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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/6/21

The Republo-Fascists are on the March; Who Should We Attack? The Dems. of course

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"Either this country shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this country." (S. Jonas, Aug., 2018)

Work still needs to be done on the U.S. fascist leader uniforms.  And after all, it could be a woman.
Work still needs to be done on the U.S. fascist leader uniforms. And after all, it could be a woman.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Author Not Given)
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As I have noted recently , the Republo-Fascist Train is roaring down the track. By definition, the modern Republican Party is well on its way to becoming, or at least in its current leadership is desirous of becoming, a fascist party, at least in the sense of how that term can be defined in relation to the characteristics of the five principal countries of the 20th century that are generally described as having been "fascist": Hungary, Italy, Germany, Japan, and Spain:

"There is a single, all powerful executive branch of government, in service of a capitalist ruling class that controls for the most part the functions of production, distribution and exchange. There is no separation of powers [one of James Madison's signal contributions to the then-unique form of government established by the Constitution]. Thus, there are no de facto independent judicial or legislative branches, at any level. There is no independent media. There is a single national ideology, based on some combination of racism, misogyny, religious bigotry and authoritarianism, homophobia, and xenophobia. There is a state propaganda machine using the big and little lie techniques. There may be a full-blown dictatorship, a charismatic leader, engagement in foreign wars, and the use of the mob/private armies."

They are obviously not there yet, but of course under Trump a number of these characteristics, as predicted for example by Jack Goldsmith early in 2017, appeared and/or were on their way to be being developed. Trump obviously wanted to transition to a fascist form of government, even if he had not the foggiest idea of its historical basis and characteristics. "No separation of powers" (with him ultimately in control) is exactly what he was always shooting for and which brought him to William Barr, whose "19-page letter" outlining a uniquely powerful Executive Branch originally brought him to Trump's attention. Trump, by, for example, routinely refusing to comply or authorizing refusal to comply by his subordinates with subpoenas form the Congress, indicated that separation of powers was just wasn't for him, and were, for example, his attempts to subvert or at least go around the law in relation to building and funding his famous "Wall" (that is when he wasn't having any luck getting Mexico to pay for it).

Although he didn't indicate that he would like to get rid of the Judicial Branch, he certainly tried to pack it with as many right-wing judges as he could. As for the media, his views were very clear. If he could have pronounced Hitler's words for the media and how he characterized them, "Die Luegen Presse" (even though is grandfather was born in Germany, Trump probably couldn't have managed the umlauted pronunciation), he might have preferred them to his favorite "fake news." But of course, they mean the same thing --- no independent media. As for a national ideology based on the list in the definition above, as the Republo-Fascists draw ever-closer to the Christian-Right, that's pretty obvious, both for Trump and the current Republo-Fascist Party. There was no state propaganda machine under Trump, but Fox"News", OAN"N", Rush Limbaugh's clones, and etc. certainly served and still serve the purpose. They are collectively (as many are saying) the Propaganda Channel. Then we come to a charismatic leader and the use of the mob, which of course came only once, but that's "so far."

So, we come to a fascist-party-in-the-making and I am hardly the only historian/journalist/-political-analyst using that term. We've got some real problems, folks, with one of the two political parties that dominate the system (sorry Greens, but that's reality) wanting to do away with it (and all its faults) because if they don't, as is well-known because of the demographic changes that are coming down the track, they face the very real prospect of becoming a permanent minority party. Now, for better or worse we live in a Constitutional Republic-on-the-Surface which is dominated by a two-party electoral system.

And so further, given that there is no organized mass/labor-based left-wing movement in this country (that went the way of the Communist-led CIO unions which were conveniently put out-of-the-way by the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947) and the current Black-rights movement has yet to come anywhere close to having the power that the New Deal-bred labor movement had, all we've got folks, for better or for worse, folks, is the Democratic Party.

Limited, for sure, but there are certainly progressive (in the current U.S. sense of the word) elements in it and the Joe Biden who is President is a rather different political person than the Joe Biden who was a Senator. In 1932, the Democratic nominators for President considered Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be a nice man, who offend no one, who as New York State Governor had done a reasonable job with limited in combatting the effects of the Great Depression. "Shallow" was a word used to describe him. No one foresaw what FDR would become. Is Joe Biden FDR? Only history will determine that. But it would appear, again given the Constitutional structure of the U.S. government and its constraints on his powers, and the two-party system, he is the only game in town for those of us who want to derail that on-rushing Republo-Fascist train.

