By ann summers
Blame-gaming escalates as Election Day approaches and the Crème brûlée is about to crack. Brown, White, and Black Eggs matter to founders’ states of baker’s dozens. If all politics is local, all racism is localism. Expect a term of micro-aggressions.
The paranoid tendencies of the RWNJs could escalate in the final days, as electoral reality sets in, and rhetoric fueled by Trump himself sees some bizarre resistance speculation emerging from the factory for Conspiracy-Theory Machines.
What happens to the remains of the Trumpian hoards, deplorable though they be, once the votes get counted and defeat is at hand.
Will it be a strategic tension ready to spring forward as a new ethnic-nationalist party of RW radio audiences or an apocalypse of would-be doomsday preppers committed to racist/sexist mayhem. How will their ideologies adjust or will their constructed mythologies of land or space sovereignty compel them to actions that threaten the public sphere or social order.
After eight years of reactionary hatred projected on various racial and ethnic groups, as well as an anticipated sexist backlash, panic has set in, since the orange demagogue has lost the election.
What will this new period of uncertainty look like. Will it resemble a desire for apartheid as expressed in some supremicist documents.
Trumpians might see the post-election moment as one provoking rear-guard actions similar to the post-WWII Werewolf taking the enemy “in the rear” by piracy (Piraten)…
“The enemy (invading German territory) will be taken in the rear by the fanatical population, which will ceaselessly worry him, tie down strong forces and allow him no rest or exploitation of any possible success.”
The main target of a strategy of tension is the public opinion, to manipulate votes, generate the impression of a national threat to legitimate war, to call for a strong leader or tolerate surveillance and denounce peacemakers as ‘unpatriotic’.
Robert O. Paxton: I think about the election of the Popular Front in France in 1936, which produced the first Jewish and the first socialist prime minister, Léon Blum, of France. It simply wasn’t accepted by a lot of people. When France was defeated [by Nazi Germany] in 1940, the prime minister and the Popular Front became symbols of what needed to be changed, what needed to be rooted out of French life: the left, the Jews, the foreigners.
I’ve actually been drawing parallels between Blum and Obama. His election was not accepted by a great many people, and that made it very difficult for him to govern. In Blum’s case, it was a parliamentary system and not a presidential system. He only lasted for a year. He had to depend on a parliamentary majority to stay in office. He was a lasting symbol of someone to hate for the French right, a major symbol of what the Vichy government was supposed to get rid of.
SLATE: Do you think this means that Trump has more or less commonalities with fascist figures of the past?
Robert O. Paxton: I think there are some commonalities there. The most interesting case is Mussolini and anti-Semitism. When he was starting out organizing his movement, the original fascist movement to bring grandeur back to Italy and so forth, he had a lot of Jewish backers. A lot of Jewish middle-class people thought that sounded good and backed him. His mistress was a Jewish woman named Margherita Sarfatti. She wrote his biography. He got along quite well with Jews. There were some people in the Fascist Party who were anti-Semites, but they weren’t necessarily the most prominent.
Then, in 1938, fascist Italy passed all this anti-Jewish legislation, which for most historians for a very long time was simply seen as a strategic maneuver associated with joining the Axis. But people do find some precedents for it in Italian life. In the Ethiopia campaign in ’34, ’35, there was a lot of racist legislation. That got racism into Italian life in a big way. So there was an indigenous root to it, even if it had its self-interested side.
SLATE: I think a lot of people now think of fascism as this hardcore ideology with this pure mania and fervor. Is that the correct view?
Robert O. Paxton: No, I think fascism was about power and getting power and exerting power. I think there were strong prejudices and feelings in it, feelings of alienation, feelings of desire for national revenge, anger at the people who you thought had stabbed your country in the back. In Germany, it mainly was Jews. In Italy, it was socialists. There were these very strong, visceral feelings. The electoral programs of Hitler and Mussolini, from their very first days of their movement, make very strange reading later on because they sound very anti-capitalist and left-wing and so forth. All that got shoved aside because their strategy for power was to make themselves indispensable to the conservatives: the mass support that conservatives needed to send off the communist parties. It seems to me that going at fascism as ideology has its pitfalls, because its main ideological expression in these party platforms got ignored and they were pragmatists who got themselves into power. Of course, there were racial prejudices that people expressed, but that wasn’t the only thing going on.
More fascinating is how the 2016 election has been a reflection on recent events that are important to a nascent Trumpian ethno-nationalism, the betrayal of the suburbs, the presence of POC in urban areas, the selective racial animus. All of these get projected onto the clashes between police and populations of color, much like the “states’ rights” sovereignty meme always has the de facto residue of Plessy.
(Dylann) Roof has a sense of history, warped though it may be. He claims to have read “hundreds” of slave narratives, all demonstrating, to his satisfaction, how benevolently slaves were treated—an idea long discredited by historians, but still encountered on white-supremacist websites and conservative talk-radio shows. He had himself photographed not only with the flags of the Confederacy, apartheid South Africa, and Rhodesia, during its short-lived period of independence under white domination, but at a slave plantation.
A more serious charge still can be laid against the British – and indeed was, by, of all people, the Afrikaners: that the former, not the Afrikaners, were the originators of the whole system of white supremacy that was eventually to congeal into the cold desert of apartheid…
Because, by the end of the Second World War, it had become unacceptable to base a state on racial discrimination, the Afrikaners were then obliged to go down the tortuous route of finding a legalistic justification for their gut prejudices. Apartheid and the doctrine of separate development provided this, with increasingly perverse and unnatural results, as the ideology, which was originally a convenient figleaf for a state based on white domination and black labour, became the bizarre driving force of South African society…
Instead of mixing up black and white in the old haphazard way, which instead of lifting up the black degraded the white, we are now trying to lay down a policy of keeping them apart as much as possible in our institutions. Thus in South Africa you will have in the long run large areas cultivated by blacks and governed by blacks, where they will look after themselves in all their forms of living and development, while in the rest of the country you will have your white communities which will govern themselves separately according to the accepted European principles. The natives will, of course, be free to go and to work in the white areas, but as far as possible the administration of white and black will be separated, and such that each will be satisfied and developed according to its own proper lives. (Jan Smuts 1917)…
The new ideology was pioneered by an organization that started from ludicrously small beginnings and which, with all the implausibility of a Conan Doyle story woven around some masonic mid-Western conspiracy, united the underground of anti-British movements in the Transvaal into an extraordinarily powerful and pervasive network. The Afrikaner clique seized power in 1948 and rode through the high noon of apartheid until its fall nearly half a century later. It was the first documented example of a secret society taking over a government
Robert Harvey The Fall of Apartheid The Inside Story from Smuts to Mbeki Palgrave 2001 www.sahistory.org.za/…