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NeoFascism in the White House

Posted on April 26th, 2017 in Fascism by Robert Miller

This is an article by John Bellamy Foster and it was published in the Monthly Review, to which I subscribe. The purpose of this article, at least initially, was to compare the votes that put Trump in the White House, compared to the votes that Adolph Hitler got in the process of becoming the Fuhrer. I have transcribed this article in it’s entirety from the original written by John Bellamy Foster, but I have skipped the tradition of putting it in quotes; all but the final three paragraphs, which I claim as my own. The article begins by asking “who forms the social base of the neofascist phenomenon? Trump’s electoral support came mainly from the intermediate strata of the population i.e., from the lower middle class and privileged sections of the working class, primarily those with incomes around $56,000. Trump received a plurality of votes from people with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 a year, especially in the $50,000 to $99,999 a year, and among those without college degrees. Of those that reported their financial situation was worse than four years ago, Trump won 77 percent of the vote. A poll updated just before the election, indicated that in contrast to the standard Republican voters, much Trump’s strongest support came from relatively privileged white white male workers with “skilled blue collar industries,” including “production, construction, installation, maintenance, and repair and transportation, earning more than the median income, and over the age of forty.

Adolph Hitler

In the so called Rust Belt 5 states (Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; Minnesota came within a whisker of voting for Trump) that swung the election to Trump, the Republican vote increased by over 300,000 among voters earning $50,000 or less, compared with 2012. None of this was enough to win the popular vote which he lost by nearly 3 million votes, but it gave him the edge he needed to win the electoral college vote quite handily.

  • In a study by [Richard Hamilton who voted for Hitler], the author points out that Hitler’s National Socialist party was supported by Protestant’s, living in rural area, and those in lower-middle administrative occupations and owners of small businesses living in urban areas. Thus neither the rich nor poor were inclined to support Adoph Hitler’s Nazi party, and even among the Christians, religious identity mattered.

The clear implication was that Trump’s supporters conformed to the same general pattern that we see supporting Adolph Hitler’s Nazi party. According to the Hamilton study, it is generally believed that the “lower middle class (or petty bourgeoisie) provided the decisive support for Hitler and his party. Hitler also drew on a minority of the working class, disproportionately represented by more privileged blue collar workers. But the great bulk of his support came from the lower middle class or petty bourgeoisie, representing  staunchly anti-working class, racist, and anti-establishment outlook—-which nevertheless aligned itself with the capital. Hitler also had backing from devout Protestants, rural voters, disabled veterans, and older voters and or pensioners.

The parallels with the Trump phenomenon are sufficiently clear. Trump’s backing comes primarily from neither from the working-class majority nor the capitalist class—-though the latter have mostly reconciled themselves to Trumpism, given that the they are the principal beneficiaries. Once in power, fascist movements have historically cleansed themselves rapidly of the more radical lower-middle-class links that helped them to power, and soon ally themselves with big business—-a pattern already manifesting itself in the Trump administration.

Yet despite these very broad similarities, key features distinguish neofacism in the contemporary United States from its early in twentieth-century in Europe. It is in many ways a unique, sui generis (meaning unique or peculiar). There is no paramilitary violence in the streets. There are no black or brown shirts, no Nazi Storm-troopers. There is, indeed, no separate fascist party. Today the world economy is dominated not by nation-based monopoly capitalism, as in classical fascism, but a more globalized monopoly-finance capitalism.

After its defeat in the First World War, Germany in the 1930’s was in the midst of a Great Depression, and about to resume its struggle for economic and imperial hegemony in Europe. In contrast the United States today, long the world’s hegemony, has been experiencing an extended period of imperial decline coupled with economic stagnation. The White House’s “America First” policy, unfurled in Trump’s inaugural address, with its characteristically fascist “palingenetic form of ultra-nationalism (palingenesis means “rebirth”) is not aimed at domination of Europe and its colonies, as in Nazi Germany, but in restoring U.S. primacy over the entire world, leading to the “potentially deadliest phase of imperialism.”

