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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/6/18

21st Century Trumpite Fascism, the Previously Published Parts 1-4, Plus a New Introduction

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"Trump/Russia" roars on apace. The more the President protests his innocence --- repeating "no collusion" and now adding to it "no obstruction" --- the more one is led to the conclusion that indeed there is a there there, perhaps a very big one. This conclusion is confirmed by the release of the now famous "Nunes Memo" ( ). Among other things, Trump claims that it completely exonerates him, a conclusion denied by even such a Tea Party Republican, as the famous Benghazi/Clinton hunter, the soon-to-be retired Congressman Trey Gowdy.

But beyond the specifics of "The Memo," what is being done with it by the President and his political and media allies indicates that this nation is on the verge of taking a major step in the direction of the open imposition of the "Functional Fascism" (and perhaps then beyond it to the real thing). I have been writing about this subject in the previous four columns in this series. In this column, following this new introduction to the subject matters of the first four, I am re-publishing them as a set.

Trump: eating the flag
Trump: eating the flag
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It is worthwhile noting that after I had written the first draft of the Introduction just below, President Trump (or is it Your Grand Leader Trump) labeled those Democrats in the Congress who gave a very tepid response to his State-of-the-Union message as "traitors." "Treason" is mentioned in Article III, Sect. 3 of the U.S. Constitution and has been defined as:

"The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies."

In the United States it carries the death penalty. And Trump has applied the term to elected Democrats who did not agree with the message he was sending in his first SOTU. He apparently equilibrates that with "betrayal of country." My oh my. That certainly has a full fascist ring to it.

And then we go further with this analysis. In part, fascism, in the definition that I use is:

"A politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; . . . no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who control the government; . . . the massive and regular use of hate, fear, racial and religious prejudice, the Big Lie technique . . ."

Trump: eating the flag
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Among the Constitutional Democracies that govern the advanced capitalist countries, the U.S. is fairly unique. The U.S. Constitution provides for a clear separation of the three powers/branches of any government: the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. In the parliamentary systems that govern most of these countries, the Executive and Legislative branches are co-mingled. The Party that has either a majority of the seats in the Parliament or is the leader of a party coalition that does the same, also runs the government. In the United States, however, on paper (of the Constitution) at least, those powers are separated.

This is not to say that the majority party in the Congress does not run its legislative program in cooperation with the Executive Branch, if they are of the same party. But it is very unusual that elements of the legislative branch are melded, for a common purpose and with clear elements of close coordination, with the Presidency, the chief position in the Executive Branch, for purposes other than advancing a legislative agenda. This is something new. The difference may appear to be a subtle one, but it is a difference. This is what has happened with the "Nunes Memo" and the run-up to it. Congressman Nunes developed and ran a campaign against major elements of the President's own Administration, with its directors appointed by the President, in clear, open, cooperation with the self-same President, for political, not legislative, purposes of the latter.

And of course, that purpose is to feed the clear, open, and unapologetic campaign by the President and his political/media allies to undermine the "Trump/Russia" investigation. What is now going on between the President and Congressman Nunes and his allies amounts to an attempt to exert "total executive branch control" of a "legislative power." That power is Congressman Nunes' the set of activities carried out openly for the political (and perhaps personal), not legislative, benefit of the President and certain of his allies (including members of his family), in relation to the Mueller Investigation. The latter of course deals in part at least with potentially criminal activities (see the guilty pleas and indictments already obtained).

And then, moving along the path to open fascism there is the use of "Big Lie" technique ( As Wikipedia puts it: "A big lie (German: große Luge) is a propaganda technique. The expression, which was coined by Adolf Hitler when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, is about the use of a lie so 'colossal' that no one would believe that someone 'could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.' " It was used repeatedly by Hitler's Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels, who later developed his own modification of Hitler's original definition (which is why some authorities [correctly] attribute the concept first to Hitler while others do attribute it first to Goebbels.)

