by Rachael Wachstein
The transfer of power to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is a great relief but a temporary one. While it may feel like we’re returning to normal, this time, our time in American history is anything but normal.
We are standing on the edge of the darkest abyss known to mankind… fascism, humanity’s meat grinder, destroyer of every society that has ever entertained its lying promises of a world of law and order in which only true, righteous patriots thrive and all others are marginalized at best, and exterminated at worst.
Donald Trump didn’t start American fascism. He gave it hope and a unifying leader for all the disparate racist, xenophobic, homophobic, white supremacist, and anti-Semitic groups across America to rally behind.
Donald Trump didn’t invent conspiracy theories. He just legitimized them and promoted dangerous lies to millions of Americans day in and day out.
Donald Trump didn’t make America more racist, anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant, he just normalized it and signaled to the world that this behavior is acceptable.
Donald Trump is the first to attempt to overthrow our democracy in modern times but he won’t be the last.
The allure of fascism is strong in this country. Nearly 75 million Americans voted for Donald Trump. If we rest now, we pay later. We must wage a non-violent struggle to stop fascism while we still can because once they take control of the state, the game is over.
It took 10 years after a failed coup attempt for Adolf Hitler to succeed in taking over Germany. Think of the insurrection at the Capitol as the start and not the end of our struggle against American fascism.
We are going to be dealing with this fascist social movement for years to come. Our struggle for democracy and humanity will be tough but there are things we can do now to protect ourselves.
When we call for unity with fascists and supporters of fascism without accountability, without facing the truth of what they have done, what they have believed, we are paving the way for fascism’s rise in the future. We must hold the politicians, media, and individuals accountable for their actions. They need to get the message that their behavior is not acceptable.
If we leave fascists and their sympathizers in positions of power in our law enforcement and military, bloodshed and brutality are guaranteed. We must demand that all police, law enforcement, and military personnel are free of allegiances to right-wing nationalist and white supremacist groups.
We must be vigilant to avoid being sucked into the abyss of fascism. We must learn to see the signs of fascism and combat it.
Look for the liars. American Fascists don’t call themselves fascists so it can be difficult to see them unless you’re looking. They refer to themselves as the real Americans. They drape themselves in the flag and call their opponents un-American, communists, Antifa.
Fascism is based on lies. The bigger the lie, the better. The goal of fascism is to confuse and confound reality to the point where anything is possible but nothing is believable. Reality is as the leader says it is, regardless of the facts. Conspiracy theorists act on these lies as if they were reality. Believe them when they say they intend to act.
Fascists promote a mythic past, a time of greatness to be restored. Worshiping the Confederacy is an expression of fascism. Look out for those nostalgic for this mythic past. They are the soldiers who under false pretenses will comprise the front lines of the next civil war.
The free press is always the enemy of the fascist leader but often feeds his power unwittingly. The press must not be a megaphone for fascists but the voice of its victims. We have to leverage our press while it is still free. Push them to work hard, expose fascism in our communities, police, military, and government, ask hard questions, and seek the truth.
Watch out for attacks on women and queer people. Fascists promote traditional family values, cisgender and heterosexuality, excluding and persecuting anyone deviating from the norm. Fascism defines “good Americans” in very narrow terms, excluding non-Christians, non-whites, and non-males.
Fascism promises law and order but delivers chaos. Look at the strategy deployed in Portland and across the country during BLM protests. The fascists in power didn’t diffuse the situation or take steps towards peace. They didn’t make the streets safer. They took the unprecedented step of using forces designed to deal with hostile foreign elements against Americans on the streets of our own cities. Police departments responding to BLM protests have been encouraged to use harsh tactics, turning otherwise non-violent protests into total chaos. The fascists then use the images and media coverage of the chaos they’ve incited as propaganda against their enemies.
Question the stories they tell about the “other.” Fascism tells lies about its victims and then treats them in such a way that they become the embodiment of the lies. Nazi’s for example said Jews were filthy and disease-ridden. They forced the Jews into crowded ghettos, deprived them of everything, and then used the results of their treatment to justify the extermination of the “rat Jews.” Jews were shown in rat-infested homes, dirty and starving. When BLM protests started, American fascists claimed that the protesters were violent, destructive thugs. They sent in heavily armed forces and engaged the protesters in combat, using the imagery of the BLM protests being put down as evidence of their violent, depraved nature. Attacking BLM is a red flag of American Fascism. If you see it happen, question everything.
Fascists claim to be the real patriots, wrapping themselves in the flag and accusing their enemies of being un-American. Don’t be fooled by empty acts of patriotism. Don’t be blinded by red, white and blue.
We can come together now and refuse a fascist America. We can avoid the pain, death, and destruction that is otherwise inevitable. If we want to remain free, we can’t get too comfortable, continuing to ignore the signs of fascism and the lessons of history.