Two fascisms compete for popular support in the US. One is blatantly racist, the other offers a devil’s bargain that demands Black people accept austerity and war. Both must be fought.
“The Clinton-Pelosi fascists invite Black people to fully participate in their own destruction -- and to feel honored at the invitation.”
9/11 gave the rulers of the United States blanket permission to wage foreign wars at will or whim, while stripping down domestic civil liberties to fit the security demands of a perpetual war society. At the time, voices on the left warned of impending fascism -- and they were right, although many of these same people have since acclimated to the new order, and now scream “fascist” at the racist menace in the White House. And they are right, again -- but only halfway.
Two contending, yet interrelated, forms of fascism are vying for supremacy in the U.S. Both fascisms are anchored in the leadership of their respective duopoly parties, which together monopolize the national political conversation. Thus, fascism is “mainstream” politics in the United States, as reflected in the daily diatribes between the warmongering, Russian stooge-hunting, neo-McCarthyite, corporate Democratic “Resistance” and the race-mongering, Dixiecrat-Republican, law and order-loving (but also white mob rule-friendly) troglodytes aligned with Donald Trump.
“Fascism is “mainstream” politics in the United States.”
These are not polar opposite fascisms, of course. Both are American exceptionalist -- another term for imperialist -- and both are thoroughly capitalist, tailored to the rule of the rich. The major difference between the two, is race.
Donald Trump presides over a revival of the world’s oldest fascism, the one created in the former slave states to keep Blacks subordinate and rich white people on top. As I explained in “Trump and His Fascist Forefathers,” (BAR, 17 Aug18):
“After crushing Black Reconstruction, the southern states invented, from the bottom up, the world’s first totally racially regimented society. U.S. ‘Jim Crow’ inspired Adolph Hitler’s vision for nation-building under Aryan supremacy, as documented in James Q. Whitman’s recent book, Hitler’s American Model. American fascism predated -- and has long outlived -- the European variety. It is generally accepted that fascist states are characterized, to one degree or another, by:
* Extreme nationalism
* Frequent resort to mob rule
* Oppression of an internal “Other” as an organizing principle
* The political dominance of the most reactionary elements of the bourgeoisie
“All of these characteristics describe the southern states of the U.S. during the nearly century-long period between the death of Reconstruction and the triumph of the Civil Rights Movement. Moreover, the post-Reconstruction reconciliation between North and South guaranteed that the southern fascism model would leave its imprint on the larger American political economy. In the aftermath of the Sixties, the Republican section of the corporate electoral duopoly assumed the role of the White Man’s Party -- the purer party of indigenous American fascism.”
“Both fascisms are American exceptionalist -- another term for imperialist -- and both are thoroughly capitalist, tailored to the rule of the rich.”
Donald Trump is a phony, even as a fascist. His actual policies are a corporate dream-list, crushing workers of all ethnicities in the dust. But his rhetoric is straight out of post-Reconstruction Dixie, and translates to racist ears as a promise of “white man’s work” in abundance, combined with severe state repression for Blacks, a wink and nod to white vigilantism, and expulsion for immigrants and various others. Although there is nothing substantive for workers of any kind in the Trump legislative agenda, majorities of whites responded to his racist appeal in 2016, as they have to Republican presidential candidates since Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” in 1968. In rhetoric, if not in practice, Trump represents a revival of (never moribund) old school, race-centered American fascism.
“Trump’sactual policies are a corporate dream-list, crushing workers of all ethnicities in the dust.”
Trump’s neo-Dixiecrat regime is under siege by a rival fascism that purports to be color-blind -- and, indeed, created the first billion-dollar-plus campaign war chest in U.S. history to elect the First Black President, in 2008. These purported “race neutral” fascists coalesced in Hillary Clinton’s campaign tent in response to Trump’s takeover of the GOP and the flight of establishment corporate Republicans -- a great disruption of the duopoly electoral system. The corporate Democrat fascists, now backed by most of the major media and the military-industrial complex, and openly aligned with the worst elements of the U.S. “intelligence” community, launched a furious campaign to delegitimize the Trump presidency through charges of “collusion” with “the Russians” and Wikileaks to pilfer Clinton campaign emails. Despite almost two years of investigations, there is no proof that the predicate crime ever happened. However, corporate media-generated anti-Russian hysteria has succeeded in whipping up war mania and causing the imposition of crippling censorship of genuine left media.
“In rhetoric, if not in practice, Trump represents a revival of (never moribund) old school, race-centered American fascism.”
The goal is to delegitimize all dissent, to prevent any serious challenge to the corporate consensus on endless war and austerity. For electoral purposes, the corporate fascists have decreed that the dividing line in U.S. politics is race. Blacks, immigrants, Muslims and others are all invited to join the corporate Democrat “Resistance” to Trump -- as if Black people have not always resisted that brand of American fascism, sometimes all but single-handedly. But, the devil’s bargain demands that we must accept austerity and war, policies that are most harmful to Blacks and violate the historical Black consensus on peace and social justice.
The corporate fascists are just as phony as Trump. Their race “neutrality” means only that they have no problem with Black presidents and Black generals that wage racist wars against people of color; or with Black heads of Homeland Security that pursue the imprisonment of “Black Identity Extremists”; or with Black politicians overseeing their sectors of the Mass Black Incarceration Gulag.
What separates Trump’s old school cracker fascism from the smoother, Democrat corporate version, is that the Clinton-Pelosi fascists invite Black people to fully participate in their own destruction -- and to feel honored at the invitation.
“Corporate media-generated anti-Russian hysteria has succeeded in whipping up war mania and causing the imposition of crippling censorship of genuine left media.”
At this juncture in history, when it is crystal-clear that the ruling class has no vision, intention or goal except endless war and austerity, so-called “progressives” claim it is Black people’s duty to align with a Democrat corporate “Resistance” that would spend every loose dollar on the war machine; has no plans to rebuild the cities -- at least until they are emptied of Black people; and remains wedded to Mass Black Incarceration and the armed occupation of Black communities.
The corporate Democrat tricksters have their own conflicts with Trump over regime change and the movement of money and jobs around the globe, but they claim to be race-neutral -- as if such a ruling class is possible in the USA.
The rule of white oligarchs requires race-conscious methods. Trump, the real estate oligarch, calls Black and brown people names, to get the votes of stupid white folks. Bezos and other Democratic plutocrats claim to be anti-racist, but could not hold on to their ill-gotten billions for a second were their fortunes not protected by the world’s biggest police state, which specializes in warehousing and killing Black bodies.
Two fascisms offer even less choice than one. We choose struggle. Power to the People.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].
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