If you’re social media feeds are anything like mine you’ve been seeing the terms fascism, authoritarian, and dictator being thrown around with increasing frequency and vitriol since the Ol’Pussy Grabber took office. if you’ve read Ye Olde Blogge over the years, you’ve seen me build a case for the fascist authoritarian bend the Repubes have taken. Now, it seems like the Ol’Pussy Grabber and his little friends are busting a real authoritarian move going straight past Go, not collecting $200.00 dollars, and going straight to jack-booted tyranny. With paramilitary forces in Portland and Kansas City and 60,000 more coming to a Democrat -led city near you, we’re staring tyranny in the eye and we dare not blink.
I caught The Rachel Maddow Show on Friday 24 July when she interviewed Tim Snyder, history professor at Yale. He specializes in modern East European history which makes him an expert on the historical rise of authoritarianism. His opinion on the current state of affairs in the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid is one we need right now because he’s a walking talking gauge of authoritarian tyrannical regimes.
Here’s what he had to say both in the interview and in his book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.
In lesson six, he advises us to beware paramilitary forces. The use of paramilitary forces in budding authoritarian regimes generally runs the course from ruffians roughing up political opponents at political rallies — the Ol’Pussy Grabber’s 2016 rallies anyone — to the use of private law enforcement groups or at least extrajudicial groups like, I dunno mercenaries used to fight wars — we’re looking at you Erik Prince and Blackwater USA — or private companies used to run prisons and concentration camps like those used to torture children separated from their parents.
Each step along the authoritarian-tyranny paramilitary pathway erodes the state monopoly on violence. And, let’s face it with our whacky interpretation of the Second Amendment and proliferation of guns, we’ve been eroding the state monopoly on violence for a while now — I’m guessing feature, not flaw. The monopoly on violence constrains the use of violence by law, which, ask #BLM, ain’t really ever been construct no law.
WOW! So you get the impression that the USA has always teetered on the edge of authoritarian tyranny of been a secret tyrannical autocracy in Democratic disguise? Not convinced? Consider this point:
Limiting violence in society allows (1) voting and democracy to occur, (2) our judicial system to pass judgement in criminal and civil cases, (3) passing and enforcing laws, and (4) carry out any of the other multitudinous functions of government that we’ve become so accustomed to that we don’t even recognize them as functions of government any longer.
The TRMS Interview
Here’s the YouTube video that I feel compel compelled to include that no one will watch:
During the interview Maddow asks him to expand upon the points he made about the use of paramilitary forces that he had made in his book because Portland.
Are We Living in Tyranny?
When paramilitary forces are deployed by the government, then you’re on the road to authoritarian tyranny. When those forces are faceless, nameless, insignia-less forces snatching people off the streets in the middle of the night, then you’ve arrived. We should all be sitting up and taking notice. If none of the other authoritarian tyranny moves that the Ol’Pussy Grabber has pulled haven’t gotten your attention or alarmed you, this one should. As Snyder explains, we are moving into the ubiquitous Martin Niemöller poem, “First They Came For…” territory.
One of the most alarming aspects of the operations use of ICE and CBP officers that they were trained on the border and in the concentration camps housing immigrants and asylum seekers to violate our laws and their human rights. It is one small step to transfer this willingness to brutalize and dehumanize immigrants to brutalizing and dehumanizing real live American moms and their families who are real live American citizens with real live Constitutional and human rights.
Snyder makes this most excellent and important point: this is why we imbue immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, and non-citizens with the exact same rights as real live American citizens so that at no time when our law enforcement officers are discharging their state monopoly on violence do so in violation of our laws and rights. By creating lawless zones in concentration camps and on the border and making promises to pay legal fees and grant pardons for those who are prosecuted, we are.training jack-booted thugs to oppress American citizens.
What Do We Do About It?
Historically, the most effective response to fledgling authoritarian tyranny is MASS PEACEFUL protest. The first step is to identify with the protesters. Recognize that they have a legitimate grievance to petition our government for redress for as guaranteed in the First Amendment. You don’t have to agree one hundred percent with their grievance, you just need to recognize that their First and Fourth Amendment rights need to be preserved. And step two is to be like the Wall o’ Moms and the Dad Pod and hit the streets in protest. Of course, it never hurts to give your MoC a little ringy -dingy to tell them to protect the protesters and our democracy from the paramilitary forces and maybe legislate against their deployment.
We are now engaged in a real physical struggle for.our democracy. This fight will not only occur at the ballot box, but will, increasingly, be played out in the streets between mass peaceful protesters and ultra-violent paramilitary forces in the service of authoritarian tyranny.
Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on non-violent resistance and protest as well as more from “On Tyranny.”
The image was making the rounds on Twitter. It was taken from @lttlwmnbigmth. It is an image from a #BLM protest in Oakland in May.