Trump is a nationalist, a racist, a misogynist, a climate-change denier, and a billionaire corporate bully.
Typically, these pro-Nazis were hardened anti-Semites and anti-Communists. Many peddled conspiracy theories about a sinister connection between Jews and Communists to take over the world – with Fascism the only force able to prevent it.
Media baron Lord Rothermere – the Rupert Murdoch of his day – was a staunch supporter of Mussolini, Hitler, and Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists. Germany had been ‘falling under the control of alien elements,’ Rothermere explained. ‘Israelites of international attachments were insinuating themselves into key positions in the German administrative machine. It is from such abuses that Hitler has freed Germany.’
Tory support for Fascism was based on class interest. Hitler had smashed the German labour movement, destroyed democracy, and created a totalitarian dictatorship in which all forms of resistance were crushed by police terror. In consequence, profits doubled and wages fell. This counter-revolutionary class war – for that is what it was – was dressed up in medieval blood-and-soil mysticism.
Except that the fancy dress took on a life of its own. Fascist fantasy about nation and race triggered a world war in which 60 million died – the great majority of them in fascist genocides in either Eastern Europe (under the German Nazis) or China (under the Japanese Militarists).
Tory ‘appeasement’ – as it was called – paved the way for Fascism’s world war on humanity. This has special relevance now. The Tories have invited Trump to Britain for the D-Day commemorations. My guess is that the irony is completely lost on them.
As Brexit Britain prepares to retreat into a nationalist-racist silo, as Fortress Europe pays Libyan warlords to operate gunboats and concentration camps to stop migrants crossing the Med, as uniformed thugs meet ‘the wretched of the earth’ with clubs, dogs, and teargas on the US-Mexican border, the Tories invite Trump to be guest of honour at their D-Day commemorations. They seem to have forgotten that in 1944 the Waffen-SS were on the other side.
Appeasement, of course, reflects class interest. Corporate Britain has a ‘special relationship’ with Corporate America. May has justified the invitation to Trump on the grounds that the UK and US ‘have a deep and enduring partnership that is rooted in our common history and shared interests’. And what are those ‘shared interests’? ‘The state visit,’ explained May, ‘is an opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security, and defence, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead.’ Or, decoded, it’s about profit, empire, and the arms trade.
Forget the vexed question of whether or not Trump is a fascist. It is the wrong question. Fascism is not a thing, fixed and fast-frozen, it is a process, a political trajectory.
For one thing, in the early 21st century, with labour movements broken-backed and the organised Left tiny, fragmented, and riddled with sectarianism, you don’t need to march down the high street in uniform with banners and clubs. You don’t need a paramilitary ‘battering-ram’ to smash the opposition. You can advance directly on state power as an elected right-wing ‘populist’ in a suit.
Except they are not ‘populists’ of course. They are the opposite. They are funded by big business, they have an ultra-neoliberal corporate programme, and they draw upon deep wells of ignorance, bigotry, and psychotic rage at the base of society. They are the diametric opposite of the common people organising, mobilising, and fighting for their own emancipation. The diametric opposite of ‘people power’.
The nationalism and racism, the xenophobia and scapegoating, the misogyny and homophobia, and all the other sewage they are siphoning from the social depths, this has as its purpose deception, disorientation, and division – so that the people do not understand their common condition and shared interests – so that they do not unite in struggle from below against the corporations, the elites, and a failed political system – so that they do not become active agents of history, but remain its passive victims.
A Clear and Present Danger
Fascism is a clear and present danger. The global surge of nationalism and racism represented by Trump has the political function of neutralising resistance on climate catastrophe, growing militarisation, and the social crisis. It has the function of further weakening the labour movement, the social movements, and the Left.
Trump is a nationalist, a racist, a misogynist, a climate-change denier, and a billionaire corporate bully. The Tories don’t care. The Tories have a long history of appeasing dictators, bigots, and thugs. What matters, in a Tory Party increasingly dominated by the Far Right, is their ‘special relationship’. So they are making a second attempt to organise a state visit.
Last time they were defeated. The people took control of the streets of the capital, and the Tories were forced to move Trump around the countryside in a helicopter.
Now they are trying again. They want the full works: Buckingham Palace reception, address to Parliament, carriage ride down the Mall. Trump is to be normalised and mainstreamed. Make no mistake: if this state visit goes ahead as planned, it will be a carnival of reaction. It will underwrite the nationalism and racism of Brexit. It will embolden the Tory Right, the Brexit Party, UKIP, and every bar-room bigot who wants to punch a Muslim, a migrant, or a feminist.
It’s our job to stop them. We must take control of our streets so they cannot use them to put Trump and all he represents on a pedestal. We must imitate the brilliant example of Extinction Rebellion, but multiply it ten-fold. We must block the streets, create mayhem, and turn Trump’s visit into a shambles for them and a carnival of diversity and resistance for us.
When the popular militias defended Madrid against Franco’s Fascists in 1936, they adopted the slogan No Pasaran! When the people of the East End – Cockney bus drivers, Irish dockers, Jewish tailors, and every other variety of the richly tapestried London working class – defended Cable Street against Mosley’s Fascists later that same year, the streets rang with the English translation: ‘They Shall Not Pass!’
Let it be our slogan in 2019. Nationalists, racists, and fascists: They Shall Not Pass! All out to Stop Trump on 4 June! See updates on Together Against Trump events…
Neil Faulkner is the author, with Samir Dathi, Phil Hearse, and Seema Syeda, of Creeping Fascism: what it is and how to fight it (Public Reading Rooms).
Creeping Fascism: What It Is and How To Fight It
By Neil Faulkner with Samir Dathi, Phil Hearse and Seema Syeda
How can we stop a ‘second wave’ of fascism returning us to the darkest times? How do we prevent the history of the 1930s repeating itself?