Article 43

 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Fascist Implosion

image: dying america

Trump Wants to End American Democracy. Will Americans Let Him?
Storm Troopers on the Streets. People Being Disappeared. A President Dismantling Democracy. Where Does America Go From Here?

By Umair Haque
Eudamonia
July 22, 2020

Masked men armed with machine guns. Abducting people in unmarked cars. NO WARRANTS, NO EXPLANATION.

HERE’S THE NAVY VET who reminded them of their oath - and got his hand broken for it.

HERE ARE THE MOMS who were gassed attacked with chemical agents - for not obeying.

HERE ARE PEACEFUL PROTESTERS being beaten and tear gassed.

HERE’S THE MASKED, ARMED MEN IN QUESTION. Take a hard look. Does the term “storm troopers” feel appropriate?

Heres the part where the president announces that ALL THAT’S COMING TO CITY AFTER CITY. Those armed men, those stormtroopers - ARE GOING TO BE IN YOUR TOWN, too, shortly.

Is it fascism yet?

I ask that for a reason. Not to be snarky. Even at this late, late juncture - almost too late - there seems to be FAR TOO SMALL AND WEAK OF AN UNDERSTANDING of what’s happened to America. Sure, people like me have been trying to explain - and predict - it for years now. But by and large, the price we paid is being IGNORED AND MARGINALIZED. The moment I started talking about American fascism being a real danger - whoosh - there went my book deals, columns TV appearances. Don’t cry for me. I never wanted them. I like making music. But you should have listened, or at least been able to hear the warnings.

Because now America, its democracy, its future, its present, faces a very real existential threat.

Fascist implosion.

How did I know that a fascist implosion was on the way? Why was I so certain of it?

The answer to that question is: “everyone - and especially intellectuals - should have. Because that is what the socioeconomic data pointed to, in no uncertain terms.

Fascism happens when a society falls into sudden, fresh poverty. In particular, when it holds debts it can’t repay - and the result is widespread economic stagnation. A feeling of discontentment and hopelessness become pervasive. SOCIAL BONDS FRAY. Trust collapses. A society is hanging together by a thread. Elites, whose status and prestige will be lost if they admit they;ve mismanaged society, don’t - and so the VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY AND DESPAIR SIMPLY THUNDERS ON.

Soon enough, in the vacuum,DEMAGOGUE ARISES, who blames the economic woes of the true and the pure on those its easiest to scapegoat. Long-hated, powerless minorities. “We will be Great Again!,” he cries. “All you must do is annihilate the subhumans.” His flock - long ignored and derided by elites as the cause of their own problems, now have someone else to blame, to demonize. Those who they’ve hated for generations, usually, anyways. Bang! The fascist spark is lit. The rest is history.

How did I know that fascism was coming, way back when? How did anyone not know, is the better question. We all know or should know, roughly - the story above. It should have been as plain as a tornado heading your way on a sunny day. Why?

American wages have been stagnant for half a century. That suggested fascism. How did Americans make ends meet - considering prices of basics, from healthcare to food to education, are always skyrocketing? They went into debt. America became a debtor nation. That suggested fascism, too, this time strongly.

The debts Americans held were unpayable by the 2010s: the average American began to die in debt. Americans give me a blank look - “so what?” when I say that, but to an economist, there should be almost no more devastating statistic - it means people don’t earn, save, or own anything. They’ve become neopeasants again. Germany owed money to France and Britain Americans owed it to their own super rich. Different faces - same toxic economics. These toxic economics didn’t just suggest fascism anymore. They practically shouted it.

Finally, as a result of these ruinous trends, the American middle class became a minority in 2010 or so. A nation had fallen into fresh poverty. Sure, it wasn’t the absolute crushing poverty of, say, the Congo. It was something different, stranger, precisely because it’s so rare. It was poverty in a nominally rich society. It was people in the world’s largest economy forced to choose between their lives, that crucial operation, and their life savings. America’s middle class became a minority, its working class disintegrated - everyone except the super rich and their minions became one giant, amorphous class of new poor, perpetually indebted, living right at the edge. All this didn’t just shout fascism was coming - IT SCREAAMED IT.

America’s economic statistics by this point - the mid 2010’s - were shocking, breathtaking, surreal. At least to those who were paying attention. How many of us was that left, though?

80% of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck. A similar number couldn’t raise a tiny amount for an emergency. Half of Americans now worked low wage service jobs. All this screamed screamed - fascism was coming like a wounded animal crying for help.

At least to anyone who knows the story of how fascism happens, which should be all of us, but especially intellectuals. America’s intellectual class, though, has never been much of one. It’s made, mostly, of pundits - men who look good in suits, but haven’t read a book since grade school, it seems. And so nobody - nobody - with any real influence or power warned Americans what was about to happen. What was now inevitable, inescapable, because in America, the 1930s had begun to repeat themselves.

What was about to happen, as sure as the sun sets, or the stars rise? Fascism was.

Right on cue, as if according to a script, Donald Trump emerged. Remember when I said “a demagogue arises, who blames the woes of the true and the pure on hated minorities?” Trump played that role with eerie, stunning precision. He called immigrants and refugees animals and vermin. He mocked disabled people. He demonized and dehumanized black people, Mexicans, Latinos, women. He threatened to build a wall, and promised that the true and pure would be Great Again.

You’d think at this point, Americans would have gotten it. Here was fascism. It was happening here. Just as had been foretold by anyone thoughtful enough to pay even cursory attention to history. Poverty, despair? Check. Demagogue? Check. Threats, intimidation, hate, dehumanization? Check. Blaming hated minorities for all a society’s problems? CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.

