Chris Hedges Opinion Original

Chris Hedges: The Return of Fascism

As in the 1930s, a bankrupt liberalism, grotesque social inequality and declining living standards are empowering fascist movements in Europe and the U.S.
The Bankruptcy of the Liberal Ass — by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Energy and food bills are soaring. Under the onslaught of inflation and prolonged wage stagnation, wages are in free fall. Billions of dollars are diverted by Western nations at a time of economic crisis and staggering income inequality to fund a proxy war in Ukraine. The liberal class, terrified by the rise of neo-fascism and demagogues such as Donald Trump, have thrown in their lot with discredited and reviled establishment politicians who slavishly do the bidding of the war industry, oligarchs and corporations.

The bankruptcy of the liberal class means that those who decry the folly of permanent war and NATO expansion, mercenary trade deals, exploitation of workers by globalization, austerity and neoliberalism come increasingly from the far-right. This right-wing rage, dressed up in the United States as Christian fascism, has already made huge gains in HungaryPolandSwedenItalyBulgaria and France and may take power in the Czech Republic, where inflation and rising energy costs have seen the number of Czechs falling below the poverty line double.

By next spring, following a punishing winter of rolling blackouts and months when families struggle to pay for food and heat, what is left of our anemic western democracy could be largely extinguished.

Extremism is the political cost of pronounced social inequality and political stagnation. Demagogues, who promise moral and economic renewal, vengeance against phantom enemies and a return to lost glory, rise out of the morass. Hatred and violence, already at the boiling point, are legitimized. A reviled ruling class, and the supposed civility and  democratic norms it espouses, are ridiculed.

It is not, as the philosopher Gabriel Rockhill points out, as if fascism ever went away. “The U.S. did not defeat fascism in WWII,” he writes, “it discretely internationalized it.” After World War II the U.S., U.K. and other Western governments collaborated with hundreds of former Nazis and Japanese war criminals, who they integrated into western intelligence services, as well as fascist regimes such as those in Spain and Portugal. They supported right-wing anti-communist forces in Greece during its civil war in 1946 to 1949, and then backed a right-wing military coup in 1967. NATO also had a secret policy of operating fascist terrorist groups. Operation Gladio, as the BBC detailed in a now-forgotten investigative series, created “secret armies,” networks of illegal stay-behind soldiers, who would remain behind enemy lines if the Soviet Union made a military move into Europe. In actuality, the “secret armies” carried-out assassinations, bombings, massacres and false flag terror attacks against leftists, trade unionists and others throughout Europe.

See my interview with Stephen Kinzer about the post-war activities of the CIA, including its recruitment of Nazi and Japanese war criminals and its creation of black sites where former Nazis were hired to interrogate, torture and murder suspected leftists, labor leaders and communists, detailed in his book Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Controlhere.

Fascism, which has always been with us, is again ascendant. The far-right politician Giorgia Meloni is expected to become Italy’s first female prime minister after elections on Sunday. In a coalition with two other far-right parties, Meloni is forecast to win more than 60 percent of the seats in Parliament, though the left-leaning 5-Star Movement may put a dent in those expectations.

Meloni got her start in politics as a 15-year-old activist for the youth wing of the Italian Social Movement, founded after the World War II by supporters of Benito Mussolini. She calls EU bureaucrats agents of “nihilistic global elites driven by international finance.” She peddles the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory that non-white immigrants are being permitted to enter Western nations as part of a plot to undermine or “replace” the political power and culture of white people. She has called on the Italian navy to turn back boats with immigrants, which the far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini did in 2018. Her Fratelli d’Italia, Brothers of Italy, party is a close ally of Hungary’s President, Viktor Orban. A European Parliament resolution recently declared that Hungary can no longer be defined as a democracy.

