30 June 2019
Bhubaneswar: On June 25, first-time Parliamentarian Mahua Moitra of the Trinamool Congress rose to speak on Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address. In her maiden speech in the Lok Sabha, she outlined seven early signs of fascism that made the people think, “Is India headed towards a dark future?”
The signs pointed out by Moitra, are featured in a poster that was put up in the main lobby of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017. The points in the poster are derived from political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt’s article “Fascism Anyone?" written in 2003.
In the article, Britt lists out 14 signs (from which seven were quoted by Moitra in Lok Sabha). Here are all of them:
1) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: Patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4) Supremacy of the Military: The military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5) Rampant Sexism: The government is almost exclusively male-dominated. Traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
6) Controlled Mass Media: Media is directly or indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship is very common.
7) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Most common religion in the nation is used as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders.
9) Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy often are the ones who put the government leaders into power. A mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite exists.
10) Labor Power is Suppressed : Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Open hostility to higher education, and academia. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
12) Obsession with Crime and Punishment: The police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. People are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism.
13) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental authority to protect their friends from accountability. National resources and treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14) Fraudulent Elections: Elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.