Is it Fascism Yet?

Chip Berlet, 2017-07-25

We are in the Weimar Moment somewhere between vicious right-wing populist demonization from the demagogic leader and the collapse of democracy into open fascism which triggers authoritarian state repression.

Fascism is the most aggressive form of right-wing populism, which is itself a matched and aligned ideology, frame, and narrative asserting that an idealized “real” people (who are a subgroup of the population) are being betrayed by treacherous elites above, and lazy, sinful, or subversive “Others” who are down below the “proper” citizens in the middle. It’s sometimes portrayed as a vice squeezing the “real” people of the nation.

The problem is that right-wing populism, which is based on the rhetorical vilification of an “Other,” can result in attacks on, and the murder of, the designated scapegoats. Each nation picks those scapegoats based on pre-existing prejudices.

By the time right-wing populism converts from open state-sanctioned violence to a repressive authoritarian police state it is too late to stop the process. Therefore, the Weimar Moment is, as professor Bookbinder notes, a demonstration of the “fragility” of democracy. This was recognized by Chomsky and others (including me) back in 2010.

So, the question itself is futile. It is never too late to defend democracy…until it is too late.

Don’t ask the question. Get out into the streets and suites and resist, resist, and then resist.