But there are certainly those who disagree. Take one Paul Street, a self-described political analyst. As far as he is concerned, the enemy is --- the Democrats! Instead of hammering the Republo-Fascists and telling us what must be done, within and outside of the Democratic Pay in order to defeat them, Mr. Street spends all of his time hammering the Democratic Party and telling us why the only possible tool we have to prevent the Fascist-Revolution-in-Full from occurring cannot possibly do that. Not helpful. (But then again, I do not find too much of the opinion published on CounterPunch to be helpful in the on-going struggle to prevent the advent of full-blown Republo-Fascism in the U.S. helpful.)

First it must be noted that Mr. Street lumps together the Democratic Party which does have an AOC-Bernie wing with the old Clinton-Gore/Democratic Leadership Council Democratic Party, which in fact is pretty much gone. Certainly, the DLC characterized by Bill Clinton's famous phrase from his 1996 State of the Union Address (which I happened to have heard live as an on-air analyst for Long Island's Channel 21 News) --- the Era of Big Government is Over --- words that could have come from the mouth of Ronal Reagan --- is long gone. Joe Biden who, admittedly, was a DLC member, has now proposed the widest variety of "Big Government" projects than any President since Harry Turman (some say FDR). (Yes, Truman did have many faults, the worst of which was making sure that Winston Churchill's Cold War really did get underway, reigniting "The 75 Years War Against the Soviet Union," which Churchill began with the Intervention in 1917.) But before that, he did re-introduce the Wagner-Murray-Dingell Bill for National Health Insurance and he did veto the original passage of the Taft-Hartley Act.) So let us not lump the present Democratic Party (which of course still has a [thankfully small] Blue Dog Caucus) with the old one.

With that prelude in mind, let's take a look at the headings that Mr. Street uses for his analysis, plus excerpts, with some SJ commentary. His full article can be seen at: click here.

+1. Demobilization. "By giving the nation's working-class majority little if anything positive to vote and fight for, the Democrats repeatedly reveal their progressive-sounding rhetoric as manipulatively elitist and inauthentic" . . . . I suggest looking at the content of the wide variety of pieces of legislation the Democrats have proposed. Surely, it was the DLC that "helped Reagan, Bush senior, Bush junior, and Trump ascend to the White House." I used to write frequently on the DLC. (In fact in my Christian "future history, "The 15% Solution," originally published in 1996, it was the DLC, by doing nothing effective in opposition, which gave a major push to the eventual establishment of the "Republican-Christian Alliance" which eventually led to the fascist "American Christian Nation Party" which established apartheid in the former United States) These Dems. are different, whether one wants to accept that fact or not.

+2. Eating up Old Republican Space. "When the Democrats shifted fully off their lingering New Deal and Great Society commitments to become a consolidated corporate-neoliberal party under Bill Clinton during the 1990s, they picked off parts of the Republican Party's traditional Big Business constituency and policy agenda." That was true then, and I happened to have written about it regularly back then. But the Democratic Party does have a progressive wing, and if we want to fight fascism it seems to me that it would be better to work to strengthen that wing, rather than fighting a fight which is pretty much behind us.

+3. Legitimizing Right-Wing Agendas and Narratives by Embracing Them. "The Clinton administration worked with the Gingrich Republicans to viciously kick poor Black mothers (victims of simultaneous race, class, and gender oppression) and children off federal family cash assistance in the names of personality responsibility and the supposed holy duty of poor people to engage in low-wage labor." And etc. All true. That was then, this is now, and continually referring to the disastrous Democratic policies of the past does absolutely nothing to help us fight the battle of our lives now. And yes, as I have written, Obama was a product of the DLC too.

+4. Militarism. "Neofascism draws heavily on imperial militarism. The Democrats are deeply committed to the U.S. military empire, which eats up more than half of federal discretionary spending to maintain more than 800 military bases spread across more than 100 "sovereign" nations. Clinton and Obama kept the American military machine set on kill, murdering masses abroad with cold impunity. The onetime Iraq invasion cheerleader Joe Biden can't finish a single speech without saying 'God Bless our troops.' Imperial Joe (who launched missile attacks on Syria and Iraq just days ago) has (of course) advanced yet another massive Pentagon budget that will as usual cancel out desperately needed social and environmental expenditures." In my view, this is certainly true, but how arguing on these points will prevent a Republo-Fascist takeover is beyond me.

