Questions related to fascism
Thomas L. Friedman identifies four politicians who are ideologically fixed on themselves and feel they are indispensable for the futures of their countries-Putin, Xi, Trump and Netanyahu. Each feels compelled to hold onto power. He avers that in different ways they have caused massive disruptions within and beyond their own countries. I predict that each could destroy their country or at least limit the future of each. I would also include Modi. Aside from the willingness of people to support them, why has this occurred at the same time and in similar ways?
Each wants to return to an imagined past. Each represents right wing outlooks expressed through introversion and consuming egotism. Is it simply the USA's moving away from centre stage, and the impulse to fill it, returning to the competitive modes of feudalism? While this argument has merit, they all seem prepared and able to work with each other.
They certainly are or have limited the future of each country they represent. Netanyahu's religious fascism is bearing violent fruit, Xi has caused the Chinese economy to stop growing, Putin bringing long term degradation to Russia, installing in each case recognisable forms of fascism and each is installing an elite to which all state riches go, returning to an age of religious intolerance and prejudice.
Why fascist ideology gains support in a society and why it fails in another society. Why it is accelerated in a particular time and in the same state it fails. Why people support fascism in a given space or time? What is the mass psychology behind all these facts? Would you please suggest references?
On White Supremacy:
The obsession as to whether human-kind is fundamentally bad or good has preoccupied scholars for millennia. This can be traced back to the Catholic theologian, Augustine (354-430), who believed that men and women are basically bad, all born into original sin, and therefore require close supervision by which to cleanse their souls. In the enlightened age, intellectuals such as Rousseau (1712-1778) came up with the counter argument defending the premise that human-kind is basically good, an ethos that has been adopted by many liberal societies of today even if only by lip-service. We know that if one wants an economy that is maximally uncreative and unproductive, totalitarianism (left or right driven) is the best political system by which to achieve this. Here a minority of the population under its leadership employs all the state’s resources to control the majority under the assumption that the majority has ‘bad habits’ that must be altered and if not possible contained using police-state tactics. Such a society is unsustainable, as we witnessed with the disintegration of the Soviet Union in December 1991.
So, what about White Supremacy. This viewpoint has a long history in the United State going back to the age of slavery [1620 to 1865] when Black people (including their children) were sold and killed like cattle. At its zenith in 1860, some 13% of the US population, 4 million people of a population of 31 million, were enslaved. Shortly after the passage of the 13th Amendment (which was meant to end slavery in 1865) segments of the White population resisted this policy by forming the Ku Klux Klan who adopted an Augustine-viewpoint that led to the mass lynching of mainly Black males that continued well into the mid-20th Century. According to the Equal Justice Initiative (2017), 4084 African-Americans were lynched between 1877 and 1950, mainly in the Southern United States. In the 1960’s three acts were passed by Congress to remedy this bad history: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
Now let us fast forward to the Age of Trump (2016-2020). Donald Trump, an Independent, became a Republican so that he could win the presidential election in November 2016. His madness, which includes racism, bigotry, and contempt for women, is expressed regularly via Twitter and Fox News. This madness has now been amplified by the recent killing of an African American man, George Floyd, who was caught on camera being suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer. With Christian Bible in hand and in front of St. Johns church in Washington DC, Trump declared (much like Hitler did during his rallies in the 30 and 40’s) that he would impose law and order on the masses who are protesting the killing of George Floyd. So far, 10,000 protesters have been arrested by police (Aljazeera, June 4, 2020). The ~ 25,000 White Supremacist of America are standing by to see whether Trump can create an opportunity for them to return America to its roots: by having a large segment of the population (mainly immigrant and non-White) be put under the control of a White minority to satisfy (unbeknown to them) the dictates of the Catholic theologian, Augustine (354-430). If you believe in humanity and its sustainability, you can never allow this to happen since this is a recipe to continuous warfare, much like what goes on in the Middle East today.
Corruption has often been a thorn in the development of countries. Brazil is no exception. By some estimates, 7% of the gross domestic product of Brazil is siphoned off yearly in the form of kickbacks. This represents 200 billion dollars that rather than going toward better schools and hospitals is used instead to purchase and furnish lavish villas in the Swiss Alps by unscrupulous officials. It takes a strong and disciplined individual to not accept a bribe. Tribhuvandas Patel, who became a member of Mahatma Gandhi’s Freedom Movement in the 1930’s, was one such individual. He was instrumental in empowered a whole generation of poor Indian farmers through the establishment of cooperatives (Rajaram 2014). Patel had a steadfast rule: never take advantage as a civil servant by redirecting public funds toward one’s family.
Over the course of Brazil’s history this rule continues to be violated such that Lula da Silva who was once considered the new face of Brazil’s empowerment of the poor decided, along with his many colleagues, to enrich himself in the process. He is now serving a twelve-year prison sentence for his transgressions, but many of his associates continue to steal from the public treasury. This fact has put the Brazilian electorate in a tizzy as they go to the polls to vote for a new president. Shortly, they must decide between Fernando Haddad, who has been tainted by his associations with Lula da Silva, and Jair Bolsonaro who is differentially tainted by wanting to empower the military, to bring back torture, and to curtail the civil rights of Women, Blacks, and Gays whom he sees as less deserving. Some have gone as far as to compare Bolsonaro to Hitler. In the 1930’s, Germans had to make a similar choice between candidates and they chose Hilter. This of course was a massive cost not only to German society but also to Europe and the world at large, not to mention the six million Jews who were exterminated. It is unfortunate that Lula da Silva did not turn out to be a better human being, more in the tradition of a true freedom fighter such as Tribhuvandas Patel.
Rajaram NS (2014) Remembering the father of ‘Milk Revolution’. New Global India, March.
The European take on this is uniformly negative
And yet in Britain he seems unstoppable. Every Tory will come behind him as they fear oblivion at the hands of Farage or Corbyn.
Labour voters think he is 'fun' and may vote for him. Remember he defeated Ken Livingston for Mayor of London when he had a 20% lead.
Can anyone explain this?
This is the text of article 33 of the Italian Constitution. Is this principle correct? Is it applied in your country? What are you willing to sacrifice to defend it? In 1931, only 12 university professors in 1200 refused to pledge allegiance to fascism in Italy, and they were fired or imprisoned. What would you think about?
Hegel was happier dealing with big structures than with individual particulars. He preferred "the state" than individual people: "only in the state does man have a rational existence." A version of totality which all the component parts express the essence of that whole. (Georg Hegel; The Hegel Reader, 414)
Bolsonaro in Brazil is only imperfectly understood as a 'tropical Trump' even that term is offensive
But why less attention than Trump whose every Tweet is followed across the world?