
broad definition, but fascism is, actually, a rather broad ideology. Nazism was something of an
anomaly that fell upon the margins of mainstream fascism, and serves as a fascinating
distraction from its fundamental, universal tenets.
Spain under Franco, the Marcos’ Philippines and Indonesia’s Suharto are good examples of
how fascism can operate successfully for a while in various cultural settings. Each regime, in
cold political terms, was fairly triumphant at maintaining its nation’s power apparatus for a
generation until collapsing under the weight of its own moral bankruptcy.
A method common to all fascist regimes, however, is to define a national ideal that puts forward
a particular type, or class, of citizen as a measuring stick by which all other types (i.e.: losers)
fall naturally short. So you have the white hats vs. the black hats, cops and robbers, cowboys
and Indians, white folk bearing their burdens, the Galactic Confederation vs. the Klingons
circling Uranus (sorry), the chosen people against their heathen oppressors, and so on, all
waging war against the enemy to maintain social order. The good guy never blinks and the
seeds of fascist mythology are sewn. In time, a superman emerges from the mud, inseminating
the culture that will grow its cult, making it personally fruitful and fit for dominion over a world
pregnant with opportunities.
The differences between good and bad people depicted by fascist societies would be
laughable if they weren’t so tragic, being always defined by superficial traits like race, creed,
class or sexuality. Hubris inevitably leads the hero to overextend himself and suffer defeat
much to the anguish of those who’d been sucking his tit for their chemically enhanced,
With fascism, whackos rule the roost, stacking lies upon layers of propaganda rooted in
phenomenological misinterpretations of events (i.e.: reality). The regime controls the average
citizen, who’s too easily manipulated, being severed from his or her political economic reality. In
such a society, truth has been forever extinguished. Only a drastic change in the system that
re-defines its form of civilization can offer freedom-loving people any hope of behaving
responsibly, as they could if they were honestly informed.
Unfortunately, history reveals that failed fascist regimes (whose follies ended tragically for their
people, as they tend to be blind to long-term consequences) pursued imperialistic agendas.
However, it must be noted that the most successful fascist regimes were commonly puppets of
a larger fascist establishment that extended beyond its own boarders, making imperialism a
moot issue for many of them (e.g.: Marcos, Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Panama’s Gen. Manuel
But past failures have not extinguished this tendency toward domination. Rather, it has largely
changed form and evolved into a more protean entity, or force, that can be witnessed when
one nation or group of nations extends its authority through trade agreements that favor the
common private interests backing it. Rather than blitzkriegs, we observe NAFTA, CAFTA and
GATT. When this regime is attacked, the underpaid and underemployed enlist for the fight,
misunderstanding what they are actually defending.
The most common error about fascism is the assumption that a democratic republic, by
definition, can’t be fascist. But the reality is it becomes fascist once the government abandons
or ignores its most deeply held values, and the common person no longer has any real say in
what their government is doing.
society that has adopted fascism, consciously or not, the ruling elite is petrified that if the
people beneath them (i.e.: the bruts) were allowed the necessary reforms to improve their lot in
life, they would seek revenge on those who’d previously exploited them. The people seriously
outnumber the privileged who manipulate the economy, legal system and governmental
policies to work in favor of the status quo. They have reason to be afraid, South Africa’s Truth
and Reconciliation Commission was a miraculous exception to the rule thanks to the moral
integrity of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Nelson Mandela (both of whom are harsh
critics of America’s aggressive foreign policy).
The Bush regime’s characterization of its enemies as terrorists and barbarians at the gates of
civilization is an attempt to justify its own brutality. By dehumanizing the enemies of American
global domination as terrorists and calling them evil, the mass of people under the sway of a
fascist regime can accept its moral justification for human rights abuses at home and abroad.
The losers are deserving of what they get in the minds of most people, who commonly feel no
responsibility for what is done in their names and interests. Like Pontius Pilot, they have
washed their hands of the blood that’s staining them. In many cases, they accept fascism as a
primal form of justice commonly referred to as social Darwinism.
