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How you know when you're living in a fascist state
by Julia K. Steinberger
Email: julias (nospam) mit.edu
Address: Cambridge, Massachusetts
20 Sep 2001
Now how I know how it must have felt for my grandparents, Jews in Germany during the Nazi takeover.
I have never signed my name on an indymedia piece before. But now I will, as an act of defiance,
against the terrifying powers of repression that are envading our world, here and abroad.
My government has turned against me and my friends and my work. Mind you, it was never
perfect, and I did my duty criticizing it. But now, it actually created a cabinet position against
me and other (non-terrorist) dissidents: Governor Tom "death" Ridge of Pennsylvania is now
Secretary of Defense of the Homeland. Or was that Fatherland?
The FBI have wiretap powers beyond their wildest dreams. New "anti-terrorist" legislation is
being passed by a post-Reichstag Congress, more everyday. This legislation, while being
completely ineffective at controlling or deterring terrorism, will have a real impact on our
democracy. It will obliterate it.
Already, people who think or look differently are being terrorized, driven underground, killed.
The newspapers can't get enough of the military marching bands, and tonight I even heard
a journalist explaining that "of course" we can't be expected to know where they're marching to.
Excuse me? The Fuhrer sends the troops off "somewhere" and we're expected to applaud or
be attacked as unpatriotic? Does this sound familiar yet? Today's Boston Herald's cover was
a full page photograph of an aircraft carrier taking off, the headline was "Godspeed."
Maybe it is a "crusade" (to quote our glorious military leader, George Bush) against the infidels -
or the anti-Americans - or the impure races. DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR YET?
This is why I have signed this indymedia article. We have passed a to a whole new level. We are
now in a fascist state, and urge all of you with a speck of conscious not to let this pass without
giving our all, the best fight we have. The war has been declared, against whom we are not supposed
to ask, but be certain of this: the enemy is inside as well as outside, that's why we need the
"homeland defense" of our new glorious leader of domestic repression, Tom Ridge. Have no
doubt that this enemy within is none other than any free-thinking, democracy loving person. Have
no doubt that you are this enemy within, that war has been declared on YOU. DOES THIS SOUND
By the way, have no doubt that the enemy abroad knows its own shadowy presence. Look at the photos
of the desperate children and refugees in the camps at the Afghan boarder with Pakistan on www.boston.com
To quote Howard Zinn, war is about killing children. These children know it. Their parents know it. The whole
world knows it - but we are supposed to remain ignorant: "of course" we can't ask where our large ships
and armies are going, what atrocities they're going to commit in our name, that would be downright rude
to our glorious leader! Does this sound familiar yet?
Just asking these questions will get you on Tom Ridge's Homeland Enemies list. I am on it, you will be
soon if you are not already. Are you going to wait quietly until they come to your front door, to take you
away? Or are you going to act now, and not rest until our democracy is restored to us?
Another point, minor perhaps, but still important in the long run. I mentioned an attack on my work. I work
at a University, doing research in basic physics. The latest developments are attacks on universities and
research. They are starting a drum beat (and by they I mean CNN and the New York times, who have been
writing articles about foreign students as though they were all spies) to drastically reduce the number of
foreign scholars. So much great science research in this country has been the work of foreigners, to
mention only some in my field, Einstein, Fermi, Maria Goeppert-Mayer. Professor Chandrasekhar immigrated
from India to the University of Chicago. His contributions to astrophysics are so phenomenal that NASA
made an ovbious choice when it named the great X-ray observatory CHANDRA after him. Remove the
foreigners, and you remove one of the most vital sources of research in this country.
Not only that, but you can start cracking down on universities. Already, some professors seem to have a
warped vision of academic freedom and debate. Upon seeing Thursday's peace rally advertised from the
MIT home page, a professor wrote to the president of MIT, asking him to remove it, saying that the organizing
group was anti-American, supported terrorism, and that if MIT was known to harbor this group, that it be
bad for "our sponsors." Thanks to the courage of MIT's president, this message was disregarded.
This professor's sponsors, incidentally, include Raytheon. So much for the universities, and how can we
expect our nation to flourish without free places of learning?
Please, as an urgent cry from the future of this country, from the Afghan children, waiting for the big ships
of death bearing our flag in their refugee camps, please, don't stay isolated, don't be silent. Speak, wear
pins and signs against war, put up signs at your work and home, be brave enough to talk to your neigbhors
and colleagues about your positions, and whatever you do, don't give up. You, the free-thinking, the questioning,
are now at war, and we must win. We can win. But we must be heard and be strong.