Essay Norman Solomon

Denying Trump’s Neo-Fascism Endangers Our Ailing Planet

Climate change is an emergency. And so is Trumpism. Getting rid of Trump is a crucial step towards addressing the climate crisis.
[Wolfram Burner / CC BY-NC 2.0]

By Norman Solomon

Spiking temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, catastrophic hurricanes and unprecedented wildfires are clear signs of a climate emergency caused by humans. Denying the awful reality makes the situation worse. The same can be said of denial about the current momentum toward fascism under Donald Trump.

Trump’s right-wing base and leading Republicans are in lockstep with both types of denial. They embrace the most absurd claims about climate, such as Trump’s recent comment during a visit to fire-ravaged California that “I don’t think science knows, actually.” And they refuse to recognize or deplore his autocratic moves.

On the left, hardly anyone doubts the climate crisis. And there’s widespread recognition that Trump’s presidency is a full-blown emergency. But — with justified enmity toward the neoliberal corporatism and militarism of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party — some question or pooh-pooh the importance of ousting Trump with Biden.

Yet no one can credibly dispute, for instance, that Trump is increasingly aligned with white supremacy. Or that Trump is enabling more repressive actions by “law enforcement” and the courts. Any ambivalence about defeating Trump goes against the left’s historic responsibility to fight tooth and nail against the extreme right.

Winning that fight is a victory for humanity as a whole. It also allows space for the left to function instead of being crushed.

But — after nearly four years of the Trump presidency — a normalization process has made denial a real hazard.

The book How Fascism Works, by Yale professor Jason Stanley, describes the dynamic this way: “Normalization of fascist ideology, by definition, would make charges of ‘fascism’ seem like an overreaction, even in societies whose norms are transforming along these worrisome lines. Normalization means precisely that encroaching ideologically extreme conditions are not recognized as such because they have come to seem normal. The charge of fascism will always seem extreme; normalization means that the goalposts for the legitimate use of ‘extreme’ terminology continually move.”

Even now, despite all that Trump has done and is threatening to do, some progressives still have trouble wrapping their minds around the reality of the neo-fascist threat right in front of us in real time. The current “encroaching ideologically extreme conditions are not recognized as such because they have come to seem normal.”

One of the clearest voices about the intertwined perils of the climate emergency and the Trump regime is longtime Green Party activist Ted Glick, who has devoted decades of his life to organizing against climate disaster and a political system with corporate power dominating both major parties.

Nearly 20 years ago, Glick was the Green Party nominee for U.S. senator in New Jersey. In 2007 he went on a “climate emergency fast” (water-only for 25 days) to protest the federal government’s failure to take action on global warming. In 2010, he hung banners inside a Senate office building that said “Green Jobs Now” and “Get to Work,” risking up to three years in prison.

“There are an awful lot of reasons why it is so important for Trump to be defeated and removed from the White House, but I continue to believe that the most important one is the climate crisis,” Glick wrote last week.

“There is no question but that the climate issue is very much connected to many other issues, among them the issues of jobs, poverty, immigration, health care, racism, and war and peace,” he pointed out. “That is why the concept of and the organizing for a Green New Deal must be central not just to the climate movement but to the movement of movements which, alone, can make it happen once Trump is out of the White House.”

And Trump will only be out of the White House four months from now if Biden receives enough votes in swing states this fall.

Glick’s conclusion rings true: “Removing Trump is the prerequisite for everything else. Those who don’t get that on the left should really ponder what will happen to the world’s disrupted ecosystems and the billions of people reliant on those ecosystems under a second Trump administration and beyond. We must do all we can in the next two months to literally save the world.”

Climate change is an emergency. And so is Trumpism. Flames are approaching what’s left of democratic structures in the United States.

Stopping the advent of fascism doesn’t offer any assurance of being able to create the kind of society and world that we want. But failing to stop the advent of fascism would assure that we won’t.

5 comments

  1. I’m happy to know that our fascism is Trump fascism, just get him out and job done. Western civilization sense long before the imperial UK/US iteration of fascist imperialism has been fascist. You might just take note that the great French Revolution was an utter failure. The French empire remained after their revolution and the democratic nation of France protected the imperial elites and their foreign property. Western democracy has never been anything but a handmaiden and carapace to imperial power.

    Please though, lets talk about Trump he is the only one who matters there is no such thing as history.

  2. Tell me what Biden will do differently than Trump, other than to give lip service to global warming. Obama boasted he was the reason the U.S. is number one producer of fossil fuels. Biden may do a few small things but not enough to make a difference. He’s a corporatist all the way. If anything, we need to say we’ll withhold our vote without his promise to implement GND.

  3. more ruling class propaganda from Solly….amerika has long been owned by corporations—fascism. trump is not the problem; amerikans are the problem
    the climate change liberal hysteria is as the French marxist Alain Badiou writes, “crude, counter-revelutionary”…Fake “green jobs”—more money worship. The shallow American character, status anxiety is ignored. Keeping up with the Jones, Solly repeats the porridge lies that counter-revolutionary liberals dribble—goebbels would be proud

  4. Biden: “I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me”

    Dirty Joe and Dumb Donny, what a choice.

    Vote Green, oh wait, state gummits are removing Greens from ballots.

    Non-violent Revolution is the only real choice. Prepare to die.

    1. “Dirty Joe and Dumb Donny, what a choice.” Ouch but true. And it is not going to improve . . .

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