Yet this isn’t the America that many Americans know and love. Our friends, family and
neighbors—most of them—are not bloodthirsty Nazi whoremongers who actively endorse the
slaughter of savages on the other side of the world. They are, however, oblivious fascists.
How did what dawned with the “Reagan revolution” evolve into a nation on the verge of
becoming a fascist republic? Rather than persuasion, reason and other lawful methods,
propaganda was deployed in the name of all that was holy and sacred.
Right wing propaganda was successful because it was so difficult for the average person—
usually a good, humble Christian—to recognize. A colleague brilliantly likened the situation to
fish swimming in water, they aren’t aware of it until the liquid their breathing begins to boil.
Fascist propaganda creates a belief among the nation’s “good” citizens that “bad” behavior
among the underprivileged is somehow a mixture of genetics and cultural inferiority,
representing innate flaws and/or social deficiencies unique to their group (explaining its social
status), rather than being a natural reaction to tyranny.
Fascist propaganda succeeds in a democratic republic when the majority feels its bad behavior
is justified by its innate superiority over those it’s brutalizing. Few people think of
slaughterhouses and the inhumane treatment of livestock while eating their meat in large
Among the most common warning signs that a nation is becoming fascist are:
Economic instability characterized by a tension between labor and management, or
The erosion of a particular segment of the population’s civil rights and
economic security , particularly the debunking of artists, intellectuals and non-violent spiritual
leaders of all stripes who can defeat fascism through the power of their hearts and minds.
Discontent among minorities and the white middle class that is evolving into hateful
relationships that are dividing them as they fail to perceive their common enemy. This is
manifest by get tough on crime and anti-immigrant attitudes. The ruling elite understands that if
it can divide those beneath them, it can send the lower classes on a very competitive race to
the bottom and thus further its own status. The reality is, however, that no one within such a
system can behave with enlightened self-interest, since they have surrendered, for whatever
reason, to what they perceive as their nation’s unstoppable historical processes. Simply put,
they are products of their place in time and feel quite comfortable with it. Discontent and
dissidence seem as absurd as cursing the weather, or damning the whole outdoors because of
a few bugs. In other words, apathy and ignorance regarding the real issues at play is
Greed is the nation’s primary motivation —it needs what the oppressed have to
offer (cheap labor, natural resources, time, space, sex and pleasure; it is how it pursues its
happiness, or manifest destiny, probing the globe’s back alley exotica with a five-hour hard-
on—needing to go to the emergency room).
The intimidation and outright censorship of journalists and others who try to
disseminate information harmful to the regime’s fascist agenda is commonplace .
Such undesirables face slander, libel, theft and destruction of personal property, social
humiliation, personal injury, death and even the terrorizing of loved ones (a mafia tactic), after
which they are subject to a historical revisionism that attempts to disgrace their family’s legacy.
Government and business are merging into a single political economic unit
that instigates an increasingly hostile partisanship between those who would coerce the people
and those who would bribe them to retain their elite status. Political disunity makes a show of
democracy while the real power game is occurring privately behind closed doors (“executive
session,” Republican-run “control boards”). The inconsequential bickering is pointed to as
“democracy at work.”
The trashing of dissident artists, intellectuals and spiritual leaders evolves
into a patriotic duty , because they’re immoral heathens or amoral atheists. To not toe the
party line is equated with treason. You are either for the greatest power, or against it, in the
leadership’s black and white world.
The trust in pseudo-science, the moral certainty informing historical revisionism, the
destruction of public records and property, and arcane legalism are generating profound
misunderstanding among the public that promotes fascism’s public image and wins approval in
the hearts and minds of the people. Yet, people aren’t really stupid. We have unconscious
minds capable of telling us some pretty big things. People who buy a tree anticipating sweet
fruit, will often try to talk themselves into not accepting the fact that what they taste is sour.