This article does not start out praising the United States, which I believe is over stretched beyond any capacity to save itself from the ultimate tragedy that all the superpowers, that went before us suffered, and why should we be any different from our predecessors (Today we spend more that a $ trillion dollars each year on military hardware including the expense of maintaining our nuclear arsenal, which, all by itself costs several $Billions each year. Imagine what those resources could do if we spent them on the revitalization of America.

This is all complicated by the threat of global climate change, to which are current president is a climate change denier, and he has promised to undo all the positive things that President Obama did in his second term. Now we face the very real threat, that our oceans will suffer sea level rise of more than 6 ft at the dawn of the 21st century, causing displacement of millions of people, right here in the United States: if we wait until are leaders are on board with this, it will be too late, we only have a few years to respond appropriately to the threat. Everything that President Obama did to ward off the effects of climate change, we are told by the experts, that it will not be enough to prevent our temperature from climbing beyond 1.5 degree Celsius; what we have been told by the climate scientists is that the efforts we have put in so far with be 2 degrees Celsius or more. In other words we still have a long ways to go. If anything we should adopt policies that go far below predictions made by climate scientists. The Republican party is the party of crazies right now. We can’t wait for the Republican party members to come to their senses and straighten out, indeed the Republican party is so for gone that we have no hope of saving them from themselves. So that brings us to the rest of the world: most Europeans are on board with the threats of global climate change, perhaps we can form an alliance with them and force our Republican party members to come to their senses and join us in what promises to be a long and difficult struggle to fix the planet. But they say all politics are local, and I fear that we may force a struggle right here at home, because there is not a third party that is likely to be an appropriate counter force to be of any consequence.

Finally I don’t expect America to become a fascist state, any time soon, while we have observed fascist like behavior in the Trump administration, and he would clearly like to become a dictator, and assume all the powers of a little Hitler, he is not the messianic figure to pull that sort of thing off. So it looks like we will have to deal with a president who thinks of himself as a mighty figure, but whose behavior is something less than that, unless the Republican party changes course and supports him wholeheartedly, and then we would have to worry about their sanity.


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Donald Trump, the Man Who Would prefer to be a Dictator

Posted on March 21st, 2017 in Capitalism by Robert Miller

We have now witnessed nearly three months of the President Trump: it seems likely we are for a daily  roller-coaster ride, but we should all be glad it’s not something more serious. I am sure that many of you can’t wait to read the morning paper to see what else President Trump has screwed up, with his twice failed travel bans and his quixotic budget and his wire tapping charge against President Obama, and terrorism in Sweden. These all have the earmarks of an early failed presidency. He doesn’t seem to be capable of righting his own ship.

But let me leap ahead to the most serious problem we face with President Trump: he wants to be a dictator, the first ever for our relatively new nation. He believes  that by invoking a high level of fear and anxiety in American public he can move closer to his goal of becoming the dictator he wants to be. Make no mistake about it, this is Steve Bannon talking to Donald Trump, and if we listened to him, he will go a long ways to accomplish his ultimate goal and lead us into a nation we won’t recognize. Donald Trump himself, with Steve Bannon pulling the strings from behind will lead us to a place we’d never seen before. It should be obvious to all of us now, that Donald Trump wants to make a hard right turn and in the process destroy our democracy, which, I now believe, is now on life support. Right now I don’t think there is a chance in Hell that he’ll will get away with his plans for America, his poll numbers are too low; today the public reaction to him is that he is too clownish to be respectable president, but he is in a dark and sinister place, and we can’t let him get away with his plans for a darker America. But because we are uncertain about the degree of national support he now receives, we are uncertain whether some at sometime in the future, he might become a more serious threat than we judge him now to be. The problem of course is the Republican party, they seemed to have abandoned their plans to be fiscally conservative (of course that was OK when Obama was president, but now that he is out of office, they can safely retreat to spending like money is going out of style, it is unnatural  and it is not normally in DNA of Republicans. But perhaps this spending spree is due to all of the pent-up desires to spend money for Trump that they wouldn’t spend for Obama when he was President. Suddenly the size of the national  debt is no longer of concern to them. Of course no money has been spent yet; everyone is waiting for the Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And when that is achieved, all Hell will break loose, and then we might go seriously into debt.