The "Nunes Memo" and its fore-runners charge that the obtaining of a FISA warrant on a man, Carter Page, who had been under FBI surveillance since 2013 for suspected connections with Russian Intelligence, and at the time the warrant was obtained was no longer working for the Trump campaign, shows that a conspiracy against the President exists, in the FBI. This is because, they claim, the 100+ page application for the FISA warrant mentioned in passing the "Steele Dossier" which had been funded in part by the Clinton Campaign (after it has first been funded by anti-Trump Republican operatives). According to the Trumpites this somehow indicated that the whole FBI operation in general and the Mueller investigation in particular are fraudulent and should be completely revamped on the one hand (presumably to be led by Trump loyalists, as he expressed to the former FBI Director James Comey, for example) and while on the other be shut down, as in the case of the Mueller Investigation.

Devin Nunes - Trump's footman.
Devin Nunes - Trump's footman.
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This story has now been taken up by another element of 21st century "Functional Fascism" and blown up into a massive Big Lie, primarily by what can be termed the Trumpite Propaganda Ministry. In this case it is not part of the government. It is in fact Fox"News" (known by MSNBC's Chris Hayes as "Trump TV"). Its chief is in fact a right-wing radio/TV talker named Sean Hannity. Hannity has a false narrative about the Mueller Investigation and etc., which he repeats over and over again on his TV and radio shows, and has been doing so for months. (And yes, folks, I do force myself to listen to/watch Hannity on a regular basis. So, I do know directly what he is saying and what graphics he uses, repeatedly, on his TV show.) On top of that, a person, Hannity, not in the government, not confirmed by any Congressional committee, is, by all accounts, a major adviser to President Trump (, all the while using the Big Lie technique (of which he has become a master).

As noted, ahen someone like the usually ultra-rightist, Tea-Partier, Trey Gowdy, (A) comes down against the Trump/Hannity/Nunes interpretation of the "Nunes Memo," and B) decides to give up an ultra-safe South Carolina seat in the House of Representatives, one knows that something is afoot. And that something bodes ill for the Nation.

In my view, the United States is on the cusp of going beyond functional fascism to the real thing, now. It remains to be seen who will come to the defense of the bourgeois democracy that now governs the nation. For all of its limitations, and there are many as it does its work for the benefit of the ruling class, in my view it is still better than the full-blown fascism, of the 21st century variety, that Trump would very much like to impose upon us. In that light, in the I am here re-publishing, with slight edits and emendations, the four-part series on Functional Fascism referenced above.

21st Century Fascism: Trump Style -- Part I

1. Introduction. Just because there are elections and an elected government, don't think that there cannot be fascism. One needs only to look at the Nazi German example. For some years before the German President Paul von Hindenburg named Adolf Hitler Chancellor (Prime Minister) of Germany on January 30, 1933, the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) Party had simply been one of several major political parties in Germany. They usually received in the neighborhood of 1/3 of the vote in the then fairly frequent German elections. Hitler assured the aging President that despite his party's tradition of violent rhetoric, he would rule in a Constitutional manner. And the non-Nazi Rightists, like ex-Chancellor Franz von Papen, assured Hindenburg that they would keep him "under control." We all know what happened, beginning the very night of Hitler's assumption of the Chancellorship with the rounding up and imprisonment without trial of Communists and Socialists. But he did come to power constitutionally. So it can happen.

2. The definition of fascism. There are a variety of them. One problem with the term is that it thrown around all too loosely, without bothering with a definition. It is even used, in the modern U.S. at least, by the Right to describe certain elements/individuals on the Left, again without bothering with a definition. In my own series of columns on the subject over time (e.g., I have used one or another definition (and they are all similar to one another, differing only in length).

Here is one of my relatively short definitions of the term, based on the 20thcentury experience with it:

"A politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who control the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political, religious, and ideological opposition to it; the massive and regular use of hate, fear, racial and religious prejudice, the Big Lie technique, mob psychology, mob actions and ultimately individual and collective violence, to achieve political and economic ends; a capitalist/corporate economy, with the economic ruling class' control of State power and thus, economic, fiscal, political, and regulatory policy and policies."

