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Paul writes: "In various forums, academics and journalists have warned us not to use the fascism label, as it would be inaccurate from a political theory perspective. Many of these people are smart and perfectly well meaning. But they're wrong."

Donald Trump supporter rides in his car. (photo: Reuters)
Donald Trump supporter rides in his car. (photo: Reuters)


The F Word: Yes, Donald Trump Is a Fascist, and That Matters

By Ari Paul, teleSUR

11 February 16

 

With Trump’s threats to round up Latino immigrants or bar Muslims from entering the United States, Nazi analogies from his critics abound.

e stoked fears of the white working class by appealing to anti-immigrant sentiment. He mixed that with anger toward the political and economic establishment by pointing to NAFTA as a reason jobs were vanishing. His intolerant rhetoric of non-Christian America was considered so dangerous that in response to one speech a liberal commentator joked that it “probably sounded better in the original German.”

Donald Trump? No, that’s Patrick Buchanan.

Buchanan hasn’t been a big feature on the right since the 1990s, and a lot of that has to do with the establishment knowing then how toxic he was. In 1992, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote of his “fascist underpinnings,” insisting that his mix of “nativism, authoritarianism, ethnic and class resentment” and his conversion to “protectionism” put him the classic mold of fascism.

Now, we have another politician bringing on those very ideas, and again it’s rattling the Republican establishment. The conservative journal National Review forcefully condemned Trump’s rise. The moderate one-time Republican ex-mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg vowed to run for president if Trump (among other radicals he doesn’t like) gets the presidential nod.

With Trump’s threats to round up Latino immigrants or bar Muslims from entering the United States, Nazi analogies from his critics abound. In various forums, academics and journalists have warned us not to use the fascism label, as it would be inaccurate from a political theory perspective. Many of these people are smart and perfectly well meaning.

But they’re wrong.

The skepticism comes from a healthy place: Americans, especially on the left, are too quick to label anything they believe is too right-wing to be fascist, in the same way right-wingers throw around the term “socialist” without understanding what that means. Traditionally, in the United States, our most right-wing pundits and politicians don’t actually believe in the very specific tenets of fascism, which calls for an immense amount of state power in economic affairs. Instead, libertarianism, at least in fiscal affairs, is the prominent idea.

And that’s where Trump gets interesting. Economically, he’s quite unlike the other Republican candidates. He doesn’t blast social security or threaten to take away anyone’s Medicare. In fact, the state features strongly in his economic vision. For example, he blasts NAFTA and promises to proactively bring manufacturing jobs back, traditionally the political domain of the labor left, which is why some union members are supporting him.

It’s important to remember this when one considers how much fascism was seen as a reactionary response to the appeal of socialism and communism to the rebellious working class in Europe. Much of Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric had as much to do with anger at prevailing economic order as it did with his hatred of communists. The state, he promised, would provide for the German citizenry, still suffering from the fallout of the first World War. Many of those programs would be too state-centered for our modern-day Republicans.

In short, Hilter’s appeal was a strong state, both in terms of the military and the economy, pinning the blame not on the ruling class but on minority scapegoats. That’s where we see the fascist tendencies in the movement Trump has created. The journalist Chris Hedges told me in an interview in 2006, “Fascist movements are always indigenous and they look for indigenous symbols. Hitler or Mussolini may seem exotic and strange to us, but they didn’t to Germans and Italians. They built on Teutonic myths. In the case of Mussolini, harkening back to the age of Augustus and imperial Rome.”

So too is the same with Trump’s call to “make America great again” and his obsession with “American winning,” as if our old empire came and went, and it’s time to assert ourselves once more. And while Trump may not look characteristically fascist in the way we’re conditioned to think they look, he certainly has attracted a questionable crowd.

The white nationalist website Daily Stormer endorsed him. He has the support of at least one white nationalist PAC. And to make things worse, former Ku Klux Klan chief David Duke said that, if anything, Trump’s politics were too radical. There was footage of a Trump supporter shouting “Sieg Heil” at a rally, and there’s been numerous accounts of non-white and non-Christian people threatened and harassed at his rallies. The more we look at that, the more Trump and his supporters look like the Tea Party and look more like our local version of the far right movements in Europe that rally at once against austerity and immigration.

The answer, then, is to see Trump and his followers for what they are, and know now that after the election, even if he’s not president, he’s created a big enough block of people who are closely associated with a dark ideology. That means it is necessary to build strong anti-austerity left movements like the ones in Greece and Spain. There’s hope for that in the ascendance of Bernie Sanders. But the movement will have to be bigger than him, and carry own after this election year.

