U.S. Elections: Footsteps of Fascism

fascism-blog-2

A very major, critically important U.S. election is tomorrow, November 8, 2016. I am asking people to vote AGAINST Donald Trump. Why? Here is why.

Comments and share welcome.

(Photo courtesy: all the photos in this article are taken from http://agamikal.com/?p=1510, where they published a Bengali version of this article.)
_________________

Footsteps of Fascism — Part 1

By Partha Banerjee
—–

In the 1930’s, Weimar Republic in Germany failed to stop the economic, political, and social chaos. Although the global economy was not nearly as global as it is today, and media was not so grotesquely pro-1% and interconnected worldwide, Euro-American colonialism was acting together for a long time, destroying mankind. But its heydays were over.

Great Depression in America caused by an extreme inequality, rampant privatization of banks, industries and financial institutions, and corporate profiteering and corruption impacted Germany and Europe, and economic uncertainties unraveled. Capitalism was falling apart, capitalists’ modus operandi was being exposed, and a strong socialist revolution in Russia was moving the working class people and younger generation away from the status quo. Europe was more and more leaning left and progressive. Labor unions and social justice movements were getting stronger.

The rulers of corporate capitalism — now in crisis — was looking for a way to distract people’s attention from their depravity and their own political parties’ created turmoil. The ordinary people were extremely angry at the elite’s corrupt practices, indifference, and a depraved, immoral lifestyle.

Weimar’s so-called liberal leadership failed them: unemployment was high, prices were high, deflation of the currency was causing havoc, and people worked longer hours sacrificing family life and time for children. Their savings evaporated, and the wage-productivity gap was at an all-time high.

The working men and women didn’t quite figure out the reasons: media and mainstream politicians both from the liberal and conservative sides disillusioned them.

The time was ripe for a leader who would crush down on the socialists and communists and trade unions and social justice groups, find a variety of people as convenient scapegoats, and unite and mobilize the ordinary men, women and families around a doctrine of ultra-nationalism, old glory, total employment, severance from internationalism, and social morality.

Time was ripe for Hitler. Time was ripe for a Nazi Germany.

____________________________

Footsteps of Fascism — Part 2

By Partha Banerjee
—–

So, Hitler came to power, first with help from Hindenburg of Weimar Republic (who shared power with him as an appeasement effort — a huge blunder), and then through a self-styled chancellorship, followed by landslide mandate on his own. He called his political base National Socialist Workers’ Party — a German acronym of which is NAZI (I don’t know German, but that’s what I read — correct me if I’m wrong).

But Hitler was no socialist; it was a pre-meditated, calculated confusion created to project himself as a socialist leader. (Today, some of the far right wing organizations in the U.S. have strange, naive-sounding names — such as Center for Immigration Studies or CIS, American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, Federation of American Immigration Reform or FAIR-US, etc.) Hitler was anything but a socialist. There was no concept of equality in his party structure; Hitler assumed the role of a dictator, and his words were the last. This didn’t happen overnight; rather, by purging people who dissented, and rewarding those who complied, he went on to become the undisputed tyrant that he was.

Hitler did many things during his approximately a decade of global plundering, and we all more or less know it. But the striking resemblances of what he did and what we see today are the following: (1) He destroyed labor unions and social justice groups that were left and progressive (In 1933, Hitler’s storm troopers occupied all trade union headquarters across Germany, and union leaders were arrested and put in prison), (2) He began a massive and all-pervasive spying and phone-tapping of German citizens, particularly those who showed an iota of opposition; even totally innocent citizens were called spies, arrested, and executed, (3) He orchestrated a propaganda against Jews and communists labelling them responsible for the social and economic woes, and even though we hear about concentration camps (through plethora of Hollywood movies and corporate media) throwing Jews in gas chamber, hundreds of thousands of socialists, communists, trade union leaders, and left and progressive intellectuals and authors were also detained and killed — a part of history that is conveniently ignored and later distorted, and (4) He through his media and propaganda machine of that time whipped up an ultrapatriotic fervor for old German-Aryan glory, projecting Germany as the “best country in the world.”

fasicm-blog-1

Then, as we all know, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and such people in Europe and rulers like Tojo in Japan built a global force of aggression that was called the Axis (the post-9/11 Bush-termed “Axis of Evil” could have come from that old, three-country force: at least, the similarity was there). The Axis quite rapidly started a series of military aggression on neighboring countries, eventually drawing a large number of countries worldwide into the war, which later became known as World World II.

Noam Chomsky discusses Germany’s plummet from its cultural and political heights in the 20’s—when Hitler received only three percent of the vote—to the decay of the 30’s, when the Nazis rose to power. Chomsky says although the situations are “not identical,” they are similar enough, to warrant concern. Likewise, the economic destruction of Greece, according to Chomsky, may lead to the rise of a fascist party, a phenomenon we’ve witnessed all over Europe. In India also, the failure of a corrupt center-left (Gandhi’s Congress Party) has seen a rapid surge of an ultranationalist, Hindu party, which is now in the seat of power, with an overwhelming majority.

“The fall of the Weimar Republic has a complicated history whose general outlines most of us know well enough. Germany’s defeat in WWI and the punitive, post-Treaty of Versailles’ reparations that contributed to hyperinflation and total economic collapse do not parallel the current state of affairs in the U.S. But Hitler’s rise to power is instructive.”

