from the archives.

I'm cleaning out a bajillion personal files from my computer today. I stumbled upon a dramaturgy packet I put together for a production of Blood Wedding I directed in college, and one section caught my eye. Federico García Lorca wrote Blood Wedding during the rise of Francisco Franco's regime in Spain, and he was ultimately killed because he used his work as an artist to unite and provoke the rural communities that the Falangist movement was trying to suppress. It's a little disconcerting to see how many of these characteristics are ringing true today...



Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

  4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

  5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

  6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

  7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

  9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

  10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

  14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

thoughts (at the edge of the world).

I'm terrified that my life as I knew it will be over.

Will my rights as a U.S. citizen, as a person, be jeopardized, now that the government is being spearheaded by an openly misogynistic, racist, xenophobic straight white dude?

Will my right to marry, to adopt, to live openly as a gay person in this country dissolve under this new regime? And what is going to happen to the transgender citizens? I know the LGBTQ+ community is strong, and if anything we are survivors. But when our figureheads, our champions like Marsha P. Norman & Sylvia Rivera get swapped for Ellen Degeneres & Neil Patrick Harris, who will lead the charge into the fray?

Will the rich continue to get richer, now that we have a non-politician businessman at the helm? Will I be able to support myself working my non-profit job? Will the working class families I serve be able to put their kids through college? Or will suburbia continue to cushion itself from the realities of the rest of the nation? I think what we said tonight is that we're more concerned with retaining economic status than anything else.

Will somebody take a stand and lead our country to turn the tide on global warming? Because none of this matters if our planet's fucked.

Will anybody in the government stand up for the quickly-growing minority populations in the country? Will ethnic cleansing police enter my place of work, taking away the kids into questioning, away from their parents, to interrogate them about their citizenship? Will my POC coworkers and I be sent away? Do I need an emergency bag packed in case I have to flee at a moment's notice? Before you say anything contrarian, remember: this HAPPENED IN THE UNITED STATES. Native populations moved off their land, black communities segregated, Japanese-American citizens relocated to internment camps...we are not innocents.

Here's something we can do: don't stoop. If you are telling Trump supporters to unfriend you, stop. If you are blaming third party voters, stop. There are real reasons people didn't vote for Clinton this election, understandable reasons. To clarify, I don't think these reasons justify voting for Trump under any circumstance, but I have a particular POV as a queer biracial artist.

I'm teaching a personal storytelling class to a group of POC middle schoolers tomorrow. I don't know exactly what I'm going to say to them, but I'm going to do what I can in my corner of the room to reassure them that their lives matter to me. Their voices, their experiences, their futures matter to me. I am going to do everything I'm capable of to empower them.

My fear has become fuel. I'm ready to fight.


It's times like these, after I watch The O'Reilly Factor's Chinatown segment, that I wonder if I'm doing the right thing being a playwright, my hands to write words instead of hurling rotten fruit or large boulders at the perpetuators of intolerance in the world.

road trip reflections.

road trip reflections.

It's been about a week & a half since I wrapped up my summer road trip, and although I haven't posted anything since Saturday, August 13, I haven't slowed down either. I'm in the middle of my second week at my alma mater First Stage Children's Theater, working as a Resource Teacher with students on the autism spectrum in their Next Steps program. I really wanted to spend some time reflecting on the six weeks I spent on the road before I write something up, so I've taken the past couple days to sit with my thoughts, and here's what I've come up with.

san francisco, part 3.

san francisco, part 3.

I'm one day away from finishing my road trip, but I've got a few more posts about my time before I transition out of #RoadTrip2k16. Now, this isn't exactly about my time in San Francisco, but here's some stuff I wrote while I was there. Maybe it was visiting City Lights books, or the BART rides, but I found myself writing a lot of poetry & I want to share a bit of it here! Thanks for reading!