I don't really get this argument that says "oh it can't be fascism because no WW1" yes there's maybe not the kind of catastrophe that leads to the overwhelming strength and popularity of such movements, and there's no masses of brutalized men to staff paramilitaries, but
what else should you call a form politics that declares the nation is in some kind of terminal state of decline, is being dominated by alien non-citizens, and requires some kind of redemptive violence and strong leader to recover its former glory?
the idea that conditions need to be precisely the same for certain categories to obtain just makes any kind of categorization impossible, you might as well say well there's not really a left, because they dont literally sit on the left of the National Assembly in 1792
I also don't think that the modern GOP is just straightforwardly a "fascist party", but there's clearly elements of the right that are engaging in fascist style politics, both in their attitudes and ideals, and their attempts at activism and organization
one thing about fascism in the interwar period (and also its pre-war forebears) was the curiosity and sympathy it inspired beyond its most dedicated supporters, conservatives and yes even some leftists viewed it as a necessary or desirable solution to social crises
especially in the case of France, which is to me the most interesting, there were very hazy borders between the traditional right and the new fascist right. Action Francaise was in the oldest reactionary trad., monarchism, but also anticipated the street organization of fascism
It is clear that with the weakness of the right and the unpopularity of its program, some more radical forms of politics are being contemplated and acted upon. From all early indications they will fail, probably because, yes, material conditions are not right
But there has been real spillage and acceptance of certain types of radical right political styles, ideas and tactics beyond the extremely subcultural and fringe communities of hardcore neo-nazis etc.
One thing the fascism skeptics are right about is that there is nothing magic or inevitable about fascist politics and the talk of "play books" that can be run regardless of specific circumstances is not a serious analysis for the most part
That all sort of accepts the tropes of fascist propaganda of the unstoppable movement headed by a preternaturally cunning and powerful leader. Fascist movements can fail, retreat, become coopted by other political forms, etc. It's unfortunately normal
The other thing that's ahistorical about the argument above is that there were many movements and intellectual currents, pre and post-war that contributed to the rise of fascism. sometimes a single party was able to unite those forces, in others they were fragmented

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More from @lionel_trolling

9 Apr
I think the important thing to understand about antisemitism as a political factor is that its not coterminous with "Jew hatred", it's a particular type of obsessive preoccupation and fantasy about the presence of an alien force in the national body
It's difficult to understand the type of politics being practiced by Tucker, Vance, Hawley et. al. without understanding the history of antisemitism. Jews were not just singled out as Jews, but filled a structural role as the cause of various maladies, liberalism, socialism, etc
Antisemitism was a synthesis of reactionary ideals and myths, it focused the tangled problems of society onto a single, identifiable enemy figure
Read 19 tweets
8 Apr
Yeah well look a minority elected Trump, an obvious moron, and majorities rejected him twice. I think there's proof of concept right there. Not to mention there are very few examples of dictators being acclaimed by democratic plebiscite, rather examples of parties finagling power
The whole aristocratic republican idea that democracy cant be trusted because it will lead to the rise of some kind of unscrupulous demagogue is probably one of the most discredited notions in political theory, we can see it's almost exactly wrong
Factions have recourse to desperate maneuvers for power, but democratic majorities contain with them many interests that have to be balanced and reconciled
Read 5 tweets
8 Apr
i dont know what "infrastructure" means or for that matter what any other word means, but i believe they should jam pack as much nonsense into every bill as humanly possible
lets commit $100 million to studying what the word infrastructure means, form a blue ribbon panel, organize art projects, you name it
i want every spending bill to be a veritable cornucopia of boondoggles and pork until every last citizen is sated
Read 4 tweets
8 Apr
i dont think one should tailor ones writing to the needs of political strategy, because it's pretentious to suppose what you write is of vital and immediate importance to the work of politics and also you end up subordinating intellectual life to imaginary chess moves
of course, there's writing that's explicitly about formulating political strategy and tactics, but it doesn't need to be the focus of every piece of analysis
because works of strategic political writing so rarely directly influence political considerations on a meaningful scale, they become just about political styles, what sort of affect and words and attitude to adopt in the pursuit of politics
Read 6 tweets
7 Apr
People often say things "the American people are good, but the government and institutions are bad" I disagree, I believe the American people are bad, there is something wrong with all of them
The institutions are a reflection of us as a people, and we are bad
This is not to say "Oh America is the worst country on earth" blah blah, which isn't really a meaningful statement, usually thats just more about Americans trying to maintain their own innocence, which is what we are all about: being bad and pretending to not even know it
Read 4 tweets
7 Apr
Yes exactly, the American people love cheap oil, politicians lost elections over this stuff, they were often responding to political incentives. Also, like low oil prices are great for most of the country but not all regions. Louisiana had a boom time in the 1970s
This is the problem with the whole conspiratorial take on American politics and history: even in their most private counsels politicians are worried about public opinion
deceptive moves are taken to confuse public opinion, but most politicians know they are temporary expedients and eventually they need to deliver a tangible benefit to some constituency. that creates its own problems, where we do short term fixes of structural problems etc
Read 5 tweets

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