Is it Fascism Yet?

Historians in the News
tags: fascism, authoritarianism, Donald Trump

Democracy in America isn’t dying. It’s being strangled before our eyes by an administration determined to maintain power at any cost. Trump isn’t just playing to his base. Every move he makes is designed to destabilize the nation, to bring its citizens to heel with threats, intimidation, and violence.

In the 2015 book “Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad,” M.T. Anderson writes that Russian dictator Joseph Stalin “was not merely trying to remove political enemies. He was not merely trying to terrorize the country into submission. He was trying to break down all social structure that did not emanate from him, and to create a new people, no longer Homo sapiens, but Homo sovieticus, the New Man of Communism.”

Except for the communism part, the rest sounds sickeningly familiar.


Now mysterious federalized police snatch people off American streets. Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably directing” a disinformation campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, with Trump’s apparent approval. The president has stacked the federal judiciary with dozens of right-wing ideologues, ensuring that the scourge of Trumpism will long outlive the insidious man himself.

In a Time magazine interview last year about the rise of fascism, Trump’s name is never mentioned. Yet Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a New York University professor of history and Italian studies and an expert on Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, says fascism’s virulent tenets have been consistent through generations.

“It’s more striking what hasn’t changed — the hyper-nationalism, the leader cult, the idea that this is a leader who is going to save us, the fear of white population decline, anti-feminism, anti-left, things like that,” she said. “None of those things have changed.”

Except, this time, it’s happening in America.


Read entire article at Boston Globe

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