However, their subconscious minds won’t let them kid themselves. Mental illness increases
among the oppressed yet patriotic population due to this problem, which is called cognitive
dissonance . Most “citizens” are pathologically detached from their environments, deluded and
alienated from reality, and enframed by the political economic culture whose ruling elite easily
Fascism has grown in influence in the United States by substituting the white man’s oppression
of black people, Amerindians and women, which legally lasted until 40 years ago, with the
oppression of people of conscience today. In this manner, America’s mythological common
man democracy is segueing into a fascist dictatorship that justifies its power by the fact it’s
waging a war against an abstract noun: evil. Of course, no one with the ear of power is willing
or able to try driving this point home.
Dr. Lawrence Britt outlines 14 defining characteristics of fascism, 13 of which the U.S.
1) Fascist regimes nurture ubiquitous patriotism and virulent nationalism . Symptoms
often include flags being flown everywhere, national symbols being pinned, tattooed, painted,
sewn or woven into and onto various surfaces and textures, and political pageantry propped
up by popular slogans.
2) Disregard for human rights .
3) Defining a common enemy to unite the “people.”
4) Military spending is disproportionate to social spending even when domestic
problems are numerous and widespread. Military service becomes not a job, but an adventure
to which one can escape from the quiet desperation of one’s lower class life. Combat is
profound and glorious. “God” is on our side, obviously, as the homeland is the greatest, most
powerful nation in the history of the world.
5) Mass media, which is corporate-owned, is greatly limited by government enforced
corporate restrictions on content. They are also run by people whose ideologies are
sympathetic to the aims of the ruling elite (see Venezuela), since they are the ruling elite.
Censorship, disinformation and propaganda are commonplace .
6) The entire nation, it is reported, is obsessed with national security.
7) Government and religion are finding ways to conjugate for the purpose of social
engineering (see President Bush’s faith-based initiative, and funding to fight AIDS in Africa).
8) Corporate power is protected . Nearly everything is incorporated or up for sale or
9) The influence of labor unions is suppressed at every turn.
10) Artists and intellectuals are disdained and marginalized.
11) The middle class, feeling threatened and experiencing cognitive dissonance, projects its
anxiety outward as an obsession with crime and punishment (and I’m not talking
Dostoevsky, more like Jerry Bruckheimer). Fascist regimes empower law enforcement to police
the people by any means necessary. And the people, most of whom are hoodwinked, willingly
ignore police abuse and the violation of civil rights as their patriotic duty. Fascist regimes
always employ national police forces with virtually unlimited power to secure the homeland and
maintain the status quo.
12) Prevalent cronyism and depravity .
13) Phony elections .
The only one of Britt’s characteristics of fascism that the US lacks is rampant sexism, which has
found a new voice in heterosexualism —or the belief that homosexuality and other sexualities
which are not strictly heterosexual and intended for making babies, is a sin. So if Britt were
willing to accept this slight variation, the U.S. would be at least on the verge of becoming
fascist, if not already there, on every count.
Upon Ronald Reagan’s election to the presidency in 1980, America’s executive branch of
government assumed a corporate libertarian ideology, though Jimmy Carter’s presidency had
set the stage by pushing for tightened domestic spending while stressing higher personal
responsibility, something that caused Ted Kennedy to oppose Carter in the primaries,
angering the President to the point of an uncharacteristic outburst: “I’m going to kick his ass [in
the primaries],” which he did.
When President Clinton took office in 1993, the Reagan revolution morphed into the Contract
for America, which fueled the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 and Clinton’s swing to
the right, which couldn’t prevent his eventual impeachment—a huge distraction from very real
national security concerns. After eight years of failing to topple Clinton, the Republicans
gained control of the White House after Bush was selected by a 5-4 vote of a perilously
“conservative” Supreme Court.
So what does this political situation have to do with economics? Everything.
Free market ideology—a belief in the necessity of perpetual economic growth—has been
cuddled by what can only be described as a fundamentalist religious fervor. Adherents are
wide-eyed, ignoring the big picture and possessing faith in the forward march of their eternal
These ideologues view government’s role as being the supplier of the infrastructure from which
private, commercial interests that finance the careers of public officials may benefit.
