Fascism’s Return and Trump’s War on Youth

Students from numerous area high schools come together in Mariachi Plaza before continuing their march to City Hall to protest the upset election of Republican Donald Trump on November 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: David McNew / Getty Images)

Fascism is all too often relegated to the history books.

The word conjures up a period in which civilized societies treated democracy with contempt, engaged in acts of systemic violence, practised extermination and elimination, supported an “apocalyptic populism,” suppressed dissent, promoted a hyper-nationalism, displayed contempt for women, embraced militarism as an absolute ideal and insisted on obedience to a self-proclaimed prophet.

But the seeds that produced such fascist horrors have once again sprung to life, returning in new social and political forms.

Today, a culture of fear dominates American society, one marked by massive inequities in wealth and power that not only uphold structures of domination, but also view differences as threats, compassion as weakness and shared responsibilities — if not the common good itself — as pathology.

Fascist thought is on the rise all over the world, but its most blatant and dangerous manifestation has emerged in the Trump administration.

Fear and the ethos of mass consumerism — coupled with widespread insecurity and ignorance — now drive people into a malignant notion of security, self-inflicted cynicism and into the arms of demagogues like Trump. For too many Americans, critical thinking and hope have given way to emotional bonding and the revival of the discourse of ultra-nationalism and bigotry.

Trump: Not Hitler, but Dangerous Nonetheless

Trump is not Hitler in that he has not created concentration camps, shut down the critical media or rounded up dissidents; moreover, the United States at the current historical moment is not the Weimar Republic.

But in the Trump era, remnants of fascism exist in different shapes and forms and include a celebration of the cult of the…

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