Monday, January 23, 2017

Pawns of fascism, or superficial diversity as a tool of conformist groupthink

The marchers against the fascism that they see in the person of President Trump provide a demonstration of how the forces of fascism work.

Fascism depends on manipulating the fears of people via flattery (it’s basic marketing). Thus, for example, we have the doctrine of “humanitarian interventions” by which support for imperial hegemony is cloaked in up-to-date socially progressive tropes (as it always was: the white man’s burden, spreading the salvation of Jesus, spreading the salvation of democracy and free trade).

Calls to war, to regime change (even domestically now, as implied by Chuck Schumer’s call to civil war at Trump’s inauguration), to the destruction of other countries and the death, maiming, and displacement of millions of people – they need only to be preceded by a shoutout to a few trending demographics: LGBTQIA, mothers, daughters, wives and sisters, black and brown and red and yellow sisters and brothers, immigrants, working women, etc. For all of you and our shared dreams and wisdom and struggle, we (the still white-majority Wall St profiteers) are going to war!

Sold!

The voices against the rainbow coalition–sponsored war and pillage are then by definition racist, misogynist, homophobic – a basket of deplorables, irredeemable, subhuman, to be squashed like bugs, exterminated like vermin.

And any policy that does not directly address issues of gender, skin color, religion etc., no matter how unrelated they might be to the concerns at hand, is therefore mocked and opposed and and discussion shut down, violently if need be.

This is not to say that “conservative” fascism is not a threat, but that it should make people all the more vigilant against “liberal” fascism.

A pluralistic society does not mean only in appearance and gender; it also means different world views that can nonetheless accommodate each other and work together for a common good. Making fascism gay friendly is not progress except for gay fascists.

(Fascism may be too strong a word for some. How about “Reaganism”? Since Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party has stood, not for workers or the poor or even the middle class, but simply a slightly more socially liberal Reaganism, which is to say a toxic brew of neoliberalism at home and neoconservatism abroad. Since then, the Democratic and Republican Parties have differed only in which false populism they use to divert the voices of the people. With the hypermilitarization under Bush and Obama of the security state – both at home and abroad – however,  ... [See the pair of essays by Charles Hugh Smith: “The Collapse of the Left” and “The Protected, Privileged Establishment vs. The Working Class.])

Bernie Sanders turned out not to be serious about challenging the Democratic Party with a true populism (his refusal to respect the common cause with voters leaning toward Trump betrayed his true, narrow-minded, loyalty), so he lost and Donald Trump, who was indeed committed to taking on the Republican establishment, won.

Now we have hordes of Clinton supporters calling for unity against Trump. Clinging to the irrelevant fact that more people in general voted for Clinton (though she lost in 30 states and an estimated 85% of counties), they assert the right of the mob to deny the results of the election. With cynical lip service to the trending demographic groups, they assert the righteousness of disregarding the lives of half the people in the country. During the inauguration, many of the security checkpoints were blocked by such mobs, who felt completely justified in preventing fellow citizens, whom they could see only as “deplorables”, from taking part. Militant conformity (but now with your choice of skin color, sexual preference, and gender!).

(Their actions are compatible with China’s severe limitation of news coverage of the US inauguration. They echo the neonazi-friendly Maidan Square protests in Kyiv in 2014, egged on both physically and financially by the USA (to prevent the renewal of Russia’s lease of the naval base in Sevastopol, Crimea), to oust the democratically elected but Russian-friendly President Yanukovych in favor of EU vassalage and the second Tahrir Square protests in Cairo in 2013 to oust the democratically elected but Islam-friendly President Morsi in favor of restoring military dictatorship.)

That’s how fascism works. Above all, it deplores the processes of democracy. Again, it depends on manipulating the fears of people via flattery (simple marketing). It counts on, for example, putting a picture of a model in a head scarf or dreadlocks (or of an eagle and flag) on its posters to exempt it from and provide the excuse to disregard any critical response. It puts symbolism above substance, because the substance is precisely what it wants to hide or at least continue to get away with by distributing a few flattering sops. It is the false populism of power whose greatest enemy is true populism.

Today in the USA, consultant-class liberals fully support the death of democracy as necessary to protect their economic advantage and sense of cultural privilege, telling themselves that they are acting on behalf the lower orders who don’t know any better. And if “those people” don’t appreciate all we do for them, they can drop dead – they deserve to suffer! Vive l’établissement!