Fascism in America: It’s Not As New As You Think

When my siblings and I were growing up and we did something wrong that got us into trouble, my mom would say, “Let that be a lesson to you!” I remember that quote whenever someone thought I was overreacting when I said that the Trump administration had paved the way for a working autocracy that quickly turned into full-blown fascism. .

I think about the fact that “history is the beginning.” We should take that fact more seriously.

A chilling December Guardian article by Jason Stanley revealed why. Stanley posture.

His article begins with a 1995 quote by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison. “We are reminded,” she said, “before a Final Solution, there needs to be a first solution, a second solution, even a third solution. Moving towards a Final Solution. the same is not a jump. It takes one step, then another, then another.”

Morrison recognized the link between racism, anti-Semitism and fascist movements propagated and associated with oligarchs, as Stanley did. His fascinating article lays out the various ways Donald Trump has led us to the bottom line “where rhetoric becomes policy.”

RELATED: What if America really surrendered to fascism? Painful questions ahead

Among the issues Stanley discussed were Trump appointees taking over our courts, right-wing efforts to suppress voters, increasing corporate influence, repression of reproductive rights and enforcement of gender roles, Jim Crow laws and controlled school curricula, increased police and political violence, mass incarceration, specifically targeting Blacks, vigilante groups and militias, and punitive actions against journalists and those deemed “disloyal”. It’s an incredible portrait of where we are now: a country on the brink.

This is not the first time America has faced insurgency and political violence, but it is a time to review history and remember that this is not America’s first fascist threat.

Lessons of history include a close-up look at all dictatorships. In this moment, we urgently consider the rise of Adolf Hitler to power. As Stanley and others have made clear, Hitler and his minions were adept at using propaganda and lies to craft a story that led to him winning an election – which doesn’t have anything close to a majority of electors! – and his subsequent disgusting policies. Citing The Big Lie that the election was ultimately stolen, Stanley noted that “we have begun to restructure our institutions, remarkable electoral infrastructure, and the law” and that ” media normalize these processes encourage silence at all costs. “

German fascism did not arise overnight. Germany’s National Socialist Party started small, but from the outset was extremely right-wing and anti-democratic. Covered with nationalist rhetoric, its agenda resonated with those who felt anxious and humiliated. They welcome the scapegoat. Stanley put it this way: “The central message of Nazi politics was to destroy a series of built enemies, an evil alliance of communists and Jews.” Nazi leaders “recognized that the language of family, faith, morals, and homeland could be used to justify particularly brutal violence against enemies supposedly opposed to all all of these.”

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Sound familiar? We’ve heard about book burning, people stalking each other, and Jews (and members of other marginalized groups) changing their behavior as preventive measures. We have witnessed racist violence, attacks on peaceful protesters, and actions by whites that support the claim that we are a “Christian nation.” “. Congress has its share of pro-authoritarian politicians, and our state and local governments have all been compromised. Vigilant groups roam the streets, often armed with both guns and hatred.

What else do we need to wake up to?

This is not the first fascist threat to American democracy. The pro-Nazi movement of the 1930s and early 1940s was perhaps the most fearsome to date. It culminated in a scandal 1939 Madison Square Garden rally, when 22,000 members of the German American Bund salute in a Nazi salute in front of large banners – depicting George Washington surrounded by swastika.

The pro-Nazi movement in the Bund included summer camps for children, advertised as a family-friendly venue for Nazi indoctrination. In one of them in upstate New York, an annual German Day festival attracts 40,000 people. A whole generation of such brown-collar camp kids became SS thugs, Hitler’s army elites, and Holocaust enforcers.

The American fascism movement, to which Charles Lindbergh concurred, ended only with Hitler’s subsequent invasion of Poland in 1939. By the time the United States entered the war in 1941, the Bund was outlawed. . All of this is captured in Philip Roth’s semi-autobiographical novel”Conspiracy against America, “more recently a HBO series.

However, America continued to see Nazi-inspired actions. In 1978, a proposal Nazi rally in Skokie, Illinois – then a predominantly Jewish community, with thousands of Holocaust survivors – echoing the language of the Third Reich. Donald Trump has adopted Lindbergh’s “America First” slogan to describe his nationalist, anti-immigrant sentiments. Now, white supremacist rhetoric is going viral, just as it happened on the streets of Charlottesville in 2017. A year ago, a huge mob of insurgents stormed the Palace. Capitol of the United States, some wearing T-shirts or flaunting banners with Nazi slogans and slogans or white supremacy. .

In her speech at Howard University, Toni Morrison asserted that fascism relies on the media to convey the illusion of power to its followers. Now, at last, the media is listening to the alarm bells ringing, and military and law enforcement officials are preparing for a full-blown coup, possibly by 2024 — or even earlier.

We hardly need to ask who charges the bell. As Ernest Hemingway knows, it charges all of us.

Read more about the rise of fascism in America: Fascism in America: It’s Not As New As You Think

Huynh Nguyen

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