A Fascist Edge
Something is happening here. In the U.S. that is. Given the somewhat constant barrage of shootings by isolated right-wingers in this country, it may be that some kind of ‘quantity into quality’ moment is approaching. Or 'quantity into big shit.' In the last few years we have seen the killing of abortion doctors, random civilians, people at a Jewish museum in Kansas by a white fascist, the slaughter of Sikhs in a Wisconsin temple by a known skinhead, and the recent Cliven Bundy standoff. Two weeks ago some male-rights rich kid in California decided to take revenge on women by killing 3 of his male roommates, among others. In Texas groups of reactionaries have carried guns into chain restaurants, scaring families and children, and threatening anyone who doesn’t like their kind of ‘activism.’ A week ago some natural-law ‘Sovereign Citizen’ type tried to take over a courthouse in Georgia, killing one person. Now we have two Patriot Militia types killing two cops in a café and an armed civilian in a Walmart in Nevada. Both had been to Bundy’s compound in Idaho, which is considered by the Right to be a giant victory.
As the Buffalo Springfield sang, “Somethin’s happenin’ here, what it is - not exactly clear. There’s a man with a gun over there, tellin’ me I got to beware…”
Whose holding the gun this time? The first time I saw this was at an Obama appearance in 2008 in Minneapolis. One T-Party middle-aged white male carried his legal handgun to the event as part of a ‘protest.’ The point of this was intimidation, though one punk from Anoka County didn’t scare anyone. But that is what we are getting here. Eventually if carrying assault rifles in public anywhere becomes the norm, what about a group of armed right-wing thugs showing up at an anti-war event? A strikers picket line? A pro-abortion defense group? A welfare-rights rally? You get the picture. One day one of these guys will use his gun in the heat of the moment. And then here we go. Because they are not the only ones armed.
Of course, an attack could come from a lone gunman too.
The T-Party has a fascist-in-the-egg wing, no doubt about it. It has been hatched by big money, nurtured by rural poverty and mothered by the decline of small businessmen. In the southern and western U.S. it is especially easy to find these reactionaries. They are not, for the most part, a product of big cities or inner suburbs, but the exurbs and small rural towns of the white world. Nor are they for the most part working-class people, in spite of much middle-class liberal hand-wringing about that. Nationalist, Christian, white, male chauvinist, pro-small business and racist, they are a constant of the American political scene. The Ku Klux Klan, the ‘50s Minutemen and their modern border-guarding reincarnation; the John Birch Society, the Silver Shirts, the Know-Nothings, Christian Dominionists, neo-Confederates, militia patriots, the American Legion, the followers of Father Coughlin and Rush Limbaugh – same deal, different decade.
Fox News broadcasts daily diatribes about how Obama is a dictator, a communist, a socialist, a fascist, a Marxist, a … Negro, and ‘Mericuh is finished. Goebbels would have been envious of such a mouthpiece. Is every right-wing lone wolf in the U.S. going to kill someone now? Did some kind of ‘call’ go out, only heard by those with tinfoil hats emblazoned with “Don’t Tread On Me?”
At some point sooner than we think this kind of violence might spill over into something that is not isolated. It is not just some kind of injured white male vanity here, though that plays a role. ‘See, look at my gun, look at how powerful I am!’ (The thoughts of a secret weakling…) It is meant to cow the population into doing what the ‘men with guns’ want. There is also a veneer of incompetence. Armed to the teeth, tons of bullets and equipment and planning, they have not been very ‘successful.’ These last two shot themselves for some unknown reason. The intimidation is not working very well so far, as people are getting scared, then angry. So there might be an escalation in sight. Fascism actually makes the majority of the population their target. The history of right-wing terror in Europe is full of attacks on soft civilian targets like trains and public events – similar to the one at the Boston Marathon, or the bombing of the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City
If that happens, then leftists need to be prepared. No doubt the government will attempt some kind of ‘law enforcement’ moment. Which worked really well in the Cliven Bundy case. Even though right-wing ‘terrorism’ has been identified by the FBI and others as more dangerous than anything else, it is still ‘Muslims’ that are almost the only target of our forces of 'law and order.' They shut down their task force on right-wing violence on 9/11/2001, and only a few weeks ago decided to start it up again. For those of you that are counting, almost 14 years asleep. According to CJ Werleman, in the years 1990 to 2010, there were 145 acts of political violence committed by the American far Right, resulting in 348 deaths. By comparison, 20 Americans were killed over the same period in acts of political violence carried out by Muslim-American civilians. This does not include 9/11. Many in the police community sympathize with the proto-fascists, so do not fool yourself into thinking they can stop a full-fledged movement if it bursts into the open. Or even just one isolated lone fascist. They are just going to let it happen. Like they pick up the bodies in the poor neighborhoods of town every morning.
As the Boy Scouts say, be prepared. Remember Robert Williams, the Deacons for Defense, the Teamster Union Guard and Malcolm X. The right of self-defense is non-negotiable.
June 11, 2014