Dredd and Fascism taken from the previous link I posted
Judge Dredd - is he a fascist? This might seem a redundant question at first sight. Dredd is obviously a fascist. The whole edifice of Justice in Mega-City One is built on unaccountability and the dictatorial enforcement of draconian laws. The Judges - in effect, police, judge, jury and executioner - are the personification of the fascist ideals of strong leadership and Law and Order. And yet...
Maybe we should approach this from another single and ask: what is fascism?
If you delve beneath the popular image (jackbooted thug maintaining a hold on political power though undemocratic means, such as extreme violence), the tag fascist begins to look less appropriate when applied to Judge Dredd.
Fascism emerged as a reaction to communism, but stole from communists the idea of infiltrating every level of society. At the top the fuhrerprincip operated; in other words, there was a strong leader who ruled by dictate, based on personal will. This system had no basis in law. Its main strength was making up the rules as it went along, in order to hold on to political power.
Laws were created from nowhere, speciously justified, and then enforced by the police or by paramilitary forces.
But in Mega-City One, the Law is everything. Arbitrary acts by the Judges are themselves judged mercilessly. There is no opportunity for fuhrerprincip, for a Chief Judge to become a dicator and act outside the Law - lessons were leant from Judge Cal's reign of terror. Moreover, the Judge system is not inherently political. It does not seek political mind control set toward some political agenda. It seeks merely to contain the population within the bounds of the Law.
The Judges of Mega-City One are no more undemocratic than the judges operating in the present British's modern judges are considerably more political than those of Mega-City One.
For a different angle, compare the Judge system with recent "fascist" police actions around the world. Thailand, Tiananmen Square, Romania - they cal all be seen to have a specific political dimension. All were rearguard actions by the police, acting as tools of beleaguered governments threatened by Democracy. Even the (apparently legal) concept of "manageable force" used notoriously, and disastrously by the Los Angeles police, is inspired by an unspoken political (racist) agenda.
So where does that leave Judge Dredd? As a character he was conceived as an extreme satire on the idea of law and order. Fifteen years on, the tactics of Los Angeles Police Department are like Imitating Art. Dredd may have the trappings of a fascist viewed through the layers of irony in the comic strip, but he is clearly no Torquemada of Termite. Dredd is the Law, and all are equal before the Law, especially the Judges themselves.
Before you start thinking Judge Dredd is advocating a benevolent but brutal kind of fascism, maybe we should look at the recent story about a referendum on whether the Judges should stay in power (Twilight's Last Gleaming and Better the Devil you know, 2000AD progs 750-756, September-November 1991). Maybe we should see it as a dark satire on the failures of democracy, not as an ironic celebration of the triumphs of fascism. Although the greatest failing of democracy is that your side often loses, the greatest enemy of democracy is not fascism, but apathy.
In the referendum, the Judges won with 68% of all votes cast. But there was a turnout of only 35% In other words, the Judges won with the backing of only 23.8% of the possible electorate. And that is just 2% less than the percentage of the American population which first elected Ronald Reagan in 1980.
The above article was first published in Judge Dredd Megazine #9 Vol I ( August 22 1992 ) by Martin Rowson, political cartoonist for 'The Guardian', 'The Independent on Sunday', 'Time Out' and Dublin's 'Sunday Tribune'.
Pup Fiction page1,page2 by Cliff Robinson, Doomsday by Colin Wilson War Games by Mike McMahon, Blood cadets by Simon Frazer
From Block Mania (One of my favourite Dredd stories)...City going mad & Complete Judge Dredd reprint cover by Mike McMahon - Orlok and Judge Giant & city map pre-Apocalyse Warby Steve Dillon - Brian Bolland
Psycho Tales from Mega-City One by Siku -|- Cityscape/Unemployment by Cam Kennedy (written by John Wagner) -|- Dredd looming over city by John Higgins -|- Headbangers by Kev Hopgood (written by Alan Grant) -|- Scales of Justice by John Higgins