By Joe Deane
October 28, 2008 "Information Clearinghouse - -- It is stark. I see the election for president as equal in importance to any political decision in American history, equal to many of the crucial decisions in world history. It rivals those such as Lincoln vs. Douglas, Hoover vs. FDR. In Europe, the difference is like that between Mussolini and Giolitti in Italy or Hitler and Papen in Germany.
On one side of our struggle is normal American imperialist conservatism represented not by McCain, but by Obama. These are the forces of the old constitutional business republic which the USA has been for some two hundred years. (We euphemistically call this elite business republic a "democracy" which of course it is not. A democracy is a republic where the free members of society exercise the authority of government. This is not the USA in which government has always represented business, capital, the owning or ruling class, never the vast majority of people in society, the people.)
On the other side of this political contest are forces that can be described with justice in many different terms: the extreme right, corporatist, Wall St. thieves and black mailers, thugs, international pirates, the military-industrial complex, militarists, the prison-industrial complex, totalitarians, liars, or fascists.
Liberalism in America has been defeated as has been the left. The political forces that defeated fascism in WWII have vanished from the American political scene, and in Europe are retreating. Since that icon of freedom Ronald Reagan, extreme nationalists, the advocates of empire, the "American Firsters" who see immigrants as an insect horde that has come to feed on the garbage work too undesirable for Americans -- these forces have gradually been amassing power. With Bush and Cheney, they have succeeded in taking power. Rove, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz stay in the back-ground, unseen, pulling Bush's strings and will continue to guide McCain.
The contest is best understood as between those who want the republic to survive and those who want to bury it. There are two primary elements of the republic which are at issue: whether we will be an imperialistic republic or an empire. Republics can be imperialist but they cannot be empires. This point goes back to Aristotle. An empire requires a strong form of authority (emperor, dictator, monarch, authoritarian executive) which operates above the law and constitution, hence nullifies a republic which prohibits exactly this. In the Bush era we have seen the acceptance of supra-constitutional rule by fiat, his "signing statements". And that is only part of it. We should not overlook his dictation to a supine Congress, his appointment of toadies to the bureaucracies, Justice Department, and courts.
The second element of a republic (or any well established constitutional state, e.g. 19th century monarchical Britain) is the existence of a civil order of public persons. In large part, this consists of a real politics in which issues are presented, understood, and decided by the people. It also requires a state in which the welfare of the members of society is an absolute duty of government. An empire is hostile to and dispenses with all of this. The state must serve not the welfare of the members of society but the power and rule of society over other societies. In a world of nation-states this means supremacy of the nation-state over non-national peoples (e.g. Britain over India, the Raj) or nation-states over nation-states (fascism).
With these fundamental distinctions in mind, we have the tools for a deep understanding of the contest between Obama and McCain. Obama is a thoughtful and articulate man who attempts to present issues, indeed would likely be a black FDR dedicated to the public order, a functional system of checks and balances, a restoration of privacy and end to the quest for an empire in the middle east. McCain is the opposite. He conducts a scurrilous campaign of lies and innuendo. He promises "victory" in Iraq which means the subjugation of the Iraqi people and the absorption of the Islamic countries into the American empire. His claim that "redistribution of wealth equals socialism" is the major tenet of the view that any progressive legislation, e.g. an income tax, is totalitarianism. In other words, McCain belongs to that extreme right wing that wants to abolish the entire spectrum of politics of a modern republic.
So if you add-up the things that McCain is devoted to: the destruction of the politics of a republic and the construction of an empire of nation-states based on corporate and military power you have precisely the fundamental tenets of fascism.
I submit to you the choice is profound: Obama gives us a continuation of the imperialist, hegemonic, corporate republic that has made life for so many of us very comfortable (and for many millions misery). McCain offers us the end of modern enlightenment politics and the establishment of a fascist state; and, ultimately, our own destruction.