‘Town Hall’ Fascism in the USA: Clear and Present Danger

This article is so full of crap, I don’t know where to begin. (As an aside, I know nothing about historian Robert Paxton, who’s works apparently provide the roadmap our intrepid writer is following, but I suspect that his book paints things in a left/right paradigm, with the right being guilty of creating fascist states. Being no historian, I can’t say he’s wrong, but I would like to see another perspective on the matter.) Nearly every “crime” or “indicator of fascism” that the author accuses the right of is also something coming out of the left from groups like ACORN and SEIU. As for “brownshirts” coming about, again, Obama’s plan to have all school-aged children serve the state through mandatory acts of volunteerism has more of a chance of being abused for “brownshirt” purposes than anything the right have going on.

The right is currently outnumbered by the left, but the left can’t assume they (the right) are down and out. The best thing to do is point out how the weakened right is somehow able to create their fascist state in spite of the left’s overwhelming majority. Apparently, it’s not really fascism if it comes from the left; only right-wingers can be fascists. And while everyone is busy watching the right to make sure they aren’t able to institute their fascist state, the left will quietly implement fascism on their own. Obama is just finishing what Bush started, and his kool-aid drinking worshipers are too intoxicated on his messianic goodness to realize what is going on. Once it happens, most of the faithful still won’t be able to acknowledge what has happened.

From Progressives For Obama:

By Sara Robinson


AUGUST 6, 2009 – All through the dark years of the Bush Administration, progressives watched in horror as Constitutional protections vanished, nativist rhetoric ratcheted up, hate speech turned into intimidation and violence, and the president of the United States seized for himself powers only demanded by history’s worst dictators. With each new outrage, the small handful of us who’d made ourselves experts on right-wing culture and politics would hear once again from worried readers: Is this it? Have we finally become a fascist state? Are we there yet?

And every time this question got asked, people like Chip Berlet and Dave Neiwert and Fred Clarkson and yours truly would look up from our maps like a parent on a long drive, and smile a wan smile of reassurance. “Wellll…we’re on a bad road, and if we don’t change course, we could end up there soon enough. But there’s also still plenty of time and opportunity to turn back. Watch, but don’t worry. As bad as this looks: no — we are not there yet.”

In tracking the mileage on this trip to perdition, many of us relied on the work of historian Robert Paxton, who is probably the world’s pre-eminent scholar on the subject of how countries turn fascist. In a 1998 paper published in The Journal of Modern History [1], Paxton argued that the best way to recognize emerging fascist movements isn’t by their rhetoric, their politics, or their aesthetics. Rather, he said, mature democracies turn fascist by a recognizable process, a set of five stages that may be the most important family resemblance that links all the whole motley collection of 20th Century fascisms together. According to our reading of Paxton’s stages, we weren’t there yet. There were certain signs — one in particular — we were keeping an eye out for, and we just weren’t seeing it.

Read the rest:



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