The Donald

President Donald Trump

Being a Dictator is something that comes naturally to President Trump; that’s how he built his empire, you have only to look at his subservient children to realize that’s the way he behaves in real life.

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Are We Headed for Fascism Under President Trump?

Posted on January 10th, 2017 in Capitalism,Climage Change,Culture by Robert Miller
Donald Trump

Donald Trump: who me?

Most of us are wondering what positions Donald Trump will offer next, to further remind us that the days of the Obama administration are dwindling down to a precious few!—-and we now have to worry about how far right we have to turn to placate Donald Trump’s White House ambitions. It looks like Obamacare is next on the chopping block, but delayed by a year or two. But let me paint a darker picture (if there is one) of what’s going on; I have said on numerous occasions said that I don’t blame the Trump voters for voting the way they did on November 8th. I blame the Republican (mostly) and Democratic parties (more than a little) and the financial institutions (a lot), for allowing the income disparity to be so grossly distorted that it now represents some form of evil—-we need more labor unions to begin fixing this problem. It is clear, at least to me, that there will be no peacemaking between the two parties; the are permanently divided without the possibility of a peaceful settlement between them. The increased worker productivity changes, that have occurred over the past thirty years, has not been rewarded by appropriate compensation in worker’s salaries, nor will their be, as long as the Republican party is in control. I expect that it will take many years and perhaps a few depressions before the Democrats are in control; and I hope by then it will be a completely different Democratic party.

But, what I do blame the voters that voted for Trump is their embarrassing naivete, because I fear that,  they will support Trumps’ turn to fascism which I fear is just around the corner, given what we have already seen from Donald Trump. I am not the only person worried about this coming reality; you have only to search the web with two words “Trump” and “Fascism” and you will be rewarded by an abundance of good articles. One cautionary note is provided by Robert O. Paxton which you can read about here. He claims that fascism is overused.

As Herman Goring [Hitler’s second in command] once said “Naturally, the common people don’t want war … but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country. Trump has already picked his enemy, it’s ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] and he has already blown this all out of proportion to the threat. So Trump has already laid the groundwork for his underlying fascism. He only has to dress it up and call it by another name. How about “Global Market Nationalism.” After all the Hitler’s party was named National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Compared to that party the one I am proposing  sounds entirely innocent of any fascist-leaning moniker.

Fascism is an interesting term if you look it up in an ordinary dictionary, you might find fascism defined as an “authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.” One of the characters they name as the gold standard for  fascism is Benito  Mussolini, but I prefer another definition related more to Adolph Hitler, and that is the wedding of the state with major corporate interests. Krupp steel did very well under Hitler’s regime, because the weapons manufacturing relied on steel for tanks, guns, cannons, machine guns, trucks and so forth. And that is what I fear most of all about the Trump presidency; we already know that we have a military-industrial complex itching to go to war, because that’s when they make huge profits. At the end of WW II, one of FDR’s business advisers said that business was so good during the war, the country should be on a permanent war footing!  Well, we are almost there. I hope I’m wrong, I hope Trump will turn out to be an incompetent fool, so we can all get a good laugh at his colossal blunders.  But these days we do not do blunders very well; our blunders always seem to cost billions or trillions of dollars!

And that brings us to the subject of education. Hermann Goring also said that education is a very dangerous—-every educated person is a future enemy. While it is safe to say that most Trump supporters are uneducated,  If you think you can generalize about the people that voted for Trump, think again; USA Today has a fascinating summary of the Trump voters which you can see here. One thing you will note is that many of them start off by saying how much they dislike Hillary Clinton, and that too brings us to another point of discussion which is that Donald Trump very successfully painted a very negative portrait of Hillary Clinton for her private email server, something I find trivially absurd, and too much of the campaign was devoted to this trivial issue.