As we move into the 21st century battle against the onslaught of fascism in the United States, I think that a shorter, more succinct, but accurate definition does need to be developed. I'm working on it. In the meantime, I use the one above.

It is important to note that "a single, charismatic leader," often used in definitions based on the Italian/German experience, is not part of the above definition. That is because while certainly those two principal fascist powers of the 20th century did have one, many of the others did not. In terms of the functions and power of the State and the ruling class it served, Japan was a fascist country. However, leader of the government during World War II, Hideki Tojo, was only the Prime Minister in a cabinet government and was not particularly charismatic for the Japanese people. Since the Japanese Emperor, the Head of State, was considered to be a god, that would have been impossible in any case. In Spain, Francisco Franco was a brutal fascist authoritarian ruler in a governmental system that met most of the elements of the definition above. But he was hardly what could have been considered charismatic.

American Mussolini.  Nuff said.
American Mussolini. Nuff said.
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3. Fascism in the 21st Century United States: An Introduction. In times of change, fascism can be a system of government in process, not finally developed in the forms it took in 20th century. For the United States, A) under the Trumpite Republicans, a 21st century form of fascism is being developed functionally. And for them, it is the function, not the form, that counts. B) Currently, unlike the 20th century fascist states Japan and Spain, it does have a charismatic leader, charismatic for a certain segment of the population at least, as only a reality TV star can be. However, in terms of policy development and imposition, it can be seen that if the Trumpite Republicans can maintain their current control over the political organs of power, they don't necessarily need one. In fact, the next in line for the Presidency, the Dominionist Mike Pence, while much more doctrinally sound than Trump for the Republicans, can hardly be considered to be "charismatic."

What has to be realized is that when the fascist form of government has come into existence, it is imposed upon a country when the capitalist ruling class as a whole, or the dominant sector of it at the time of the fascist imposition, has come to the conclusion that it is necessary for it, the ruling class, to maintain power. In each of the major countries in which it arose in the 20th century, Italy, Germany, Japan, and Spain, there had been elected governments, with left-wing parties either in control of the State (Spain) or otherwise with a prominent presence in the political economy. With the exception of Spain, fascism was imposed, in the beginning, by constitutional means.

In the 21st century United States there are of course no left-wing parties participating in the electoral process. The two major parties both serve the interests of the ruling class. But they do have rather different approaches to the matter of keeping the ruling class in power. This reflects the ruling class split on the self-same issue, that has existed in this country going back to the two Roosevelts. For example, it is little known that when Teddy Roosevelt ran for the Presidency as the "Bull Moose" (3rd) Party candidate in 1912 (and received 267% of the vote), National Health Insurance was a major plank in his platform. It is also little-known that if it had not been for Watergate, the United States would have had National Health Insurance by the mid-1970s. For it was Richard Nixon who introduced such a bill to Congress in 1974, with none other than Senator Bob Dole making a brilliant introductory speech on its behalf.

But at this time, the Republican Party and the wing of the ruling class which it represents clearly see danger to their control on the horizon. The plight of the working class in this country is getting worse by the day. Trumpite mis-leading of the working class, founded as it is on racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the appeal to religious authoritarianism (of which its homophobia is only one expression), can work only just so long. Already, certain elements of the white working class "Trump base" are being turned off by major elements of Trumpism, and by his increasing number of broken promises to provide long-term assistance for them. They are also alarmed by the increasing militancy of the segments of the population that are historically against Republican policy.

And so, in my view a 21st century form of fascism is developing in this country, under the leadership of Donald J. Trump. Since he is, to quote his Secretary of State a "moron," and, to quote his National Security Advisor, an "idiot," he may well be not entirely conscious of what he is doing, in terms of the political economy. (Subsequent to my original writing of this column, the journalist Michael Wolff has informed us that bunches of Trump former and present White House staff regard him in a similar light, and as functionally illiterate also. But that is another story.) But he clearly has a strong authoritarian streak within him, which, combined with the Republican policies he espouses, like the highly unpopular tax-cuts-for-the-rich, are propelling him the direction of fascism, even if he doesn't know it, even without the installation of an actual dictatorship.