These folks believe that greed is a natural human quality and a good motivator, that acting on
the desire to do better than one’s neighbor (i.e.: competition rather than cooperation) is the
highest form of self-expression, and that the feverish rivalry to consume the most leads to a
real meritocracy, and that it is pragmatic, or prudent, to elevate these values to attain utilitarian
Corporate fascists view globalization and free trade as historically inevitable, and believe it’s in
the best interests of oppressed people everywhere to accept the “new world order.” How
conveniently we have forgotten that slogan from Bush 41.
Corporate fascists make no room for shades of gray or ambiguity, as they instinctively seem to
operate in a world of black and white extremes where the only things in the middle of the road
are dead liberals.
Corporate fascists are the extreme right wing of the corporate class, which consists of wealthy
investors, corporate managers, financial brokers, lawyers, public relations specialists,
consultants and mainstream news media personalities.
These individuals profit from advancing the rights of corporations. They are also bound by an
ideology that favors business over government while releasing commercial interests of any
economic accountability regarding the public costs of their anti-social behavior.
These corporate fascists, or corporate libertarians, back their ideological agenda with
significant financial resources, injecting a Machiavellian ethos and moral philosophy to
advance their private political economic interests.
The rights of common folks play second fiddle to those of elite financial stakeholders, and
regular people are powerless to make their government hold corporations accountable for the
Americans are easily the most violent, militaristic people on Earth. Ironically, that makes us—
the inhabitants of that shining city on the hill—barbarians.
According to the German pacifist politician Karl Liebknecht’s 1907 lecture, “Means and Effects
of Militarism,” patriotism signifies “a constant readiness to pitch into the exterior or the interior
enemy whenever commanded to do so.”
A state of utter stupidity among the people enables the fascist regime to lead them like a
shepherd to the slaughter; they’re sheep defending the interests of the status quo. The silence
of the lambs is deafening.
“War against the foreign foe requires men,” said Liebknecht, “war against the foe at home,
slaves [and] machines.”
Militarism supplies corporate libertarianism, or fascism, with a submissive workforce shackled
by political economic exploitation and the frustration of not being able to do much to alter its
situation without great hardship.
Militarism also created the corporate military-industrial complex, which during the cold war
developed a system of propaganda that it used to saturate the whole of public and private life
with patriotism—preachers, teachers, popular journalists, neurotic literary figures like Ayn
Rand, and prestigious military leaders like Colin Powell, Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf, John
Wayne, Patton and Rambo, that served to successfully brainwash hundreds of thousands of
young people to enlist in a military comprised, for now, of volunteers. Each of these
archetypes, or cultural memes, served to veil the colluding parties with a perverse, polluted
Militarism is the most Machiavellian system in human history. Mass consumption justifies the
services and productions of corporate libertarian institutions, and militarism is the vilest fuel
informing that ethos.
“Good” or “real” Americans are threatened and cajoled into maintaining their consumption
habits while traumatized by various crises, and volunteer to kill for the privilege of covering
their overhead expenses, both now and in the future.
The military, meanwhile, is seen as the prime generator of technology and scientific
advancement in its vast influence over the nation’s industrial resources thanks to their tactical
Much needs to be done if America is to once again find itself steering on the course toward
ever-greater human freedom and dignity. Fortunately, the first thing that needs to happen may
have already begun.
Fifteen months ago, on Scott Leffler’s morning political talk radio show “Dialog,” I predicted that
if Bush went ahead and invaded Iraq unilaterally it would not only cost him the election, but the
Republican nomination. I felt then that there had to be enough decent human beings left in the
GOP to ensure it was capable of cleaning its own house. And recently, there are some
indications they may be ready to do that [forgive me, for I was naïve, or hopeful].
The 9/11 Commission along with Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, along with a few others, like Senate majority leader Bill Frist, R-
Tennessee, are pressing ahead with serious investigations into the Bush regime’s handling of
national security. Even neoconservative spokesperson William Kristol has expressed
reservations over how the war in Iraq is going. As things worsen, and they most likely will, the
Republican Party will be defined by how it responds to the situation.
