It is of little personal satisfaction to be vindicated for the subversivepreacher post of May 5th (http://subversivepreacher.org/to-republicans-i-know-now-is-the-time/) naming the racism, misogyny, and xenophobia of Donald Trump. His rhetoric was explicitly revelatory of our human darkness well before his remarks about the judge hearing a lawsuit against him. But now the mainstream media has finally climbed on board and is beginning to do its job of reporting.
There can be little sense of relief in this shift because two million people still voted for Trump this week, even after he made the remarks that Republican leaders defined as “racist.” Amazingly Newt Gingrich, one of the most cynical and self-serving politicians of the past thirty years, has also backed away from Trump and labeled his remarks racist. Gingrich is a smart political tactician and student of history, so his movement away from Trump after flirting with a personal alliance is a good sign a shift is really taking place – like flies gathering to lay eggs in decay.
Even conservative Republican, “Morning Joe” Scarborough, has climbed down off his Trump friendship and finally lambasted the candidate and his fellow Republicans for racism and collaboration with racism. This and other public declarations are good signs of growing vigilance against our darker nature as a people and society.
But I want to call out another sector of the society that has not been named yet.
Fascism in Germany was made possible, and indeed defined by, the collaboration between the Nazi movement and German industrialists. Once the Nazis were in power, it was not merely a racial and political ideology that consumed the nation it was also a capitalist ideology that worshipped the marriage of state power and industrial wealth. Hitler was good for capitalism in Germany and those who could and would capitalize and produce what the state deemed most valuable became exceedingly wealthy and influential.
The point is that fascism in Germany was aided and abetted, in fact made possible, by capitalism. That is not to say that all capitalism is fascist, simply that fascism by its nature is a capitalist ideology.
With or without Donald Trump, we have a multitude of owners of capital in this country with deeply racist, misogynistic, and classist self-interests that seek to dominate and control public and political institutions. The ½ Percent Class, those with the most capital and control, are in fact dominated by people and organizations that fund conservative causes – some of them right-wing conservative movements.
Bernie Sanders reminded us of something Saul Alinsky taught: power is organized money and organized people, and sometimes both. The Internet allowed Bernie to organize people and money and so mobilize small donations into huge amounts sufficient to run a strong campaign. That is a new power that has now been uncovered in our struggle for a progressive society. If we do not want the ½ Percent Class to dominate us then we have to pool our resources just as we pool our votes to defeat them.
The other reminder about fascism worth noting in 2016 is the double-edged reality about the Internet and social media.
Should fascists ever come to power in the United States, rounding up the opposition would take days instead of years. Facebook, Twitter, and all the other Internet outlets for organizing and sharing opinions would become a mega-vacuum for tyranny. Just as Rome’s exceptional roadways made possible the expansion of the empire but then became arteries of invasion by the world beyond, so too could social media become our road to ruin. I do not say that in a paranoid or alarmist sense, simply to point out the stakes are higher than we imagine. The Patriot Act, and what was allowed in the aftermath of 9/11, should serve as a warning about how fragile an open society is. The struggle never ends.