A harbinger of fascism

BY: Renee Levant| September 10, 2020
A harbinger of fascism


In the midst of rising violent conflict, a significant factor is being played down by Republicans, Democrats, and the media: the active alliance and collaboration between the police, federal agents, and right-wing white supremacist individuals and groups. Recent events illustrate this collaboration — one that is historically understood to be a harbinger of fascism.

This alliance is supported by President Trump who, in his talk in Kenosha on September 1, denied the existence of systemic racism, supported his white extremist supporters showing up armed at protests, and equated the thousands of peaceful protesters with domestic terrorists, going so far as to claim that the only way to stop the “political violence” is to “confront the radical ideology” that says “law enforcement are oppressive or racist” and there is racism in America. He then promised $1 million in federal funding for the Kenosha police and $42 million for statewide law enforcement.

The fact that the Kenosha protests and anger were a response to the police officer shooting Jacob Blake in the back eight times in front of his three young children was written off with a single line: “I feel terribly for anybody that goes through that. As you know, it’s under investigation.”

The reality of police violence in Kenosha and Portland against protesters and collaboration with white supremacist vigilante violence was ignored. Reality simply does not fit Donald Trump’s narrative of a violent radical left mob. Consider recent events:

On August 22 the right-wing Proud Boys initiated violence against left-wing anti-racism protesters, one even brandishing his gun as police stood back and watched. Then on August 29 a number of vehicles from a large pro-Trump rally left the main action and headed to the downtown protest area. They shot mace and paint guns at protesters and clashes resulted. At some point a conflict between two men broke out, and a right-wing “Patriot Prayer” supporter was killed. At no point did the police try to stop the hundreds of cars of armed mace-spraying and paintball-shooting white Trump supporters from driving into groups of demonstrators and instigating violent clashes.

On August 25 a 17-year-old militia wannabe joined those present calling themselves the Kenosha Militia to fight “evil” and defend businesses with his AR-15 style long rifle. He shot two protestors dead and injured another. Police ignored protestors’ calls for help, allowing him to return to his home in Illinois to be arrested the next day.

Yet, on August 26 in Kenosha, federal agents and police in unmarked vehicles surrounded a van from a peaceful non-profit organization, broke the front passenger window with a baton, yelled “Get the fuck out,” and pulled eight members out of the van at gunpoint into an unmarked van. Video of the incident was posted on social media. A police press release posted on Twitter confirms that nine were arrested. Their crime? Stopping to re-fuel and fill gas tanks for their kitchen that provides free food for demonstrators as they have across the country. Kenosha police stated that they believed the group was “planning to engage in criminal activity amid civil unrest.” The activists have been released, but the status of the case remains unclear.

The contrast between police handling of the shooter and of Jacob Blake cannot be more stark. Nor can the contrast in the handling of violent Trump supporters in Portland and the non-profit volunteers in Kenosha.

As we continue to call for justice and the arrest of officers involved in the maiming of Jacob Blake, we can expect an increase in rhetoric and violence by police, federal officers, and white supremacist mobs against protestors. As we move into a period when Covid-19 will likely spike in the fall, wreaking further havoc on our health and the economy, tensions are likely to increase during the final weeks before presidential elections — especially with a president determined to call the election a fraud should he lose. White supremacist groups are calling for a “new civil war” should Trump lose the election, and such calls are supported by the current White House.

We call on all to jealously protect everyone’s right to vote and peacefully protest and to condemn violence while working to correct the epidemic of police brutality towards the Black community, other oppressed peoples, and anti-brutality protestors.

We must be vigilant, as the move towards fascism in the United States is intensifying as if in preparation for a struggle in November. It is time for progressive and left forces to begin planning for the likely escalation of the fascistic alliance between white supremacists and local and federal government law enforcement. We must get out the vote, defend the anti-racism mass movement in the face of right-wing attacks, and demand a science-based and economically compassionate response to the pandemic.

Image: ep_jhu, CC BY-NC 2.0.


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