Meloni and Orban are not alone. Sweden Democrats, which took over 20 percent of the vote in Sweden’s general election last week to become the country’s second largest political party, was formed in 1988 from a neo-Nazi group called B.S.S., or Keep Sweden Swedish. It has deep fascist roots. Of the party’s 30 founders, 18 had Nazi affiliations, including several who served in the Waffen SS, according to Tony Gustaffson a historian and former Sweden Democrat member. France’s Marine Le Pen took over 41 percent of the vote in April against Emmanuel Macron. In Spain, the hard-right Vox party is the third largest party in Spain’s Parliament. The far-right German AfD or Alternative for Germany party took over 12 percent in federal elections in 2017, making it the third largest party, though it lost a couple percentage points in the 2021 elections. The U.S. has its own version of fascism embodied in a Republican party that coalesces in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump, embraces the magical thinking, misogyny, homophobia and white supremacy of the Christian Right and actively subverts the election process.

Economic collapse was indispensable to the Nazis’ rise to power. In the 1928 elections in Germany, the Nazi party received less than 3 percent of the vote. Then came the global financial crash of 1929. By early 1932, 40 percent of the German insured workforce, six million people, were unemployed. That same year, the Nazis became the largest political party in the German parliament. The Weimar government, tone deaf and hostage to the big industrialists, prioritized paying bank loans and austerity rather than feeding and employing a desperate population. It foolishly imposed severe restrictions on who was eligible for unemployment insurance. Millions of Germans went hungry. Desperation and rage rippled through the population. Mass rallies, led by a collection of buffoonish Nazis in brown uniforms who would have felt at home at Mar-a-Lago, denounced Jews, Communists, intellectuals, artists and the ruling class, as internal enemies. Hate was their main currency. It sold well. 

The evisceration of democratic procedures and institutions, however, preceded the Nazis’ ascension to power in 1933. The Reichstag, the German Parliament, was as dysfunctional as the U.S. Congress.  The Socialist leader Friedrich Ebert, president from 1919 until 1925, and later Heinrich Brüning, chancellor from 1930 to 1932, relied on Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution to largely rule by decree to bypass the fractious Parliament. Article 48, which granted the president the right in an emergency to issue decrees, was “a trapdoor through which Germany could fall into dictatorship,”  historian Benjamin Carter Hett writes.

Article 48 was the Weimar equivalent of the executive orders liberally used by Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, to bypass our own legislative impasses. As in 1930s Germany, our courts  — especially the Supreme Court — have been seized by extremists. The press has bifurcated into antagonistic tribes where lies and truth are indistinguishable, and opposing sides are demonized. There is little dialogue or compromise, the twin pillars of a democratic system.

The two ruling parties slavishly serve the dictates of the war industry, global corporations and the oligarchy, to which it has given huge tax cuts. It has established the most pervasive and intrusive system of government surveillance in human history. It runs the largest prison system in the world. It has militarized the police. 

Democrats are as culpable as Republicans. The Obama administration interpreted the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force as giving the executive branch the right to erase due process and act as judge, jury and executioner in assassinating U.S. citizens, starting with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Two weeks later, a U.S. drone strike killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, Anwar’s 16-year-old son, who was never linked to terrorism, along with 9 other teenagers at a cafe in Yemen. It was the Obama administration that signed into law Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, overturning the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military as a domestic police force. It was the Obama administration that bailed out Wall Street and abandoned Wall Street’s victims. It was the Obama administration that repeatedly used the Espionage Act to criminalize those, such as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, who exposed government lies, crimes and fraud. And it was the Obama administration that massively expanded the use of militarized drones.

The Nazis responded to the February 1933 burning of the Reichstag, which they likely staged, by employing Article 48 to push through the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State. The fascists instantly snuffed out the pretense of Weimar democracy. They legalized  imprisonment without trial for anyone considered a national security threat. They abolished independent labor unions, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of the press, along with the privacy of postal and telephone communications.

The step from dysfunctional democracy to full blown fascism was, and will again be, a small one. The hatred for the ruling class, embodied by the establishment Republican and Democratic parties, which have merged into one ruling party, is nearly universal. The public, battling inflation that is at a 40-year high and cost the average U.S. household an additional $717 a month in July alone, will increasingly see any political figure or political party willing to attack the traditional ruling elites as an ally. The more crude, irrational or vulgar the attack, the more the disenfranchised rejoice. These sentiments are true here and in Europe, where energy costs are expected to rise by as much as 80 percent this winter and an inflation rate of 10 percent is eating away at incomes.