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+49 # mh1224jst 2016-02-11 10:31
Yes, and Bernie's movement will have to do more than grow anti-austerity economic views. It will have to fight against the serious damage inequality growth has already done. We're headed for a deep depression, unless we return to a sufficiently progressive taxation system.
 
 
+13 # Billsy 2016-02-11 14:24
Bernie's concentration on income-equality seems to be working well for him across a wide spectrum of the electorate. Interesting article & perspective but comparing Buchanan to Trump is a non-starter. Buchanan is an arch self-righteous catholic conservative while Trump is a loose cannon of no religious persuasion and a media icon popular with the goons that support him. Buchanan didn't attract as strong ratings. The word conservative never comes up among his supporters in describing Trump. Surprisingly he even talks of increasing taxes on the wealthy.

The mention of Charles Krauthammer as some kind of model of ethical purification is particularly strange. The guy's an ideologue, an arrogant jerk immune to facts. I'm certainly no fan of Trump but suspect that should he win the GOP nomination he will be clobbered in the final election. What this remarkable campaign is really about is the fight against the corrupt establishment machine of both the GOP and the Democratic party. We're living in interesting often frightening times.
 
 
+22 # MsAnnaNOLA 2016-02-11 15:20
Fascism. I would argue the Citizens United decision turned the whole system Fascist. Mousellini described Fascism as the merger of state and corporate power. The Citizens United decision took a system that was already badly in need of repair and multiplied it 100 fold in the wrong direction.

The fact of the matter is we can't get things done in this country that 75% of Americans agree on because these things are the opposite of what the corporations want. This is Fascism. The system by which corporations are legally allowed to pay for legislation to be passed is Fascism. The system where we can't get anything passed that is not corporate driven is Fascism.
 
 
+27 # Sunflower 2016-02-11 11:02
Let's hope that the republicans see wisdom and support one candidate as an alternative to Trump. Notice that Trump didn't even get a majority of the vote in NH, so if the vote wasn't split a number of ways, he would have lost. (Not a fact that you'll hear emphasized
on NPR or other news media).

However, remember that Hitler never got a majority vote either, same situation, the
vote was split two or three ways and Hitler
got enough votes to win.
 
 
+25 # thekidde 2016-02-11 11:28
How oxymoronic - "republicans see wisdom".
 
 
+4 # bmiluski 2016-02-11 18:19
Well said thekidde....... I have yet to meet and talk to a repug that can speak with any sort of intelligence. All I ever get from them is the basic GOP narrative and if you call them out on it they just jump to another narrative.
 
 
-8 # America 2016-02-11 11:47
Only 25% of the population voted for Obama last time.
 
 
+14 # tclose 2016-02-11 12:13
"the vote was split two or three ways and Hitler got enough votes to win."

Same situation in Canada - since 2006, the Conservatives under Harper only received in the 30% range in 3 successive elections, but won as the Liberals and NDP split the progressive vote. In the last election however, Harper had became hugely unpopular even to conservative voters, and the Libs with a dynamic leader (Justin Trudeau) was able to break Harper's stranglehold.
 
 
+8 # Caliban 2016-02-11 18:06
Is Trump actually the "worst" of the GOP crowd ideologically, or is he just the most visible self-promoter?
 
 
+17 # bmiluski 2016-02-11 18:24
Caliban, I think Ted Cruz is the worst and most dangerous.
 
 
+7 # bmiluski 2016-02-11 18:23
Sunflower.....H itler was NEVER elected. President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor.
 
 
+33 # Anarchist 23 2016-02-11 11:26
I've been using the 'F' word for the Ty-Rump-et for quite a while. If you read Umberto Eco's 'Eternal Fascism:14 Ways To Looking at a Blackshirt' on what he names 'Ur Fascism' You will see that we already have a rabid nationalism, a huge dollop of 'disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits','cult of tradition','fea r of difference', 'cult of action for action's sake' Just a few traits found at his rallies...yeah, it's Fascism!
 
 
+1 # jazzman633 2016-02-11 11:36
I'm with you except for this:

Instead, libertarianism, at least in fiscal affairs, is the prominent idea.

This is so far off, it's not even wrong. If you want to see what libertarianism is about, go to the Libertarian Party's website. Or read the Constitution. Both of them are completely outside Trump's (and Hitler's) political universe.
 
 
+18 # Cassandra2012 2016-02-11 13:12
Uh 'Libertarians' like Ron Paul and his son, are consummate hypocrites when it comes to women. They say they want less government interference in people's lives except when it involves vaginal probes, and telling women what to do with their own bodie3s etc.
Or is it just that they do not really believe women are 'people'?
 
