WHEN EVERYONE’S A FASCIST, NO ONE’S A FASCIST

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BY CLAIRE O’BRIEN

Social media in recent years has been increasingly punctuated by accusations of “fascist!” and “Nazi!”, hurled back and forth with remarkable recklessness. Considering that we can’t define Republicanism (big R) or “middle-class”, its clear that as a nation, we’ve never had much of a political vocabulary to begin with.

Americans also don’t have a clear sense of history, and this lack becomes frighteningly important the more we toss historically vital connections around as if they are up for grabs. This is particularly true of Russia.

Neither Russia nor the former Soviet Union were/are fascist states, although the USSR came close under Stalin. The USSR’s most historically significant connection to facism is the 50 million lives it lost defending the Eastern Front (by itself) against real fascists during World War Two.

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Above: Real Nazis

The other Allies began planning to betray the Russians well before the victory that would not have possible without them – and every agreement made with the USSR was broken soon after the war’s end.

Trump is not a fascist either. He is an unfettered capitalist, representing an economic system directly responsible for many of the world’s bloodiest, most repressive dictatorships. Let’s not obscure the nature of capitalism by labeling it’s crimes and champions fascist.

Fascism is a specific political ideology with its own history and body of theory. It has maintained itself as such since its development in 1920s Italy, periodically emerging during periods of crisis. Because the current global crisis represents an ideal climate for fascism’s development, it’s crucial that we stop throwing the word around. If every oppressive voice/interest is fascist, the term will lose its meaning – just when the need to recognize real fascism is more acute than it has been since the only real Nazis were defeated in 1945.

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  Mussolini reviewing troops

 

A HARD RAIN

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I’m going back out before the rain starts falling:
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison.

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Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten.
Where Black is the color and none is the number.

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And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,

And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it

Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinking

But I’ll know my song well before I start singing.

 

EN CALMA TRANSCURRE MARCHA PARA PEDIR EL REGRESO DE DESAPARECIDOS EN GUERRERO

 

It’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard:
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

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Excerpt from Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall by Bob Dylan

 

 

If there were comrades: a political critique of the Left

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Our political convictions have endured because we have seen the same oppressive dynamics played out over and over and over again. Every gain we have ever made has been based on strategies developed from the  predictability of repression. Defending those gains would be impossible if we were surprised by each new form of the same, historic, relentless attack. We don’t have to figure out and agree on what to do each time. We have learned to anticipate, predict, and sometimes even prevent such attacks.
That is how the true Left tradition developed, and why certain standards prevail.

We do not have to like or even know someone to understand that when he is attacked in specific ways, in  specific political contexts, we must immediately respond as if we are all being attacked – because we are. Any one of us could be next.

 

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If we have privilege, we are obliged to use it to protect those who do not, even if this means we risk, and then lose it – because we know we aren’t supposed to have it in the first place.
The first responsibility we have when such a person is  isolated and attacked as an individual is to reject the focus on her personal flaws as irrelevant and divisive. But when that focus  draws upon the power of a widespread social bias, such as that which so burdens those with race, ethnic, class, gender, and  disability labels, our condemnation of it should be particularly sharp and immediate.
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The standard is simple:  if a pattern of treatment deviating from the documented norm is established, then usually discrimination is established. Supporters and their social milieu wind up as enablers and even facilitators of this discrimination if they hold the targeted person to a higher standard of proof,  remain doubtful in the face of evidence that would otherwise persuade them,  hesitate to respond to critical developments and incidents that would otherwise alert them to action,  and reject the person’s  analysis of the case in the face of a proven expertise to which they would otherwise have bowed.
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Not taking the targeted person seriously, deciding that the treatment  received must have been warranted by their own behavior, and accepting for them results that “comrades” would not for a moment accept for themselves or for most others – this is the second class citizenship produced by true discrimination. No matter how unjust it would be for people like themselves, it’s to be expected for those whose reach for full human rights exceeds what the world is willing to grant them.
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There cannot and will not be any viable resistence to the approaching whirlwind of global aggression if the present version of the western Left does not once and for all commit itself wholeheartedly to rooting out the oppressive dynamics it has appropriated for its own  indefensible gains.
That’s what the elite wants us to do. Keep it up and you, too will learn what it is to be picked off like fish in a proverbial barrel.
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 Good luck with that.

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