Many people consider fascism a 20th century malady that went the way of small pox. AlterNet's Thom Hartmann explains in a February 5, 2015, article that fascists continue to pose a clear and present danger to democracy. And not just any old democracy -- the one right here in the U. S. of A.
Hartmann quotes a New York Times article written in April 1944 by Henry A. Wallace, who was Franklin D. Roosevelt's Vice President from 1941 to 1945. The newspaper had asked Wallace to address the threat posed by home-grown fascists rather than those we were fighting against in Europe and the Pacific. Wallace warned that fascists attempt to use the press to deceive the public into supporting them, financially and otherwise.
Wallace claimed that the true fascist threat in the U.S. wouldn't arrive until after the war:
"They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.... We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."
Hartmann's Vox article also quotes Franklin Roosevelt's 1936 speech upon being renominated by his party:
"...Out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties.... It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.... These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power..... Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power!"
When it comes to the economic princes wrapping their despotism in the robes of legal sanction, they couldn't have a better friend than Chief Justice John Roberts. Hartmann cites Jeffrey Toobin writing in the New Yorker:
"In every major case since he became the nation's seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party."
According to Hartmann, the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission allowed the Roberts court's five-justice majority "to totally re-write the face of politics in America, rolling us back to the pre-1907 era of the Robber Barons."
The Roberts court downplays the undue influence corporations may now exert over the government. In his majority opinion in 2007's Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right To Life, Justice Antonin Scalia quoted from the 1986 Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. Public Util. Comm'n of Cal. plurality decision:
"[Pacific Gas] rejected the arguments that corporate participation 'would exert an undue influence on the outcome of a referendum vote'; that corporations would 'drown out other points of view' and 'destroy the confidence of the people in the democratic process..."
Hartmann concludes by stating the following:
"Fascism is rising in America. Oligarchs like the Koch Brothers are poised to capture more political power. The point of their spear is 'corporate personhood' and 'corporate free speech rights.'"
Currently corporations qualify as "artificial persons" under the law, as opposed to "natural persons" who are actual flesh-and-blood beings. There's no reason why the three branches of the government couldn't distinguish the rights of artificial and natural persons. Especially so considering the threats posed to our democracy by Roosevelt's "privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reach[ing] out for control over government itself."