 
+4 # ericlipps 2016-02-11 20:42
"Read the Constitution"? Thomas Jefferson was what would today be considered a hard-core libertarian, and he OPPOSED the Constitution as creating too strong a federal government. (However, that didn't stop him from seeking the presidency under the system that document created.)
 
 
+13 # jcstilley2003@yahoo.com 2016-02-11 12:17
I agree that Trump is firing up a Fascist element in America, and that stoking that fire is remarkably dangerous.

I'd rather see our potential leaders focus on getting the American citizenry to work to together to overcome the disastrous affects of globalization on America's economy; on getting the rest of the world to take on more of the global policing, so America can spend less on the War Department; on slowing the trend of mergers and acquisitions which has left America with only 4, 5, or 6 mega-monopoly-c orporations in each industry; and working to create a climate of accepting that other Americans are free to worship or not, free to have relationships with the person they choose, and to keep religion out of the government.
 
 
+11 # Buddha 2016-02-11 12:33
A few months ago my wife and I purchased a 40ft Valiant bluewater cruiser sailboat. If The Donald is elected, that is my "flee America before they won't let you leave" escape plan. Because his ascendancy to power would indeed be that final stake through the heart of America as a free democratic republic. It wouldn't be long before we have a Gestapo rounding up Hispanics and Muslims, and then they move on to the "trade unionists and communists" of the Left.
 
 
# Guest 2016-02-11 13:35
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+9 # Jim Rocket 2016-02-11 13:58
I actually don't think Trump, himself, will do that but some Cheney-like snakes who gravitate to his inner circle might. Since Trump seems to be mainly a salesman driven by his own narcissism I think that a few losses in a row will drive him out. As soon as its not fun he's gone. Let's hope so anyway.
 
 
+1 # Farafalla 2016-02-11 16:50
Buddha, you must have given up the life of poverty encouraged by the original Buddha. A 40ft Valiant does not come cheap. I'm happy to have my passport up to date. But you now have a boat, AKA a hole in the water where all your money goes:

https://www.google.com/search?q=40ft+Valiant+bluewater+cruiser+sailboat&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj63cui5fDKAhUP62MKHURACpcQsAQILQ&biw=1429&bih=748&dpr=0.9
 
 
0 # jouster 2016-02-13 22:24
Quoting Buddha:
A few months ago my wife and I purchased a 40ft Valiant bluewater cruiser sailboat. If The Donald is elected, that is my "flee America before they won't let you leave" escape plan.


After watching "Where To Invade Next" we have a list of countries we'd like to move to when we flee T. Rump's Amerika.
 
 
+3 # perkinsej 2016-02-11 13:24
Truth is that Germany was really NOT suffering all that much economically in the 1920s after the Dawes Plan took effect --- nor is the USA suffering today. What Adolf wanted to do was to reignite World War 1 and restore Germany's supreme greatness once again. That was the main appeal to frustrated German egotists. Trump likewise wants to make the USA "great again" by reinforcing the power and reputation of the overseas American Empire.
 
 
+3 # Crumbling Empire 2016-02-11 16:58
Quoting perkinsej:
Truth is that Germany was really NOT suffering all that much economically in the 1920s after the Dawes Plan took effect --- nor is the USA suffering today. What Adolf wanted to do was to reignite World War 1 and restore Germany's supreme greatness once again.


My understanding was that depression-era Weimar Republic Germany under Hindenburg experienced hyperinflation and suffered more than the USA, perkinsej.

http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-21-3-b-the-german-weimar-republic-why-did-democracy-fail

I think you might confusing Hitler with Putin.
 
 
+12 # Aikidoka 2016-02-11 13:40
I keep thinking things like if any of those 3 - and I think Cruz is the more dangerous as he has god on his side - I am leaving this country. Then I think it is my job to stay and fight.
 
 
+3 # Caliban 2016-02-11 18:12
By all means fight, and start that fight ahead of the general election to keep the SOB and his GOP ilk from getting into power in the first place.
 
 
+13 # Jim Rocket 2016-02-11 14:00
My epiphany for today is that Bernie is the outsider candidate for adults and Trump is the outsider candidate people who think like children.
For example merely look at the photograph accompanying this article. That's a mighty wrinkled 10 year old driving that car.
 
 
+5 # Nominae 2016-02-12 01:15
Quoting Jim Rocket:
My epiphany for today is that Bernie is the outsider candidate for adults and Trump is the outsider candidate people who think like children.


Far be it from me to rain on a bona fide epiphany, but it is *totally* beyond me how a man who has been in Congress for TWENTY FIVE YEARS can be considered an "outsider candidate" for *anything*. Dark horse candidate, maybe, but definitely *not* an "outsider" candidate.

