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There are several notions that arise for me. First, the fact that
austerity, be it liberal (as was the case under the Versailles treaty) or
neoliberal (as was/is/will be in the case of the American capital), always
has fostered the growth of fascism. In this sense Trump prepares the way
for the growth of fascism. Second, we are on the verge of a set of
developments within the Supreme Court that have profoundly awful
implications for minorities and women, including gerrymandering, crushing
of unions, and outlawing abortion, all policy hallmarks of fascism. Third,
there is a wide spectrum in the history of fascism in terms of rhetoric and
policy. Yes, Mussolini started out as a secularist and anti-clerical
politician who plagiarized major socialist policy goals. But by the end he
was invoking theocratic concepts. Furthermore, Hitler was fundamentally
different in his approach to the German Christian churches, from the start
he took advantage of the conservative inclinations in those polities to
actualize his gains. He was able to take advantage of the long history of
antisemitism in the Polish Catholic Church to actualize the Nazi holocaust
in a fashion that was far more impactful than in other countries where he
encountered resistance.

Robert Paxton, whose study on fascism is undeniably the most refined and
mature I have read, said the following in a piece I wrote for Washington
Babylon (https://wp.me/p7NYU8-C8):

There are 5 stages of fascism:

   1. *Intellectual exploration*, where disillusionment with popular
   democracy manifests itself in discussions of lost national vigor
   2. *Rooting*, where a fascist movement, aided by political deadlock and
   polarization, becomes a player on the national stage
   3. *Arrival to power*, where conservatives seeking to control rising
   leftist opposition invite the movement to share power
   4. *Exercise of power*, where the movement and its charismatic leader
   control the state in balance with state institutions such as the police and
   traditional elites such as the clergy and business magnates.
   5. *Radicalization or entropy*, where the state either becomes
   increasingly radical, as did Nazi Germany, or slips into traditional
   authoritarian rule, as did Fascist Italy.

Paxton tells me in correspondence “I think we can say that between a
fascist regime and the Trump administration there are similarities and
differences. The similarities were already apparent during the campaign.
Trump et al. employed campaign themes and techniques that recall fascism.
The classical fascist movements based their appeal on a diagnosis of
decline, caused by internal and external enemies, and remedial only by
strong executive measures. Trump and his associates made heavy use of
themes of decline, internal enemies, and forceful action, and these
continue to be the justification for unlimited executive power. Some other
themes that recall fascism include nationalist disdain for any kind of
international obligation or institution, placing the alleged needs of the
nation above the rule of law, and tolerating violent action against
dissenters. Trump and Bannon believe that the executive has unlimited
power, derived from “the people,” and that press criticism is treasonous.”

“Alongside these similarities, there is a major difference. The classic
fascist regimes set up highly regimented economies, in which business was
subordinated to national needs. These corporatist economies included an
early form of welfare state, though independent labor power had been
crushed. Trump and his associates, including the GOP majority in Congress,
want extreme deregulation. Whereas fascists subordinated individual
interests to an alleged national community interest, Trump and the GOP want
to subordinate community interests to private interests, meaning the
interests of the wealthy. Fascist regimes had high, progressive income
taxes. The Trump administration’s commitment to deregulation and to market
solutions to economic and social problems is altogether opposed to fascist
regimentation, with its colored shirts and its obligatory organizations
(Hitler Youth etc). Trump and the GOP seem to want to punish the
‘improvident’ poor, whereas the fascists promoted a national community,
purged of its dissidents and unassimilable minorities, in where all the
‘real’ members of the ‘volk’ would be taken care of. Fascism was
communitarian, Trumpism is individualistic. Using the fascist label in an
indiscriminate fashion conceals these basic economic and social goals, and
so keeps us from understanding the Trump administration.”

Best regards,

Andrew Stewart

Message: 1
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2018 13:50:06 -0400
From: Louis Proyect <l...@panix.com>
To: marxism@lists.csbs.utah.edu
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Is Russia Really ?Fascist?? A Comment on
        Timothy Snyder | PONARS Eurasia
Message-ID: <97f384eb-aac0-6c47-4c44-6eecb9739...@panix.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed

On 9/9/18 1:39 PM, Ralph Johansen via Marxism wrote:
> That's quite plainly not the case with Trump.

Yup. Trump has very little in common with fascism economically. Despite
all the nationalist rhetoric, he is just the latest in a string of
politicians going back to Reagan and Thatcher whose goal it is to reduce
government spending to just about zero except for the military and the
cops. The tax cuts should have made that clear.

I wrote about this in CounterPunch in October, 2017:

For all of the millions of words written about the fascist danger posed
by Donald Trump, there are very few devoted to an actual analysis of
fascist economics both as ideology and state policy. Instead there is a
fixation on marchers in Charlottesville chanting ?blood and soil? or
other Nazi era memes. Before considering whether people like Donald
Trump or Steve Mnuchin seek to impose a fascist dictatorship on the USA,
it might be useful to take a look at some of the demands found in the
Manifesto of the Fascist party founded by Benito Mussolini in 1919 that
was co-written by labor syndicalist Alceste De Ambris and Filippo
Tommaso Marinetti, the author of the 1909 Futurist Manifesto that had a
powerful impact on Russian art in the 1920s.

+ A strong progressive tax on capital (envisaging a ?partial
expropriation? of concentrated wealth)

+ The quick enactment of a law of the state that sanctions an eight-hour
workday for all workers

+ A minimum wage

+ The participation of workers? representatives in the functions of
industry commissions

+ To show the same confidence in the labor unions (that prove to be
technically and morally worthy) as is given to industry executives or
public servants

+ The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and
the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous
liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor

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