Trump was likely to win - because the historical deck was stacked for him. Fascism was on the cards now. That much should have been lesson one, and the opposition should have been fierce and furious both.

Instead, the very opposite happened. The New York Times “but-her-emailed” Hillary. Wait, what? Emails versus fascism? What the? Today’s anti-Trump brigade was squarely for him - folks like Morning Joe. And instead of taking the possibility seriously that he might win, and do, well, the things fascists do - anyone who tried to warn of that was dismissed, mocked, marginalized, scorned.

Nobody was allowed to say fascism. At least not if you wanted to be serious and grave and respected and all the other accoutrements of American punditry. Me? Ive always cared more about telling you the truth than accolades. So I warned as sternly as I could, and swiftly lost my columns, book deals, TV appearances, and so forth.

Part of me was relieved. I never much liked any of that stuff. I wasn’t made to be a pundit. I’m a lover, not a fighter. But part of me was also horrified. Because I knew that now the final element in the recipe of fascism had arrived, too. What was that?

Demagogue? Check. Idiot army? Check. Hate and violence? Dehumanization and demonization? Scapegoating long-hated minorities? Check, check, check. All those are necessary for fascism to seize power. But to keep it, exercise it, abuse it? For fascism to really reach its brutal, grim culmination?

The final element is the most dangerous one of all, and yet it’s the hardest to see, too.

Denial.

Now Americans went into four long years of denial. They baffled the world. They felt like an eternity to people like me. Four long, terrible years.

Concentration camps were built. Nope, no fascism here.

Kids were separated from their families, and thrown in them. That’s a form of genocide by the way. Nope, no fascism here.

People were caged in the camps. Fascism? What fascism?

Entire ethnicities were banned. Fascism? Where?

Entire government agencies were purged, and “Acting Directors” - extremists, crusaders for the project of a racially pure “homeland” were installed. Nope! Still no fascism here.

Oval Office advisors were revealed to be literal white supremacists. Whatגs it called when racial supremacists seize control of the government? Nope! Not fascism!

Hated minorities hunted by shocktroops in the streets. Papers checked. Fascism? Where?

The New York Times, among others, did fawning profiles Nazis. Fascism? Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no fascism here!

Four long, long years. Four stupid, terrible, idiotic, painful years. Of polite denial, quiet complicity, and flat-out cowardice. During which the Trump Administration checked literally everything off the textbook fascist checklist we learn in grade school, then high school, then college - concentration camps, bans, raids, paper-checking, dehumanization, hate, purges. While there were three kinds of Americans. One, the American Idiot, who supported all that. But two, the good American - who was in denial as deep as an ocean about it. And three, the American intellectual, politician, leader, who pretended not to get all that was fascism, or worse, actually didn’t.

The world was baffled, disturbed, bewildered, horrified. Were Americans really that dumb? They didnt know fascism when they saw it? What the?

Didn’t they get that literally every item on the fascist checklist was now being ticked, save one?

The world hadnt seen such a level of denial since the 1930s, either, as the one that swept America over the last four years.

That is why the fascists were so stunningly successful - to the point that now Americans have to ask: will they steal the next election?Ӕ Their very own denial paved fascisms way down the abyss.

I said one element was left on the checklist of fascism - what was it? Can you guess?

The old saying goes. “First they came for the Black person, and I did nothing. Then they came for the Mexican, and I did nothing. Then they came for the refugee, and I did nothing. Finally, they came for me.” Ive modernized it a little.

The last checkbox on the list of fascism was all those institutions of fascism which had now been built - Gestapos, paramilitaries, concentration camps, cages, dehumanization, raids - being turned against white Americans themselves. The “real ones,” the ones who thought, foolishly, they were safe.

Nobody was safe. Nobody is safe when fascism ignites. Especially not the good people. They are either drafted into the fascist cause ԗ or they are abused and intimidated into silence and submission. What was happening to the Mexican, the Latino, the Black it was always a foreshadowing of what was to happen to all. Everyone was to be brutalized, in the end. Those shock troops were always going to hunt you, one day, in the streets, too.

That’s why fascism is so dangerous. Its like a plague. It consumes a society whole, or not at all.

So what happens now? After these four long terrible, idiotic, painful years of shocking, incredible levels of denial, complicity, and cowardice, which let fascism flourish?

What happens now is this. The fascist institutions that Trump built get used against Americans, brutally and relentlessly and remorselessly. Camps, Gestapos, raids, bans, purges, shock troops, cages. Not just again Mexicans and Latinos and Blacks, who happen to be Americans. But Americans, meaning the whites whoҒve thought they were above such things. Now fascism reaches its endgame, which is that the fascists use the institutions theyve built to control and dominate a whole society through terror, brutality, and violence.

Now the shock troops march down your pleasant streets. They intimidate and frighten you from voting, protesting, organizing, marching. They scare your children and terrify your neighbours. Now the fascists do everything they can to steal the next election.

And if they win, then critics, opponents, dissidents - all get disappeared by those armed men. Thrown into camps. Put into cages. Who knows when they’re ever seen again. They’re enemies of the state now. Those shock troops stay on the streets forever. Your kids get recruited into the fascist machine, seduced by promises of glory. The Trumps stay in power for a lifetime. The great fascist goals of racial purity, ethnic cleansing, genocide, violence, holocaust they begin in earnest.

That’s what happens next.

How do I know?

The real question is: how the hell don’t you still know? The entire world knows.

Night falls.

The leaves quiver.

The wolves bay, and the frightened animals scurry.

Is it fascism yet?

Umair
July 2020

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/23/20 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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