Friday, December 11, 2015


Thanks to the “occupy” movement, INEQUALITY, 1% vs. 99%, can no longer be covered up. It’s at the center of social and political debate, and Thomas Picketty (among others) has shown that it is intrinsic to capitalism, more and more pronounced as the system ages.

Now Donald Trump is propelling another phenomenon out of the shadows of denial, and suddenly the word “FASCIST” is being uttered by many who derided use of the term as inappropriate in the context of US politics. News commentators are beginning to worry. Even Russ Douthat, conservative columnist of the NY Times, is taking the emerging voice of fascism seriously, although he worries mainly that Trump, the would be “Il Duce”, spells trouble for the GOP brand.

Does the problem begin and end with Donald Trump?

He’s just the boldest, the least inhibited in inflaming the racist violence that has given him a solid lead in the GOP race. Look at the 
substance, at the cardinal issues before the country. Is he more of a war hawk than the rest of the contenders? Is he more committed than the others to fomenting violence against Planned Parenthood? Isn’t the smell of fascism also in the air surrounding Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as they vie to win Trump’s supporters when (or if) his candidacy fades. And what of Carly Fiorina, lying murderously about Planned Parenthood, hoping to ride that lie to a place on the GOP ticket?

The fact is that the seeds of fascism are as endemic to aging capitalism as the spiraling of extreme inequality. Fascist tendencies are an inevitable byproduct of oligarchy, of obscene wealth and power in the hands of a few families. The Koch brothers, Adelson, and a few others want political control as unlimited as their fortunes. The “Citizens United” ruling of the Supreme Court gives them a green light, subordinating democracy to the rule of corporate wealth.

Fascist voices are certainly not new to our American political history. But what’s happening now is not just a reminder of evil demagogues and shameful experiences from times gone by. Today’s flirtation by the ultra-right with fascist “remedies” is rooted in frustration with declining US power in a chaotic world and also its fear of demographic realities that are making the country harder to control.

The extreme right’s fascist temptation is more dangerous than ever because it exploits fears over fanatic acts that inflict the experience of war and terror on randomly targeted Americans. In the wake of the Paris massacres, such fears have already propelled fascistic parties to significant electoral victories in France and elsewhere in Europe.

Fear can determine political outcomes. But as much fear as Trump and his mates seek to profit from, they are also arousing a counter fear, a fear of themselves, of fascist ideas and racist demagogy.

It may not be beside the point to note the response to the proliferation of videos that reveal the face of fascism in recurring acts of police violence against black Americans. Look at Chicago and around the country. More and more people say enough, don’t give in to fear, and tremors are shaking more than a few political and police dynasties. But that’s another story.

The Trump and GOP assault on Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants and refugees may blow back on them as their fascist affinity is recognized. That’s why, as Douthat reflects, the GOP establishment is in a tizzy over Trump’s brazen appeal to its militantly racist base. Trump is spilling the fascist beans. Most Americans may not be willing to swallow.


  1. Well said. But under President Bush and continuing with President Obama the national security state has been put in place. Trump is a mean fascist. Hilary is a nice one.

  2. So why am I feeling suddenly optimistic about our country? Maybe because France just stepped back from the fascist abyss, maybe because the world's nations just agreed to reverse the forces of global warming, maybe because more millions are marching in the streets to protest the gun industry. I'm 90 and I'm choosing to hope.