Another fissure that seems to be widening on the right is between secular, business-oriented
conservatives and religious ones. The battle resembles a snake pit, and like most snake pits, it’
s occurring in dark, isolated corners around the country. The hope is each side will weaken the
other enough for moderates to regain control of the party.
Like it or not, Alexander Hamilton was partly right when he said the business of America is
business. Business people need representation in our government, and if they’re fair and
honest they deserve fair and honest representation. That means the Republican Party needs
to grasp this fundamental fact and start filling the void, or someone is going to snatch the reins
of power from its snarling teeth.
The Democrats, on the other hand, have shown few signs of being a party capable of doing it.
That isn’t to say they wouldn’t be a vast improvement over the Republicans. If they were true to
form, they would bribe the American people with a slue of changes that would make us only
half as fascist as we are today [Howard Dean was still the frontrunner].
So the first phase of r/evolution would involve internecine warfare resulting in the reformation
of the Republican Party, and the people turning to the Democratic Party to fill the void.
The success of this phase will be measured by how much power the Democrats are able to
seize from the Republicans in 2004. Bush’s defeat, of course, is required for advancement
down a less warlike path.
If this phase is sufficiently successful and the Democrats rule the executive branch, and find
themselves within striking distance of taking over Congress, the midterm-election in 2006
would mark phase two.
Considering that those who favor personal responsibility and freedom, and profound political-
economic reform, are moderately successful and take over the Senate, and with a moderate
Democratic Senate and liberal President, curbed by a Republican House of Representatives
that is moving ever closer to the middle, the stage for phase three will be set in 2008.
The country will either want even more of what’s being offered, about the same, or less. The
people will, as always, decide [again, sorry for my naïveté]. If phase three is successful, and we
leftists are given an inch, we should strive to fairly gain a mile, and continue pushing ahead for
ever greater personal freedom and responsibility, as well as fundamental corporate reform, so
the system will continue r/evolving. That, in and of itself, is the fourth and final stage.
R/evolution is the peaceful, democratic path toward necessary reform.
If Bush somehow manages to “win” re-election, America will become the world’s second fascist
“democratic republic” after South Africa, but the first such state to ever be a “hyperpower.”
Simply put, it will change everything forever.
Maybe that’s a good thing.
The Bush regime is, in effect, a fascist entity that isn’t capable of competing for power fairly or
surrendering it peacefully. They and their followers have way too much to lose, as they face
numerous indictments on various charges, including war crimes and lying to Congress should
they find themselves unemployed.
Before describing the two possible scenarios I see for civil war, I must say in the strongest
terms possible that I do not endorse any violence unless one is defending their lives or
protecting the ones they love. I do not endorse killing to protect property, reputation, personal
liberty or any other rights for one’s self. I only endorse the most radical forms of disobedience
imaginable against fascism to guarantee their protection. One must be willing enough to die for
a cause before one can justify killing in its name. Don’t be shocked, that’s what we ask our
military to do every day.
The ultimate goal is to simply reduce the amount of killing, then keep it at a minimum. In other
words, to wage a “civil” war. This war will be violent, but the violence will be minimized through
an ethical strategy that weighs how many lives will be saved by killing a certain, individual
person. A slippery slope? Yes, but forbidding the killing of “unpatriotic” civilians not directly
employed by, or in support of, the government would provide some traction. In other words,
targets of terrorism would be restricted to those responsible for horrendous injustices (please
note that’s plural) and prove unrepentant.
The nightmare scenario is that a legitimate terrorist—one whose belly literally aches because
of how the average American consumes more in one year than his entire family, and feels in
his bones how the ever-increasing space needed for that consumption requires evermore
colonization—is force-fed the fact that the American people are ignoring the consequences of
their behavior and really want Bush as their fearless leader.
