In Search of a History
by Richard Hiatt
Go to page one...
In 1995, scholar Umberto Eco (child witness to Mussolinis
national socialism) affixed the title of "Ur-Fascism" to many of the same symptoms evident today: "the rejection of modernism ... action for actions sake ...fear of difference ...appeal to a frustrated middle class ...obsession with a plot ...life is permanent warfare ...contempt for the weak ...the cult of heroism ...selective populism ...against rotten parliamentary governments." Eco warns that Ur-Fascism is still around, though in "plainclothes," in "the most innocent of disguises."
What many Americans dont realize is that of all the neo-fascist activity heard today throughout the world, the vast bulk of pro-fascist literature comes from the US, not Europe. The old stereotype of the reverse is no longer true. European hate groups import it, its ideology and recruitment strategies, from cities like New York and Los Angeles.
Which brings up another sobering reality: the
fact that developing nations are taking their lead from the historical precedence set by the United States. They're following the codes and strictures leading to economic wealth and, predictably, at the expense of the poor and displaced. Enormous disparities exist between rich and poor, the weak and powerful.
Hearing about sweatshops and child labor should
make us feel accountable, not distantly judgmental and elitist. Countries in Asia and South America are only following the exemplar of "progress" as defined by US history. Why? Because the US won the biggest war in history, world history was instantly rewritten by "the winner," and the rules (or lack thereof) of free market industrial capitalism became regnant and supreme. And remember it was Alexander Hamilton who said that women and children were "rendered more useful ...[within] manufacturing establishments."
Mexico's notorious maquiladora zone (the belt of
low-wage factories along the Mexican border) fed by NAFTA is just one example. NAFTA has destabilized the Mexican peasantry, having forced it into cheap industrial
labor. Thailand's peasantry is another example. Child labor and subminimum
wages only follow the same conditions which occurred in the US for roughly the same reasons (cf. the LA garment industry and southern textile
plants). The infamous shoe factories in Indonesia are another. And even Germany and Japan follow the imbalances of wealth distribution between rich and poor, even though both countries maintain a fairer distribution-ratio than even the US (6:1 and 4:1 versus 9:1 in the US - rich to poor).
The Preamble, the Declaration of Independence, and the Gettysburg Address are "the sacred scriptures of this nation,"
Copyright © 1998 Richard Hiatt. All rights reserved.