21st Century Fascism: Trump Style -- Part II


In the first column in this series, fascism was defined as:

"A politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who control the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political, religious, and ideological opposition to it; the massive and regular use of hate, fear, racial and religious prejudice, the Big Lie technique, mob psychology, mob actions and ultimately individual and collective violence, to achieve political and economic ends; a capitalist/corporate economy, with the economic ruling class' control of State power and thus, economic, fiscal, political, and regulatory policy and policies."

It was pointed out that this definition, and similar ones used by other authorities, is based primarily on what fascism looked like in the 20thcentury, in particular in Nazi German fascist Italy, Spain and Japan. The analysis then went on to the use of the concept of functional fascism, for the 21stcentury, for the United States. That is, there are certain features of classical fascism that do not exist, at least not yet, in the U.S. The Executive Branch does not have full control of all governmental functions. There is an independent judiciary. There is still a Constitution. There are still inherent personal rights and liberties. There is still not a single national ideology that criminalizes all opposition to it.

It Can't Happen Here (See also: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S. 1981-2022: A Futuristic
It Can't Happen Here (See also: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S. 1981-2022: A Futuristic
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BUT, the political party currently in power, and in particular its representative occupying the Office of the Presidency, certainly has made it clear that the reality concerning these features is in a state of flux. Trump has made it clear that he would like to have much more control of various governmental functions, particularly those of the Department of Justice, than he presently does have. He is forever issuing scathing, personal, attacks on judges and courts that make decisions that he doesn't like, e.g., a recent one on the status of DACA. The judges that he is appointing to the Federal Courts are selected and confirmed for their long-time adherence to the right-wing ideology of the private association which plays a major role in nominating them, the Federalist Society. This practice will play a major role down the road in limiting the Federal and state functions in the economic and environmental arenas, as well as in civil liberties and in such matters as the freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnancy. This President has shown that he is very much in favor of imposing upon large areas of civil society an ideology based on Christian Fundamentalism. And this particular President clearly reveals on a regular basis his predilection for authoritarian government.

As the Federal judiciary changes in nature, going evermore rightward in its politics (and oh yes, the judiciary is always a political animal), it will less and less function as it currently does, as a limit on the fascist aggrandizement of power by this President and the party he leads. The other major limiting factor on the progression towards outright fascism is the free press. One need look no further than this fact to understand the constant attacks on the "fake media" and "fake news" by the President, his allies in the Congress, Fox"News" (otherwise known as "Trump TV" or the Republican Propaganda Channel), right-wing talk radio, and right-wing on-line/social media (like Breitbart and The Daily Stormer). If the Republican/Trumpites are able to destroy or severely limit the activities of the anti-Trumpite media, the road to absolute power for them, that is the classical fascist state, will be much easier for them.

As to the use of the Big Lie technique, the Trumpites don't use it so much as they do what might be called the "Little Lie Technique." There are not just a few Big, totally not-connected-to-reality lies that they tell over and over again, like the Nazis' "the Jews are the cause of all of Germany's problems" that appear in major speeches by the leadership. There are rather the little lies, told over-and-over again on a daily basis, constantly rolling off the lips of Kelly Ann Conway, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and so on and so forth about everything from what is really in the tax "reform" legislation to what the "Russia" investigation is really about. As for the President, as is well known, he is the king of the liars, Big and little.

Trump: Believe me! (Larry O'Donnell: that's the clue he's lying.) NO collusion. NO obstruction. (Times ten.)
Trump: Believe me! (Larry O'Donnell: that's the clue he's lying.) NO collusion. NO obstruction. (Times ten.)
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Refuse Fascism, On the march.
Refuse Fascism, On the march.
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As to the features of fascism that already exist, this president regularly uses the appeals that got him to the White House in the first place: those to hate, fear, racial and religious prejudice, xenophobia, and misogyny. But most importantly for this fascism-in-process/functional-fascism is that with the Congressional Republican Party, Trump is absolutely serving the interests of the economically dominant sector of the U.S. ruling class (manufacturing; fossil fuels; agriculture/food; pharma/health services; retail; communications/entertainment; transportation; banking/investment/financial services) in the realms of economic, fiscal, political, and regulatory policy and policies."