+5. Pathetic Commitment to Bipartisanship Cooperation with a Militantly Partisan Neofascist Party. "The Republican Party has become ever more fascistic across the neoliberal era. It is openly hostile to 'normal' bourgeois-parliamentary give and take and advances eliminationist language regarding the other ruling class party. The party's leaders and many of its Congresspersons and other elected officials tried to nullify the 2020 presidential election and are gearing up to repress minority voting and otherwise rig the electoral game in 2022 and 2024. The nullification effort included a lethal physical assault on the U.S. Capitol, leading to a handful of deaths on January 6th, 2021, when most Congressional Republicans refused to certify Biden's clear victory." And so on and so forth. Indeed, I have compared Mitch McConnell with John C. Calhoun in terms of what each defended. And it is an especial problem when corporate Joe Manchin and the former Green Party activist Kyrsten Sinema are major roadblocks that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has to overcome. But to be helpful, one has to come up with tactics and strategies to get legislation like S. 1 passed.

+6. Refusing to Attack Archaic Minority Rule Institutions and Practices that Inflate the Power of a Party that Has Gone Neofascist. "The ridiculous, undemocratic, and right-learning Electoral College and the preposterously unrepresentative and powerful nature of the U.S. Senate (wherein right-wing white Wyoming is 134 times more popularly represented than diverse and liberal California) are topics top Democrats never broach. That is unsurprising since those and other undemocratic features of the U.S. political order are encoded in the nation's archaic 18th Century slaveholders' Constitution and no fundamental alteration of that document is imaginable short of a popular revolution the Dems would never embrace." Absolutely correct, until the second part of the last sentence. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is pushing hard for the necessary changes. Continuing, and increasing, pressure on the Party as a whole and on the President is the only way this will be accomplished under the present Constitutional system in the U.S. It is that wing of the Democratic Party which wants to change this. The fascist nature of the Republican Party has to be continually be hammered away at.

+7. Embracing Fascism's Seedbed Capitalism. Indeed both parties are of course supporters/enablers of capitalism. Which, if unchecked, will eventually bring civilization as we know it to an end. That is eventually. What has to be recognized NOW is that the ruling class is split into at least three factions, a subject that I will be dealing with down the road. In the meantime, let's attack the clearly a fascist faction and their political expression: the Republo-Fascists.

+8. Refusing to Punish Republifascists for Their Crimes. On this one, the books are hardly closed. Garland and the FBI are moving slowly, but carefully (in my view). And wouldn't it be just scrumptious if New York City/State gets the Mob Boss Trump on tax evasion, which he has appeared to acknowledge, just as the Feds. finally got the Mob Boss Al Capone (hardly an original thought, folks).

+9. Keeping People Off the Streets, Channeling Everything into Electoral Politics. If the U.S. had a multi-party parliamentary system, mass demonstrations might work to help bring about change. They can help some, of course, but what needs to be done to bring about real change, needs to be done though the system we've got. And one thing we don't have is a mass-based, organized, revolutionary party. So, to talk about one is to engage in pipe-dreaming, which Is not helpful.

+10. Playing the Identitarian Card and Selling Violence. Mr. Street writes here about how to go about combatting, and then turning around institutional racism in the United States. For, as I have said at the head of every column of mine over the past two years, "Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." But again, first and foremost our side must be going after the Republo-Fascists on how they are using racism in the attempt to firmly cement their policies and politics for the foreseeable future. Attacking the Democrats with the same vigor, and lumping all Democrats together on this use, serves no useful purpose.

As I have said elsewhere (and noted at the beginning of this column), the Republo-Fascist train is roaring down the track. Right now, for better or for worse, the Democratic Party, in the Congress and the Executive Branch, is the primary tool we have in our tool kit in order to stop it. There are other tools, like mass demonstrations, available. But they will not prevent the occurrence of the major changes to, admittedly bourgeois, Constitutional democracy in the United States that the Republo-Fascists have in mind --- and at both the state legislative and Congressional levels they are telling us they do have. Trying to take apart, or lay aside, that primary tool will surely doom us to failure

(Article changed on Jul 06, 2021 at 8:39 PM EDT)

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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 Editor, (more...)
 
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