by Travis Mateer
Here is the song no one asked for, but I made anyway! Enjoy!
activate Dark Brandon? I laugh and laugh and laugh half the country terrorists? fucker, do the math black and red color scheme high chancellor would be proud military backdrop dangerous, dumb, and loud oh no Joe, cognition slow the anger builds and builds how much more can we take? have we had our fill? de-activate the thermostat the emergency is here Poland hopes for lumps of coal while psychos harvest fear energy what will it cost? how will we survive? algorithm secret sauce directing every eye nothing lasts forever they took the Bill of Rights and put it to the flame of their ungodly light Odd Fellows and Stone Cutters and Rosy Temple Dicks roll around upside down beneath the crucifix you have not ascended beyond what's good and bad just hatred for your mother and anger toward your dad
Hmmmm. Biden didn’t refer to half of America as terrorists. He referred to extreme MAGAs and their objectives as “semi-fascist.” (I’d go farther, personally: Trump and his most militant supporters are actual fascists). Any serious review of 20th century fascism ineluctably makes evident that the MAGA movement and its charismatic (a
very difficult adjective to cough out regarding Trump) leader fit the description. I would, though, not use the word “semi-fascist” to describe them; a more accurate descriptor is neofascist. “Neofascism” is defined this way (this example from Merriam-Webster online dictionary):
“a political movement arising in Europe after World War II and characterized by policies designed to incorporate the basic principles of fascism (as nationalism and opposition to democracy) into existing political systems.”
The Wikipedia article on neofascism is well-researched, well-referenced and well-written, describing it this way:
“a post-World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, racial supremacy, populism, authoritarianism, nativism, xenophobia, and anti-immigration sentiment, as well as opposition to liberal democracy, parliamentarianism, liberalism, Marxism, neoliberalism, communism, and socialism. As with classical fascism, it proposes a Third Position as an alternative to market capitalism.”
It’s unnecessary to recite for conscious observers, the litany of statements, actions and objectives of Trump and his sycophants that warrant labeling them neofascist. The list in the foregoing Wikipedia excerpt fit them quite well.
Biden’s use of “semi-fascist” was the result of a meeting he had with a group of historians. They urged him to speak about the danger posed by the rise of neofascism.
I’m by no means an apologist for Biden. And with respect to his inclusion of MAGAs’ fostering of public distrust of the FBI, in his own litany of reasons (not particularly well-selected) justifying his use of “semi-fascist,” he was, of course, off-base. The FBI has throughout its history pursued a neofascist agenda, notwithstanding notable exceptions. The FBI molded and coerced the assassin of Fred Hampton into killing the 21-year-old black power leader; electronically bugged MLK and sent audio tapes of his trysts to his wife; promulgated and executed the COINTELPRO program that infiltrated “Negro extremist” groups and caused internecine, homicidal violence among them, as well as committing various crimes and civil rights violations against activists, professors, Catholic Workers and other dissidents; surveilled and infiltrated the anti-nuclear movement; burglarized and bugged the home and office of my colleague, Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield, kidnapped him and for two weeks held him incommunicado in a privatized jail 100 miles away with no notice to his wife, purportedly because a baggie with a latent partial thumbprint of him was found in the bombing wreckage of the multiple fatality Madrid train bombing by Basque separatists…utter rubbish, the FBI giving that reason for its actions notwithstanding having established that Brandon (Mayfield) was in Portland the day of the Madrid terrorism and had never been to Spain…but he did have a Muslim wife).
In a Washington Post Perspective piece entitled “Biden called Trumpism ‘semi-fascism.’ The term makes sense, historically — A scholar of fascism weighs in,” .
history professor Federico Finchelstein wrote:
“President Biden has taken a firm stance on the modern-day threat of fascism: ‘It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something — it’s like semi-fascism.’ Biden made this key remark in a speech in Rockville, Md., while launching a push toward the midterm elections. While he stressed the violent nature of Trumpism and its threat to democracy, he was vague about the specifics of what he identified as half-baked American fascism. In fact, when he was later asked to clarify what he meant by fascism, he answered, ‘You know what I mean.’
“Biden is not wrong, but historical definitions of fascism do actually matter. Over the past century, fascism has evolved, as leaders have reformulated its look. While explicit fascism faded from power after World War II, its illiberal ideas survived, often intertwined with various strands of populism. This historical perspective helps us understand how Biden’s term, ‘semi-fascism,’ actually reflects the most recent iteration of a global fascist playbook that has sought to undermine democracy in the United States, Brazil, India and Hungary today.
“What is fascism? In historical terms, it was an ultranationalist, anti-liberal and anti-Marxist politics. Its primary aim was to destroy democracy from within to create a modern dictatorship from above. The state silenced the basic tenets of civil society, while eliminating the distinctions between the public and the private — or between the state and its citizens. Fascist regimes shut down the independent press and destroyed the rule of law.