Thus, the Elements of Republican/Trumpite 21stcentury Functional Fascism in the United States, either already achieved or set forth as goals to be achieved are:

1. The use of the law to promote racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny.

2. The criminalization of certain religious/non-religious beliefs, as in, for example, LGBT rights and the freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnancy. This is facilitated by the use of "God's Word" to justify oppression, hatred, and, ultimately, Dominionism. Indeed, for the United States, Dominionism is the hand-maiden of fascism, as were Catholicism in Spain and Italy and Shintoism in Japan.

3. The repression, then criminalization, of dissent.

4. The tolerance for, and in certain quarters the promotion of the Doctrine of White Supremacy.

5. The gradual suppression of the free vote, especially among minorities, the young, and the poor, by the use of gerrymandering, voter-suppression, vote/hacking.

6. The assault on and the distortion of the use of data, of all kinds.

7. The evermore widespread use of the Roy Cohn/Lee Atwater doctrine: "Always attack; never defend." A variant of it is the old maxim for defense lawyers: "If you don't have the law, argue the facts; if you don't have the facts, argue the law; if you have neither the facts nor the law, argue ad hominem. (Of course, you don't have to be a lawyer to use this one. The Right-Wing propagandists form Hannity and Conway on down (or up, depending upon your point of view) use it all the time.

8. The solidification of the control of the State apparatus.

This Doctrine of Functional Fascism finds a very happy home in the modern the Republican Party. It is of course the outcome to date of the Republican Rightward Imperative which has controlled the direction of the Party since the time of Goldwater.

21st Century Fascism -- Republican/Trump Style, Part 3: What Can be Done, An Introduction

This column is the third in this series. The first two were fairly easy to write. They first defined traditional, 20thcentury fascism. They then show how 21st century fascism, in the United States, can be best defined as "functional fascism." That is because it is designed to achieve many of the goals of traditional fascism without employing certain of the traditional forms. Finally, they discuss some of the specific features of Trumpite/Republican functional fascism in the U.S. This part of the set is not so easy, because there are many paths that can be taken in carrying out what we generally call "The Resistance" (e.g., see The Nation, Jan. 29/Feb. 5, 2018). And in fact, in the writing, it became two parts, this one on some general thoughts on the topic, and the final one, Part 4, next week on some specifics.

The term "The Resistance" in fact has multiple meanings. They range from that of Refuse Fascism, which focuses on street rallies and mass organizing with the goal of overthrowing "The Trump/Pence Regime," to the strongly anti-Trump, but electoral-politics-focused approach of Alan Grayson's "The Resistance." Some of them may seem complementary, some of them may seem to be opposed to each other.

Refuse Fascism, On the march.
Refuse Fascism, On the march.
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One major problem for the planners of the (generic) Resistance is how to mobilize its various components so that they can be mutually supportive and work together towards eventually removing the Trumpite/Republicans from power. Already, one can find a good deal of in-fighting among the anti-Trumpists of various stripes. This accomplishes nothing but weakening the movement. Unfortunately, just saying that will not do much to diminish it. But if Trumpite/Repub./fascism is eventually to be defeated, that infighting will have to go. (And oh yes, I'm sure that I will be attacked just for saying that.)

A second major problem is to be faced is just what should replace the Trumpite/-Republican/fascists. If previous experience is to be a guide, especially given what happened in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), the second problem will be even harder to solve than the first one. BUT, in my view if the Resistance forces cannot agree to resolve those issues sometime down the road rather than right up front, we are never going to get down the road to the dispossession of the Trumpite/Republican/fascists.

