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Trump and the Spectre of Mussolini

The big news today has been last night’s attack on the Capitol by Trump’s supporters. They had been fired up to make the assault by Trump’s continued insistence that he is the real winner of the election, but it has been stolen from him by vote-rigging from the Democrats. As Mike himself has pointed out, Trump himself has not been averse to trying to do this himself. Earlier this week it was revealed that Trump had tried to persuade Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Secretary of State, to find one more vote for him in the state more than those cast for Joe Biden. And a week or so ago it was also reported that he had also been considering calling in the army in order to defend his presidency. If he had done so, it would have been a coup attempt.

Microsoft News in a piece they published today about the attack state that among the mob were members of various far right groups, such as the Proud Boys, the Nationalist Social Club and supporters of the Qanon conspiracy theory. This is the bizarre belief that Trump has been secretly fighting a war against an evil covert group determined to take over and subvert America. Last night there had been various messages posted on right-wing websites urging ‘Revolution’ and ‘Civil War’. World leaders have expressed their disgust and condemnation of the attack, though as Mike also points out, there has been no condemnation of Trump himself from Boris or Priti Patel. The attack is ominous, as it shows just how fragile American democracy is.

Indeed. Way back in the 1990s there were fears of a similar attack with the emergence of militia movement. These are right-wing paramilitary organisations founded by people, who really believe that America is in danger of being taken over by the extreme left, or the forces of globalism and the one world Satanic conspiracy or whatever. Many of them were explicitly racist with the connections to the neo-Nazi right. At one point a woman claiming to be a senior officer in the movement appeared online urging the various militias to unite and march on Washington. Her call was ignored, largely, I think, because the other militia leaders didn’t trust her and were extremely suspicious of her motives. I got the distinct impression that they suspected her of being an agent provocateur and that the march was some kind of trap by the federal government. There was no armed paramilitary march, and so America dodged a coup attempt, or whatever it was, that time.

But the attack is also reminiscent of an assault on government even further back, almost one hundred years ago. This was the infamous ‘March on Rome’ of Mussolini’s Fascists. This succeeded in getting him appointed as the new Prime Minister by the Italian king, Emmanuel II, and began the process which saw him overturning Italian democracy to forge the Fascist one-party state and his personal dictatorship. Of course, for such coups to be successful, the armed forces, capital and the civil service must be willing to collaborate with the insurgents. Mussolini had the support of Italian industry and the big landowners, as he offered to protect capitalism from the forces of revolutionary socialism. The Fascists also included a number of ex-servicemen, the squadristi, and they had considerable support within the regular Italian armed forces. However, the head of the Italian police had absolute contempt for the Fascists and offered to defend the Italian government from the Fascists. But the king turned him down, and caved in to the future Duce.

There are similarities to last night’s events. Many right-wing Americans do seem to fear that Communism and anarchy are somehow about to overrun America with the violence of some of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in America and the supposed ‘cultural Marxists’ that have allegedly taken over the American educational system. And the fears that there really is a secret conspiracy to overthrow American democracy and enslave its citizens has been around for decades. Bizarre conspiracy theories appeared in the 1970s about the Bilderberg group and the Trilateral Commission, claiming that these groups really ran the world. Then in the 1990s George Bush senior’s statement that he was going to create a ‘new world order’ prompted comparisons with the Nazis, as Hitler had also said the same about his regime. It was also linked to older conspiracy theories about the Freemasons because the Latin version of the phrase, ‘Novo Ordo Seculorum’, supposedly appears on American dollar bills along with various Masonic symbols. These theories claimed that America was being secretly run by a group of Masonic Satanists, who were planning turn America into a totalitarian, Communist state and send Christians to concentration camps. Even the collapse of Communism did not allay these fears. Many of those, who bought into these bizarre theories, thought that the collapse of the Soviet Union was all some kind of ruse. One variety of these myths claimed that the Russians had established secret military bases in Canada and Mexico, and at a given signal Soviet tanks would roll over the border into America. The 1990s were arguably the peak of such beliefs, as shown in the popularity of similar stories of covert government pacts with aliens from Zeta Reticuli and TV’s The X-Files. But such fears have certainly not gone away. There was a resurgence during Obama’s presidency, when America’s first Black president was accused by the bonkers elements on the American right of being a secret Muslim. or atheist. Or Communist. Or Nazi. Whatever, Obama was filled with rage against White Christians. One pair of pastors told the listeners of their church radio station that Obama was going to establish a dictatorship and would massacre even more people than Chairman Mao. Alex Jones was repeating and amplifying similar myths over on his internet radio and TV station. He claimed that Obama was going to invoke emergency legislation under the pretext of impending environmental disaster to force ordinary Americans into refugee camps. Militant feminists and gays were part of this conspiracy, in which humanity was to be transformed into a race of genderless cyborgs. Jones lost a considerable part of his audience when he was banned from various social media platforms thanks to his claims that a Boston pizza parlour was really a front for supplying children to be abused by members of the Democratic party and that several high school shootings had really been faked to provoke popular support for gun control laws. This caused real distress to the bereaved parents, who were accused of being ‘crisis actors’. Jones has nearly vanished from the public stage, though he still appears here and there. Even when he had an audience, many people still regarded him as a joke. But it looks like the conspiracy theories Jones promoted, and the underlying distrust of the government, still have a powerful hold on many Americans.

