I found this great picture on the web the other day. It's now the background on my laptop instead of that insipid blue that comes with Windows. I don't know how many of you are familiar with Woody Guthrie (he's the guy that wrote "This Land Is Your Land") but it's a famous picture of him.
It appears as though he had just finished giving a concert somewhere or other; there's a person standing behind him looking like they are getting ready to help him on with a coat, and he has his guitar slung in front of him like a weapon. Scrawled in a messy hand around the face of the guitar's body are the words "This Machine Kills Fascists".
I thought to myself, how appropriate. This machine I'm typing on does the same thing. Yep, my little laptop is the equivalent of Woody's guitar. Now that may sound a little over the top, comparing myself to Woody Guthrie, and I'm probably nowhere near to being in his league, but it sure is a standard to shoot for.
Since I hear the sound of blood starting to boil, I should backtrack a little and deal with the 'f' word. When in doubt, check Wikipedia. There they tell us that fascism is a system that:
...exalts the nation and party above the individual, with the state apparatus being supreme. Stresses loyalty to a single leader, and submission to a single culture; engages in economic totalitarinism through the creation of a Corporatist State, where the divergent economic and social interests of different races and classes are combined with the interests of the State.
Benito Mussolini, the leader of the Italian Fascist Party was much more succinct in his definanition: "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State." As you can see by these definitions, there is no particular political leaning assigned to this term. It can either be used to describe a left leaning or right leaning dictatorship.
It has to be one of the most misused terms tossed about in politics. I'm ashamed to say that far too many people on the left really don't understand what they are saying when they call someone a fascist. You can call George Bush a mysogynist, a homophobe, a xeonophobe, or a warmonger to your heart's content, but for all that, he is not a fascist.