Let me begin with the understanding that the United States is a capitalist nation and is also the mightiest imperialist power ever seen on the face of the Earth. The U.S. empire is, however, historically unique. For it does not politically control the territories of its empire, as previous ones from the Roman through the British did. It is rather a functional empire, much like it is now controlled by a functional form of fascism. It has a ruling class, just as every nation has one. And that ruling class controls the political system which governs the country. As I have said in a previous column:

"In the United States, as in most developed capitalist nations today, there is a dominant Political Duopoly. Indeed, the Democrats and the Republicans do have significant policy differences, but those policy differences are over the question of how to best preserve, protect, and expand capitalism, . . . . There are also some very significant differences within each of the two major parties about policy and about how they should go about gaining and keeping the levers of power, especially in a nation that has such an incredibly complex system of government [compared to most advanced capitalist counties]. It is complex at the Federal level, with the three supposedly equal branches of government, and it is complex because of the distribution of power and sovereignty between the Federal government and the states. The nature of both distributions has been the subject of constant conflict since the founding the nation in 1789. But again, those conflicts are never over the question of: 'might there not be a better system of control of the productive resources in our society that could benefit everyone, not just for the most part those who happen to own the bulk of them.' "

It is the latter question that various segments of the Resistance will want to be getting at one time or another. As noted, my suggestion is to leave that one, except perhaps in the most general of terms, until sometime down the road. At the same time, it is of vital importance to realize and recognize that we live in a capitalist society, with a capitalist ruling class, and thus its State apparatus places serious limits on both the process and substance of societal change.

Now, of course, a major feature of the U.S. is that it is a parliamentary democracy, in capitalist terms of course. The great Vladimir Ilyich Lenin put what that means in practice most concisely:

Lenin: Always looking to the future.
Lenin: Always looking to the future.
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"To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament -- this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies [which existed widely in Lenin's day], but also in the most democratic republics. "

With this understanding, however, in my view advantage can be taken, in the early to middling days of the struggle, of the anti-fascist elements of the capitalist ruling class, that is those elements which believe that Trumpite/Republican/fascism is not the way to maintain bourgeois-democratic rule. Now I know that I am going to be losing some of you right here, already, by taking this position. But to repeat we do live in a capitalist parliamentary democracy, which has forms and functions that can be taken advantage of in the struggle. Alliances can be built that do not give away progressive, and for some of us, socialist, principles. As long as we hold to those principles for the long run.

But in my view, we cannot get rid of Trumpite/Republican/fascism unless we are willing to build alliances, until it is gone. It has to be understood that the ruling class is currently not unified. In a true crisis time, when its rule is threatened, it either will become so, or the dominant, fascist sector will simply get rid of the non-fascist sector, as happened in Nazi Germany. But that time is not now. However, this situation clearly creates a principal problem for a number of very important elements of the Resistance. I cannot possibly tell them what to do. I can only make some suggestions about how the two major elements can work together, for now, to fight and ultimately dispose of Trumpite/Republican/fascism. Briefly, they will be covered next week.

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"21st Century Fascism, Part 4: How To 'Repeal and Replace' Trumpite 21st Century Functional Fascism -- Some Thoughts

This column is the fourth and final one in this series. Last week's dealt with some of the overarching problems that need to be worked through as the Resistance develops and gathers force. This one presents some specifics on some of the large set of tasks that need to be undertaken, if this "Repeal and Replace" movement is to be successful.

1. The enemy, in the current struggle against Trumpite functional fascism, must be clearly identified. It is the Trumpite/Repub. party. Indeed, especially as some of the old-line Repubs. leave the Party, it must be very firmly tied to Trump. "Trump's base" that is always being talked about in terms of "Trump must listen to his base" is the Republican Party base. They are not separate. They are not different. Any so-called "centrist" or "center-rightist" Republicans who remain where they are, are Trumpite Enablers, as were the Center and traditional Right-wing Parties in Nazi Germany.

2. Addressing Trump himself: the focus must be on his policies and their outcomes, not his personality, his ignorance, his stupidity (as so-labeled by senior cabinet members), his sexually-predatorial nature, his personal racism, his eating habits, his TV-watching habits, and so on and so forth. Those are all part of the "Aura of Trump" which proves so useful to him and his facilitators, as distractions from what he is really doing in terms of policy and programs. As to why the economically dominant sector of the ruling class and their lackeys in the Congress are so satisfied with him, even though he might not have been their first choice to be President --- in terms of the primary goals of those in power who did get him elected, tax cuts for the rich and massive de-regulation in the arenas of the environment (including global warming), labor, industry, food, agriculture, health, and etc., (or as Steve Bannon calls it, the "deconstruction of the administrative state"), he has had an outstanding first year.