Hitler used to be ridiculed as a clown too, before Hindenburg gave him the position of a chancellor. In U.S., our question is (question that media bypasses): who made Trump, Trump?

“Hitler’s struggle for dominance truly catalyzed when he allied with the country’s conservatives, who made him Chancellor. Thus began his program of Gleichschaltung—“synchronization” or “bringing into line”—during which all former opposition was made to fully endorse his plans.

In similar fashion, Trump has fought for political relevance on the right for years, using xenophobic [anti-immigrant] bigotry as his primary weapon. It worked. Now that he has taken over the Republican Party—and the religious right—we’ve seen nearly all of Trump’s opponents on the right, from politicians to media figures, completely fold under and make fawning shows of support. Even some Bernie Sanders supporters have found ways to justify supporting Trump.”

[The last couple of paragraphs are paraphrased from an article in openculture dot com].

###

Footsteps of Fascism — Part 3 of 3 

By Partha Banerjee
___________________
So, given the historical background, and the strong similarities between what happened in Hitler’s Germany and what we’re witnessing here in USA (or India), where do we stand now?
Let’s concentrate on USA for the time being keeping November 8 in mind, even though the situation in India is gravely dangerous with ultra-nationalists already in power, and I have personal stake in that part of the world.
November 8 might not see a racist, sexist, pro-KKK white supremacist, anti-immigrant xenophobe who dodged taxes, milked the system, and became filthy rich and more corrupt than ever before to be the president of the United States. All indications are that Hillary Clinton will be the president, and the Clinton saga that began in 1992 will continue.
Great news! But is it, really?
I pose a few questions to ourselves who believe in a strong labor movement, and believe that a strong labor movement is the key to a strong, united middle class that can fight back against the tyranny of the one percent.
Simply put, Trump and his supporters and followers do not believe that labor unions have role to play in today’s America. In fact they want to completely do away with unions.
Yet, the following questions remain.
Question 1. Why did Bill Clinton pass NAFTA, going against AFL-CIO? What has Hillary Clinton’s position been on NAFTA, and now on TPP? Remember, TPP is often termed as “NAFTA on steroids,” and Obama advocated fast-track passing of TPP.
Question 2. Why did Bill Clinton dismantle FDR’s Glass-Stegall Act that kept private banking separate from investment banking? Some key experts suggested that breaking down Glass-Stegall actually led to Wall Street’s open and legal gambling with ordinary Americans’ money — trillions of dollars — and cleared the pathway to an economic destruction that saw the Great Recession of 2007? What has Hillary’s position been on the above?
Question 3. The Clintons’ close relationship with the Bush Dynasty as well as evil corporations such as Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Monsanto, and Exxon. These four corporations, as well as the private prison industries, are symbols of Corporate America’s greed, exploitation, and repression of the ordinary people — both in USA and around the world. What we see in America today — a dangerous, out-of-control, and extremely repressive variety of capitalism, UNLIKE what we see in Germany, France, Canada, Sweden, Belgium or Japan — have destroyed the middle class, destroyed the labor movement, created the unprecedented, massive wage and wealth inequality (where 0.1 percent, i.e., one in a thousand rich Americans amassed wealth totaling what the other 90 percent have between them), and at the same time, destroyed the climate to a point that scientists think is practically irreversible. Unemployment numbers are artificially down, labor density is down to 10% in USA compared to 40% during FDR or even Nixon, and key expenses such as health care, education, and housing are out of reach of the ordinary men, women and families.
All of the above have gave rise to a countrywide upswelling of ordinary Americans, who are frustrated and angry. Whether it’s Occupy Wall Street, or Tea Party, or today’s right-wing’s rally behind Trump — are all manifestations of this major frustration and anger. Add to it the relentless police brutality on blacks, the fact that one million blacks and other minorities are in private prison across the U.S., and poor immigrants are scapegoated for our economic woes, just the same way Hitler scapegoated Jews and socialists and gypsies for Germany’s woes, and exterminated them.
It is true that in no sane mind, we can support a crazy racist, sexist guy like Trump for president. His fascistic, war-mongering, xenophobic, supremacist drumbeat scares the hell out of ordinary men and women like us. But UNLESS we bring back true, participator democracy in our country, strengthen labor unions, bring the inequality back to the 1940-1980 levels, and stop the destruction of the environment, as well as stop America’s global war game that went out of control since the Vietnam era, there will be a time when another Trump — who is not outwardly so insane and morally depraved as Trump — will rise on the scene, and in the absence of an educated working-class American generation, will be able to rise on top, just the same way Hitler did it, dismantling the Weimar Republic.
We hear the footsteps of fascism right now, right here. If we want to stop their takeover of America and by default, the world, we must find a real alternative political force, a force that will not just take advantage of our fear and votes, but will actually work for us, just the way FDR did it in the 30’s and 40’s.
We need to rally to bring ourselves to the position of power. After all, democracy is not only about voting every four years. It’s about our voices heard, and our day-to-day issues addressed.
If the one percent don’t do it, then we might empower ourselves, to do it on our own.
###
-End-
fascism-blog-3

3 thoughts on “U.S. Elections: Footsteps of Fascism

  1. All thumbs up! Fascism in America is real and alive. A Bangladeshi friend of mine voted (early voting) for Trump. He is a Hindu minority and argued that Trump will keep the Muslims in check. He doesn’t realize that fascists don’t stop at one minority. All of us will be next. We all are aliens in the eye of a white supremacist!

    Very well-written and well-timed. I will share with my friends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s