Sunday, July 15, 2018

How About You? Are You Ready To Accept The Consequences For Standing Up Against The Pre-Fascist Agenda?


When I became president of Reprise, my first trip overseas was to London to speak to the head of our affiliate company, a longtime friend and ally. (Years earlier, when my own indie label was on the verge of bankruptcy, this same guy signed me to a publishing deal that sent enough cash into the tiny company to keep us afloat and allowed our success.) But I wasn't there to celebrate past successes with him. Dookie, Reprise's first Green Day album, had just passed the double platinum mark in the U.S. But there was nothing at all going on in Europe. No airplay, no sales, no nuffin'. Hey dude, what's up with that? We need some focus here. He was amused. He told me, condescendingly,that the U.K. had already gone through its "punk phase" and that a throw-back like Green Day wouldn't interest anyone on any level. We argued for a while but I got nowhere.

So I flew to Hamburg, headquarters of our German company. Warners, of which Reprise was a mainstay, had always broken records in England and then spread them across Europe and the world. That was the formula. Green Day was too important to me to take "no" for an answer, tradition or no tradition. I made a deal with the head of our German company, shattering that tradition and formula and ultimately making Green Day a multiplatinum monster in every country in Europe-- and beyond-- including, of course, the U.K.

This week, while Trump was in Europe, Green Day's music, not Joan Baez's  became the sound of The Resistance. "American Idiot, their 2003 smash was back on top-- on top like at #1-- in Britain. And over the weekend when Señor Trumpanzee was trying to relax in Scotland, at his Russian Mafia-financed Turnberry golf resort, before his meeting with Putin on Monday, the only thing anyone could hear were protesters singing some lines from the 2016 hit written by Billie Joe Armstrong about fascism and, more specifically, Trump, "Bang Bang":
No Trump
No fascist USA
That was first performed publicly (and widely televised) at the American Music Awards. Catchy, isn't it? Some corporate types were angry... at this:

Why do people in the U.K.-- and across Europe (other than fascist Hungary)-- hate Trump so much? A couple of weeks ago Fintan O'Toole explained it for Irish Times readers: Trial runs for fascism are in full flow. "Babies in cages," he wrote, "were no 'mistake' by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism." Notice here in America, normal people were outraged by the caged infants. Trump's supporters... not so much.
To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism-- a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist”-- what we are living with is pre-fascism.

It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is. But he has an acute understanding of one thing: test marketing. He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting outrageous stories that you can later confirm or deny depending on how they go down. And he recreated himself in reality TV where the storylines can be adjusted according to the ratings. Put something out there, pull it back, adjust, go again.

Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it.

One of the basic tools of fascism is the rigging of elections-- we’ve seen that trialled in the election of Trump, in the Brexit referendum and (less successfully) in the French presidential elections. Another is the generation of tribal identities, the division of society into mutually exclusive polarities. Fascism does not need a majority-- it typically comes to power with about 40 per cent support and then uses control and intimidation to consolidate that power. So it doesn’t matter if most people hate you, as long as your 40 per cent is fanatically committed. That’s been tested out too. And fascism of course needs a propaganda machine so effective that it creates for its followers a universe of “alternative facts” impervious to unwanted realities. Again, the testing for this is very far advanced.

Moral boundaries

But when you’ve done all this, there is a crucial next step, usually the trickiest of all. You have to undermine moral boundaries, inure people to the acceptance of acts of extreme cruelty. Like hounds, people have to be blooded. They have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group. This allows the members of that group to be dehumanised. Once that has been achieved, you can gradually up the ante, working through the stages from breaking windows to extermination.

It is this next step that is being test-marketed now. It is being done in Italy by the far-right leader and minister for the interior Matteo Salvini. How would it go down if we turn away boatloads of refugees? Let’s do a screening of the rough-cut of registering all the Roma and see what buttons the audience will press. And it has been trialled by Trump: let’s see how my fans feel about crying babies in cages. I wonder how it will go down with Rupert Murdoch.

  To see, as most commentary has done, the deliberate traumatisation of migrant children as a “mistake” by Trump is culpable naivety. It is a trial run-- and the trial has been a huge success. Trump’s claim last week that immigrants “infest” the US is a test-marketing of whether his fans are ready for the next step-up in language, which is of course “vermin.” And the generation of images of toddlers being dragged from their parents is a test of whether those words can be turned into sounds and pictures. It was always an experiment-- it ended (but only in part) because the results were in.

