Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is this the new fire of fascism?

...or a flash in the pan?

In this Mother Jones' blog: The Tea Party's March Madness Stephanie Mencimer reveals the continuing saga of the Tea Party movement, now fragmented from its monolithic appearance last year on the Washington DC Mall. The single movement appears to have dissolved into bickering factions, each vying for transcendence on the political scene.

Though the specifics have changed, the general rhetoric remains the same, echoing Umberto Eco's prescient essay, Eternal Fascism, in which he details fourteen characteristics of fascist societies.

Even in "mainstream" politics, if there is such a thing these days, radical talk abounds. Tennessee gubernatorial candidate, Rep. Zach Wamp calls for secession, saying:

"I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government."

If the Republican Party is somehow able to get over its puppy-love with Sarah Palin and find a direction again, this might be the tide Progressives find themselves swimming against in the next election cycle.

It used to be easier to recognize fascism when it moved into the neighborhood. Jack boots, brown shirts, truncheons, and massed martial demonstrations were hard to miss. But today it's harder to separate the flag waving housewife and the Revolutionary War costumed reenactor from the hardened right-wing fascist revolutionary.

When do we draw the line?

"When and if fascism comes to America, it will not be labeled 'Made in Germany;' it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, Americanism." Professor Halford E. Luccock, Yale Divinity School, New York Times, September 12, 1938, page 15. (Thanks to Shii, for tracking this down.)