Critique of Tyranny--and the emergence of fascism


        For those who need to be a bit more detached, for whatever reason, or who want to pull back the microscope, the critique of tyranny has deep historical roots. Here is Aristotle on how a tyrant can keep power. Below that is a link to useful questions that could be used in many classrooms related to the critique of tyranny. Below that is a link to a very short piece on: "What is fascism?"" which I believe we witness emerging, fast, as a mass, popular, world-wide movement taking varying forms. In the midst of that, school workers need to ask some difficult questions, like: "why have school?" That is addressed in a Counterpunch link below and a classroom exercise as well.

Aristotle on Tyranny:

“The lopping off of outstanding people  and the destruction of the proud, and also the prohibition of common meals and club fellowships and education and all other things of this nature, in fact the close watch upon all things that usually engender...pride and confidence and the prevention circles and other conferences for debate, and the employment of every means that will make people as much as possible unknown to one another (for familiarity increases mutual confidence), and for the people of the city to be always visible as they hang about the palace gates (for thus there would be at least concealment for what they are doing, and they would get into a habit of being humble from always acting in a servile way)...and to try not to be uniformed about any chance utterances or actions of any of the subjects, but to have spies...wherever there was any gathering or conference, ..and to cause quarrels between friend and friend and between the people and the notables, and among the rich. And it is a device of tyranny to make the subjects poor, so that a guard may not be kept, and also that the people being busy with their daily affairs may not have leisure to plot against their ruler. Instances of this are the pyramids in Egypt, and the building of the temple of the Olympian Zeus...(for all these undertakings produce the same effect, constant occupation and poverty among the subject people) and the levying of taxes, as at Syracuse (for in the reign of Dionysius the result of taxation used to be in five years men had contributed the whole of their substance). Also the tyrant is a stirrer-up of war, with the deliberate purpose of keeping the people busy and also of making them constantly in need of a leader.”

The wishes of a tyrant are directed by three aims, to produce humility, “for a humble-spirited man would not plot against anybody,” to prevent confidence among subjects, “for a tyranny is not destroyed until people come to trust each other,” and the people’s power to resist must be demolished, “so that nobody attempts impossibilities, as nobody tries to put down a tyranny if they do not have power behind them.”

The question to any government: Is this for the common good?

The ethics of every movement for change for the common good: Freedom and Equality.

Link to Questions Related to the Critique of Tyranny:

Classroom exercise on Why Have School?

What is Fascism (every brief)?
A somewhat dated bibliography on fascism is at the end of this long piece

Counterpunch Line on Why Have School and the Schools-to-War Pipeline.

Good luck to all. We need it.

best r