What are the directions for the disinformation campaigns of the now post-truth Trump regime that will repress populations by means of contradictory rationalizations or outright lies.
So much traditional ethnic hatred, so little time. Modernity’s issues of ethnicity and the modern state seem to be played out in vivid detail for various regions including the US election of 2016. And yet it is the interwar fear of Communism and Fascism that creates the foundation for our current rationalizing discourse.
Trump is an Ur-Fascist for the New Red Scare(s)
The following narrative seems actually quite contemporary but also shows the rightward tilt of Western politics, as HUAC or something like it is sure to return to US prominence much like the RWNJs have gotten a Stasi jones on. If someone’s been mean to you, Charlie the RWNJ snowflake, Kirk, from his childhood bedroom sez they must be a libtard professor to doxx them on a fascist website. That “liberal” 20% of all college faculty must be causing all that liberalism that’s undermining America’s Greatness, since dental hygiene professors can’t possibly have an anti-American ideology.
What happened around the Great Depression sounds the same as our now Great Recession. This time the only thing we have to fear are the strangeness of the abstractions used to represent that fear…
The dirty, drab dilapidation… with its uncurtained, broken windows and unrepaired roofs, but with idle crowds roving the streets, bespeaks the loss of private ownership which always fosters personal interest and initiative…Of course, a hospital we visited bragged of forty abortions performed that morning, and an “educational” movie viewed by a friend showed pictorially, to a mixed audience, old and new abortion methods and the benefits of the latter…The present economic depression or “collapse” is not as unprecedented as was the era of prosperity which just preceded it. No other country at any time has ever had a standard of living, a condition of general welfare, to compare with ours. Since our struggling little thirteen colonies pioneered through to the foundation of this nation, we have survived wars and any depressions (or “collapses”) without halting our upward march and with- out ceasing to be the mecca of the whole world. Immigration barriers have been necessary to hold back the multitudes drawn here by the opportunities and liberty offered under our form of government. Africa, South America, and other lands have soil and resources as rich, but they have lacked our government and those American principles which have inspired progress in the people of all nationalities who have come here to make America their home.
archive.org/… (Elizabeth Dilling The Red Network 1934)
Beginning in early 1933, Dilling spent twelve to eighteen hours a day for eighteen months researching and cataloging suspected subversives. Her sources included the 1920 four-volume report of the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Seditious Activities, and Representative Hamilton Fish’s 1931 report of an anti-communist investigation.
The result was The Red Network—A Who’s Who and Handbook of Radicalism for Patriots, hailed with irony in The New Republic as a “handy, compact reference work.” The first half of the 352-page book was a collection of essays, mostly copied from Red Revolution.
The second half contained descriptions of more than 1,300 “Reds” (including international figures such as Albert Einstein and Chiang Kai-shek), and more than 460 organizations described as “Communist, Radical Pacifist, Anarchist, Socialist, [or] I.W.W. controlled”.
- Far more than the Spider-Web chart of the 1920s – a chart composed by a member of the DAR that plotted suspected red-affiliated organisations with progressive individuals – The Red Network revealed the power of “guilt by association,” a tactic that would be used all too often by future Red baiters with devastating effectiveness. — Christine K. Erickson, Journal of American Studies, 2002INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR STRUGGLE AGAINST WAR: (Same as Intl. Com. for World Congress Against War.) Remain Rolland, Henri Barbusse (the honored Communist from France), Theodore Dreiser, Albert Einstein, Maxim Gorky, Heinrich Mann, Bernard Shaw, Mme. Sun Yat Sen. American Committee jor Struggle Against War: Theo. Dreiser, hon chmn.; Malcolm Cowley, chmn.; Oakley Johnson, sec.; A. A. Heller, treas. ; Sherwood Anderson, Newton Arvin, Roger Bald- win, Harry Elmer Barnes, Jos. R. Brodsky, Wini- fred Cbappell, Jos. Cohen, Ida Dailes, H. W. L. Dana, John Dos Passes, W. E. B. Du Bois, Jos. Freeman, Michael Gold, Donald Henderson, Sid- ney Hook, Joshua Kunitz, Corliss Lamont, Lola Maverick Lloyd, Robt. Morss Lovett, Pierre Lov- ing, J. C. McFarland, Rev. R. Lester Mondale, Felix Morrow, Alia Nazimova, Scott Nearing, Wm. Simons, Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, Leopold Stokowski, Belle G. Taub, Thornton Wilder, Ella Winter.
