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Fascism 101


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It’s a popular idea that fascism and bigotry in America became more pronounced under Donald Trump, not so much because he inspired it but because he appealed to it. In other words, it was already there, lurking beneath the surface.

I don’t think so. I have no formal statistics to back this up, it’s just conjecture, but I’ve seen enough people behave like sheep, particularly in the Republican Party, to suspect that most people aren’t natural, seething Nazis below the surface. They’re nothing more than cringing cowards with a conservative proclivity. They’re ready to go in any direction any strong person of apparent authority takes them, as long as it’s to the right. The extreme right, it would seem, is perfectly okay with them.

Fascism has thus become fashionable. I suppose its appeal now is that “everybody’s doing it,” and it sometimes works. Or at least enough people are doing it to make certain types of people go with them. And those people are more common than simple closet fascists.

Also, outrage is often learned, it’s not always instinctive. A lot of people don’t know what to be outraged about without someone around to teach them. Donald Trump just filled up a willing vacuum with fascism, and that vacuum was ready to receive fascism or egalitarianism or whatever, it all depended on who was doing the filling.

That might explain why fascism has become a worldwide pandemic. It is once again returning to Britain, in little ways, and we are starting to see its ugly tentacles reaching more and more into rightwing British politics. We’ve seen it before, of course, with everything from the Duke of Windsor to Enoch Powell to the rise (and fall) of the British National Party. MAGA, British style, is starting to pop up here and there.

It cropped up recently in the exploitation of fear of crime in London. The Conservative Party posted a disturbing social media video claiming London was “teetering on the brink of chaos … gripped by the tendrils of rising crime.” It’s happening, they would have viewers notice, on the watch of Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is standing for re-election. Khan is a practising Muslim who is currently observing the fast of Ramadan. He regularly attends Al-Muzzammil Mosque in Tooting. The film suggests Khan’s religion is behind the mayhem. Sound familiar?

The Tories are staring down the barrel of defeat in the general election, coming later this year, and they’re scared. They’re desperately grasping at whatever they can grasp at in order to retain power. I’m sure they noticed that fear and fascism occasionally works in America and they’re giving it another go here. Is this all part of the Trump playbook, cynically recast to turn their dismal poll ratings around?

The Tory video was posted to Twitter. It’s no accident, I’m sure, that the voiceover is done by someone with an American accent. It shows grimly-lit dystopian scenes of London. Or supposedly London. Someone noticed that one scene showed a panicked stampede from the New York City subway, and the video was quickly taken down and re-edited with the same scene, only this time showing the London Tube.

Khan himself said the film was a sign of things to come, claiming the Conservatives will fight the impending mayoral election with “misinformation [and] lies.” He could be right. I don’t know if the Tories can retain power with this nonsense, but if it works even halfway, don’t be surprised if they start to go more and more in the MAGA direction.

It’s a familiar trope that when people are sufficiently frightened they willingly surrender their rights for the comfort of safety. Here in Britain, we have endured the ignominy of the Conservative Party for 14 years now. A succession of Conservative prime ministers, each more disastrous than the previous, is creating a backlash against them that has revived the once moribund Labour Party.

Will flirtations with fascism help them retain power? Should they go MEGA — Make England Great Again?




In their desperation to retain power, Tories seem to be taking classes in Fascism 101. It’s the last refuge of the despicable desperate, and it’s becoming an all-too-common leitmotif of conservatives across the globe. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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