‘Test-driving’ the road to a coup?

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create ‘resistance fatigue,’ to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say ‘Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?’ relatively quickly.”

That’s from Yonatan Zunger. He uses the phrase “trial balloon,” and a Facebook friend of mine used the phrase “test-driving.” They’re both very instructive.

The Zunger piece is very good, summing up not just the legal chaos at international airports in the U.S. last weekend, but also several other disturbing chess moves from the past week (State Department purge, Rosneft share sales). It also reminds us that the people who feel strung out on protests and democratic, horizontally structured resistance (the people who drive by Market Square on Saturdays and yell at protesters in between gulps of their Mountain Dew to “Get a job!”), yes, those people are chumps of the most banal sort. Fuck the naysayers. We’ve all got some work to do.

And why? Why should people march? Why should journalists cover marches and protests and public conflicts of interest and consolidation of power and white nationalist ethos in the White House? Here’s Umair Haque on the slimy path that fascism takes en route to ethnic cleansing. Based on historical evidence, we’re halfway there.

I’ll point to another Zunger piece, and then a brief thing written by “reluctant economist” Umair Haque. In the latter, Haque argues that the arrogance of the people allows fascism to take root and, very quickly, flourish. Look:

History tells us something very simple: states run by people with such extreme political beliefs that can genuinely call them fascists, people who believe that they are superior by virtue of blood, follow a universal ten step pattern. Let me outline it:

  1. Authoritarian government
  2. Demonization of minorities
  3. Glorification of the majority
  4. Media intimidation
  5. Purges and putsches
  6. Segregation (laws designed to separate minorities from majorities)
  7. Expropriation (the legal seizure of the assets of minorities)
  8. Detainments, repression, internment
  9. Ghettos
  10. Ethnic cleansing

How far are we along that path? We are already halfway along the pathway of fascism. And it is only week one. No. That isn’t exact. You can dispute and disagree how far along we really are. What I think is indisputable is this: fascism follows a universal pattern. The pattern is always the same. It has been the same in Bosnia, Rwanda, Germany, Argentina, to name just a few. Why would it be different for us?

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