By Robert A. Vella
In the early 20th century after Europe’s monarchies were justifiably blamed for the devastation of World War I, right-wing authoritarianism found itself adrift in a sea of turmoil. The retributive manipulation of the Treaty of Versailles by France and Great Britain ruined the German economy, slighted their Italian ally, and arbitrarily redrew national boundaries all the way to the Middle East setting up a multitude of ethnic tensions which still rage today. As the monarchies were systematically replaced or otherwise stripped of their political power, Europe’s right-wing sought a new way to rebuild their strength. They abandoned the hereditary basis of royalty and instead conceived an ideology with which to reconstruct authoritarian social hierarchy. Benito Mussolini founded the first fascist political organizations in Italy which espoused ultra-nationalism, economic imperialism, ethnic identity, and cultural uniformity as its foundational tenets. Fascism quickly spread to other countries such as Spain, and in Germany it gave birth to its more virulent form (i.e. Nazism) where ethnic hatred and racism were taken to the ultimate extreme. What inevitably followed was an even more devastating world war.
Although this is the painful reality of fascism, its proponents couldn’t advertise it so boldly before they actually acquired political power. They had to cloak the ideology in euphemisms and garner public support by subtly appealing to latent grievances and sentiments in the populace. Mussolini boasted of reviving the Roman Empire. Francisco Franco used his military status as a platform to feed longstanding Christian fears of extermination which lingered from centuries of Muslim rule in Spain. Adolf Hitler cleverly exploited socialist sympathies among disaffected Germans even though he later crushed that social movement rather brutally.
Once power is seized, however, the pretense of fascism is no longer necessary. The remnants of democracy are discarded. Constitutional bases for the rule of law are eviscerated. The liberal principles of equality, fairness, freedom, pluralism, and secularism are viciously attacked; and, conformity is strictly enforced through totalitarianism. The first demographic groups to suffer are ethnic and religious minorities along with ideological dissenters; but, eventually all types of people are seen as “enemies of the state” except for a shrinking number of loyal followers.
In America today, this tragic social dynamic is playing out once again. The fascist brand of right-wing authoritarianism is rising under the empowerment of President Donald Trump. His nationalistic, cultural, and economic appeals are no different from the euphemisms employed by those fascist predecessors. Tomorrow, self-described “gun rights” groups will demonstrate at the Virginia state capitol. Don’t be fooled by the label. These are the same neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and white supremacist groups which caused the deadly clash in Charlottesville two and a half years ago. Just as he did back then, Trump is inciting their hatred and aggression once more.
Here’s today’s news:
The Virginia House Republican leader said anyone spreading “white supremacist garbage” is not welcome in Richmond after a state of emergency was declared because of threats surrounding a gun rights rally planned for Monday.
“Any group that comes to Richmond to spread white supremacist garbage, or any other form of hate, violence, or civil unrest isn’t welcome here,” Todd Gilbert said Saturday in a statement.
Federal authorities arrested a number of suspected neo-Nazis around the country this week out of concern that they were planning violent acts at Monday’s gun rights rally in Richmond, a senior FBI official said Friday. Seven men accused of belonging to a white supremacist group called The Base were arrested this week in separate raids in Delaware, Georgia, Maryland and Wisconsin, according to authorities.
WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of demonstrators staged a boisterous fourth Women’s March here on Saturday, a noisy, frigid, drizzly rally where demands for equal rights competed with an inescapable subtext: President Trump had to go.
The march, a reboot of sorts for an event that has been dogged by internal strife, was intended to highlight climate change, reproductive rights and immigration, three issues chosen by supporters and organizers. But many of the placards hoisted amid the throng mocked or assailed Mr. Trump, demanded his impeachment or urged his defeat in November.
“It’s all about Donald Trump,” said Laurie Kaczanowska, 66, a retired criminal prosecutor who came from Doylestown, Pa., with friends to make the trek from a downtown plaza past the White House and back. “This march is about the many issues that face women and families, so climate change, of course, is up front. But here and now we have to pay attention to protecting our republic’s democracy. Because I think that’s in danger.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Archives, home to foundational documents such as the Bill of Rights, apologized on Saturday for altering images critical of President Donald Trump at an exhibit on women’s fight for voting rights and said it had removed the display.
Boris Johnson is likely to approve the use of Huawei technology in the UK’s new 5G network against the pleas of the US government, a former national security adviser has said.
Sir Mark Lyall Grant, who was Theresa May’s national security adviser, said that the security services had repeatedly concluded over several years that they were able to mitigate any potential threats posed by the Chinese technology.
The US has warned the British government it “would be madness” to use Huawei technology and senior Washington officials have said numerous times that the Trump administration would reassess intelligence sharing with the UK in light of such a move.
However, UK security figures dispute the claim and Britain has already used some Huawei technology in previous mobile networks. A final decision is expected later this month.