Updated: May 1, 2021
Forgive the informality of this post - part historical review, part pleas for conscious consumerism, part potential for debate - I think I'm trying to accomplish too much. But nevertheless, here I go as my hopes for a sober January go out the window and I spend time and energy on ranting about something that has alarmed me for years.
I've always thought that you should learn history not because you're doomed to repeat it, but because you need to learn the patterns. Nothing ever changes, but that does not mean you ought not to try. The world needs fighters and not fatalists. So I can't stay quiet, the world is too much.
Surely, the lens of white privilege is an important one to view the storming of the Capitol under. The police have shown unusual restraint and the race of the terrorists play into it. If they were any person of color, they would have been killed. You get no debate from me - I want to be very clear about that.
Secondly - continuing to debate the role of police in our society is so crucial. I've not said much, as I can fully form thoughts the world seems to move on without me, but defund the police and do it now. Dear God - and spare me the bad apple narrative. I've never known a group of people who think that that they are more entitled to a job.
So - I'm with everyone.
(1) White privilege is on display
(2) Some of the Capitol police are showing their true colors now.
All white people have privilege and benefit from it in various ways. The more conscious of us who seek to try to redistribute privilege in meager ways but still benefit from less profiling from police and more positive assumptions. All white people are privileged, but not all white people are fascists.
The Capitol storming is alt-right fascism. Called it white alt-right fascism if you want, and it's not that I'm discounting their race, I'm emphasizing their ideology (of which the Christian identity movement plays a huge role). Fascism does not deserve to be platformed but must be understood. Fascism is incredibly dangerous and it's tolerated by a lot of people to various degrees, and that has to stop for American democracy to survive. Write a post that gets 2 likes and donate a humble $10 to the Southern Poverty Law Center, but spread the word when you see it, because fascism thrives when people do very little and simply "tolerate" it.
The history of fascism is too long to be covered in this meager blog post that said 2 people above will likely read. And likely, there are more qualified people than me that can do a better job. But nevertheless, I shall scribble a little on the subject.
Let's talk about the Weimar Republic, the name given to the German government between 1918 and the start of Nazi Germany. Surprising to hear by some, but it was a very liberal place. I digress to the Holocaust Museum's quote.
Urban centers like Berlin became some of the most socially liberal places in Europe, much to the chagrin of conservative elites. Berlin had a thriving nightlife full of bars and cabarets. There were between 65 and 80 gay bars and 50 lesbian bars in the capital alone. Sexual liberation was a very real phenomenon, complete with a gay and lesbian rights movement led by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld who ran an Institute for Sexual Science.
The first books that the Nazis burned were Magnus Hirschfield's research on transgenders. This is no coincidence because one of the main tenets of fascism as identified by Umberto Eco is a rejection of modernism. The world was changing and fascists didn't understand it, and felt left behind. Hatred of transgenders today is one of the core parts of alt-right extremism.
Just in case you were wondering what was happening in this photo - Alex Jones is making fun of trans people and equating it with being "trans-zool-agocial". He's pretending to be a dog.
Eco's work regarding fascist tenets is so crucial as dictionary definitions can only gloss the surface of the deep seeded prongs that bring about these movements that destroy democracies. I recently posted the 14 tenets on my Facebook page - I'll spare you and allow you to read them here and focus your attention one number three - or the Capitol storming, in a nutshell.
The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
History repeats itself, so learn history to learn the patterns.
Fascism has been rising for years online in America. It's not dramatic, it's not alarmist, it's not the left simply just being the left and being outraged at everything. Gamergate being a prime example. When their threats of violence against women got them kicked off of 4chan, they didn't repent or apologize. They simply went to 8chan. Increasing radicalization and polarization of this platform has spurred several shootings, including the Christchurch shooting. Hate crime is on the rise in America, its highest level in over a decade because its easier than ever to spread.
In part why is this on the rise? Because outlandish claims are profitable. The #StopHateForProfit campaign was not the left being merely sensitive, it was a plea for a review of these monetization issues. YouTube's documented issues with their algorithms that proliferate hate and conspiracy theories has perpetuated deep issues. Facebook is the furthest thing from a saint and is one of the contributing factors to genocide in Myanmar.
People are given wide access to content creation tools and little censorship, because the free speech movement is just a Nazi conspiracy. It's not that free speech is bad - it's the very right that allows me to right all this. It's that if you see someone call themselves a "free speech advocate" they likely have ties to the alt right. They likely want an excuse to either spread hate or disinformation to achieve their goals. Taken from this linked article -
All told, in September the coup fabrication was shared more than 100,000 times from public Facebook pages, generating many millions of interactions and video views, according to the data source CrowdTangle. Alongside Bongino and Fox News, there were small drivers of traffic like Long Islanders for Trump, the Silent Majority Group and a county Republican organization in Oregon, as well as private groups with thousands of members that CrowdTangle doesn’t capture. By the end of the month, the fraction of Republicans who were not “confident” that the election “will be conducted in a fair and equal way” hit 65 percent, higher than it was for independents or Democrats, in an NBC News/SurveyMonkey tracking poll.
And dare I be any more the bearer of bad news - but right wing fascism is likely only going to get worse. Increasing polarization is more than just our way of life - it's become profitable. Ben Shapiro announcing he's going to start his own platform service to stream things that aren't "leftist" and things like Parler perpetuate bubbles that radicalize people even more. Capitalism makes these things possible while people who throw "socialist" at AOC as an insult remain unchecked in their assumptions.
Have you ever seen someone comment something like, "communist" and "socialist"? These things are just nouns, but they're often thrown out with such a disdain that they're meant as an insult. Because in America, capitalism is a pure good while socialism is evil. Dare I say - we return to Eco's work and tenet number six.
Appeal to social frustration. “One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
No wonder this country hates poor people so much. If everyone does better, how are we going to know who's "winning"?
I wish this was the part where I inserted all the solutions to fascism. Sad to say, it is not.
I have one suggestion though - remain critical. The goal of fascism is to achieve a unified consensus and shift the nature of reality itself to achieve their goals, and you're making a mistake if you're thinking some people do not want to achieve those goals. It's such a false sense of security.
Yes, some people really truly hate immigrants to a violent degree.
Yes, they hate transgenders and they don't understand the issue with proper pronoun identification.
Yes, some think that women should stay in the kitchen.
Please get out of your liberal bubble and recognize their hatred is real but that doesn't mean it's valid. You do not have to platform it, recognize it, speak into it, or give any sort of one to one consideration. Unlike President Agent Orange, I'm not saying that there are "good" terrorists on the Capitol right now.
I've seen so many statuses that start with some variant of, "I can't imagine having that type of hate in their heart..." and while I applaud your spirit, I hate your naivety.
They said they were going to do this, and so, they did it. It's not to be respected but it's not to be considered isolated.
We spent too long calling Donald "Drumf" and laughing at the orange man, but no, he was dangerous from day one and infantilizing him didn't make him less dangerous, it just made him a meme in liberal circles. And the alt-right has often very poorly disguised their thoughts as Pepe memes to give slight plausible deniability to their intentions.
And for the love of ALL that is good and HOLY in this world, do not think that Biden resolves all of our issues. No one man will.
Donald Trump is a horrible symptom of this culture, but the Oklahoma City Bombing (motivated by a far right fascist) occurred years before he rose to prominence.
Stay alert and focused, be fearful but not afraid to speak out.