I know the way the media has lately been using the term, but - shock of all shocks - the media is flat-out *wrong*.

The thing that attracts me to Sanders is that he HAS been in Congress for 25 years, and he therefore knows where all of the "bodies are buried", and how to deflect the *constant* bowling ball barrage of dirty tricks.

The man has survived that environment for 25 years and has *still* come out an honest, sincere and decent man, a problem solver, an activist, a man of TRENCHANT political insight and possessed of a *fearless* proclivity to "tell it like it is", - what other qualifications need we demand ?

These "no experience" Joe Sixpacks will be eaten *alive* in an environment that they don't comprehend, and relative to which, the freakin' on-the-job learning curve will last *absolute* YEARS !

Collectively, Americans don't HAVE that kind of time anymore.
 
 
# Guest 2016-02-12 16:33
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+2 # rhgreen 2016-02-11 14:37
Wow! If Charles Krauthammer and National Review are attacking Trump's "right wing'ness" then Trump must be WAYYYYY off the right-hand diving board.
 
 
+3 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-02-11 17:01
@ rhgreen - You misread the author's statement. He did not say Charles Krauthammer was attacking Trump. Krauthammer was attacking Pat Buchanan.
 
 
# Guest 2016-02-12 16:37
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
0 # Inspired Citizen 2016-02-11 17:31
Who is more of a fascist, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? It's closer than you'd think.

http://www.examiner.com/article/who-is-more-fascistic-donald-trump-or-hillary-clinton
 
 
+3 # ericlipps 2016-02-11 20:44
Not that close. I can't imagine Hillary wanting to bar all Muslims from coming to the U.S. or wanting to build a wall on our southern border and demand that Mexico pay for it.
 
 
+2 # Nominae 2016-02-12 01:24
Quoting ericlipps:
Not that close. I can't imagine Hillary wanting to bar all Muslims from coming to the U.S. or wanting to build a wall on our southern border and demand that Mexico pay for it.


Hey, if you are the Trumpinator, you can build a wall North to South across the Atlantic to keep the Muslims out, and make the *Martians* pay for it !
 
 
# Guest 2016-02-12 16:49
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
-4 # Allanfearn 2016-02-13 09:06
Fascism is, ideologically, a heresy of the Left, rather than the Right - Hitler's enemies in Germany were the patrician Right. But it comes out of an Imperialist defeat - Italy's failure to get it's share of the Turkish Empire after World War I, Germany's losses in 1918. Compare post-Vietnam, the US defeat or at best failure in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also feeds on hostility to immigration - never mind who the immigrants are - Mexicans or Muslims. Also, it is usually very media savvy - Mussolini, Goebbels and so forth. You've got plenty of symptoms. If your patrician Right still existed it might be able to manage US decline. But it doesn't.
 
 
# Guest 2016-02-13 10:11
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+2 # Salus Populi 2016-02-13 20:42
Just because the Nazis and Mussolini's _Fascisti_ called themselves socialist does not mean they came out of the Left, whether as a heresy or not.

Hitler and Mussolini both allied with the corporate leaders of their states, such as the Krupps in Germany. Their very first victims included communists, social democrats, and organized labor, both leaders and rank and file.

It has for quite a long time been a meme of the reactionary Reicht to try to pin Hitler on the Left, because their own proclivities are purely fascist, and the Big Lie is the Bible of the wingnuts.

It was not the left coalition (which pushed Roosevelt to break with his class and do something for workers) that supported Hitler and Mussolini, but the DuPonts, Henry Ford, the big banks, ITT, IBM and so forth.

The plot to seize the White House that was exposed by Marine Gen. Smedley Butler was spearheaded by the top officials of Chase, City, General Motors, etc. (See Charles Higham's "Trading With the Enemy" and Jules Archer's "The Plot to Seize the White House" for details of the close relationships of the financial and industrial kingpins with fascism.)

If the plot had originated on the Left, it is likely that there would have been mass roundups of the plotters and their supporters; as it was, Congress ignored and dismissed Butler's first-hand testimony -- because capitalism and fascism are kissing cousins, whereas anything that smacks of worker control is anathema to the ruling class.
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2016-02-28 15:03
Nonsense.

Mussolini's own definition: "Fascism should rather be called corporatism. as it is the merging of government and corporate power."
 
 
+2 # newell 2016-02-13 16:04
Why all this Trump bashing? The Republicans are so worried this clown will make congress Democratic again--they probably will put out a hit on him. If Bernie (or even Hillary) were to run against Trump--voters would come out of the woodwork to vote against Trump and the embarrassment of him being president. VOTE BERNIE!
 

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