The reconfiguration of society under neoliberalism to exclusively benefit the billionaire class, the slashing and privatization of public services, including schools, hospitals and utilities, along with deindustrialization, the profligate pouring of state funds and resources into the war industry, at the expense of the nation’s infrastructure and social services, and the building of the world’s largest prison system and militarization of police, have predictable results.

At the heart of the problem is a loss of faith in traditional forms of government and democratic solutions. Fascism in the 1930s succeeded, as Peter Drucker observed, not because people believed its conspiracy theories and lies but in spite of the fact that they saw through them. Fascism thrived in the face of “a hostile press, a hostile radio, a hostile cinema, a hostile church, and a hostile government which untiringly pointed out the Nazi lies, the Nazi inconsistency, the unattainability of their promises, and the dangers and folly of their course.” He added, “nobody would have been a Nazi if rational belief in the Nazi promises had been a prerequisite.”

As in the past, these new fascist parties cater to emotional yearnings. They give vent to feelings of abandonment, worthlessness, despair and alienation. They promise unattainable miracles. They too peddle bizarre conspiracy theories including QAnon. But most of all, they promise vengeance against a ruling class that betrayed the nation. 

Hett defines the Nazis as “a nationalist protest movement against globalization.” The rise of the new fascism has its roots in a similar exploitation by global corporations and oligarchs. More than anything else, people want to regain control over their lives, if only to punish those blamed and scapegoated for their misery. 

We have seen this movie before.


NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of show The Chris Hedges Report.

48 comments

    1. Excellent article as always from the esteemed and erudite Mr. Hedges.

      Now, if the man could just grow balls enough to admit that WTC7 was a preplanned and controlled demolition; we might possibly save our collective bacon from the ever consuming fire.

  1. Korea,Vietnam ,Irag,Syria,Afganistan,Ukraine,whose next China,Iran. It does not matter.These Capitalist morons running thus country are going to kill us all.

  2. Nicely done! I see how you got your Pulitzer…

    And I wish I could get you in a DM, and regale you with a story, the likes of which you will have never encountered before.

  3. Chris Hedges is a treasure, but i think a little off the mark here. The fascism doesn’t live solely in the republican wing, it lives in the whole UniParty. Corporations pay for our legislation to be written and then pay for it to be inacted it to law, the state collects money from us all and pays it to the oligarchy… we have and are living in a fascist country

  4. Explain to me exactly which policies of the Trump Administration were neo-fascist? How are standing up for our freedoms enshrined in the Constitution ‘neo-fascist’?

    Under Trump, the amount of global violence declined. Under Biden we’re at the brink of WWIII.

  5. If we look at the Nazi policies intensifying in Ukraine, without a peep from NATO or Neoliberals, we see a preview of 2023 conditions in the USA. The lies about the war and the causes of war illustrate the coming domestic rhetoric. Oligarchs, corporatists and Nazis need each other.
    Hedges says Peter Drucker is one example of people who understand the irrational emotional drivers of fascism:
    Fascism thrived in the face of “a hostile press, a hostile radio, a hostile cinema, a hostile church, and a hostile government which untiringly pointed out the Nazi lies, the Nazi inconsistency, the unattainability of their promises, and the dangers and folly of their course.” He added, “nobody would have been a Nazi if rational belief in the Nazi promises had been a prerequisite.” (This is the key passage of Hedges’ observations.)
    Heck, we don’t even have real hostility in our compromised institutions and information outlets. (Our population is thoroughly pacified and living in fear. ) They all serve the lost dreams of pyramid scheme capitalism and world conquest. But this ain’t foootbal folks, and there is no trophy at the Stupor Bowl. Look at Ukraine now: What you see is what you’ll get.

