As the first face of American fascism in the 21st, I mention Donald Trump only in passing. If we peer back down the arrow of time, we find the invention of fascism as a political movement in Italy, 1921. Benito Mussolini drew from ancient Greek philosophers and others to justify the economics and discrimination of his “new” political party. His three principles: order, discipline, hierarchy. Anarchism rejects all three of these as the essence of authoritarianism and as we relax our gaze, death and waste blossom as the fruits of fascism’s promise of protection and prosperity.
Normally I stay away from quotes unless the quote itself is the subject of the piece but this bit from Emma Goldman carries us in many ways to the ultimate point.
“Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals…” ― Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays
The fascist principles of order, discipline, and hierarchy are in direct conflict with Goldman’s depiction of anarchist ideals. In fact, anarchism is the only ideology immune to these principles. Democracy, communism, socialism, and other more archaic forms of government are susceptible to the influence of any and all fascist principles. Order is demanded by any form of government. Discipline is implied by any form of government. All governments are structural hierarchies. Many Americans will argue that their republican democracy and their founding documents have safeguards against the worst results of rule. But as recently as Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, certain groups have suffered discrimination in violation of these safeguards. And as far back as the founding fathers, the American republic has kicked the can on discrimination and slavery of certain groups. None are immune.
So here we stand, only a few meager strides into this newest millennium and the seeds of the rotting products of WWII and the Cold War have germinated in the ignorance of the hillbilly religious right of the same nation that supposedly defeated fascism in a storm of patriotism, blood, and atomic explosions. It begs the comparison to religions that would not die in the face of conquering cultures. The Canaanite gods became the Israelite gods. The Greek gods became Roman gods. And the Christian god(s) wormed almost unhindered into Roman culture, spawning the Catholic Church. Ideas are contagious and, like many viruses and bacteria, they may hibernate until viable conditions for their flourishing exist. The War on Terror has provided just that sort of landscape. The rhetoric of the Right (spurred by the suicidal political correctness of the Left) is plowing the fields with fear, gearing for the next electoral season. Fascism needs a scapegoat, an easily painted target. Radical, fundamentalist Islam is the willing recipient of such labels, after all, their ideology requires scapegoats as well and the interventions and economic piracy of the West has made the makeover quite simple and arguably correct.
And yet we actually see pushback from a certain percentage of the American Right in the face of outright discrimination. And for good reason. They have seen this before. Even though they may at some weird nexus agree with denying certain groups the full liberty promised in their laws, they know that once one group is crushed, another scapegoat must follow and one’s religious affiliation is the easiest target. I as an atheist do not believe—cannot believe—in a higher power than nature but that does not equate to hatred for any religion or its adherents.
Contrary to what many religious people understand, to be a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu all one must do is label oneself a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu. When Goldman says “…the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion…” she doesn’t bar its existence, only denies any religious authority. We should all have the freedom to affiliate or not. We should all have the freedom to pursue our happiness down whatever path we feel might lead us there. The same rule applies to any label. If one chooses to be a Republican or a Democrat, a socialist or an anarchist, all that is required is to call oneself a Republican, Democrat, socialist or anarchist. We all have our labels and those labels show the world an approximation of our personality. If one chooses to espouse fascism, so be it. But the freedom to subscribe to any ideology comes with consequences. There are alot of people, thankfully, who were brought up to hate fascism as dogmatically as fascism dogmatically hates whatever the fuck is on the menu.
So when a minority of crazed nationalists cries for the removal and exclusion of a particular religion or ideology, they had better prepare for the crosshairs to find them in the succeeding days for they will have removed any protections they mistook in their divine rules of law.
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