Trump and America’s Fascist Forefathers

U.S. imperialism is rooted in the rapacious expansionism of the slave system. George Washington envisioned the new nation as a “rising empire.” Jefferson spoke of an “empire of liberty” -- meaning, the liberties he enjoyed from the labor (and sexual exploitation) of the slaves. White supremacy legitimized every avarice of the new nation. The Monroe Doctrine staked the exclusive U.S. claim to dominate the Western Hemisphere -- regarded as populated by inferior and “mongrel” races -- an “exceptionalism” Washington now insists extends to the entire planet.

“U.S. imperialism is rooted in the rapacious expansionism of the slave system.”

Fascism, including the Nazi variety, is not some strange European social disease. After crushing Black Reconstruction, the southern states invented, from the bottom up, the world’s first totally racially regimented society. U.S. “Jim Crow” inspired Adolph Hitler’s vision for nation-building under Aryan supremacy, as documented in James Q. Whitman’s recent book, Hitler’s American Model. American fascism predated -- and has long outlived -- the European variety. It is generally accepted that fascist states are characterized, to one degree or another, by:

  • Extreme nationalism
  • Frequent resort to mob rule
  • Oppression of an internal “Other” as an organizing principle
  • Militarism
  • The political dominance of the most reactionary elements of the bourgeoisie

All of these characteristics describe the southern states of the U.S. during the nearly century-long period between the death of Reconstruction and the triumph of the Civil Rights Movement. Moreover, the post-Reconstruction reconciliation between North and South guaranteed that the southern fascism model would leave its imprint on the larger American political economy. In the aftermath of the Sixties, the Republican section of the corporate electoral duopoly assumed the role of the White Man’s Party -- the purer party of indigenous American fascism.

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