The Ten Steps of the Fascist Shift as interpreted by Naomi Wolf and applied to the Bush administration, could equally apply to Presidents in the 1920’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s. United States history has been through many worse times and survived.
While researching the 1920’s for my book “The Ragman’s War,” I learned many dark secrets about the Roaring Twenties hidden in union archives, news articles from that time, and in memories of old men.
Applying the 10 steps to the administrations of Wilson, Harding and Coolidge would have made it the 1920’s the worst decade for fascism in US history. Steel and Rail Barons controlled all branches of government and wielded their influence to keep millions of immigrant workers laboring in the mills and mines for little or no wages. Dissidents and union organizers who riled against this serf system of cheap labor that kept the Twenties stock market roaring were branded as anarchists. They were detained, deported, jailed, or murdered.
In the mining towns the mine families were forbidden to bear arms, to assemble, to have free ingress and egress to their towns, to sing hymns, and join unions. During the 1927-28 strike in the western Pennsylvania coalfields, they had their property seized and sold at auction and were evicted from their houses even when the rent was paid. Company agents had free access to invade their homes at whim.
Constitutional abuses in the bituminous coalfields around Pittsburgh were so bad that members of the US Senate decided to visit the area to evaluate the situation. The ACLU did their own investigation and reported their findings in a booklet titled “The Shame of Pennsylvania.”
Don’t believe me then look it up for yourself or read “Bucket of Blood the Ragman’s War,” “The Battle of Blair Mountain: The Story of America’s Largest Labor Uprising,” or Wobbly history. Don't forget to investigate the Red Scare of 1919, the Palmer Raids, and persecution of the IWW (Wobblies)? What about the Red Scare of the late 1940’s under Truman? How many communists and sympathizers were detained, deported, jailed, or went into hiding?
The Ten Steps of the 1928 Fascist Shift:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy (Communists, Wobblies, Labor Unions).
2. Create a gulag ( Captive Coal Towns, Wobbly Interment Camps, Deportation Centers).
3. Develop a thug caste (Coal and Iron Police, Pinkerton Men, American Legion).
4. Set up an internal surveillance system (Paid Stool Pigeons, Mail Interception).
5. Harass citizens’ groups (Company Sheriffs, State Troopers, County Sheriffs, Constables, Coal and Iron Police, KKK, Jim Crow Laws).
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release (union organizers, black lists, civil rights activists, Wobblies, innocent immigrant workers).
7. Target key individuals (scientists, academics, journalists, artists, writers, social activists, movie producers, labor leaders and organizers).
8. Control the press (coal, steel, and rail barons, judges, Hearst Syndicate).
9. Dissent equals treason (Sedition Laws, Red Scare, Palmer Raids, Anti Union Laws).
10. Suspend the rule of law (suspension of Constitutional rights for coal and steel families, Rossitor Injunctions, Coal & Steel companies rule the towns they own, their appointed agents are the law).
OOPS!!! Wolf forgot about suppression of free speech.
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