‘Devious’ infants

And the results are quite satisfactory. There is good news on two fronts. First, Rupert Murdoch is happy with it-- his Fox News mouthpieces outdid themselves in barbaric crassness: making animal noises at the mention of a Down syndrome child, describing crying children as actors. They went the whole swinish hog: even the brown babies are liars. Those sobs of anguish are typical of the manipulative behaviour of the strangers coming to infest us-- should we not fear a race whose very infants can be so devious? Second, the hardcore fans loved it: 58 per cent of Republicans are in favour of this brutality. Trump’s overall approval ratings are up to 42.5 per cent.

This is greatly encouraging for the pre-fascist agenda. The blooding process has begun within the democratic world. The muscles that the propaganda machines need for defending the indefensible are being toned up. Millions and millions of Europeans and Americans are learning to think the unthinkable. So what if those black people drown in the sea? So what if those brown toddlers are scarred for life? They have already, in their minds, crossed the boundaries of morality. They are, like Macbeth, “yet but young in deed.” But the tests will be refined, the results analysed, the methods perfected, the messages sharpened. And then the deeds can follow.

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At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, not PRE-fascist. This is the real thing.

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First they came for the Muslims
Then they came for the refugees
Who will be next?

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who will be next? Hispanics, then African-Americans. Hindus, Sikhs, other Asians. Watch for Trump to propose deporting Native Americans.

The Trumpist wet dream to to recreate a mythical Caucasian nation with no minorities. Then they go after those not politically aligned with the Fourth Reich.

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, but those ice detention centers are supported by Democrats so they can get money from the contracts, 5 percent for Essex County NJ.

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another mush-mouth lie.

"Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy."

No it didn't. But once it has been normalized, like here since 1981, and because the populace here is just sooooo goddamn stupid, it becomes deeply entrenched.

The Rs were fascist for decades before they got their celebrity chimp elected in 1980. Reagan then completed the transformation quickly by repudiating the equal time and fairness doctrines by which the FCC operated.

Concurrent with this, the democraps were selling out for corporate ca$h so they could have as much to spend on elections as the Rs. So when each and every giant leap into total fascism was taken, the democraps were on board.

With the election of cheney/bush and their manufactured wars, we stepped beyond fascism (the merging of government and corporate interests -- Mussolini) into the realm of naziism (fascism plus militant nationalism, militarism and hate). Again, proven by the disastrous obamanation admins and the debacle of the D congress in 2009, the democraps have been shoulder-to-shoulder with the Nazi party. They used to shy away at the hate... but not so much lately.

They are test-marketing certain Nazi tactics. The uncoded hate rhetoric, muslim travel ban and the wall, of course... But the kidnapping of brown kids from their parents is meant to test whether americans as a whole have lost their outrage at terrible cruelty to other humans... we have. But it's also going to create a generation of future brown enemies (thousands of kids with ptsd for life will create many more later.) which will end up making it easier to hate them in future generations.

So your characterization of where we are as "fascism" is a mush-mouthed lie. And you, of all people, should know this.
We are well on our way to being a Nazi state where only the straight white male 'Christians' (and the very rich) have "rights" while everyone else has only privileges as long as it amuses the swmc's to bequeath them.

Every test-marketing shows that their half of the electorate are like those crowds in Munich back in the '30s. While the left half of the electorate still shows outrage, it doesn't matter since that half also elects democraps who won't get in the way.

You also admit that the democraps aren't going to change anything... yet you still insist that we keep electing more and more worse and worse democraps.

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The time to stand up to the pre-fascist agenda would have been in the 1980 election.

Once the '84 election was held, we were already fascist. Look up old Molly Ivins columns. Her "corporate oligarchy" equates to Mussolini's definition of fascism.

we're unquestionably a Nazi state now.

Maybe one big reason we're so irretrievably fucked is because we just cannot bring ourselves to call a shit taco a shit taco.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With our history of covert wars, death squads, extermination list, political based extreme torture, targeted killings, and draining capital from countries integral to the grand chess game of the US empire, I think this author needs to adjust his perceptions. Blood has been and is everywhere we are & where there is money to be made. Babies in cages is one thing, but what about babies with out limbs or buried under concrete from bombs? or babies malnourished to death as a means of war? The "Masters of War" and militaristic imperialism is not the side that needs to do trial runs.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Anthony said...
It was MDC


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