  6. Another typical Chris Hedges apocalyptical drivel!
    Main characteristics , as usual, abondance of non sequitur constructs, irrelevant asides, disregard of inconvenient facts not supportive of the ideological narrative. A few examples:
    – The original fascists regimes in Europe (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, etc) have been bankrolled and feted by the oligarchs who saw them as an ally in the fight against communism and socialism that threatened their position. The National component in Nazism being much more significant than the Socialist one, the German MIC embraced Hitler which was against the treaties limiting Germany armed forces and armaments industry. The common link with today’s far right movements is extreme nationalism, xenophobia and defense of “traditional” cultural values , with no significant economical goals, which remain the prerogative of the anti liberal, anti democratic far left (LFI, Linke, M5 ,Podemos, etc) which somehow is not mentioned, even as its anti globalism, anti oligarchy sentiment fits much better with the thesis of the article
    – Ex Nazis, including war criminals, have found their place not only in the West but also in the USSR (in much larger numbers) and in other “anti colonialist” places as Syria and Egypt, so in this regard there is really nothing special in the USA, UK,FRG policies.
    – Most far right movements (in Italy The Northern League and Berlusconi, Marine le Pen, Orban and more) are big fans of “Vlad the Scourge of Nazis” and as such de facto allies of CH and his fans! Isn’t this curious?
    – The unspoken elitist message is that somehow the people is disappointing CH by following the Hamelin Pied Piper-like prophets of the far right and not the preferred anti liberal hero of CH (Bernie?!).

    1. Chris Hedges has vehemently criticized Bernie Sanders for his timidity and cowardice. I think Chris was spot on in this piece.

    2. Read your post twice, what are you about? Clearly, Hedges doesn’t write drivel, so what is your ax to grind? Is your thesis that Hedges and his readers are in league with right-wing European political parties who supposedly admire Putin or Russia? You sound like a moron or maybe military psyops smearing a dissident voice.

      1. @James
        Read it a third time, really slow. The nationalistic, xenophobic programs of the far right (and increasingly also not so far right) are bad enough and need to be countered by supporting and rallying around the democratic, liberal center and not by chasing the red herrings of global oligarchic conspirations , 1 percenters and such . And yes, the far right and the far left are de facto allies in promoting, aiding and abetting anti democratic autocracies such as Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba just by vertu of being anti American.

    3. Thanks for this. I have long thought Hedges is controlled opposition. There is no such thing as a perfect political or economic theory, they are all flawed in some way. What Hedges and others continue to do is refer to fascism as “right”. They are only “right” if you are a communist. Like it or not, the fascists actually improved the lies of the masses. Italy got universal health care under Mussolini. Italy, then Germany, legislated the highest employment standards in the world, and enforced them. The worker councils required employers to listen to workers concerns and ideas about improving the workplace and products. Fascism was opposed to international finance and usury. The message of fascism was we are all in this together, not your employer/employee is your enemy. To demonstrate how convoluted language has become, people promoting open borders are called “left”. The true “left” understands immigration is the reserve army of capital. Do the “extreme left” North Korea and China have open borders? Did the USSR?
      Ezra Pound, one of the greatest literary minds of the 20th century, understood what fascism was. Chris Hedges may, but refuses to portray its upside.

  7. “It is not, as the philosopher Gabriel Rockhill points out, as if fascism ever went away. ‘The U.S. did not defeat fascism in WWII,” he writes, “it discretely internationalized it.’ ”

    I put it more bluntly: the Allied Powers defeated the Axis Powers, but Fascism won the war.

    After WWII, the US and its partners encouraged the formation of fascist or sub-fascist governments around the world, in order to forestall any sort of self-determination. Attempts at self-determination were uniformly labeled ‘socialist’ and stifled. Sub-fascist governments were installed to employ the tactics of fascism in the absence of any associated ideology; no need for fascist ideals, just turn out the goon squads to crush any dissenters.

    And now here we are: totalitarian rule is knocking at the door, in the US as well as in Europe and South America (e.g., Brazil). We’re into dark times and I feel sorry for my fellow humans.

    1. If you travel back even further in history, I should think it’s quite apparent by now that the South won the Civil War, too. While everyone was clutching their pearls over Confederate flags and statues of Robert E. Lee, the oligarchs who forced slavery into the Constitution quietly took over the political parties and started turning back the clock.