Fortunately, yesterday was different from 1920s Italy. America’s military has so far shown no interest in coming to Trump’s aid and overthrowing democracy. Black Lives Matter is extremely unpopular in certain areas, but the police, security forces and private industry aren’t backing armed paramilitary units to defend capitalism. American democracy is being shaken and tested, but so far it hasn’t cracked. The problem is, it’s not clear how long this will last. By calling for people to storm the capitol, Trump has struck a blow against democracy. He’s been unsuccessful, but this might inspire a future president with the same inclinations to try again. And they might be more successful.

And we’re not safe from such assaults over here. Mike in his article has warned that the Tories appear to be taking notes from Trump, while Zelo Street points out that the same people, who backed Trump also back the Tories and Brexit over here. He concludes with a warning of who the Brexiteers will blame when it all finally goes bad:

Many Brexiteers believe it’ll be someone else’s fault – Remainers, ethnic minorities, foreign nationals, multinational corporations, those of insufficiently patriotic intent – when it all goes bad. It won’t be Bozo, Ms Patel, Gove, or Nigel “Thirsty” Farage they will be going after.

There is a real danger of America becoming, if not a dictatorship, then a very authoritarian, Fascistic state. And Britain following.

See also: Four dead after Trump provokes US Capitol riot – and the UK Tories are taking notes | Vox Political (voxpoliticalonline.com)

Zelo Street: Trump Insurrection – Next Stop UK (zelo-street.blogspot.com)

Brad Raffensperger Defended the Election — But Not the Right to Vote in Future Ones

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 06/01/2021 - 5:44am in

While he pushes back against Trump, Raffensperger is trying to limit voting options for Democratic constituencies. Continue reading

The post Brad Raffensperger Defended the Election — But Not the Right to Vote in Future Ones appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Georgia Holds the Key to Unlock $2,000 Checks

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 6:32am in

Despite Mitch McConnell’s obstruction last week, a Democratic Senate would have no real obstacle to the popular relief measure. Continue reading

The post Georgia Holds the Key to Unlock $2,000 Checks appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Trump’s Coup

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 10:05pm in

The attack on American democracy is an inside job. Trump’s one-hour rant directed at Georgia officials who have certified President elect Joe Biden’s win isn’t an isolated event. It’s just one front in a battle to make Trump king. The scary part is that he has a lot of people helping him. Continue reading

The post Trump’s Coup appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The “Perfect” Phone Call

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 9:40pm in

Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to demand he overturn the results of the presidential election in Georgia and deliver the state to Trump. Raffensperger apparently recorded the call, keeping it handy in case Trump misrepresented it publicly. This morning, Trump did exactly that. Continue reading

The post The “Perfect” Phone Call appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Early Voting for Georgia’s Senate Runoffs May Point to Record Turnout

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 22/12/2020 - 3:11am in

Across Georgia, turnout in the opening week of early voting for two US Senate runoffs has been robust and may even set records, despite ongoing Republican efforts to disqualify voters — efforts that courts keep rejecting. Continue reading

The post Early Voting for Georgia’s Senate Runoffs May Point to Record Turnout appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Georgia GOP Senators Stock Trades Raise Eyebrows; But Will They Also Raise Outrage?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/12/2020 - 10:27am in

Georgia's two incumbent Republicans continued to insist that they had been cleared of any wrongdoing tied to each of them selling of millions in stock after Senate briefings about the approaching pandemic. Continue reading

The post Georgia GOP Senators Stock Trades Raise Eyebrows; But Will They Also Raise Outrage? appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Runoff Elections in Georgia Are Disasters for Democrats. Here’s Why This Time Is Different.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2020 - 5:13am in

That electorate—along with the organizing that spurred it—is now giving Democrats hope that Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff can win runoff elections for the US Senate on January 5, races that would have seemed almost unwinnable in past years.  Continue reading

The post Runoff Elections in Georgia Are Disasters for Democrats. Here’s Why This Time Is Different. appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Thoughts on the Silence of Republican Lawmakers

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2020 - 6:43am in

There is no excuse for the silence of Republican lawmakers as their president attacks our democracy. But there might be a precedent. Continue reading

The post Thoughts on the Silence of Republican Lawmakers appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The View From Georgia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 06/12/2020 - 5:36am in

Will Georgia's communities of color come out in higher numbers for the senate run-off than they did for the main event? Continue reading

The post The View From Georgia appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

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