Mitch McConnell.  Mitch McConnell. Why is this man smiling? Because since his declaration of total non-cooperation with Pres. Obama is 2008, he is Congressional Repub. most responsible for the progression to Functional Fascism.
Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell. Why is this man smiling? Because since his declaration of total non-cooperation with Pres. Obama is 2008, he is Congressional Repub. most responsible for the progression to Functional Fascism.
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3. The adaptation of the Trump/Repubs. to Religious Authoritarianism, for political purposes, must be recognized and dealt with. Pence, specifically, is a Dominionist. That must be brought out into the open. The negative consequences for both the conventionally religious and the non-religious alike must be revealed (if I may use that term) and dealt with. In dealing with matters like abortion- and LGBTQ- rights the battle must move beyond "fairness," "privacy," and "non-discrimination in the public square" (all valid arguments to be sure) to the matters of religious dogmatism, religious authoritarianism, and state-sponsored/protected religion.

4. It must be understood, and explained, over and over again, that race and racism are invented concepts (invented during the early period of European/African Slavery in order to justify its existence). They were invented as tools of exploitation of the non-slave working class, and still are: very much so in the United States. This must be explained to the working class, over-and-over again. Oddly enough, it was Bill Clinton, at the beginning of his first Presidential campaign, who put very well:

" For 12 years, the Republicans have tried to divide us, race against race' Mr. Clinton said. 'Here in the shadow of this great building, all of us, we know all about race- baiting. They've used that old tool on us for decades now. And I want to tell you one thing: I understand that tactic, and I will not let them get away with it in 1992."

Of course, we have heard virtually nothing of that message from that man (or the other Clinton) over the years since, but that doesn't mean that it is not totally valid and very useful. But, "identity politics" should not be abandoned. Rather it should be used to show just how it is used by the Trumpite-Repubs. to get into and stay in power. (See also below.)

5. Nobody is perfect. The Perfect is the enemy of the Possible. Is co-optation possible? For sure. It has happened many times, e.g. currently, Syriza in Greece. Nevertheless, in the kind of struggle in which we are presently engaged, seeking perfection on our side is exactly what our enemies would like us to do.

6. And thus we come to "Dealing with the Dems." They are a ruling class party, of course. But certainly they support certain positive goals. Attacking them, as an enemy, only strengthens the attacks from the Repub./Trumpites. At the same time, when they take actions that weaken the attack on the Trumpites and Functional Fascism, that must be strongly criticized. I do not have a magic answer to this one. But I will say that for the Progressive elements of the Resistance to constantly attack them when the focus should be Trump and the Repubs., and refusing to enter into alliances with them on a case-by-case, issue-by-issue basis, will only weaken the Resistance overall.

7. "Trump/Russia" is a superb distraction for the Tumpites. It is their (and Trump's) WMD: Weapon of Mass Distraction. If it did not exist, they would have to invent it. It is still too early to tell if there is "something there" (although the Trumpites' behavior does indicate that there is). Some on the Left believe that it is real. Others do not (and man, I can hear their attacks on me for saying this rumbling down the pike ---- exactly what the Trumpites want.). BUT, the more in-fighting there is over this question, the more the Trumpites benefit. The important thing is what they have been able to accomplish in their first year, while the public's attention is largely distracted by "Trump/Russia" and all the too-ing and fro-ing around it.

8. The role of the media. Of course, the mass media are part of the Corporate State. But once again, we have to be reminded that the ruling class is not at this time united. The same goes for their media. Thus, to the extent that CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and even USA-Today and (on occasion) The Wall Street Journal can be helpful in the struggle, that help should be welcomed. There can be criticism of "not going far enough," but the baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater. On a mass basis they are all we have in the struggle against (to repeat) Trumpite/Republican/Functional Fascism, other than the courts, which are very rapidly being taken over by the fascists. That the media are the subject of the incessant attacks by the Trumpites, and especially Trump himself, tells one all one needs to know about their effectiveness. Our side should demand that they do more, not condemn them for what they are doing.

