Senator Sherrod Brown apologized after giving a speech on the Senate floor March 4 where he stated the obvious, that Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Egyptian President Mubarak all crushed independent labor unions. No need to apologize, Senator Brown. The Republicans never do, as they endorse the policies of union busters. The only thing, Senator, you should be mildly chagrined about, is failing to point out Ohio Governor John Kasich and Wisconsin Governor Walker's similarities to Mussolini's fascism.

As Kasich takes money from the new corporate robber barons – the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch – let's quote Mussolini directly: "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." Kasich has just won his battle to privatize economic development in Ohio. Again the more accurate word would be "corporatize."

The tyrants of the Left and Right like Stalin and Hitler had to destroy trade unionism in order to create totalitarian governments. Independent labor unions are an essential countervailing power in a democratic society. Unions allow people – be they police officers, firefighters, teachers, janitors, or auto workers – to organize and bargain collectively around their own economic interests.

Senator, you are absolutely correct that Hitler destroyed the trade unions in order to destroy democracy. When the general elections for the Reichstag of March 5, 1933 gave Hitler's Nazi Party only 33% of the vote and his rightwing coalition government a slim majority, Hitler went after his political opponents. His brownshirt Nazi thugs destroyed the trade union association ADGB (Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund) on May 2, 1933. They simply stormed union facilities, arrested and imprisoned union leaders. Other key trade unions were forced to merge into the Hitler-controlled German Labor Front.

So, first they come for the trade unionists because the labor notion of solidarity includes all people, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, and age. Before Hitler could lock up the Jews, gypsies, gays and others, he had to shatter the one organization that sings and believes in the song "Solidarity Forever." The unions must be destroyed because they know that "an injury to one is an injury to all" and they demand the same rights of contract protected in the U.S. Constitution and essential to corporate business. They know that united, they bargain for wages, salaries and working conditions, and that disunited they beg.

Kasich, Walker and the Koch brothers idolize a world wherein unnatural persons (corporations) control the state. This is the dream of Mussolini. It should not escape us that Kasich, Walker and the Koch brothers hate liberalism and the ideas of tolerance and reason that it has historically promoted. Let us again quote Mussolini directly: "Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposite to the doctrines of liberalism."

If we look realistically upon what is happening in our nation – the attacks on liberalism, intolerance, imperialist occupation of Iraq, the endless war over oil in Afghanistan, a military greater in firepower than Hitler's in 1939 according to the New York Times – why not call it what it is. Fascism.

Sure we can quibble, Senator Brown, and use Bertram Gross's term "friendly fascism." Writing in 1980, Gross, who had worked for the U.S. government, noted that "in the United States, it points towards more concentrated, unscrupulous, repressive, and militaristic control by a big business-big government partnership...." It exists, and "...squelches the rights and liberties of other people both at home and abroad. That is friendly fascism."

The parallels between Kasich, who received less than a majority of the vote, and Mussolini and Hitler are all too clear. Take your meager mandate and smash the only countervailing power that middle class people have – their trade union organizations. Kasich has spent a lifetime serving wealthy and secretive interests. Earlier in his career Richard Nixon and Rev. Moon, two shadowy, paranoid figures – one willing to do anything to be president and one claiming to be the Messiah. Later in his career, Kasich served Rupert Murdoch at News Corp and the firm of Lehman Brothers which sold junk assets and made billions and helped destroy the U.S. economy before going out of business.

I think I have a reasonable compromise for Sen. Brown: agree to apologize for your references to Hitler and Stalin when Kasich agrees to quit acting like them or stop thinking he's the reincarnation of Mussolini. Kasich's actions are those of a fascist movement.

Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the Free Press and ran against Kasich for Congress in 1992. Originally published by