Is There Fascism in our Future?
by James R Smith
Is Fascism Coming to America? No, it’s already here. Fascism has existed in this country, for poor people, especially Blacks and Latinos, for more than a hundred years. It is fascist to be driving-while-Black, and be pulled over by a cop, and possibly shot? It is fascist when a mother has to worry if she will ever see her son again when he goes to a grocery store or out on a night on the town? It is fascist when the prisons are filled with Blacks and Latinos, many of whom spend the majority of their lives behind bars? Fascism thrives on racism. The two go handin-hand. We will never get rid of the threat of fascism as long as racism infects millions.
It is true that fascism has been gaining ground. We can attribute this to the decline of the unions, and the lack of good-paying jobs with benefits, such as pensions, sick leave, four-week vacations, holidays, maternity leave, family leave, and 50 other decent conditions that are bound up in a written and grievable contract. Unions instill a feeling of belonging in working class people of all races, nationalities and genders. The absence of union solidarity opens the door for racism and nationalism, which are two hallmarks of fascism. It also opens the door for division within the working class where millions feel along, underpaid and under appreciated, and are easy prey for Trump and others of his ilk. Anyone who wants to stop fascism should do everything she/he can to promote unions and labor solidarity. If we want a democratic society, it must extend to the workplace, by means of unions.
If you haven’t directly experienced fascism in America, congratulations. You are most likely white, middle class, well educated, and possibly wealthy. If you are part of the upper-middle class, then the policeman is your friend and your government is trying to do its best to bring order to a chaotic world.
Never forget that our community is a thing of beauty and our neighbors are our friends, ready to do anything to help us out. Since the space age began, more and more people have come to understand that our community is the whole world, and all the people in it are our brothers and sisters. Others have yet to grasp the changing nature of our modern world where scarcity is being replaced by moral, spiritual and material abundance. Let’s do everything we can to convince them to share our vision. Two worlds, divided by class. One white, male, rich, and liberal democratic. The other dark skinned, female, poor and always being watched by the brutal and fascist-minded agencies of government. Yes, some of us live our lives in a dangerous blade-runner movie, while the rest of us live in musical comedies, that always end well.
What is Fascism, exactly? There are many definitions of fascism. Two are the best are by Mussolini, who said: “Fascism is the merging of the state and corporate power.” In a little more detail, Georgi Dimitrov, an anti-fascist socialist and communist said, “Fascism is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism.” This became the most commonly accepted definition for those on the left. Both of these definitions refer to fascism as a state system of government and control, like Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Franco’s Spain. But there are also people who have fascist tendencies, whom I’ve coined “Little Hitlers.” Trump May Be Leaving, but Fascism Remains.
There are many fascist-minded people in the USA, often in police departments, the military, and other institutions where force is a factor. Certainly, the cop who killed George Floyd is one of these, as are those responsible for all the other brutal killings of Blacks and Latinos. “Normal,” people don’t go around killing other people, even if they have the authority, the weapons and the force of law behind them. Fascism, in this context, is a social deviation. (Please don’t call people with fascist tendencies, “deviants,” they’ll probably kill you.) What’s happening to this country? Are we in the throes of fascism?
Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion on YouTube talk shows about how rude some people, even anti-fascists, have become. Some angry commentators have gone so far as to “cancel” people with whom they disagree. Just like the “blacklist” of the 1950s, such behavior contains elements of fascism. I’ve been taken to task by some friends for not being sufficiently anti-Trump, as if 90 percent anti-Trump isn’t good enough. The hostility, and the lack of amiability, is probably due as much to the stress of the pandemic as to creeping fascism. However, the “perception of fascism” has caused a huge group of liberals to turn their backs on another huge group of Americans. Now there are people calling for unity in the country, including Biden. But unity based on what? Unity without principles is a prescription for fascism. Hitler brought Germany together. Do we want that kind of unity? Probably not. We do need unity, but it should be based on class issues, economic issues, to which most of the country already agrees. Polls show large majorities for medicare for all, for free tuition, for a $15 minimum wage, and more progressive ideas. America will work better than ever when all its people enjoy these fruits of their labor.