For ninety years the story of Rotha Lintorn-Orman and the BF has puzzled, shocked, and amused. It seems perverse that well-to-do young women should have assumed roles at the vanguard of a priapic antidemocratic movement just as women across the Western world began to win their long struggle for suffrage.
But perhaps the strangeness of the notion also says something about the way we expect women to behave in the political arena: women with astringent views at the poles of the political spectrum still seem to have the power to wrong-foot, despite the fact that the last century is replete with female support for causes that were meant to have been toxic to women.
Donald Trump’s run for the presidency is a piquant recent example, though the American far right has always had powerful women at the fore. Even at the peak of his malevolent powers, Stephen Bannon would struggle to outstrip Elizabeth Dilling, whose anti-Semitic, white-supremacist screeds sold in disturbingly huge numbers in the United States during the 1930s and forties.
It’s a reminder that whether we’re talking about “nasty women” or Nazi women, female engagement in politics has never been conducted solely on the plane of gender issues as we are sometimes encouraged to believe, but in the baffling three-dimensional universe that is the real world.
This is the dimensionality of a Trumpian Strategy of Tension in the post-Soviet era … the real enemies of the US are eco-terrorists and Muslims, maybe even Islamic eco-terrorists(sic).
Sanctioned and thus banned from travel to the EU for his role in the Kremlin’s Ukraine policy, the 52-year-old Surkov nevertheless popped up at recent four-way negotiations in Berlin over Ukraine, sitting at the round table next to Putin, and just one seat across from Angela Merkel. It was a very visible signal of Surkov’s importance to the Kremlin’s controversial Ukraine policy…
Surkov is widely believed to be the real author behind the pen name Natan Dubovitsky, who has written a postmodern novel and a number of short stories. In March 2014, a short story attributed to Dubovitsky called Without Sky was published, set in an imaginary future where the planet was engulfed in “world war five; the first non-linear war”.
One passage read: “The simple-hearted commanders of the past strove for victory; now, they were not so stupid. Of course, some of them acted like before and tried to retrieve the old worn-out slogans, like ‘Victory will be ours’. Sometimes it worked. But mostly, they understood war as a process; part of a process, its most acute phase, but maybe not its most important phase.”
Less than a week after the story was published, the annexation of Crimea was completed.
Lest one not think there are networks for the current strategy of tension, the archival openness of Wikileaks and its own antipathy for the surveillance state has made it an “over-the-transom” archive/source unfortunately better exploited by Russian agents, within and without the Trump campaign and its consumer targeting model.
Exploiting social division is the primary goal of non-linear information warfare as practiced by the Russians and their willing, unwitting associates elsewhere in the RW who for some reason overlap with the Ukraine crisis. More fascinating is the American exceptionalist historians’ myopia on how ethno-nationalism thrives on civil conflict. So while neo-feudalism preys on persistent social alienation, property alienation in a digital age does not have the same durability unless more fictitious financial capital becomes the coin of the realm.
Franklin Roosevelt’s words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: “I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.” Freedom and liberation are an unending task.
Umberto Eco grew up under Mussolini’s fascist regime, which “was certainly a dictatorship, but it was not totally totalitarian, not because of its mildness but rather because of the philosophical weakness of its ideology. Contrary to common opinion, fascism in Italy had no special philosophy.” It did, however, have style, “a way of dressing—far more influential, with its black shirts, than Armani, Benetton, or Versace would ever be.” The dark humor of the comment indicates a critical consensus about fascism.
Nevertheless, historical priority does not seem to me a sufficient reason to explain why the word fascism became a synecdoche, that is, a word that could be used for different totalitarian movements.
