Is the U.S. in a Pre-Fascist Period?

Photo Source Eden, Janine and Jim | CC BY 2.0

Since Pres. Donald Trump’s election, a variety of well-intentioned commentators have raised a chorus of concern that the U.S. was entering – or is in – a per-fascist period.  If so, what is to be done?  If not, what does the Trump presidency – and the conservative, religious right and corporatists who back him – signify in terms of the coming of “fascism” to American?

The radical filmmaker – and media showman – Michael Moore is among the latest to warn about the emergence of a pre-fascist state.  As part of efforts to promote his latest film, Fahrenheit 11/9, he has appeared on Democracy Now!, various MSNBC shows and other outlets often quoting from Bertram Gross’s 1980 book, Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America (1980): “The next wave of fascism will come not with cattle cars and camps. It will come with a friendly face.”

Overlooked by Moore, Gross was revising William Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1960), more ominous quote: “Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote.”

Moore’s concern is shared by Madeleine Albright, Pres. Clinton’s secretary of state, Democratic Party stalwart, faithful Hillary Clinton backer and, as a Czechoslovakian child, survived the early German occupation.  In Fascism: A Warning, she notes, “Every age has its own fascism.”  Drawing a wider, more…

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