Executing the Fascist Playbook
The government has ordered schools in England not to use resources from organisations which have expressed a desire to end capitalism.
Department for Education (DfE) guidance issued for school leaders and teachers involved in setting the relationship, sex and health curriculum categorised anti-capitalism as an “extreme political stance” and equated it with opposition to freedom of speech, antisemitism and endorsement of illegal activity.
The document says “extreme political stances include, but are not limited to… a publicly stated desire to abolish or overthrow democracy, capitalism, or to end free and fair elections”.
It goes on to describe other examples, such as opposition to the right of freedom of speech, the endorsement of illegal activities, and violent actions against people or property.
Many would argue that making it illegal to teach about anti-capitalist movements and their publications is an attack on free speech. The fact that socialism itself anti-capitalist puts the entire Labour movement into this category.
‘What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.’ George Orwell
Fascism is not a spontaneously created form of government; it comes out of democracy. It comes with little steps.
It’s a form of government that springs from democracy, a reaction by a sector of the population turned off by societal evolution and turned on by promises of a return to a perceived superior and more certain past, it comes from promises of safety out of chaos, augmented by the leaders’ gradual amalgamation of power over time until they cannot be ejected from it.
History shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator and one-party state must take to destroy constitutional freedoms.
Governments were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective.
The blueprint shows they create the chaos and then present the solution, that solution always comes at a cost.
Our freedoms and liberties are taken away by legislative bills passed while the people are distracted by a real or perceived threat to their person, family and community.
Democratic Accountability is always a bind to politicians.
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” ― Winston S. Churchill
It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy – but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
Tyranny and authoritarian regimes come about through small democratic steps aided by a willing and compliant opposition party along with a subdued population through fear apathy or ignorance.
Any existential threat real or perceived can be manipulated and used to justify the population forsaking some of its liberties for short term security. These threats come in many forms including international military build-ups like the cold war that while subdued in its violence projected a constant fear of escalation, this played perfectly in maintaining the status quo, a compliant people who live in fear are more malleable and the establishment are happy with this constant state. Fear in peoples lives is ever-present, its feed by many things, poverty, debt, social exclusion, terrorism, climate change and even pandemics.
To combat these threats the population are told they must sacrifice their own liberties citizens, have to deal with an expanding array of ever-more complex bureaucracies that are intruding into their lives in a way that previous generations would have considered unacceptable.
And the fight against these threats always seems to involve the state taking on new powers of surveillance and enforcement. The pandemic has given the government cover not only to use extraordinary powers to distribute public wealth to the private sector without scrutiny but to remove many of our civil liberties restricting our movements and even our ability to socialise and communicate.
But while the relationship between individual citizens and powerful institutions may change in response to changing circumstances, it is vital that free societies do all they can to maintain people’s human rights and civil liberties, not least because a free society is, in the long term, one of the best protections against tyranny.
The only power we have right now is vigilance and the ability to speak out.
As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, these 10 steps are now been initiated in the UK today.
10 STEPS TO FASCISM
1.Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2.Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3.Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4.Set up an internal surveillance system.
5.Infiltrate and harass citizens’ groups.
6.Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7.Target key individuals.
8.Control the press.
9.Cast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason.
10.Subvert the rule of law.