(Wolf 2007) The end of America

Wolf, Naomi. The end of America: letter of warning to a young patriot. White River Junction, Vermont, USA: Chelsea Green; 2007. There is also a video documentary based on this book.

Wolf introduces the concept of a “fascist shift”, or the “closing” of an open society, emphasizing that the transition from democracy to fascism can be incremental and insidious, rather than sudden and dramatic. Writing in 2007, she warns her readers that a fascist shift is already well underway; that the USA is already less free than during the McCarthy era; and that comparisons to the establishment of the classic Nazi and Italian Fascist dictatorships are not exaggerated. She lists ten steps involved in a fascist shift. These include the establishment of a network of secret prisons, the creation of a paramilitary force, pervasive surveillance, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and erosion of the rule of law. Although this book was written during the second George W. Bush administration, Wolf warns explicitly that the election of a president from the Democratic Party will not necessarily halt or retard the progress of the fascist shift. In a book written three years before the arrest of Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), Wolf makes an uncannily prescient comment on page 150 about the role that an arrest for leaking classified information might play in a fascist shift.


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Last revision: December 20, 2014