Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

On fascism

 


By Ignazio Silone

Ignazio Silone was born in Italy in 1900. He was a political organizer and opposed the rise of Fascism in Italy during his time. His other well-known novel Fontamara, as this one, was written while in exile, only returning to Italy in 1944. He died in 1978.

Below are a few excerpts from his novel Bread and Wine. I think many of these words have direct relationship to our world today.

  • People have been misled by slogans too long; they distrust all the phrases of politics; and as for the peasants, they have never trusted anything said by talkers from the cities. Most people understand the truth well enough; it is courage and energy they lack, a readiness to sacrifice themselves.
  • Freedom is not a thing you can receive as a gift. One can be free even under a dictatorship on one simple condition, that is, if one struggles against it. A man who thinks with his own mind and remains uncorrupted is a free man. A man who struggles for what he believes to be right is a free man. You can live in the most democratic country in the world, and if you are lazy, callous, servile, you are not free, in spite of the absence of violence and coercion, you are a slave. Freedom is not a thing that must be begged from others. You must take it for yourself, whatever share you can.
  • We are divided by superficial things. In order to understand one another we should not be afraid of discarding commonplaces, symbols, labels.

  • How can we hope to destroy fascist subservience if we abandon the critical spirit? Try and answer me that.

 

  • With the devices at our army’s disposal, you’ll see that the new war in Africa [Ethiopia] will be over in a few days. Our death ray will carbonize the enemy…Did you see in the newspaper that the men called up at Avezzano are to be blessed by the bishop today? The death ray will of course also open the way to the missionaries.
  • Even the landscape had put on uniform. The train, the stations, the telegraph poles, the walls, the trees, the public lavatories, the bell-towers, the garden gates, the parapets of bridges, bore inscriptions exalting the war. [In our present times, beside the ever present war-porn, we are drowned with the messages promoting 'maximum consumption' by corporate power.]
  • The dictatorship is based on unanimity. It’s sufficient for one person to say no and the spell is broken. Under every dictatorship one man, one perfectly ordinary little man who goes on thinking with his own brain is a threat to public order…the whole of that formidable granite order is imperiled.
  • If we apply our moral feelings to the evil that prevails all round us, we cannot remain inactive and console ourselves with the expectation of an ultra-terrestrial life. The evil to be combated is not the sad abstraction that is called the devil; the evil is everything that prevents millions of people from becoming human…I believe that nowadays there is no other way of saving one’s soul. He is saved who overcomes his individual, family, class selfishness and frees himself of the idea of resignation to the existing evil…one must not be obsessed with the idea of security, even the security of one’s own virtue…To save oneself one has to take risks.
  • We must stay together. We must not allow ourselves to be divided.

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