We are closer to a crisis of class rule. Trump & Co., which now includes the Republican Party that Donald J. Trump owns and controls, used his convention to accuse the Democratic Party “Establishment” led by the Biden/Harris ticket – it does indeed exist – of a socialist political agenda that will destroy our democracy from within. This was the main rocket in Trump’s convention booster. There is simply no way to minimize the clear and present danger now before us.
The whole convention was the most egregious display of extra-legal and, therefore, criminal behavior by any president in our history. The fascist demagogue he is, Trump used raw power to orchestrate a political convention that was unconstitutional for numerous reasons. We can readily see how fascism bores from within the hollowed out carcass of liberal-capitalist democracy – or not.
Yes, friends, it is this bad. You know it’s bad when normally calm people are dwelling on the plausibility of Trump & Co.’s version of “dirty tricks” before November 3, or Trump’s refusal to accept defeat legally in a manner that would not square with someone who as president gets to hatch illegalities routinely and without consequences.
Four days of the RNC demonstrated one important fact of American history. Trump & Co.’s blatant and reductionist effort to win over “everyday” people – small businessmen, farmers, assembly line workers, cooks, nurses, and even Maine lobster fishermen – recalls the nativist and racist slogan of “100 percent Americanism” perpetrated by Republican elites in government and in business during the 1920s. It was also the mantra of the five million white, Protestant men who joined the second Ku Klux Klan between 1920 and 1925, and which flourished beyond the South and throughout the Midwest. Historians have proved that the Klan was made primarily from the middle classes.
This anti-communist crusade is far deeper and consequential than the witch hunt for spies and traitors in the State Department during the early 1950s led by Sen. Joe McCarthy, a drunken sod and salient predecessor of Trump, whose fascist vulgarities were on display daily in the meeting rooms and hallways of Congress. Trump’s war on communism is total by comparison as it aims at an enemy lurking in all areas of life.
This is the conspiracy we will now hear about routinely from Trump & Co. Unlike McCarthy, Trump doesn’t need the Soviet Union, Stalin, or the international communist conspiracy to conspire with Americans to commit acts of treason. He’s got “Bolshevik Bernie” and his band of socialist conspirators who have taken over the Democratic Party and are using Joe Biden as the “empty vessel” he is. They’re trying to destroy our way of life and they don’t need anyone else to do it.
This is classic fascist fearmongering and history is the judge.
Our world is indeed turned upside down. For one thing, we now know that lots of money can’t buy a working brain required for a man to be president. Could you imagine a female counterpart? Think about all those millions of Trumpsters who surely lack The Boss’s political acumen and you have a conflagration that could consume us before we know it. This happened in Germany for much of 1932, leading up to Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in January 1933. A few months later, the Nazis opened Dachau Prison for political prisoners of all stripes.
The horrible truth is that Trumpism, the clearest political expression of American fascism to date, will not end with a Biden/Harris win at the polls on November 3. Fascist processes long generated by Wall Street and Big Business have long fermented in the bowels of civil society. Now they’re in our faces politically. They were certainly in mine during four days of watching Fox’s version of the onslaught.
How Strong Are Our Minds and Stomachs?
So now you know why so few of us manage to preserve our sanity when we attempt to penetrate the masquerade that has been a hallmark of American fascism since its origins in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s.
Trump’s convention was presented to us by simpleminded architects as a spectacle. It failed miserably in that respect and Trump knew it would unless he made at least one entrance every day. The Boss had to pump up The Show just like Hitler’s fiery speeches did at mass rallies to counter the gloom of a crushing depression and political crisis. Nevertheless, if you had watched and listened as carefully as millions did “The Voice” you’d have grasped how this supreme work of slop topped in red, white and blue froth is oh so tasty to those who have long been putting it in their mouths.
Scary, friends, don’t you think? I’m ready to run for the hills now.
Fascist processes that brought Trump to power do not dissolve as long as capitalism exists. They ebb and flow given the course of a general crisis of the entire system, bringing some to coalescence, and then to others, all intensifying until they materialize into a distinct fascist trajectory. This is what we have now, a clear and present danger if there ever was one, and far worse than anything we could find in any Tom Clancy novel. This is not fiction. It may seem that way if you’re losing your marbles. But it’s not.
The rule of finance capital is on the line. Pandemic has triggered an even deeper and consequential, acute phase of an ongoing crisis that is now threatening the existence of Pax Americana, the title of historian and author Ronald Steel’s landmark 1967 book that described America’s “Cold War Empire.”
That’s why Vice President Pence ended his acceptance speech Wednesday night by declaring that this election is the most important ever in the history of the country because the choice comes down to “whether America remains America.” For everyday Americans, Pence declared, Biden’s candidacy is the “Trojan Horse” built and deployed by the radical left, the socialists, the anarchists, and yeah, they won’t say it, but those blacks out in the streets who are burning up their own shit, but hell that doesn’t matter because it’s their shit and we never cared about them anyway.
In all this malarkey is the one true anchor, anti-communism. Pence told us that Biden’s election will surely bring “socialism and decline.” Trump said the same the following night. The election comes down to a simple choice of one or the other; capitalism or socialism, freedom or dictatorship, white or rye.