      Reagan reversed education science by screaming for “reform” that eliminated anything likely to develop critical thinking skills from the curriculum. Later “reformers” expanded that so there was no longer space to teach civics because it wasn’t on the test, while “no excuses” charter schools where unquestioning obedience to authority was a requirement for graduation proliferated in minority neighborhoods.

      Yes, the Comfortable Class is desperately blind to any reality that makes it uncomfortable, meaning anything that doesn’t make it seem as though simply finally getting The Donald out of politics will make all things perfect. But they and the vast majority of the rest of the population have been deliberately deprived of both the necessary education required of an informed citizenry but also any desire to improve on that condition.

      Finally, at this point, it’s impossible to find any kind of entertainment other than reading that doesn’t (a) glorify situational ethics, (b) normalize committing crime as long as one has a good excuse, (c) either make evil people so cartoonish their evil is dismissed or renders them with psychological explanation that encourages excusing their evil, (d) demonizes whichever foreign countries refuse to accept US bullying, and/or (e) presents violence as the best choice for resolving any and all issues.

      And even finding a good book that doesn’t do any or all of the above is an exercise in deep research.

      1. @Elisabeth Burton

        “a) glorify situational ethics, (b) normalize committing crime as long as one has a good excuse, (c) either make evil people so cartoonish their evil is dismissed or renders them with psychological explanation that encourages excusing their evil, (d) demonizes whichever foreign countries refuse to accept US bullying, and/or (e) presents violence as the best choice for resolving any and all issues.”
        You realize that this describes perfectly the dominant analysis in this site , including CH, of the Russia invasion of Ukraine!

      2. ms Burton
        you mention morality…I add liberty; Americans despise both, including justice; liberal democracy opposes all. this has been thoroughly examined by many —Hertzen, Pareto, Mannheim, Simmel, Michel, etc….as americans become more puritanical this becomes more pronounced

      3. Economic determinism and technological innovation in employing wage slaves and debt peons won the Civil War for the wealthy on both sides.

    2. @DMCP

      You forgot to mention that there are places where totalitarian rule is not at the door but already in, as in Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela etc.
      Do you think that the probable victory of Lula and the left in Brasil will also bring in totalitarian rule?

  8. Bravo, again, it s all there. Not much to add as this situation appears the same all over the Western territories, perhaps elsewhere. We are also not very encouraged to travel abroad and check it out when famine seems to be menacing entire continents…and who would have the appetite to be confronted with blinded public opinions practically everywhere by a corrupt media? At a terrasse of any café, it makes a sad dialogue and ruins each day of “exploration”.

  9. Before reading the article through, it would be of enlightening assistance knowing the actual difference between the political philosophies of liberal democracy and illiberal republicanism in America today, in 2022.
    Thanks!

  10. Indeed Chris – we have seen this movie before – as we have seen the conflation of the 2 “major” parties – the “duopoly”, spoken about – a political cartel of the type that the rules against monopolies would be brought to bear if it occurs in the business world – so who will move to break up this duopoly, open it up to competition, declare that its actions to stifle 3rd parties are against the rules ….

    Nader talked about the duopoly in ’00, others have since – but we the people, for all our grievances against it, have kept it in office voting for it over and over – when we know that each member is “evil” but convincing ourselves that our only choice is the “lesser” of the two. And that is a lie – we have had other choices for decades, but we don’t choose them – why, because “3rd parties can’t win”? But that’s a lie, too, any candidate on a ballot can win if enough people vote for ’em –

    So why don’t folks like Hedges point out these lies, lies that are every bit as destructive, if not more so, of our democracy, or rule by the people, as any lies coming from the “fascists” or their enablers – why don’t such folks point out that the duopoly knows these memes they are spreading are lies – they know that 3rd parties could win and that’s why they work to keep them off ballots, out of debates and starved of funds

    Hedges and others have routinely disparaged the electoral process – saying the answer is in the streets, not at the polls – but be careful what you ask for, as it is increasingly so that those in the streets have guns …

    Why don’t you talk about, and to, those intrepid souls who have the guts, the honesty and integrity to run as 3rd party candidates – to see how they are being denied a voice in the polls and hence how many of us, we the people, are being denied a voice at the polls … If we do indeed need “opposition” parties in gov’t, opposition to all those Corp lackeys that Hedges refers to – we won’t have them leaving Ds / Rs unopposed …

    It seems to me more and more likely that we are headed for some sort of revolution – it can be one in the streets with guns, or at the polls with ballots – I, for one, much prefer the latter ….

