This is an unusually balanced and, I think, largely accurate discussion of Trump from a left-anarchist perspective.
Long before Donald Trump’s recent electoral victory, but in a chorus that has grown deafening in the last month, people have been talking about the possible return of fascism. As terrifying as Donald Trump is, it is nonetheless important not to level just any criticism against the president-elect. And though the misogynist mogul’s favorite epithet, “just disgusting,” fits him like a glove, the charge of fascist is inaccurate.
Since we’re interested in an analysis that enables more effective resistance, and not simply in spewing, Twitter-like, any insult with a chance of sticking, it behooves us to examine just which right-wing model Trump is following.
I would argue that fascism was made definitively irrelevant by the Second World War and its aftermath, during which it was conclusively absorbed by democratic capitalism. Since 1945, when the victorious allies dismantled the Nazi state and recruited the elements they found most useful, fascism has been nothing more than a second-string linebacker in a game that is democratic to its very core. The future, of course, is full of surprises, but it would take much more than a Trump victory for fascism to be tenable or necessary again in a central capitalist country like the United States.
One of the very few actual neo-fascist parties to appear on the political scene in the last decade is Golden Dawn in Greece. True to the original model, they combined a political party and a terroristic street movement, recruiting within the police and military to create party-specific loyalty, and forging connections with national capitalists and the mafia, in order to create a dual power capable of intimidating or overriding the checks and balances of democratic institutions and non-partisan media.
Many people predicted Golden Dawn might seize power, and imagined a return to fascism. Golden Dawn imagined the same thing, and this utter naïveté, their ignorance about the historical moment and their role within democracy, proved to be their demise. As long as Golden Dawn acted to push public debates to the right, to create scapegoats for Greece’s social woes, to kill immigrants and attack anarchists or other social radicals, they were tolerated. But once they revealed that their designs on power were actually sincere and that they were willing to use violence against non-marginal elements in society, the democratic powers stepped in and cut them short, arresting the leadership and excluding the party, at least partially, from the public debates that shape acceptable opinion. Nowadays, fascism doesn’t stand a chance against democracy, and any gang of neo-fascists who fail to grasp that their role is simply to be a tool within the democratic toolbox is in for a rude shock.