Sunday, November 04, 2007

Naomi Wolf - Ten Steps to Dismantling a Democracy

My mother was 11 when Hitler came to power in 1933. As a Jewish girl, she experienced the various laws that step by step made life more difficult for Jews, including when she was no longer allowed, as a Jew, to go to school. She managed to get out of Germany and to the US in 1939, and I grew up hearing these stories. Hearing how the country she took for granted and felt totally a citizen of, slowly deteriorated and made her and her family the evil threat to society. Since then I've
read my share of books about this period to fill in more details. A recent one that I'd strongly recommend is Victor Klemperer's I Will Bear Witness

So when I see similar things happening here, I'm seriously disturbed. Most German Jews, not to mention gentile Germans, didn't believe it could possibly happen there. Just like most Americans don't believe it could happen here. When I've told people that the Bush administration is copying the Nazis in the steps they took to dismantle the rights of German citizens, they look at me like I'm crazy - we don't have concentration camps. I'm not talking about concentration camps, but what the Nazis did before they sent Jews and Gypsies and others to concentration camps. The steps they went through that allowed the citizens of arguably the most educated and advanced country in the world at the time, to accept concentration camps when the time came. [And if a number of blogs are correct, FEMA has set up a series of detention camps.around the country that could be used to put away dissenters and other undesirables. Originally set up for illegal immigrants and used for Katrina refugees, these blogs relate, there are such camps planned and being built all around the US already. The links I could find look kind of flakey, but I've been assured by people I trust and pointed to FEMA regulations for this.]

So I was pleased to find someone who has written a book about the progressive steps to dismantling a democracy. Wolf identifies ten steps that are used to overthrow democracies and shows how they have been used in various regimes and how they are being taken in the US today. Well, it's depressing as hell, but to the extent that this is exposed and people become aware of what is happening, the better our chances of blocking this.

[This is not showing in my preview window, but maybe it will show on the blog itself. Jeremy, at KWMD (87.7 and 104.5 FM in Anchorage) says they've already played this on the air and will play it again tonight -Sunday- at 6pm. You can try YouTube.]

Here are the ten steps as outlined by Naomi Wolf in her book The End of America and discussed in this tape from Youtube from a talk at the University of Washington October 11, 2007.

1. Declare the existence of sleeper cells.
2. Create a secret prison system where torture takes place outside the rule of law and very often establish military tribunals that strip prisoners of due process
3. Create a paramilitary force
4. Create a surveillance apparatus for its ordinary citizens.
5. Arbitrarily detain and release citizens,
6. infiltrate citizen groups
7. Target key individuals
8. Restrict the press
9. Recast dissent as treason
10. Declare martial law - months before an election, destabilization

A quote from Naomi Wolf's talk:

Name a society that created a secret prison system outside the rule of law where torture takes place that didn’t sooner or later turn the abuse against its own citizens

She does have some proposals for what to do.

Thanks to for posting this from YouTube.


  1. Naomi hosted a thread this morning at firedoglake, where she pointed toward actions happening right now. Scary!

    see you tuesday,


  2. I'll need to come back to this article in a day or two and give it the courtesy it deserves!

    And not giving it the discourtesy of reading it when having just imbibed in some liquid refreshment... just having had a wee dram.. er well two ;)

    Although it does make my spelling much better :)))

  3. When one reaches a certain age, the truth of "history repeating itself" is evident. Our current events are much the same thing that happened during the Viet Nam war era. I remember arguing with my own father, who loved his two daughters deeply, but he nevertheless proclaimed that if we were shot while taking part in a peace demonstration, then we deserved it! Tears all around, my sister and I trying to talk to him, he refusing to consider that the government might be wrong. Then pendulum continues to swing. I remain optimistic that our national common sense will not desert us in our hour of need. Even my father finally admitted that Viet Nam was a disaster. Hopefully, when George Bush leaves office, we will hear some words of intelligence in Washington DC.

  4. Well, jewish people had hard times in Germany during the Hitler era but the harm what Hitler caused with the war is also serious. The difference is killed people has no cost so it is not like I pay 100000HUF for a life while the damaged buildings could be repaired.

  5. Back more than two days sorry.

    Moving to America when your mother did, did she have to suffer interment for the duration of the war as many did?

    For example the actor George Takei who played Sulu in Star Trek although born in the states was interned for the duration, because of his Japanese ancestry?

  6. Cal, No. There's no delicate way to put this. Race matters in the US. I went to school with kids of Japanese heritage who had been born in internment camps whose parents were US citizens. But my mother with her German passport had no such experience, fortunately. I don't believe any Germans - except prisoners of war captured in battle in Europe - were interned in the US.

    My father, also from Germany, served in the US army during WWII.


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