Just a little over a year ago, we here at Ye Olde Blogge published a post on the growing fascism of the Repubes and the Ol’ Pussy Grabber. Wouldn’t you know it in the ensuing year – and especially in the last week – we have only gotten closer to full fledged fascism. I, for one, would be interested in Madeleine Albright thinks about how close we are now. You might recall that last year she timed the release of her book, Fascism: A Warning, to match the publishing of my post, well, at least in the thin figment of my imagination. She argued that the fascist train may have left the station, but it hadn’t gotten very far down the track.
Fascism in the News
In the past week (since about Saturday 16 June) we’ve been assaulted by these stories in the news:
- We’ve argued about whether calling the concentration camps set up on to house immigrant and asylum-seeking children after having been separated from their parents concentration camps was demeaning to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Thank you for plunging us into the debate AOC, and fuck you Chuck Todd.
- We had the unique experience of listening to a LICENSED PROFESSIONAL fucking lawyer argue that because soap, bathing, beds, changes of clothing, blankets, and fucking toothpaste weren’t enumerated in the Flores Settlement Agreement as being part of the safety and sanitation section of caring for minors, they obviously weren’t required to provide safety and sanitation, which is a level of double-good double-speak that left the judges gasping in exasperation and George Orwell spinning in his grave.
- ICE has begun Gestapo-like round-ups of immigrants across the country — delayed by the Ol’ Pussy Grabber on Saturday 22 June.
- The Proud Boys (the modern-day hoodless Klan and shirtless Brown Shirts) were attending the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s 2020 kick off rally in Orlando, Florida to protect the attendees from liberals. Well, fuck me running, these people are looking for an excuse to hurt, maim, and kill people.
- The Ol’ Pussy Grabber “joked” that he might leave the White House in 2024.
- Demure Hope Hicks took Chairman Nadler to a gang bang with her five lawyers and her strap-on stiffy by declining to answer questions before his oversight committee. Don’t worry; he liked it. Of course, the liberal wing freaked out and redoubled their vociferous demands for impeachment. But, where they see delay and hesitation, I see a legal Constitutional strategy.
- The Ol’ Pussy Grabber shrugged and casually begged Russia to manipulate him and the election again. Okay, this was actually ten days ago, but it still reverberated throughout the week.
- A right-wing militia vowed to defend Repube state senators from cops after the governor sicced them on them when they fled Oregon rather than vote on climate change legislation.
- And we nearly started a Trumped up war – Thank you! Thank you! I’ll be here all week! – with Iran to advance Saudi hegemony in the Middle East. But, as usual, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber went off half-cocked and unloaded and called it off because no one but the very model of a modern stable genius thought about the possibility of casualties… yeah, right.
So, seriously, it’s been a very fascist week in Trump’s Fascist America. It’s been so fascist that I thought it time to re-visit the Repube’s fascisting of America. In a stroke of lovely synchronicity, I stumbled upon a blog post of tweets outlining the best way of defending our democracy from the naked aggression of the Repubes.
What is Fascism?
Fascism as I found out a year ago is difficult to define because, a it turns out, it is just the ruthless ambition of violent xenophobes thinly disguised as political-economic rhetoric. In other words, Mussolini felt like he needed some high-falutin’ excuse to nationalize the economy, dispense with Italy’s fledgling democratic institutions and assume cabinet offices, round-up the communists, and generally crack heads.
Scholars have gone back to try and construct some kind of guiding approach to fascist governance besides “I wanna,” and they’ve come up with this:
- It seems to be made up of equal parts of authoritarianism and aggressive nationalism.
- Robert Paxton defines it those away: The use of advanced propaganda to promote anti-liberal, anti-socialist, violent exclusionist, expansionist national policy.
Really all Mussolini or any other fascist wanted was to make the nation bigger, stronger, and more successful. Essentially, fascism is the politics of minority rule. It focuses on ensconcing a small identifiable group in power as it shifts wealth from the masses to the upper echelons of society. And, as pointed out in the original post, it sounds a helluva lot like the current iteration of the Repubes, Smitch, and the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, which brings me to the further signs and symptoms of fascism as laid out in this article as well as what we do about ’em!