This is not because fascism contained in itself, so to speak in their quintessential state, all the elements of any later form of totalitarianism. On the contrary, fascism had no quintessence. Fascism was a fuzzy totalitarianism, a collage of different philosophical and political ideas, a beehive of contradictions…
All this does not mean that Italian fascism was tolerant. Gramsci was put in prison until his death; the opposition leaders Giacomo Matteotti and the brothers Rosselli were assassinated; the free press was abolished, the labor unions were dismantled, and political dissenters were confined on remote islands. Legislative power became a mere fiction and the executive power (which controlled the judiciary as well as the mass media) directly issued new laws, among them laws calling for preservation of the race (the formal Italian gesture of support for what became the Holocaust).
- The cult of tradition. “One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements.”
- The rejection of modernism. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
- The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
- Disagreement is treason. “The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.”
- Fear of difference. “The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
- Appeal to social frustration. “One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
- The obsession with a plot. “The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.”
- The enemy is both strong and weak. “By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
- Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.”
- Contempt for the weak. “Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”
- Everybody is educated to become a hero. “In Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.”
- Machismo and weaponry. “Machismo implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
- Selective populism. “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
- Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. “All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”
The notion of fascism is not unlike Wittgenstein’s notion of a game.
A game can be either competitive or not, it can require some special skill or none, it can or cannot involve money.
Games are different activities that display only some “family resemblance,” as Wittgenstein put it.
Consider the following sequence:
1 2 3 4
ABC BCD CDE DEF
Suppose there is a series of political groups in which group one is characterized by the features abc, group two by the features bcd, and so on. Group two is similar to group one since they have two features in common; for the same reasons three is similar to two and four is similar to three. Notice that three is also similar to one (they have in common the feature c). The most curious case is presented by four, obviously similar to three and two, but with no feature in common with one. However, owing to the uninterrupted series of decreasing similarities between one and four, there remains, by a sort of illusory transitivity, a family resemblance between four and one.
Fascism became an all-purpose term because one can eliminate from a fascist regime one or more features, and it will still be recognizable as fascist.
- Take away imperialism from fascism and you still have Franco and Salazar.
- Take away colonialism and you still have the Balkan fascism of the Ustashes.
- Add to the Italian fascism a radical anti-capitalism (which never much fascinated Mussolini) and you have Ezra Pound.
- Add a cult of Celtic mythology and the Grail mysticism (completely alien to official fascism) and you have one of the most respected fascist gurus, Julius Evola.
Crimes against property will be the new target with the hierarchy of ownership the measure of punishment. The recent pseudo-sovereignty action of Mormon snack terrorists in the western US (Bundyism) only frames attempts to delegitimatize federal ownership in order to loot the national trust. Such collective national wealth gets redistributed like other public wealth like the social security trust fund or health services to smaller yet still oppressive state-level privatized entities.
One goal of Utah legislators has been to appropriate Federal lands. Utah’s wealth at the state level becomes Church wealth in terms of representation in a state where Church and State are separated by 0.8 miles. Eco-terrorism of a left bent is a threat to that property ownership even as the greater domestic terror threats are to democracy itself by the apocalyptic RW dominionist sovereignty groups.
But wait, aren’t the real threats from Syrian refugees and (all) Muslims … because borders? Consistency in the post-truth era goes the way of all disposables.
Targets will be misdirected and the public disinformed in the coming years as social division continues along ethno-nationalist lines. The DAPL represents one example of a state, ND, using localized paramilitary power to support corporate aims and further marginalize minority cultures and native peoples.
The attempts to homogenize and normalize #BLM (sic) as a domestic terror threat in contrast to the actual nature of violence and crime is an abstraction that will gain greater distortion in the coming years. There still remains a family resemblance.
…and family resemblances remain… as comparison is not about uniqueness as much as it is comparatively differential as a diagnostic formulation. “…the best research will combine both nomothetic and idiographic approaches, and both quantitative and qualitative research methods. “
In the field of psychiatry, psychology and clinical psychopathology, idiographic criterion is a method (also called historical method) which involves evaluating past experiences and selecting and comparing information about a specific individual or event.