Popular discourse in the US has been focused on the ‘Alt-Right’ for some time now, popularly described as a new far-right movement which made a name for itself during Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016, utilising strategies ranging from the use of memes on social media and image boards like 4Chan to spread their agenda to the open and active use of terrorist violence, as in the case of James Alex Fields, who drove into counter-protesters at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville last year, murdering Socialist organiser Heather Hayer in cold blood. The so-called ‘Alt-Right’ is a terrorist, nationalist, anti-modernist, anti-communist and, primarily, capitalist movement. It is a movement of the intellectual class masquerading as the working class, using the rhetoric of the oppressed to fight for a system which only serves to intensify oppression. The Alt-Right, as a label, is used to recuperate the ideas of Fascism as to make them easier to swallow, so to speak, much like how the term ‘National Socialist’ was used to make far-right capitalist ideas sound appealing to the semi-class conscious German worker of the 1930s.
The primary tactic of the modern American fascist is to appear, just as the Nazis and the Italian Fascists did before them, as a movement for liberation against an omnipresent and all powerful enemy. For the Nazis it was the Jew, his ideology of ‘Cultural Bolshevism’, and for the ‘Alt-Right’ it is ‘The Globalist’ and his ideology of ‘Cultural Marxism’, a non-specific concept whereby every university, government institution, news outlet and NGO has been infected and is leading to the degeneration of the West. Their solution? Destroy the ideology and its propagators. However, when you have an idea so non-specific as “Cultural Marxism” or “Postmodernism” (another term used by American fascists with a wilful misunderstanding of what it actually means), anyone can be deemed a heretic and become a target to end up like Heather Hayer, dead at the hands of an angry man who convinced himself that driving a car into anti-fascist protesters would help destroy an all-encompassing Globalist agenda. It is the adaptability of the fascists to achieve their goal that allows their movement to exist indefinitely, requiring only a change in language or which ethnic/religious/cultural group should be scapegoated to seem new and, in the current case, ‘Alternative’.
British fascists are not the same as their American allies. While taking some inspiration from the Alt-Right’s easily applicable tactic of using memes to generate humour while exploiting people’s fears and insecurities, established fascist groups like Britain First and the EDL have not gained nearly as much support from the surge in white nationalist populism in the west as similar American organisations have. Despite their 1.9 Million likes on facebook, Britain First – the largest fascist organisation in Britain – has less than 1000 members nationwide and can often motivate less than 20 members to show up for their rallies. Contrast Britain First with Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute, an organisation which frequently organises events and has made Spencer, its executive director, a household name amongst politically aware Americans. The organisation’s founder, William Regnery II, is the heir to a multi-million dollar fortune and the grandson of William Regnery I, a member of the national leadership of the white supremacist and anti-semitic America First Committee, as well as a former donor to the Democratic Party. The National Policy Institute’s leading members, it’s founder and it’s current director are all wealthy university graduates pretending to fight for America’s white working class population while being comprised entirely of white capitalists fighting for positions of power and wealth. Britain First does not have access to the millions of dollars available to the National Policy Institute through Regnery, nor does it have an understanding of political theory or sociology, both of which Richard Spencer – PhD in European Intellectual History and MA in the Humanities – does.
Georgi Dimitrov, a Marxist theoretician and revolutionary who studied and wrote about fascism for many years, defined fascism as the “open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, most imperialistic elements of financial capital…which cultivates zoological hatred against other peoples.” To put that in plain English, fascism is the open violent control over society by the most undemocratic, regressive and bigoted members of the ruling class, who put forward policies to divide the working class along lines of race, gender, religion and sexuality. When Dimitrov describes fascism as the “open” dictatorship of the most reactionary capitalists, he is alluding to a much larger problem. Fascism is the open dictatorship, but for it to be open it must first be hidden – a look at American foreign policy since the turn of the 20th century shows that the United States has been exporting Fascism for over 100 years, supporting the United Fruit Company’s proto-fascist takeover of Honduras in 1903 with US Army soldiers, committing terrorist attacks on railways and independent farms in the country up until 1924, occupying Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933 with a military dictatorship, destabilising the newly liberated and unified People’s Republic of Korea with the formation of the US Army Military Government in Korea south of the 38th Parallel in 1945, the takeover of the Iranian government in 1953 by US-backed monarchist rebels for the purposes of securing oil for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now known as BP) and, to skip several other examples to bring us up to the modern day, the funding of Al Qaida front organisation Jundullah against the current Iranian government, the 2011 takeover of Libya which led to the re emergence of slavery, the introduction of sexist and fundamentalist laws, the growth of US-backed Jihadist groups and mass destabilization the region hasn’t seen since before Gaddafi took power in 1969. The most recent and ongoing attempt by the US to export fascism overseas is the attempted takeover of Syria.
It is clear from a quick glance back at American history that the current fascists in the United States are attempting to bring fascism home, so to speak.
The USA has reached a point, for the first time since the 1930s, where open fascism has become a commonly accepted political opinion. White Supremacist organisations have hundreds of thousands of members, get featured on mainstream tv, and run channels on new media outlets such as YouTube that have staggering numbers of subscribers. Why is this?
Dimitrov argued that fascism is adopted as a tactic of capitalism, rather than as a distinct governmental form. As the threat grows from the genuinely working class movement, the communists, notions of ‘democracy’ and ‘tolerance’, which capitalist governments usually at least pay lip service too, become abandoned as decadences of a better time, at least from the capitalist’s perspective, and white supremacism, patriarchy, and countless other bigoted policies are openly adopted.
Something little known about the three most famous historical examples of fascism – Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany and Franco’s Spain – is that they all had very strong communist movements prior to the adoption of capitalism. In Spain this even came to open war, with the communist-led Republican army fighting the fascist army of Franco, a war that sadly resulted in Franco’s victory. Even less likely to be mentioned is the Western investment into the fascist economies. American investment propped up Germany, British investment Italy, and Franco’s army was supported by every major nation except for the USSR, with funding given by all our supposedly ‘tolerant and accepting’ capitalist democracies! Fascism was adopted, fascism was supported, in order to crush the workers movement and perpetuate capitalism.
The USA faces the prospect of collapse. China now threatens their domination of the world; their One Belt One Road policy giving the US’s victims an alternative economic partner, they are no longer held in a stranglehold. Movements like Black Lives Matter are popping up in the US and exposing the white supremacist nature of organisations like the police and secret service. Public awareness is growing of the US’s abuses of the third world, and of their own citizens, particularly black, hispanic and native american citizens as well as women and LGBTQ people. It has become less and less possible for the US capitalists to hide the atrocities they commit, and so their only option has become to make these atrocities accepted by enough of the American people. Racism becomes more and more accepted an opinion, as does misogyny, under dogwhistle phrases like ‘race realism’ and ‘anti-feminism’.
The fascist movement has grown as a reaction to the increased awareness of racism, sexism and imperialism among the American people. We must be ready for such a movement to grow as knowledge increase of British atrocities, as the British becomes less trusted and people start to see the real picture of British white supremacism and imperialism, and we must be ready to combat it.