Sunday, December 18, 2016

American Fascism. No, Really. This Time We Mean It.


"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."   -Sinclair Lewis, 1935-
 
 
“When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism'” –An uncredited New York Times reporter covering Halford E. Luccock in an article published September 12, 1938-

Fascism:   a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic (ruling with unlimited authority) government headed by a dictatorial leader.
 
Fascism. It's one of those words that crybaby lefties seemingly like to throw around every time they don't get their way, right? For the most part, that is true. Both parties have made it a staple to overreact to everything the other side does. Every election cycle is touted as the "most important election of our lifetimes" and the other side winning is always the end of the world as we know it. When the Democrats win anything, we are told the "free" world will be plunged into a socialist abyss. When the Republicans win, we say we have elected fascists hell bent on the complete dominance of the lower classes.   
 
We have said these things so frequently they fail to hold any meaning. Both major political parties have spent decades crying wolf about the other party, instead of building effective platforms and impacting peoples everyday lives in a local, meaningful way. It is exactly like the guy at the office who underperforms and focuses what little energy he does put forth toward demeaning the people around him in an effort to make himself look good by default. You know this person? Well, guess what? We have just allowed him to demean his way right into the oval office.
 
 
Trump has no policies, no plans, no legitimate ideas, and no experience in governing. And yet he was elected (sort of) on a platform of making America great again. Meaning, of course, absolutely nothing. The entire Republican Party is lining up behind him in almost lockstep. Once again people on the left are calling this fascism. In fact, the only discernible difference between this and any other election, is that this time, it happens to be totally true.
 
Consider the following list of 14 historical indicators of fascism compiled by fascist regime historian and scholar, Lawrence Britt:
 

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
  5. Rampant sexism
  6. A controlled mass media
  7. Obsession with national security
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
  9. Power of corporations protected
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
  14. Fraudulent elections

We could truthfully argue that Trump & Company are the living embodiment of most of these points already, with stated intents to live up to the other points after actually assuming office. It should also be noted that the list above was compiled by its author long before Trump entered the world stage as a political figure. In many ways, it almost seems as though Trump may have been aware of the list's existence, and made it a goal to try and meet and/or exceed all of its prerequisites. 

Even more disturbing is that the rise of fascism is not just a phenomenon unique to just Trump. A few days ago, in North Carolina, Republican Legislators made an unprecedented move to usurp the power of the newly elected Democratic Governor.  In a special session directly following the election results, the legislators rammed through bills aimed at dramatically limiting the power of the executive branch in the state.

While many people argue the move is grossly unconstitutional and will ultimately be overturned, let us be cognizant of the fact that the partisan State and U.S. Supreme Court justices will interpret the constitution however they deem necessary to advance the cause of their respective parties at that moment. Constitution be damned.

The message is clearer now than ever. We have moved from the gerrymandering of minorities and working class neighborhoods to the outright denial of the vote through stricter voting eligibility laws. When votes do actually manage to get cast, the results are misplaced as mysteriously occurred at rural minority and inner city polling locations. Where votes are cast and allowed to be counted, there now comes a move to ensure that the people's rightfully elected candidates are denied their lawful powers of governance.

If you put all of this greatness into a barrel and mix it up with some good old fashioned Americanism, and just a pinch of Russian hacking and election rigging, what you get is a tried and true recipe for the rise of true fascism. We are, right now, in this moment, the people who history will look back upon judgmentally and ask why in the hell we allowed it all to happen. Why, they will ask, didn't those people do anything to stop it?


This is not about Democrats or Republicans any more. This is no longer about just organized labor. It is not about only civil rights. The fight we are in today is the fight to guarantee the most basic of freedoms for all future generations of Americans. In the course of a decade or so, we have managed to descend from a place where too many people felt discouraged about, or disenfranchised by, our two party system, to an era when our very democracy is under siege and the checks and balances written into the constitution are in threat of being summarily tossed out the window.   

We, the people, cannot stand idle by and simply wait for the next election cycle with our fingers crossed, hoping to somehow elect someone to fix it. There is too much at stake now and we can no longer simply content ourselves to rely solely upon an apparently completely broken system to fix itself.

Whatever we do, we had better start organizing for it yesterday with like minded individuals and groups in our communities, because close Trump Advisor, Newt Gingerich is already calling for a new "House Committee on Un-American Activities," and if that takes shape in any form, we can reasonably expect (based on history) to have boots kicking in the doors of anyone having this sort of conversation in the future.

No, Really. The fight is here. The struggle is real. The time for action is now. When the Republicans go low, the Democrats can go high. Whatever. But when the nation goes to the far-right, we must push back with far-left, people powered alternatives. People want alternatives to the status quo. It is up to the left to genuinely provide them with some now.