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How the old face of fascism hides in the new rhetoric

Sophisticated and seductive

The image of far-right groups as just hooded Klansmen or goose stepping Nazis is seriously outdated, and dangerously minimizes the real threat of fascism. Banning the KKK to get rid of far-right terrorism is like banning Xerox machines to get rid of copiers. Fascist groups these days don’t just spout racist slurs. They are more sophisticated, starting with issues you might agree with: anti-corporate free trade, anti-elite corruption, anti-pollution, anti-war, even anti-police! But they use a fake-populist, conspiratorial analysis of how the world works, rather than a real critique of economic hierarchies. Only when they hook in new recruits is their true fascist agenda revealed.

Fascism and white supremacy are not always the same thing

White supremacy is an ideology that centers people of European descent of all classes at the top of social hierarchies. Fascism is a far-right revolutionary movement that wants to replace capitalist democracies with extreme authoritarian states centered on ultranationalism (of a core racial, ethnic, religious, or state group).

Not all white supremacists are fascists

White supremacy is common in business, government, police, political parties, and unions, whether conservative, liberal, or even progressive. White supremacy is pervasive and institutional, and has been around since colonialism and slavery began. While it’s important that run-of-the-mill racists stand up to fascist/far-right groups, they’re only scratching the surface of the underlying institutional racist systems that give birth to fascism.

Not all fascists are white supremacists

Fascism is a specific movement that started in the 20th century—it isn’t just shorthand for any repressive meanie. Fascists can be white American racist militias, but they can also be the Japanese Imperial Army, Latin American or Philippine death squads, Hindutva paramilitaries, Saudi-backed jihadists, or Israeli settler militias. They can even be People of Color in the US who join far-right groups because they’re anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-Native, or anti-leftist. Far-right groups love having token members of color to confuse the public about their true ideology.

Trump is a racist who’s enabling facism to grow

Fascism today takes different forms, and it goes far deeper than Trump. The fascists might not be the obvious gun-toting “rednecks,” but portray themselves as “patriots” or “peacekeepers” who express anger at big government, unemployment and repression, and praise “peaceful protesters” while demonizing leftists or black “separatists.” Dig a little deeper, in their facebook pages, perhaps, and you’ll uncover their racist connections, Christian supremacist beliefs, or violent threats against “un-American” dissenters or noncitizens.

Don’t be fooled or silenced

Educate yourself and friends about the growing threat of fascist militants on our streets. See the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, Southern Poverty Law Center, Political Research Associates, Western States Center, and Research for Progress.

This editorial analysis was submitted by an astute observer of history and current realities.

The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which tracks white supremacist and far-right groups, has counted nearly 200 appearances by vigilantes and far-right extremists at protests in the United States over the past few weeks. Alexander Reid Ross, a researcher at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right and author of Against the Fascist Creep, separately counted scores of such appearances, 12 of which involved police collaboration or support.

Many officials, including President Donald Trump, have repeatedly blamed protest violence on the anti-fascist movement known as antifa and the “radical left.” But the violence in Albuquerque isn’t the first instance of right-wing vigilantes being criminally charged for actions during recent protests. On June 2, federal prosecutors in Nevada charged three members of the Boogaloo movement, which seeks to accelerate the collapse of the political system via civil unrest, with conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosives. An Army Reserve member and two military veterans were allegedly headed to downtown Las Vegas with gas canisters and Molotov cocktails. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors in California charged a U.S. Air Force sergeant linked to the Boogaloo with murder for killing a federal security officer near a courthouse in Oakland. He was also charged separately for killing a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Cruz County.

Excerpted from “Armed vigilantes antagonizing protesters have received a warm reception from police” by Mara Hvistendahl and Alleen Brown. It originally appeared on The Intercept

[Note: Watch this video for a straightforward account of the people who came to intimidate Olympia residents, including their links to other far right organizations and even a politician 

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