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Fascism Must Never Trump Democracy

23/11/2016 12:33

Yesterday, President Obama asked the world to give Donald Trump a chance. To do what exactly? Create a Muslim data base? Build a wall to keep Mexicans (some of whom are nice, the rest are thieving rapists) out? Appoint a white supremacist to his cabinet signalling that black lives don't matter? Or, Replace workplace equality laws with a national "grab a p***y" day?

If it's possible to become the president of the United (now Divided) States of America by detonating a dirty bomb of bigotry, inciting hatred and civil unrest, we either accept that fanning the flames of fascism is a legitimate means by which to obtain power, or we reject it. There's no middle ground.

I stand with the principled people of America and beyond who reject the legitimacy of Trump's presidency. In a growing movement of conscientious objectors to the normalisation of fascism, one of the most powerful admonitions came from a fellow Dubliner, Senator Aodhan O'Riordain. In a speech which has gone viral, he lambasts Trump as " a monster" and describes what's happening in Britain as "appalling".

Post Brexit, a UN report criticised the EU referendum campaign for using divisive, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric. It read, "Many prominent political figures not only failed to condemn it but also created and entrenched prejudices, thereby emboldening individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate towards minority communities". An EU referendum leaflet was found in the bag of the man accused of MP Jo Cox's brutal murder. A man described as a white supremacist obsessed with far right extremism.

Donald Trump's campaign bore all the hallmarks of Nazi propaganda. The slogan "Make America great again" and the proposed Muslim database, are straight out of Hitler's handbook. Appointing Steve Bannon, a man accused of misogyny and endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, as chief strategist, was a gratuitous act of provocation.

Fascism thrived in the aftermath of the economic depression of the 1930's, preying on fears and pitting communities against each other, competing for dwindling resources. In the wake of a global economic crash now, the far right is invoking the same dangerous tactics.

Capitalism, the illegitimate child of corporate greed and de-regulation, has made a mockery of democracy. There is nothing free about the markets. Corporate giants, with their ubiquitous lobbies buy government policies favourable to their survival. Eroding competition, democracy, human rights and environmental protections in the process.

Rather than concede that unrestrained capitalism has failed, and unable to extol any discernible benefits for the masses, Trump, like neoliberal proponents in the UK and elsewhere, seek instead to divert public rage against those they perceive as "other". Lack of jobs, school places and affordable housing is blamed on immigrants, rather than a bankrupt ideology that starves public services of investment and siphons public funds into the pockets of the rich.

Bernie Saunders' authentic socialist convictions would, I believe, have spoken to the 15 million disaffected families living in poverty in the US and inspired more people to vote for him. There can be no doubt however that, of the two presidential candidates, only one was qualified for the job. Instead, the richest man, bereft of any credentials, snatched it from the abundantly more qualified woman, Hilary Clinton.

One thing is clear, the electorate is fed up of "centrists" who sit on the fence, hedging their bets. People are angry and demand change. Fielding insipid candidates and policies that fail to get people off their sofas to vote is a losing formula.

We need a strong left, unashamed in its defence of immigration, for example. Instead of pandering to the far right, the left should be expounding the virtues of immigration and the fact that an increase of immigrants by just 3% in the workforce of wealthy countries would boost world GDP by $356 billion by 2025. Immigrants didn't cause the financial crash but we need them (of whom I'm one) to recover from it.

In the UK at least, there's a vibrant resurgence of the left underway, driven by grass roots movements, like Momentum, inspired by Jeremy Corbyn's socialist policies. Predicated on fairness, social justice, redistribution of wealth and equality, as opposed to self-aggrandisement, hate and fear.

But, for democracy to function and for the left to succeed in providing a healthy alternative narrative, we need a progressive, responsible media. Where are the regular forthright left wing commentators to counter the ubiquitous right wing goaders such as Katie Hopkins and Toby Young?

Last Friday I watched the BBC's Have I Got News For You. A misogynistic, xenophobic, racist had just been elected president of America. Yet, the most senior, accomplished, black female politician in Britain, Diane Abbott, was mocked for the way she speaks.

Trump and Brexit have dragged political debate into the gutter. The wounds inflicted will linger long after the stench of flatulent rhetoric has dissipated into the choke damp ether.

Now is not the time to hide in a bunker. If something's worth fighting for, be it the NHS, libraries, equality, or multi-culturalism, get out and fight for it. It'll take more than armchair activism to salvage any hope from this wreckage.

You can access Tess's website at www.tessfinchlees.com

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