The Fascification of the GOP
The fascification of the Repubes really began right after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the Civil Rights movement really picked up steam. White Christians quickly saw the handwriting on the wall and as the Dems increasingly embraced civil rights, they fled the Democratic Party for the Repubes, which is a losing strategy. Rather than change their strategy, they double down and become increasingly desperate to “preserve” their majority by any means necessary, which is the hallmark of fascism.
In the 1980’s Ronald Reagan reified the Repube commitment to racist fascism by embracing the Southern Strategy. Newt Gingrich furthered it by indoctrinating the no compromise rhetoric and seeking a permanent majority. W added the make up your own facts and ignore everything else and just do what you want. Or whatever childish bullshit he was doing as he blundered through war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The culmination of this desperation to preserve the status quo is take our country back — not rescue it from those who have taken it over, but to take it back to the Jim Crow days and the Gilded Age of robber barons of yore — as embodied by Make America Grate, Again!
By Any Means Necessary
Many people, including me, are scratching their asses wondering why the Repubes have become so lawless willing to obstruct justice, collude with a mortal enemy of the country, lie, cheat, steal, oppress the vote, commit human rights violations, commit war crimes, participate in illegal wars. It all just seems so un-American. That’s because it is. It is difficult to accept, but the Repubes are seeking a one-party, pseudo-democratic, authoritarian state like they currently have in Russia. The sooner we accept that and expose it for what it is, the sooner we will take our democracy back from the fascists.
Fascists see every campaign as an anti-corruption campaign because anyone and anything that opposes them is seen as corrupt. They see any and every act of opposition as an existential threat to their version of the state, their interpretation of their culture and way-of-life, and their very existence. Because opposition is seen as so extreme and catastrophic, it justifies whatever action they take to suppress it.
Using Democracy to Resist the GOP’s Fascism
As the Repubes try and dismantle the organs of our democracy: pack the courts with fascist judges, undermine the legitimacy of the court by labeling justices by political affiliation, politicize the Department of Justice, neuter the FBI, blind the intelligence community, disenfranchise the electorate, destroy the Senate, we must use those very institutions to counter them. By using the institutions of democracy, Congressional hearings, subpoenas, court ordered injunctions, impeachment, street protests, law suits, and elections, we strengthen them and our democracy in the face of this unprecedented attack. And, above all we must vote!
What we cannot do is resort — tempting though it is — to lawless counter-strikes. We must be non-partisan Constitutionalists and use the system against them. We must remember that our means are our ends.
I know that not everyone agrees with this idea, but it is true. In 2020, you either are voting Dem and, therefore, for democracy, or you’re helping the fascists dismantle our democracy. We won’t survive four more years of this shit. We just won’t. And in this way, the Great Civics Lesson continues.
It’s not just me saying this. It is some very learned professors at Harvard and Columbia.
Saving Democracy through Anti-Hardball Tactics – Musing about law, books, and politics
On Mar. 26 Prof. Levitsky gave this lecture answering the question: Is American democracy in trouble?
Spoiler: Yes—but there are ways to get through this.
Scholarship has established that the older and richer the democracy, the more resilient to autocrats. Statistically speaking, then, US democracy should be safe. But there are 3 reasons to think we are in danger:
- Income inequality is the greatest since the great depression.
- We’ve begun a transition that no democracy has ever successfully completed: A dominant ethnic group [white Christians] losing its majority status.
- We have a president with visibly authoritarian instincts.
Democratic norms in the U.S. have been unraveling for decades. 30 years ago Newt Gingrich instructed his allies to call Democrats “traitors” and refuse to compromise. In 2008, Palin and others told their followers that Obama (and Democrats) were not real or “true” Americans.
In other words, the GOP resorted to hardball tactics. (Hardball=anti-democratic tactics.)
Continue reading at Musing about Law, Books, and Politics: Saving Democracy through Anti-Hardball Tactics – Musing about law, books, and politics by Terri Kanefield on 3 June 2019