Warning, viewer involvement is requested in this post.
A fair few comments in papers and online media about how Trump heralds Amerika, fascism and the right wing state. Doom and gloom and all that sort of thing. Tanks on the white house lawn and black shirts kicking down doors. Others are worried about rampant racism, attacks on religious minorities, loss of freedoms and breaking of Godwin’s law. Which I will do shortly.
But this got me thinking, which is a dangerous thing, me thinking while on caffeine.
Is Trump fascist, more importantly what is fascism?
Fascism is generally defined as:
1, A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator,
2. a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls,
3. violent suppression of the opposition, and
4. typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."
Does number 1 apply to British PM May, she seems to act that way and having to go to court to try and stop her using royal decree to rule over us does seem to support it, as did her response to the legal ruling. But she isn’t an all powerful tyrant, yet.
Trump as US president with republicans in control of all three parts of the government still isn't a dictator and the states have a lot of devolved powers.
We are unlikely to see number 2, more the other way round as rampant capitalism bribes and pays off the politicians and government. The few nations where the state imposes any sort of control over the economy are either basket cases or somewhere like Russia, in fact by the definition given above Russia is far more Fascist than America under Trump could ever be.
Number 3, yes and no, lots of violence on both sides but not yet crushing all dissent, unless you are objecting to a fracking site or a pipeline across sacred lands. But
Number 4, yep, that one’s clear in the USA, USA, USA. Here we are less of the flag waving types but there are still plenty around and by racism I would expand that to sexism and all the other isms, more a fear of anyone who is different rather than just racism.
I would think we need to redefine Fascism to fit the 21st century rather than using the concept that is rooted in the 1920s and 1930s. But more on that later.
What brings Fascism about, a widespread feeling that Democracy has failed, that the system and society has failed people, that the establishment are the enemy. The hollowing out or loss of basic institutions, extremism in political debate and argument, the erosion of the middle ground leading to wide spread attitudes of with us or against us, a lack of hope for the future, no prospect that things will get better, loss of protections and freedoms, an increasingly isolated and unaccountable ruling class.
I could go on but these are all things that allowed leaders to rise to power a century ago.
When many of the above are true it's easy to point to an enemy and unite against that enemy, it's easy for leaders to offer something better when things are so bad. After all Hitler got the trains to run on time, built all those wonderful new roads and bought out the people’s car. He promised jobs for all, a better world than the crushing poverty of depression era Germany under an uncaring government of elderly noblemen and the rich.
I would say that the same conditions are in place now that created fascism then, it isn't the same fascism, not even close, it isn't just right wing against left wing, it is something new, something 21st century, but is it on the way. Yep.
Because the conditions that created the Nazis back then are the same ones driving people to vote for anyone who offers them the faintest hope and change. Trump isn't going to make the world fascist, the world is going to make the world fascist because the world now has the conditions required to create the new fascism.
So what will the new Fascism be. How do we define it, how do we recognize it as different from the other forms of politics that surround us, after all we can’t call it right wing since it isn’t a matter of just the political right.
I would suggest the following conditions would make a 21st century nation Fascist:
Update. After some discussion online about the name Fascism being no longer relevant I'm inventing a new word for our 21st century totalitarian regimes, Totalist and Totalism. This will replace Fascism.
1, A system of government and control not necessarily centralized but unified, so that all aspects of the government no matter how widespread are under a single authority and follow the same agenda without variance.
2. An economy and / or society where the economy has unrestrained power and influence, beyond the control of the government and able to directly or indirectly control that government to the benefit of capitalism and the determent of everyone else. Unrestrained Corporate Crony Capitalism.
3. Total or almost total suppression of opposition or dissent either through the law or through manipulation of the media in order to control what information is disseminated through official channels and efforts to prevent the spread of anti government information by any other way. Control through manipulation of information, propaganda and misdirection or outright lies
4. The use of nationalism, external threats and internal enemies who represent a clear and present danger requiring a belligerent and controlling response, discrimination against sub groups as a matter of policy and efforts to unify the majority to follow the governments agenda by deliberate discrimination against sub groups.
Now your turn. What do people think, what are the points that you believe will signal a 21st century fascist state or leader. Forget the Nazis, the goose steppers are long gone, this is 2016, what makes a fascist today. Because they are around and there are more of them each day, the conditions that created them before are all around us, they cannot fail to exist. So where are they, how do we identify them
Please respond here or on my page or on Facebook.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this, what is a 21st century fascist?