    1. Eugene Debs was the last somewhat viable third party candidate. You do remember what happened to him, correct? The U.S. corporate state does not allow democracy, even representative democracy. It allows, even promotes, only the delusion of democracy.

  11. Hett defines the Nazis as “a nationalist protest movement against globalization.”

    Yeah, well, you know Chris, if this is fascism then please bring it on. And if you think this is a “trap door” to dictatorship, then take a look at the alternative proposed by Klaus Schwab and his ghoul Yuval Noah Harari.

  12. hedges is a disgusting moron—americans could never produce a civilized communist nation like Hungary
    universal health care, no co-pay, free medicine
    paid mandatory maternity leave
    tuition free university
    low unemployment, regulated corporate taxes
    low crime, low incarceration rate

    1. I suspect you mean that the Reichstag Fire was done by the NSDAP. Sefton Delmar, who later became the Black Propaganda master of the Allies, was at the scene and toured the building with NSDAP officials. He didn’t thing it was set by them.
      http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/reichstagfire.htm
      Now, if you are referring to political gangsters posing as a religion, that’s a different story.

      1. @Curmudgeon
        The Nazis tried to pin it on the communists and the main accused was the Bulgarian communist leader Georgi Dimitrov who used the fact that German courts were still relatively independent at that time and skillfully demolished the whole prosecution case .He and his 2 co accused were acquitted, released after USSR intervention .He was the first leader of Communist Bulgaria after WW2

  13. Neoliberalism in essence is Fascism with a smiling face. The hand in glove relationship between finance and political power has ensured that oligarchies around the world have grown rich exponentially while keeping an iron fist on progressive movements. For the entire 20th century the United States has been quashing reform around the world under the guise of supporting “Freedom and Democracy”. Fascism rules and only the degrees of mind and social control differentiate one from another. Liberation from serfdom remains beyond reach to most of the public as Fascist forces grow progressively stronger.

    1. @David
      China has grown exponentially rich while keeping an iron fist on any movement not approved by the Party
      Is this an example of a fascist oligarchy??

  14. . Fine article.
    With Boebert and M T Green both cheering the election of the Italian Ice Queen, it further illustrates the support for Far-Right Governing in this country. And I am certain there are many many other far-right people in this country glad to see this “strong-arm” form of governing take over in once “leftist” Europe. Like Chris Hedges suggests, can fascism here in America be that far behind?

  15. Is the whole world becoming an “Indian Reservation” because of corporate power? I say yes. This type of repression breeds aberrant behavior. We see it every day. Some people externalize it on others and some internalize it on themselves. People that do not feel they have a future do not act sanely.

    How many “human futures” have the corporations cannibalized? Corporations are not people but they may well be demons.

  16. Nazism and fascism weren’t incorporated into the western system and oligarchy after WW2. Not at all. Its legend remained in the records and minds of men and women who survived to discretely explain it to succeeding generations who had to put up with the endless imposition of crime, perversion and communism that came after WW2 which is becoming only too obvious and intolerable today. At last, we are starting to see the first rightist governments and if genuine the beginning of the end of the Satanic politically correct NWO.

  17. The last four paragraphs (beginning with “The reconfiguration of society…”) describe America’s current political situation in a nutshell. In general, liberal Democrats simply do not understand the rage that drives people into the arms of MAGA. So the liberals demonize those people as idiots (or worse), which simply ratchets up the process of our national division and destruction. The reactionaries (they aren’t really conservative) respond in kind, and crank things up another notch. And around we go.

