Five Forces Driving the Rise of Fascism in 2019

The New Year’s Day inauguration of avowed authoritarian strongman Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil signaled an ominous start to 2019. Brazil, as the fifth-largest country by landmass (larger than the Australian continent), the sixth-largest by population (larger than Russia) and the ninth-largest economy (larger than Canada), represents global fascism’s biggest gain in recent history. The rise of Bolsonaro follows the recent consolidation of power by reactionary nationalists Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Viktor Orbán in Hungry and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines.

We start out 2019 with neo-fascists and assorted other “populists” and ethnonationalists holding office in 11 European nations and scoring recent double-digit vote tallies in Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Marine Le Pen’s French ethnonationalist National Front garnered one-third of that country’s 2017 vote for president. Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland’s governing PiS Party, described migrants arriving in Europe as being physically different than Poles, with an ability to carry “various parasites and protozoa, which don’t affect their organisms, but which could be dangerous here.” Duterte celebrated New Year’s Eve boasting of his childhood molestation of his family’s maid. Bolsonaro praised genocide against Native Americans and, on his first day in office, issued an executive order putting agribusiness interests in charge of Indigenous reserves. He also told a fellow member of Brazil’s congress, on the floor of that house, that she wasn’t good enough for him to rape and promised to jail his opposition. 2019 is promising to be ugly.

In the United States, while Republicans lost ground nationally, reactionaries solidified domination of the party, with moderates and constitutionalists retiring or losing primaries…

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