If fascism comes to America, it probably won’t be recognized as such, at least not at first. Robert Paxton has written an excellent book The Anatomy of Fascism wherein he provides an excellent example of what fascism will look like if one of the other forms of fascism comes knocking on our door. Fascism was an invention of the 20th century

Recently we have a report from the CIA, that claimed evidence for Russian election tampering favoring promoting the election of Donald Trump. Of course he has denied this, claiming that the CIA failed to find evidence for  Saddam Hussein, of Iraq, for having weapons of mass destruction. I have commented on many occasions of the deficiencies of the CIA, particularly their covert operations. They are secretive and too many of their operations have given American foreign policy a very bad name. One thing you can do to retrieve many of my objections to the CIA, is to go to my website (themillercircle.org) and in the search bar type in the word CIA and you will be rewarded with a never-ending long list of missives, but one of my favorites and be found here. Charles Blow has written a stinging criticism of Donald Trump which you can read here. It’s a very good read.

On another disturbing note about the Trump election, Rachel Maddow conducted a post-election poll and here are some of the results

  • The stock market under President Obama soared and went from 7,49.09 (Dow) to 19,614.91 yet 39% of Trump voters think the stock market went down under President Obama
  • Unemployment under Obama dropped from 7.8% to 4.6%, Clinton, Johnson, Stein and other voters were well of that fact. But 67% of the Trump voters believe that unemployment rate increased under Obama
  • 40% of Trump voters believe that Trump won the popular vote.
  • 60% of Trump voters believe that millions voted illegally for Clinton
  • 73% of Trump voters believe that George Soros paid Trump protesters
  • 29% of Trump voters believe that California voters should not be included in the popular vote

From these astonishing facts, we have to assume that the Trump voters live in a different reality compared to the rest of the world that most of us live in. This too is a bit frightening to contemplate, because if we assume that the voters who voted for Trump can be this blind to reality, then are we not already firmly planted with at least one foot in the fascist camp, just waiting for the other shoe to be inserted in the phantasmagorical mess? None of us have a crystal ball from which we can anticipate the future. But we must resist with every fiber of our being, the Senate needs to be firm and resist every cabinet appointment for Trump. By doing this, we must never let him never forget that we will all go down fighting to save our Democracy, even though today, we find ourselves in an oligarchy, but hope springs eternal! (in this case I define an oligarchy as one in which the vast majority of Americans favor retention or expansion of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, in poll after poll, but we don’t see this expressed in congress because the lobbyists and congress itself will pursue polices against the will of the people.

I am not sure if we will recognize the transition from oligarchy to fascism; maybe the transition will be too subtle for detection. But armed with a good bullshit detector, like the one God gave to me, I will steadfastly report back to you once I smell the foul in the air.

We have yet to understand the impact of FBI director Jim Comey’s untoward intrusion into our Federal election. But it does not look good and he should be charged with electioneering fraud.

Donald Trump and the racist-conspiracy theorists, generals and billionaires around him inherited and exploited this condition, just as they have inherited and will exploit the destruction of civil liberties and collapse of democratic institutions. Trump did not create this political, moral and intellectual vacuum. It created him.

So if we look at the Republican party today, we see a prefascist party with no moral code whatsoever. They are endangering the lives of our children and grandchildren, due to their complete mistrust of  global climate change science, they have put profit before humanity, but right now the seem to have the power to do whatever they want!

We used to count on the European community for steadfast wisdom, but those days are gone and Europe is beginning to look a lot like Trumpville in America. So they’re out.

We must resist their malevolent actions, which is clearly aimed at subduing us and our neighbors. I have never felt so alone in my own country. Everything Donald Trump stands for I must reject as unconstitutional


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