I hear a LOT about fascism these days. Regarding fascism, the central message of it, as expressed by Mussolini, is best represented not by the swastika, but by another ancient (and authoritarian) symbol of considerably less notoriety, the fasces. Basically a bundle of sticks, Mussolini's central message was that while a single stick breaks easily, a bundle of them tightly-bound together is strong. Using that definition, you can say that any organization that wants to separate people from something, usually their money, can be "fascist". The fasces, oddly enough, is also found on the U.S. Mercury dime, a ten-cent coin minted from 1916 to 1945. Although communism and fascism are nominally polar opposites, they have much in common.
One time while flying from Frankfurt, Germany to LA, CA, USA, I entertained myself by reading a certain notorious underground magazine that had on its back cover a picture of a crucified Hitler being mourned by Stahlhelm-wearing “cherubs”. It didn’t take long to notice the dirty looks being shot at me by the interracial couple sitting to the (ironically) right side of the Boeing 747. They both looked like they took their fashion cues from the highlands of New Guinea, and after a while, I asked them what their problem was. “We don’t like fascists.” was the firm answer, delivered in black-and-white stereo.
I crack up to this day at that idiotic dual-channel statement. I love irony, and when people say things like “Don’t judge a book by its cover” do EXACTLY the same thing to me and others, it only re-affirms what I’ve known for a very long time now; namely, people are stupid, full of shit, and regardless of what they call themselves and/or others, are also nothing but so much sheep. Regarding my parrot and parakeet-colored critics, the fact that they were more “fascist” than I would ever be in at least 10,000 lifetimes never occurred to them for a microsecond, as if their conforming, crustacean-like brains could possibly process it faster.
My recent experience in the corporate world tells me that fascism/communism in its most classical and perverse forms are alive and well. It can be characterized as slavery in the midst of freedom, and authoritarian dictatorships in the midst of liberal democracies. One essentially surrenders their civil rights the moment they clock in, and the governance lingers long after one clocks out. Let me try to list some of the things they have in common:
A centralized, rigidly-bureaucratic and kleptocratic regime that values conformance above everything else.” Although you’re not paid to think, that’s never going to stop me from stealing your ideas if I think that they’re stealable.”
Blind obedience to orders, no matter how inane and outright stupid they are. “Me boss, you not.”
All of your movements and communications are closely monitored at all times, whether on or off duty. “Watch what you say and do at all times!”
Sham "elections" where they explicitly tell you who they want you to vote for, with subtle and not-so-subtle reminders of potential consequences if you’re not literally “politically correct”.
Constant bombardment of propaganda and imagery to influence you to "do things the way we want you to do them."
Deeply-entrenched "elites"; rampant favoritism, cronyism, nepotism, and any other "ism" you can throw in. Widespread corruption.
Emphasizing the "team" over the individual. You are nothing more than a cog in a horrible machine, and something for others to push and shove down, so that they may climb.
Unless something drastic happens, I don't see this getting any better. As stated by Arthur Jensen in the prescient 1976 movie Network, the total power and ability of corporations to control people's lives whether they are on or off the clock is growing, and they don't have a problem with that:
You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear?! Do you think you've merely stopped a business deal? That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and You Will Atone!
Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state - Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, min-max solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a collage of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale; it has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality - one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock - all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.