In this case, this man or woman, or people, who have long said their argument isn’t with the
people of the United States, people like the Palestinians, will see it otherwise. Suicide bombers
will board buses and subways in New York and Los Angeles. Hotels will be leveled in
Washington, D.C. We will be treated by these people the same way the Russians are treated
by the Chechnyans, and the Israelis are by the Palestinians—perhaps worse because we are
the evil empire. Southern California will resemble the Gaza Strip, but sporadic terrorism will pop
up everywhere and completely justify the government’s Sharon-like, fascist response to a
terrified American public. Whoever speaks up in protest will be stoned by an angry mob, most
likely their neighbors, and the free world will economically isolate America, poising itself for
war—against us. It will have learned its lesson of what it means to appease a fascist
At this time it will be necessary for dissidents to go underground and form networks (luckily,
many have already done so). They, like the French Resistance in World War II, will have to be
ready to collaborate with the forces of freedom to overthrow the government. It will take brave
men and women who understand what freedom truly is; who realize that life is worse than death
The rest, of course, will become a history that no one’s left to study, and most likely mean the
loss of most animal life on the planet, which includes us. We will have learned our final lesson.
Another possibility, one which I think is more likely, involves much less bloodshed, but at least
an equal amount of drama.
Though it seems unlikely, this is the biggest and best wild card of all outside r/evolution, what
begins in profound tragedy ends with real American-style romance, and goes something like
The United States is hit by a major terrorist attack before the November election. The Bush
regime goes to Code Red, which is martial law. It then takes over the national media, shuts
down the Internet and postpones the elections, using what happened in Spain as an excuse.
The national media, however, and thousands of bloggers, and perhaps millions of others,
protest and the results are ugly.
Word spreads among the population, and there are those among the ruling elite who, for the
first time, have a real crisis of conscience and see what they’ve been aiding and abetting for so
long through their misguided tolerance and appeasement. They stand up on behalf of their
fallen comrades, perhaps even climbing on top of a tank in front of the White House.
And yes, to be clear, I’m talking about something of a holy war, in which those imbued by the
American spirit of personal liberty, secular truth and fairness vanquish the devils of the
Christian right, whose propaganda and treachery, motivated by greed and arrogance, who
believe their names were written in the book of the saved before the Earth’s creation, who
honestly think they were chosen by God to have dominion over non-believers and the entire,
sinful world, are put in their rightful place.
A few well-placed bullets will make them digest the fruit of what they’ve sewn, as it always is in
Nature. A few people will decide to kill some to protect the freedom of many, irregardless of
their own. One need not endorse this to make it so.
So the choice may not be ours, as the opponents of democracy, as always, wage a war against
it. We may be forced to do what we must.
For the first time in our history, the battle for democracy is being waged on our home soil
against an enemy from within. But America is not exceptional in this, it happens at one time or
another to every nation. There’s a season for every purpose under heaven, so they say.
What does make America exceptional, however, is that it is the battleground for world ideas—
whether those in power here, right now, like it or not.
It is up to the American people, more than anyone else, to save the world by saving
The candidates I eventually vote for will be the ones I believe have the fewest body bags
attached to their names, not in the short-term, but in the long run. It’s that simple.
Our nation will most certainly fulfill its own purposes, and the way our future war dead are
honored will define what those purposes were.
The question is: will they be heroes, victims or villains? Only time and the American people will
Obviously, Bush won. As time passes, however, stories about how Karl Rove threw the election
(making a terrorist attack unnecessary) may become more prevalent. Reality, of course, will
serve us by biting the regime in its prideful, overweening ass.
My biggest mistake six months ago was underestimating how successful the regime’s
propaganda really was, and how many more people lead faith-based rather than reason-based
lives in this country. I also didn’t believe the electoral fix was hardened in such concrete.
I think the opportunity for r/evolution has passed and ominous historical forces are plunging us
toward civil war.
Osama bin Laden’s aim of bankrupting America seems redundant. His real aim, if he’s not still
under the regime’s employ, might be to wake us up.
The giant, dreaming through a long night, is now facing its pre-dawn nightmare.
Chuck Richardson ’s writing is archived at www.bastardpolitics.com . His first book, Memos
from Apartment 5 , is now available in many online bookstores .
© Copyright Chuck Richardson