“Fascists defended a divine, messianic and charismatic form of leadership supported by big lies and propaganda. They had an extreme, xenophobic conception of what they deemed the enemy, regarding it as an existential threat to the nation and to its people that had to be first persecuted and then deported or eliminated. Fascism aimed to create a new and epochal world order through the militarization of politics.
“Fascism as a term first appeared in Italy in 1919. It derives from the Italian word fascio, which refers to political groups. Fascism also refers visually and historically to a Roman imperial symbol of authority.
“But the politics it represented was not confined to Italy; instead, it appeared simultaneously across the globe. From Japan to Brazil and Germany, and from Argentina to India, Nicaragua and France, the antidemocratic, violent and racist revolution of the right that fascism embodied was adopted in other countries under different names: Nazism in Germany, nacionalismo in Argentina, integralismo in Brazil and so on. Fascism was the umbrella term that united far-right enemies of constitutional democracy — including anti-enlightenment intellectuals, nationalists, racists and antisemites, domestic terrorists, ultraconservatives, enablers and demagogues.
“When Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922, he invoked the term ‘fascismo’ to convey a sense of national tradition and imperial authority while also supporting other fascist movements across the world.
“After the global defeat of fascism at the end of World War II, fascism, coups and military dictatorships had become toxic to most societies. Former fascists and militant dictatorships sought to keep or regain power after the war through democratic means. Indeed, populists such as Juan Perón in Argentina showed how elections provided a critical source of political legitimacy. Aided by his wife Eva ‘Evita’ Perón’s charisma, celebrity as an actor and political skills, Colonel Perón won the 1946 presidential election, becoming the first populist leader in history to be democratically elected as head of state.
“Peronista populism borrowed elements of fascism, notably by presenting political arguments as all-or-nothing fights for a new moral order. The leader also denounced ruling elites, thwarted independent journalism, and advanced a deep dislike for pluralism and political tolerance. Still, Perón was popularly elected and gained traction by renouncing racism, the glorification of violence, the militarization of politics and totalitarian propaganda. He made fascism more palatable by transforming it into a form of authoritarian democracy. In effect, his fascism was populism adapted to democracy.
“Against this backdrop, Donald Trump represents a new type of global autocratic ruler who is legally elected, but also embraces elements that fascist figures like Perón felt were too controversial: totalitarian lies, racism and illegal means such as coups to destroy democracy from within. Trump might best be considered a “wannabe fascist.” By that I mean he is a populist who aspires to return to a form of fascism. His rule was not full-fledged fascism because it did not descend into dictatorship. But it could have been, if his attempts to retain power after the 2020 election had been successful.
‘Indeed, well before Jan. 6, 2021 [JKH note: see, Hitler’s failed 1923 ‘Beer Hall Putsch’], Trump had already established key pillars of fascism: militarization of politics, xenophobia, totalitarian propaganda techniques and demonstrable falsehoods, and the demonization of his antagonists. Trumpism was only missing dictatorship. And then the insurrection happened, as Trump supporters attempted to overturn the 2020 election results because he lost.
“As Biden noted, Trump still poses a danger to democracy here in the United States. And international leaders such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil or Narendra Modi in India are still experimenting with the playbook Trump left behind. Certainly, fascism isn’t an intellectual enterprise, but a glorification of very basic and destructive ideas and a cult of personality designed to impose ideology onto reality.
“And yet, populist leaders like Trump are not yet fascists — because they have not destroyed democracy altogether — nor are they typical populists who have seriously undermined democracy without fully destroying it. We are living and witnessing a new historical transformation from populism to fascism. It is clear that Trump, Bolsonaro and many others have deep admiration for dictators and autocrats, as well as a limited knowledge of their histories.
‘Trump may no longer be president, but he and his followers are still flying alarmingly close to fascism. The more we know about fascist attempts to squash democracy in the past, the more worried we should be about present semi-fascist and populist forms.”
Well said, Prof. Finchelstein.
Neither Biden, Bush 41, Bush 43, Obama, nor Congressional majorities and racist fellow Senators of the not-too-distant past, have been held accountable for the demeaning of Anita Hill and confirmation of neofascist Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, passage of the Orwellian-named “USA PATRIOT Act,” the wars and attendant war crimes of the Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan invasions/occupations, the ouster and exile of Haiti’s Aristide, the torture, imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, indictment of Snowden and Assange under sec. 793 of the Espionage Act, etc., etc., etc. Those are all acts manifesting trappings of neofascism.
The charismatic (choke) power utilized by Fascist Donald Trump, his Rudolf Hesses, Joseph Goebellses, Republican enablers, and violent SA-like Oath Keeper, III%-er and Proud Boys armed and dangerous civil war/coup d’etat adherents, is, however, unprecedented in our history, and is treated dismissively at our great peril.
Here’s some totally sane rhetoric from MSNBC about all Republicans being evil and how we’re already in a civil war.