The Guardian view on an America First Caucus: a warning democracy is under siege
No one can be sure how far might a radicalised
Republican party go
‘Before being elected to Congress, Ms Greene
peddled conspiracy theories, made racist statements and indicated support for
the execution of Democratic leaders and FBI agents.’
In 1944, George Orwell felt that the word fascism had “lost the last vestige of meaning”
so liberally had it been used. But fascism remains very much alive. Decades after Orwell’s message, one of the challenges today
is to identify and name it. Whether the label could be applied to Donald Trump
had divided expert opinion, until the 6 January assault on Capitol
Hill by a mob whose passions had been inflamed by his speech earlier that day.
This melted the resistance historians of fascism like Columbia University’s
Robert Paxton felt to using the f-word. The use of violence against democratic
institutions, he wrote,
“crosses a red line”.
If anyone wondered what American fascism might look like
then they could start with the proposed congressional “America First Caucus”, which emerged this weekend from the office of extremist Republican Marjorie
Taylor Greene. Carrying the torch for Trumpism, this fringe agenda conceals its
racial argument behind muscular populist ones. The caucus plans were welcomed
by legislators who had fanned the flames of the Capitol riot. Before being elected to
Congress, Ms Greene peddled conspiracy theories, made racist statements and
indicated support for the execution of Democratic leaders and FBI agents.
She renounced those beliefs on the eve of being kicked off
congressional committees but made no apology for having held them.
The proposed caucus platform contained not so
much dog whistles as foghorns for white supremacy. America, the document
claims, is based on “respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and
decries “post-1965 immigrants” for depressing workers’ wages, highlighting the
year when the US ended its policy of giving preferential treatment to western
European migrants. It calls for rebuilding the US with an “aesthetic value that
befits the progeny of European architecture”. Thankfully the plan exploded on the launch pad. Republican leaders calculated it would
hurt their electoral chances in moderate swing seats. Ms Greene disowned
the caucus proposals.
Fascism not only pursues rightwing policies, it seeks to
build up mass-mobilising movements and paramilitary organisations with the aim
of establishing a single-party dictatorship. Mr Trump saw armed citizens as a political asset. His heirs see despotism as a
viable alternative to the current political structure. In Congress 147
Republican lawmakers promoted Mr Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Republicans
in 47 states have 361 proposed laws to restrict voting access on grounds of baseless
claims of electoral fraud.
Around the world
electorates will have to become reacquainted with fascism. Voters must attune
themselves to what it looks and sounds like. In the UK, Labour’s Sir Keir
Starmer was caught out earlier this year on a national radio phone-in when he
failed to recognise a conspiracy theory popular with fascists, and Fox News
star Tucker Carlson, known as the “great replacement”. It falsely
claims that dwindling white birthrates have been orchestrated by multicultural
global elites in an attempt to make whites a minority. There’s no suggestion
that Sir Keir agreed with the racist caller but there was criticism in the way he handled the call. There is an urgent and
pressing need to recognise both the real threat of fascism as well as the
rhetorical and emotional motifs it employs.
Expelled for Sending Nazi Pic to Jewish Classmate
A pupil at one of
England’s leading private schools has been expelled for making derogatory jokes
on social media about rape and the Black Lives Matter
movement, as well as sending a picture of Nazi soldiers to a Jewish classmate.A
15-year-old boy, who attended the Abingdon School in Oxfordshire, was just
months away from taking his GCSE exams, the British equivalent of a high school