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Author Archive: "Naomi Wolf"

The Front Lines of the War against Citizens

Picking up again from my journal from the front lines of the war against citizens —

Baltimore: we are here at the Baltimore Book Festival. Beautiful fall day, joyful crowds, stalls of booksellers, Baltimore's funky charm. In the Q and A afterwards, regarding the subject of surveillance, an audience member notes that the BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL had been infiltrated and was under surveillance. This was reported and confirmed in the local press. I looked around at the elderly ladies dressed elegantly for the event, at the children running around in the sun, at the crowds at the stall next door who were celebrating the magical speaker and writer Cornel West and thought of how it worked for readers and writers behind the Iron Curtain. All these citizens interested in books: subversives.

San Francisco, the Century Club: a wonderful evening, many older people, many of them conservative, very concerned about what is happening to their nation. Afterwards a well-dressed, tall man comes to talk to me. He looks and speaks exactly like an affluent WASP businessman. 'I was ...


The War against Citizens and Our Freedom

I have been travelling around the country for five weeks now, flying home on breaks to be with my kids. The message — what do we do to fight and win this war against citizens and against our freedom.

While I have had to focus on assimilating new news and information, checking reports, blogging and taping and speaking, my mind is so full of the people I have met and the stories they have told. Each city has crystallized a scene or moment that will stay with me forever. I wish I could show you each of them. They are the real story.

North Carolina: I gave a speech at UNC. A lovely mother of a beautiful 19-year-old girl brings her to me. The young woman is a Ron Paul supporter and she is on fire to change the world. She is one of those shining lights — a star, just radiating a hunger for truth and a readiness to get on her path. The mother is stoic at first — telling me her daughter is determined to ...


Is This America?

[Editor's Note: The following originally ran on the website Talking Points Memo.]

Our liberties are by no means safe and our status as a real constitutional Republic is beyond fragile. On October 1, 2008, President Bush deployed the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Division — three to four thousand battle-hardened warriors — to...somewhere in the United States. Their original stated mission according to Army Times was 'crowd control' and 'subduing unruly individuals.' They have lethal and nonlethal technologies and tanks. After some questions were raised — not, I note, by anyone in the mainstream media, which has bizarrely ignored this massive subversion of 200 years of our having been protected by the 1807 Insurrection Act and by 1879's Posse Comitatus from being policed at home by military forces — the Northcom PR people changed the stated goal of the mission to 'protecting communities affected by weapons of mass destruction.' Still, I would have thought, a story — and so thank the hundreds of citizens who are contacting me trying to find out more. For those commentators who do not yet think our liberties are at risk, ...


The Patriot’s Task

[Editor's Note: The following is the conclusion to Naomi Wolf's book The End of America.]

So it turns out we really are at war — a long war, a global war, a war for our civilization.

It is a war to save our democracy.

Each one of us needs to enlist. We have no one to spare.

We need citizens from across the political spectrum to carry forward the Founders' banner together. Everyone can see this movement as expressing his or her most cherished values and will frame the effort according to his or her own subculture and language. Progressives may see this "American awakening" as a liberation or, at the least, as a campaign, while conservatives may well see the same movement as "conservative" in the truest sense — a return to a stewardship of the Founders' vision. Surely "liberty" as the Founders understood it — eighteenth-century Enlightenment liberty — is the grounding of both classical conservative and classical liberal American values.

These diverse American citizens may even, in this movement, truly encounter their counterparts across the political spectrum and learn to talk to each other once again directly, as neighbors, interlocutors, and fellow ...


Historical Fingerprints

Today I have to address something that is very hard to face.

I have written about the blueprint for fascism, and about the fact that there are ten classic steps to closing down a democracy. I have to note with sorrow and alarm the fact that we are now in a time period that also has historical foreshadowings: just as people begin to wake up to the real danger to society and to start to put the pieces together, those who are seeking the crackdown begin to escalate the assaults on democracy and make them more shocking. You saw this in Italy in the 1920s and Germany in 1931–33 as well. This period is truly a dual race against time — the leaders seeking to shock and disorient a population before they can mobilize effective resistance, and the population struggling to 'get it' in time to take appropriate action. Unfortunately, historically, the leaders in question have the tactical advantage. (There are exceptions but they are based on citizens waking up in time; Pakistanis, for instance, who were alert to the classic warning signs of such a shift — hello America, the effort to put cronies in ...


Blackwater

I wrote earlier here about the ten steps to a closed society — what I call a 'fascist shift.' I use that term advisedly — and conservatively — to mean the point at which the state starts to use force against citizens in a targeted effort to close down democratic processes.

The third step in the shift to a closed society is to 'Develop a Paramilitary Force.' Without a paramilitary force that is not answerable to the people's representatives, democracy cannot be closed down; however, with such a force available to would-be despots, democracy can be drastically and quickly weakened. Every effective despot — from Mussolini to Hitler, Stalin, the members of the Chinese Politburo, General Augusto Pinochet and the many Latin American dictators who learned from these models of controlling citizens — has used this essential means to pressure civilians and intimidate dissent. Mussolini was the innovator in the use of thugs to intimidate what was a democracy, if a fragile one, before he actually marched on Rome; he developed the strategic deployment of blackshirts to beat up communists and opposition leaders, trash newspapers and turn on civilians, ...


Closing Down an Open Society

Yesterday I wrote about the emergency our now-fragile republic faces as the Bush administration appears to be using the time-tested tactics of dictators throughout the last century to close down an open society. I wrote yesterday about how we are one arrest away away from the 'after' in the 'before and after' of a closed society; the reasoning, you recall, is that the White House's position is that the President can designate anyone as an 'enemy combatant' — you, me, the owners of your local bookstore or the head of your local antiwar or environmental group — and lock you up in solitary confinement for months or years without ever filing charges. Notably, the Bush White House is proposing that the next Attorney General be the man who defended the legal position that the President can have this power over US citizens — in the case of Padilla. While Padilla is not a good guy, the precedent has been set and, as Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represents the detainees, points out, it can now be used against you and me. It is profoundly dangerous that the ...


The Fascism Blueprint

Is it hyperbole to title a book The End of America? Those of you who read the Huffington Post may have seen excerpts there from the introduction of my new book of that title that is now out by Chelsea Green; the book argues that there are ten classic steps dictators or would-be dictators always take when they wish to close down an open society or crush a movement toward democracy — and that each of these ten steps have been taken systematically in the US in the past six years. I argue in the book that, based on the models from history that show such clear, shocking parallels to the situation in the US today, we are much further along in this process than most of us realize — and that the time for understanding and action is now.

The chapters show how recognizable these ten steps are. Whether the despot is operating in Italy in the '20s, Germany in the '30s, East Germany in the '50s, Czechoslovakia in the '60s, Chile in 1973 or China in the '80s, each of them reproduces 'the blueprint' to engineer a closed society. Would-be ...


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