Such fascist rhetoric aimed at creating a climate of fear in the minds of white people actually conceals the larger pile of shit that is the thinking of such fanatics, especially the Fox News cheerleaders who make Hitler’s henchmen and his master propagandist of Nazi skullduggery, Joseph Goebbels, seem like the second squad of an efficient killing machine. If you listened critically to the nightly rants of Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, among others who make up the trough at Fox, this is a crude synopsis of what they blathered over four days:
- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are powerless because Bernie Sanders, aka “Bolshevik Bernie,” and radical socialists are destroying America. But the socialists are aligned with Big Business because they’re elites, too. Actually, they’re one in the same. Democrats whose policies have profited the rich living in the big cities are rewarding the anarchists and criminals by doing nothing because, well, they’re really in it together. This threatens the safety and well-being of middle-class Americans in the suburbs, all solid workers, enterprising businessmen, responsible and worthy citizens and, most important, real Christians, who have forged their versions of the American Dream in the Midwest and the South. Their America is under siege by the socialist left.
- Cities are ablaze and beset by anarchists in the streets who have bulldozed peaceful protesters, looting and burning, and facing off with local police whose hands are tied. Democrat mayors and governors refuse to restore law and order for the public good because they are in league with Black Lives Matter, which is supported by the rich and Big Business. Can you follow this?
- All Joe Biden can do is stay in the basement and talk about the pandemic. If he comes out, he has to face the all-powerful Trump. Even Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want Biden to debate Trump because she knows Joe will go down by TKO no later than Round 2.
- The Party of Lincoln is now the Party of All under Trump’s great leadership. The mythic righteousness of the Great Emancipator has passed to an even humbler man of the people who unlike Abe did not even want to be president. Yet he rose to the occasion and saved our nation from total collapse. And now because of his spectacular achievements over the last three years, the socialists, anarchists, and criminals in the streets backed by elites and Big Business – all of them in lockstep behind Biden/Harris – want to bring it all down. Here is a radical movement that can destroy America, Trump bellowed in his self-trumpeting grand finale Thursday night.
We can go on and make many more points (I filled an old composition notebook I’ve had in my stack for years). Here is what I gleaned from four days of near faithful, constant observance.
The fascist Trump has raised political and ideological propaganda to a pinnacle seemingly all by himself. If Hitler felt utter self-grandeur at his mass rallies, what does Trump ponder about his triumphs of the will?
Here is another key feature of American fascism: It now comes in the guise of multiculturalism, surpassing its nativist and racist origins and subsumed in the greater melting pot that is American anticommunism. Look at the amazingly effective role of the Black Republican who is every bit the fascist as his white counterpart. There’s no difference between Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott because they propagate a shared delusion in capitalism, the free market, and a belief there is no race war brewing in America. No, they and fellow Republicans are saying. That’s just a smokescreen by the Democrats. What we really have is class warfare conducted by elites and the downtrodden, their allies, against the middle class. Yes, these fanatics have turned the nation upside down to save America from most Americans they see as the enemy within.
The message that America was built by ordinary, everyday people like those paraded on Fox during the convention, good folk who’ve been deceived, manipulated, defrauded or robbed blind by the elites, is the kind of fascist rhetoric that appeals most to a middle class in decay and decline when delivered by a demagogue like Trump. Our reality represents what Lewis Corey thought plausible in the United States in 1935 when he defined American fascism as the merger of the reactionary middle class and the reactionary bourgeoisie, i.e. the capitalist ruling class. This definition appeared in his seminal book, The Crisis of the Middle Class, and is corroborated by other American writers at the time in their own works, whether communists like Corey or indefatigable liberal journalists and writers like George Seldes.
This is the incoherence that makes all of it fascist. It serves the owners of our economy – the ruling class, which you could fit inside Yankee Stadium. That’s 55,000 people in a nation of 328.2 million. We’re way beyond the dazzling spectacle of capitalist paradox that concealed rising inequality and brought us closer to fascism and war at home and abroad. Fascism is the endgame of monopoly-finance capital.
When you cram all this stuff in your head and try to describe it in the most general terms, what one gets is just the opposite of dazzling light but instead a phantasmagoria, one large exhibition of shadowy images illuminated only by some magical lantern otherwise inconspicuous.
Meanwhile, daily life feels like a giant blob drawing us into it, to become the fuel for noxious gasses and then deliberate fabrications of all kinds necessary to conceal its nefarious intent, and to keep devouring everything in its path, to suck life from the landscape and its inhabitants, humans reeling from a pandemic and an unprecedented depression in the making – the onslaught of American Behemoth.
Well underway is the fascist reordering at home and the conquest of others soon to come, both required to save the regime of monopoly-finance capital that rules over us in terrorist and non-terrorist forms. Hitlerian Germany is the classic example of fascism in contemporary world history. But there is no ideal form, since fascist processes aimed at the domination of capital over society, its political institutions, and mass consciousness develop within the economic, political and cultural formations of a particular nation and, by extension, an empire it seeks to build or clings to in decline and decay.
The fascist mindset is molded when its cultivators are assured the people see no alternative to capitalism. This is why a Biden/Harris victory will stop the onslaught only in the short term. The general law of capitalist accumulation will recharge fascist processes – and at the same time drive the revolutionary alternative of socialist transition toward crystallization and real progress or, as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto, “the common ruin of the contending classes.”
As I once pointed out to students, consider what this means for the millions of Germans who followed Hitler and then met their end as Allied bombers leveled their cities.