Call it what it is - Fascism

We must name it, in order to deal with it

Dale Anderson – Choose Democracy

Click here to view or download the Sarasota Herald-Tribune ad, “Fascism in Florida”

Right in Front of Us

In 2017 Umair Haque, writing about fascism in America stated, “The hardest thing to see is what’s right in front of your nose” (paraphrasing George Orwell). 

This is the situation for millions of Americans as the Republican Party continues to cripple our democracy using fascist politics. The reluctance of political leaders, historians, the media and the Democratic Party to call what’s happening a “fascist political movement”  hinders our collective ability to respond appropriately to this mortal threat.  

Manifestations of Fascism

Fascism can manifest itself as an ideology, a political campaign or a governing regime’s policies. The MAGA-GOP encompasses all of these manifestations.

  • Fascist Ideology:  The ideology of white supremacy and Christian nationalism is publicly promoted and clearly on display in the MAGA party. Fascist GOP leaders sit in Congress, have been appointed to judgeships, are governors, media moguls and presidential candidates. All are in position to promote their ideology.
  • Fascist Campaign Tactics: Trump rose to power using classic fascist political tactics – scapegoating minorities; hate rallies; “big lies”; conspiracy theories; demeaning science and expertise; intimidating journalists, and undermining independent democratic institutions.  He continues to use them as he prepares for a second presidential run. 
  • Fascist State Policies:  And now, as we enter what Jason Stanley calls “the legal phase of a fascist takeover”, we are seeing how red state legislatures are proposing and passing laws that take away rights, privileges and power of voters, women and minorities.


Why the Aversion to the Word Fascism

Despite early and striking indications of the fascist nature of Trump (2016 Washington Post, How Fascist is Trump?), the media avoided the term.  They preferred the more “acceptable,” less threatening (and more confusing) label of “populist.”  This has left the nation unprepared for the threat the GOP now poses for our democracy.

Opponents to the use of the word fascism express concern that misapplication of the word “fascist” over the years has rendered it simply a generic insult.  (Others worry the word will offend “non-fascist” Republicans and close off opportunities to influence their allegiance).

Breaking the Silence

Certainly these concerns have some merit. However, they pale in comparison to the importance of comparing this political attack on our democracy to other historical fascist movements that ended democracies.  We must warn the public of the danger we face. No other word than fascism better describes the ideologies, tactics and policies on display by the MAGA-GOP. 

The hard work that pro-democracy groups must do for the public is to clarify the meaning of words such as fascism. Without ever mentioning the word fascism, we can hardly begin to explain it.  


A Theft from the Nation and Its Vulnerable Citizens

Umair Haque has been prolific in posting articles about the rise of fascism and implosion of capitalism in the United States. Early on he stated that fascism exists for one reason: “to ration the dwindling fruits of a stagnant economy”

In 2017, he wrote, “fascism is best seen as a kind of theft from the nation. A deep and profound theft – the deepest theft of all. It proceeds as theft of rights, theft of norms and values, theft of democracy and theft of decency and humanity.”

“And beyond that, the ‘In-Group’ proceeds to rob those less powerful than them of . . . everything, without guilt or shame or fear. They steal their dignity, belonging, selfhood, work, social milieu, possessions, and lives.”


Florida’s Fascist Legislation

Here in Florida, we are seeing such theft occurring in an accelerated fashion. Within the past several legislative sessions, Republicans have proposed or passed laws that:

  1. Attack, demean, and harm vulnerable minorities (particularly the LGBTQ community).
  2. Threaten teachers and professors; ban books and whole categories of study from schools and universities.
  3. Criminalize women seeking basic reproductive healthcare (subjugation of women to  the state).
  4. Impose laws that suppress citizens right to vote, assemble and protest.
  5. Weaken protections for journalist and media reporting on state politicians and policies.  


So, it is time to call it out.  In private and in public we must refer to the Republican Party as a fascist political movement, and members supporting the party need to be recognized as fascist enablers.  If you call it out and get pushback, simply list the five actions taken by Florida and other red state legislatures as exhibit A. 

Your case will be compelling!


Learn More

For further understanding about fascism and the GOP attack on our democracy check out these three recommended books and seven linked articles shown below.

Umair Haque

Umair Haque

"A person who believes that there is a hierarchy of personhood - that some people are more human than others, and some fall below the threshold of being people entirely and furthermore that that hierarchy should be institutionalized, is a fascist."

Eudonia & Co, Oct 28, 2018

Jason Stanley

"Banning ideas and authors is not a 'culture war' - it is fascism."

The Guardian, Feb 14, 2023

Paul Street

Paul Street is the author of "This Happened Here" (2022). The fourth chapter of the book entitled "The Anatomy of Fascism Denial" is the most comprehensive analysis of the failure of leaders and the media to call out fascism during the Trump years..

Brynn Tannehill

"There won’t be death camps and cattle cars. Those are specific to a particular time and place in history. What I am seeing is that conditions in the U.S. will likely be there for a Republican-led effort to remove a class of people from American life via a combination of demonization, legal oppression and stochastic violence, with the goal of forcing all of them to either flee or hide who they are to avoid persecution."

Trans People are in Grave Danger -DAME, Mar 15, 2022

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