9. There is no contradiction between "identity" politics and "class" politics. They must be melded. As noted above, racism is used to divide and conquer. Are there pure haters in the alt-right? Sure. But many are tricked into it. Messages must be developed to bring home the point that the interests of the white working class, the non-white working class, and the whites and non-whites in any but the owning classes are the same.

10. It must be clearly shown why and how Trumpite/Repub./functional fascism is bad for almost everyone, including large swaths of "Trump voters," as in:

11. Data and information on exactly what is happening to this country as a result of the Trumpite/Repub./fascist policies are essential to the struggle. What I have for years called a "Local Problems Bank," that is a vast set of linkages between local problems in the environment, pollution, water supply, transportation, schools, health services, and etc., and national policies must be developed. For example, collecting chapter and verse on what each Department of the Administration is doing, under Trumpite leadership (or non-leadership, as the case may be), and how virtually everyone is being hurt, must be assembled.

12. It will be necessary to identify the arenas where the Left can split from the Democrats and still maintain the Resistance, e.g.: foreign policy; the power of the Military-Industrial Complex, and the role it plays in the nation both economically and politically; fiscal and monetary policy; and strategy and tactics as well.

13. It is essential to end the in-fighting on the Left (and I am talking about the non-Democratic Party Left, and there is one, here). Learn the lessons of the SPD/KPD battles in Germany before Hitler. The focus must be on the common enemy. It has to be realized that at this point in time there are equally valid/useful approaches to the struggle. Resistors can have different foci of their resistance. As for the "Lesser-of-the Evils" arguments, they will always exist. Both groups can be progressive. But time spent by one side attacking the other is time taken away from attacking the true enemy. Which leads to ---

14. A major problem for many elements of the Resistance is the importance, now, of electoral politics. Can work for this, without becoming a Democrat Large D., by supporting particular candidates on particular issues, and using their candidacies to address the larger issues. Of course, the Democrats, historically, are part of the political duopoly that runs this nation. But that does not mean that they cannot be allies at certain points in time and on certain issues in the struggle to prevent the full implementation of Trumpite/Repub./Functional Fascism. Or at least for as long as the U.S. is a constitutional democracy, they can be seen as not targets of co-equal importance.

Saddlers' Hall ballot box: Difficult to hack!
Saddlers' Hall ballot box: Difficult to hack!
(Image by Matt From London)
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15. Will the US have a "color revolution?" Why are not mass, street protests getting bigger? The short answer is that, at present, the U.S. is a constitutional democracy, with no revolutionary reality. Further, right now, there is no leading Revolutionary Party, which is essential, especially if a revolution of the socialist type is to take place. But that does not mean that revolutionaries (or all the various stripes of the genus that there are) cannot join on a case-by-case basis with non-revolutionary forces in fighting Trumpite/Repub./Functional Fascism. Not only can issues be promoted, but education on the eventual need for socialist revolution can be undertaken. And so ---

16. Can the fight for socialism be carried on now? Yes, as a future goal, but it should not get in the way of working with left-capitalist forces to overthrow the Trumpite/Republicans.

17. Obviously , an even more massive Trumpite/Repub. voter suppression strategy than the nation has experienced in every election since that of 2000 (see, back then, Florida and Ohio) is underway (see also Greg Palast's extenisve writings on this subject).

18. Finally, I think that it is clear that I believe in the Popular Front strategy for dealing with the current reality in the United Sates. I recognize that that ain't easy folks. It is a topic to which I shall be returning down the road.

(Article changed on February 6, 2018 at 19:51)

(Article changed on February 6, 2018 at 20:27)

(Article changed on February 7, 2018 at 01:37)

(Article changed on February 9, 2018 at 03:29)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author, he is a Senior (more...)
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