Fascism alert?

fascism alert

Dave Neiwert, researcher and author of books about the far right, in Crooks and Liars

Are we looking at an outbreak of fascist behavior on a large scale?

My own take: Real fascism is always violent. We’re getting some light violence around the edges here, but fascism always openly embraces the ethos of violence, and that’s not present here … yet. But we’re getting closer all the time, and the town-hall-forum hooliganism — particularly the growing presence of right-wing extremists in their ranks — is definitely a significant step down that road. We may not be there, but we are cruising the parking lot.

Much as I respect Neiwert’s tireless efforts in researching and exposing the far right, isn’t this a bit over the top? The US just elected its first black president and the Congress is now Democratic, hardly signs of a growing fascist movement with any real strength. If anything, the country is going in the opposite direction.

Like the left has learned to its chagrin, without the support of the middle class, your movement will go nowhere except on the fringes. The far right doesn’t have the middle class and never will. Could things get weird and do we need to confront these bozos? Absolutely. But the US is nowhere near fascism.

Besides, as in the 60’s when left radicalism pushed the middle class to the right, the same process could happen here, with the middle, appalled by the right, moving to the left.


  1. I’ve long been a fan of Neiwert’s work, though not necessarily his trolls, though in one form or another we’re all Trolls. His colleague Sara Robinson writes: “This is the sign we [scholarly experts who track the growth of fascism] were waiting for — the one that tells us that yes, kids: we are there now. America’s conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country’s legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America’s streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won’t do their political or economic bidding.

    This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins.”

    I miss that old school bus I had back in the Reagan era.

    • A few of the conservative semi-elites may have thrown in with them. But it’s hardly all of them, is it?

      Conservatives used to rant in the 30’s that communist control of labor unions meant we’d all be living under communism soon. Didn’t happen.

      Neiwert presents one scenario. Others exist too.

  2. Agreed – from my vantage point, many conservative elites are appalled by the town hall disruptions and the truther crazyness. Not even a plurality, much less a majority, are going along. So I think the fascism talk is premature.

    Doesn’t mean we won’t see some Tim McVeigh/Eric Rudolph-type insanity before it’s all over.

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