    I see the MAGA reactionaries as the anti-establishment movement of the 2020’s; it’s like a weird inversion of the anti-establishment hippies of the 1960’s. I have no sympathy for MAGA or QAnon, but I can sympathize with the feeling of being screwed by the establishment. Which, nowadays, is an association of neoliberal conservative corporate executives together with smug neoliberal liberals of the educated elite, or laptop class.

    1. RAGE v. LOGIC AND EMPATHY

      @DCMP: I agree with you.
      As a blue collar worker, I have had first hand experience of the self assumed superiority of the 20% admin/edu elite and their sniffing dismissals of us lessers. Their “inclusiveness” may not have boundaries based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, but it certainly has a class requirement.

      Of course lib Ds don’t understand rage. They barely understand emotion at all, processing info only through abstract thinking. A mode dominant during the Enlightenment; necessary for the development of science and political thought, but producing half humans. The other half represented by Wm. Blake and the Romantic movement.

      Rationalists assumed if everyone simply learned how to think properly (meaning as they do, of course) human conflict would end. After the shock of WWI, it was said the Enlightenment died in the trenches. For evidence of the inadequacy of rationalism, look at how many of the comments on this site indulge in name-calling and other well-known logical fallacies!

      Charismatic political operatives and intel agencies know full well how to turn up the heat of rage. Once that happens and our animal defense mode is triggered, it’s very difficult to think clearly or to feel empathy for the Other.

  18. Hello Chris. Although I’m a long time fan of both you & Michael Moore, it strikes me that neither of you are familiar with a concept known as Economic Democracy as explained in the following article. If you find it as intriguing as I think you will, I’d love to discuss its potential with you at your convenience.

    https://economicdemocracy.substack.com/p/attention-recent-high-school-and

    Respectfully,
    Rick Osbourne
    Aurora, IL
    Osbourne.rick@gmail.Com
    Board Member CESJ.ORG
    630-857-3502

    1. I’m sure Chris and Michael would love to come over and see your comix collection. I know I would. It must be fun shuffling the cards between driving lessons. “Wayne’s World, Wayne’s World! Excellent!”

  19. A breathtaking tissue of facts taken out of context, substitution of conspiracy theories for facts, suggestive (and highly misleading but totally irrelevant) factoids all glued together by a liberal dose of prejudice.

    In fact it reminds me of a big bull: a point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between.
    I think I understand why Mr. Hedges no longer works for a mainstream news agency.

  20. Odd that an article on the return of fascism mentions Ukraine, the current Nazi hotspot on the planet, just once. The term “Nazi” is used 16 times here, but never in connection with the Nazi forces that form the backbone of Ukraine’s military.

    Hedges does include the neo-Nazi organization Keep Sweden Swedish, and its “deep fascist roots.” Including this obscure Swedish group highlights the glaring ommission here of the Azov Regiment Nazis, and the other Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups fighting the Russians in a war that could turn into WWIII at any time.

  21. Fascism is the absence of both equality and autonomy. Fascism contrasts with Communism (absence of autonomy) and Liberalism (absence of equality). Communism and Liberalism play humanity against itself, pointing their fingers at each other. Fascism is easily remedied by both fingers pointing at it. In contrast to all of this, Anarchism is the presence of both equality and autonomy, for individuals to secure both power and control to reach our full potential.

  22. Spot on, Chris!

    Those who have the stomach might want to compare Chris’s article on fascism with Ken Burns’s documentary, episode 1, where he details the rise of Hitler and the fall of the Weimar Republic.

    Some commenters still believe the Democratic Party is a Leftist Party – false. Not even close. The DP has worked for decades to eliminate the Left with the help of corrupt union leaders, the CIA, and the FBI.

    If you want to know how the Leftists are responding here and globally, check out WSWS’s website. They are helping stage rank and file worker committees because striking has become illegal in most Red States. The Democratic Party is no friend of the working class – this should be obvious.

    As far as Trump, he is a useful idiot of the oligarchy – a con man. Trump is a big fan of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s book he wrote while in prison. His rise in power took pure propaganda, which fits perfectly with the US/UK oligarchy-controlled media.

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