Order descended into chaos on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 when pro-Trump supporters provided the world with a history defining moment after they stormed the Capitol in Washington DC.
Their aim, to disrupt the certification of the Presidential election which would see Trump ousted after just one term and to blatantly subvert the democracy of the United States.
Yes, what we witnessed yesterday was literal fascists staging an attempted coup on the worlds largest democracy, and we should be worried.
In November 1923 a little known right wing party called the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) staged a failed coup at the Feldherrnhalle in Munich City Centre. 16 members of the NSDAP were killed and 4 police officers also died. The event would become known as the Beer Hall Putsch and would propel the then unknown party leader, Adolf Hitler, into the limelight. Within 10 years the Nazis would be in power and within 20 the final solution would be in full swing and the would would be at war.
Now Godwins Law would normally state that because there has been mention of the Nazis the article is now over as it has reached its logical conclusion. But the inventor of the law itself, Mike Godwin, suggested in 2015 that; “If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler when you talk about Trump or any other politician.”
Ok, lets continue.
What we witnessed on the 6th January 2021 was a failure to learn from past mistakes in history, just as Hitler appealed to the working German who felt dispossessed by the political elites of the post-war Weimar Republic, Trump supporters too feel their political elites have abandoned them and their plight, this meant that Trump’s talk of ‘Make America Great Again’, reopening old industries in America’s former manufacturing heartlands and no longer bowing down to minority interests resonated with the dispossessed American.
To call Trump a fascist would suggest he actually has an ideology which extends beyond his own self interest, but every tactic he uses to appeal to his supporter base comes straight from the fascist toolbox and for the past five to six years we have either been blind to it, or worse, ignored it.
From the campaign trail to the four years of his presidency, Trump has used the same tactics to garner support and unquestioning devotion that fascists down the years have successfully to support their regimes. The ‘othering’ of people he sees as being lesser most notably with the proposed ‘Muslim Ban’ and the wholesale stereotyping of muslims as being terrorists. Migrants from south of the boarder being branded as a burden on American society and stealing the jobs of US citizens.
Demonisation of the media as being unpatriotic when they simply do their job of fact checking the President and highlighting his lies and instead favouring media platforms which only serve to amplify one set of thoughts and result in an echo chamber for those living in it.
Anti intellectualism and the increasing trend towards ignoring experts in favour of listening to unverified and un-peer reviewed sources which fit the narrative people want to hear rather than listening to experience and quantifiable research. We only have to see the actions of Trump towards the Coronavirus pandemic to see how he reacts to expert opinion, he others it, ignores it and then complains about it rather than doing something about it.
Then we have the judiciary and education, both sectors of society which he has done everything to Trumpify as much as possible. A Supreme Court stacked in favour of a Republican administration and one designed to overturn landmark rulings like Roe V Wade and deny fundamental rights to woman and minorities. An education system run by a Secretary of State with no experience in education and who formulated plans to radically overhaul the public school system to focus on an ‘America First’ curriculum, essentially a re-colonisation of the curriculum to the extreme.
All tactics used by fascists the world over.
And what is more worrying is that it has all happened in plain sight and with help. Just as the conservative right in Germany helped Hitler to power via electoral means in 1933 thinking they could control him and ride on the coattails of his popularity with the people, the same has occurred in the United States with the conservative right jumping on the Trump popularity bandwagon thinking they could reign him in.
We all know how that ended now don’t we?! Although now we need to be asking ourselves, is this really the end?